版权所有 - 中国日报(ChinaDaily) China Daily > Epaper 37415904 <![CDATA[Services sector, stock market seen as keys for 2019]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415904.htm The opening-up of the services sector and rising investor confidence in the stock market will aid China in achieving stable economic growth next year, according to analysts .

At a meeting held on Dec 13 by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee it was decided to uphold "speeding up all-around opening-up" as one of the country's major tasks in 2019, according to a statement released afterward.

The statement also said China should "expand opening-up at a high level" next year.

 

A technician works on the production line of a cold-chain logistics equipment producer in Qingdao, Shandong province. Provided to China Daily

The statement implied that more related policies are in the pipeline for next year, according to Hua Changchun, chief economist of Guotai Junan Securities.

Hua says those policies are likely to cover the financial industry and other parts of the services sector, and even some monopoly industries such as energy.

"To offset economic downside risks next year, China should expand its opening-up of the services sector, including the healthcare and education industries, where strong but unsatisfied demand exists," says Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Deutsche Bank.

Foreign service providers' increasing participation in the Chinese market, Zhang says, will unleash the potential of domestic demand and enhance productivity in the domestic services sector, thus buoying the economy.

A slew of financial opening-up policies have come into force this year, including allowing foreign shareholders to control securities firms, fund managers and futures companies in China.

Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, says the statement implies that China's future will focus on higher-quality growth.

"For instance, instead of exporting a large volume of goods with low added value, China is trying to provide the world with goods with higher quality and more technology innovation," Dong says.

It was decided at the meeting to add "raise market confidence" as one of the authorities' working objectives, and the objectives of stabilizing employment, the financial market, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and expectations were upheld.

"Recent economic data show that market entities - both enterprises and individuals - have become less confident about economic prospects," says Liu Chunsheng, an associate professor at Central University of Finance and Economics.

This has made it important to incorporate market confidence as a policy goal, as market confidence dictates many of the decisions relating to investment and consumption, Liu says.

Tang Yao, an associate professor at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, regards boosting the stock market as key to raising market confidence.

"As long-term investments enter the market as a result of earlier policy adjustments, the A-share market will help to stabilize expectations," Tang says.

That includes funds managed by wealth management bank subsidiaries and foreign capital brought in by the upcoming London-Shanghai stock connect program will provide another anchor for the market, he says.

The professors also say investor sentiment, ultimately, relies on economic fundamentals, and the vow at the meeting to "innovate and improve macroeconomic regulation" resonated with them.

"The government should launch targeted policies to solve problems faced by different industries and regions, rather than imposing the same policy standards in all circumstances," Liu says.

zhoulanxv@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page26)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415903 <![CDATA[Domestic firms attracting bulk of talent]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415903.htm

Increasingly, young professionals are making the jump from multinational companies to homegrown tech houses

Multinationals are continuing to lose out to local companies when it comes to securing high-quality professionals in China, especially amid domestic tech firms' surging success, according to the 2018 China Leadership Report.

"Local Chinese companies are redefining our entire way of thinking about the talent market as they continue to attract leaders based on experience, salary, training and opportunities, which go hand-in-hand with their fast-growing operations and opportunities," said James Root, a partner at global consultancy Bain and Co and co-author of the report.

Over the past five years, roughly 40 percent of business leaders at director level or above who began a job at a local company moved there from a foreign enterprise, according to the survey, which conducted by Bain and professional networking site Linked-In China.

That figure had risen notably from a 2016 survey, when less than one-third of the leaders had moved in that direction.

The wider gap is the result of growth in the Chinese economy and the fact that employees at all levels are looking for a greater say in leadership decisions, the report said.

Bain analyzed 66,000 business leaders in LinkedIn China's proprietary member database. The sample set came from 350 major corporations across 18 industries, from manufacturing to modern services.

The survey found that this talent flow is even more pronounced among those under 35 years old, challenging a long-held view that fresh Chinese graduates and young local professionals usually seek formal development opportunities at multinational corporations, where they can gain cross-functional and international experience.

Chinese nationals like to be involved in businesses' decision-making processes, prefer a faster working pace and want more opportunities to explore international markets, all of which are becoming more achievable at local companies, said the head of human resources for a multinational healthcare company, who asked not to be named.

"In multinational companies, Chinese business leaders usually take very operational roles" as opposed to real leadership positions, the report cited a regional HR head at a global engineering firm with operations in China as saying. Chinese leaders want to contribute their ideas but can feel constrained by global, top-down decision-making, the person said.

Meanwhile, China's emerging tech houses, from taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing to TikTok operator Byte-Dance, have become the latest magnets to draw the attention of talented professionals.

The report found that one-third of business leaders are under the age of 35, as opposed to just 20 percent in the overall sample.

They are also more likely to be graduates from the C9, a bloc of nine highly regarded Chinese universities, including Tsinghua University and Peking University.

By choosing to work at a Chinese company, leaders can expect to have a more hands-on role in key decision-making and corporate strategy - an opportunity that is very appealing to many business leaders, especially younger ones who are still building their experience, said Lin Hua, general manager of LinkedIn Talent Solutions at LinkedIn China.

But George Huang, chief human resources officer at SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence startup, cautioned business leaders at multinationals to stay humble and "think clearly about how to bring value to local companies".

hewei@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page31)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415902 <![CDATA[Game on for China's 5G companies]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415902.htm Huge investments, intensive R&D mark the race toward next-gen mobile technology

It's a high-stakes, high-tech race. Billions, maybe, trillions of dollars are up for grabs globally, and Chinese technology companies are vying to scoop up as much of the fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile telecommunication technology pie as possible as D-Day of commercial launch around 2020 nears.

In doing so, they are also seeking the honor of being remembered as the first out of the gate, and in the process generating a bit of mirth.

On Nov 30, a handful of engineers employed by smartphone maker Oppo in China, Japan and the United States made what they claimed was the world's first 5G-enabled cross-continent video call.

The call was through WeChat, the most popular messaging and social-media app in China. They used Oppo's 5G prototype smartphones to make the 17-minute call under the trial 5G network bandwidth of 100 megabits per second.

A day earlier, Chinese smartphone vendor Vivo demonstrated its 5G prototype handset to the public for trial use in Beijing. Arguably, Vivo's is the first such move in the industry. Using a Vivo device on a trial 5G network, consumers were able to surf the internet.

In the first week of December, Lin Bin, president of Xiaomi Corp, posted a message on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, and claimed it could well be "the first Weibo post enabled by a 5G network". Lin, of course, used Xiaomi's 5G-ready smartphone.

Chinese smartphone makers' research and development of 5G smartphones is happening at a time when large-scale commercial deployment of the superfast networks is still one or two years away. Companies are working hard to bring 5G smartphones to the market as soon as possible, with some eyeing the first half of 2019 for the earliest launch.

"They are betting on the new-generation of mobile communication technology to cope with a year-long downward spiral in global smartphone shipments and, more important, to prepare for a promising future where 5G devices will enable a slate of new applications," says James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. "5G is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for smartphone makers."

The next-gen data tech will be at least 10 times faster than 4G and will support superfast movie downloads. Downloading 8-gigabytes of content might take a few seconds, experts say.

5G also has the potential to radically alter how the world's best smartphones are used every day.

"Think augmented reality (computer graphics merging with the real world, such as fighting a 3D-dinosaur in a living room), virtual reality, improved streaming resolutions, holographic displays, enhanced power and next-gen cloud computing," says Nicole Peng, senior director of market research company Canalys.

Though some of these initial applications are possible in 4G, "it is 5G that is going to be a significant jump forward for phones because only with the latter's higher bandwidth that these applications can be more sophisticated and adopted by most consumers, delivering real amazing impact," Peng says.

The mounting enthusiasm for 5G handsets came as the global smartphone industry has been in decline for six straight quarters due to market saturation.

In the third quarter of this year, worldwide smartphone shipments fell by 3 percent year-on-year to 386.9 million units, according to data from Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

But the advent of 5G smartphones is expected to inject new vitality into the sector. According to a report by Counterpoint, global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 108.2 million units in 2021, up an estimated 255 percent year-on-year, partially offsetting the continued shrinkage in 4G handset volume.

To pounce on the promising opportunity, Chinese smartphone makers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Lenovo, OnePlus, and ZTE are all aiming to launch 5G smartphones next year. They are accelerating R&D efforts to make it happen.

Walter Ji, president of Huawei's Western European consumer business group, said in an interview with the telecom website T3 in July that the company will bring 5G smartphones to the market either in its P series models in March or in its Mate series in September.

"Now, the size of the chipset is not small enough to be used, to be integrated in a smartphone," Ji said, adding that 5G will "for sure" be in the Mate series in September if it's not in the P30 sooner.

The world's second-largest smartphone vendor - behind Samsung Electronics - Huawei invested $15 billion (13.2 billion euros; £12 billion) to $20 billion in R&D this year. It first beat Apple Inc in terms of smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2018 and maintained its lead in the third quarter.

"Huawei's edge lies in its full 5G-product lineup, including chips, telecom equipment and smartphones. Unlike its rivals that rely on Qualcomm Inc for 5G chipsets, Huawei's ability to develop in-house 5G chipsets gives it an obvious upper hand," says Xiang Ligang, CEO of telecoms industry website Cctime.

Chen Mingyong, CEO of Oppo, said in November: "5G is a trend that we must catch. In addition to being among the first batch of players to unveil 5G smartphones, Oppo will step up the exploration of application scenarios of next-gen devices, which will ultimately play a role in deciding the true value of the superfast technology."

According to Chen, the company will increase its R&D investment to 10 billion yuan ($1.45 billion; 1.3 billion euros; £1.15 billion) next year from 4 billion yuan this year. As of September, Oppo has filed about 22,712 patent applications, with artificial intelligence patents exceeding 300.

Despite heavy investment by smartphone vendors, 5G growth in the early commercial phase is expected to be low due to several factors, some analysts say.

"There are still forward-looking 5G standards that are unconfirmed, creating uncertainty around product and service opportunities. We also expect 5G chips to have a higher price point which will initially drive the cost of devices up," Tom Kang, research director of Counterpoint, wrote in an industry report. "5G-capable devices will be premium only in the beginning."

But once better 5G business cases and infrastructure are established, the smartphone market will begin seeing higher sales overall with more contributions from 5G smartphones, Kang wrote.

masi@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page27)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415901 <![CDATA[More travelers make wellness a priority]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415901.htm Chinese tourists are increasingly exploring options that combine health with their holiday experience

As the serene northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, stirs from its slumber and the first wisp of sunlight shines on the famous Buddhist temple Wat Phra Singh, Lin Yi is ready to begin his early morning run.

"The feeling you get when you run through the temple at dawn is far beyond what you might experience at peak hours when all the tourist groups have arrived," says Lin, head of overseas business for Beijing-based Chinese travel information website Qyer. For quite a few years now, he has made running a part of his travel routine.

 

Chinese tourists make their way across the slopes of Avachinsky, a stratovolcano in Russia. An increasing number of them are including fitness programs in their travel itinerary. Provided to China Daily

"As you run, you can see the daily lives of monks as they sweep the floors, make breakfast and prepare to chant. This is something you can only see in the early morning. And you also feel refreshed from running. A 30-minute jog will let me see a lot of interesting things," he says.

Lin's inclination for a taste of wellness during travel is becoming increasingly common among Chinese globetrotters. Since 2013, China has continued to move up in the rankings for wellness tourism spending, and is now third, after the United States and Germany.

It is also the growth leader as it has adding more than 21 million inbound and domestic wellness trips from 2015 to 2017, according to the latest report published by the Global Wellness Institute in October.

Seeking a sense of wellness is an inevitable stage as the way of traveling changes, says Lin. He says the focus of Chinese tourists has been changed from a "tick the box" approach of taking photos at must-see attractions to experiencing local lifestyles, as it is now much easier for the up-and-coming middle class to travel abroad.

To cope with the rising demand, Qyer now offers a series of themed tourism packages featuring hiking, cycling, skiing and yoga in popular destinations, including Japan, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand and countries across Europe. Since the launch of the programs three years ago, inquiries for wellness tourism have grown 40 percent annually.

But Lin says the wellness tourism market in China is still in its infancy compared with more mature markets like Europe and the United States.

Globally, wellness tourism is now recognized as a significant and fast-growing tourism segment, according to GWI, reaching a market size of $639.4 billion (563 billion euros; £506.8 billion) in 2017. With an annual growth rate of 6.5 percent, the sector is growing more than twice as fast as tourism generally.

The market has drawn attention from players both inside and outside the wider tourism sector.

The Hotel Jen Beijing, launched by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in May last year, is equipped with a 3,500-square-meter health club that offers group classes, cardio machines, a mixed martial arts area and more.

Meanwhile, in 2019, luxury fitness club Equinox will launch its first hotel in New York City with the intention to expand. The aim is to integrate "the science of fitness" into the travel experience.

Global trend

"As a segment of the tourism industry, wellness tourism benefits from a global trend of rising consumer awareness of, and interest in, health and wellness," says Ophelia Yeung, senior research fellow at GWI. "More people are also looking for experiential travel, and wellness is all about the experience."

While Europe and North America lead, respectively, in the number of wellness trips and in spending, the GWI report shows that it is Asia that has made the greatest gains in the past five years in both areas.

Yeung attributes the rapid growth to the fast-rising sophistication of Asian travelers and their ability to pay for higher-quality travel, as well as the growing awareness of improving health while on vacation.

"Worsening environmental pollution and congestion in Asia make people look for sanctuaries, fresh air and nature during their holidays," Yeung says.

"For consumers from Western countries, Asia is the place for holistic treatments," says Brian King, associate dean and a professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

"Asia has a long-established history of holistic therapies, some associated with religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism, notably Ayurvedic treatments, yoga and Chinese medicine. ... Hence it may be considered a competitive advantage that Asian destinations can offer guests such experiences," King says.

Ayurvedic is a traditional system of medicine that derives from India.

In addition, GWI's Yeung says Asia has the advantage of a large and growing intraregional market, and will benefit from increasing short-haul vacation trips within the region, especially when more consumers regard travel not as a luxury but an essential component of their lives.

Yeung says it is important to promote wellness tourism because wellness travelers tend to spend more than the average tourist. And the economic benefits they bring can potentially mitigate the impacts of "overtourism" suffered by many destinations, while also smoothing out seasonal spikes in visitors.

"Wellness tourism brings visitors who are interested in experiencing authentic culture - more than visiting popular destinations for photo ops and shopping - and tends to increase human interaction, for example, with therapists, teachers, healers, guides and so on, which can create more opportunities for small businesses and employment," says Yeung.

The business value of wellness tourism products is also higher, as better services and a deeper understanding of a destination are required.

"The price of such products can be twice that of a regular travel package, because it is highly customized ... but our users are willing to pay more for these products and their special features," says Lin from Qyer.

GWI's Yeung says there is "sometimes a tendency to conflate wellness tourism with medical tourism, especially when destinations or governments use the term 'health tourism' to cover both sectors".

Unlike the latter, which primarily involves people who are seeking medical treatments and procedures, wellness tourism involves travelers who are primarily interested in wellness - "the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one's personal wellbeing" - on their trip, Yeung said.

Noting that there is a long history of connection between health and tourism, King from PolyU says the next phase of development will involve multiple collaborations between the two sectors, which can bring opportunities but at the same time will demand new skills and approaches.

"It is not just about avoiding surgery or medications. There is also a strong desire for an enhanced quality of life, personal fulfillment and happiness," says Karina Stewart, co-founder of Kamalaya, a resort on the island of Koh Samui in southern Thailand. Kamalaya was opened in 2005, so Stewart is aware of the rapid development of the wellness tourism industry over the last decade.

Holistic approach

In May, Kamalaya brought its award-winning wellness treatments to European clients through its collaboration with the UK hotel Lime Wood in the English countryside of Hampshire.

So-called mini retreats include holistic therapies and treatment from both Eastern and Western perspectives, alongside healthy cuisine, personal mentoring, cooking classes, early morning yoga and meditative walks in the forest. Stewart says she already has plans to continue this collaboration next year and is open to extending it to other places in the world.

As a resort owner, Stewart says, the wellness experience should not just be about quick fixes but how to make it sustainable - something the guests can take back home after their vacations. To do this, Kamalaya aims to give guests the knowledge and tools necessary to make life-enhancing choices that are viable for the long term.

For example, the resort encourages visitors to write down their experiences and think about whether any of the activities can be incorporated into their daily routines.

"Our philosophy is that by supporting people in making small but permanent changes, they will feel inspired to continue making positive progress after they return home," Stewart says.

King at PolyU believes tourism "has a valuable role to play in positive psychology".

"Travel experiences can take people from their daily concerns and provide optimism, challenge and refreshment. In Asia, holistic philosophies emanating from Confucianism, Buddhism and other traditions are a welcome balancing force to materialism," King says.

China aims to build a group of international wellness tourism destinations by 2020, as reported by Xinhua. Yonhap News reported in May that South Korea plans to promote its southern region as a cluster for wellness travel, with an investment of $742,000 in the development of tourism programs.

Cities and regional governments have important roles to play in promoting wellness tourism, says Yeung from GWI, noting that regulatory authorities are important for ensuring that wellness amenities and services meet international standards. Destinations should also reflect "wellness" in a broader sense, not only within a resort property but in public places and the overall environment, Yeung says.

Meanwhile, Lin from Qyer hopes to convey the idea of wellness tourism to more users on the company's platform.

The idea is to encourage people to catch a new vision - that integrating physical activities into vacations can unlock a whole new kind of travel experience.

kelly@chinadailyapac.com

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page30)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415900 <![CDATA[Steady growth expected, despite pressure]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415900.htm

Innovation, technology are bright spots for China, showing an increase of 11.8 percent year-on-year

China's economy can maintain steady and healthy development in 2019, although November's economic data indicate that downward pressure is piling up, the spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics said on Dec 14.

The spokesman, Mao Shengyong, said at a news conference that November retail sales growth and industrial output figures showed signs of increasing downward pressure on the economy, but added that China is on track to hit its 2018 economic growth target of around 6.5 percent.

"The stable economic development of this year has laid a relatively sound foundation for 2019," Mao said.

The comments came after China's retail sales growth weakened to 8.1 percent year-on-year in November, down from 8.6 percent in October. Mao attributed the decline to slumping automobile consumption as well as lower gasoline and diesel prices.

"This year has seen fluctuations in retail sales, but China boasts the world's largest group of middle-income consumers and still has big potential for consumption," Mao said.

China has released a string of policies, such as raising the threshold for personal income tax, to reduce the financial burden on individuals to help unleash consumers' purchasing power and shore up consumption next year, he added.

In November, China's industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 5.4 percent year-on-year, 0.5 percentage points below October's figure.

But as the nation strives for growth led by innovation and technological advancements, its high-tech manufacturing output expanded by 11.8 percent year-on-year from January to November, outdoing overall industrial output growth.

Analysts expect that with the country vowing to give more policy support to boost the economy, fixed-asset investment and private sector investment will pick up, and that, in turn, will play a major role in helping the economy through the difficult times.

The pace of China's fixed-asset investment has picked up for a third straight month. In the first 11 months of this year, China's fixed-asset investment climbed 5.9 percent year-on-year, quickening from the 5.7 percent growth in the January-October period.

Private investment, which accounted for more than 60 percent of total fixed-asset investment, expanded by 8.7 percent. Manufacturing investment also grew at 9.5 percent, 0.4 percentage points higher than in October.

"We believe this set of data will put policymakers under more pressure to loosen monetary policies further. For the rest of the year, this is likely to involve a mixture of actions," said Song Yu, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.

Policies in the pipeline could include tax reductions and possible tax breaks to encourage consumption, Song added.

Wang Jun, chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank in Beijing, also said the need for cutting taxes, fees and interest rates has further increased.

In the face of emerging economic challenges at home and abroad, China has stepped up efforts to stabilize investment, including rolling out measures to motivate private investors and channel funds into infrastructure.

Qu Xianming, an expert with the National Manufacturing Strategy Advisory Committee, said with the central government's measures taking effect, investment is likely to remain stable or even register faster growth next year.

It is important to put these economic data in the context of complicated global environments and not look at them in isolation, Qu said.

"Although we are facing cooling global economic growth and fluctuations in commodity prices, China's economy is running within a reasonable range," he said.

Contact the writers at masi@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page26)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415899 <![CDATA[Intelligent, connected cars hold keys to the future]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415899.htm Automakers, tech giants and governments are all racing to new tech horizons

The Chinese government said it is paying great attention to intelligent vehicles and considers their development vital to easing the burden on transportation, energy consumption and environmental pollution, a top official said.

"By 2020, the market scale of the country's intelligent connected vehicles sector is expected to exceed 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion; 12.8 billion euros; £11.5 billion)," said Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei at the World Intelligent Connected Vehicles Conference held in Beijing in October.

 

An autonomous delivery vehicle attracts visitors' attention at an expo in Beijing in October. Photos by Cheng Gong / For China Daily

 

In June, visitors try the WitStar II (above, left), a second-generation driverless car made by Guangzhou Automobile Group in Shanghai. An intelligent car from ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing (right) is displayed at an international intelligent connected vehicle conference in Beijing in October.

"A new era of the automobile industry is here," he said. "The development of intelligent connected vehicles can drive the technological reform and upgrading of the automobile industry."

With the Chinese government fostering the development of smart vehicles, several cities have enacted laws and regulations for trials of autonomous driving, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Changchun.

Beijing takes the lead

Chen Jining, the mayor of Beijing, said the capital city regards self-driving vehicles as one of the key development objectives for advanced industry since last year and has introduced special supportive policies to promote open road tests.

Beijing will take the lead in forming a complete technological system of intelligent connected vehicles that meet the requirements of advanced autonomous driving, known as Level 4, according to a white paper by the Beijing Commission of Economy and Information Technology that was issued on the sidelines of the conference.

By mid-October this year, Beijing had opened 44 road sections with a total length of 123 km on which automakers can test their autonomous driving technology, the white paper said.

Chen said the smart vehicle industry, as a strategic development direction in the new era, is closely related to a wide range of industries; therefore, its improvement requires joint efforts from all parties.

China's major internet giants are already embracing the trend and betting big on the promising market.

Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc has taken the lead in China to realize fully autonomous driving under the mixed road conditions of urban roads, beltways and expressways, and is mass producing the Apolong, China's first Level 4 fully self-driving minibus. It plans to ship buses to Japan early next year.

Baidu has been engaged in the automobile industry since 2013.

"The Apollo project launched by Baidu in 2017 has become the world's largest intelligent driving environment," said Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu.

Partners jump on board

The Apollo intelligent driving system has attracted 129 ecopartners and more than 10,000 developers to create products so far. Due to the open platform, many "new species" of autonomous driving have joined the field, such as driverless trucks, unmanned delivery vehicles, unmanned sanitation cars and autonomous wheelchairs.

Li said Baidu has pushed forward a series of initiatives aimed at limiting unintended consequences from artificial intelligence, as the internet giant has taken safety and security as its first principles in the development of autonomous driving.

E-commerce leader Alibaba Group has been developing its own internet-connected vehicle technology. The technology giant collaborated with SAIC Motor Co and launched the internet-connected model Roewe RX5, which sparked a buying frenzy.

Alibaba said it believes the development of smart vehicles should not be limited to the product itself, but expand the vision from the car to the road.

"It's worth thinking about whether smart cars can effectively use road resources," said Wang Jian, chairman of Alibaba Group's technical committee. "The internet should be another form of infrastructure for cars, just as roads are."

Alibaba's plans for automatic driving run alongside its vehicle-road synergy project, which sees autonomous vehicles driving in an information-based environment and obtaining required road environment information from an intelligent transportation system.

Wang said technological progress is closely related to the optimization of urban resources.

Underpinning that goal is Alibaba's acceleration into real-world testing of autonomous driving. The company announced in September that its driverless fleet had been granted test license plates by the authorities in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Another internet giant, Tencent, is not far behind. It has signed strategic cooperation agreements with FAW, BMW, GAC, Changan and other automakers. Several models powered by Tencent's internet of vehicles system, AI in Car, are already on the market.

Pony Ma, chairman and CEO of Tencent, said the company is designing a voice interaction system to help drivers safely send and receive messages, minimizing distractions while driving.

"Carmakers are the leaders in the intelligent connected vehicle industry, and Tencent's position is clearly as an assistant, which helps the automobile industry upgrade and transform," Ma said.

Collaboration needed

"No single automotive enterprise can provide all the resources and capabilities required to produce an intelligent connected vehicle. The future of the automobile industry needs efforts from internet tech giants and traditional carmakers," he said.

Major Chinese carmakers had similar views.

"Traditional automobile enterprises and internet technology companies are naturally and strongly complementary," said Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Automotive Group, or BAIC Group.

BAIC unveiled its five-year plan, which aims to equip all its products with world-leading self-driving or intelligent connected technologies by 2020.

"BAIC will strengthen its industrial presence in high-performance sensors, controllers, computing platforms, automatic driving systems and high-precision maps," Xu said.

The group will cooperate with world-leading electronics company Bosch, Chinese tech giant Baidu, Chinese voice technology firm iFlytek Co and other tech firms to integrate high-quality resources across the globe to build an open intelligent connected vehicle ecosystem, Xu said.

BAIC is not the first carmaker that has decided to build such an ecosystem.

BYD Co has launched its own car app platform, D++. Using the platform, app developers can gain access to 66 control rights, 341 sensors and extensive vehicle data.

"We are the first car brand to open all sensors and controls," said Wang Chuanfu, chairman and president of BYD. "It is also the first step in the process of establishing a fully open vehicle ecosystem."

The platform has already attracted dozens of partners, including Baidu with its self-driving Apollo system, online security company 360 Security Technology Inc and AI specialist Horizon Robotics.

xuhe@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page25)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415898 <![CDATA[How a Spanish hotelier found himself in China]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415898.htm Bernardo Cabot first arrived in Shanghai in 2010 when he was sent by the Spanish hotel group, Melia Hotels International, to establish a presence in the Chinese market. The city was hosting the World Expo and the senior hotelier sensed the direction of the country's development.

"China knew very well what it wanted to be - more international, more open, more potentials for local companies, as well as foreign ones," says Cabot, the group's senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.

"But at that time what I felt was an intention, and what I saw was a vision."

 

Bernardo Cabot, senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific for Spanish hotel group Melia. Provided to China Daily

The expo lasted for six months, during which most of the high-end hotels in Shanghai were occupied by visitors and tourists, but Melia, Spain's largest hotel group, were still initiating their first activities in the country by then.

Eight years later, Shanghai has once again hosted a grand expo - the China International Import Expo - and this time, Melia didn't miss the opportunity.

Its hotel nearby the expo venue in Hongqiao was booked for the entire week when the event took place in November. The Melia Shanghai Hongqiao is the group's fourth hotel that Cabot has helped open in China, following earlier ones in Xi'an, Jinan and Zhengzhou.

"This time, what I felt at the trade show was a reality, and the commitment of the Chinese government to this path," Cabot says, sitting at his regional headquarters in Shanghai's Lujiazui financial area.

Having worked in the group for 28 years, Cabot has managed hotels across three continents. He says the group sees China as essential to its growth in the Asia-Pacific region and three more hotels will be open in the country next year.

Foreign hotels trying to make inroads into China, however, face challenges, as the high-end hotel niche is saturated in first-tier cities, and international big names are facing more local competition.

Cabot thinks differentiation is the key. "We cannot compete in quantity, but in quality," he says, adding that each individual hotel brand has a unique selling point and target customers.

The first Melia hotel opened in Jinan, Shandong province, located near the city's new high-speed railway station.

"The hotel is strategic, as it's between Beijing and Shanghai on the high-speed rail line," he says.

"In China, the high-speed train is changing the way people are traveling, and subsequently everything related to the surroundings of the stations will become more and more important."

The Gran Melia in Xi'an, on the other hand, takes customers to the culturally rich area of the ancient capital of China in Shaanxi province, where the hotel is close to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Tang Paradise, a royal-garden park of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Other Melia hotels scheduled to open next year include one near Shanghai Disneyland Park and one in Chongqing, a city known for its leisurely lifestyle.

"We want to provide customers with unique Spanish features," he says, such as a welcoming and passionate staff and delicious Spanish tapas.

But it's not all about just being different, Cabot says: "We operate in China, so we have to be Chinese."

That explains the hotel company's approach to hiring Chinese professionals on its management teams, partnering with Chinese booking agencies, marketing on Chinese social networks and accepting popular mobile payments.

The 54-year-old Cabot has two daughters who grew up in Shanghai, and he adopted a Chinese boy in 2013.

"Now I am an ambassador of China whenever I'm traveling around the world," Cabot says. "When people ask me about China, I tell them that everything goes very fast, because there's a clear direction. And when something works well, the market is huge."

Looking back, Cabot says the Shanghai he knew in 2010 and the city one sees today are totally different.

And for the hospitality industry, the government's investment in infrastructure - the high-speed railways, roads and airports - has been amazing, he says.

"What gives us a lot of comfort is whatever is announced that will happen always happens," he says.

xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page31)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415897 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415897.htm

"We are proud to deliver, on time, ... CRRC's first subway cars built in the United States."

JIA BO, chairman and president of China Railroad Rolling Stock Corp.

"Major bike-sharing participants like Ofo invested heavily in the rapid market expansion and left less room for refined management and maintenance, making it difficult to drive to a sustainable future. ... The bike-sharing sector's big wobble will be an alarm bell for sharing economy participants and internet entrepreneurs, which will help generate healthier business models in the future."

RAYMOND WANG, partner of Roland Berger China.

"We will open a security transparency center in Brussels in the first quarter of next year to assure clients that our products are reliable."

HU HOUKUN, rotating chairman of Huawei.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page24)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415896 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 24)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415896.htm

 

A businessman from Pakistan introduces products to visitors during the 2018 China International Winter Trade Fair for Tropical Agricultural Products in Haikou, Hainan province, on Dec 16. Yang Guanyu / Xinhua

European Commission OKs insurance deal

Chinese reinsurer China Re won approval from the European Commission on Dec 18 for its $865 million (759 million euros; £684 million) acquisition of global insurance group Chaucer. London-based Chaucer is active globally in the provision of reinsurance, general insurance and specialty insurance, while China Re is active globally in property and casualty reinsurance and insurance, life and health reinsurance and asset management.

Rail freight volume increases in November

Railway freight volume, an indicator of broad economic activity, expanded at a faster pace in November, official data released on Dec 18 showed. China's railways carried a total of 350 million metric tons of freight in November, up 14 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The growth accelerated further from the 10.1 percent rise in October. In the first 11 months, railway freight totaled 3.68 billion tons, up 8.7 percent year-on-year. The data, added to a series of other indicators, show resilience in the economy. The economy recorded strong growth of 6.7 percent in the first three quarters, on track to achieve the government's target of around 6.5 percent for 2018.

Nation top buyer of US debt in October

China's holdings of US Treasury bonds in October were the lowest in a year, but the country remained the largest foreign buyer of US government debt, according to figures released by the US Treasury Department on Dec 17. China's holdings of US Treasuries totaled $1.14 trillion in October, down by $12.5 billion from the previous month.

Grain saw bumper harvest in 2018

China recorded another bumper harvest in 2018, with grain output remaining at a high level, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Dec 15. Total grain output for the period stood at 657.89 million metric tons, down by 3.71 million tons or 0.6 percent from last year, the NBS said in a statement on its website. NBS statistician Hou Rui attributed the decline to changes in the crop structure and a decrease in planting area, which shrank by 952,000 hectares from the previous year. China's grain output remained strong despite the decline. Per-unit yields improved, thanks to favorable weather conditions, Hou said.

Boeing Zhoushan delivers first aircraft

The Boeing Zhoushan 737 Completion and Delivery Center, a joint venture between US aerospace giant Boeing and its Chinese partner, Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, delivered its first 737 aircraft to Air China on Dec 15. The Zhoushan unit, the first such Boeing facility outside the United States, completed the finish work on a 737 MAX 8 airplane whose primary assembly was completed in the United States at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington.

Geely escapes fines in Daimler deal

German market regulator BaFin has ended its investigation into the purchase of a large stake of automaker Daimler by Chinese automaker Geely and decided not to impose fines against Geely over disclosure practices, the Chinese company said. Citing the results of the investigation, Geely said it strictly followed German law and regulations in its acquisition of a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler AG for $9.2 billion and disclosed information accurately and in a timely manner. The Chinese automaker added that it has been cooperating with BaFin in the investigation.

UBS predicts equity surge in next 6 months

Global equity markets are more likely to advance than fall in the next six months, with a low risk of recession and attractive valuations, UBS Global Wealth Management reported. "Following the economic data rather than the news headlines has proved a good strategy for navigating the market over the medium term," Mark Haefele, chief investment officer with UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a research note. Global equities currently trade at 15.5 times the price-to-earnings ratio, compared with a long-term PE ratio of 18.3 times.

Internet firms promise social responsibility

Thirty-six Chinese internet businesses including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu joined an initiative on Dec 19 to fulfill their corporate social responsibility. The initiative was launched at a forum hosted by the Internet Society of China on the corporate responsibilities of Chinese internet businesses. The companies are expected to make contributions to poverty alleviation, set up an information disclosure mechanism, actively accept supervision from the public and take on other responsibilities, under the initiative.

Finnish timber coming to inland China market

A train packed with 41 containers of sawn timber left Kouvola in eastern Finland, on Dec 18 and is headed to Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in northwestern China. It will take two weeks for the 1,800 cubic meters of timber to get to Xi'an, a bridgehead to west-central China, said Tommi Saarnisto, product manager of Metsa Fibre, a large timber company in Finland. The train will pass through Russia and Central Asia before entering China from Kazakhstan via Alataw Pass. Metsa Fibre is among the larger companies to embrace railway logistics for exports to China, said Anu Kujansuu, marketing director for Kouvola Cargo Handling.

Baidu, US firm team up on self-driving cars

US video game-maker Unity Technologies said on Dec 18 that it is partnering with China's leading internet giant, Baidu, to develop a virtual reality system that will help Baidu test its self-driving vehicles in a simulated real-time environment. San Francisco-based Unity said it is working on a real-time simulation product that creates virtual environments where developers of Baidu's ambitious Apollo autonomous vehicle program will be able to devise, build and test self-driving systems with level 3, 4 and 5 autonomy. Unity's real-time 3D platform allows manufacturers of selfdriving vehicles to reduce errors and risks while increasing efficiency and speed of testing. It offers simulations that replicate real-world scenarios, Unity said.

UK leads in offshore yuan forex transactions

Britain continued to be the top destination for offshore renminbi foreign exchange transactions this year, a report from London RMB Business Quarterly said on Dec 18. The London RMB Business Quarterly report was jointly compiled by the City of London and the People's Bank of China (PBOC) Representative Office For Europe. Britain accounted for the largest share of yuan payments outside of Hong Kong and retained its first place in terms of offshore yuan forex transactions, accounting for 38.64 percent of global trading volume, the report said.

Raw coal output growth stays stable at 4.5%

Raw coal output growth remained stable in November, up 4.5 percent year-on-year to 320 million metric tons, official data showed. The growth narrowed from the 8-percent gain year-on-year in October, while the daily average output reached 10.51 million tons, the highest level since December 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. During the first 11 months, China's coal output climbed 5.4 percent year-on-year to 3.21 billion tons.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page24)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415895 <![CDATA[Need to get in shape? There's an app for that]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415895.htm Millions using online platforms to support athletic lifestyles

Liu Ya, a 28-year-old manager at a public relations agency in Beijing, switches on her phone and opens a fitness app. With just a few taps, she has registered for her weekly barre class, a program that involves using a handrail that provides support for various types of exercise, incorporates movements derived from ballet and combines positions and movements drawn from yoga and pilates.

Liu then goes to the gym, checks in with her phone, changes into her sports gear and awaits the start of the class with 39 others.

 

Coaches at Supermonkey prepare for a barre class, which uses movements from ballet, as well as yoga and pilates positions. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

A client is instructed by a professional trainer during a Keepland power link class.

This is her routine before each weekly workout. After an hour of sweaty activity, she sometimes takes photos of the session to post on WeChat.

"I think the internet has really changed the way people work out," she says. "The fitness apps give us more options. Rather than just going to a gym and training by yourself or hiring a private trainer, they can link online and offline alternatives."

With the rapid growth of fitness communities and increasing demand for professional instruction, new trends have emerged in recent years, attracting young users through socializing, group classes, qualified coaching and flexible payment methods.

In March, sports technology company Keep opened three fitness centers in Beijing called Keepland. The idea is to persuade its online users to join offline communities, helping to cultivate loyalty and fuel enthusiasm.

According to a report from Analysys, a market research firm in Beijing, as of April more than 68 million people in China were using online platforms to support healthy lifestyles - a year-on-year increase of just over 2 percent.

Li Jinyi, vice-president of Keep, says online users' needs will be upgraded and Keepland can keep up with such changes.

"Users may not have that much time to go online and find solutions, or they can't find exactly what they need. But the offline courses can help locate weaknesses or provide future goals, which coaches can guide people to attain," he says.

Fitness brand Space Cycle was launched in 2015 by Matthew Allison, the former president of EMI Music in Asia. It now has six clubs in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, Taiwan, offering cycling, yoga, barre and dance classes with inspiring background music.

Liu, a Space Cycle member, says she sometimes uses its app for more than just registering for classes.

"You can search for music and buy fitness gear with just one app. You can also post and browse photos of people working out and chat with others to get motivation," she says. "I think the fitness apps are trying to mix working out and socializing."

Keep's Li says it is important to socialize, as people need encouragement from others to advance, and users can get together and form a community by attending offline classes or other activities at Keepland.

"It's hard to persist by yourself," he says. "But if you have a partner or team members, the interactions and encouragement can support you in finally achieving your goal."

Li says another reason to socialize is to help users improve their athletic performance, as they can communicate with coaches and share experiences with classmates after sessions - especially when more people want to work out - and choose a suitable training plan.

Keepland has installed a screen that can interact with users by showing the latest content, technology and activities.

"It is also convenient for us to organize better offline activities, classes and discussions, and a variety of communication activities are even organized by users themselves. This is how we can provide more for the users," Li says.

In recent years, the Chinese government has introduced policies to vigorously support the development and expansion of the fitness industry.

In 2013, the State Council issued a guideline extending a nationwide fitness campaign, which was designed to increase awareness.

In 2016, the National Fitness Program for 2016-20 was launched by the State Council to promote overall health development, with the target of getting 435 million people to regularly take part in physical exercise by 2020.

According to IBISWorld, a global business intelligence information provider, over the past five years, the fitness industry in China has grown by 11.2 percent to reach revenue of $7 billion (6.2 billion euros; £5.5 billion) this year. In the same period, the number of businesses has grown by 8.7 percent and the number of employees has risen by 7.6 percent.

With traditional training facilities growing from about 500 in 2001 to more than 37,000 this year, different fitness brands are appearing with personalized group classes on the internet or with electronic monitoring devices. They have proved popular, especially among the younger generation, according to the China Briefing website.

Keepland offers self-developed mixed intensity and training, also known as MIXT, and specialized fitness courses for its offline users, as well as providing smart sports devices for real-time monitoring of body data. The program integrates online and offline data to facilitate the development of personalized fitness regimens.

Li says data collection and continued curriculum development, as well as cooperation with other fitness systems. has led to nearly 280 courses being provided to meet user needs. The classes include "Bubble Butt" for hip and leg toning, "Core Master" for abdominal muscles and dancing classes such as Zumba (a dance form with an aerobics fitness program).

Xia Jinglong, co-founder of Supermonkey fitness centers, says his company is paying close attention to what customers need.

"The fitness needs in China and abroad are quite different due to diverse cultural influences," he says. "For example, we have developed the 'Butt Shaper' lesson, which is more suitable for Chinese, as female practitioners wish to reshape their hips but want to keep their legs slim at the same time."

Founded in 2014 in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Supermonkey now has more than 100 locations in seven cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

Xia says curriculum innovation reflects changes in the fitness concept in China, as more people now understand that fitness is a way of life.

Liu says the classes she has registered for with Space Cycle, which she takes once or twice a week, allow her to meet basic exercise needs and maintain her health.

"People used to think that being skinny was beautiful, especially for women," she says. "But now the concept has been changing, with more and more people appreciating the beauty of a healthy, slim or even muscular shape."

Meanwhile, customers are paying more attention to the quality of the classes - another change brought by the increased awareness of fitness.

Liang Junyao, a 30-year-old graphic designer who takes classes at Supermonkey, says smaller classes greatly improve her athletic ability, since coaches can take care of individual members and offer advice.

Liang says a traditional gym may be more suitable for those who have already formed fitness habits, have a certain level of knowledge on the subject and know how to use the facilities, while smaller classes are ideal for newcomers or those who need inspiration and instruction.

"Many traditional gyms have similar courses, but they always have too many members showing up at one time, or the coaches may not have proper qualifications," he says.

Liang has frequently attended a group class at Supermonkey with instructors who all have international qualifications. Some are even regional project leaders for world-class fitness regimens in China.

Li, from Keep, says most of the coaches at Keepland are self-trained, but he will invite some from the industry with the right qualifications to work part-time, especially when there are not enough coaches to match the number of courses.

Keepland recently signed an agreement with the Champion Foundation, which was established by former speed skater Yang Yang in 2008 to help retired athletes. These athletes have provided a steady supply of coaches for the brand.

Keep is also preparing to launch a virtual coaching service by using artificial intelligence.

By combining all the exercise data from online users, as well as smart health and fitness facilities, Keep believes virtual coaching services can help more consumers access personalized help relatively cheaply.

With consumption upgrades accelerating, more people are paying attention to their quality of life and physical health and are more willing to pay for "fitness consumption", according to a report on Chinese consumers released by consulting company Accenture in July.

Last year, the value of China's fitness industry was about 150 billion yuan ($21.43 billion; 18.9 billion euros; £17 billion), and its compound annual growth rate over the past six years was 7.7 percent.

Targeting clients in age range of 25 to 35 in first-and second-tier cities, Supermonkey wants to take the retail route to encourage more people to work out, Xia says, with the main consumption method being pay-per-visit.

Each class costs less than 100 yuan at most of the facilities, including Keepland, Supermonkey and Space Cycle. In addition to paying each time they visit, customers can choose to buy packages of fitness classes.

liuxuan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Top: A trainer teaches at a gym in Beijing in October. Bottom: A Supermonkey coach tests equipment in a TRX suspension training class.

 

Members of Glow Rowing take a class. Water resistance machines provide users with a simulated rowing experience. They can exercise up to 84 percent of their muscles. Photos Provided to China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page28)

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2018-12-21 08:43:33
37415894 <![CDATA[Trichet 'confident' on EU-China deal]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415894.htm Former European Central Bank head believes problems can be overcome with talks

China's ongoing efforts to reform and open up its domestic market will benefit the country and the rest of the world, according to former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the official launch of China's reform efforts, a landmark program that has turned the once-poor country into an economic powerhouse.

 

Jean-Claude Trichet, former European Central Bank president, says Beijing has sparked an economic miracle that's remarkable in human history. Provided to China Daily

On Dec 18, President Xi Jinping made a keynote speech proclaiming that the nation is determined to continue speeding up reform and freeing up its domestic market in the coming decades.

Trichet, the former head of the ECB and French central bank chief, was also a negotiator for the French government for the treaty of reciprocity on foreign direct investment with China in the 1980s. He says Beijing has sparked an economic miracle that's remarkable in human history.

Over the past 40 years, China's GDP share of the world's total economy has jumped from 1.8 percent to 15 percent. The country has achieved self-sufficiency in food and successfully lifted more than 740 million people out of dire poverty. Meanwhile, China's foreign exchange reserves, manufacturing capacity, and international trade volumes all rank at the top of the world.

"In my life, I had seen both - the Chinese mainland that I visited in 1982 or 1983 and China today. All this extraordinary progress that China has made is so visible and impressive. It is amazing and hard to believe it is not a dream. So I have full confidence that China will continue to make incredible progress."

He speaks highly of China's speedy domestic reforms since Xi's speech at Davos, Switzerland, last year. He also expects the country to further open up its domestic market, cooperate and integrate with the rest of the world, the European Union in particular, is as balanced a way as possible.

Trichet highlights investment relations on the EU-China agenda and urges both sides to clinch a productive investment deal soon.

With the aim of unleashing underexploited opportunities and potential, ease access to each other's markets and improve protection for investors from both Europe and China, the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, or CAI, was launched in 2012.

At the latest 19th round of negotiations held in October, the two parties had exchanged feedback on market access. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for early next year in Brussels. Once concluded and ratified, the new agreement will replace the existing bilateral investment treaties that 26 out of 28 EU member states have with China.

"When I look at the stock of FDI, we are still at a level that is quite modest, obviously, taking the immense size of our economies into account, especially compared with other major economies," he says.

Data from the European Statistical Office shows that China accounted for only a 0.6 percent share of inward FDI in the EU's 28 member states. About 2.4 percent of the EU's total outward investment stocks of FDI were held in China as of the end of 2014. Taking into consideration that China has emerged as the EU's second-biggest trading partner, there is an evident mismatch between their trade and investment relations.

According to Eurostat, FDI from China in the EU's 28 member states reached 45.1 billion euros ($51.3 billion; £41 billion) in 2016, by comparison with 177.7 billion euros of EU FDI flown into China in the same year. Regardless of China's soaring investment in recent years, FDI from the country still occupied a marginal portion of the total investment received by the EU.

Trichet says the low figures show there is tremendous room to boost FDI between Europe and China in both directions in the coming decades.

However, in 2017, for the first time in more than a decade, China's outbound FDI dropped sharply because of stricter controls on outbound flows as well as increasing foreign regulatory pushback against Chinese takeovers.

By contrast with China's opening-up scheme, the EU is attempting to increase state intervention of investments through the first bloc-wide rules to coordinate scrutiny of foreign investments into Europe, notably from China.

EU national governments will still have the final say on whether to block foreign investments, but the European Commission is obliged to investigate foreign investments in "critical" technologies and infrastructure such as ports, energy networks and artificial intelligence, and member states are required to cooperate with EU institutions.

On Dec 10, the International Trade Committee of European Parliament endorsed the political agreement reached in November on the EU framework for screening FDI. Such new rules are likely to be passed by the European Parliament at its plenary session in February or March 2019.

Against this background, the focus in EU-China investment relations should go beyond discussing new barriers in the EU but rather focus on seizing opportunities to open the Chinese market, according to Trichet.

"These issue negotiations on an investment treaty and FDI screening are closely correlated. But I don't think the EU-wide investment screening, which is pursued very seriously, will in the end prevent us from negotiations for a progressive investment deal," he says.

"The main issue is that in certain domains, there is absolutely no problem, and all Chinese investments will be welcome. I hope all European investment will be welcome in China as well," he says. "You might have some discussion about those Chinese investments in the high-tech sectors and when the investments are not made by real private corporate businesses but by State-owned enterprises or highly State-influenced enterprises," he says, noting there are two criteria to trigger the investigation: high-tech fields or not, and SOEs or not.

Trichet also underlines that the risks facing Europe now also exist in all advanced and emerging economies.

"That is the problem we have within Europe, and it's also a problem that we have with the United States. For instance, in response to the big four platforms (Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google), there is a permanent screening and meditation about what is the best way to deal with these new digital platforms. The key is to ensure no unfair behavior," he says.

"There is a will to embark on EU-China investment treaty on both sides. I am confident that it has to be done very seriously."

As the chairman of the board of Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel, Trichet has led work with three other think tanks from Europe and China, including the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and London-based Chatham House.

Their joint report titled "EU-China Economic Relations to 2025: Building a Common Future", which was published last year, lays out that the EU and China are not security competitors. Instead, they are two of the most externally integrated economies in the world and can help ensure that global development is stable, strong, balanced and sustainable through deeper bilateral cooperation.

The report underlines that growing Chinese consumption, especially of services, has the potential to create new markets for European businesses, while rising Chinese investment in the EU, in addition to increasing the EU's GDP and employment, also provides Chinese companies with a platform to improve their global competitiveness.

Trichet says sealing their investment pact will solve many issues between two parties, and eventually consumers, businesses and economies will all benefit from China's move.

According to a policy paper issued by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry on Dec 18, Beijing is committed to significantly ease market access and foster a stable, fair, transparent, law-based and predictable business environment for foreign investors. China's white paper also urges the EU to ease export control and facilitate mutual investment with China.

liujia@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page32)

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2018-12-21 08:43:22
37415893 <![CDATA[Imperial splash in Shanghai]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415893.htm A large-scale exhibition celebrates the life and art of classic painter Dong Qichang

The works of one of the most important figures in Chinese art history, Dong Qichang (1555-1636), are being presented in a large-scale exhibition at the Shanghai Museum.

The Ferryman of the Ink World: Dong Qichang's Calligraphy and Painting Art consists of 154 paintings and calligraphic works, some from the museum's own collection and some borrowed from 15 other museums and cultural institutions, including the Palace Museum in Beijing, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tokyo National Museum.

 

Landscape paintings by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) artist Dong Qichang in the style of old masters are among the pieces on show at the ongoing exhibition in Shanghai.

It is the largest exhibition of Dong's works ever on the Chinese mainland, according to Yang Zhigang, director of the Shanghai Museum.

Dong was born to a poor, but educated family in Huating in today's Shanghai. He passed the imperial examination and worked in a series of government positions starting from age 35. During his career as an artist, which lasted until he was 80, Dong made great efforts to explore traditional Chinese art, and he collected calligraphy and paintings.

Dong is now widely known for his art theories. He divided Chinese painting into northern and southern schools, traced their historical lineage and analyzed their aesthetic advantages. He also studied and analyzed Chinese ink-and-brush painting, emphasizing the moral power and spiritual heights of artists.

Through his creations, Dong showed that he had learned from previous masters and developed his own style and methods to become the leader of the Huating school. His artworks were widely sought and coveted during his lifetime. His artistic achievements were praised by both critics and emperors after his death at age 82.

Other exhibits in the show include works by important artists and calligraphers before Dong who had a great impact on his art, and works by later artists he influenced, Yang says.

"We hope to create a panoramic exhibition that presents the artist and his ideas in the context of the art history of imperial China."

Dong was by far the most influential figure in the late Ming (1368-1644) and early Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, and his artistic theories dominated the tone and principles long afterward, says Ling Lizhong, head of the art department at the Shanghai Museum, who is also the curator of the exhibition.

While preparing for the show, Ling says he made a list of all the works he wanted to display, feeling like a child writing to Santa Claus.

"I didn't think about whether it was possible to borrow these treasures and exhibit them in Shanghai. I just jotted down a dream list of artworks that I considered important and relevant for the exhibition," he said.

The Shanghai Museum managed to borrow more than 40 important paintings and calligraphy pieces from 15 other museums and cultural institutions.

Among the most celebrated works is The Remaining Mountains, borrowed from the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou.

One of the few surviving works by painter Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, was partially burned in 1650. Today, one part is kept at the Taipei Palace Museum in Taiwan, while the other - The Remaining Mountains - is stored at the Zhejiang Provincial Museum.

"Some important artworks, such as The Remaining Mountains, are very fragile and cannot be exhibited for more than a few weeks," Yang says.

Because of Dong's influence on Chinese art history, his works coexisted with forgeries, even during his lifetime. Later on, artists followed his style and techniques, and a lot of paintings were mistakenly identified as Dong's creations. This has brought great challenges to the authentication of Dong's works. The exhibition highlights some details and proofs that helped academics decide whether or not a painting was Dong's.

Because of their fragility, some of the works can be displayed for only 45 days and then will be replaced by others.

"If you want to experience the complete exhibition, you will have to make four visits," Yang says.

The exhibition runs through March 10.

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A visitor stops at one of the exhibition's most-celebrated works, The Remaining Mountains. The other half of the painting, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, by Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) is kept at the Taipei Palace Museum in Taiwan. Photos by Gao Erqiang / China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page20)

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2018-12-21 08:42:33
37415892 <![CDATA[The long arm of German culture]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415892.htm Goethe-Institut marks three decades since it set up operations in China with a 30-hour event

The Goethe-Institut is celebrating its 30th anniversary in China this year. And one of the highlights was a 30-hour celebration, with concerts, performances, art installations, film screenings, lectures and events for children in November at its base in Beijing's 798 art zone.

Meanwhile, in 30 events held from September through early December, the organization held discussions addressing 30 essential questions about the future covering human and social development, art, technology, language and gender studies.

"The celebration is a condensed version of our work," says Clemens Treter, director of Goethe-Institut China.

 

Visitors learn simple dialog in German during an open course at the 30-hour celebration of the Goethe-Institut's 30th anniversary in China. Photos by Li Yinjun / For China Daily

 

German artist Axel Malik creates "unreadable signs" on the windows of the venue of the Goethe-Institut China in Beijing's 798 art zone. He also lectures, providing his answer to the question: "Can we think without language?".

 

A jazz performance during the 30th anniversary celebration in Beijing.

The venue at the 798 art zone, decorated in green, is considered a cultural space where free talks, artistic productions and creative activities using new technologies are frequently offered.

Visiting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, "Among the many branches of the Goethe-Institut I've been to around the world, this is one of the coolest spaces. Congratulations for having such a place filled with creativity."

Steinmeier made the comments on Dec 9 in the course of a discussion with scholars from a variety of fields on the challenges brought by the digital revolution.

As the cultural arm of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Goethe-Institut, which is dedicated to promoting knowledge of the German language and fostering international cultural cooperation, founded its China chapter in Beijing in 1988 after talks by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and then-German chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Sinologist Michael Kahn-Ackermann, the founding director of the institute, says the founding was a complicated and difficult process that took more than four years of negotiation. Ackermann was among the earliest overseas students who came to China in 1975.

In the 1980s, he translated books into German, including those of Nobel laureate Mo Yan; two-time winner of China's prestigious Maodun Literature Prize Zhang Jie; and author Wang Shuo.

Ackermann attributes the founding of the Goethe-Institut partly to China's reform and opening-up and says the branch in Beijing was the only independent foreign cultural institution on the Chinese mainland for 16 years after it was set up.

Currently, the organization also has libraries and language centers in Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenyang, Qingdao, Nanjing, Chongqing, Xi'an and Wuhan.

At the opening ceremony of the 30-hour celebration, a number of Chinese scholars and artists shared their experiences of learning and working with Goethe-Institut China.

Jia Guoping, a composer and a professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, attended a German language course there 25 years ago, shortly before going to Germany for further studies with a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service.

In 2007, Jia started working with the institute as part of a three-year chamber music program, during which orchestra and piano students from the Central Conservatory of Music had the opportunity to receive instruction from principal musicians in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Meanwhile, Jia launched a corresponding chamber music composition competition called Con Tempo - which is still running - in which the winners' works are performed by students attending the program.

Later, in 2011, the Central Conservatory of Music set up the Ensemble ConTempo Beijing. The ensemble later made its debut in Europe, sponsored by Goethe-Institut China.

According to Jia, his team is now working with the institute on a "digital concert hall" program that screens recordings of some of the Berlin Philharmonic's concerts.

"Our cooperation with the Goethe-Institut China has promoted the development of contemporary music in China," says Jia, adding that the younger generation of Chinese musicians are open-minded, and that the institute is responsible for the change.

A growing number of music students at the Central Conservatory of Music are seeking to do further studies in Germany, a frontier of modern music, and many of them are studying at the Goethe-Institut China.

Clemens von Goetze, Germany's ambassador to China, says that China and Germany recognize the differences between the two countries and both want further cooperation.

Even though there are collisions and setbacks in cultural exchanges, Goetze hopes more people from both countries will master each others' languages, something the Goethe-Institut China has helped with over the past 30 years.

Treter said the institute also attaches great importance to training German teachers in China.

Marla Stukenberg, the regional director of the Goethe-Institut in East Asia, said: "We firmly believe that the various problems and challenges humanity is facing can be resolved with dialogue and that the talks should not be limited to bilateral exchanges. The cultural and educational programs promoted by the institute around the world are an example of this."

fangaiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page21)

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2018-12-21 08:42:33
37415891 <![CDATA[En papillote the Chinese way]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415891.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

French cuisine holds parallels with Chinese cuisine, and the two are so similar, in fact, that the basics mirror each other most of the time.

It is no use asking unanswerable questions about who came first. People with good palates and an appreciation of ingredients usually arrive at the same conclusions, even without consultation.

 

Wrapping food in paper before cooking preserves the best natural flavors. Photos Provided to China Daily

So it is that both Chinese and French cooks know that wrapping food in paper and cooking in it preserves that best natural flavors. The French call this method "en papillote". Chinese chefs, lacking the linguistic sophistication, simply tag a prefix - paper-wrapped chicken, paper-wrapped ribs, paper-wrapped fish ... Whatever.

All this was totally lost on me. As a little girl, it was a very rare treat when the family visited a chicken farm in the evenings for the speciality dish - paper-wrapped chicken.

The chef only slaughtered, marinated and wrapped up the bird when the order came in, so the wait was long. But it was alright. There were enough distractions.

There were chickens cackling in huge cages, their necks sticking out as they pecked hopefully at their feeding troughs. Usually, the farmer would scatter a handful of fodder if he saw children hanging about, so the chickens were conditioned to like people. Even cacophonous children.

There were also pigeons with exotic crowns. They shimmered as they strode about and were truly magnificent. They were pets, not food.

So were the peacocks, given the run of the courtyard so they sauntered disdainfully around, sometimes flaring their tails to show off in front of their admiring females and visiting infant humans.

The farmer also kept a mouse deer, a tiny little creature so shy it crouched in a corner all the time, blending into the surrounding foliage. Apart from testing our eyesight, it really wasn't much fun.

By the time we'd visited all the animals, the adults would start calling us back to the table. Dinner was ready, finally.

The lazy susan at the center of the table would have a platter piled high with little oily parcels. Right beside it would be a stainless steel basin/mixing bowl to catch all the discarded wrapping paper.

Even before the chicken reached our mouths, our noses would have sniffed out the fragrance. It was a heady mixture of Chinese wine, ginger juice and other assorted secret ingredients.

As the adults unwrapped the oily paper, they were always careful to catch the juices, making sure the drips were either in the bowl of rice, or a plate of plain fried rice vermicelli.

The children just licked the juices from their fingers.

The chicken was always tender, and so full of flavor it was like a merry-go-round in the mouth.

First, the chicken fat and skin were slightly crisp, the meat tender and just cooked through so juices squirted with every bite. Best of all, the marinade was a sophisticated mix of ginger juice and a fiery Chinese spirit that was scented with roses.

To a child, it was almost a guilty pleasure to eat this.

The adults may indulge with beer and BYO whisky, but the kids could only enjoy the chicken. Its wine-scented flavor made us feel so grown-up.

Years later, the chicken farm was sacrificed to the urban sprawl and our family gatherings faded into memory. I also learned to cook.

One Christmas, I decided to make paper-wrapped chicken to see if I could recapture the taste. I'm happy to say the recipe became so popular that it featured as a signature dish in one of my cookbooks.

If you plan well, it can be a pretty fuss-free dish for a party.

Motivated by this success, I went on to experiment with en papillote cooking, Chinese-style. The next thing I wrapped in paper was a sweet rack of ribs inspired by the famous spare ribs of Wuxi.

You need a rack of baby back ribs, because they are tender and moist. You also need the best quality brown sugar, good five-spice powder and Chinese black vinegar, preferably from Zhenjiang.

Both recipes make great finger food and are ideal for a large crowd, especially if you have an air-fryer sitting on the counter.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipes

Paper-wrapped chicken

(Estimate 300 g boneless chicken per person)

3 kg boned, chicken thigh meat, rinsed and drained

Marinade:

1/2 cup ginger juice

1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or mirin

3/4 cup soya sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 heaped teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Meiguilu spirit

(This is a rose-scented white spirit from Tianjin. Substitute with a good whisky.)

1/4 cup sesame oil

36 squares baking parchment, trimmed into 10 cm squares

1/2 cup sesame oil

Prepare the chicken by cutting them into bite-sized chunks. Don't be tempted to use large pieces. Smaller portions absorb the marinade better, and cook faster.

Place the chicken in a large basin, and add the Meiguilu first. Then, add the ginger juice, rice wine, sugar, soy sauce and rest of seasoning.

Go to work massaging the marinade into the chicken. Leave the basin, covered, in the fridge overnight.

The next day, you're ready to start wrapping. Prepare some coriander sprigs and thinly slice up some red chili peppers.

Generously brush the baking parchment square with sesame oil. Place a leaf or two of coriander under the chicken. Chicken best placed skin-side down. Wrap up the chicken and tuck the loose end tightly into the fold.

Once you wrap the chicken into parcels, you're ready to fry.

You can fry immediately, or keep the parcels for no more than two days.

I'm using my air-fryer (200 deg C for 15 minutes.) but you can use vegetable oil to deep-fry. Ten to 12 minutes on medium heat. But remember to drain well. I've tried baking and grilling but they don't work as well.

Serve hot, and remember a large basin for the discarded wrappers.

Paper-wrapped ribs

1 rack of baby pork ribs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Chine fragrant black vinegar (not the Shanxi vinegar which is too harsh)

1/4 cup Meiguilu white spirit 1 teaspoon salt

Cut up the rack into individual ribs. Marinade with rest of ingredients.

Wrap two ribs in each packet.

Deep fry as above or use the air fryer. Sweet, tangy and addictive.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page18)

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2018-12-21 08:42:33
37415890 <![CDATA[Ginkgo paradise]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415890.htm With 30,000 trees, Jiangdong village in Yunnan looks like a forest of gold in autumn

Jiangdong village, surrounded by more than 30,000 ginkgo trees, including several dozen more than 500 years old, turns golden-toned toward the end of every year.

The beautiful scenery attracts thousands of tourists to the village, which is 40 kilometers from Tengchong, in western Yunnan province.

Seen from afar, the village looks like a vast ginkgo forest.

 

The Jiangdong village of Yunnan province has made protection of the ginkgo trees, especially the old ones, a priority. Photos Provided to China Daily

The villagers' homes, built in traditional style and enclosed by low, black walls built with local lava rocks, are scattered along narrow lanes.

Tall ginkgo trees cover the courtyards, with their yellow leaves lying on the ground and on rooftops in autumn.

In the old days, every newlywed couple in the village would plant a ginkgo tree, a species known for extremely slow growth, in their courtyard or field. The tree was expected to bear fruit when the couple got old, so they would be able to support themselves by selling the nuts.

Ginkgo trees that can bear nuts are customarily handed down as family assets in the village.

In recent years, the village has seen a tremendous transformation thanks to the development of ecotourism based on the trees.

The village used to be secluded and poor, but its beauty was discovered by some professional photographers.

To boost tourism, the local government launched a project in 2008 to enhance the village environment and infrastructure so that it could host visitors. Before that, the villagers lacked a proper water supply, electrical power and roads.

Separately, the local government also encouraged residents to open restaurants and inns to accommodate tourists and provided funding to help them upgrade their homes.

Yang Zhuying, 52, was among the earliest in the village to open an agritainment venture - a rural restaurant and inn. She started the business in 2008, and manages it with her husband. Their children also help during the busiest season, when they can receive as many as 200 diners per day.

Yang's family of five earns about 140,000 yuan ($20,167; 17,890 euros; £16,090) from the business annually.

"The venture has become the main income source for our family," says Yang, who also sells local specialties, such as ginkgo nuts, to visiting tourists.

According to Yang, she and her husband used to depend mainly on agriculture, such as growing tobacco, as well as on part-time jobs. But each of them could earn little more than 10,000 yuan per year.

Also, Yang says, in the beginning the only economic benefit from the ginkgos were the nuts, which local residents collected to sell to vendors. The nuts produced in the area are popular for their special glutinous taste, which is believed to be the result of local soil conditions.

But as tourism boomed in recent years, residents have developed more products from the nuts. Now, chicken stewed with ginkgo nuts is a famous culinary specialty.

The nuts have also been made into snacks, and the ginkgo flower, which once was discarded, is now sold at more than 200 yuan per kilogram. Even ginkgo leaves are made into decorative hats and sold to tourists.

Zheng Siyin, 74, looks after a stall near her home in the village and earns more than 100 yuan a day during peak season by selling ginkgo nuts and other items. Her family has six ginkgo trees, one of them nearly 500 years old.

She collected more than 200 kilograms of ginkgo nuts this year, with each kilogram yielding about 50 yuan.

"I am old and cannot do farming anymore. But I can still earn a little bit to help my children, thanks to the stall," she says, adding that the price of the local ginkgo nuts has gone up, too, thanks to demand from tourists.

Meanwhile, both her sons are running an agritainment business, she said.

According to Huang Chaojin, the director of the local community committee, more than 150 agritainment businesses have been started in the village, and many residents have opened shops selling specialties near their homes.

Last year, total revenue generated by tourism in the village came to 60 million yuan, and the average income of the villagers was 12,000 yuan - a lot higher than in surrounding areas, Huang says, noting that "ecotourism has greatly enhanced the lives of the villagers".

In 2010, 2,500 of the village's 4,000 residents were living below the poverty line. The number has been reduced to 105 this year.

While seeking further development of tourism, the village has made protection of the ginkgo trees, especially the old ones, a priority.

"Now all the residents are grateful for the benefits brought by the trees. And they avoid harming the older trees when they renovate or rebuild their houses," Huang says. "The harmonious coexistence of man and his environment, including the trees and wildlife, is now a village consensus."

liuxiangrui@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The harmonious coexistence of man and his environment, including the trees and wildlife, is now a village consensus.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page22)

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2018-12-21 08:42:33
37415889 <![CDATA[Hitting the right keys]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415889.htm A young Israeli pianist is making waves with the way he interprets pieces written by famous composers

As young Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg begins to talk about his unique musical interpretations, his eyes light up noticeably, radiating excitement and enthusiasm.

For him, music evokes imagery in the same way poetry does. Composers intricately weave the notes, and within their musical phrases they deftly and wittily conceal their wild fantasies and subtle sensitivities, Giltburg says.

Though he has toured China almost every year since 2007, Giltburg is faced with a particularly intense schedule on this year's musical circuit. Just hours after his arrival in Beijing, for example, he presented a three-hour piano recital at an art salon.

 

Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg believes music evokes imagery in the same way poetry does. Photos Provided to China Daily

But Giltburg says he never tires:

"Performing for me is a pleasure. If anything, I get energy from the audience, from the interaction and from the music itself."

Among the pieces Giltburg performed at the recital was Etu des-Tableaux, Op. 39, a homage to Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of his favorite composers.

He has recorded a number of Rachmaninoff's representative piano works, including in his most recent recording, which came out earlier this year - Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Variations on a Theme of Corelli.

While his dexterity is widely recognized, as his previous recording of Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto was awarded Best Soloist Recording (20th/21st century) at the Opus Klassik Awards, what is more interesting is how he channels the composers through his performances.

"While it is obvious that everything is deeply felt, what we hear seems to be a portrayal of the composer's musical imagery rather than the soloist's take on it," music critic Patrick Rucker said of Giltburg's previous Rachmaninoff recording.

This is, in fact, how Giltburg approaches each piano piece he plays.

His approach searches for the composer's vision deep within the notes, rather than actively creating certain imagery based on previous experience.

"It's really important not to come up with an idea before you actually play the piece. It means you already closed off all the other possibilities for looking at the music," Giltburg says. "It's much better when, after having played a piece for maybe three, four months, you suddenly realize that something begins to grow from the music. And it's always a lot stronger and more organic because it's really connected."

With the Etudes-Tableaux, literally meaning "study-pictures", Giltburg vividly illustrates his concept, exemplified evidently by Etude-tableau Op. 39, No. 6, called Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, which offers a darker yet more thrilling account of the famous fairy tale.

"It's now not one wolf but three, because there are three voices playing in the same line, one after another, louder as the wolves chase her. And it ends with the growl of the wolf. So in this version, it's the wolves who survive in the end," Giltburg says.

"But then you look at these three wolves in the middle, and you see that the lines that are playing very low in the keyboard are the same lines as the previous Red Riding Hood motif. So it's as if it's not the wolves that are chasing her, but some kind of copy of her, like a doppelganger. So what does it mean that the wolves are growling in the end?"

In looking for interpretations from within, Giltburg exhibits a level of reverence for the music, an influence that comes predominantly from Israeli classical pianist Arie Vardi, with whom he has studied for 15 years.

Giltburg, who was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1984, first started learning piano from his mother, a piano teacher, at the age of 4.

But the family soon moved to Tel Aviv, where Giltburg started learning piano systematically from Vardi.

"He taught me almost everything I know today. In terms of the approach to the musical text, of seeing the notes, the score, as the highest truth and the highest authority," Giltburg says.

Later, after winning a range of awards, including second prize at the Anton Rubinstein Competition in 2011 and first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2013, Giltburg was approached by Klaus Heymann, founder and chairman of the Hong Kong-based Naxos Music Group, in 2015. That marked the start of a long-term collaboration with Naxos.

Giltburg says his current plan centers on recording more pieces from his core repertoire.

"Recordings advance you tremendously, with the kind of concentration and focus on preparation you need for the recording sessions. So, when you come out of the studio you always know the piece much better than you did before."

Apart from performing and recording classical music, Giltburg, as a person with various interests, including reading, writing, cooking and photography, also enjoys writing about classical music.

The stories and listening guides he writes on his blog, Classical Music for All, have been published by various media, including the Guardian, Gramophone magazine and BBC Music Magazine.

"My friends who are not musicians once told me that there's so much going on when you play, especially with an orchestra. It's like chaos. But for me, it's the exact opposite of chaos," Giltburg says. "And I thought, maybe that's what I need to do. I need to tell people what's going on, so then they can follow."

Giltburg says he plans to continue writing about his interpretations of piano pieces and his performances.

"There is such power in classical music. The ability to touch your soul in such a direct and timeless way," he says. "Some of the pieces we're playing today were written more than 300 years ago, and they are still relevant. They still say something to people in the 21st century."

chengyuezhu@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page23)

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2018-12-21 08:42:33
37415888 <![CDATA[Chinese rock star fuses visual, audible art]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415888.htm Former vocalist of Chinese rock band Tang Dynasty hosts an exhibition of around 50 paintings inspired by his own musical creations

Ding Wu is sitting in the middle of his own exhibition at the headquarters of Modern Sky, the biggest independent music label in China, surrounded by about 50 paintings that he created over the past few years.

Among the paintings are seven works finished in the past year that were inspired by seven songs he wrote, produced and performed.

The combination of these paintings and songs now represent his first project, titled One Moment, as a solo artist with Modern Sky.

 

Ding Wu says his new project was inspired by fatherhood. He has a 7-year-old daughter.

 

Ding's paintings, some inspired by songs he wrote, are part of his first solo project One Moment. Photos Provided to China Daily

Each of the seven songs shares its title with a painting, including Two-Sidedness, April and Lottery Ticket.

"It's all a little overwhelming," Ding says. "I didn't know if the paintings and the songs were ready to be released. When they are actually here and open to the audience, I feel nervous and excited. It's a professional and personal milestone for me."

One of the most famous rock musicians in the country, the 55-year-old first rose to fame as the vocalist of Chinese rock band Tang Dynasty in 1988. He co-founded the band with Chinese-American musician Kaiser Kuo and bassist Zhang Ju, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1995.

In 1991, the band released its first album, A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty, to critical acclaim, selling around 2 million copies in China and catapulting Ding to stardom. Its second album, Epic, which was released in 1998, and the third, Knight of Romance, released 10 years later, cemented its place in the history of Chinese rock.

One Moment is Ding's first solo album in more than 30 years and it chronicles his journey as an artist.

"Life is all about choices. When I look back, I see my life as a process of making choices. Sometimes I make a choice and that's the one moment that changed my life," he says as he picks out the title song from the new album.

The song opens with intense guitar riffs, symbolizing the moments that are most important in his life.

Ding also composed an instrumental piece, titled Seven Shadows, for his new album. He played the song as part of his opening act during a live performance held at Modern Sky on Dec 5.

"We are influenced by many people, our families, friends and colleagues. They are like shadows existing in our lives. But putting those influences aside, you should be who you really are," Ding says to the audience after playing the piece.

Ding's love of painting preceded his passion for rock music. Born in Beijing, he started painting when he was 9 years old and has been doing it ever since. He graduated from the department of fine arts at Beijing Arts and Crafts School in 1983.

Ding is a longtime friend of Shen Lihui, the founder of Modern Sky who also used to attend Beijing Arts and Crafts School. Ding says that the idea behind his latest project was born when Shen invited him to join the music label a few years ago.

"The process of painting gave me time to think and reflect. Paintings are for the eyes while music is for the ears. They perfectly complement one another," he says.

According to You Yang, curator of Ding's exhibition, the musician has used oil, acrylic and mortar powder to portray different emotions. Also, instead of realistic painting, which he was trained in, all seven works are abstract.

Ding says the new project is spurred by his experience of being a father. His daughter is now 7 years old.

"In the past, I stayed up all night playing guitar, painting or hanging out with friends. But after I became a father, my life has become quite routine and healthy. I go to bed early and get up every morning to take my daughter to school," Ding says, adding that he has quit drinking and smoking.

"She also loves painting. We paint together, and she always inspires me. I feel happy that I can record my life with the two great art forms, painting and music. I express my feelings through my brush and guitar."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page19)

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2018-12-21 08:42:33
37415887 <![CDATA[Modern marketing AI will read minds]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415887.htm

Today's digital retail landscape has spoiled modern consumers to the point of expecting a personalized shopping experience. This means that marketers must improve customer interaction and meet these demands by tapping into artificial intelligence, industry experts say.

Jacky Tang, general manager of Reo Communications, a digital marketing agency in Shanghai, points out that AI technology can allow marketers to separate their customers into distinct categories and understand exactly what motivates them.

"By analyzing customers based on their movement among segments over time, we can achieve dynamic microsegmentation, and predict future behavior in a very accurate fashion," he says.

Tencent Holdings Ltd, the developer of the messaging app WeChat and mobile games, has been leveraging AI to create more personalized shopping experiences by allowing their partner merchants to customize their virtual storefronts for individual visitors. According to Tencent's chief operating officer Ren Yuxin, the idea is to offer real-time, tailor-made product recommendations based on a variety of factors like age, gender, location and purchasing power.

At Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the world's largest e-commerce site by transaction volume, AI is used to provide more precise search results and relevant product recommendations to users, which in turn drives sales.

According to Zhao Binqiang, an algorithm expert at Alibaba's digital marketing business unit, the company's "e-commerce brain" system can identify a consumer's preference for certain products, price ranges, product specifications and other key parameters. It then uses the data to build models to predict what consumers want before making recommendations for relevant products.

Ren Peiyu, chief product officer and president of nEqual, a data technology firm, says that artificial intelligence is also playing an increasingly important role in helping marketers capture the right audience and engage with existing users.

He referred to the use of a data management platform, which is in essence a unifying platform to manage, organize and activate any form of data from any source, and convert it in a way that is useful for marketers, publishers and other businesses to know their audiences.

Ren explaines that such platforms can create a set of audiences based on a range of variables like demographics, geography and behavior to create a unified customer view. It can also translate data into useful information for marketers, publishers and other businesses to better know their audiences.

Fast-moving consumer goods, maternity and baby products, and automobiles are among the top three sectors that embrace such smart data management tools to optimize customer outreach, he notes.

"In China we notice a growing urgency for brands to trace where their marketing budget goes and how well the advertisements are tapping into prospective customers," says Ren.

He also highlighted how an algorithm can make the lives of marketers easier. For example, AI can be used to identify target audiences simply by analyzing what advertisements people click online or the search terms they normally use.

"This will reduce the need for us marketers to understand every signal and define an audience, amid an influx of high velocity and high variance data," he says.

"Also, with new avenues such as the emergence of new social media platforms being added frequently for the customer to interact with products and services, AI's probabilistic decision-based journey can help marketers adapt to the changes to the dynamic customer journey and target the audience with better precision," he says.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page16)

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2018-12-21 08:41:46
37415884 <![CDATA[China embracing world]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415884.htm President sums up country's success over past 40 years, charts major tasks in future at key gathering

President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China's commitment to opening-up even more to the world at a grand gathering on Dec 18 to mark the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up.

"The practice of reform and opening-up over the past 40 years has shown that openness brings progress, while seclusion leads to backwardness," Xi said.

 

President Xi Jinping attends a grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec 18. Xie Huanchi / Xinhua

 

Outstanding figures are awarded medals of reform pioneers at the gathering. Pang Xinglei / Xinhua

The president pledged to support the building of an open, transparent, inclusive and nondiscriminatory multilateral trading system, facilitate trade and investment, and promote more openness amid ongoing economic globalization.

The high-profile conference was attended by Xi and the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, as well as Vice-President Wang Qishan. Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting.

Over the past 40 years, China has recorded an average annual GDP growth rate of around 9.5 percent. This contributed over 30 percent to global economic growth and lifted more than 740 million people out of poverty, Xi said, calling the four decades "a glorious process".

The country will focus on jointly building the Belt and Road with other nations and establish a new platform for international cooperation while continuing opening-up measures, Xi said.

China will never seek self-development at the cost of other countries' interests, nor will it give up its justified interests, Xi said, adding that China's development will pose no threat to any other nation, and it will never seek hegemony no matter how developed it becomes.

China's development provides successful experience and offers bright prospects for other developing countries as they strive for modernization, and it represents China's great contribution to the progress of human civilization, Xi said.

During the conference, Xi stressed the Party's leadership over all work while calling for constantly enhancing and improving Party leadership.

Reform and opening-up show that Party leadership is the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the greatest strength of this system, Xi said.

"It is by upholding the centralized, unified leadership of the Party that we have been able to achieve the historic transformation, usher in a new era of reform and opening-up, and embark on a new journey of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he said.

All Party members and people must maintain a high degree of awareness in terms of thinking, political orientation and actions in ensuring leadership by the Party - a fundamental principle that bears on the future of the Party and the country, Xi said.

In his speech, the president pledged to uphold a people-centered philosophy and to seek happiness for the people while striving for national rejuvenation.

"The aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts on the path of moving ahead," Xi said.

Xi stressed the guiding position of Marxism and pledged to continue theoretical innovation based on actions. It's the CPC's historical responsibility to develop Marxism in China today, Xi said.

He stressed the need to stay on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Over the past 40 years, the theme of the Party's theories and practices has been to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi said.

Xi reaffirmed the commitment to strengthening State-owned businesses while also encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of private business.

Xi highlighted the importance of clean governance, saying that all corrupt officials must be cleared away to ensure a clean political ecology to push forward reform and opening-up.

"We have firm political resolution and great capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and not even a slice of the homeland's sacred territory can be split," Xi added.

Also at the gathering, 100 Chinese were awarded the medals of reform pioneers and 10 foreigners were honored with China reform friendship medals.

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

Xi's quotes

· China has bid farewell to the problems that plagued its people for thousands of years, including hunger, shortages and poverty.

· No matter how far China develops, it will never seek hegemony.

· China is moving closer to the center of the global stage as a widely recognized promoter of world peace, a contributor to global development and an upholder of international order.

· The practices over the past 40 years have shown that innovation is the lifeline of reform and opening-up.

· There is no textbook of golden rules to follow for reform and development in China, a country with over 5,000 years of civilization and more than 1.3 billion people.

· No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done.

· We must resolutely reform what should and can be changed, and we must resolutely not reform what should not and cannot be changed.

- China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page13)

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2018-12-21 08:39:53
37415883 <![CDATA[Xi: Efforts to fight corruption needed]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415883.htm President calls for improving national supervision system to cut down on graft

President Xi Jinping is calling for intensified reform of the national supervision system to improve law-based and procedure-based anti-graft work.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the call while presiding over the group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Dec 13.

 

Party and government officials and their families visit an anti-corruption education center in Zaoqiang county, Hebei province. Li Xiaoguo / Xinhua

Deepening reform of the supervision system is an important step in implementing the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, as well as improving supervision of the Party and the nation, to advance the modernization of State governance, Xi said.

He added that reform of the national supervision system is conducive to fighting corruption under the central and unified leadership of the Party and helps with full oversight of the people who exercise public power.

He called for improving the system, establishing effective mechanisms for checking power and maintaining a strict system of accountability to ensure that supervision covers everyone working in the public sector who exercises public power.

The purpose of supervising the exercise of public authority is to ensure that Party and government officials fulfill their duties, Xi said, adding that misconduct or negligence of duty must be prevented through the supervisory system. Those who have been falsely charged while fulfilling their duty should be protected, he added.

Reform of the national supervision system has made headway since the 19th CPC National Congress, he said. The congress established supervisory commissions at the national, provincial, prefectural and county levels that work together with the Party's disciplinary inspection commissions as one office. That ensures that supervision covers everyone who exercises authority.

The National Supervision Law was adopted by the National People's Congress in March.

Since the 19th CPC National Congress, more than 70 senior officials have been investigated by the National Supervisory Commission.

From January to September, around 406,000 officials involved in 464,000 cases that were investigated received punishments, the commission said.

A statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Dec 13 said the nation's anti-graft efforts have produced an overwhelming victory and that full, strict governance of the Party has made significant progress.

However, the anti-corruption fight remains challenging and complex, and strict governance over the Party remains a long and arduous task, participants at the meeting said, stressing that strict discipline must be adhered to on a long-term basis.

At the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi vowed to fight graft, saying, "No place has been out of bounds, no ground left unturned and no tolerance shown in the fight against corruption."

caodesheng@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page15)

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2018-12-21 08:39:53
37415882 <![CDATA[Shenyang Siasun brings world-class robots to Singapore]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415882.htm At the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit held in Singapore on Nov 12, Siasun Robot and Automation Co discussed new economic and trade cooperation with companies from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Based in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province, Siasun said it boasts a complete production line and business expanded to the global market.

It expanded cooperation with Singapore in fields such as intelligent logistics and intelligent transportation, with a view to using the summit to fully showcase its core competitiveness and better join hands with friends throughout ASEAN nations.

 

From left: Businessmen talk at Siasun Robot and Automation Co's booth at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit; The Shenyang Palace Museum finished renovations in October. Provided to China Daily

 

From left: The launch ceremony of the inaugural direct flight from Shenyang to Los Angeles in December. Sun Fuxing / For China Daily. The Shenyang Kerry Parkside, a shopping mall opened in November, is a new landmark for art and fashion in the city. Provided to China Daily

The company set up an automation company in Singapore in September 2017 and hoped to further cooperate with the country's government and integrate the quality resources of Southeast Asia.

Siasun's Singapore team is committed to formulating and implementing the overall plan of the regional Industry 4.0 strategy. It provides complete solutions to industries such as automobiles, food, aerospace, pharmacy, railways, e-commerce and logistics and shipbuilding.

The company is just one example of Shenyang's effort to develop the robotics industry.

The city has poured considerable resources into promoting related project construction and corporate development.

Over the past three years, the output value of the city's robotics industry has witnessed an average annual growth rate of more than 30 percent.

In addition, 12 new companies in the sector were set up in Shenyang in 2017 alone.

The city is also home to a number of innovative robot-related projects, which have already settled or are under construction in the city, including a robot future city, a robot valley, a national robot innovation center and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' robot and intelligent manufacturing innovation research institute.

The national robot innovation center, for example, was opened in June and serves as China's first collaborative innovation platform in the robotics sector that integrates technological development, research result commercialization, industrial services and personnel training.

The research institute is now under construction, with its first phase scheduled to be completed and put into operation by the end of the year.

The institute is designed to be a scientific and educational base combining study, research and production, and is expected to annually provide more than 600 high-level professionals and technicians to Shenyang and the rest of China.

songmengxing@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page15)

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2018-12-21 08:39:53
37415881 <![CDATA[Reading the tea leaves for 2019]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415881.htm

While many predict economic trouble in the new year and others see silver linings, perhaps it is best to just wait and see

It's that time of the year when global business analysts and other psychics present their predictions for the coming year.

London-headquartered consultancy Control Risks got off to an early start with its annual five-point list of the top challenges facing world businesses in 2019.

The clear winner is the US-China confrontation over trade. Next came the conflicting policies in the United States, Europe and China over how to regulate the transfer of data that CR's analysts say amounts to a standoff. "Brace for the challenge of collecting, storing and transferring data within and between these three domains against a backdrop of inconsistent enforcement and escalating cyber security threats," they warned their clients.

Trailing in third, fourth and fifth place are American political gridlock, extreme weather disruption and the rising barriers against multinational business in an increasingly nationalist world.

It's not a pretty picture but it does somehow reflect the spirit of the age. However, before you resolve that you would be safer not to get out of bed for the whole of 2019, remember that business consultancies are paid to be pessimistic. They tend to present worst-case scenarios to help their clients cope with the downside.

Western market analysts are also predicting a pretty gloomy year for investors: lower stock prices, a weaker dollar, lower rates of growth, even a recession.

"If businesses pull back a little next year and hiring slows down, consumers will start to feel it," according to Stephen Gallagher, chief US economist at Societe Generale. "And then it's a vicious cycle: Business pull back and consumers pull back until the economy falls into a recession."

Other professional seers are more chipper. They include those in the tech sector who predict that advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning will start to transform transport, productivity, healthcare and even home entertainment in the coming year.

And then there are the assorted fortune-tellers and psychics who claim to have a mystic inside track on what the future holds.

One "psychic healer" in Nashville, Tennessee foresees a difficult year for US President Donald Trump. "The president will be looking at a family or health issue in July and that may serve as a wake up call," Suzie Kerr Wright told Nashville's NewsChannel 5.

Some predictions can be remarkably parochial. Ms. Kerr Wright's colleague Kiki Dombrowski foresees a slowdown in Nashville construction in 2019.

Meanwhile, the blind Bulgarian seer Baba Vanga has predicted 2019 will see a tsunami that will wipe out parts of Asia, while Russia will suffer both a giant meteorite strike and an assassination attempt on President Vladimir Putin. In the US, Trump will suffer a mysterious illness.

Baba Vanga died in 1996 - it is not clear if she foresaw that - but left behind a set of predictions for the guidance of the next generation.

The doyen of dead seers remains Nostradamus, the French physician whose largely obscure predictions for the distant future have rarely been out of print since they were first published in the 16th century.

Britain's raucous and doom-loving Daily Express recently carried the chilling headline: "Nostradamus 2019 predictions: World War 3, climate change and asteroid disaster - SHOCK".

For the record, the same newspaper almost a year ago proclaimed: "Nostradamus 2018 predictions: World War III and disaster".

Whether it is Nostradamus, market analysts or risk consultants, it is good to bear in mind that we tend to remember the predictions that somehow turned out to be halfway correct and completely forget the ones that were totally wrong.

The world is certainly facing many uncertainties right now. But they are precisely that - uncertainties. As in all previous years, no one quite knows how things will work out. It might be best to adopt the Italian philosophy of "che sara sara" - what will be will be. Happy New Year!

The author is a senior media consultant for China Daily. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page11)

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2018-12-21 08:38:56
37415880 <![CDATA[Sino-German city relationships matter]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415880.htm

Sharing good local governance can have positive global impact

"Oh, that is just a municipal perspective."

That's a sentence you can sometimes hear echoing down from the national level - a sentence that wants to make clear that cities are irrelevant in international politics.

But the truth is there is zero need to belittle local politics. Indeed, it does have a global impact. Cities matter. Actually, I would even argue that municipal government constitutes the most important sphere in the system of public governance. No other level influences hopes and aspirations of our people more. And good governance on a local level is the top requirement for a good life.

With 2018 coming to an end, it seems we are entering a phase in world politics where old certainties are vanishing. During the last 20 years we collectively learned that information, goods and expertise are freely available to all in a liberal world order, and its availability will grow endlessly. But within just three years - since Brexit and US President Donald Trump - we realized that it's not irreversible.

Narrow-minded populism, protectionism and nationalism are on the rise once more in ever-more countries worldwide, while our virtual home, the internet, grows likewise with disrespect and rejection of each other.

But as citizens we are not living in a virtual world. We live in real places, and that means in cities. Trivial but true, human life cannot escape geography. To live the right life is the reason cities come into view. Cities are a beacon for a better life. They matter for each of us and make a difference.

Cities have to tackle all global issues, such as climate change, on a local level. On a national level all problem solving is mostly talk. The local level is where the real action is.

Thus we need more discussion and debate between cities around the globe to learn from each other and mutually develop new ideas.

There are positive moves: In September 2012 the first EU-China Mayors Forum took place in Brussels. For the first time, mayors met to exchange their expertise and experience through direct contacts. The following year, these meetings continued in Beijing with a special focus on urbanization. New concepts in areas such as mobility (public transportation, housing policy), conserving resources (smart waste management), energy saving strategies based on renewable energy, digitalization of services, education and air pollution provide for successful mutual learning.

German cities can learn a lot from collaborating with their Chinese counterparts. And they do. At present there are close to 100 partnership agreements of all kinds between Chinese and German cities. In a study we will publish in 2019, Rainer Lisowski from the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen and I have interviewed more than 20 German mayors about their views of China and their cities' relationships with China.

Interestingly, all mayors closely monitor developments in China and show high respect for what China has achieved since Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening-up policy was launched. Most of these mayors have been to China, and some of them go there on a regular basis. They all welcome official Chinese delegations in their hometowns. In many German cities there are Sino-German friendship associations or other actors in civilian society supporting collaboration.

"You don't have to explain to anyone in Wolfsburg why China is important for our lives," says Mayor Klaus Mohrs in our interview. Because the headquarters of Volkswagen is based in Wolfsburg, the municipal budget is directly linked through taxes to the performance of Volkswagen in the Chinese market. If you like, you could say that Chinese car buyers are financing kindergartens in Germany these days.

These are first steps and there is still a lot to learn. Germans, for example, lack at least some fundamental knowledge of Chinese history and culture. According a study in 2016 by Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant, Chinese people know much more about Germany than vice versa. Chinese know about Goethe and Beethoven; Germans know about Jackie Chan, a Hong Kong movie actor. China competence remains more a wish than reality. But some German cities are eagerly pursuing steps to match that goal, like school-to-school relationships.

Finally, municipal relationships have one big advantage over international politics: You don't have to solve geopolitical conflicts.

That does not mean differences can be ignored, but mayors don't want to lecture their counterparts on democratic principles. They want an exchange of concreted problem-solving strategies. And that is exactly why more partnerships between Chinese and German cities matter.

The author is a former mayor of Oldenburg and an honorary citizen of Xi'an, Shaanxi province. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page12)

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2018-12-21 08:38:56
37415879 <![CDATA[How the US can rebalance trade]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415879.htm

Instead of punitive tariffs, US should focus on correcting its own domestic imbalances to shore up its economy

The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China could reshape the world's economic and financial landscape. But that's not how it looked as recently as May, when a bilateral trade deal was almost within reach. The United States backed out at the 11th hour, and tensions have since flared, with the Donald Trump administration imposing tariffs on a wide range of Chinese exports, and China responding in kind.

With an unprecedented $600 billion (528.6 billion euros; £475 billion) worth of goods potentially affected, it is worth considering how useful tariffs really are for correcting current account imbalances, which is the US administration's stated goal. Most economists view trade from a multilateral perspective, focusing on an economy's overall balance with the rest of the world. And the US has been running overall trade deficits since 1976.

The US deficit peaked at 5.5 percent of GDP in 2006, but it usually has been around 3 percent of GDP. At $552 billion in 2017, it is the world's largest deficit in absolute terms.

Deficits rise when a country spends more than it produces, which means they are rooted not so much in trade as in domestic savings and investment behavior. In the US, investment accounts for 21 percent of GDP, in keeping with the average across advanced economies (22 percent), whereas savings account for less than 19 percent, which is far below that of peer countries.

Savings rate trouble

The US savings rate reflects both public and private sector behavior. The personal savings rate was as low as 3 percent in the runup to the 2008 financial crisis, after which it edged up to 7 percent - a rate still far below that of the early 1990s.

The public sector has historically saved even less. The US has had a federal budget surplus in only five of the last 50 years, and it has maintained deficits averaging more than 4 percent of GDP since 2002. This year, the deficit has risen by 17 percent on the back of tax cuts and increased defense spending, further dampening public savings.

Underlying the low US savings rate is the dollar's status as the main global reserve currency. The dollar's dominance confers on the US what Valery Giscard D'Estaing, as French finance minister, famously dubbed an "exorbitant privilege", insofar as it allows the US to finance its deficits with little external constraint, borrowing ever more from abroad while saving less at home.

That by the end of 2017 foreigners owned half of the $12 trillion worth of privately held US Treasury securities that are currently outstanding should make that clearer.

And as a multilateral perspective makes clear, the US current account deficit can be reduced only through structural reforms to address the imbalance between domestic savings and investment. Such reforms have become all the more urgent with the unchecked growth of entitlement spending and with US unilateralism on trade now testing global confidence in the dollar.

Notwithstanding these economic realities, the Trump administration has embraced a bilateral perspective. Its tariffs on Chinese exports are meant to improve the US trade balance vis-a-vis China specifically. But if the US imports less from China, it will simply import more from other countries. And, as the latest data suggest, its overall trade deficit will likely remain the same or grow even larger.

Effects of high tariffs

Worse still, tariffs come with far-reaching costs. As US economist Henry George observed 132 years ago, "What protection teaches us is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war." In fact, history is filled with cases of high tariffs turning economic slumps into major depressions.

And even at a time of growth, the US administration's tariffs will not just force its citizens to pay more for imports but they will also undermine US production by distorting business incentives and misallocating resources.

Moreover, tariffs are hard to reverse, because they breed special interests and invite retaliation. Despite their high long-term costs, tariffs are also addictive as a political device because they allow governments to offer short-term sweeteners instead of more difficult structural reforms. But even if politicians are willing to turn a blind eye to the risks of protectionism, markets will not, as evidenced by the volatility in US stock markets in October.

As for China, its adherence to the multilateral perspective on trade, along with structural reforms, has helped to reduce its external imbalance. Unlike the US, China has had very high savings and too little spending. But in the decade since the global financial crisis, it has introduced policies to narrow the urban-rural income gap and strengthen the social safety net, thereby boosting consumption and reducing savings.

Such reforms have brought China's current account surplus down from nearly 10 percent to 1 percent of GDP over the past decade. In the first three quarters of this year, final consumption expenditures accounted for nearly 80 percent of Chinese GDP growth, reflecting the fact that the economy is increasingly driven by domestic demand. By actively reducing its external surplus, China has demonstrated that it is not a mercantilist power but rather a responsible global stakeholder pursuing balanced and sustainable long-term growth.

Structural reforms

Looking ahead, China should continue to pursue structural reforms in order to further open up its economy, not least by improving intellectual property rights protection and creating a level playing field for competition between domestic and foreign companies. Such goals are firmly in line with the objective of balanced, sustainable growth.

To be sure, China has been accused of merely paying lip service to openness, particularly by foreign investors who have found it difficult to enter the Chinese market. The real problem, however, is not a lack of commitment to reform, but rather administrative red tape, which domestic constituents also complain about. Recent measures, such as the "one stop, one trip, one paper" program in Zhejiang province, demonstrate that China is serious about improving the business environment for all.

Whether the multilateral perspective prevails over the bilateral approach will have significant consequences over the medium and long term. Obviously, the multilateral view offers a better understanding of trade imbalances than the bilateral perspective, just as structural reforms are a better alternative than tariffs.

At the end of the day, external imbalances can be addressed only by correcting domestic imbalances. Since China has embraced this principle, its economy will continue to become more balanced and sustainable, regardless of the path the US chooses.

Zhu Min, a former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is chair of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, and Miao Yanliang, chief economist at China's State Administration for Foreign Exchange, has been a member of the China Finance 40 Forum since 2015. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page9)

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2018-12-21 08:38:56
37415878 <![CDATA[When will we accept that climate change is a fact?]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415878.htm

Some people insist they already know everything they need about the Earth. They're wrong.

Since the beginning of time, the Earth has provided for us in every way possible and opened up channels through which we have not only solved our immediate problems but also planned a better future for ourselves. From the discovery of coal and the invention of the steam engine to the development of the internet, nature has played the prime role. Or to travel back, the medicines and healing processes we use in the postmodern world all have their origins in nature.

They were always there. We just needed to discover them. It took Darwin five years on the HMS Beagle and a subsequent two decades of research to arrive at the theory of evolution, which was met both with interest and shock. So was Einstein's theory of relativity - but without it, we would not have the internet and GPS.

But Einstein didn't develop his theory from thin air. He had a galaxy of physicists as path-breakers - from Max Planck to Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr. Especially Planck, whose Planck constant helped him develop his photoelectric effect theory, for which he got the Nobel Prize for Physics.

But without the Newton constant of gravitation, Planck would not have been able to develop his theory. Newton in turn owes his discoveries to Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. And the three pioneering physicists broke through because they discovered the wonders of nature that had always been there.

That brings us to an unusual discovery first reported by Science Daily in January 2017. A United Kingdom, Canadian and Italian study showed what many scientists believe is the first observational evidence that we are living in a vast, complex hologram.

Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists, investigating the irregularities in the cosmic microwave background - that is, the "afterglow" of the Big Bang - found substantial evidence to support a holographic explanation of the universe.

Researchers from the University of Southampton (UK), University of Waterloo (Canada), Perimeter Institute (Canada), INFN, Lecce (Italy) and the University of Salento (Italy), published their findings in Physical Review Letters, supporting the idea of a holographic universe, which was first suggested in the 1990s. According to the concept, all the information that makes up our 3D "reality" (plus time) is contained in a 2D surface on its boundaries.

Science Daily quoted Kostas Skenderis, a professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton, as saying: "Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded!"

The difference, in our 3D universe, is that we can touch objects and the "projection" is "real" from our perspective.

The universe could be a hologram for all we know. Yet some people insist they know everything there is to know about it. And without even pausing to ponder that we humans have been exploiting the Earth for thousands of years without giving back anything except toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides and contaminated water, they expect Mother Nature to continue providing for us in greater capacity.

It is this dilemma that those committed to protecting the Earth were racing against time to resolve at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Kotowice, Poland. The task is made more complicated, however, as the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States, has withdrawn from the 2015 Paris Agreement. Attempts to devise binding rules for emission cuts for all countries failed at Kotowice after the United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia objected to the conference "welcoming" the IPCC report. That essentially means dropping a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that says unless global emissions are drastically reduced, we will have to pay a huge human and economic cost in the not so distant future.

It seems that some, unlike those who love our planet, are engaged in a fierce race to extract the maximum out of nature without taking even the faintest step to repair some of the damage they have caused, and all to make more profits and accumulate more power. Hubris or ignorance, call it whatever you will.

When will we ever learn to think beyond profits and power?

The author is a senior editor with China Daily. Contact the writer at oprana@hotmail.com.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page12)

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2018-12-21 08:38:56
37415877 <![CDATA[Social media in China continues to rapidly evolve]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415877.htm

The enormous and fast-paced sector in China is undergoing rapid change, now fusing with artificial intelligence

The market for messaging apps and social media platforms in China is enormous. With over 1 billion people using internet-based mobile messengers on a daily basis, this oceanic market is teeming with savvy consumers, who are adventurous enough to be constantly on the look out for new features and abilities. Since its inception in 2011, cross-platform messaging apps such as Wechat dictate everyday life for over 889 million users. New features and the ever-changing demands of Chinese mobile owners however, are ensuring that the social media landscape is constantly morphing.

This fast paced Chinese sector of technology is a vista of constantly shape shifting sand dunes. Very rarely is anything regarding the internet a slow geological process. Merciless and often violent lifecycles, brands and products that were integral several years ago are already now treated with nostalgia. The recent announcement that Tencent will be shutting down the web version of QQ on the first day of 2019 is one example of this. Once the pioneer of Tencent's endeavor into messaging services (the original Wechat was based on the first QQ network), QQ's demise came through in conjunction with the advent of 4G technology and powerful cross platform mobile apps.

A quick look through Weibo blogs will unearth thousands of wistful comments from internet users, many remembering the times when secretly logging into QQ at school without being detected was a youthful rite of passage. "Logging into the site when my science teacher was not looking was so fun, and doing this with friends was something which got me through the long hours at school", one sentimental ex-user commented.

However, in cyberspace, deaths are rarely a fixed state, and instead QQ has experienced a reincarnation on mobile devices, where young teens flock to the platform. Parents and relatives from every generation clog up the Wechat contact list and group chats, and so young people in China are increasingly finding a safe space in QQ. Ironically, the popularity of Wechat now means that millennials are searching for a sanctuary in cyberspace they can call their own.

Social media companies in turn, are doing their part to ensure that young people are constantly being fed their appetite for interesting and stimulating internet spheres. QQ's mobile version has developed personalized newsfeeds with interactive multimedia content, similar to Kandian. Options for blogging (Qzone) through to collaborative e-commerce shopping experiences with JD.com, QQ's afterlife has spread its ashes to many different parts of the 4G online world.

Newer apps are taking this ingenuity one step further. Toutiao uses AI algorithms to generate an infinite story feed of tailor-made content, for over 120 million users. Fusing traditional user based online content with AI automates a process which continues to keep young millennials captivated to their phones in new and different ways. The app, run by Bytedance, is the same company responsible for the viral short video app Tik Tok, which is a name starting to even creep into the West, and rubbing shoulders with Instagram.

The rapid ascent of messaging apps such as Bullet is another oncoming wave. Stripped down and simple in design, new apps such as these provide real time voice transcription in messages which is proving popular with young people. A market which is driven by innovation, small changes and improvements to the status quo rapidly results in the rise and fall of apps used by entire nations. "The cycle of disruption in the Chinese internet space is getting much, much faster," Matthew Brennan, co-founder of tech consultancy China Channel, told Channel News Asia. "There is an increasingly large amount of easy money chasing increasingly fewer opportunities, while there is also a very large pool of talented entrepreneurs now, so people know how to scale businesses fast. There is an established playbook," he added.

Bullet amassed 10 million followers within 10 days of its birth. Using technology supplied by voice technology firm iFlytek Co, such research companies are the real winners in this battle to offer the most innovation to consumers. While nothing soon is likely to threaten Wechat's position as top dog, it is clear that the Chinese social media ecosystem is one which is undergoing rapid change. Survival and success may come in unpredictable ways. Although the stability of this fast-paced market cannot be guaranteed for entrepreneurs, the future is sure to be wild and diverse.

The author is a London-based columnist. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page11)

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2018-12-21 08:38:56
37415874 <![CDATA[Documentary covers China's reform, opening-up]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415874.htm

A documentary marking the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up is garnering a global audience, especially in Asian countries, industry insiders say.

The three-episode series, How China Made It, is airing on the Discovery Channel in more than 200 countries. Through interviews, the documentary looks back at how China has changed over the past 40 years and what the country has accomplished during that time.

The series began on Dec 15 on Discovery and China's streaming media service Youku and runs for two weeks. It was jointly produced by China Intercontinental Communication Center, Youku, the Discovery Channel and the United Kingdom-based independent production company Meridian Line Films.

Wang Yuanyuan, director of the film and video production center at the China Intercontinental Communication Center says that quality programs like this one are able to cross cultures and attract audiences both in China and overseas.

Tony Qiu, vice-president for China and South Korea for Discovery, said that China's global audience is interested in the country's economic development, as previous programs about China have all received very high ratings.

"Audiences in Asia are especially interested in these stories, as they are geographically close to China and have close economic connections with it," he says. "Western audiences also pay a lot of attention to China," Qiu says.

He says the series is important because some global audiences have an outdated impression of the country. These documentaries are important in terms of learning about modern China, he says.

The first episode, Love of the Land, dives deep into the lives of people in China's rural regions and explores, through personal stories, how reform and opening-up has changed the lives of farming families, from the beginning of the household responsibility system in 1978 to today.

The second episode, Chasing Dreams, tells the stories of entrepreneurs, the businesspeople, the industrialists, both large and small, who jumped at new opportunities that were created by the different policies in the reform era.

The third episode, Future Focused, explores the many ways that daily lives have continued to change since 1978, including in education, travel, and health.

chenyingqun@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page3)

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2018-12-21 08:38:06
37415873 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 2)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415873.htm

 

Chen Yan, a piano tuner who is visually impaired, bids farewell on Dec 18 to Jenny (front), a guide dog that has accompanied her for more than seven years. The China Guide Dog Training Center in Dalian, Liaoning province, provided a new companion for her. The center held a retirement ceremony for Jenny, but the animal was reluctant to leave Chen and tried to defend her from the replacement dog. Liu Chang / For China Daily

China factor drives global wages up

China played a significant role in global wage growth from 2008 to 2017, helping the average wage to rise by 22 percent, compared with just 13 percent if the country is excluded, according to a report by the International Labor Organization. Experts attributed China's influence on wages to the country's steady economic growth and its changing growth drivers. According to the new report, which was based on data from 136 countries, the annual average global real wage in 2017 grew by 1.8 percent year-on-year, the lowest rate since 2008. The growth rate in 2016 was 2.4 percent. The report again suggested China was a significant factor. Without China, the average real global wage increased 1.1 percent last year.

Double-deck container train enters service

A double-deck freight train carrying 56 standard containers of goods left Ningbo-Zhoushan Port for Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, on Dec 18. It was the first such train to enter service in China. The ability to carry a bigger load - 30 percent more than a conventional container train - saves transport costs by comparison with traditional single-deck container trains, according to sources at the port. Last year, the port handled more than 1 billion tons of cargo, the most in the world.

Funds allocated for disaster relief

The central government has allocated 5.2 billion yuan ($754 million; 665 million euros; £598 million) for disaster relief until spring next year. The money will be used for relieving people from disasters during the harsh winter and spring period, and for daily necessities, the Ministry of Emergency Management and the Ministry of Finance said. Some regions in China have experienced sustained cold weather and snowfall this winter, and earthquakes and landslides have occurred in some places, the ministries said, urging local governments to safeguard people's lives and property.

Customers demand their bicycle refunds from Ofo

Nearly 2,000 people gathered outside the headquarters of bike-sharing giant Ofo in Beijing on the morning of Dec 18, anxious to know whether - and when - their deposits for the shared bikes will be returned. Ofo, one of China's leading bike-sharing companies, said late on Dec 17 that because of the increasing number of claims, applications for refunds will be dealt with in the order received. The company asked people to wait patiently. The company claimed 200 million users in November last year, meaning deposits could amount to as much as 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion; 2.6 billion euros; £2.3 billion euros). At 9:30 am on Dec 18, a long line of users crowded outside the company's headquarters in Beijing's Zhongguancun area, still dubious about Ofo's reassurances.

Experts explore ways to manage national parks

China will consider regulations on outdoor recreation as it builds and manages national parks, as the parks have become hot destinations for the growing population of sports enthusiasts, experts said at a forum in Shanghai. The forum, the First International Conference on National Parks and Outdoor Recreation, hosted recently by the Shanghai University of Sport, brought together around 200 experts and scholars from around the world for discussions on sustainable development of national parks and outdoor recreation. "China has just begun the construction of national parks and has much to learn from its international counterparts, especially in the management of outdoor recreational activities," said Dong Erwei, a professor at the university.

City, province team up to feed wild birds

Beijing and neighboring Hebei province have, for the first time, joined hands to provide winter feed for wild birds that migrate to a nearby reservoir, local wildlife authorities said on Dec 17. Nearly 10,000 wild birds, mainly gray cranes, have been spotted resting in Guanting Reservoir, which borders Beijing's Yanqing district and Zhangjiakou's Huailai county, since the beginning of winter. About 750 kilograms of corn has already been distributed, and another 3,000 kg will be provided in the future, according to the Beijing Wildlife Conservation Association. Because of cold weather and a large number of birds, food shortages in winter are common, according to the association. It said the birds will be fed every three weeks, though the frequency may change depending on the weather and the number of birds.

Commission: More bus safety needed

Local authorities across China are urged to adopt more measures to ensure the safety of buses, including strengthening guardrails on bridges to prevent vehicles from breaking through, according to a guideline released by the Work Safety Commission of the State Council. The guideline, published on Dec 17, was released following the plunge of a bus from a Chongqing bridge into the Yangtze River with 15 people aboard in October. In the guideline, the commission said government departments and local authorities must learn the lesson and enact more measures to prevent similar accidents.

21,000 toilets in plan for tourists

China plans to build or renovate about 21,000 toilets at tourist destinations next year, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said. The move is part of the country's "toilet revolution", which began in 2015. The next step in the revolution was announced at a conference in Guangdong province over the weekend of Dec 15-16. The ministry said the country has built or upgraded nearly 24,000 toilets for tourists this year, including about 15,000 in less-developed central and western areas. To boost domestic tourism, China aims to install or upgrade a total of 64,000 toilets in the 2018-20 period, according to an action plan released by the government.

Dark matter satellite keeps on ticking

China's Dark Matter Particle Explorer, nicknamed Wukong, or Monkey King, will extend its service in space by two years, as it is still in good condition and collecting important scientific data, researchers said on Dec 17. The team operating the satellite said that Wukong's key performance indicators have barely changed since it was launched three years ago as China's first satellite to probe dark matter, the mysterious substance theorized in astrophysics that pervades "empty" space. On Dec 17, the satellite reached its expected service life of three years, having orbited the earth 16,597 times in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers. It detected around 5.5 billion cosmic particles.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page2)

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2018-12-21 08:38:06
37415872 <![CDATA[WTO can survive without the US]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415872.htm Former trade rules chief bashes Trump's tariffs, calls for multilateral rules-based order

The World Trade Organization could continue even if the United States decides to leave it, according to a former trade rules chief.

Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the World Trade Organization, said whether the US stays in depends on the world's largest economy's commitment to a multilateral rules-based order.

 

Pascal Lamy says US tariffs do nothing to reduce its overall trade deficit. Provided by CEIBS To China Daily

"For the moment it is the big economy in the system, but it depends on whether you believe at the end of the day that having a collective system - a multilateral cooperation system - is the right way to go. I think the EU, Japan, India, China and Africa believe this is so," he said.

Lamy, who was speaking at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, where he is a distinguished professor, said the US was breaking WTO rules by imposing tariffs on China and other countries.

"We all know that his tariffs are not WTO compliant," he said, speaking of US President Donald Trump. "There is uncertainty on whether Trump is after improving the trade regime or whether he is about getting rid of the trade regime."

Lamy, who was involved in the negotiations for China to join the WTO, said the tariffs would do nothing to reduce the overall US trade deficit. While it might reduce that with China, it would only serve to increase its deficits with other countries.

The decision to impose tariffs "is not a question of a US-China trade deficit", he said. "Assuming Trump decreases the US-China trade deficit but increases the US-Vietnam or the US-Thailand deficit, that will not change anything seriously."

Lamy added that having a trade deficit should not be a problem for a country like the US, whose currency is the global reserve.

"The US has had a trade deficit for a very long time, and I think most economies on this planet would agree that this has nothing to do with trade," he said.

"The US has a trade deficit because US consumers consume more and save less than the rest of the planet. And as long as the US benefits from this formidable privilege of having the dollar, they don't have a problem financing the deficit. If they had a problem financing the deficit it might be an issue. It is not an issue."

Lamy also said Trump is wrong to argue that tariffs are a way of bringing back jobs to the US.

"If it is a question of bringing back jobs to the US, it is already near full employment so it must not be that relevant. It doesn't make sense," he said.

Lamy, however, said he supported calls from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires earlier this month for WTO reform.

"Agreeing on WTO reform is one thing, but agreeing on what you should put in that box called reform is another," he said. "China has to compromise in some areas; the US will have to compromise in others. What the EU and to some extent Japan are trying to do for the moment is talk to the US, talk to China, so at the end of the day everybody is around the same table."

Despite current trade issues Lamy does not believe the world will descend into 1930s-style protectionism.

"We have reached a stage of globalization that makes deglobalization extremely unlikely. Globalization exists because it is efficient," he said. "Deglobalization would be inefficient."

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page3)

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2018-12-21 08:38:06
37415871 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415871.htm

"The massive and diverse population is a huge challenge for the popularization of science, from budget to manpower and accessibility of facilities."

QIU CHENGLI, science popularization official in the Ministry of Science and Technology

Penalizing polluters is rather quick and easy, but restoring the damage is difficult and needs time. I hope prosecutors will also emphasize the enforcement of environmental restoration."

ZHAO WANPING, vice-president of Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences

"We hope intensifying public supervision will help authorities discover problems in a timely manner and prevent insurance scams."

HUANG HUABO, insurance fund supervisor at the National Healthcare Security Administration

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page2)

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2018-12-21 08:38:06
37415870 <![CDATA[A smart city isn't necessarily a good city]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415870.htm

Technology can transform cities when policymakers and urban designers keep in mind the impacts on end-users

There is a lot of debate about particular qualities that distinguish smart urban environments from dumb ones.

A number of planning scholars have critiqued the piecemeal and profit-oriented focus of smart-city projects, which tend to overpromise smartness to whichever city can afford to buy them.

They also tend to lack comprehensive visions about the broader built environment they produce and all too often confound marketing and sales strategies for urban management and policy solutions that should benefit everyone.

Smart city technologies typically refer to urban services that rely on instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent devices. Despite such criticisms, this combination of "triple-I" technologies can nevertheless improve quality of life in cities, especially when implemented with public benefits in mind. These technologies can benefit the people of the city; regulators and policy makers of the city; and planners and designers of the city.

Users of the city

First and foremost, instrumented, interconnected and at least partially intelligent urban infrastructure can enable day-to-day users of a city to make more informed decisions about their time use, increasing urban productivity. Such gains are visible in many cities. Knowing the real-time arrival times of public transportation services from smartphone interfaces allows people to walk to stations at the right moment. Knowing traffic conditions enables drivers to avoid congested areas. Knowing the prices of vegetables at farmers markets enables farmers to adjust their deliveries in real time.

But even bigger possibilities open up when users can be identified and both the service provider and the user share location information with each other. The latter types of urban services include ride-hailing apps, such as Didi or Uber; mobile parking systems; e-tickets in public transport; emergency alert services; and a wide range of e-government services that can be used online.

Policymakers and regulators

Even though many of the above-mentioned services are operated privately, cities have also started offering their own services or stepped into regulate private services.

For instance, if systems listing parking spaces in cities know the users' location, they can customize which location to suggest to which user, reducing search times and traffic on city streets. For example, interconnected electronic road pricing gantries and traffic counting sensors in Singapore have enabled the city's Land Transport Authority to establish a smart toll system, which adjusts the price of driving through each ERP gantry based on real-time traffic conditions in the city. The price of driving into congested areas is continuously updated based on current and predicted traffic flows in different parts of the city. Other cities with congestion-charging systems include Stockholm and London.

Zurich's intelligent transportation system uses loop detectors, traffic cameras and public transit tracking technology to give highest traffic light priority to public transit vehicles and pedestrians. The system ensures that light-rail trams always face green lights at traffic intersections, enabling them to approach junctions without reducing speed, which improves transit schedule accuracy.

Traffic lights also detect the number of waiting cars at intersections. When city center streets are showing signs of congestion, traffic lights at outlying intersections automatically reduce car throughput to preemptively reduce congestion buildup in the city center.

E-government solutions, such as those provided by the Government of Estonia, allow the country's residents to access almost all government services and records remotely, using secure identification. Users can file permits, vote, retrieve personal records, pay fines, open companies, pay taxes or sign up for schools from a computer or phone, using a secure two-level authentication system. It is estimated that e-government services save more than 820 years of working time for the state and citizens annually.

Role of urban designers

Studying the troves of data produced by sensors can reveal previously invisible patterns of urban mobility, people's time use and place preference. Much of urban design and planning practice has historically focused on the static, or relatively slowly changing elements of cities - urban form, land use patterns, business locations, fixed transportation networks, urban ecosystems, floras and faunas. How these elements of the city are used over time remains poorly known in most cities. But, the increasing availability of anonymized cellphone movement traces, geo-tagged social media posts and computer vision technology that is widely distributed in the built environment gives us new information.

In New York City, former mayor Michael Bloomberg's ambitious Plan NYC converted more than 40 acres of roadway into 70 new pedestrian plazas in locations that included Times Square. Before definitive implementation, traffic impacts of the reconfigured Times Square were quantitatively evaluated during a relatively cheap six-month pilot project using GPS traces from a large fleet of yellow cabs.

The city also monitored accident rates and pedestrian routes around the square to assess how reconfigured roadway allocation impacted traffic speeds, pedestrian throughput and accidents rates around Times Square.

A report detailing these evaluations presented quantitative evidence that the newly designed square did not hamper the city's mobility and safety but rather improved them, leading Bloomberg to approve the solution on a permanent basis.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation recently released a data standard to require that all private mobility service operators connect their operations to the city's API. This will enable the city to see, in real time, where electric scooters and shared bikes are being dropped off or picked up and require service operators to alert users if vehicles are left in illegal areas.

The same API will also enable city staff to see where Uber and Lyft cars pick up or drop off customers, enabling the city to detect dangerous lane blockages or double parking on busy streets in real time. During special events, the city can "geofence" certain streets or blocks as "no-pickup" zones, managing each curb or block minute by minute.

Quantitative approaches for predicting trip volumes, route choices and infrastructure utilization have been commonplace for motorized traffic modeling for decades. Cities use such analyses to inform transportation policy, land use policy, development rights as well as infrastructure investment decisions. But more recent modeling techniques also make quantitative modeling accessible for pedestrian and bicycle trips, helping rebalance urban transportation policy from its historic biases favoring car-oriented and capital-heavy systems, toward giving more priority, specificity and quantitative rigor to urban movement that takes place on foot or by bike.

We need to remember that what politicians or industry players might call smart cities does not necessarily produce good cities.

Technological solutions only embody means that can help cities move toward social, economic and environmental ends. However, some qualities associated with good cities are widely acknowledged. Good cities tend to be equitable in terms of access to opportunity, sustainable with respect to finite environmental resources and efficient in terms of the use of valuable urban space.

They provide a healthy living environment for all and encourage healthy lifestyles. Some technologies help cities move closer to these goals, but technology may also work against these aims or offer an inferior approach to problem-solving compared with other areas of investment, such as education, affordable housing, sustainable transportation or cultural development.

Cities should devote tax-payer money toward smart technologies only if these get us closer to good city ideals faster than alternative approaches.

The author is an assistant professor of planning and director of City Form Lab at Harvard University. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page8)

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2018-12-21 08:37:39
37415869 <![CDATA[Tech to transform cities]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415869.htm Experiments with artificial intelligence, cloud computing and 5G aim to make urban living more convenient

As China undertakes the largest urban planning initiative in world history, local governments and high-tech companies are experimenting with ways to use the rapidly emerging technologies of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data, the internet-of-things and 5G to make city dwellers' lives more convenient.

Current programs in China are aimed at improving traffic flow, reducing the time businesses and citizens spend getting government permits and documents, and facilitating access to healthcare.

A 2015 report by Deloitte found that China has about 500 smart city pilot projects, far more than any other country in the world.

 

The booth of Huawei at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb 26. Guo Qiuda / Xinhua

In November 2017, China's Ministry of Science and Technology designated four companies - Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and iFlytek - as a "national team" for pushing the development of AI, with Baidu, specializing in driverless car technology, Alibaba in computer vision, Tencent in healthcare and Iflytek in speech recognition. Each of these companies, plus Huawei and Pingan insurance and scores of smaller companies are all developing technologies, platforms and business strategies related to smart cities.

Analysts estimate that the cumulative investment in smart city technology development and deployment is likely to break 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion; 256 billion euros; £230 billion) by 2025, fueled by massive urbanization projects.

"The Chinese government puts great emphasis on developing new technologies. You can see it from the huge investment it has made in AI and smart city development. Almost every city's mayor is talking about smart cities, AI, big data and cloud computing," Li Yangming, a Chinese IT expert and a visiting fellow at Stanford University, said at a seminar hosted by Stanford US-Asia Technology Management Center in November, as reported in China Daily.

For example, the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is working closely with Alibaba to use the city's network of cameras and other sensors to optimize traffic light timing to improve traffic flow. So far, regular traffic speeds are up 15 percent.

"For special vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks, we do optimization for them automatically. It cuts their travel time by 50 percent," says Hua Xiansheng, head of the City Brain lab at Alibaba. City Brain is Alibaba's brand name for this technology platform.

According to Hua, who is an expert in machine vision, City Brain is the only artificial intelligence system in the world that can achieve real-time analysis of citywide videos. He says that this is made possible by Alibaba's existing capabilities in cloud computing and by its investment in AI that emphasizes computer vision.

"AI technology mainly has two types - cognition technologies like vision technology to recognize what is happening on the road, and big data, which allows cognition, optimization, searching and prediction.

"Video data is the majority of the data in the city, which will have the richest value, but it is also the most difficult part of the data because it is just pixels to the computer. We have to analyze this data before using it. Plus, there is other data like GPS data, data from car-counting coils in the ground and microwave data," he says.

"Before we had cloud computing technology and AI technology, it was hard to process the huge amount of data to find the value in that data. Today we have cloud computing, and much more computing power, and AI technology has made big progress in deep learning. It gives us a tool to analyze that data. The core idea of City Brain is to use artificial intelligence technologies and big data technologies to mine the data that is accumulating every day in the city."

Making access to healthcare faster and easier is another key emphasis of smart cities. For example, Haidian district of northwest Beijing has built a network of medical information in which healthcare professionals can access medical records and patients can view their records, pay their bills and get medical advice. Similarly, the city of Shanghai has made significant strides in implementing smart health technology. A network of medical information allows patients to access records and easily move between providers.

Li Jintao, dean of the Haidian district health department, says that the district is implementing smart city technology to provide the residents with better and more efficient diagnosis and treatment services. "The Intelligent Health Project was launched to strengthen and promote data sharing among three aspects of the health system: community health centers, hospital information systems, and hospital administration systems. Now, a health network covering community hospitals and clinics at the primary care level has been established. More than 120 hospitals and clinics centralized information and unified their information systems," Li says.

"This smart health system allows residents to see the doctor more conveniently. The doctors can diagnose more quickly and accurately. And, the management of regional healthcare is more standardized and scientific," he adds.

"In many community hospitals, the distribution of medicines is easier because we can scan a barcode to get the registration information automatically. Plus, since community hospitals are connected to regional central hospitals, they can access patient records in different locations. The patient can receive medical advice from specialists of the regional hospital while at their local community hospital. Also, patients can register to view their medical records via the internet and, in many institutions, pay for their consultations by mobile phone," he explained.

According to Cai Xiujun, president of Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital of the School of Medicine at Zhejiang University, patients will soon be able to take care of preliminary processes using their mobile phones, reducing the average time they spend waiting in the hospital.

Without this type of system, patients might have to arrive at the hospital early in the morning to try to make an appointment and might have to make multiple trips and wait in line to deal with paperwork.

Smart city technologies can also be used to streamline business permits and citizens' interactions with the government, according to Zheng Zhibin, general manager of Huawei's Global Smart City Business department.

"The integration of urban data and the re-engineering of cross-departmental processes can change the previous heavy demands on people and businesses, greatly enhancing the efficiency of administrative approvals and enhancing the happiness of the public," he says.

"The key points of the construction of an intelligent city are interconnecting all things, data fusion and business cooperation. We seek to integrate and optimize the existing resources, improve the efficiency of urban management and service, enhance the well-being of the citizens, ensure the sustainable development of the city and create a good working, living and leisure environment for enterprises and the public."

Zheng added that Huawei's business strategy is based on its 5G expertise.

"On June 14, 2018, 3GPP 5G, the first 5G stand-alone networking standard, completed the first phase of full functional standardization, marking the beginning of the commercial phase of 5G." he says. "5G will have a bandwidth of 10Gb per second, a time delay of less than 1 millisecond and can address 1 million connections per square kilometer. We can imagine that 5G technology will be widely used in such fields as unmanned, intelligent manufacturing, intelligent energy, robotics, ultrahigh-definition home entertainment, networked drones, live broadcast social networks, smart cities and so on. This will change our lives greatly."

Iflytek is the member of the Ministry of Science and Technology's national team that emphasizes speech recognition. Tong Jianjun, vice-president and chief engineer of Iflytek's Smart City Business, says: "The business strategy of iFlytek's Intelligent City division is divided into two directions. First, we need to keep exploring and developing world-class AI and big data core technologies so that China will have the latest technology in our own hands.

"Second, we combine leading AI and big data core technology results with industry applications for smart cities. Our goals are to continuously improve the intelligence level of the industry system, make urban layout planning more balanced and reasonable, monitor current conditions in a more timely and accurate way, make emergency response more rapid and accurate and improve carbon efficiency."

Tong adds: "Smart medicine is an important business direction of iFlytek and is an integral part of the whole smart city construction. We use our leading artificial intelligence technology to achieve accurate and rapid diagnosis, with the aim of fundamentally solving the shortage of high-quality medical resources in China."

Chinese smart city research and implementation, however, is not limited just to China.

In April, Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and the municipal government of Nanjing, Jiangsu province, announced they would create a joint smart cities research center, to be located in Nanjing. And, in 2016, the "Future Cities Catapult", one of the UK's leading platforms for urban innovation, signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Center for Urban Development, the country's leading agency for urban development.

Alibaba is working with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to ease traffic congestion. Also, according to CGTN, Malaysia's largest television network, Malaysian businesses and government agencies will be able to benefit from the City Brain platform. Kuala Lumpur's 500 traffic cameras will livestream to Alibaba's cloud. Ride-hailing app Grab and real-time navigation system Waze will also feed data to the system.

According to CGTN, Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy, says: "Malaysia is very much committed to the Belt and Road Initiative, so it's natural for us to have that level of collaboration manifesting itself in something that both countries find very important, which is an AI-driven solution, and how AI can impact society and the economy of a country."

The US-based business consulting company PwC recently projected that artificial intelligence will add $15.7 trillion to the global GDP by 2030, with China earning $7 trillion of that total, compared with North America's $3.7 trillion in gains. According to The Verge, an online tech-focused magazine, China accounted for 48 percent of the world's AI startup funding, compared with 38 percent in the United States.

Asked whether China is leading the world in smart city technology, Hua Xiansheng of Alibaba's City Brain says: "I believe so, especially the implementation part. Many people are asking why China has made big progress not only in smart cities but also in the wider implementation part of AI technology. Many think it is all about the abundance of data, but I look at it differently."

"The major reason is that the people of China - including governments, including industry people - really want to try new technologies to make changes to their businesses or their management. So, according to my experience, this is the major thing that makes us at least look like we're moving faster than other parts of the world. People really want to try new things to use this technology to solve existing problems or to use new technology to see what it can do that we could not do before," Hua says.

davidblair@chinadaily.com.cn

 

People are attracted by a driverless shuttle bus in China's first artificial intelligence theme park in Beijing. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

A boy interacts with a robot guide in a hospital in Tianjin.

 

A robot waiter serves in a restaurant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page1)

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2018-12-21 08:37:39
37415868 <![CDATA[Doctors get a virtual helping hand]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/21/content_37415868.htm China's medical sector is expected grow to the size of 1 trillion yuan ($145 billion; 128 billion euros; £115 billion) over the next 20 years. This growth will be fueled not only by an army of doctors and nurses, but also troves of data, according to experts in the field of artificial intelligence.

"When you combine AI with the nation's trillion-dollar healthcare sector - especially healthcare at the smaller, local level - there are infinite possibilities," says Xie Guotong, chief healthcare scientist at Ping An Technology.

Dimitris Metaxas, the chief scientist for smart health at SenseTime, an AI startup in China, points out that the key element in the evolution of the medical sector will be learning algorithms, which will allow humans to gain unprecedented insight into diagnostics, care processes, treatment variability and patient outcomes.

 

A visitor tries an AI-powered smart medical equipment developed by Tencent at the Smart China Expo held in Chongqing in August. Wang Quanchao / Xinhua

 

A real-time cancer detection device at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference. Ding Ting / Xinhua

 

A robotic surgery system at the conference. Fang Zhe / Xinhua

"Using large amounts of patient data from radiological, pathology, biological and other types of medical devices, the new AI methods and technologies are able to provide new insights into diseases, such as precise quantitative analytics and correlations between different data modalities, that humans cannot determine," says Metaxas.

During the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in September in Shanghai, SenseTime unveiled the prototype of its first AI medical product, SenseCare, which provides improved AI tools and methods that can enhance clinical practice by augmenting a doctor's decision-making abilities for both diagnosis and treatment.

Smart solutions such as SenseTime's prototype have been mushrooming across China in light of the national initiative to enhance health services using AI technologies. In late 2017, Chinese internet giant Tencent rolled out an AI-powered diagnostic imaging solution that helps detect early symptoms of various cancers.

Tencent vice-president Chen Guangyu says the program has scanned hundreds of thousands of gastroscopy images and has an accuracy of more than 90 percent when it comes to diagnosing preliminary esophageal cancer.

"By accumulating massive troves of data, the analysis is expected to become even more reliable ... and this would in turn assist younger doctors," says Chen.

Tech giant Microsoft is also flexing its muscles in this field. Its machine learning platform has been used in collaborations with partner firms such as US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co and Chinese image cognition startup Airdoc to develop a system that can determine if someone is suffering from diabetes through a retina scan.

Over at Royal Philips China, the company has diagnostic imaging solutions that help detect early symptoms of certain diseases in the lungs, breasts and other areas. According to Royal Philips China CEO Andy Ho, the company spends 1.7 billion euros ($1.92 billion; £1.5 billion) every year, about 10 percent of its global revenue, on research and development, 60 percent of which is focused on software and AI-related matters.

"The Healthy China 2030 national strategy is a grand vision to bolster development in key healthcare domains and improve people's quality of life," Ho says. "AI-based solutions have great potential to improve patient outcomes and care efficiency."

Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer, an associate professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, says that AI can also mitigate the impact of manpower shortages by performing diagnostic duties typically done by humans. This would be especially useful in China where medical resources are lacking in rural areas.

For example, AI imaging tools can screen chest X-rays for signs of tuberculosis, often achieving a level of accuracy comparable to humans. This capability could be made available through an app that medical care providers in low-resource areas can access, reducing the need for a trained diagnostic radiologist on site.

Diagnostics aside, AI has already been used in other areas of the medical field to boost the efficiency of routine tasks such as documentation, which in turn allows doctors and nurses to spend more time on important tasks.

In a joint research program with Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai, Royal Philips uses natural language processing to halve the time needed to read handwritten medical records and diagnostic charts. Ho notes that doctors can expand their contextual understanding of a patient's history, thus improving personalized therapy, by extracting insights from data.

Meanwhile, voice recognition and dictation technology have also helped improve the clinical documentation process. By working with more than 100 hospitals nationwide, Chinese voice recognition firm iFlytek enhances workflow processes by allowing doctors to record their diagnosis using voice, which is then turned into text in real time, says Xie Jie, a marketing manager at iFlytek.

"There is no longer the need to read handwritten notes or prescriptions. Today, doctors can simply dictate information. The Chinese speech-to-text translation has an accuracy of more than 97 percent," he says.

The continuous improvement of AI can also improve current personalized treatment options for patients, says Metaxas. For example, in orthopedics, 3D printing technology is used to create new body parts for patients who might need to undergo procedures such as complete joint replacement. The use of AI, Metaxas explaines, can improve the precision of 3D printing and ensure that patients get an artificial joint that is as perfect a fit as possible.

"Such personalized treatments are no less important than diagnosis, and we're putting more efforts into this area," he adds.

hewei@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/21/2018 page1)

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2018-12-21 08:37:39
37406024 <![CDATA[Making life better through innovation]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406024.htm Bosch regards healthy competition as trigger for more cooperation and improved relations

Please use three words to describe China's changes in the past 40 years.

Development, openness and speed.

 

Chen Yudong, president of Bosch China, says Bosch has not only witnessed Chinese society's development but is also a proud part of it. Provided to China Daily

The past 40 years has witnessed a surge in China's economic growth. Reform and opening-up released the power of a market economy and ignited the vigor for the country's economic development. Now China is the second-largest economy in the world.

The automotive industry in China has also grown along the way. Forty years ago, passenger cars were mainly allocated to government offices and few people had the opportunity to own a car. Now, China has become the largest automotive market in the world for nine consecutive years, with more than half the vehicles sold being Chinese local brands.

Besides economic development, we also see a huge improvement in national education. More people get the chance to go to universities to pursue higher education. Learning abroad also gives Chinese people an international perspective and experience. Finally, increasing skills contribute to economic development.

How has your company benefited from the reform and opening-up policy?

Bosch has been in China for almost 110 years. Creating innovative technologies and solutions to make life better is the brand's imperative. Today, Bosch in China employees close to 60,000 associates, operating 62 entities including 10 joint ventures, 38 manufacturing bases and 23 technical centers. Now, China is Bosch's second-largest market in the world and employs the largest number of associates outside of Germany. Bosch's automotive components and solutions can be found in almost all vehicle brands in China. Bosch's drive and control system supports the National Center for Performing Arts' stage lift, a Qinghai-Tibet Railway project, a 50-ton crane in Yangshan port, the FAST Telescope and many major projects in China. Bosch home appliances offer Chinese consumers a nice choice for their consumption upgrade. Bosch has not only witnessed Chinese society's development but is also a proud part of it.

Has competition intensified between your company and Chinese companies?

During the past 40 years, Chinese local companies have developed significantly and their growth has propelled our momentum to strive for better. There is a saying in China: "When the river rises, the boat floats high." When the whole environment strives for excellence, the whole industry navigates toward a better future. So Bosch advocates cooperation and learning from each other.

Bosch always regards healthy competition as a sustainable trigger for innovation and a company's improvement. For example, Bosch is now transforming toward an internet of things company. Chinese companies are in the first fleet of digitalization. Instead of pure competition, collaboration and cooperation will be inevitable to build an ecosystem. Bosch is open and active in partnership with local players. In recent years, Bosch has announced cooperation with many internet companies in China including Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Huawei.

How do you view China's role in the world today?

China is already the second-largest economy in the world. And now it continues to grow at a more moderate pace under a new normal. The country is now playing an important role in many areas. For example, China is now the largest automotive market in the world, and the country has more than 220 million vehicles registered. China is also one of the biggest trade markets in both exports and imports. Besides, China is a big manufacturing nation, and it is also aiming to become a strong one in the future.

Could China's experiences and practices be used to solve global problems?

China is now the world's largest market for internet business, e-commerce, AI and new energy vehicles. These industries are the future trends. Now in China, and only in China, can people live cash free and credit card free. More than half of new energy passenger cars are sold in China. Many startup companies in China are innovating in manufacturing, technology development and new business models of internet plus businesses. And many Chinese brands are becoming world-renowned enterprises and blaze the trail for digitalized business. All these endeavors could be a reference for other countries.

What is the most unforgettable experience you have had in China?

In 2011, my first year as president of Bosch China, Bosch inaugurated our headquarters building in Shanghai and announced the establishment of the Bosch China Charity Center. From that time on, it has been regarded as the headquarters of the Asia-Pacific region for our company, which demonstrates the acknowledgement of the importance of the China market for Bosch Group. The establishment of BCCC once again shows Bosch's resolve to take social responsibility as one of the company's core values.

What measures are needed if China wants to deepen reforms?

We appreciate the efforts and commitment the Chinese government has made to improve the business environment. We believe that to further deepen reforms we need to first keep and advocate the innovative spirit. Innovation in all and by all. To be innovative, talent is the core factor. How to develop talent, retain talent, and ignite the passion to contribute is very important. We also anticipate an even fairer environment and equal opportunities for foreign companies like Bosch, which has deepened our roots in this market. For manufacturing companies, we regard industrial upgrading also as an important element that should be further enhanced. The upgrade along the whole value chain will definitely bring strong synergy and improve the whole industry's competence. We believe these will both be opportunities for our own growth and contribution to the Chinese economy.

Apart from economic development, what progress in other fields have you witnessed in China in the past 40 years?

Besides economic development, we also see increasing awareness of environment protection in China. From the shutdown of small unqualified coal mines, to water pollution control, to the PM2.5 index national announcement and to promotion of new energy vehicles, countless measures are being taken right now in China. We see the determination of the Chinese government to fulfill its commitment on environmental protection. It's a good phenomenon. We have been through a period when we sacrificed the environment for the sake of economic development, and now we realize we should seek a sustainable way. Bosch has also been dedicated to environmental protection and take it as our responsibility, and will further echo the Chinese government's call to continue green manufacturing and create green products and technologies.

What will be the country's "calling card" in the coming years?

The post-1990s and post-2000s generation, and even younger children, are growing up in a period when China is economically better off and has better resources. They have opportunities to see more in this world and learn more. The new generation will be the driver of future development. China is already on a fast track to digitalization, and we believe that Chinese companies have the competence to be innovative and keep leading the digitalized market in the future.

zhongnan@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page31)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406023 <![CDATA[Foreign exchange reserves stabilize]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406023.htm

Increase of 8.6 billion in November attributed to rising bond prices and a stronger US dollar

Chinese foreign exchange reserves rose by $8.6 billion (7.5 billion euros; £6.7 billion) in November after three months of declines, influenced in part by rising bond prices in some major countries, the central bank said on Dec 7.

By the end of last month, foreign exchange reserves stood at $3.06 trillion, a net drop of $78 billion since the end of 2017, the bank said.

Last month's increase was a result not only of higher bond prices but also a strengthened US dollar, said Wang Chunying, spokeswoman for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

While there could be some fluctuations, China's foreign exchange reserves are expected to remain stable, given the stable international balance of payments, Wang said.

A more flexible foreign exchange rate regime in China could help to keep reserves steady, analysts say.

In its latest sovereign rating report, Fitch Ratings said it expects Chinese authorities to continue favoring flexibility and permitting more volatility in the yuan, rather than using the foreign exchange reserve to offset currency weaknesses.

"This would largely preserve China's sizable foreign reserve buffers," the report said.

China may allow more flexible floating of the currency next year, as the monetary authority has said it would push forward the foreign exchange reform.

"Cross-border capital flows should be monitored by the Chinese monetary authority next year to prevent unexpected fluctuations, which have happened in some emerging market economies this year," says Wang Shengzu, co-head of the Investment Strategy Group Asia at Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management.

But pressure could also accumulate as the surplus in the current account may continue to narrow in 2019, according to analysts, and there is potential for higher capital outflows stemming from volatile market sentiment and further monetary policy divergence with the United States.

chenjia@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page25)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406022 <![CDATA[New cruise economy sets sail]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406022.htm Travel industry steps up pace with public sector to serve wave of Chinese tourists

If a friend from abroad were to show up suddenly in China as a tourist, the question, "Gee, when did you land" will likely pop up based on the presumption that he or she flew into the country. But, if some tourism companies' plans bear fruit, there might soon be an alternative question: "Hey, when did you make landfall?"

More tourists are expected to reach China by ship from now on - specifically cruise liners. And, as wanderlust grips the experience-hunting Chinese middle-class flush with rising incomes and bitten by the consumption upgrade bug, the domestic tourism is expected to include a lot more cruises, market insiders say.

The Cruise Lines International Association says that by 2025 the number of Chinese travelers who have experienced cruises is expected to grow to 8 to 10 million.

That would mark a surge from about 2.5 million Chinese travelers, around 2 percent of China's outbound global travelers last year.

An estimated 300 million Chinese consumers will be able to afford cruises in the near future.

"In the next 10 to 20 years, the number of Chinese who take a cruise annually is expected to surpass that of the United States," says Zheng Weihang, executive vice-president and secretary-general of the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association. "Growth in the world's cruise market is expected to come largely from China,

"As the industry continues to grow and develop in the region, China is widely expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world."

Small wonder that moves are afoot at both governmental and corporate levels to harness all that potential. Spanning modernization of ports, purchase of ocean liners, multimodal transport mechanisms and longer-duration visa-free visits to certain Chinese mainland areas in the neighborhood of ports, the big-ticket measures seek to monetize multibillion-dollar opportunities.

Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, spoke after parent Carnival Corp, the world's largest leisure travel company, announced a 40:60 joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corp in November.

"We are here in China not only to operate ships but to build the whole ecosystem, including shipbuilding, supply chain, port development, distribution and destinations. We would like to contribute to building a cruise economy in China, putting into full play the multiplier economic effect," Thamm says.

Meanwhile, Shanghai is planning the Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, an integrated complex complete with duty-free shops comparable to those at its international airport.

The products sold at the port's boutiques and in nearby areas will be upgraded. The idea is to boost coordinated growth of leisure cruises and city tourism, the local government says.

The planned terminal will, in itself, be a potential tourist attraction, much better than the current port in Shanghai, where a solitary duty-free shop covers less than 500 square meters, and sells mainly cigarettes and liquor. For today's outbound and inbound cruise tourists, that simply won't suffice.

Shanghai's local government therefore said in a statement issued in October that the planned terminal will house large duty-free stores that will stock high-end goods.

A campaign to spread awareness about China's various visa-free visit policies is also being launched. Unlike airline passengers, many foreign cruise travelers are not aware of China's 144-hour visa-free transit policy.

International travelers from 53 countries can enter the Chinese mainland through ports in Shanghai, as well as Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

Publicity for visa-free policies can attract more inbound foreign tourists to enter China by cruise ships, the Shanghai government said in its statement.

South China's island province, Hainan, has also started a pilot run of a 15-day visa-free policy for tourists who take cruises and enter the country from the island.

The plans for upscale cruise terminals are being shaped by the commercial success of duty-free shops at key airports, such as Shanghai Pudong International, fueled by a constantly growing number of international travelers with strong spending power.

The airport said in its earnings report that income growth outside the aviation sector mainly comes from the growth of duty-free retail. Tourists spend not just on hotels, local travel, food and shopping at malls and other areas but also at airports.

China is the world's No 1 outbound tourism market. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the country's 142 million outbound travelers spent an estimated $258 billion (226 billion euros; £203 billion) traveling abroad last year.

If they are encouraged to spend at home as well, and if more Chinese people begin traveling, then new attractions such as cruise trips and modern terminals at ports could prove to be a big draw.

Consequently, Shanghai will encourage cruise operators and third-party agencies to further develop the domestic cruise markets. Efforts are underway to introduce links between cruise lines, airlines, trains and buses to enable multimodal transport for travelers.

In addition, the city will promote cruises at airports, train stations and other places with large passenger flows.

At the corporate level, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping, the China-based joint-venture cruise line, will be operating its own fleet to serve Chinese guests by the end of 2019.

It announced an agreement to purchase two existing ships from Carnival Corp's Costa Group, a major cruise operator in Europe and Asia.

The first of these ships, Costa Atlantica, is scheduled to be transferred to the new Chinese cruise line by the end of 2019.

Currently, Costa Atlantica mainly sails from southern China seaports like Shenzhen to Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Its sister ship, Costa Mediterranea, will be transferred at a later date, according to the company.

Moreover, the joint venture signed a contract for two new cruise ships, the first in a China-built large cruise fleet.

The two new cruise ships will be built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co, a State-owned shipyard in Shanghai. The first vessel is expected to be delivered in 2023 to serve the Chinese cruise market.

The agreement also gives the joint venture the option to order four additional China-built cruise ships to serve the growing demand of Chinese consumers.

Thamm of Carnival Asia said: "As a large, dynamic and underpenetrated cruise market with continued long-term projections for outbound tourism growth, China represents a significant opportunity for the cruise industry to raise awareness, consideration and demand for cruise vacations in the coming years."

But the cruise industry in China faces a significant hiring challenge in the face of growing demand. By 2020, the talent gap in the sector will reach 280,000, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

MSC Cruises, one of the major cruise lines with a dominant market share in Europe, South America and South Africa, entered the China market in 2010. The company said it needs 32,000 new crew members, including entry-level employees and midlevel managers by 2022.

zhuwenqian@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page28)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406021 <![CDATA[Telecom giants get 5G frequencies]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406021.htm Move will facilitate further testing, rollout of ultrafast networks around the world

The government has allocated specific low and medium-frequency bands to the nation's major three telecom carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, as a key step aimed at speeding up the rollout of fifth-generation communication networks and further testing on new digital applications.

"Specifying the designated frequency bands for 5G tests will motivate operators to channel their resources into those bands, accelerating the construction of 5G networks," says Xiang Ligang, CEO of telecom industry website cctime.com.

 

A 5G-tech promotion stand at the recent China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Jin Rong / For China Daily

According to the announcement made by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Dec 6, China Mobile will obtain bands in the 2,515-2,675 megahertz range and the 4,800-4,900 MHz range. China Telecom and China Unicom will use the bands in the 3,400-3,500 MHz and 3,500-3,600 MHz ranges, respectively.

The move brings about a relatively balanced assignment of frequency band resources, industry experts say.

"We expect China Mobile will use the 2,600 MHz frequency band for its initial 5G network construction," Wu Chaoze, chief telecom analyst at CSC Financial Co, said in a report posted on the company's official WeChat account. "Despite lacking a mature value chain, that lower-frequency band will cover a larger area and offer continuous network coverage."

Xiang said that adding the 3,400-3,600 MHz band will help align the other two operators with global 5G requirements.

According to Xiang, the high-frequency band is set to be distributed to carriers gradually in the future.

"The low-frequency band offers long radio propagation and covers a larger area. The high-frequency band provides higher bandwidth and higher data rates. When put together, both low-frequency bands and high-frequency bands will meet the different requirements for 5G use," Xiang said.

The move is part of China's broad push to accelerate the commercialization of 5G, aiming to be a key player in the global race to apply the next-generation technology. At least 10 times faster than 4G, the technology is expected to revolutionize the tech world in the near future.

In the coming 5G era, higher reliability and lower latency can be realized, making the internet of things more effective. It will take on tasks that are impossible in the 4G era, such as overseeing self-driving cars.

Yang Hua, secretary-general of the Telecommunication Development Industry Alliance, says telecom equipment that use different frequencies also differ greatly in signal and information channels. Every time a telecom frequency is changed, it will take eight to 10 months to redevelop products.

"Clarifying the different frequency bands for the big three telecom carriers will enable telecom operators and equipment manufacturers to determine product development goals and greatly accelerate the process in all aspects of the value chain. This is of great significance in the industry," Yang said.

The major operators have already started developing their 5G systems. China Mobile plans to unveil 5G smartphones in the first half of 2019, ahead of launching 5G trials in 2019 and the network's full commercialization in 2020.

Contact the writers at ouyangshijia@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page26)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406020 <![CDATA[Aging but agile, Chinese retirees hitting the road]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406020.htm These days, post-retirement life for Chinese people goes beyond tai chi, mahjong, and dancing. It includes travel, which has spawned a niche tourism industry.

Liu Yue, 56, says she now travels twice a year. She has visited the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Tibet autonomous region, Guizhou province and Yunnan province, as well as Russia and Cambodia in recent years. Her future plans are for visits to Japan and South Korea.

She invites several friends or family members to join package tours - "so we don't need to use our time to make the travel schedule".

 

Chinese tourists buy souvenirs in Vladivostok, Russia. Many senior citizens see travel as the realization of their long-held dreams from youth. Yuri Smityuk / TASS

Most of the time, Liu visits major scenic destinations and buys specialty items. Each tour may cost between 6,000 yuan ($872; 764 euros; £686) and 10,000 yuan. "The point is to relax, experience local culture and enjoy tasty food," she says.

The world's second-largest economy has 240 million senior citizens, and more than 20 percent of Chinese tourists come from that group, which has stimulated the tourism market during the low season, according to the Office of the National Working Commission on Aging.

Chinese people who are now age 55 or over were born in difficult times when a typical family income would cover only the costs of basic living. Consequently, many older people see travel as the realization of long-held dreams from their youth, says Chen Guang, a partner at the consultancy firm McKinsey and Company.

After retirement, they have stable income from pensions, less economic pressure and more free time. So travel is feasible. Their grown children give them tours as gifts to express love and gratitude, Chen says.

"With the economic development, the elderly tourism market is growing faster than many other mature tourism markets," he said.

The stereotype of old Chinese tourists crowding into Chinese restaurants or taking photographs is also changing. Older people are seeking more diversity and deeper cultural experiences.

According to a recent report released by Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency, about 85 percent of its more than 1 million elderly clients choose medium and high-end packages that emphasize comfort and pleasurable travel. Therefore, tailored trips, themed tours, private tours and cruises are gaining in popularity among older travelers.

Tourists older than 55 ordered about 16 percent of the tailored trips this year. Keywords most frequently mentioned in tailored trips include "five-star airlines", "comfortable" and "special food", the report said.

Chen said part of the reason is that newly retired people have more disposable income and more experience in adapting to the outside world. He says the trend is also largely influenced by the preferences of their children or grandchildren, since family trips are common.

"Marketing and travel packages should be designed to target the adult children, since they are more likely to be the decision-makers," he says.

According to the report, the average money spent by those older than 50 reached 3,115 yuan for each overseas package tour, the highest of all age-groups.

Popular products at Ctrip include elements such as small groups, pickup services and sufficient free time, the company says.

David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum, said: "For older people, culture is more attractive than entertainment. And what young people would consider fun could be simply noise for them.

"A destination like Hainan, whose climate is agreeable could play a major part in tourism choices. The scope of health tourism would grow if resorts or companies would target older people. Adapting the concept of wellness for older people could also have enormous potential," Gosset says.

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page29)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406019 <![CDATA[Tourism by ship brings opportunity along with it]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406019.htm

Christmas is nigh, and my mind rewinds to a weeklong cruise I took around this time six years ago.

Back then, I was studying in the United States, and students traveled during their vacations. The $1,000 (876 euros; £786) trip started in Miami, Florida, and covered the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Mexico.

The fare included buffets, various restaurants and bars, entertainment shows, swimming and onboard hot spring pools. However, it didn't cover activities ashore, such as scuba diving, canoeing and sightseeing.

Since I had a valid US visa, the cruise line didn't require me to obtain any additional visas to visit the destinations. Boarding, lodging and transportation were all taken care of. It was fun, convenient, easy and memorable.

But for a couple of Chinese students, I barely noticed any compatriots on the ship. At the time, taking a cruise wasn't as popular an option among Chinese as it is now.

But the cruise market in China is steadily maturing, as more global cruise operators offer different routes in China and around Asia.

In a short period, China has become the world's second-largest cruise market, in terms of number of tourists, according to the Ministry of Transport.

High-cost trips to far-off places like freezing Antarctica have become hotter. Chinese travelers are seeking more diverse experiences and pursuing personalized and quality trips, driven by rising incomes and evolving tastes.

Currently, Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency, offers more than 20 cruise options to Antarctica. Typically, a cruise ship can take about 3,500 people. Growing demand among Chinese travelers has resulted in a 30 percent spike in the number of voyages offered now, compared with the same period last year.

From November this year to March next year - a busier and warmer season for travel to Antarctica - the number of bookings on Ctrip by Chinese is expected to surge more than 100 percent year-on-year. Only a few spots reportedly remain to be filled for the upcoming seven-day Spring Festival break.

The package to Antarctica and some South American countries cost between 50,000 yuan ($7,267; 6,363 euros; £5,712) and 200,000 yuan. The average outlay for a cruise is around 110,000 yuan.

My parents and friends are used to taking flights and staying at hotels when they travel. They haven't gone on a cruise yet, though it's on their to-do list. That, to me, is more proof of the immense growth potential of the cruise market in China.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page28)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406018 <![CDATA[Digital fiat currency standards promoted by officials]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406018.htm

China is promoting standards for digital fiat currency around the globe based on its leading research, according to central bank officials.

"The country is participating in the development of some basic digital fiat currency concepts and standards in some international standard-setting bodies," said Li Wei, director of the People's Bank of China's technology department. "China has already introduced standards in some economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative."

The concepts and standards are usually related to digital fiat currency definitions and categories, issues affecting both traditional and virtual currencies, as well as regulation.

Global central bank governors and international financial supervision organizations have discussed topics related to digital currencies, including specifying the attributes, legitimacy, security and regulatory processes related to the emerging technology.

"But we also face difficulties, as the standards are not so easily accepted in some countries," Li said.

"We have already achieved some results so far," said Chen Jianxin, deputy head of the PBOC's currency, gold and silver bureau. "China is one of the countries that are leading the research in digital currencies, and we hope the standards that we have proposed will be accepted by the international community."

To date, China has introduced 72 experts to the International Organization for Standardization, joining 24 working groups to develop international standards in various areas, the PBOC said.

The bank is one of the first central banks to explore, study and experiment in digital currencies. It launched a specialized research institute in 2016 and started to research digital currencies and electronic payments in partnership with some companies in 2017.

Under the G-20 framework, a consensus was achieved in March among financial ministers and central bank governors that crypto-assets have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system, and the broader economy.

But they agreed it can also raise issues with respect to consumer and investor protection, market integrity, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing.

The officials also committed to implement the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body setting standards and promoting effective implementation in the international financial system.

They called on international standard-setting bodies to continue their monitoring of crypto-assets and risks, according to their mandates, and to assess multilateral responses as needed.

chenjia@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page26)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406017 <![CDATA[Ikea to build its biggest mall yet in Shanghai]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406017.htm Shopping area to take up less than half the space; zoos and a small racetrack for horses included

Ikea, the Scandinavian-based furniture retailer, announced on Dec 6, its biggest investment yet: an 8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion; 1.05 billion euros; £940 milion) shopping mall to be built in Shanghai.

The new project will be located adjacent to Hongqiao International Airport in the western part of the city. It will operate under the brand Livat and is expected to open at the end of 2022.

 

Pedestrians walk past an Ikea center in Shanghai. Provided to China Daily

When built, the complex will cover a total area of 430,000 square meters, of which 120,000 will be devoted to over 300 retailers for clothing, catering, entertainment, education and sports.

The Swedish company's furniture store will naturally be included in the new project; however it will aim to take the company in a new direction, featuring less warehousing and instead relying more on digital tools.

According to Ding Hui, president of Ikea Centers China, one rule for the Shanghai project is that the shopping area should take up less than 50 percent of the total space. The rest will be devoted to other types of business, such as zoos and a small-sized racetrack for horses.

The project will also feature Ikea's first Grade A office, featuring 60,000 square meters of modern office space, styled with Ikea furniture.

They will be designed with office-sharing in mind, in light of that sector's growth in recent years. Ikea is still deciding whether to operate the offices on its own or cooperate with qualified third-party property management companies, Ding said, adding that the enterprise hoped the space will attract more companies from Northern Europe.

Upon completion, the complex will support about 3,000 jobs, making it Ikea's biggest location, excluding its headquarters in Sweden.

Beyond Shanghai, Ikea plans to build another two new Livat projects in Changsha, Hunan province, and Xi'an, Shaanxi province, which are scheduled to open in 2020 and 2022.

The new megaproject, the largest in Ikea's 75-year history, comes as the brand is undergoing a strategic transformation. According to its CEO Jesper Brodin, the company will integrate full digital solutions in all countries, and move away from the out-of-town stores to more centers within cities.

Ding, who oversees Ikea's Chinese shopping centers, said the company is looking to bring smaller-sized centers to the country. For the Livat brand, Ikea will also introduce some smaller complexes to test the waters in China.

Ikea first introduced retail brand Livat to China in 2009. So far three Livat projects have been built - in Beijing; Wuxi, Jiangsu province; and Wuhan, Hubei province. The three have a combined lease area of 530,000 square meters and had a total investment of more than 10 billion yuan.

shijing@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page27)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406016 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 24)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406016.htm

 

Customers pose for photographs at a Christmas-themed area in a shopping mall in Shanghai on Dec 11, weeks away from the holiday. Wang Gang / For China Daily

Financial regulators to boost risk awareness

China and France have signed an agreement on bilateral financial regulatory cooperation during the sixth High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on Dec 11. The agreement, signed by the CSRC and its French counterpart, aims to strengthen cooperation in preventing market risks, financing the real economy, asset management and sustainable development of the financial sector, the regulator said in a statement on its website.

China, UK urged to step up intercity alliances

Chinese and British cities should expand their cooperation to better tap opportunities from the nation's Belt and Road Initiative, city officials from both sides said at an event in Beijing on Dec 12. The annual event was jointly held by the China Center for Urban Development and the Urban-EU-China project team of the European Union. Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and Manchester in the UK were recognized for their efforts in promoting intercity cooperation. Joanne Roney, chief executive officer of Manchester Municipality, said that the 32-yearlong cooperation between the two cities should be regarded as a good example for intercity cooperation.

China, Ukraine to renew bilateral currency swaps

China and Ukraine have renewed a bilateral local currency swap agreement, the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said on Dec 10. The agreement between the central banks of the two nations is worth 15 billion yuan ($2.18 billion; 1.9 billion euros; £1.7 billion), or 62 billion hryvnias and will be valid for three years, with an option for further extension upon mutual consent, according to the PBOC. The move is aimed at facilitating bilateral trade and investment to boost economic development in both countries. The swap deal was first agreed by the central banks of the two nation's in 2012.

BRI to help sustain private firms' growth

The further development of the Belt and Road Initiative will offer more growth momentum to private companies, especially in fields such as sustainable infrastructure project operation, green finance and insurance, according to participants at the Silk Road Forum 2018 in Paris. Yan Bin, joint chairman of the Belt and Road General Chamber of Commerce (HK), urged all participants to further upgrade cooperation to generate new growth points for the next stage of development.

Agricultural enterprises to boost R&D efforts

The All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives has urged companies that produce agricultural materials to deploy more resources on the research and development of organic fertilizers, related digital products and creative farming methods to further improve the country's farmland quality and sustainability, as well as encourage capable companies to increase fertilizer exports. The federation made the call at the Eighth China Agricultural Material Forum held in Beijing.

Regulator fines six lenders for violations

Commercial lenders have been fined for multiple violations including improper practices in wealth management, according to China's banking and insurance regulator. A total of six banks and the individuals responsible were fined a combined 156.3 million yuan ($22.8 million; 2o million euros; £17.9 million), according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. Lenders including China Minsheng Bank and China Bohai Bank were punished for irregularities such as guaranteeing principal on some wealth management products. The punishments come as China's regulators toughen their stance on market irregularities, targeting risky business practices such as shadow banking.

Mercedes-Benz recalls 1,621 faulty cars

German carmaker Mercedes-Benz is recalling 1,621 automobiles in China for incorrect software coding of the panoramic sunroof, according to China's market regulator. Beijing Benz Automotive Co Ltd has started recalling 1,501 vehicles manufactured between April 19 and Sept 7 as of Dec 7, it said. The recall involves C-Class and GLC SUV models. Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd. started to recall 120 imported GLC SUVs manufactured from July 26 to Sept 22 on the same day, according to the State Administration of Market Regulation.

Slower global growth seen for next year

Global growth is expected to dip from 3.8 percent in 2018 to 3.6 percent in the year ahead amid potential risks, according to a report issued by BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. "We are expecting slightly weaker global growth. Both developed and emerging markets with most of the major economies are seeing weaker rather than stronger growth in 2019," said its research team. Developed markets are expected to see growth of 2 percent in 2019. Growth in emerging markets is also expected to dip to 4.6 percent in the year ahead, according to the report.

China to support venture capital firms

Individual partners of Chinese venture capital enterprises will now pay less income tax throughout the next five years, as new preferential tax policies will be implemented next year. The decision was made on Dec 12 at the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, with a goal to inspire venture capital investment, enhance entrepreneurial and innovative efficiency, boost investment and facilitate the commercial use of science and technological achievements and prompt industrial upgrading. Starting from Jan. 1, individual partners of venture capital enterprises can choose to pay income tax either at the rate of 20 percent of their income from equity transfers and dividends or at the progressive rates of 5 percent to 35 percent levied on their income in excess of a specific amount. The purpose of the policy, to be implemented for five years tentatively, is to ease the tax burden of individual partners of venture capital enterprises.

 

A vending robot hands a cup of tea to a customer in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The robot takes just 90 seconds to brew and serve the hot beverage to customers. Long Wei / For China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page24)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406015 <![CDATA[Investors are optimistic about future technology]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406015.htm

Investors say they remain optimistic that tech breakthroughs and entrepreneurship will help open new markets, despite a slowdown in funding dubbed "capital winter" in China.

"There must be a cycle in the economy. Historically, investment and entrepreneurship would see their best chances amid some big challenges," said Kaifu Lee, founder and CEO of the tech venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures. "Only those who have ideas, passion and ability will start a business."

His words came as China has seen a slowdown in fundraising for venture capital and private equity firms. In the first 11 months of this year, total fundraising was 1.15 trillion yuan ($167 billion; 147 billion euros; £133 billion), down 28.7 percent year-onyear, according to the latest report by Zero2IPO Research, a leading venture capital and private equity research institution.

Despite the drop, Lee, the former head of Google in China, said he remained upbeat, saying the firm's fourth round of US dollar-denominated funding and third round of yuan-denominated funding had already flowed to nearly 20 projects.

"We are very optimistic about the future. Venture capital will show its advantages during such a winter, especially in how it can use technologies to enable traditional industries in the current technology-driven era," he said.

Lee made the comments at Sinovation Ventures, where its top executives shared their views about potential investment trends in China next year.

"The Chinese economy, unlike many others in the world, is diversified, as epitomized by the top-tier cities encountering some challenges, while second-and third-tier cities gain growth momentum," said Wang Hua, managing partner of Sinovation Ventures.

For instance, he noted, mobile payments have already been popular for more than three years in toptier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, while in fourth- and fifth-tier cities, many older people are only just now beginning to adopt technology and shop online.

"It is part of the reason that Chinese online group discounter Pinduoduo can still gain popularity, even though Alibaba's Taobao and JD were launched quite a long time ago," Wang said. "It is like a magic cube. Different phases will bring different chances. Epoch-making opportunities will continue to burst out in the Chinese market."

Artificial intelligence automation, consumption upgrades in smaller cities, as well as in the overseas market, will be the next investment hotbeds, he predicted.

Wang noted that artificial intelligence, on the other side, has moved from technology to application in the country, and all kinds of industries are accelerating AI applications.

chengyu@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page30)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406014 <![CDATA[Joint efforts driving autonomous autos]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406014.htm Global collaboration combined with govt action called for as car companies compete in a crowded field

Collaboration between global firms and local governments is vital for the future success of the autonomous driving industry, say several key Chinese players in the sector.

Both traditional vehicle makers, such as Toyota, BMW, Audi and Volvo, as well as tech giants such as Apple, Intel, Uber and Baidu, have collectively pumped billions of dollars into driverless vehicles in an attempt to advance the technology, test its safety and bring commercial products to market.

 

A fleet of JingChi autonomous vehicles in Guangzhou on Sept 26, as the Chinese startup announced a 5G partnership with China Unicom's branch in Guangdong province. Provided to China Daily

It's too early to determine who the winners will be, says Tony Han, CEO of JingChi, a Chinese startup that specializes in AI technology and robotics. Since being established in 2017, the firm has grown to have offices in Guangzhou, Beijing, Anqing, and Sunnyvale, California.

"Currently, we are all partners that work hard to push forward the entire autonomous driving industry," he says, adding that the United States possesses the most advanced expertise and technology know-how in this field. "We believe a mutually beneficial relationship will be the driving force and eventually help reshape the way people travel."

Echoing Han is James Peng, founder and CEO of Pony.ai, another Chinese autonomous driving startup that has raised $214 million (188 million euros; £170 million) since late 2016. He says a massive global market for fully autonomous driving is "not mature yet", adding that "an expectation for an overnight shift from traditional driving to fully automotive driving is not realistic".

Based in Fremont, California in the United States, Poni also operates in Beijing and Guangzhou, and announced its partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group in February by launching its fully self-driving fleet on a 2.8-kilometer route.

The global self-driving vehicle market will undergo explosive growth in the next 10 years and reach an estimated value of $556.7 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research.

In China alone, a $14 billion market value is projected for intelligent connected vehicles by 2020, according to China's Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei, who spoke at the World Intelligent Connected Vehicles Conference in October in Beijing.

Baidu, which began autonomous driving research in 2013, has developed more than 100 self-driving minibuses powered by its Apollo platform, and will soon deploy them in Beijing, Shenzhen and foreign cities, its CEO, Robin Li, said in September.

JingChi, meanwhile, operates a fleet of 30 vehicles, which have gone 60,000 kilometers during testing with zero accidents so far. JingChi is planning for large-scale, commercial deployment of autonomous vehicles in China's major cities by 2025, Han says.

"Our vehicles will operate without human intervention by using a combination of LiDAR (light detection and ranging), cameras and radar sensors, along with artificial intelligence to perceive the road conditions and choose the quickest and safest route to the final destination," Han says.

No matter how ambitious the entrepreneurs are, and how rapidly the technology emerges, safety remains the top priority and benchmark with autonomous driving.

More than 90 percent of car accidents are caused by human error, such as fatigue, road rage and drunk driving, says Peng, adding that autonomous driving will be much safer and more reliable.

"Safety is the industry's top priority," he said.

In March, one of Uber's autonomous cars killed a pedestrian during a test drive in Arizona, triggering a temporary suspension of similar tests by several US enterprises.

The integration of urban governance with algorithms and artificial intelligence, or the practice of smart cities, will ultimately benefit citizens, and help solve some of the most severe urbanization challenges, including traffic congestion, climate change and energy overconsumption, said Tang Jie, former vice-mayor of Shenzhen, at a global climate action summit held in San Francisco in September.

"However, further development of autonomous driving relies on the government, which offers regulatory support and invests in infrastructural upgrade," Robin Li said in September.

Danial Sperling, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, said the government should play a more active and important role in regulating and shaping the autonomous driving industry.

"We will definitely have electric vehicles; we will definitely have automation. But we need to learn that the government should bring them all together with pooling and sharing, to avoid vehicle dependency," Sperling says.

junchang@chinadailyusa.com

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page30)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406013 <![CDATA[Cross-border trade via e-commerce expands]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406013.htm China's cross-border trade in goods via e-commerce platforms rose to 111.04 billion yuan ($16.13 billion; 14.1 billion euros; £12.6 billion) in the first 10 months of 2018, as the country continues to raise annual transaction volume by individual buyers who make purchases for personal use, officials said on Dec 7.

Through this fast-growing sector, the country's imports surged 86 percent year-on-year to reach 67.18 billion yuan between January and October, while exports jumped by 173.9 percent year-on-year to 43.86 billion yuan, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

"China will continue to adjust the product list and tax policies for cross-border e-commerce retail imports," said Li Chenggang, assistant commerce minister.

 

The first TEU container marks the opening of the Cross-border E-commerce Industrial Zone in Rizhao, Shandong province, on Nov 11. Song Niansheng / For China Daily

He made the remarks after the country released a policy on Nov 28 enlarging the total number of tariff lines covered in the goods list to 1,321 products under 63 tariff categories.

The products involved in those 63 tariff categories include textiles and clothing, footwear, jewelry, certain food products, small household appliances, stationery, fitness equipment, wine, beer, telescopes, video game consoles and ski boots.

As for transaction volume caps, the limit per transaction has been lifted from 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan, while the annual cap has been lifted from 20,000 yuan to 26,000 yuan per person. These caps will be further lifted as individual incomes increase in the future, officials said.

Li said that under the new rules, China will extend the policies currently implemented in the existing 15 pilot cities to another 22 comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones, including Beijing. The aim is to further improve regional distribution of e-commerce development and better satisfy consumer demand.

"Unlike general trade, cross-border e-commerce retail imports mainly serve to provide diversified and quality products to domestic consumers. The products must be sold to consumers directly and confined to personal use," said Wang Wei, director of the Department of Port Administration at the GAC.

On this basis, the government has said cross-border e-commerce retail imports should be regulated as entry of articles for personal use that are not subject to requirements such as first-time import licenses, registrations or filings for record.

Feng Jinping, director of the tariff department at the Ministry of Finance, said the latest policy sets out specific requirements for the responsibilities that should be taken on by government agencies, as well as cross-border e-commerce companies, platforms and service providers within the sector and consumers.

"Cross-border e-commerce companies take the main responsibility for the quality and safety of goods. Cross-border e-commerce platforms must register with the authorities to conduct business activities in China, and bear the responsibility for up-front compensation," Feng said.

With different parties' responsibilities clearly defined, Feng said, supervision during and after transactions will be reinforced, quality-related risks will be better controlled and all entities will have clear standards to follow.

zhongnan@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page25)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406012 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406012.htm

"Today more people are switching to short-term rentals, especially in first-tier cities, as long-term rentals no longer create benefits like they did in the past but require massive time input."

LUO JUN, chairman of Sweetome Property Consulting Group Co, at a recent forum.

"Weaker business conditions for industrial companies also led to slower growth in bank deposits. ... As of the end of September, it took 9.6 more days year-on-year for industrial companies to recover accounts receivable. In the first three quarters, the loss of industrial enterprises with an annual prime operating revenue of at least 20 million yuan increased by 5.8 percent year-on-year. All these factors have affected the accumulation of deposits."

ZHANG XINGRONG, managing director of the Institute of International Finance at Bank of China.

"China has unique advantages in applied technology research and development, for example, in the area of face recognition. AI education has been receiving more and more attention in recent years, not only at universities but also at vocational colleges, and even in secondary and primary schools. This growing AI talent base will result in even greater future development of the AI field in China."

SUN ZHENAN, professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Automation.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page24)

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2018-12-14 08:08:22
37406007 <![CDATA[Literary bonds forged in Algeria]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406007.htm Chinese publishers sign more than 200 agreements at this year's book fair

Nineteen-year-old Algerian Issam Chouiref studied Mandarin for a month before he came to the Chinese publishers' booths at the 23rd Algiers International Book Fair, which ran from late October to mid-November.

He wanted to volunteer.

 

Children's books at the China booth draw visitors during the 23rd Algiers International Book Fair. Photos Provided to China Daily

China, with its delegation of more than 100 publishing professionals and writers, along with 2,500 book titles, it was the country of honor at the fair. It was the first publishing exchange between Algeria and China and has remained the biggest.

"I came to say 'Welcome, Chinese friends, to Algeria'. We're old friends, and I'd like to see the good relationship between us kept well so that when the Chinese friends go home, they'll remember there was an Algerian who helped them," Chouiref told China Daily.

A fan of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, Chouiref studies foreign languages by himself and is an apprentice in a foreign-trade business. He sometimes does part-time translation and teaching. His Chinese name, Huang Jinlong, means "golden dragon".

Chouiref came to the booths during the fair and, without asking for payment, worked as a translator, sales assistant and overall bridge between two cultures.

With his help, China Intercontinental Press sold about 180 books in French on Oct 29, the first day of the fair, and 200 more in Arabic later.

"He's now like my younger brother, even though we just met for a couple of days," says Jiang Shan, who works for China Intercontinental Press.

"I'm motivated to learn more about the Chinese language and culture," Chouiref says, adding that he is trying to help build relations between Algeria and China.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Algeria - where writer and philosopher Albert Camus was born and art masters Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet lived - was one of the countries that led the proposal to restore China's rights in the United Nations in the 1970s. China was the first non-Arabic country to recognize the Algerian provisional government in 1958 and this year invited Algeria to join the Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese publishers brought books, mostly in Arabic, French or English, to the pearl of the southern Mediterranean coast, Algiers. The city was packed with visitors at the exhibition center where the literary and cultural events were held, as well as at the National Library where a photo exhibition, Beautiful China, was held.

Some visitors came to hobnob with famous writers, including Nobel laureate Mo Yan. Some just came for any interesting Chinese element. Many took photos with members of the Chinese delegation, and some asked for their names to be handwritten in Chinese characters. The use of chopsticks was shown to a few more.

This year's fair saw a record 2 million visitors, according to organizers. More than 1,000 publishing houses from 47 countries and regions participated.

Chinese publishers signed 207 agreements on copyright cooperation with others at the fair, mainly on traditional culture, children's books, language learning and books about China's development.

Among the titles in focus was Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, and its translated versions in Arabic, French and English. The book has two volumes. The first had a global circulation of 6 million copies; the second, which is a collection of Xi's speeches, notes and talks from August 2014 to September 2017, grouped in 17 major topics, reached 13 million copies worldwide.

Its publisher, Foreign Languages Press, held readers' seminars in Spain and Portugal.

Bachar Chebaro, secretary-general of the Arabic Publishers' Association, which has published 30 Chinese titles, says the Belt and Road Initiative has enriched the relationship between China and Arab countries.

"The book shows China's open attitude about communicating better with international society and targets some of the misunderstandings," Chebaro says. "I'm impressed by the idea of always putting people's interests first."

Egyptian publisher Ahmed Elsaid says the world is interested in learning more about China as the country's importance grows. "As you learn more, you'll love its culture more," he said.

The Chinese way of thinking, tradition and culture are inducing readers to dig deeper, said Elsaid, who has found himself busy on the international book fair circuit in recent years.

"That means my team and I are getting more recognition. I started out trying to offer Arabic readers more choices in Chinese titles. Now I'm exerting myself to present China and its charm through more books," he says.

Under the translation agreements between China and some Arab countries reached during Algiers fairs over the years, 130 titles have been selected as representative of the projects.

Liang Yanshun, a senior official of the publicity department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said at the China-Arab Publishing Culture Forum during the fair that the two countries have been supporting each other and have formed friendships in the process.

Liang said many stories about links between the two peoples are being told through books.

China had published 17 titles by Algerian authors, and Algeria had published 23 Chinese titles before this year's book fair, he said.

Algeria Press Service correspondent Nour Cherkit said: "Today, with the economic relations between China and Algeria, things are getting better and better. We are seeing translations of works by great Chinese authors, and there is more exchange between our two countries. The book fair is a beautiful bridge of exchanges."

Algerian publishers say they take China as an important partner, and they respect China for being an ancient civilization like the Arabic civilization.

Assia Moussei, the founder of Algerian El-Ikhtilef (meaning "difference") Publishing, is also a medical doctor.

"We're attracted to Chinese history and its present-day stories, experiences and culture," Moussei says.

At first she thought the Algerians' interest was in Western stories and books. Later, after market tests, she found her readers were eager to know about what's happening in China.

The Arab world is happy to see China's rise, she says.

Moussei says she initially believed interest was limited to literature. Then she discovered that it extended to politics, economics, society, history, culture and children's books.

Her company has released books on China's anti-corruption campaigns and an encyclopedia of history.

Her views are shared by Esraa Abdel Sayed Hassan, director of the Chinese-language department at Ain Shams University in Cairo.

Hassan has been learning, teaching and translating Chinese for 30 years.

"The Arabic readers' interests are wide, and we yet have more to discover and explore about China," Hassan says, adding that she just finished working on the Arabic version of an ancient classic on science and technology by Song Yingxing of the 17th century, and the Fifteen Lectures on Chinese History.

As for the Chinese side, Beijing Publishing Group has cooperated with Arabic publishers since 2007. A total of 100 titles were sold, including novels, essays and children's books.

Huang Jian, president of Jieli Publishing House, the organizer of a publishing forum on children's books during the fair, says he sees promising prospects for the children's book market there.

"Arabic readers tend not to reject Chinese content and thinking because it strengthens harmony and peace," Huang says.

Take Algeria, for example, he says, where 32 percent of its total population is younger than age 15 and 64 percent are under 30.

Hans Anderson Award winner Cao Wenxuan brought some of his key works in Arabic to the fair. Writer Zhao Lihong released a new book about dealing with fear, inspired by his son's notes, to local readers.

Children's works were the highlights of the fair. Titles included Moon Stage, Sister Wanda Can Help and Clumsy Wolf.

meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The book fair also features a photo exhibition called "beautiful China".

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page22)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37406006 <![CDATA[Garden show]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406006.htm A Kunqu Opera performance brings Shen Fu's famous memoir to life in its real-life setting

One can feel a bit of chill in the air at 8 pm outside the north gate of the Canglang Pavilion in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. But one soon forgets it when the hero Shen Fu and his beloved wife, Chen Yun, appear on a boat. Accompanied by a melodious flute, the two step out to be greeted by their butler.

The immersive theater version of the Kunqu Opera Six Chapters of a Floating Life, based on the book by Shen Fu, starts in front of the gate. As they walk up a stone road to Canglang Pavilion, the two performers - Zhang Zhengyao from Jiangsu Performing Arts Group's Kunqu Theater playing Shen Fu and actress Shen Guofang, as Chen Yun - are followed by the melody mingled with the sound of the wind, footsteps and whispers in the garden.

 

Zhang Zhengyao and Shen Guofang as Shen Fu and Chen Yun. Photos Provided to China Daily

Playwright Zhou Mian does something remarkable. It should really be called an "immersive garden" opera, for this is "Kunqu Opera plus garden", a joint effort by the local government and Yu Theatre Company, a production company based in Nanjing that specializes in foreign dramas. The garden version of the opera not only creates a classical style and setup for Kunqu Opera but also sets it on an authentic stage.

Shen Fu and his beloved wife, Chen Yun, used to live along the street near Canglang Pavilion. Built in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000, Canglang Pavilion is the oldest of Suzhou's existing gardens.

The autobiographical writing of Suzhou native Shen Fu (1763-1825) is known for its acute portrayal of love, in contrast to the usual Chinese classics that mostly center on the grandeur of royal families and heroic figures.

The show Six Chapters depicts a married couple whose loving relationship stands out from the patriarchal norms of the time. Although Kim Hunter Gordon, the executive producer and translator of the play, feels it's more complex than that.

"As a character, Shen Fu has this boyish recklessness about him. Perhaps the most interesting difference between him and other male characters on the traditional Chinese stage is that this is his own first-person narrative," he says.

The couple were comfortable and elegant, living the "Suzhou lifestyle" that finds contentment in nature and everyday life.

The drama is divided into five parts: "Spring Festival", "Summer Light", "Autumn", "Winter Snow" and "Spring Again". Simple pictures of life in Suzhou are interwoven with Shen and Chen's affectionate relationship. The show's producer, Xiao Yan, founder of the Yu Theatre Company, hopes that everyone can experience the beauty of Suzhou gardens and Suzhou Opera through this play, and feel the exquisite elegance and charm of the Suzhou-style life.

"Six Chapters of a Floating Life is not only a performance but also an immersive experience in Suzhou gardens, integrating cultural and creative products, making the performance part of garden life and art life, and a one-stop viewing program for the refined and elegant Suzhou lifestyle," Xiao says.

The show tries to convey the book's love of life, the willingness to spend time and energy to go deep into every detail, to invest in it and enjoy the attitude of life.

"This was the Suzhou lifestyle for the literati of the time, but it is a lifestyle that many people want nowadays," Xiao says.

In addition to normal garden version of Kunqu Opera, the producer also introduces an abridged version for younger audiences. There are also plans next season for an English version, in which a historical foreign character appears in 19th century Suzhou as a guiding narrator to the audience. The 30-minute interactive session, which answers questions from the audience, together with the 60-minute performance is staged every Friday. The 30-minute interactive, plus 30-minute abridged show is performed every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

The opera has become a window for visitors to understand Suzhou culture and the Suzhou-style life in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Gordon, the executive producer and translator, says there is a certain universal appeal to an evening performance in a beautiful garden.

"As for the play itself and its relationship to both Shen Fu's original work and Chinese culture more broadly, we've thought really hard about how to use subtitles to make it more accessible to international audiences in the most effective and concise way possible," he says.

The innovative staging of Kunqu Opera in one of Suzhou's most famous gardens has breathed new life into the traditional art form.

"The normal theatrical mechanics of microphones, elaborate lighting and an easily accessible backstage and wings are replaced with the garden setting. But the biggest difference is that it brings the actors closer to the audience. This is challenging but also invigorating, both for them and the audience. The proximity makes the detail in the singing, movement and facial expression much more apparent," Gordon says.

"The special thing about this production is that it's set in the very garden next to which Shen Fu grew up and where he and his wife, Chen Yun, first set up home. It was an important place in their life. In one episode in the book, Shen arranges for them to visit the garden in private. While much of the layout, scale and architecture of the present garden has changed since then, the current pavilion is the same one that they visited. So by coming into the actual setting of their story, the audience is invited back in time into the book itself."

In doing so, people can find some elements of the Kunqu Opera that are connected with life, and the ancient art form can continue to renew its charm. The "Kunqu plus garden" initiative gives a new lease on life to traditional Kunqu Opera.

zhanglei@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page20)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37406005 <![CDATA[A sumptuous square of pork belly]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406005.htm

Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

It has to be layered in the right proportions, with a thin gelatinous skin topping alternating strata of lean meat and fat, each melting into the other but still clearly separate.

The best belly pork has at least three clear layers of fat and meat, and chefs would delight in meat with five distinct layers, evenly distributed, with the perfect ratio of lean meat to fat.

Properly prepared, it melts in the mouth, the fat dissolving on the palate, rich but not greasy - you'er buni. That is the pinnacle for a piece of pork belly, arguably the best cut of the pig to a Chinese chef.

It is indeed a universal favorite in China from the cold frigid northern lands to the temperate regions of the south.

You cannot talk about pork belly without mentioning Su Dongpo, the Song Dynasty poet and court official who steadily ate his way to gourmet sainthood despite his mixed fortunes as a district administrator in the Imperial court.

He was exiled several times and assigned to then remote places such as Hainan Island, and Hangzhou. Wherever he went, however, he endeared himself to his subjects by eating and drinking with them.

He built the famous causeway across the picturesque West Lake as an irrigation aid, and his name is on it to this day. But it is for his famous pork belly invention that he is most remembered.

Dongporou is a square of belly pork braised in soy sauce and sweet yellow wine until it is chopstick-tender.

Folk legend has it that the people were grateful because Su Dongpo had once again contained the annual floods. The farmers slaughtered pigs in celebration and they reserved the best cuts for their governor.

He loved a good drink, so they gifted him with flasks of the best yellow wine as well.

Su Dongpo woke up the next day to find his doorstep covered with slabs of belly pork, and urns of wine. There was so much food that he couldn't possibly finish, so he had to think of ways to preserve them.

He told his wife to cook the slabs of pork in soy sauce and yellow wine, seasoning them with the classic pairing of ginger and scallions. To hold the shape of the pork, his wife tied the squares with rice straws, which in turn gave the meats a slight grassy perfume.

The result was such delicious decadence that he invited everyone back for a feast, and soon, all were singing the praises of this newly created Dongpo Pork.

This is the tale that goes with the dish even now in the restaurants of Hangzhou, and though the details and the recipe may vary a little with each generation of chefs, the romance of its invention remains.

The mighty pork belly manifests itself in yet another classic Chinese dish, kourou, or inverted pork belly braised with taro.

This dish has Hakka origins, and traveled all over China with the "guest people" who left the Central Plains many centuries ago and led an itinerant life before they finally settled in modern day Fujian, Guangdong and Sichuan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

They brought this special pork belly dish with them and it soon developed regional variations as the Hakka chefs adapted to local ingredients.

This is a dish that requires a complicated preparation that is hours long, but it is a dish that must be served for all festivities ranging from house-warmings to births, deaths, weddings and major festivals on the calendar.

The best pork belly is scrupulously cleaned, marinated and then deep-fried until the skin blisters. The meat is then dunked into cold water to shock the skin into tenderness. The pork belly is then cut into the size of dominoes and sandwiched with slices of purple taro.

Meat and taro are then neatly tucked into a deep bowl, skin-side down. A secret marinade of soy sauce and spices is poured over and the whole bowl steamed over high heat for several hours.

When it comes time to serve, the bowl is inverted onto a plate so the tender pig skin is displayed, brown and gleaming with juices.

Again, the long cooking process would have rendered the oil, and the pork belly would be lusciously rich but not at all oily - you'er buni.

Banquet dishes aside, every Chinese kitchen has its favorite recipe of braised or roasted pork belly.

In classic Cantonese roast meats, roast pork is a staple, with slabs of crisp-skinned bellies hanging besides roast geese, sweet fillets of lean chashao and white-cooked chicken.

The secret is in the five-spice salt marinade and the laborious preparation of the skin, reminiscent of medieval torture instruments involving many needles. Of course, the chef's mastery of the open flames decides how succulent the roast pork will finally be, but the highlight of a piece of roast park is always the skin.

For me, the best belly pork originated in my grandmother's kitchen. It was a homely braise redolent of cinnamon and cloves, and fragrant with the perfume of a good soy sauce.

The pork bellies were cut into smaller squares and they were accompanied by deep-fried tofu puffs and hard-boiled eggs tinted a chocolate brown by the sauces.

Every lunchtime, my platter of unpolished rice porridge would be accompanied by the stir-fried vegetable of the day, and the delicious nuggets of braised pork belly, and a hardboiled egg.

My grandfather liked his pork belly really crisp, and nanny would fish out the nuggets and sear them in the frying pan. The fat would render and crisp and get really crunchy. My grandfather always shared his pork belly with me.

The Chinese pork belly has traveled far, both through time and distance. Western chefs discovered the braised meat about two decades ago, and some actually made a version of Dongpo Pork as their signature dish.

Those were the days when Asian fusion first mesmerized global gourmets. These days, however, you are more likely to find them in Hangzhou dining on the real thing.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Braised pork belly

Grandma's Tauyu Bak (Braised Pork Belly)

1 kg pork belly

500 ml light soy sauce

200 ml dark soy sauce

200 ml water

100 g rock sugar

1 stick cinnamon, two star anise pods, 10 cloves

(Placed in a muslin bag)

Salt to taste

Scrub the skin of the pork belly very clean. You can scrape it with a sharp knife to remove any stray hairs. Blanch the meat with boiling water and rinse. Cut into large pieces.

Place the soy sauces and water into a deep pot, add the spice bag and bring to a boil.

Crush the rock sugar.

Heat up a frying pan on high and sear the pork belly. Add the rock sugar and fry till the sugar melts and the caramel coats the meat. Pour off the rendered oil, and add the meat to the boiling sauce.

Bring to a boil again, then immediately lower to a simmer until the meat is just tender.

You may add hard-boiled eggs and blanched tofu puffs at this stage. The braised meat always tastes better overnight.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page18)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37406004 <![CDATA[Tea lovers warming to coffee]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406004.htm Rapid urbanization and foreign travel fuel greater demand for high-octane beverage

For Zhang Yalin, an auditor at an accounting company in Guomao, Beijing's upmarket central business district, grabbing a latte from a cafe in her office building marks the start of her work day.

Zhang is one of a growing number of Chinese who have started to habitually consume the caffeinated beverage, and they are helping make the nation's market for the drink the fastest-growing in the world.

 

From left: A worker sorts coffee beans at a farm in Brazil; workers process coffee beans on a production line in Colombia. Li Ming / Xinhua and Provided to China Daily

Although most Chinese associate coffee with Western lifestyles, they are increasingly warming to it, especially in large cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. Coffee consumption in the country rose from 26,000 metric tons in 2006 to 128,000 tons in 2016.

Wu Jiahang, who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years, says that two decades ago most Chinese did not appreciate just how delicious coffee is.

"When I arrived in China for the first time in 2000, I brought coffee from Colombia as a gift, and people thought it had gone bad due to the sour taste," says Wu, who was born and raised in the South American country.

When he was appointed chief representative of the Colombian Coffee Growers' Federation for Greater China to promote coffee beans from his country, Wu says many Colombians, especially coffee growers, initially did not believe that their beans could be sold to China.

But within years, more coffee-growing countries began to sell in the country, lining up to secure a slice of the market where the growing middle class was seeking its caffeine fix.

Esther Lau, an analyst with market research company Mintel, says that "a coffee culture has been developing in China". She believes the country's massive and rapid urbanization, along with a growing number of Chinese traveling overseas are the main factors behind coffee's rapidly expanding popularity.

Chinese coffee consumption has nearly tripled in the past four years, and the market potential for the drink is enormous.

An International Coffee Organization report released last year noted that Chinese coffee imports grew by 16 percent year-on-year in 2017, compared with about 2 percent in the United States, the world's largest coffee consumer.

Wu, using Colombian coffee as an example, says annual output was less than 400 tons 12 years ago, but is expected to exceed 2,000 tons this year.

But with freshness being the key, Colombia is not China's first choice for coffee beans. According to a report by the international trade statistics database UN Comtrade, the top three coffee exporters to the country are Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Vietnam is the world's largest exporter of robusta coffee, a sturdy variety of bean with low acidity and a high degree of bitterness.

Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, a senior adviser from Vietnam on export evaluation and capacity-building for small and medium-sized enterprises, says high-end coffee shops in general mainly buy arabica beans. However, robusta beans, which are the most cultivated in Vietnam, are cheaper and often used to produce powder for instant coffee.

Vietnamese coffee beans account for 35 percent of those imported by China, which Hang says is down to persistent strong demand for instant coffee, particularly among office workers who are pushed for time.

The country's fast-expanding middle class has become accustomed to buying and drinking lattes, cappuccinos and other forms of the drink in coffee shops. Demand, especially for hot, fresh coffee, is rising, with consumption growing by about 22 percent in 2014. This expansion has led many leading coffee chains to open more stores in China.

"The Western lifestyle is attractive to upper-and middle-class urban consumers," Lau says.

The main outlets in China are Starbucks, Costa Coffee and McDonald's, with smaller companies occupying 25 percent of the market. In Shanghai there are now more than 6,500 coffee shops.

Starbucks, which opened its first store in China in 1999, is the market leader with a 31.5 percent share in 2013. When Howard Schultz, its CEO, visited the country in 2016, he said Starbucks would open 500 new stores annually by 2021. That would double the number of its outlets in China to 5,000.

Costa Coffee, a British multinational, plans to open 900 more stores in China by 2020, which will give it 1,344 in the country.

Esteban Liang, managing director of Costa Coffee in Asia, says: "To be seen in a coffee shop is a way for people to express themselves and to say who they are, the products they consume, the food they buy, the coffee they drink."

As coffee is still a relatively new thing for China's tea-drinking population, sweet milky forms of the drink, such as lattes and mochas, are the most popular.

To cater to Chinese tastes, international coffee chains have modified their menus to include more blended and tea-based drinks. The specials on offer at Starbucks include a green tea java chip frappuccino, along with green-tea-flavored cake.

In large cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, where drinking coffee has been popular for a number of years, independent businesses are also appearing.

But Dave Seminsky, who owns a coffee shop in Shanghai's Jing'an district, says his store will not cater to individual customers' preferences.

"We're staying true to coffee. I don't have bags of sugar and lots of milk hanging around," he says.

Seminsky says getting customers to change their habits has been one of the biggest challenges, but that by roasting its own beans his business can offer a "premium experience". He added that part of the price of a cup of coffee includes "the experience of going into the store, and we're trying to differentiate from the big companies".

The boom in independent coffee shops such as Seminsky's underscores the demand for more high-end coffee. With China's move toward a consumer-driven economy, customers are searching for a greater diversity of beverages.

Igor Carneiro, head of trade and investment promotion at the Brazilian embassy in Beijing, says his country is targeting the high-end Chinese market and hopes to export a coffee-drinking culture to it along with related products.

"Drinking coffee is inherent in Brazilian culture," he says, adding that Brazil is trying to target China's growing number of high-end consumers because many coffee growers in the South American country believe a smaller market often comes with higher value.

Even though Brazil supplies nearly 30 percent of the coffee beans globally, it ranks 35th in exporting them to China. Carneiro believes this is because Brazilian coffee lacks brand recognition among Chinese. To tackle this, a campaign titled "Brazil, the coffee nation" is being launched.

"A growing number of Chinese now prefer freshly ground coffee. Some even prefer specific coffee beans produced by certain countries. We are facing a prosperous and rapidly growing coffee market in China," Carneiro says.

"By promoting coffee we are actually promoting a lifestyle that is both relaxing and energetic," he says, adding that even though Brazilian coffee beans are relatively expensive, as most of the cost involves transportation, he remains confident about the Chinese market.

Lau, the market research analyst, says a high price is considered a sign of quality in China.

"The more expensive the better - there is still this concept in China, and many coffee dealers know it. They want to brand themselves as premium chains, and that is why their prices are slightly higher in China."

Last month, Brazil was one of the countries represented at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, which attracted more than 300,000 visitors.

The expo featured coffee traders, producers, beans, machines, imports and exports. Wu, from Colombia, who was among the exhibitors, says he is constantly striving to bring his country's coffee to Chinese consumers.

"From high-end products to ordinary ones, coffee has been witness to China's reform and opening-up, and the expo has been an ideal opportunity to ensure that more Chinese coffee drinkers know about our coffee."

However, he added, from time to time Colombian coffee producers are concerned about transporting coffee beans by sea because of the cost and time involved, and are not entirely familiar with Chinese consumers' preferences.

"They are worried about whether their prices are competitive compared with coffee beans from other countries, or whether their products will interest Chinese dealers," Wu said. "But I always tell them the key to winning the market is to focus on the acceptance of Chinese consumers."

panmengqi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is displayed at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November. Liu Dawei / Xinhua

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page23)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37406003 <![CDATA[Christmas comes to Gubei]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406003.htm Water town is decking its halls for the holiday season: There are Santa visits, decorated trees and crooning choirs

Santa Claus is coming to town - Beijing's Gubei water town, that is.

The attraction, also known as Beijing WTown, recently announced that it's celebrating the Christmas season until Dec 31 with traditional decorations and festive activities for visitors, especially families.

 

Gubei water town in Beijing's Miyun district, which features buildings of the Ming and Qing dynasties' styles and a section of the Great Wall, is celebrating the Christmas season until Dec 31 with traditional decorations and festive activities for visitors. Photos by Xu Lin / China Daily

It's hosting parades, a daily Christmas market with snacks, homemade gifts and outdoor Christmas-tree lighting ceremonies every Saturday.

A choir sings carols in a hilltop church. Kids can make cupcakes and decorate trees and enjoy children's stage plays at night.

Santa passes out gifts. Visitors can write him letters or send him postcards. Lucky guests will get replies.

Gubei will also host traditional temple-fair activities starting from the Western New Year on Jan 1 to prepare for the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival, including paper-cutting, shadow-puppet shows and cross-talk comedy.

The 430,000-square-meter water town opened in 2014. Its buildings follow the styles of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, as well as the early 20th century.

It's located at the foot of the Simatai section of the Great Wall in suburban Miyun district's Gubeikou town.

Simatai is known for its precipitous landscape. Its undulating terrain and geographic location made it an important military fortification in ancient times.

The 5.4-kilometer-long wall with 35 guard towers is one of the only stretches of unrestored Ming-era Great Wall. Some bricks are inscribed with characters that indicate who created them centuries ago. Tourists can also take a 15-minute ride in a helicopter to have a bird's-eye view of the zigzagging Great Wall in the mountains.

The town is 120 kilometers from Beijing's downtown and 80 kilometers from downtown Chengde, Hebei province. Buses travel between Beijing's Dongzhimen and Gubei water town.

Visitors who stay overnight are advised to book hotels in advance, especially during weekends and holidays, since there are only 1,378 rooms. Some travelers stay in guest-houses run by nearby farmers.

The canal-laced town resembles those south of the Yangtze River but incorporates some northern Chinese elements. Some components like wooden window frames and decorations are authentic and were brought from old buildings in other provinces.

The water town's scenery changes throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy flowers in spring, boat rides and starry nights in summer, red leaves in autumn and snow in winter.

Travelers visit such places as a traditional distillery and dye workshops to learn about historical industries and to make their own liquor and colorful cloth. They can also buy traditional oil paper umbrellas, kites and lanterns.

Visitors can also visit biaoju - establishments that offered armed security for the transport of valuables over long distances centuries ago.

A traditional academy shows how Chinese people were educated in ancient times.

Guests can also enjoy such street foods as roasted sweet potatoes, candied-haw skewers and barbecue. And they may encounter lion dancers or acrobats performing on the streets.

Restaurants serve Cantonese food, Peking duck and beefsteak. Some offer views of the Great Wall. Shutterbugs enjoy snapping photos of sunrises and sunsets over the bulwark.

Night tours by lantern light explore the town's streets and then head up to the Great Wall, from which viewers can take in a panorama of the town sparkling below.

The town's dancing fountain lights up with a nighttime show in which water jets and colored lights change with the music, and 3D images of phoenixes and other iconic images are projected onto the mist.

Visitors can also soak in the indoor and outdoor hot springs. Different pools are different colors to indicate their supposed health benefits.

Indeed, Christmas is just one of many reasons to visit the water town this season. Those who make the journey will discover it's a jolly place all year.

xulin@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The town is located at the foot of the Simatai section of the Great Wall, one of the only stretches of unrestored Ming-era Great Wall. Provided to China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page21)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37406002 <![CDATA[An ancient canal returns to life]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406002.htm 'We will lose everything' if it is damaged, official says

Lingqu Canal, the world's oldest man-made navigable canal dating back 2,000 years, is returning to full vitality in an effort to bolster tourism and modern agriculture.

The water conservation project in Xing'an county, 70 kilometers from Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, had strategic military importance in ancient China and was ordered built by Emperor Qin Shi Huang during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) to help unite the country. Today it is a sought-after tourist attraction as well as a vital water source for farmland.

 

Tourists visit Lingqu Canal in Xing'an county, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in August. Tang Guangdong / For China Daily

"The canal supports residents' spirits, and is a symbol of the county that attracts tourists," says Huang Hongbin, Party secretary of Xing'an.

He says that more than 400,000 visititors from outside the county came to see the canal last year. The Lingqu scenic area is free to residents.

"We are now making efforts to impress visitors with Lingqu's cultural values, beyond just its natural charm," he says. "A canal-themed museum has been under construction since September 2017, which will help give visitors a better experience with its vivid interpretation."

Covering 12,000 square meters, the museum has attracted an investment of 80 million yuan ($11.5 million; 10 million euros: £9 million) from the government. It's scheduled to open around the Lunar New Year in February, according to Huang.

"We are also in the process of restoring the canal's function for irrigation and transportation to rejuvenate agriculture along the canal," he says.

The 36.4-kilometer canal irrigates about 43 square kilometers and benefits more than 59,000 people, according to the government.

Tang Chunyan, a 40-year-old Xing'an native, runs a restaurant and a cooperative focusing on raising fish.

"The canal brings clean water to the paddy, and makes the fish we raise in the field plump and appealing to the travelers' tastes," she says. "We made a profit of about 600,000 yuan last year thanks to the long-standing irrigation system."

However, protecting the ecosystem of Lingqu Canal remains the priority in the ancient water conservancy project, Huang says.

"No industrial plant has been allowed to open along the canal since the 1950s," he says. "We revere the canal, although it's challenging to balance protection and development. Preservation of relics should always come first, as we will lose everything if the canal is damaged."

The government began canal repairs in 2016, with nearly 200 million yuan invested so far in transportation functions and to restore the environment along its banks, Huang said.

The canal was listed as one of the world's Heritage Irrigation Structures by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage in August, and preparations are underway to apply for World Cultural Heritage recognition.

chengsi@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page19)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37406001 <![CDATA[Oil painting by Chinese master Wu Guanzhong auctioned for $16 million]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37406001.htm Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong's oil painting of a serene Jiangnan landscape fetched 112.7 million yuan ($16 million; 14 million euros; £12.5 million) at Poly International Auction's sale on Dec 6 in Beijing.

The 1994 painting, titled Twin Swallows, was sold at the second-highest price paid for an oil work by Wu, who died in 2010 in Beijing. The modern master's output, especially landscapes, enjoy wide popularity for their color system and for conveying a sense of Chinese poetry.

Wu first created a colored ink painting, also titled Twin Swallows, in 1988. Based on that, he created the oil version with some variations in details. The ink version was auctioned in the same sale, selling for 54 million yuan.

The most expensive piece of Wu's oil on canvas, and of his oeuvre, is Zhouzhuang, a 3-meter-long landscape of the water town in Jiangsu province. It grossed HK$236 million ($30 million; 27 million euros; £24 million) in a Hong Kong auction in April 2016.

Throughout his career, Wu revisited the motif of Jiangnan - the area comprising the lower reaches of the southern bank of the Yangtze River. A native of Jiangsu province in the heart of Jiangnan, Wu captured the region's tranquil beauty, giving full play to his homesickness after decades of living in Beijing. His classic paintings of charming Jiangnan easily arouse viewers' poetic sentiments.

Twin Swallows gathers these elements to form an iconic image of Jiangnan in general: the white walls and gray roof tiles of folk architecture; age-old trees laden with leaves; a clear, reflective river; and a couple of swallows flying in a damp, clean sky.

Wu combined the Chinese and Western styles in Twin Swallows to present a simple elegance. He adopted the classic Chinese painting techniques of baimiao, finely controlled outlining, and liubai, leaving blank areas.

The painting shows Wu's effort to portray Jiangnan in oil over two decades. In the 1950s, when he was a teacher at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, he heard lectures by visitors from the former Soviet Union who said Jiangnan was gloomy all year, so its was not bright enough for a good oil painting.

Afterward, Wu traveled frequently in Jiangnan in the firm belief that he would find a way to show its beauty in oil on canvas.

"I love the gloomy spring days," Wu once said. "Black, white and gray are the main tones of Jiangnan. It thus became the base on which my works are grounded, and also the start of my career."

linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Twin Swallows, by Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong, is sold at the price of 112.7 million yuan on Dec 6. Provided to China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page19)

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2018-12-14 08:07:50
37405965 <![CDATA[Adjusted IP law to level playing field]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405965.htm

Govt crackdown on infringement comes with heavier fines

A draft amendment to China's patent law aims to strengthen the crackdown on intellectual property infringement by substantially raising compensation for victims, and fines for violators, which experts said will help build a fairer business environment and encourage innovation.

The draft was approved at a State Council executive meeting on Dec 5, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, and will be submitted to the top legislature - the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress - to become law.

The move will protect the legal rights of patent holders and improve the mechanism for encouraging innovation, according to a statement released after the meeting. It targets violators by increasing fines and compensation, and clarifies the responsibilities for online service providers. In the meantime, inventors and designers will receive a reasonable share of profits brought by patents they invented as employees.

For example, the draft raises the fine range for violators from a minimum of 100,000 yuan ($14,490; 12,700 euros; £11,498) to 5 million yuan when the loss to patent holders, and the benefits gained by violators, cannot be determined. The current fines range from 10,000 yuan to 1 million yuan.

In many cases of IP infringement in China, the average compensation is usually around several hundred thousand yuan, and it was rare to see 1 million yuan awarded in compensation, according to figures by the Supreme People's Court.

This is the fourth amendment to China's patent law since 1984, with the latest revision in 2008. The National Intellectual Property Administration started preparations for the amendment in 2014 and began to solicit public opinion at the end of 2015 after it submitted the first draft to the State Council. In March, Shen Changyu, head of the administration, said the amendment would be accelerated this year.

On Dec 5, the administration and another 37 departments released a document to punish IP violations, including patents. Stocks related to IP protection in the A-share market went up by 3.52 percent to record highs since August.

Over the past 10 years, China has leapt forward in IP activity. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, China ranked first in the number of applications for patents, trademarks and industrial designs this year. In the first half of this year, the country had 751,000 patent applications, and 217,000 of them had been approved, up by 6.5 percent compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the country moved up by two places to rank 25th in the International IP Index 2018, according to figures released by the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center.

A report by Essence Securities said that detailed policies were carried out this year in IP protection, including articles in the white paper titled "China and the World Trade Organization" released in June by the State Council Information Office. China will deepen its institutional reform and make stronger efforts to fortify IP protection, the report said.

Since joining the WTO in 2001, China has amended the laws related to IP, including those on patents in 2008, trademarks in 2013 and obstructing fair competition in 2017, to boost protection of such rights.

Innovation has become an enduring engine for a country's social and economic development, and IP protection has to be fulfilled and guaranteed by legal support and penalties, says Zhang Naigen, director of the Center for Intellectual Property Study at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Zhang says heightened punishments for violators are expected to build a legal environment that is more beneficial for holders of such rights. How to promote innovation is a key agenda for China as its door opens wider, bringing more competition among domestic and international companies. New measures, including the draft amendment, are expected to build a more inviting business environment and offer conditions for more fair competition, he says.

huyongqi@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page14)

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2018-12-14 08:07:24
37405964 <![CDATA[COP24 president lauds China on climate]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405964.htm

China leads the world in electric vehicles and has a remarkable role to play in the ongoing EV revolution, senior environmental officials said at the UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland.

The Chinese progress in terms of EVs is "absolutely remarkable" and "China is taking a leadership role right now", said Michal Kurtyka, president of the ongoing 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).

The conference, tasked with finalizing implementation guidelines for the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, which aims to control global warming well below 2 C from pre-industrial levels, concluded on Dec 14.

"If I remember correctly, every second electric car being sold in the world is being sold in China. Shenzhen (Guangdong province) has more electric buses (over 16,000) than any other city in the world. So it is a very intelligent strategy because it combines several benefits, in my opinion," said Kurtyka, who is also a secretary of state at Poland's Ministry of the Environment.

He said electric vehicles are an option to address smog issues plaguing cities in many countries, including China, as urbanization continues.

One of the leading topics of COP24 was energy transition. Kurtyka said that in this regard, it is important to have an ambitious, realistic energy policy. And China is developing a number of solutions.

"I think that there is growing awareness everywhere, in China in particular, of the importance of an environmental model of development that marries economic, social, and environmental benefits," he said.

He added that China has a fundamental role to play in ongoing climate change negotiations.

"It's a party-driven process, and the Polish presidency is doing its utmost to run it in an inclusive, transparent and party-driven way. It's extremely encouraging to see a very large Chinese delegation working hard to make sure that Katowice is successful," he said, adding the committed Chinese delegation was a good sign for the Katowice negotiations.

He said China, due to the size of its economy and its very fast economic growth, is an important player within G77, which assists developing countries in tackling climate change.

Patricia Espinosa, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary, said there is growing recognition of China's efforts in reducing emissions. A leader in clean technologies, the country has experiences that could be shared with other nations.

"I am also very thankful for the leadership in China and their clarity and vision in putting sustainability and climate change at the center of the agenda of development for the coming years," she said on Dec 8.

houliqiang@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page14)

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2018-12-14 08:07:24
37405963 <![CDATA[Shopping: Brick and mortar still matters]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405963.htm Shanghai retail stores learn to offer unique value in an ever more digital world

Women dressed in elegant qipao and highheels with dainty bags in their hands stand in front of a green and white livery tram along Shanghai's Nanjing Road, colorful neon signs flickering in the background.

But nothing in this scene is actually real. The women are cardboard figures. The tram is a replica. It's above ground and indoors inside a chic new space called Lane 100 on the seventh floor of No 1 Shopping Center on East Nanjing Road, a well-known shopping area in the country.

 

Lane 100 showcases some of the popular necessities from the 1900s. Photos Provided to China Daily

"It's thrilling to see popular necessities from the 1900s here, including enamel mugs, old-school Chinese postman's bikes and manual sewing machines," says Ke Xiaojie, a Shanghai resident in her 50s.

"I also love the brick and mortar shikumen-style wall design, and how the tunes of Shanghai Nights (a classic song of old Shanghai) are being played in the background, calling back my childhood memories."

Dedicated to selling nostalgic goods, Lane 100 is just one of the new offerings in the mall, which reopened in November after 18 months of renovation. The makeover project saw the old No 1 Shopping Center merge with the former Orient Shopping Center just across Liuhe Street.

The move is aimed at drawing younger consumers, as evidenced by the drastic change in featured brands. According to the mall operator, more than 70 percent of the old brands that were once located in the two malls have been replaced with those currently in vogue. Meanwhile, the food and beverage options have been increased and more space has been allocated for lifestyle amenities such as hair salons, exhibition zones and child care centers.

According to Fan Liqun, the manager of the shopping center, the average age of its consumers has dropped by about 20 years. Today, the majority of those who visit the mall are between 20 and 45 years old.

Formerly known as Da Sun Department Store, the 82-year-old mall has, like many others in the city, embraced the sweeping changes in the retail sector, transforming from a retail hub to a lifestyle center that is focused on providing real-time experiences for consumers.

"No 1 Shopping Center was the mall with the highest sales for 14 consecutive years in Shanghai," says Fan. "But the transition it has undergone is obviously inevitable in this day and age. The renovation represents a new evolution of traditional department stores as they try to adapt to the new retailing era."

Stores through the centuries

According to Song Zuanyou, a former researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of History, department stores only became popular around the world in the 1800s after the founding of Le Bon Marche in Paris in 1838.

However, Shanghai was largely isolated from the trend until the 1900s, when the city's economy made great strides forward due to rapid industrial development.

"During this period, people became wealthier and had more purchasing power. This meant that the smaller stores they used to shop at were unable to meet their growing demands," says Song.

The first department store in Shanghai was built in 1906. Established by the foreign company White-Away, Laidlaw & Co and located on Nanjing Road, the five-story building featured more than 20 brands. However, the store did not make much of an impact on the local scene, as most of its offerings were imported goods catering to the expatriate population.

In 1917, the Sincere Department Store was founded in Shanghai by Sincere Company Limited. While this department store also sold pricey global goods, it stood out by introducing new functions to the space, such as entertainment options, offices, hotels and a rooftop garden.

Lu Yongyi, a professor from the school of architecture at Tongji University, once said at a seminar in 2016 that the Sincere Department Store was "a unique model that laid the foundation for all shopping malls in the city".

Following the success of Sincere, the Wing On and Sun Sun department stores entered the market a few years later. This trio of retail enterprises dominated the local market for many years to come.

But the entry of the Da Sun Department Store in 1936 broke the monopoly. Established with an initial capital of HK$4 million ($512,000; 448,000 euros; £402,000), the 10-story Da Sun Department Store was equipped with Otis escalators, a heating and cooling system and underground stores, all of which were firsts in China.

"I still remember that during my days in junior high school in the 1970s, people would go to the mall just to see the escalator," says Lao Guoling, a 54-year-old Shanghai native. "During the two decades I spent living in my grandma's home on Nanjing Road, hanging out at Da Sun Department store was an after-school ritual."

Despite the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), business at department stores boomed as a large number of foreigners sought shelter in Shanghai and moved to the international settlement and the former French Concession.

"A new round of transformation for department stores occurred after the war when locals who needed high quality but affordably priced goods drove demand in the city," says Lao, who is also the director of the E-Commerce Research Center at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Da Sun Department Store was replaced by No 1 Shopping Center which offered more local products to consumers.

Shopping malls rise

The department store industry in Shanghai enjoyed steady growth until the end of the 20th century when it was buoyed by national initiatives such as the Shanghai Urban Master Plan which resulted in rapid urbanization.

"Most residents preferred to stay around the central Huangpu district because the suburban areas did not have much in the way of amenities. But people were gradually able to live across the city because of the improvement in living conditions," says Wang Xudong, a Shanghai native.

To serve the population of these newly urbanized areas, massive shopping malls, rather than department stores, were added to the landscape. These facilities, such as the Super Grand Mall in Pudong New Area and Grand Gateway 66 in Xuhui district, combined social, commercial and recreational offerings under one roof. Traditional department stores in central Shanghai had, by comparison, become one-dimensional.

By 1999, business zones in the city hit 20 million square meters, almost five times what it was in 1990, according to Chao Gangling, business school professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. However, the number of small and midrange department stores had decreased by more than a half. This situation was exacerbated in the mid-2000s when e-commerce emerged.

"It's convenient when shopping is simply about making a few clicks with a mouse. And then there's also the allure of discount coupons and delivery service," says Chao, who is also the vice-chairman of the Shanghai Business Economics Society.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the overall size of the nation's online retail sector was 7.18 trillion yuan ($1.04 trillion; 911.7 billion euros; £817.6 billion) last year, a rise of about 32 percent from the previous year.

But despite talk about the extinction of brick and mortar retail businesses in the face of e-commerce, Chao believes there will always be a place for offline shopping.

"The unique aspect of a mall is the experience you get from spending time dining, playing or even learning. This experience is something e-commerce cannot offer," he says. "There is no need to fight against e-commerce. It's about giving full play to offline advantages."

The current retail trend supports this sentiment. Old department stores are being transformed into new malls that offer a blend of retail and experiential offerings.

For example, the former Orient Shopping Center along Huaihai Road was turned into a mall that features the world's largest flagship stores for Under Armour and Muji.

The Pacific Department Store on the same road, which was shut down in 2016, has been transformed into the new Xintiandi Plaza which is slated to open at the end of this year. The new space will feature a host of top global brands, popular restaurants, and an area dedicated to art shows and technology exhibitions. There will also be two rooftop outdoor gardens overlooking the bustling area.

Some branches of traditional stores in Shanghai, like Printemps Department Store, New World Department Store and Orient Shopping Center have also sought to stay relevant in recent times by introducing new spaces for public events, dining, education and entertainment.

Shanghai announced a three-year plan earlier this year to build the four brands of the city - services, manufacturing, shopping and culture - to become a shopping hub that will offer the world's trendiest and most value-for-money products.

The city is also planning to create two world-class shopping streets, 10 local first-class core business districts, and 20 special shopping districts by 2020.

The revitalization of 50 brands with Shanghai characteristics and 50 time-honored brands is also a major part of the project. Traditional stores that are classic icons of Shanghai society will take the lead in this transformation process, Chao says.

caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

 

No 1 Shopping Center underwent an 18-month renovation to attract more young consumers.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page15)

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2018-12-14 08:07:24
37405955 <![CDATA[Researchers tap limitless hydrogen]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405955.htm

Collaboration between British, Chinese leads to new method for cracking water molecules

A collaboration of British and Chinese researchers has taken the world one step closer to a future in which clean renewable energy is a widespread reality. First announced in November, an inorganic sulphur material has been used as a catalyst to split water molecules to obtain pure hydrogen. A pure hydrogen fuel would solve the global issue of greenhouse gases, and also come with an unlimited supply of precursor material - just water.

The implications of this first step could be huge, and it comes at a time when international research budgets around the world are dwindling.

The technology could be the start of the next significant industrial revolution since the discovery of coal, so it's important to know just how this process works, and what is important in the new discovery.

Water-splitting technology, despite the recent announcement, actually goes back 3 billion years. The process of photocatalytic water-splitting occurs naturally in photosynthesis, so the complex biological pathways that convert photons into chemical energy are happening in plants all around us all the time.

Scientists have previously managed to mimic the advanced secrets of biochemical evolution. However, we are still a long way from unlocking the full set of secret instructions for clean energy production, honed first by the cyanobacteria in Earth's ancient Archean period.

The Archean geological period began immediately after the Hadean period 4.6 billion years ago - (named for Hades the Greek god of the underworld, because of Earth's hellish conditions at the time). Water-splitting technology appeared not long after our planet began forming as a lifeless rocky inferno, meaning that scientists are still working out how to copy a primeval energy production process that's dated closer to the formation of the Earth and moon than human existence.

However, researchers from the University of Liverpool, University College London and East China University of Science and Technology are now closer to such cosmic genius with the new material researchers used in the photocatalytic water-splitting process. The new sulphur-based catalyst maintains the effectiveness of inorganic catalysts but also retains the simplicity offered by organic catalysts. The process is efficient: It merely requires reagents such as sodium sulfide (a common and fairly cheap material used in the paper and pulp industry) to replace the sulphur that decays in the catalyzing process. Maintenance of the process is much more efficient than previous methods used to extract hydrogen, researchers say, and in theory could be much cheaper if eventually brought to a commercial level.

The research was funded partly by the China Scholarship Council through a program that attracts Chinese PhD students to carry out studies at the University of Liverpool Materials Innovation Factory.

"It is a good example of the vital need to hire the best researchers from all over the world and to collaborate with teams in other countries," said Andrew Cooper, director of the factory and the academic lead in the new study. "Top-level science is an international endeavor."

Such endeavors are vital, and provide important results. Researchers at Liverpool University, along with the Beijing Computational Science Research Centre, have also recently made headway in converting CO2 into methane and ethanol as potential fuels, using high-powered lasers. While this method may not be as clean as burning hydrogen - it still releases greenhouse gases on combustion - it is an important step forward and indicates the importance of having collaborative fingers in the pie for a renewable green future.

We need more news like this, given the separation of the world caused by trade wars and budget cuts, observers say. The US energy research sector has been largely privatized this year under new policies; and in the European Union, France's Minister of Ecology Nicolas Hulot resigned over the summer, after publicly expressing disappointment in France's energy reform progress. By working together and getting along, it might be possible to evolve and create a better future for everyone. Plants and bacteria have been doing it for billions of years.

The author is a London-based columnist. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page12)

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2018-12-14 08:07:04
37405954 <![CDATA[Shanghai shudders over Brexit process]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405954.htm

Stock Connect with London could be adversely affected by ripple effects in market

Over the past few years, Stock Connect (Shanghai-Hong Kong in 2014 and Shenzhen-Hong Kong in 2015) and Bond Connect (Shanghai-Hong Kong in 2017 ) have both been given big stamps of approval as global index compilers add Chinese assets into their major international benchmark indices for the first time.

MSCI completed its A-share inclusion plan in August; FTSE Russell planned for inclusion in September. Meanwhile, Bloomberg will add Chinese bonds into its Barclays Global Composite Index in April.

These moves will drive massive international money flows into the Chinese mainland market, fueling the country's plans to internationalize its capital markets and bring value to investors and market players both domestically and globally. We describe these connects as bridges that bring China closer to the international community.

Now, a new bridge, called Shanghai-London Stock Connect, has launched. As a connectivity mechanism between the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, Shanghai-London Stock Connect refers to the arrangement that the eligible companies listed in the two countries issue the depositary receipts and list and trade them on the other side's market according to the laws and regulations for the other side's market. At the same time, through the cross-border conversion mechanism between depositary receipts and underlying securities, the connectivity of the two markets will be realized. There are two business directions, eastbound and westbound. The eastbound business means that the LSE-listed companies list the Chinese deposit receipts on the SSE. In the westbound business, the A-share companies on the SSE list the global deposit receipts on the LSE.

How is the new bridge different from the existing ones? In short, the Shanghai (Shenzhen)-Hong Kong arrangement is a two-way market in which investors cross the border but products are still in each other's markets, while the Shanghai-London Stock Connect is to convert the shares of the other markets into a debit record, or DR, to be listed and traded in the local market. The products cross borders, but the investors are still in the local market.

Essentially, these connects remain a financial infrastructure, which has three major positionings: the core support of resource allocation, the important channel of monetary policy transmission and the platform of cross-institution, cross-market, cross-region and cross-border financial activities.

Since then, the benefits of the connect are clear, Shanghai-London Stock Connect has great significance in the following aspects. First of all, it is conducive to expanding the two-way opening up of China's capital market, improving the function and internationalization of the domestic market, driving the domestic securities institutions to conduct the cross-border securities business and enhancing the international competitiveness of the securities industry.

Second, the initiative provides an opportunity for the issuers and investors in both countries to access the market on the other side for investment and financing, enables domestic residents to invest in overseas products on the local market, supports the A-share listed companies to raise funds from overseas markets, and bolsters the entity enterprises' efforts in cross-border financing and mergers and acquisitions.

Third, it will contribute to building Shanghai into an international financial center - just as the existing connects have strengthened Hong Kong's position. Shanghai will not only reap fresh fund liquidity, but also get the trust of regulators and numerous domestic and overseas investors.

Furthermore, it will also help the internationalization of the yuan in line with China's strategy. With the rising volatility of the yuan exchange rate, market players need comprehensive solutions. China's central bank is to promote financial infrastructure more actively, and investment funds or individual investors need a more useful cross-border capital flow channel. Shanghai-London Stock Connect will contribute to the global supply of yuan, and can improve the brand image of the currency.

Why London? Apparently, the prolonged trade conflict triggered by the United States has brought China even closer to Europe. Both sides have a sound political and economic foundation - the EU is China's largest trading partner, largest source of imports and second largest export market, while China is the EU's second largest trading partner, largest source of imports and second largest export market. China and the EU established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2003 and launched negotiations on an investment agreement in 2014.

Meanwhile, the EU, led by the UK, has responded positively to the Chinese government's strategy of internationalizing the yuan in the past decade. London has become the most important offshore yuan market outside Asia, driven by the governments of China and the UK. According to SWIFT's offshore yuan business ranking, the UK jumped to second place in April 2016 after overtaking Singapore in market share. Meanwhile, the turnover of RMB-denominated foreign exchange products in the UK's foreign exchange market has always been the top one of the global offshore yuan market. The Shanghai-London Stock Connect could establish London as the leading RMB offshore market besides China.

But the smooth start of Shanghai-London Stock Connect still faces many challenges. At home, GDP growth is slowing and the government faces the daunting task of deleveraging and reform of State-owned enterprises. The transition from externally driven growth to domestically driven growth is a complex one that, if mishandled, could lead to growth disruptions and increased financial instability.

In the international market, China has to face more protectionism and provocation from the US administration, which may greatly increase the uncertainty of trade and financial flows and make the opening of China's capital markets face unpredictable consequences.

And it is clear that the biggest risk is that British stock markets will be affected by the Brexit process. The FTSE Index has been weak compared with the Dow Jones Index of the United States for almost two years.

Britain postponed a Dec 11 vote on a deal to leave the European Union, raising the prospect of a "no-deal Brexit". Even if successful, the British stock market and even the European stock market are hit hard if there is a significant blow to the British real economy. And it is likely that hedge funds from Europe would flow to the United States again, which is very unfavorable to the financing activities of Chinese companies through Shanghai-London Stock Connect.

The author is a research fellow at the CEIBS Lujiazui Institute of International Finance. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page13)

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2018-12-14 08:07:04
37405953 <![CDATA[Politicians, not scientists, should have last word]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405953.htm

Among the equipment aboard China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe as it heads to the far side of the moon is scientific apparatus developed by the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

Communication will be assured via ground stations not only in China but as far separated as Namibia and Argentina.

At a time when Earth-bound politicians are embroiled in arguments about trade, climate change and a host of regional disputes, the space mission is a timely reminder that science thrives through international cooperation.

Although the 20th century space race between the US and the Soviet Union was partly spurred by their geopolitical rivalry, subsequent advances have depended heavily on scientists from different countries working together.

The International Space Station - the clue is in the name - would not have been feasible without the participation of a range of international players, led by the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

ISS astronauts orbiting 400 kilometers above the earth are dependent on their international colleagues to an extent that must make the squabbles that divide their politicians down below seem petty and irrelevant.

In other areas, such as genome research and the study of climate change, international cooperation has been vital to progress.

The project launched in 1990 to map the human genome was a joint one by scientists around the world, with the process of gene sequencing carried out in a score of research centers in the US, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Spain and China. International cooperation ensured that the project, which marks a leap forward toward a better understanding of disease, was completed in just 13 years.

When it comes to climate change, experts from around the world have overwhelmingly concluded that carbon emissions are contributing to global warming.

Their near unanimous scientific consensus contrasts with the continuing debates between politicians over who is to blame and what to do about it. US President Donald Trump has rejected the consensus and accused the scientists of having a political agenda.

Science is by definition fact-based. Scientists reach their conclusions via experimentation that cannot be challenged by the dictates of politics or by contemporary prejudices. Otherwise it would not be science.

It might be tempting, then, to conclude that the world would be a better and more cooperative place if it were run by scientists rather than guided by the instincts of sometimes ill-informed politicians.

The problem, however, is that science is essentially amoral. It reveals what is possible rather than what is beneficial. Scientists created nuclear weapons as well as penicillin. As parts of the world's oceans become choked with man-made waste, even the invention of plastics must now be regarded as a curse as much as a blessing.

Society at large and politicians in particular must continue to have a role in deciding what scientific possibilities are developed and which should be set aside.

Chinese researcher He Jiankui triggered an ethical red flag over his claim to have modified a gene of twin female embryos. The subsequent outcry has prompted Chinese government agencies to launch an investigation into his work. The essence of the debate is that because science can do something new, that does not mean it should.

Even the most promising scientific advances can have their downside. Internet technology has created a forum for people around the world to communicate with each other but it has also prompted the growth of destabilizing infowars and fake news.

Artificial intelligence promises to do away with the drudgery of many current routine tasks. But it also has the potential to destroy jobs and put robots in charge.

The conclusion must be that politicians and regulators, at local and international levels, should still have the last word on how science is exploited for the benefit of all. It might be worthwhile, however, if those same politicians had a sufficient grounding in the scientific method to inform their decisions.

The author is a senior media consultant for China Daily. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page12)

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2018-12-14 08:07:04
37405942 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405942.htm

"The courses, promoting feudal values of men and women, created a negative social impact by underestimating women's value and social status. The prevalence of these courses reflects the general public's poor awareness of gender equality, and weakens women's social vigor by limiting them to household roles."

JIANG GUIHUA, a researcher at the Women's Studies Institute of China under the All-China Women's Federation, saying that courses like "feminine virtues" - passing as Chinese culture - had taken on a different context.

"Honesty is indispensable in modern businesses. When we offer more services for netizens through technological innovation, the service quality is also essential, as it will maintain trust between online sellers, platforms and consumers."

CHEN ZHEN, a researcher from the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China.

"China's civil aviation development has two important driving forces - opening more international airlines, which cannot be replaced by high-speed rail, and building more small and medium-sized regional airports in the southwest and northwest."

LI XIAOJIN, a professor of aviation economics at Civil Aviation University in Tianjin.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page2)

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2018-12-14 08:06:24
37405941 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 2)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405941.htm

 

Visitors lay flowers at the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument, which was unveiled in Toronto, Canada, on Dec 9. Xinhua

Long-lost cultural relic comes home

A Chinese bronze vessel around 3,000 years old that was looted and taken to the United Kingdom in the 19th century, has returned home, officials said. It was transferred to the National Museum of China on Dec 11. The vessel, called the Tiger Ying for the tiger images on its top and spout, is from the late period of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC). Before it was stolen, it was housed in the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, a huge imperial garden complex of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in northwest Beijing, along with many other royal cultural relics. The Old Summer Palace was burned and looted by Anglo-French forces in 1860. The Tiger Ying was grabbed by a British military officer, as shown by a letter he wrote. It had been kept by his family ever since. Its wooden Qing Dynasty base was taken also.

Guideline to improve safety of bus drivers

China released a guideline on Dec 11 to strengthen the safety of bus drivers and bridges, following a fatal plunge of a bus into the Yangtze River in October in Chongqing. The guideline was released by the work safety committee of the State Council, China's Cabinet, on the website of the Ministry of Emergency Management. It requires all buses to physically isolate drivers from passengers with barriers to ensure that drivers won't be interfered with, though emergency staff would still be able to access a driver's protected zone. Thirteen people died in October, with two still missing and presumed dead, when a bus driver lost control after being attacked by a passenger.

Probe enters lunar orbit in preparation for landing

China's Chang'e 4 robotic probe has approached the moon and entered lunar orbit, marking a major step in its mission to make a soft landing on the moon's far side. The China National Space Administration said in a statement on Dec 12 that Chang'e 4 entered an elliptical lunar orbit at least 100 kilometers above the surface at 4:45 pm on Dec 12 after nearly 110 hours of flight. It lifted off early on Dec 8. The trajectory of the spacecraft was adjusted on Dec 9 to make sure it remains on the right track toward the silver sphere. It will remain in orbit for a few days to adjust to a suitable altitude and angle for its landing and also to perform in-orbit tests of the navigation sensors. It will also test its data links with the relay satellite Queqiao, the statement said. Chang'e 4, the first man-made object designed to touch down on the moon's far side, was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province to embark on mankind's first expedition to a lunar region that never faces Earth.

Nation promotes rule of law for human rights

A white paper released on Dec 12 by the State Council Information Office noted progress made by China in the protection of human rights since reform and opening-up began in 1978. The white paper said China has been striving to build a socialist country under the rule of law. Titled: "Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening-Up in China", it said the country has endeavored to ensure "that a well-conceived approach is taken to legislation, that law is strictly enforced, that justice is impartially administered and that the law is observed by everyone". "China has established a legal framework to protect human rights," it said, adding that the legal norms guaranteeing civil and political rights - as well as economic, social and cultural rights - have been improved.

Royal cosmetics achieving robust sales

As of Dec 12, the heavy online shopping day in China known as "double twelve", netizens had turned a new, limited edition set of lipsticks into a hot item after presales were authorized by Beijing's Palace Museum. The cosmetic staple with a royal twist was put on the virtual sales counter on Dec 9 at Palace Museum Cultural Creativity, the museum store on its public account in the WeChat social network. In the following days its popularity had exploded in cyberspace. Cases of the set of six lipsticks were printed using 3D technology and combine auspicious patterns and colors from embroidery once owned by queens and concubines, based on the museum's collections. The patterns include cranes, butterflies, deer and blossoms and reflect traditional Chinese aesthetics. Each tube of lipstick sells for 199 yuan ($28.90; 25 euros; £23).

100 peacekeepers depart for Sudan

A group of 100 Chinese peacekeepers departed from Beijing Capital International Airport to Darfur, Sudan, on Dec 11 for a one-year peacekeeping mission. The soldiers are the first of a 225-member combat engineer team - the 15th group China has sent to the Darfur region. More peacekeepers are scheduled to leave on Dec 18. The team will be tasked with maintaining supplies and carrying out engineering projects, restoring buildings and building and repairing houses, roads and airports.

Daqin Railway on track for transport record

Daqin Railway, a major line specializing in coal transport, is expected to set a record in annual freight traffic volume. It is about to pass the 450 million metric ton mark in cargo transport volume this year, corporate sources said. The 653-kilometer coal railway links the city of Datong in coal-rich Shanxi province with the port city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei province.

Cross-border drug gang busted

Police in Jiangxi caught 24 drug dealers and seized 24 kilograms of methamphetamine and magu, a stimulant composed of methamphetamine and caffeine, local police said on Dec 11. A drug dealer surnamed Zhu had caught the attention of Jiangxi police back in March 2017. Investigations said Zhu was leading a drug-trafficking network. They purchased drugs in Myanmar and smuggled them back to China to sell in several cities in Jiangxi, police said. The gang was busted in May 2017 in a joint operation by police in Jiangxi, Yunnan provinces and Shanghai. Information on the 2017 case was not released until recently.

Beijing works to secure aid for countries

Senior Chinese officials in climate negotiations reiterated that the country is still developing and vowed that efforts to secure aid to ameliorate the effects of climate change in the developing world will continue. The comments by the officials came as delegates from around the world were about to finish a key UN negotiation on climate change. They spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland. The conference is tasked with finalizing the implementation rules set by the 2015 Paris climate conference, which aims to keep global warming at no greater than 2 C above preindustrial levels. The conference opened on Dec 2 and closed on Dec 14.

More airports badly needed, authority says

China aims to build 216 new airports by 2035 and develop some regional transport hubs, civil aviation authorities said on Dec 10. As of the end of October, China had 234 civil airports and is expected to have around 450 by 2035, according to a development guideline from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The demand for passenger transport in China will account for one-fourth of the world's total and exceed that of the United States by 2035, making China the largest air passenger market in the world, the guideline said. It also said world-class airports will be built in the Yangtze River Delta region, in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and in the Chongqing and Chengdu city cluster.

Museum tells story of Silk Road convergence

Since its establishment in the 1980s, the Hepu Han Dynasty Museum in Hepu county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has gathered more than 5,200 cultural relics of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) and the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). The museum houses an iconic bronze phoenix-shaped lamp from the Western Han, which is considered one of Hepu's "Three Treasures", together with Beihai pearls and mangrove trees. The lamp is also environmentally friendly, though it comes from an era long before climate change. The smoke emitted by a "candle" - a pan with burning material that provided light - would funnel up through the long neck of the phoenix into its hollow stomach, where water absorbed the soot.

New swine fever outbreaks reported

China confirmed new outbreaks of African swine fever in Shaanxi and Guizhou provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Dec 10. On a farm in Shenmu, a county-level city in Shaanxi, 19 pigs were confirmed infected with the viral disease. All of them had died, the ministry said, citing a China Animal Disease Control Center report. Outbreaks were also found in the Baiyun district of Guiyang, Guizhou, where five pigs were infected and confirmed dead, it said. A team was dispatched to Shaanxi and Guizhou immediately, and local authorities have initiated an emergency response to prevent the spread of the disease.

More names added to Nanjing memorial wall

A total of 26 names were recently inscribed on a memorial wall commemorating Chinese killed in the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese troops over several weeks beginning in December 1937. They bring the total number of names on the wall to 10,664. The memorial wall was set up in 1995 at the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, with 3,000 names representing the 300,000 victims of the massacre. The names were confirmed by the city's committee on wartime losses and by Nanjing Massacre investigations, testimony or documents from survivors, as well as information from victims' relatives.

Police seize more than 66 kg of meth

Police in Yunnan province apprehended seven suspected drug traffickers and seized more than 66 kilograms of methamphetamine, local police said on Dec 10. On Dec 1, police in the border city of Lincang received a tip about a planned drug deal in the city. Anti-narcotics police later intercepted a vehicle and found more than 66 kg of methamphetamine in the vehicle. They arrested seven men from Myanmar. Further investigation is underway.

World's longest railway arch bridge completed

The world's longest railway arch bridge was completed on Dec 10 across the Nujiang River in Yunnan province. The bridge measures 1,024 meters long and is nearly 25 meters wide, according to China Railway Construction Corp. It is a key project on the 220-kilometer Dali-Ruili railway, which forms a link in the China-Myanmar international railway corridor connecting Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, with Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.

Platforms told to use tech to enforce honesty

E-commerce enterprises were encouraged on Dec 10 to make use of technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence to prevent dishonest behavior and improve China's credibility. "As e-commerce technologies and innovations provide more convenience for our lives, they also bring dishonest behavior in industry, including fraud in online travel bookings or payments," said Chen Zhen, a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China. "The dishonesty harms consumers' interests, creates disorder in cyberspace and will not contribute to the future of e-commerce," he said, suggesting that all e-commerce service providers should move to protect their users' rights through technology.

High-tech mother ship to fortify ambitions

Chinese engineers say the world's most advanced mother ship for manned submersibles will go into operation soon, marking the latest step in the country's efforts to become a major power in deep-sea exploration. The Deep Sea 1 will enter service in the first half of 2019 and along with China's manned submersible Jiaolong will make a global deep-sea scientific voyage, the first of its kind by China, starting in 2020, according to the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association, operator of the ship. The new vessel will become the country's first dedicated mother ship for submersibles and will service the nation's major deep-sea submersibles, including the manned Jiaolong and the robotic Hailong series, the association said in a statement.

Poor maintenance cited in chemical plant blast

A safety expert from the Ministry of Emergency Management said recently that the explosion at a chemical plant in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, that claimed 23 lives last month, was the result of sloppy management, poor maintenance and the mishandling of the emergency. The preliminary investigation found that the explosion on Nov 28 was caused by a leak of vinyl chloride gas, a highly flammable substance, from a storage facility at Hebei Shenghua Chemical Industry's plant. The facility housed three gas storage tanks, two of which were filled with the explosive chemical. Sun Guangyu, the ministry's director of safety supervision and management of hazardous chemicals, said such tanks should be inspected and serviced every one to two years, and undergo major maintenance work every five to six years, according to a China Central Television report on Dec 9.

Archaeologists unveil ancient carriage

Archaeologists at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' archaeology research institute have unveiled details of a deluxe carriage that was unearthed at a burial site dating to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC) in Hebei province. The carriage is 142.5 centimeters wide, 106 cm long and has two wheels 140 cm in diameter with 38 spokes each. It is large for carriages from before the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), said Li Cunxin, an associate researcher. The archaeologists also found many exquisite patterns painted on the surface of the carriage and a pair of embedded beast-shaped metal badges with gold foil decorations stuck to them.

Military equipment system to get oversight

China has launched a seven-month campaign to fight corruption in the military equipment system, the People's Liberation Army Daily reported on Dec 7. The campaign is aimed at eradicating hidden rules and cutting interest chains in the military equipment system.

China's stony deserts shrink at faster pace

China's stony desert areas shrank at a faster pace during the past few years thanks to government emphasis on environmental protection. From 2011 to 2016, the area of stony deserts declined at an average 3.45 percent each year, quickening from a 1.27-percent annual drop in the previous five-year period, Liu Dongsheng, deputy head of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, told a press conference Dec 13. At the end of 2016, stony deserts stood at 10.07 million hectares, Liu said. "The spread of stony deserts was effectively contained." The environmental improvement was attributed to efforts to protect vegetation and plant more trees and grass, which contributed 65.5 percent to reversing desertification, according to Liu.

10 new railways to enter service by year's end

Ten new railways with an aggregate mileage of 2,500 kilometers will be put into service by the end of this year, sources at China Railway Corp said. About 553 new high-speed train services will be introduced simultaneously, they said.

 

A photo exhibition is ready for passengers at London King's Cross railway station on Dec 10 to showcase the changes in China and its people's lives since reform and opening-up began 40 years ago. Xinhua

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page2)

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2018-12-14 08:06:24
37405940 <![CDATA[Integration is key to economic future]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405940.htm

China needs to build on what it has achieved, but it needs new thinking to do it

One of the things that makes China unique in the annals of economic history is the fact that it opened up to the world at the beginning of its wave of economic development. This is in sharp contrast to other Asian countries, such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, which largely shielded their domestic markets from the outside world until after they were well down the path to becoming developed economies.

Deng Xiaoping famously observed in December 1978 that "Engels never flew in an airplane; Stalin never wore Dacron". His thinking recognized that China's economic development would need to be based on access to new technologies.

An important source of those new technologies and ideas was Deng's decision to allow multinational companies to come and invest in China and to import technologies from overseas.

This opening-up proved to be one of the most decisive factors in driving China's modern economic rise.

China's opening-up started gradually. In the 1980s and 1990s, it began experimenting with opening up to foreign investment in selected coastal cities and in special economic zones. The focus was on attracting export-oriented manufacturing which laid the foundation for the country to become a manufacturing powerhouse.

Global supply chains

In 1978 when the country began to reform and open up, it accounted for less than 1 percent of global exports of goods. Over the next 40 years, China's share grew continuously, accelerating around the time of its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. Today China accounts for almost one-fourth of all global manufacturing output by value. As its capabilities have developed, it has also become a much more important contributor to global supply chains.

Initially, most of the manufacturing activities involved the assembly of low-value products, such as garments and toys. Even 15 years ago only about half the value-added in China's exports was created in China; half was embedded in parts and components that China had imported and assembled. Today the percentage of value added in China is estimated at more than two-thirds.

The foreign companies that have come to China have made an important contribution to this transformation in its capability to add value to the products and services it makes in huge volumes. According to the former State Administration for Industry and Commerce, almost 500,000 foreign-funded companies have been established in China with their cumulative investment stock reaching nearly $5 trillion. The foreign companies have brought new technologies and new skills; they have trained Chinese staff in new techniques; and they have helped develop a huge ecosystem of capable subcontractors and suppliers spanning every province in China.

The Chinese economy, consumers and workers have gained enormously from the policy of opening-up started by Deng and continued by his successors. With many new ideas and technologies flowing in from abroad, the Chinese embracehem, mastered them and then started to add their own ideas and innovations to further improve what they had learned from other countries. Without opening-up, which stimulated this positive cycle of learning and innovation among the Chinese, China would never have been able to achieve so much so quickly.

Of course, multinational companies and consumers overseas have also greatly benefited from China's rise. Plenty of multinationals are doing well in the country. One of the great examples has been Volkswagen AG, the largest and earliest international partner in China's automotive industry.

Foreigners' success stories

Volkswagen entered China as early as in 1978 and has retained the leading position in the Chinese automotive market over the past three decades. China is Volkswagen's largest market. Rapidly growing sales in the country allowed Volkswagen to overtake Toyota to become the world's best-selling automaker for the first time. In 2017, it sold more than 3 million vehicles in China, accounting for almost half its global unit sales.

The pattern is repeated for many other foreign carmakers: Ford typically generates one-third of its global profits in China; for General Motors and BMW the figure is around one-fourth. China has also contributed to multinational companies' success in many other industries, from machinery and equipment right through to fast food. For example, before its recent split, Yum Brands, which owns fastfood outlets such as KFC and Pizza Hut, earned more than half its global profits in China.

Foreign consumers, too, have benefited from China's rising capabilities and improved productivity, which have enabled them to buy goods at lower prices and enjoy better value for money. In fact, academic research suggests China's affordable exports have enabled consumers in the United States and Europe to improve their real purchasing power by hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of dollars every year.

Today, however, the decades of positive development and the benefits they have delivered both for China and the global economy are being threatened by the forces of unilateralism and mounting trade protectionism.

So what policies should China pursue going forward?

President Xi Jinping has recently referred to China entering a "new era". While this is correct, it doesn't mean the policies should be reversed. Instead, China needs to build on what has gone before. It will also need to incorporate new initiatives. This will require a consistent strategy, implemented through hard work sustained over many years.

From quantity to quality

China's emphasis will need to shift from simply growth targets to quality of growth. Its rapid expansion in recent decades has brought enormous benefits, but they have come at a cost - notably harm to the environment, rising inequality, a focus on material success rather than quality of life and happiness.

Growth needs to become much more environmentally sustainable, more in tune with preserving the natural world. It will require serious effort and investment to repair yesterday's environmental damage. It also means that new, improved technologies will have to be used to reduce further damage to the environment - renewable energy, the use of biotechnology to reduce the use of chemicals and improve recycling; a shift to electric vehicles for moving both people and goods. The emphasis will also need to shift from people simply consuming more "things" toward satisfying other demands if the quality of their lives is to improve: better schools and healthcare, cultural experiences and fairer access to courts and the justice system.

China should cooperate even more closely with foreign companies and individuals around the world to complement its home-grown innovations with diverse new ideas, technologies, and aesthetics that arise from the unique and different combinations of resources, history and culture that exist in countries around the world.

Second, China can play a more active, integrated role in the world commensurate with its size and status - home to 20 percent of the world's population and the second-largest economy (soon to be the first). This means playing a bigger role in global governance, actively supporting international cooperation and global economic integration and helping other countries to develop.

President Xi has also foreshadowed this. One part will involve building infrastructure and promoting trade and development along the Belt and Road routes. But it will also mean combining experiences and ideas from many other countries with China's own knowledge and strengths. This will require facilitating international dialogue and interaction to open up many more opportunities for working together on innovations with countries with complementary know-how and experience, in order to come up with novel solutions to the big global issues facing all humanity, such as providing for aging populations and fighting climate change.

Productivity essential

Third, to avoid the so-called middle-income trap, China will need to find ways of continuing to increase the productivity of its people, its capital and its resources at a rapid rate. This might prove to be the most difficult challenge of all.

Reform of State-owned enterprises, in particular, will need to continue to improve their efficiency. The private sector will need to be encouraged and helped to improve its value-added and to innovate. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, manufacturing 4.0 and quantum computing will have to be harnessed and developed.

In addition, the financial sector's capabilities will need to be enhanced. Inefficiencies will need to be reduced, and old policies and procedures that impede the free flow of ideas, money and resources will have to be eliminated.

China has already taken many important steps forward in these areas. Companies such as Alibaba and Tencent, for example, offer payment portals using super-apps that have 90 and 40 functions respectively, far in advance of anything in the rest of the world.

Chinese companies have also become pioneers in the use of big data. Alibaba's credit scoring system for businesses and consumers, Sesame Credit, for example, updates the score continuously in real time using data that is not only based on financial metrics but on customer returns, customer satisfaction, stock churn and discounting to increase accuracy.

Chinese companies have also used big data analysis for bio-informatics to support, for example, Car-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy), which extracts patient's white blood cells, genetically re-engineers them, and then reinjects them to fight cancers and other diseases.

But the development and application of leading-edge science and technology works best when researchers from diverse countries and backgrounds work together as international teams and companies cooperate in an ecosystem of international partners.

Given the growing pressures to roll back globalization in some parts of the world, this will require China to bravely adopt a new phase of commercial liberalization, which is especially necessary in the areas of research and commercialization of new technologies and in the trade in services.

Further opening up

China is already making some moves in this direction. The Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission have issued a revised Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries. This opens up foreign investment by adding a number of industries - such as intelligent medical equipment and 3D printing - to the "encouraged" section of the rules.

More important, Premier Li Keqiang has announced that China will further open up its service sector by expanding the pilot program for the innovative development of trade in services, rolling it out in 17 areas, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2020.

China's opening-up and embracing of exchanges with people and countries around the world has played a very important, and sometimes underappreciated, role in China's impressive economic growth and development over the past 40 years. It can best achieve its ambitious goals for further development and play a more comprehensive role in the global community, commensurate with its size and long history, by embracing a new phase of opening-up.

This will require policies in three areas: Policies that stimulate a new round of both inward and outbound foreign direct investment; policies to develop institutions and mechanisms to enable China to play a more active role in global governance; and policies that energetically pursue reform and deregulation of its industry and commerce to stimulate innovation and productivity improvements, combining technology and ideas from around the world with Chinese know-how.

Based on its past track record, I am confident China will rise to this new challenge, too.

The author is a professor of international management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, and a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. This article is an excerpt from the upcoming book The Sleeping Giant Awakes, edited by China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page10)

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2018-12-14 08:06:06
37405939 <![CDATA[Remembering Deng's dream]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405939.htm Former leader recalled as a visionary who changed China forever

Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was a visionary who always saw the long-term potential of his initiative, according to his former interpreter.

Victor Gao, who worked for Deng in the 1980s, recalls him telling the Japanese prime minister, Masayoshi Ohira, that Chinese people would have xiao kang or a comfortable living by 2025.

 

Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the WTO. Provided to China Daily by CEIBS

 

Victor Gao, former interpreter for Deng Xiaoping and now chairman of the China Energy Security Institute, a Beijing-based think tank.

"Deng used to look ahead like this. He used to think of the world in terms of the next 10 years, the end of the 20th century, and the first quarter and then the middle of the 21st Century. No politician in a Western democracy would think in these terms. That is not their business. They only care about the next election," he says.

Gao, now chairman of the China Energy Security Institute, a Beijing-based think tank, believes Deng was the right man at the right time to deliver the reform that China needed.

"Deng was both unique to the challenge and the opportunity and China today bears a huge fingerprint of his," he adds.

Another with personal recollections of Deng is Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the World Trade Organization, who was involved in China's negotiations to join the trade rules body in 2001.

At the time of reform and openingup in the 1978, Lamy was a French civil servant, but he met with Deng at the Great Hall of the People when he came to China for the first time in 1986 as chief of staff of the president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors.

"It was quite impressive for a young guy like myself. He was very witty and smoking a lot," he laughed.

Lamy, who has just been appointed a distinguished professor of CEIBS, the Shanghai-based international business school, says reform and opening-up was clearly a landmark event.

"The West regards this as major shift. We know that in Chinese history we have periods of opening and periods of closing, and that was a real shift," he says.

This view is shared by one of his biographers, Ezra Vogel, emeritus professor of social sciences at Harvard University.

"Deng ... fulfilled the mission that had eluded China's leaders for 150 years: He and his colleagues had found a way to enrich the Chinese people and strengthen the country," he wrote in Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, regarded as one of the major books about Deng, published in 2011.

"But in the process of achieving the goal, Deng presided over a fundamental transformation of China itself - the nature of its relationship with the outside world, its governance system and its society. ... The structural changes that took place under Deng's leadership rank among the most basic changes since the Chinese empire took shape during the Han Dynasty over two millennia ago," Vogel said.

Gao, a former China policy adviser at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission and who has held a number of senior banking positions, has many personal recollections of Deng.

"He was a man of very few words, but despite being of diminutive stature had a great presence when he walked into a room," he recalls.

He believes one of Deng's most important decisions was to reduce the size of the military by a million soldiers in the 1980s and to focus resources on the economy.

"Deng took the view that World War III was not going to happen tomorrow and rather than wasting resources he wanted to put everything into the basket to make China grow and not worry about armaments," Gao says.

He was also not someone to get "bogged down in detail", which held him in good stead when dealing with the complexities of reform and opening-up.

"He would not go down into the details, which is what some functionaries would do. He would not care to lift brick or mortar but would always look at the top of the mountain - into the distant future," Gao says.

Gao also believes what drove Deng, who was 74 when he launched reform and opening-up, was a sense of his own mortality.

"In the 1980s Deng already had an imminent sense of his impending death (he died in 1997). He didn't procrastinate and push things off to another day. He felt we could no longer waste our time. This sense of urgency was very important and is what drove him and the initiative forward."

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page8)

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2018-12-14 08:06:06
37405938 <![CDATA[Miracle turns 40]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405938.htm China's economic rebirth in 1978 swept the country, profoundly changed whole world

Forty years ago this month in the Jingxi Hotel in Beijing's Haidian district, one of the landmark events of the 20th century took place.

This was the location of the Third Plenum of the 11th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which was held from Dec 18 to 22, 1978, and the place at which top leader Deng Xiaoping launched reform and opening-up.

This initiative not only transformed China - from a largely agrarian and poor society to the second-largest economy in the world - but in so doing changed the whole world, shifting its center of gravity eastward.

 

Top: Xishuangbanna Bridge was under construction over the Lancang River, in Jinghong, Yunnan province, in 1990s. Above: People launch Kongming lanterns for good luck and fortune near the Lancang River. Xinhua

 

A bird's-eye view of Jinghong, Yunnan province, in the 1980s (top) and in 2018 (above). Xinhua

 

A visitor checks out the VR at an exhibition opened in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Zhang Yuwei / Xinhua

 

A girl plays the interactive screen at an exhibition opened in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Zhang Yuwei / Xinhua

Martin Jacques, the British academic and author of When China Rules The World, believes 1978 was when the 21st century actually began, shaping the modern world we are beginning to experience today.

"Deng's reforms not only transformed the whole of the Chinese economy, it transformed China's vision of the world and the world itself. It is an absolutely revolutionary shift. It was a momentous event, absolutely incredible. In my view it did mark the beginning of the 21st century," he says.

Reform and opening-up began with reform of the agricultural base of the economy.

The 1980s also saw the establishment of special economic zones in Shenzhen and other coastal areas, which became hives of industry and the platform for China to become the manufacturing workshop of the world.

The policy welcomed foreign investment from multinational companies around the world, which set up operations in China through joint ventures.

The economy has since grown at mostly double-digit rates from $306.2 billion (270.4 billion euros; £245 billion) in 1980 to $12.3 trillion in 2017, a 40-fold increase. In the process, some 800 million people were delivered from poverty.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, China has contributed one-fourth of all global growth.

Kerry Brown, director of the Lau Institute at King's College, London, says, however, that it would be wrong to see 1978 as a complete break from what came before.

He sees China's development as more of a continuum, with the three decades after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 also important.

"The journey started in 1949. There was a modernization going on that was complicated. And it was all part of a learning experience. Without what happened before 1978, you wouldn't have had the opportunities to do what happened afterwards," he says.

The initiative has shaped many people's lives. Jing Ulrich, managing director and Asia-Pacific vice-chairman at JPMorgan Chase and one of China's most prominent businesswomen, was 11 years old when it was launched.

"I remember as a child witnessing the economic reforms that placed China on a path of extraordinary growth and prosperity," she recalls.

"Every year I saw how the introduction of market principles allowed China to open up to foreign investment and gave people the opportunity to set up businesses and build something out of nothing. The transformation created much-needed jobs, drastically increased living standards and gave people the chance to build the lives they always wanted. It was the beginning of the Chinese dream."

Ulrich, now 51, has been ranked by Fortune magazine among the top 50 most powerful businesswomen in the world, and was one of the first students at Harvard University to come from the Chinese mainland.

"While I was studying in America, people didn't really know much about China. But over time, as the reforms continued to ripple throughout the market and brought global attention to the rising dragon, I knew it was my calling to interpret the China story for the world," she says.

One of the contentious issues with reform and opening-up is whether it gets the attention and recognition in the West it deserves, if only by a single criterion: delivering so many people out of poverty.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair, in an interview with China Daily earlier this year, was one to acknowledge this.

"It is a really significant event. If you were a Western student, you would study lots of things about the politics of the late 20th century. You would study the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid," Blair said at the time. "You wouldn't probably study, in the same way, the opening up of China, and yet it signaled that China was going on a new path of engagement with the world with the opening up of its economy. The results have been staggering."

Brown, although recognizing the significance of 1949, says the world we live in now derives from 1978.

"In terms of global leadership nothing comes close to it in terms of its impact on one-fifth of humanity. This was a truly great event, and so many issues we are dealing with now such as the shape of the global economy and the rivalry between the US and China, all date back to that year."

Jacques also believes there is insufficient acknowledgement of 1978 in the West.

"You see barely anything in the Western media. That tells you virtually everything you need to know about the inability to comprehend one of the greatest trends in the world.," he says.

For Ulrich at JP Morgan Chase, the impact of reform and opening-up will continue to shape the world with China's ability to invest in other nations through such things as the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

"China's economic reforms have paved the way for the nation to create some of the world's leading companies in e-commerce, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, financial services and biotechnology," she says.

"With China already achieving its goal of shifting from an export-oriented economy to a consumption-driven one, the leaders of the nation are now on a journey to build and invest in its neighbors through the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative."

State direction has played a significant role in the success of the China economy from the setting up the SEZs in the 1980s to current initiatives, such as establishing Free Trade Zones.

Rana Mitter, director of the University of Oxford China Centre, says the reform measures developed a momentum of their own in the 1980s.

"You had the decollectivization of the countryside. With the setting up of Special Economic Zones, Guangdong takes off like a rocket," he says.

Deng's Southern Tour in 1992, when he visited the Shenzhen SEZ and famously said "to get rich is glorious", was also another important stepping stone, Mitter says. "This is when you have the real beginning of the Made in China export-oriented economy."

William Kirby, TM Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard, says part of the dynamism of the reform was the return of family businesses, particularly after 1990.

"They had been the dynamo of the China economy up to the 1920s - also in other East Asian economies," he says.

Ulrich believes one of the most important ingredients in its success has been the way China has managed to rapidly integrate itself into the global economy.

"China's unprecedented economic growth over the last 40 years is a testament to the importance of an economy embracing global business and international markets," she says. "Over the last half-century, China has transitioned from a closed agriculture-based economy to one that is vibrant and deeply connected across virtually every sector in the world."

Mitter, author of China's War With Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival, says that part of the of the success of the initiative was its timing.

"It coincided with the end of the Cold War, and the US was then buying a lot of stuff - although this was largely debt-fueled - and China was producing it. It created what the historian Niall Ferguson called Chinamerica, referring to the two economies becoming complementary."

Kirby, also author of Can China Lead? Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth, says the initiative has not been without its problems, particularly widening the inequality between the rich coastal regions and the poorer inland ones.

"The reform led to the extraordinary development of the south and east but some other less developed regions got left behind," he says.

He believes this has particularly affected the farming community, which has not benefited the same way as the urban population.

"It is the farmers that have not enjoyed these benefits. If you look at France, the UK, Germany and the US, the farmers have not been impoverished. For China to be an enduring rich country it needs to have a prosperous agricultural sector as well."

As the anniversary is observed, China, which became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001, is continuing to open up its economy.

"People are looking to see what role China will play as a key actor on the international stage in the next phase of its development. That question remains to be resolved and the way that China addresses it will do a great deal to decide what China's reputation, reach and power is," adds Mitter at Oxford.

Ulrich also believes further opening up will also be important to China's future success.

"There is still room for China to accelerate market liberalization. In addition, China can also further open its financial system to foreign competition, encourage foreign direct investment and continue to lead in global trade. These reforms will take time, but we do see China making meaningful progress on every front," she says.

As people look back to 1978, Brown, who is also the author of China's World: What Does China Want?, says it's important to remember Deng's leadership and reflect on it.

"Through his reforms China has emerged as a country that once again is a force in the world. It is innovating and creating its own technologies," he says. "It is becoming what the US was in the 20th Century but with Chinese characteristics."

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Two visitors take a selfie in front of a wall of tape recordings at an exhibition opened in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Zhang Yuwei / Xinhua

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page1)

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2018-12-14 08:06:06
37405937 <![CDATA[Why 1978 is vital to everyone in 2018]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405937.htm

Deng Xiaoping's advice to 'seek truth from facts' and 'liberate thought' is appropriate not just for China but the wider world

The Third Plenum of the 11th Communist Party of China Central Committee, held in Beijing in December 1978, was not a dramatic event for the world. There were no major disagreements - no clashes between different leaders. In many ways, the event had an almost disarming procedural smoothness. The newly appointed vice-premier, Deng Xiaoping, delivered a speech in which he broadly urged cadres to "seek truth from facts" and "liberate their thinking".

For someone as senior in the leadership to say this was enough, however. And while most foreign observers, initially at least, did not fully understand the significance of what had been signaled, plenty in the new leadership did.

Deng's directive clarified

Over the next year or so the signs of what "liberating thought" and "seeking truth from facts" meant became clearer. Communes and work brigades started to be disbanded. In the countryside, experiments tried out earlier in the 1970s in provinces such as Anhui and Sichuan, where farmers were allowed to have greater freedom to plant crops and then sell the surpluses in an emerging open market, rather than wholly into the State system, were extended to cover the whole country.

A joint venture law was passed in 1979, with Coca Cola opening up a bottling plant in Tianjin soon afterward - the first foreign enterprise to work with a local partner since 1949. By 1981, the Special Economic Zones of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and Shantou were up and running. The contours of China under reform and opening-up were from this point irrefutable and clear. The rest, as they say, is history.

Leaders as diverse as Wan Li, Hu Yaobang and Xi Zhongxun, father of current Party chief Xi Jinping, all made contributions. Some were in charge of provinces that experimented successfully and then had their pilot schemes adopted nationwide. Others offered support from Beijing. Peng Zhen, once mayor of Beijing, and in the mid-1980s chairman of the National People's Congress, introduced the Organic Village Election Law in 1987, which saw the first moves to introduce multi-person elections to China's many tens of thousands of villages. This restored some levels of good governance to China's rural areas, where so many people still lived, and which had been highly unstable prior to 1976.

SEZs play a vital role

There were many other contributions, like the one most closely associated with Xi Zhongxun while he was the second and then first provincial Party secretary and governor in Guangdong province from 1979 to 1981 where he supported the implementation of special economic zones, and allowed manufacturing within China for export markets to raise revenue and build up a more powerful local skills base.

There was no blueprint for reform which was laid out in 1978 to be rigorously implemented from 1979 onward. So instead of rigid central and provincial targets to be fulfilled throughout the country by all State enterprises and entities, more latitude was allowed - and expected.

Cadres and those who worked with them were meant to fill in the gaps and use some of their initiative. Deng was supportive of young cadres in particular who showed creativity, moving to promote many of them in the 1980s to more senior leadership positions. In many ways, 1978 launched what can be called a process of "the great learning". Officials were expected to be self-critical, and more open. They were to refocus on the thing that mattered most to Deng's political program - improving the lives of the people and addressing their lack of material and daily necessities.

Four Modernizations

The undogmatic approach of the new leadership allowed them to travel the world looking at many different models by which to try to understand how to sustain high growth rates and modernize their technology, industry, agriculture and defense - the Four Modernizations that were mentioned back in the 1950s but which now needed to be addressed urgently.

Deng himself was to visit the United States and Japan. Other leaders went to Europe, and looked at high-growth economies within their own region - Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea, in particular. Slavish following of foreign models was not accepted. What was allowed was a new ideological focus on "socialism with Chinese characteristics" as it came to be called, which would marry the best aspects of other models with the intrinsic cultural, social and political conditions in China.

There were plenty of unintended consequences that followed from this process of accepting innovation, and openness to new ideas. The town and village enterprises, which started springing up in the 1980s, were largely an outcome of dramatically increased productivity in the rural areas, and with better incentives and more efficient methods, farming became much less labor intensive, and many who had once worked in this sector were free to pursue other opportunities. The TVEs were classic hybrid entities, working in the rural areas in many different sectors, some as factories or enterprises, teaching Chinese how to do business.

The TVEs became the employers of most Chinese people by the end of the decade, and yet, as Deng said, there had never been a specific plan for this to happen. It had simply been a happy offshoot of the whole process of introducing new ways of working.

In many ways, TVEs are the founding entities on which the thriving Chinese non-State sector was built - and which now contributes more than half of all GDP growth, and most employment.

Immediate impact of reform

In terms of impact on raw growth, reform and opening-up was almost immediately successful. From 1980, China's growth started to climb, soon reaching double digits, something that was maintained till the 2000s.

In places such as Shenzhen - a fishing village of no more than a few hundred thousand people in 1978 - the impact of reform is material and real. Hong Kong, just over the border, almost seemed like a place from another planet in comparison. But by the mid-1980s, Shenzhen had transformed into a major manufacturing center with its own set of high-rise buildings and modern apartment blocks. Over this period there were some years when its growth was a staggering 45 percent.

As the outside world came to understand that reform and opening-up were not a temporary phenomenon but marked a sea change in the attitudes and approaches of China, so too links and engagement between the two deepened, and became more varied. By the 2000s, the whole of China became a special economic zone, with the original locations able to now make goods not just for export, but also for the growing domestic market.

After China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, forces of productivity were unleashed in a way that impacted the whole country - from the coastal areas right up to the western regions. The "Go West" campaign from 1999 started encouraging provincial governments as far afield as in Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu and Inner Mongolia to start their own accelerated reform. They too set up science parks and technology zones, and strove to attract not just domestic, but foreign partnership and support too.

In the fourth decade of reform and openingup, we see two major impacts. The first is that, within China, a middle class with a per capita income of about $8,000 has emerged - more than 30 times the level at the start of this whole process. In 1978, China and the Chinese could only dream of being wealthy and rich. Today, the dream is, for many, a reality. They live lives comparable in standards to those in Europe and the rest of the world. They travel abroad, and own cars and apartments. This was something even their grandparents would have found hard to imagine, and yet it has happened in their lifetime.

The second is more subtle. It has taught the Chinese, and the world, that there is flexibility at the heart of their economic philosophy, and their engagement with the environment around them - and that this is something that those outside China should pay attention to, and, in their turn, learn from.

In 1978, Deng asked his peer and colleagues to "liberate their thinking". It was a brave thing to do after so many years of uncertainty, especially as he was directing it at things that were once completely unaccepted - attracting foreign capital into the country, accepting entrepreneurship, and allowing a Chinese market to exist. Before 1976, these would have been illegal. But from 1979, they were accepted and promoted. This change in attitude and ability to simply reset and redirect themselves offers food for thought for not just the Chinese, but also everyone else. There are no hard and fast rules, the Chinese experience shows - facts, and situations, can change. The main thing is to recognize and then deal with it, and to be open and self-critical.

Core identity as a distinctive place

China under Deng, and since the reform, has changed radically. But it has also maintained its core identity as a very distinctive place with a unique cultural and social outlook. Which shows that in many ways the pragmatism and flexibility of the Deng approach read something deep and right about the nature of China and the Chinese. To this day, therefore, reform and opening-up endure. Because of China's global prominence, the other countries may go more deeply into their own era of reform and openingup, and embrace more of China and its rich traditions and cultures.

That would indeed be a great global learning process. And it would mean the spirit of "liberating thought" is not just appropriate for China, but for the world as well.

The author is a professor of Chinese Studies and director of Lau China Institute, King's College, London, and associate fellow in the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House. He is the author of China Dreams: The Culture of the Communist Party and the Secret Sources of its Power published by Polity Press, Cambridge, in September 2018. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page9)

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2018-12-14 08:06:06
37405936 <![CDATA[Readers revel in used book market]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/14/content_37405936.htm Shen Bing's first foray into secondhand book buying turned out to be a revelation. The book she bought, Tengxun Zhuan (The History of Tencent), was not only in good shape, to her it seemed almost brand-new. In addition it had been autographed by the author and it cost her a little less than 18 yuan ($2.60; 2.27 euros: £2.03), 30 percent of its original price.

Shen bought the book from Duo Zhua Yu, or Deja Vu, an online secondhand bookshop that buys used books at between 20 percent and 40 percent of their original price and sells them at between 30 percent and 55 percent of their original price.

Buying used books from the store has brought more unexpected bonuses to Shen: small mementos the company often sends when it dispatches books to her. Once she bought a novel by the Japanese author Keigo Higashino and received a message sent via the mini-program from its previous owner saying the story was fascinating and that she hoped she would enjoy it, she says.

 

The online shop's success is built on what seems to be a changing attitude to ownership by which younger Chinese are giving greater emphasis to the right to use things rather than the right to possess them, which means they are more likely to pass on used items to others. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Wei Ying, 32, founder of Duo Zhua Yu and a former employee of the e-commerce company Alibaba (bottom right), says the idea of opening an online secondhand bookstore arose from her experience selling old books and CDs when she was a university student in Beijing.

"That message gave me a very warm feeling, and because of it I read the book more attentively than I would have otherwise, trying not to miss any of the detail."

However, for Shen, 27, a clerk with the Bank of China, the most appealing feature is that these books are so cheap. Since September last year she has bought more than 500 books from Duo Zhua Yu mostly at a discount of 60 percent, spending a total of 7,000 yuan. She has also sold more than 200 books to the store at a discount of about 80 percent.

"I always buy social science books there. The most popular ones are hard to find, and sometimes when I'm finished reading I sell them back to the store."

Duo Zhua Yu was founded in January 2017 and soon gained a large following of people like Shen, buying and selling their books to the company and helping to turn the online market for secondhand books into a very prosperous one.

During the recent Singles Day online shopping spree, when tens of thousands of sellers cut prices to attract customers, Duo Zhua Yu said it would pay more for the books it bought for 24 hours and in doing so its inventory swelled with the addition of 100,000 books, which is five times the number of books it usually buys each day.

Wei Ying, 32, founder of Duo Zhua Yu and a former employee of the e-commerce company Alibaba, says the idea of opening an online secondhand bookstore came from her experience selling old books and CDs when she was a university student in Beijing.

At the time she was addicted to reading books and watching movies, she says, but soon realized she could not possibly afford all the books and CDs she was keen on, so she began to sell her old ones to buy new ones.

Wei set up a stall on the campus of the Communication University of China, selling her inventory a little below the original price. She sold some popular CDs at the original purchase price, she says, giving her a sense of achievement.

"Many books were too popular to borrow from the library," Wei says. "By reselling them after reading them I could read books at leisure very cheaply. The experience showed me that if we treat durable goods properly, everyone can use them without having to pay too much.

The dream of running a secondhand shop thus took root in Wei's mind, and in January last year she quit Alibaba, starting her online secondhand bookshop.

Her business started from groups in the social media app WeChat and she later set up a WeChat official account, with a mini-program to run the business. In March of last year Wei had 5,000 books stored in her house in Wangjing, northeastern Beijing. After a year's growth, the warehouse she rented in a Beijing suburb had more than 20,000 books.

Continuing growth forced her to move twice as she sought more space to store all the secondhand books she received, once to Langfang in Hebei province and again to Tianjin. In July there were over 700,000 books in her 7,000-square-meter warehouse in Tianjin, Wei says.

"I had never imagined we could grow so quickly."

Duo Zhua Yu now sells about as many books as it buys each day, about 20,000, and its customer base has grown to more than 100,000 people, she says.

The online shop's success is built on what seems to be a changing attitude to ownership by which younger Chinese are giving greater emphasis to the right to use things rather than the right to possess them, which means they are more likely to pass on used items to others. Other manifestations of that are rental bicycles and rental clothing.

Moreover, better quality bookbinding gives books more durability, making them amenable to being circulated among different buyers. And due to the improvement of technology, it is possible for the WeChat-based mini-program to easily distinguish different books by scanning its ISBN code to show the price.

Other online secondhand book stores include Zhuan Zhuan (Exchange) and Manyou Jing (Wandering Whale), which have official accounts or mini-programs on WeChat.

Zhang Ningyu, 36, an editor with the social-media platform Sina Weibo, says she sold more than 100 books to these secondhand bookstores in June when she was moving from one side of Beijing to the other.

"I'd read all the books so I didn't need them. The online secondhand bookstore was a good solution."

And, of course, her windfall from the old books helped her buy yet more, she says.

Zhang, who has a daughter in kindergarten, says that after buying books for herself and finding those on Duo Zhua Yu and Manyou Jing were clean, she began to buy storybooks for her daughter.

"I appreciate what they do in cleaning and disinfecting each book, which I find reassuring."

Wei says: "With what we do we aim to give each book maximum value and we hope more and more used books will come into circulation, providing more choices for people who love reading. And with low prices we want to engage the interest of more people in reading books."

A report on China's book market last year published by Beijing Open Book Co Ltd, a provider of data and information for the publishing industry, said the book market in China had turnover of 80.3 billion yuan ($11.7 billion; 10.3 billion euros; £9.3 billion) last year, 14.5 percent more than in 2016. The increase indicates that the book market in China is still growing.

Hu Xiaoming, 29, who runs a book shop in Tianjin and has been buying secondhand books for several years, says he enjoys wandering around old book stalls along the street and coming across old books that he likes. With the growing business of online bookstores, he began to buy secondhand books online.

"It's convenient and the books are clean, which people appreciate," he says.

Hu suggests that these days people are overburdened with material possessions, which helps make recycling an attractive proposition.

Many online bookstores buy only books published this century, Hu says, a policy he disagrees with. Since many old books owned by older people are as valuable as more recently published works, he says, online secondhand book dealers should be more open to books published earlier.

"I once met this 70-year-old selling his books to street waste recycling stations. He bemoaned the fact that because his children did not want them and he could no longer read them, he had no choice. I wish online bookstores would buy older books so more people could make better use of them."

Though online secondhand book stores provide plenty of convenience and seem to have bright prospects, more conventional, physical bookshops, are still showing their resilience. During the National Day holiday in October, Duo Zhua Yu rented a shop in Beijing for a week, its first offline store, and says it sold 180,000 secondhand books in just six days.

Hu, who has managed bookshops for 10 years, says that while the internet is a great sales channel, there is nothing quite like stumbling on a good book in a physical shop.

"You have to touch the book to ensure it's the one you want, and it's important to start reading it as soon as you have paid for it."

jiangyijing@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/14/2018 page1)

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2018-12-14 08:06:06
37366281 <![CDATA[Action urged to fight climate change]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366281.htm IEA director hopeful agency and partners can lead the world out of global predicament

The International Energy Agency's members and its partners can help lead the world out of its climate predicament, says IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

That is his message as representatives of around 200 countries gather in Poland for the 24th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP 24. Birol, from Turkey, is urging governments to find solutions and limit global warming efficiently.

"Climate change and energy are very close, because about 85 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from the energy sector," Birol says.

 

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, says international cooperation is the key to tackling climate change. Photos Provided to China Daily

The 30-member IEA, founded in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil crisis, includes 22 European countries, Japan, the United States and Canada. China joined the Paris-based group in 2015, as one of its eight association countries. The IEA's mission is to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its member countries and beyond.

Birol says the IEA is closely watching this year's UN climate change conference, which is taking place in the Polish city of Katowice from Dec 2 to 14. He says he hopes the international community will take rapid action to avoid climate catastrophe.

"When governments make decisions on energy, they have to think about it in terms of affordability - the energy price will have an impact on economic growth and consumers' pockets, employment and the environment footprint. We have to look at all of these issues together," he says.

Birol points out that the energy sector has a crucial role to play in combating climate change, and all nations must recognize that their policies on energy transition will have significant impacts on the shared future.

Before taking over as executive director in 2015, Birol had served IEA for two decades as chief economist and director of global energy economics, responsible for the organization's World Energy Outlook publication. The 60-year-old energy expert founded and chaired the IEA Energy Business Council, which provides a forum for cooperation between the energy industry and policymakers. Apart from his role at the institution, he is also the chairman of the World Economic Forum's energy advisory board and a member of the UN secretary-general's High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All.

According to the United Nations, this year marks the deadline agreed on by the signers of the Paris Agreement to adopt a work program for the implementation of the commitments. Other pledges that global leaders made at COP21 in Paris, such as increasing financing for climate action and developing national climate plans by 2020, will also be reviewed.

The two-week negotiations in Poland are expected to finalize the implementation guidelines and produce a rule book on how to carry out the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit the rise in global temperatures to between 1.5 C and 2 C.

"I am really worried there is a growing disconnect between the calls from different international bodies and what is happening in the real energy market," Birol says, referring to the latest warnings made by several United Nations agencies on accelerated global warming.

He refers to the warning in November by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body, that the world is not cutting emissions fast enough.

"When the IPCC announced there is an urgent need to cut emissions, we, the International Energy Agency, announced that global emissions will reach a historical high in 2018, a significant rise," he says.

According to a report released by the UN Environment Programme on Nov 27, total annual greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high of 53.5 billion tons in 2017 after three years of decreases. UNEP's Emissions Gap Report also estimates that global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 could be between 13 billion and 15 billion tons, which is more than the level needed to keep global warming within 2 C this century.

"I think that many countries around the world could take climate change seriously. But when I look at the international determination to tackle climate change a few years ago and today, I see, in general, that there was a greater appetite three years ago from political leaders around the world. But I hope this trend can be reversed sometime soon," Birol says. "Such a disconnect can only be solved through international cooperation between the governments all around the world."

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina on Nov 30, China, France and the UN reiterated firm commitment to fighting climate change and calling for effective and transparent implementation of the Paris Agreement in all aspects.

According to the G20 joint statement, leaders look forward to a successful outcome at the COP24 climate change conference, despite the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement.

In line with the goals set by the Paris Agreement, the Talanoa Dialogue, mandated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is a process designed to help countries implement and enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020.

In addition, the United States has affirmed its strong commitment to energy access and security, utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment. The G20 economies all agreed to seek possible national paths aiming to achieve energy transition toward a low-emissions future.

Confronted with environmental challenges, one undoubtable imperative is to reach for technological advances, Birol says.

According to IEA's Renewables 2018 report, renewable energy sources used in meeting global energy demand are expected to grow by one-fifth in the next five years to reach 12.4 percent in 2023. Renewables are forecast to meet more than 70 percent of global electricity generation growth by 2023, led by solar photovoltaic and followed by wind, hydropower, and bioenergy.

"When we look at the numbers, renewable energy is growing very strongly and renewables' share in the energy mix is increasing, thanks to the drop in cost and policy support from major economies such as China, which is the global leader for both solar PV and wind power, European countries and the US," Birol says.

"But in order to solve the climate problems, renewables alone are not enough. We also need other new other advanced technologies, clean technologies such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, electric cars and so on," he says.

From his point of view, China is playing a key role in shaping the future of low-carbon energy technologies by leading investment and innovation of cleaner energy sources. Birol says the Chinese government has made enormous efforts toward low-carbon energy transition, with the aim to achieve the fastest and greatest progress in tackling climate issues.

"Firstly, China is pushing for zero carbon technologies, including solar, wind, hydropower, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage. Secondly, China is replacing coal with gas. China today is overtaking Japan to become the world's largest importer of natural gas. The natural gas is helping to reduce the local pollution in cities in order to make the skies of China blue again. Thirdly, China is working closely with the IEA, trying to improve energy efficiency," he says.

"If I can give you three top projects, one is to integrate renewable energies in the best way to the Chinese electricity grades; second is how we can make sure that the China gas market and relevant regulation is designed in the best way so that the gas becomes a significant part of the Chinese energy mix; and third, like Europe, China is designing its emissions trading system. It will be the world's largest carbon market. We are helping the Chinese government to deliver the best," he says.

In addition to closer ties with the IEA, Birol also expects more close cooperation between China and its members on investment in sustainable infrastructure.

"I hope to see that the Chinese emissions peak sooner than later, which will be good news for Chinese people, and also for the rest of the world," he says.

For China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page32)

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2018-12-07 08:11:40
37366280 <![CDATA[Premier Li urges full support for private businesses]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366280.htm

Premier Li Keqiang called for fully implementing supportive measures for private and small businesses, including ways to ease their burdens in getting financed, during an inspection tour in Jiangsu province that concluded on Nov 30.

Li visited several banks and companies in Nantong and Nanjing during his two-day tour of Jiangsu, which had the second-largest GDP among provincial regions last year.

The premier started the tour at the Chongchuan branch of the Bank of Jiangsu in Nantong on Nov 29. He asked about interest rates and how long it takes to open an account at the bank.

The bank's management reported to the premier that concerted efforts have been made to make more loans to small and micro-sized enterprises while reducing their costs. For seven consecutive years, the bank has maintained the largest volume of loan balances for private and small businesses, with the largest number of such clients in the province.

Li said the difficulty for small and micro-sized businesses in getting financed should be overcome while costs should be reduced. Small businesses are the leading forces for maintaining stable employment, and the bank's support for small businesses is a way of investing in their own future, he said.

At textile maker Luolai Group, Li encouraged its employees to make innovations in line with China's upgraded consumption to keep its advantages in the market, even though the company is in a traditional industry.

Li also visited Suning Holdings Group in Nanjing, the provincial capital. Previously relying on selling traditional electric household appliances, the company has shifted to a new model of using internet technologies to sell its products online and offline. Sales surged by 38 percent this year, while online sales went up by 68 percent.

Li said the Chinese market is a huge one with great potential, and cloud platforms should be used to align production, sales and logistics. He also said new technologies, such as smart logistics, should be used to integrate online and offline sales and provide consumers with high-quality services and products. Like many of his inspection tours, administrative streamlining was an interest for the premier on the Jiangsu trip.

At the "Smart Nanjing" center, run by the Nanjing Commission of Economy and Information Technology, Li spoke highly of the center using internet-based technologies to get government approvals done online, calling it a highlight of administrative streamlining.

The premier said the government service platform has promoted information sharing and stimulated market vitality and social creativity. He told local officials to make further efforts to improve the business environment.

huyongqi@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page25)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366279 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366279.htm

"Naturally slowing or stopping bad lending slows economic growth over the short term and helps it over the long term. ... As long as China continues making rapid reforms and broadening the expansion to less-developed parts of the economy while maintaining stability, the long-term prospects are very bright, because that rapid productivity growth will continue."

RAY DALIO, founder of Bridgewater Associates.

"With the British government spending £80 million ($101 million; 89 million euros) on revolutionizing ticketing from paper to mobile and contactless, it's the perfect time to launch TrainPal in the UK market."

AMY WEI, head of TrainPal and group general manager of international train ticketing at Ctrip.

"From laboratory research to clinical use, AI (in healthcare) is developing with unprecedented speed in China. Our medical facilities have taken a lead in using AI-based applications compared with other countries."

FANG CONG, vice-president of Hangzhou Yitu Healthcare Technology Co Ltd, a startup that focuses on AI healthcare innovation.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page24)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366278 <![CDATA[UK hopes for more trade ties with China]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366278.htm

The United Kingdom is ready to work with China to foster inclusive growth and champion open trade at a time of shifting global balances, according to the newly installed lord mayor of London.

Peter Estlin, 57, spoke with China Daily at his Mansion House office, located in the city's financial district, three weeks after taking office as the 691st lord mayor. Not to be confused with the mayor of London, the lord mayor's main role is to represent, support and promote the businesses and residents of London. These businesses are mostly in the financial sector.

"The desire is to drive toward free trade, remove the barriers, reduce poverty ... allow a greater degree of collaboration, respect sovereignty and respect community, that's what we're looking to do as we move forward," he says.

The centuries-old grand temple portico and ornate banqueting hall of Mansion House are reminders of the bygone era of the British Empire, but Estlin acknowledges that the world has changed.

Domestically, London is fighting to maintain its status as a leading global banking center amid Brexit uncertainties, and internationally the UK is defending its inherent values of market openness at a time of trade frictions and protectionist pressures.

Estlin's role as lord mayor is to be an ambassador for London's financial services sector, helping the City of London Corp forge international partnerships. In March, he will be doing just that when he leads a British delegation to China to meet with financial companies and regulators to discuss further cooperation opportunities.

The day-to-day concerns of the city set the tone for his daily agenda, but Estlin says he wants to take a longerterm view to strengthen multilateralism and connectivity. As such, he says, the UK and China have much in common. He highlights the Chinaproposed Belt and Road Initiative, as a great platform to foster shared and sustainable development.

"BRI is not simply about infrastructure. Projects also contribute to local economies, and help teach local workers skills in construction and other areas," says Estlin, adding that such upskilling is already happening in markets such as Pakistan, where many BRI projects have been built in recent years.

The BRI, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, advocates improved connectivity of infrastructure, trade, ideas and knowledge among countries and regions.

In recent years, the City of London has actively branded itself as the BRI's finance hub, in an effort to secure deals and hedge against the pessimism surrounding Brexit. Last month it joined the research arm of China's central bank to launch a new report highlighting the role of London and other global financial centers in financing BRI projects.

The report found that since 2013, more than 4,500 BRI projects have been financed globally, with their expected total project value exceeding $5 trillion (4.4 trillion euros; £3.9 trillion). A number of British banks are heavily involved in the projects' financing. For example, Britain's Standard Chartered funded more than 50 BRI deals in 2017 alone, and last December it announced an additional $20 billion commitment to BRI projects by 2020.

A banker by trade, Estlin has enjoyed a distinguished career at Salomon Brothers Asia, Citigroup and Barclays. His work has taken him to China numerous times, giving him an insight into the country's economic transformation over recent decades.

His first visit was in 1998, 20 years after the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy, which changed China from a planned economy to a market-driven one, allowing international companies greater access.

He says that back then China, struck him as "much more cautious" in its approach to both domestic policy and growing international engagement.

"If I do the compare and contrast, China in 1998 was more oriented toward its domestic agenda," he says.

Three years later, in 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization, an event that paved the way for China's rapid export-led growth. "Today, China's role on the international stage is far more prominent and deserved," he adds.

In 1978, the size of China's economy was just one-40th of that of the United States, but during the past 40 years, China's GDP has grown by an average of around 9.5 percent a year. By 2017, the size of China's economy had grown to more than three-fifths that of the US, according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

With economic growth, China also took a leadership role on many multinational issues. Key examples include China's commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, and championing of globalization by opening up its market for greater international access through initiatives such as the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November.

Inevitably, such engagement has led to closer cooperation between China and the UK.

The UK was a country of honor at the CIIE, and according to British government estimates, the hundreds of British companies that attended the expo jointly secured around £2 billion ($2.5 billion; 2.2 billion euros) worth of orders. There are many other examples of collaboration, especially in the "golden era" of relations since President Xi's state visit to the UK in 2015.

Estlin says meeting Xi in London in 2015 allowed him to understand China's strong international commitment.

"He showed China's interest in wanting to help set an international framework and a recognition that if China is to continue to grow, growth has to take place internationally. We continue to be grateful to China for opening up its markets and the country has promised to look further at liberalization, to encourage more people to invest in China, which creates a sense of participation and a richer dialogue," he says.

cecily.liu@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page26)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366277 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 24)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366277.htm

 

Passengers from St. Petersburg pose for photographs after landing at Sanya Phoenix International Airport on Dec 4, marking the successful opening of IrAero Airlines' St. Petersburg-Sanya air route. The air route is part of the Russian company's expansion plan, in which it also plans routes from Sanya to Moscow, Kemerovo and Kazan. Sha Xiaofeng / For China Daily

PBOC skips open market operations

The People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, skipped open market operations for the 29th consecutive trading day on Dec 5, the longest stretch since early 2016, citing sufficient liquidity in the banking system. No reverse repos will mature. A reverse repo is a process by which the central bank purchases securities from commercial banks through bidding, with an agreement to sell them back in the future.

Refinery construction launched in Jieyang

The construction of a refinery with a capacity of 20 million metric tons a year was launched on Dec 5 in Jieyang, Guangdong province, by China National Petroleum Corp, the nation's largest oil and gas producer by domestic annual output, and Venezuela's PDVSA, with a total investment of 65.4 billion yuan ($9.5 billion; 8.4 billion euros; £7.5 billion). The test run of the refining-aromatics-chemical integrated project will take place in 2021, said CNPC.

FAW Jiefang's trucks set sales record

FAW Jiefang Automotive Co Ltd, a truck subsidiary of China's leading automaker FAW Group, sold a record 299,273 Jiefang trucks in the first 11 months of this year, the company said on Dec 4. The company has introduced several new models to the market this year, including the seventh generation of its classic J7 heavy truck. The company has set goals of selling 350,000 vehicles in 2020 and 430,000 vehicles in 2023. The number is expected to reach 500,000 in 2025.

Renewable-power quota system expected

China will launch a renewable-power quota system before the end of the year, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Dec 4, as part of its efforts to make better use of renewable energy resources and reduce waste. The commission said in a notice that it would work to cut renewable-power waste rates to 5 percent by 2020, down from as high as 12 percent this year. China's renewable capacity has been growing at a rapid pace, but some of it has remained idle due to grid access problems and the reluctance of local transmission companies to take on costly and sometimes intermittent sources of electricity.

Company launches Go training platform

TAL Education Group, a Beijing-based company, launched an online platform in China on Dec 4 for young learners of the popular strategy board game Go, eyeing a booming local market as more Chinese students seek to enhance their overall ability in their spare time. The platform, supported by the company's artificial intelligence technology, can help users to match rivals at similar levels and then give a score for their moves in each game. The platform will also comment on each move players make and give advice accordingly.

Daimler set to make NEVs in nation

Daimler will start building electric cars in China next year as a way to meet stringent anti-pollution quotas for carmakers, even as demand for conventional models like the Mer-cedes-Benz Maybach remains strong. China has introduced minimum sales requirements for new energy vehicles, and Daimler is on track to meet the quota for 2018, Daimler's local chief Hubertus Troska says. "We are very confident about fulfilling the NEV quotas," Troska says, adding that a new fully electric vehicle will be added to the local production.

Former 5i5j Group exec opens business

Hu Jinghui, former vice-president of 5i5j Group, one of the largest real estate brokerages in China, has announced the establishment of a new company, Xiangchu Zhaohui Group. He says the company offers services related to trade, financing and investment, public relations and branding, and will also offer incubation services.

Kenya to tap into China's industrial tech

Kenya's business community is seeking to tap into China's industrial technology in order to boost its exports, officials said on Dec 5. James Mureu, national vice-chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told a business forum in Nairobi that local manufacturers are facing stiff competition from foreign industrialists, leading to stagnation in the sector. "We are therefore keen for joint ventures with Chinese firms so that Kenya can benefit from advanced manufacturing technology that will make the country a major exporter of products," Mureu said during the first edition of the China Home Life Kenya Exhibition and Business to Business Forum. Over 600 Chinese suppliers of home products such as consumer electronics, furniture, textile garments, lights and lamps from eight Chinese provinces are showcasing their products for three days. The KNCCI has already signed memorandums of understanding with four provincial chambers of commerce in China in order to strengthen bilateral commercial ties.

Overseas portfolio investment up in H1

The Chinese mainland's overseas portfolio investment continued to rise in the first half of the year, with Hong Kong remaining the prime destination, according to official data. At the end of June, the mainland's overseas portfolio investment assets, excluding reserve assets, amounted to $518.3 billion (457.3 billion euros; £407.2 billion), up from $497.7 billion at the end of 2017, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. Of the total, $308 billion was held in equities, while the remaining $210.3 billion flowed into bonds.

Dream Cruise to launch in Shanghai and Tianjin

Genting Cruise Lines announced on Dec 4 the addition of Explorer Dream, a 75,338-gross ton, 1,852-passenger cruise ship, to its Dream Cruise portfolio. The ship will have Shanghai and Tianjin as homeports beginning in April and is expected to strengthen the Dream Cruise brand in northern China.

Alipay says it has over 900m users globally

Alipay, a leading payment and lifestyle platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, has more than 900 million users globally, the company said. Alipay had over 700 million active users in China as of September, with 70 percent of them using three services provided by Alipay, according to Alibaba's latest quarterly earnings report. Over 40 million small shops and sellers in China support payment through the Alipay QR code stickers, the earnings report said.

UBS gets nod for securities joint venture

China's securities regulator has approved UBS AG's plan to gain a majority stake in its mainland securities joint venture. This made UBS AG the first global financial institution to take advantage of the new rules China put in place in May to further open up its financial market. UBS AG will raise its stake in the UBS Securities Co to 51 percent, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on its website.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page24)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366276 <![CDATA[Environmental financing on the right track]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366276.htm Along the 750-kilometer line connecting landlocked Ethiopia with neighboring Djibouti's giant port, an electrified high-speed train whizzes past at 120 km/h, carrying thousands of tons of Ethiopian vegetables, coffee, tea, spices and oil seeds for export.

This link, which has cut a three-day road journey to 12 hours and reduced freight costs considerably, is being embraced by Ethiopian traders and has been hailed as a big stride toward the country's ambition of becoming Africa's light manufacturing hub by 2025.

But the line is also a story of successful green finance.

 

The Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway can significantly ease urban traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions. Wang Shoubao / Xinhua

Before the line opened in January, Ethiopian exporters mainly transported their products to the Port of Djibouti by road.

According to a study by Ethiopia's Madda Walabu University, the new link has reduced energy consumption by 75 percent and the carbon footprint by 85 percent compared with road transportation.

The scale of carbon reduction is notable, considering that 95 percent of Ethiopia's exports pass through the Port of Djibouti and can benefit from the railway.

Funding for the line was provided by loans from Chinese banks, including the Export-Import Bank of China, China Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

This funding provides a snapshot of a wider trend, in which Chinese banks and funds are looking for climate-friendly energy and infrastructure projects to finance along the trade routes in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI advocates improved connectivity of infrastructure, trade, ideas and knowledge along global trade routes.

The initiative involves almost 70 countries and more than 4.8 billion people. It covers economies worth a combined $21 trillion (18.5 trillion euros; £16.5 trillion), accounting for 62 percent of global GDP.

Ensuring the environmental sustainability of new BRI projects is a key commitment for China. At the 2017 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Xi proposed setting up an international coalition for green development in BRI areas.

"We will provide support to related countries in adapting to climate change," Xi said.

China is not alone on this journey of greening the Belt and Road routes.

The United Nations signed an agreement with China to promote sustainable development of the BRI. The World Resources Institute has urged the country to share its climate mitigation experiences with other emerging economies and help nations taking part in the BRI to green their financial systems.

The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom has launched the Green BRI Data and Analysis Platform to help BRI projects track their environmental impact, while international commentators look to the BRI as a green finance laboratory due to the sheer volume of new projects.

Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative, an international, investor-focused nonprofit, says, "Chinese companies with clean technology should be encouraged and financially supported to export their technology to Belt and Road countries, so that other emerging economies will leapfrog to cleaner energy solutions."

cecily.liu@mail.chinadailyuk.com

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page29)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366275 <![CDATA[Income up, tax down, but cheer is hard to find]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366275.htm

First, the good news. Disposable income is up. Second, the personal income tax burden will ease next year. So, are Chinese consumers jumping for joy? Not exactly.

Why not? Well, they are bedeviled by perceived uncertainty over future economic growth projection in general and this year's stock market meltdown in particular.

Parking savings in the bank does not seem like a bright idea, given the 1.5 percent one-year deposit rate since 2015.

Having installed an array of financial apps on my smartphone recently, I now realize the alternative investment avenues, which used to generate up to 5 percent in interest, are dimmer too.

Economists seem blind to traditions like Christmas season goodies that cheer us up. They don't seem to understand that Chinese consumers don't like uncertainty.

When that sense of uncertainty appears pervasive, consumers make a beeline for the banks. Deposits surge. When deposits rise, consumption falls. If the economic outlook for the next year weakens, more depositors may be forgiven if they consume less.

After all, they have seen onshore stock prices plummet almost 25 percent this year. The search is on for safer, more lucrative investment areas. In times of uncertainty, bank deposits may appear a wise if conservative move. But they end up savaging the allure of some high-risk financial assets.

Central bank data shows the household sector has deposited more money with banks in the third quarter than in the first half of this year. Total deposits outstanding of the household sector stood at 70.05 trillion yuan ($10.1 trillion; 8.9 trillion euros; £7.9 trillion) by September, up 9 percent year-on-year, compared with a growth rate of 7.8 percent at the end of June.

Chinese consumers expect decent returns on savings, especially when the inflation rate tops 2 percent. But, with the interest rate on one-year deposits being what it is, they are pondering their next move. And even more so because the average return on wealth management products fell recently. But financial regulators felt the rapid expansion of shadow banking activities was risky and undesirable, so they reined them in. Consequently, annualized interest rates declined from around 5 percent last year to 4.3 percent, the lowest level in 18 months.

As a large portion of Chinese wealth was locked up in the property market, consumption could not grow faster. Even per-capita income is growing at a steady, not heady, rate. On the other hand, high property prices have pushed up the leverage level in the household sector.

"The sharply rising spending on houses, due to rising home prices, overdrew Chinese consumers, pushing them to borrow short-term consumption loans to sustain a high-quality lifestyle", the People's Bank of China said in a report that explained the trend.

The PBOC report showed that the leverage level of China's household sector, or the outstanding debt-to-GDP ratio, stood at 49 percent by 2017, lower than the average level of 62.1 percent globally, but higher than 39.8 percent in emerging markets.

The Ministry of Finance has announced further cuts to individual income tax from next year. It has already raised the tax threshold to 5,000 yuan in monthly income from 3,500 yuan.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page31)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366274 <![CDATA[Sino-UK efforts are charging ahead]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366274.htm

The buzz around green finance is being incorporated into efforts by the United Kingdom to engage with China's financial markets and maintain London's status as a global financial hub, despite Brexit uncertainties.

In March, Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman announced that the British and Chinese governments and private companies would invest up to 10 million pounds ($12.8 million; 11.3 million euros) in funding the new UK-China Green Finance Centre to conduct research in this field.

In June, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China listed a $1.58 billion green bond on the London Stock Exchange, the largest-ever listing of such a bond for the bourse.

Roger Gifford, chairman of City of London Corp's Green Finance Initiative, says: "The opportunity for UK-China collaboration on green finance is huge, and the political commitment from both governments for this collaboration is critical.

"London is home to one of the largest global pools of international investors looking to invest in sustainable projects, and China has a big market for these projects. That's a great commercial logic."

UK-China green finance collaboration began in 2015, when Agricultural Bank of China raised $1 billion to invest in climate-friendly projects by listing a green bond on the London exchange.

This was viewed as a stamp of confidence for London's green finance market, since it was the first green bond issued internationally by a Chinese bank.

In 2016, when China used its G20 presidency to put green finance on the international forum's agenda for the first time, it called on the UK for support.

That year, the People's Bank of China and the Bank of England co-chaired the G20 Green Finance Study Group. Central banks from other G20 countries also took part in the discussion.

Last year, the China-UK Green Finance Taskforce was established, with support from both governments. The task force gathered British and Chinese policymakers, banks and major green finance investors to share ideas on regulation and data disclosure and accelerate green finance solutions in countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"It is this growing understanding and exchanges that have given the market a positive signal and created a confident environment for Chinese banks to issue green bonds in London," Gifford says.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page28)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366273 <![CDATA[DJI unveils portable handheld camera]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366273.htm Drone maker launches product to offset slow sales

DJI, the world's largest commercial drone manufacturer by market share, has unveiled its portable handheld camera, the Osmo Pocket, in a bid to gain a bigger share of the professional photography and video sector, amid sluggish growth in China's consumer drone market.

Priced at $349 (306 euros; £273), Osmo Pocket is DJI's smallest three-axis gimbal, a pivoted support, with a built-in camera capable of shooting 4K videos. It weighs only 116 grams, and features intelligent shooting and object tracking similar to DJI's latest drones.

 

Osmo Pocket, DJI's smallest three-axis gimbal with a built-in camera capable of shooting 4K videos, is shown at its release in Beijing on Nov 29. Provided to China Daily

Luo Zhenhua, the president of DJI, says, "Innovation is at the heart of every product we create, and we hope the camera can help capture creative videos and photographs."

According to DJI, the photography and video industry has become the largest source of revenue for the company.

In August, the Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based company launched the Mavic 2 drone series, which is aimed at professionals, aerial photographers and content creators. It is the first time that the Hasselbald camera and optical zoom have been applied in DJI's consumer drone sector.

Xie Tiandi, DJI's director of communications, says most of the growth is being driven by the consumer market. "We see the short-video industry is booming, and it is time to launch a handheld gimbal camera targeting the mass market," says Xie.

Founded in 2006, DJI accounts for almost 70 percent of the consumer drone market worldwide, with Europe and North America its biggest customers. It is ramping up efforts to expand its product portfolio.

Since 2015, the consumer drone market has taken off, but it grew at a slower pace last year. Media reports say drone manufacturers such as ZeroTech and EHang have cut their payrolls and seek to diversify.

"The exploration of application scenarios for drone products has encountered a bottleneck, but the overall consumer drone industry is still growing," says Pan Xuefei, a senior analyst at IDC.

Consulting company iResearch forecast that the value of the domestic civilian drone market will reach more than 75 billion yuan ($10.8 billion; 9.5 billion euros; £8.4 billion) by 2025, and drones for aerial photography and entertainment are expected to create a 30 billion yuan market.

According to an International Data Corp report, shipments of aerial photography drones will surge to 3 million units by 2019, with the compound annual growth rate reaching 68 percent.

A series of incidents involving low-flying drones in restricted areas around major Chinese airports last year led to tighter usage regulations and affected product sales.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said that commercial UAVs weighing more than 250 grams had to be registered under the owner's real name beginning on June 1.

fanfeifei@chinadailycom.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page26)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366272 <![CDATA[China takes lead in solar support]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366272.htm Benefits for rest of world seen from country's strong backing of renewables

On a huge area of land 10 times bigger than New York's Central Park, the world's biggest solar farm is taking shape.

When completed next year, the $4 billion (3.5 billion euros; £3.1 billion) Benban park in Egypt will generate 1.8 gigawatts of electricity and directly avoid 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which otherwise would have been created by alternative power-generation sources.

The 36-square-kilometer solar project is a flagship success story in the green finance industry, which has grown at a quicker pace in recent years as the threat of climate change has become more apparent.

But one key factor that has made this park not just an ecological showcase but also a financially profitable project is the global fall in the cost of producing solar energy - thanks to China's financial support, which has allowed this renewable sector to achieve efficiencies of scale.

Harry Boyd-Carpenter, head of power and energy utilities at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, says: "The scale, the innovation and the brutal competition of China's domestic solar market has driven prices down. This has allowed a country like Egypt to access cheap solar panels."

China has become the new leader in renewable energy investment in recent years, anchoring clean energy industries with confidence, especially after the United States' decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Last year, China invested more than $44 billion in clean energy projects, a significant increase from the $32 billion in 2016. These investments have resulted in technological breakthroughs for a variety of renewable resources, including hydro, wind, solar and bioenergy.

The benefits are not restricted to China. The solar sector, for instance, realized a 70 percent reduction in production costs from 2010 to last year, making projects such as the Benban park financially viable.

"Chinese solar panel manufacturers have competed to drive down costs for the domestic market, and the rest of the world is getting benefits from this," says Boyd-Carpenter.

The country's commitment to sustainable investments has also made it a leader in green finance.

For example, in 2016, when China launched its green bond market, such bonds issued in the country reached a whopping 205.2 billion yuan ($29.5 billion), making it the world's largest issuer of the bonds, and accounting for 40 percent of those issued globally.

This year, China became the first country to make it compulsory for all listed companies and bond issuers to disclose environmental, social and governance risks associated with their operations by 2020.

Unprecedented growth

The country has also led green finance regulatory advancement overseas. In 2016, it used its presidency of the G20 Global Leaders Summit to put green finance on the agenda for the first time, and has since worked closely with central banks around the world to advance green finance policies.

Mathias Lund Larsen, director of international cooperation at the Institute of Green Finance, a Beijing think tank, says: "It is the first time a country has taken such a comprehensive approach to greening the financial system. Given China's success in pace and scale, other countries are starting to experiment with similar approaches."

Green finance has become a hot topic in the financial industry in recent years, partly due to its unprecedented growth.

When the World Bank's environment department issued the first green bond in 2008, few investors understood the new asset class. Consequently, the funds raised were small - in the tens of millions of dollars - and there were few investors.

Since then, the market has taken off. In 2014 alone, the issuance of green bonds tripled.

What makes green bonds special is that the funds raised have to go into environmentally friendly projects, such as renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings or electric vehicles.

The fact that these projects will continue to generate good financial returns despite increasingly strict environmental laws means green bonds are popular among long-term investors, such as pension funds.

Encouraged by the success of these bonds, other green products have emerged, including loans and equities. Regulators have also drawn up rules that support the sector's growth, and banks have worked together to develop better ways to identify green projects they can finance.

China is an active player on platforms where such topics are being discussed and addressed, including the World Bank Sustainable Banking Network, the G20 and the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System.

According to Alzbeta Klein, director and global head of International Finance Corp's Climate Business, "China's role is absolutely critical in climate change mitigation and therefore climate finance."

The country's seat on international green finance platforms is key to ensuring the regulations made for this sector are suitable for emerging economies' energy transition, Klein says. "This is important, particularly because new energy solutions can help many emerging economies skip some of the steps developed markets have experienced in energy transition, to leapfrog to greener growth."

Since the US backed away from the Paris agreement, governments and businesses have looked to China for leadership to advance the green finance sector. For instance, the California state government took a step to work directly with China on climate finance. In September, China and California launched the China-California Cleantech Partnership Fund, which is designed to facilitate investment in clean technological innovation.

Equipped with experience in financing green projects at home, Chinese banks are increasingly financing such projects overseas. For example, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China teamed up with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to finance part of the Benban solar park in Egypt.

Boyd-Carpenter, from the EBRD, says: "Chinese banks are good at taking a long-term view of financing. They are not afraid of long-term infrastructure risk. That makes them good partners for us."

Other Chinese banks active in financing overseas green projects include China Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Green finance is also at the heart of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as illustrated in its slogan "lean, clean and green".

Challenges remain

Despite the opportunities, the global green finance industry still needs to overcome some crucial challenges to take its impact to the next level.

One particular challenge is the different green bond standards used in China and internationally. Although the differences are small, a significant one is that the Chinese standards allow proceeds from green bonds to be invested in clean coal, while international standards do not.

Larsen, from the Institute of Green Finance, says, "This leads to unnecessary complications for green bond issuers and reduced confidence among investors."

As a result, international investors wanting to buy China-issued green bonds often cannot do so, because they feel the Chinese bonds' potential financing for clean coal is incompatible with their vision of sustainable investment.

To address this challenge, Chinese regulators are working with the European Union to harmonize both standards.

"Such efforts toward green standard harmonization provide the necessary clarity for all financial stakeholders to increase their green finance efforts based on clear definitions," Larsen says.

cecily.liu@mail.chinadailyuk.com

 

The 1.8 gW Benban solar park in Egypt. Provided to China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page28)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366271 <![CDATA[Steady service sector keeps economy churning]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366271.htm Robust consumption offsets slowdown pressures on GDP

Slowdown - what slowdown?

That appears to be the typical response of observers of the Chinese economic growth trajectory these days.

As the world's second-largest economy - 82.71 trillion yuan ($11.91 trillion; 10.5 trillion euros; £9.3 trillion) in 2017, up 6.9 percent - weans itself off exports and increasingly becomes consumption-driven, sectors like services are hogging as much limelight as traditional growth engines like manufacturing and infrastructure, areas that some believe are troubled now.

"Stable income growth will support consumption growth at a steady level, providing a sound base for the overall economy this year," says Liu Aihua, spokeswoman for the National Bureau of Statistics.

For economists, concerns over a potential debt-bubble-burst no longer seem terrifying, it seems. Focus is now on the success of the reform and opening-up policy, and fresh measures to sustain high growth rates by nipping potential risks in the bud and stoking expansion of emerging business segments.

Among such measures, the push to services has caught the attention of economic pundits. Within services, segments like extracurricular education, as an example, are seeing enormous demand and recording runaway growth. This is raising hopes that the annual GDP growth targets - around 6.5 percent for 2018 - will likely be achieved no matter what, experts say.

Skeptics may question such views, but a quiet street in western Beijing appears to bear silent, but clinching, testimony that optimism about the Chinese economy is well founded.

On a Saturday morning in November a crowd of young parents and their kids converge here. They are eager to find their way through a passage that leads up to a modern shopping mall. The main gate is still closed, but a cavernous tunnel-like passageway leads them to the third floor. Their destination is an area that is home to more than 20 training centers for kids. These new-age, for-profit business ventures target children aged 3 to 16. They consist of baby swimming centers, painting workshops, dancing classrooms, so-called robot innovation centers and more.

Gao Ruixue, a young mother, watches from across a glass wall as her 5-year-old daughter tiptoes gingerly in a ballet classroom. Gao drives 15 kilometers to bring her daughter to the 9 am class. During the two-hour class, parents such as Gao sit and wait outside the arena. "Fortunately, we were not late this time," she says.

It's a big deal for parents such as Gao to be able to find a place for their kids in training centers like this one.

They spend a great deal of money, energy and time to ensure that. In doing so, they help keep the wheels of the macroeconomy turning.

The scene is more or less the same outside every center: Long lines of parents on benches, and groups of parents standing because there are not enough chairs to sit on. They have small talk, a shared sense of achievement and a bit of anxiety.

"I just paid 28,000 yuan toward next year's tuition fees for my daughter. It's for 90 hours, but the price could have been higher had I paid it late," Gao says.

As soon as the dancing class finishes, she whisks her daughter away to another center next door, this time for an English-language class.

Not surprisingly, Gao's smartphone embeds her family bank account, which she accesses every now and then to pay this bill or that. Gao and her husband pull in some 40,000 yuan in post-tax monthly income, of which 30 percent, or 12,000 yuan, is spent on the girl's training bills.

And 10,000 yuan, or a quarter of their monthly income, goes toward mortgage repayment. "A second child is on our minds, but we're not sure if we should try, given the financial implications," Gao says.

The significance of the thriving new-age learning centers is amplified in the shopping mall where fashion stores and the like have shuttered due to high rents.

But executives of learning centers are unfazed. "We have more than 1,000 kids on our rolls," says Wang Yuxuan, a sales consultant at the ballet training center. "We don't worry about the rent. We will open a new branch next year as the membership keeps growing."

According to a Tencent research report based on a survey of 1,500 Chinese families, about 22 percent of a family's annual income goes toward children's expenses on average. And education accounts for the largest part of that chunk.

Children's extracurricular education as a consumption item is growing at 21 percent annually. Children-related consumption in China is likely to reach 4.5 trillion yuan this year, according to the Tencent report.

If that comes to pass, it would be the equivalent of more than 10 percent of total retail sales in China, which are expected to grow nearly 9 percent this year to 40 trillion yuan.

This, economists agree, spells glad tidings as China's exports and fixed-asset investment are facing a slowdown this year.

Consumption has therefore come to be seen as one of the pillars on which headline GDP growth rests, economists say.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that in the first three quarters of this year, per-capita spending in China reached 14,281 yuan, up 8.5 percent year-on-year. The growth rate itself is higher too - it was 7.5 percent in the first three quarters of 2017.

Almost 11 percent of per-capita spending went to education, cultural and entertainment-related consumption, NBS data shows.

Per-capita disposable income rose to 21,035 yuan in the January-August period from 19,342 yuan a year earlier. Some economists believe traditional economic sectors could still drive growth to around 6.5 percent, this year's target. NBS data shows new business activities relating to knowledge capability, economic vitality, innovation and the internet economy have been growing stronger, easing concerns over risks exerting downward pressure on growth.

"The internet economy, especially e-commerce, maintains exuberant growth momentum, along with emerging consumption patterns like niche online shopping," says Ye Jingyi, a senior economist with the NBS.

China remains the world's largest e-commerce market with online sales in the first quarter of this year reaching $307.4 billion, up 35.4 percent year-on-year.

In the US, online retail sales in the first quarter reached $123.6 billion, up 16 percent year-on-year, according to a report from PwC, a global professional services firm.

Goldman Sachs forecast that this year, consumption in China may contribute 4.9 percentage points of the expected GDP growth rate of 6.6 percent, higher than 4.5 percentage points last year. But consumption is likely to slow next year, and is estimated to contribute 4.3 percentage points of the GDP growth.

The "still-solid labor market and steady wage growth" could support the positive expectation on Chinese consumption in 2019, says MK Tang, an economist with Goldman Sachs.

As per NBS data, the unemployment rate fell marginally this year. "Our wage tracker suggests nominal wage growth stabilized at around 7.2 percent this year, after moderating for three to four years since 2013. This should offset some of the downward pressures," Tang says.

Recent surveys by the NBS and the central bank suggested that the consumer confidence level edged down of late, as reflected in fewer urban bank depositors willing to consume.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, expectation of further weakening in fixed-asset investments, especially in infrastructure, is likely to accelerate policy support measures to protect growth.

"Worries about a possible comeback of the debt-driven growth model, or a diminished economic role of private enterprises, weigh heavily on investors' minds. Policymakers need to strike a fine balance between averting a sharp slide in growth and preventing a fast debt buildup," GS notes in its report.

chenjia@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Children learn ballet at an art studio in Handan, Hebei province, in July. Many parents in China spend a great deal of money, energy and time for their children to study at training centers after school, which helps keep the wheels of macroeconomy turning. Cheng Xuehu / For China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page30)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366270 <![CDATA[Cap eased on transborder online sales]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366270.htm China is encouraging more cross-border e-commerce transactions by easing tax and adding to supply of duty-free merchandise

China will further encourage cross-border e-commerce transactions by easing the annual cap on transborder online purchases and adding categories of imports to the duty-free list, the Ministry of Finance announced on Nov 30.

Starting next year, the annual duty-free quota for cross-border e-commerce purchases for individual buyers will be lifted to 26,000 yuan ($3,745; 3,343 euros; £2,982) from the current 20,000 yuan. The cap might be further eased in the future, as local residents' income grows, the ministry said in a statement.

 

The China-Europe freight train which departed from Hamburg arrives at Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on May 21. Xinhua

The tax-free limits on single transactions will increase to 5,000 yuan from 2,000. The ministry also added 63 product categories to the list of duty-free goods that might be available on cross-border e-commerce platforms. Most of these are popular high-end consumer products, such as sparkling wine, beer made from malt and fitness equipment.

The taxation-easing measures are expected to further boost the country's cross-border e-commerce, better meeting local residents' demand for high-quality foreign products and maintaining a level playing field in the local market.

They will also help local enterprises further push forward industrial upgrading by introducing competition from foreign counterparts.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, retail imports via e-commerce platforms rose by 53.7 percent year-on-year to 67.2 billion yuan in the first 10 months of this year.

The new policy is set to guide the sector to move toward the mid-to high-end niche, according to Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center.

"It propels different e-commerce players to really build up their respective strengths and tighten their grip on resources integration from procurement, logistics, customs and sales ... to provide genuine, end-to-end quality service," he says.

Ouyang Cheng, director of the Alibaba Cross-Border E-Commerce Research Center, says the new policy will promote innovative and sustainable development of China's e-commerce industry.

Zhang Lei, CEO of NetEase Kaola, a leading Chinese cross-border portal, says, "This is a strategic commitment to the industry as a whole and is conducive to driving consumption upgrade and advancing economic growth."

The increased transaction value cap will not only unlock consumption potential and encourage spending on items like affordable luxury goods, electronics and beauty care, but will further adjust and optimize cross-border e-commerce categories, she says.

Liu Peng, general manager of Tmall Import & Export, says: "We see continued stability and certainty on the policy end. It is a clear nod to the innovative model of the entire cross-border e-commerce model in China."

The dedicated cross-border e-commerce site of Alibaba announced a plan in November to help import $200 billion worth of goods over the next five years.

Contact the writers at chenjia@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page25)

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2018-12-07 08:11:31
37366263 <![CDATA[UNESCO lists Tibetan bathing]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366263.htm Medicinal hot spring healing joins roster of traditional cultural heritage practices

Traditional Tibetan bathing for health and healing was added to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list on Nov 28.

The entry - officially listed as "Lum Medicinal Bathing of Sowa Rigpa: Knowledge and practices concerning life, health and illness prevention and treatment among the Tibetan people in China" - was added to the list during the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Port Louis, Mauritius.

 

A master of traditional Tibetan bathing instructs his students in the proper procedure at a Tibetan hospital in Lhokha, Tibet autonomous region, in earlier November. Phurbu Tashi / Xinhua

The committee said in its decision that the element "underlines the importance of traditional knowledge concerning nature and the universe and offers a positive example of the sustainable relationship between humans and their environment".

In the Tibetan language, the word lum refers to the traditional knowledge and practices of bathing in natural hot springs, herbal water or steam to adjust the balance of body and mind, ensure health and treat illness. Sowa Rigpa refers to traditional Tibetan medicine.

According to the bid document submitted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the theory behind medicinal bathing is based on five elements: sa (earth), chu (water), me (fire), lung (wind) and namkha (space).

Its practitioners include farmers, herdsmen and urban residents, with the manpa (physician), lum jorkhan (pharmacist) and manyok (assistant) having different responsibilities in the practice. It also embodies traditional Tibetan astrology, rituals, religions and many other aspects of daily life.

As the main component of traditional Tibetan medicine, the bathing practice is widely transmitted in the Tibet autonomous region, as well as among the Tibetan populations in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu provinces.

Nevertheless, the major hubs of lum medicinal bathing are in agricultural areas along the Yarlung Valley and the Tsongkha mountain range.

"The inscription will help improve the visibility of this intangible cultural heritage in general, as well as awareness of its significance. And it will encourage dialogue on health and respect for nature between different ethnic groups," said Zhang Xu, vice-minister of culture and tourism, and head of the Chinese delegation in Mauritius.

"It also demonstrates the great attention that the international community pays to intangible cultural heritage in the domain of knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe," he said.

Some parts of lum medicinal bathing were placed on the national-level intangible cultural heritage list in 2008 and 2014.

According to Zhang, a coordination team was established by Tibet's department of culture in 2015, with wide participation from communities and practitioners.

Thanks to that, more institutions were established to promote academic research and community-level health practices. The medicinal bathing practice has been introduced into the curricula of local colleges. Primary and secondary school students can also learn through textbooks.

Guided by the ministry and supported by the National Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in China, the team worked out a five-year plan (2019-23) with a monitoring system to ensure development of the heritage in the future.

Lum medicinal bathing is China's 40th item to be inscribed in UNESCO lists of intangible cultural heritage.

"These inscriptions and selections reflect China's increasing capacity for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, which is significant for improvements in the sense of identity and pride in the communities, groups and individuals concerned," Zhang said.

He added that enthusiasm for protection of heritage will contribute to the promotion of traditional Chinese culture as a whole.

wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page19)

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2018-12-07 08:11:04
37366262 <![CDATA[10 new Confucius Institutes lift global total to 548]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366262.htm

The delivery of plaques to 10 new Confucius Institutes at the opening ceremony on Dec 4 of the 13th Confucius Institute Conference in Chengdu, Sichuan province, brings to 30 the number of new Confucius Institutes that have been built this year.

The new Confucius Institutes are in Dominican Republic, Mauritania, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, Antigua and Barbuda, Papua New Guinea, Palestine, El Salvador and Burkina Faso, according to the Confucius Institute Headquarters, also known as Hanban.

There have been 548 Confucius Institutes, 1,193 primary and high school Confucius Classrooms and 5,665 teaching sites established in 154 countries and regions. A total of 47,000 full-time and part-time teachers from China and other countries teach 1.86 million students with various academic backgrounds face to face, as well as 810,000 students online.

In 54 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, there are 153 Confucius Institutes and 149 primary and high school Confucius Classrooms, the headquarters said.

The two-day conference, sponsored by the headquarters and the Sichuan provincial government and organized by Sichuan's Education Department and the Chengdu city government, drew more than 1,500 participants, including university presidents and representatives of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms from more than 150 countries.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom offers nearly 200 classes, and 14,000 people have learned Chinese there, the university's former vice-chancellor, Keith Burnett, said at the conference's opening ceremony.

Confucius Classrooms in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas have taught tens of thousands of children, he said, and the Chinese teachers and staff of Confucius Institutes are excellent folk ambassadors, enabling people in communities from different parts of the world to feel China's friendliness and dedication.

As well as teaching children and students Chinese, the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield cooperated with local companies in dealing with challenges facing all people, such as healthcare and industrial efficiency, he said.

Isaac Meroka Mbeche, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, is director of the university's Confucius Institute, which offers a program that teaches students Chinese and practical skills. Around 20 graduates are contributing to the smooth operation of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway as drivers, maintenance workers and attendants, he said.

huangzhiling@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page19)

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2018-12-07 08:11:04
37366261 <![CDATA[Wang gunning for global glory]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366261.htm China's 'Lady Messi' crowned Asian women's player of year, but says award is 'just the beginning'

Wang Shuang has set her sights on landing silverware for club and country after being crowned Asia's female player of the year.

The Team China and Paris Saint-Germain midfield maestro was presented with the prize at the Asian Football Confederation Annual Awards on Nov 28 after fending off competition from Japan's Saki Kumagai and Australian Samantha Kerr.

Wang becomes the fourth Chinese to claim the honor after Sun Wen (1999) and Bai Jie (2003) and Ma Xiaoxu (2006).

 

China's Wang Shuang poses for the cameras after being named the Asian Football Confederation's women's player of the year in the Omani capital, Muscat, on Nov 28. Xinhua

But having earned individual recognition, the 23-year-old Wuhan native now wants to get her hands on some team trophies.

"It already meant a lot to be nominated," Wang said in English during her acceptance speech at the awards ceremony in Muscat, Oman. "Thanks to the CFA (Chinese Football Association) and my national team for their support to allow me to dream big.

"May this award inspire my team and myself to do better in the women's World Cup next year. This is just a beginning."

Netting four times, Wang helped China finish third at the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup in April to earn qualification for next year's World Cup finals in France.

The prolific scorer and playmaker again proved pivotal, with a six-goal haul, at this summer's Asian Games, where the Steel Roses lost 1-0 to Japan in the final.

Wang's impressive international form earned her a two-year contract in August with French giant PSG, where she has since flourished, racking up four goals and four assists in 12 games.

"Of course, this has been a year of great results," said Wang, who also represented China at the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. "But personally I do feel some regret that we were not able to do better at the Asian Games.

"This is a fresh start for me playing in Europe. I feel that this award will help me succeed at the highest level."

Wang admits that being the only Chinese player, male or female, to play with a major European club has brought added pressure.

"I understand the fans' expectation to see a Chinese player succeed overseas, which brings some pressure, so I try to stay relaxed and not push myself too hard whenever possible," she said in a recent podcast interview with China's Olympic sailing champion Xu Lijia.

On and off the pitch, though, Wang's settling in just fine to life in the French capital, filling her downtime with gym workouts, language classes, hanging out on the Champs Elysee and sampling the local cuisine.

"Technically, I don't see much difference in the training here (in Paris) and at home," Wang told Xu, a gold medalist in the women's Laser Radial class at the 2012 London Olympics.

"But physically I have to do some extra work to become stronger and faster so I get the best from my body in games."

The glamor of PSG is a world away from the poorly funded women's league in China, where players earn only around 5,000 yuan ($720) a month.

Recalling her days in the domestic game during the podcast, Wang revealed she had to wash her own uniform and cleats after every training session and game.

"The award was a great payback for her hard work and an encouragement for the dedication of all women's players in our country," China's national women's team coach Jia Xiuquan says of Wang's achievement.

"She is still quite young and I believe there remains a lot of untapped potential for her to improve and become a real international star."

Wang's silky skills have earned her the nickname "Lady Messi", but she confessed that her idol in the sport is the Barcelona superstar's big rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.

"His work ethic and the high demands he places on himself to be professional on the field and in life inspire me to always try to become better," said Wang.

Meanwhile, China walked away with two other awards at the AFC ceremony. The CFA was given the President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football together with the Palestinian and Singapore associations, while Chinese official Zhang Jilong, a former AFC vice-president, was presented with the Diamond of Asia award for his service to the confederation.

sunxiaochen@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page21)

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2018-12-07 08:11:04
37366260 <![CDATA[From fine dining to flipping burgers]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366260.htm Michelin star chef ditches fancy hotels for the excitement of the pop-up stand

Macao's Grand Lisboa Hotel may be known as the world's only dining destination to have seven Michelin stars under one roof, but its latest culinary project was a pop-up burger stand in collaboration with Uwe Opocensky that was only open for three days in September.

The German-born chef worked previously with Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong for nearly a decade from 2004, overseeing a total of 10 restaurants, three of which have been awarded with Michelin stars. In 2015, he left the luxury hotel group and surprised the Hong Kong restaurant industry by joining the burger chain Beef& Liberty.

 

German chef Uwe Opocensky prepares a burger. Provided to China Daily

Over the years, both as a business partner and its executive chef, Opocensky has grown the brand into one of the most sought-after burger destinations in China, including overseeing its expansion into Shanghai.

Opocensky, who has cooked for former US president Bill Clinton, the UK's Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales Charles Philip Arthur George, is now aiming to bring his burgers to more locations across China and even Asia through the pop-up concept.

He spoke with China Daily about his motivations behind departing the fine dining scene and why he simply loves burgers.

Why did you decide on the pop-up concept?

A pop-up is more about the excitement for both diners and servers because of the short duration of its existence. People these days constantly want to be entertained and excited. Pop-up stores are a great opportunity for the operator and the guest chef to exchange ideas, be mutually inspired and learn from each other. This is my second time doing pop-up with Beef & Liberty. There should be more in the coming years in both the Chinese mainland and Asia. The pop-up dynamics are very much driven by social media, which is also the future.

How do you think social media and the obsession with taking photos of our food have affected the restaurant industry?

As a chef, I am always concerned about delivering food when it is at its freshest. However, we are in the hospitality industry, which means we have to adapt to what our guests want. And if they want to spend 15 minutes taking a picture, that is their choice. It's not for me to tell them what is right or wrong. What I am going to tell them is that when I serve it to you, that's the right moment. If you miss it, that's your choice.

Would you spend time making your burger appear nice for photos?

No, I serve it delicious, because at the end of the day that's what counts for me. Of course I would want to make it look good and appealing, but I don't want to overstyle it. You can always create the world's biggest pizza or the most expensive cocktail to create a splash on social media. But what's the point of it? Does it taste good?

What do you want to express with burgers?

For one thing, people walking into fine dining or five-star hotel restaurants usually have certain expectations for the foods they are served. These places reach only a very small amount of people because of their price points. With Beef & Liberty, I have a much bigger audience and also a much more difficult one because they all have different perceptions. This is good as it forces me to think differently and take on new challenges. I want to grow as a chef. I have more flexibility and a greater range in terms of what I can do since getting out of the fine dining scene. There is little personalization about it (fine dining). It's more about following guidelines and reading off the scripts. There is nothing wrong with that. But having been there for so many years, I am personally done with it.

Why burgers in particular?

I have known the owner of Beef & Liberty for a long time and I am also part of it (as a business partner). This means I am not an employee and my voice gets heard. So you can say it's less about burgers, but more about the people behind the burger.

Do you think there is a misconception that burgers are just fast food?

If you think about burgers, you think of obvious brands. But if you know about food, what these brands offer is not delicious. What they offer doesn't do justice to burgers. So what we want to do is focus on this particular category and add quality to it, such as using grass-fed beef that is sustainable.

Having won Michelin stars before, what is your take on the guide now?

I've tried so many years to get two Michelin stars, and it never happened for whatever reason, so I had my shot at it. For me it's a barometer of who you are. Hopefully when I'm in my own environment, they will look at me again. But, on the other hand, I just want to have fun now.

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page23)

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2018-12-07 08:11:04
37366259 <![CDATA[Seafood delicacies year-round]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366259.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

Abalones, scallops, mussels, clams, sea cucumber, whelks, prawns, fish, cuttlefish ... practically everything from the sea can be preserved and dried, ready for another day in the Chinese kitchen.

Chinese fishermen are experts at preserving what they cannot sell the same day. At any seaside port, you can often smell these even before you see them - racks and rows of drying shellfish, baby prawns or tiny fish.

 

Dried seafood is preserved to make delicious dishes available out of season. Provided to China Daily

And the chefs are waiting to resurrect all the condensed flavors with some clever processes. It could be as simple as pounding savory dried prawns and using them in a soup or stir-fry, or as involved as the one-week labor of love reconstituting a hardened abalone into a soft, tender morsel again.

Dried seafood is part of the repertoire of marine pleasures, the precious ingredients from the sea that are preserved to make delicious dishes available out of season.

On the lower end of the scale, dried prawns are the home cook's pantry basics.

In northern regions that are far away from the coasts and ports, this is how the Chinese add seafood flavors to their diet. Baby shrimps or krill are dried and stored. The xiapi or shrimp skins are used whole, shells and all, for there is little meat on them.

A simple everyday soup is to pour boiling hot water over krill and torn-up pieces of dried laver. A final garnish of coriander leaves, and a flavorful soup is ready in minutes.

Krill is also toasted in the wok and added to stir-fries of vegetables to add that touch of seafood umami. They are also used in dumplings to sweeten the filling.

Larger prawns, also naturally dried, are known as haimi or xiami the last character meaning "rice". These "prawn rice" are equally precious and sparingly used as a seasoning ingredient.

Long ago, Chinese fishermen discovered the secret of dehydration. Shellfish such as mussels, cockles, clams and whelks are shelled end then naturally dried in the sun when they are abundant. They are then stored for those times when ingredients are scarce, and used to enrich the dining table.

Drying enhances the natural sweetness of the shellfish, and dried whelks, mussels and clams are commonly used to flavor seasonal broths.

Some dried seafood can be very expensive.

Good-sized scallops cost a bomb, especially now when marine resources are being depleted so quickly. The best are found in the cold waters of the more northern latitudes, and a kilogram of dried scallops may set the determined gourmet back by a couple of thousand yuan.

Still, dried scallops (the round adductor muscles of the shellfish) are in great demand because they are an essential ingredient to so many banquet dishes.

When Spring Festival comes around, another mollusk will be in equal demand, either fresh or dried. The abalone is a treasured dish, and chefs will spend a lot of time preparing dried abalones so they lose none of their intense deliciousness.

The dried shellfish are soaked, then repeatedly blanched in hot ginger and scallion water baths till they soften. Then they are braised in broths made with chicken, Chinese ham and pork bones.

To the Chinese gourmet, the tender shellfish that is the result of such laborious effort is worth every bit of the trouble.

A simpler but no less flavorful option is a dish of dried oysters cooked with purplish black moss. The oysters, dried hard, are slowly braised in a pork belly reduction until their own flavors bloom and mix with the meat.

The hairlike strands of black moss soak up all the sweetness and are probably the most coveted mouthfuls. The name of the dish is facai haoshi, homophonic with "a prosperous marketplace", so it is especially beloved by businessmen diners.

Dried sea cucumbers are also an expensive seafood item. The hard, black wrinkled tubes hardly look appetizing at all in their raw state, but the alchemy in the Chinese kitchen turns them into a very famous signature dish in Lu or Shandong cuisine.

But before the chefs work their magic, they have to prep the sea cucumbers by repeated soakings and changing of water, including gentle simmering in ginger and scallion water to revive the collagen.

Then the great thick stems of Shandong Welsh onions are sliced thin and used to flavor the oil. Chicken stock creates a fragrant brown gravy that is used to cook the sea cucumbers.

The result is soft, gelatinous mouthfuls that are still springy and chewy but tender.

And then of course there are the dried fish.

Salted fish range from an overnight brining to a deeply fermented, pungently fragrant fish that melts in the mouth, with a variety of products in between.

From dried prawns and tiny salted anchovies to dried abalones and sea cucumbers, the range of products is testimony to the determination to have flavorful marine pleasures available all year round.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipes

Fried rice with salted fish

2 cups cooked rice

100 g salted fish, bones removed

100 g minced pork

2 eggs, beaten

1-2 stalks spring onions, chopped

1 tablespoon minced ginger

Black pepper

Dice the salted fish. Heat up a deep frying pan with some oil and add salted fish. Fry till fragrant and lightly golden. Add ginger and spring onions.

Add the minced pork, tossing to break up clumps.

Add the rice and mix well. Pour the beaten egg down the side of the pan and allow to set for a minute. Stir into the fried rice mixture. Season with black pepper and additional salt, if necessary. Serve hot.

Steamed scallops and marrow

1 large marrow, or hairy gourd

8 whole dried scallops, soaked overnight

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water

Wolfberries for garnish

Peel and cut the marrow into eight sections. Hollow out the centers and remove the pith.

Place a soaked dried scallop into each marrow section. Arrange in a deep platter. Mix the cornstarch slurry with the chicken stock and carefully pour over the marrow. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Steam over high heat for 20 minutes. Remove and add wolfberries for garnish. Serve immediately.

Spicy mussels

300 g dried mussel meat

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced chili peppers

2 stalks spring onions, chopped

1 tablespoon hot bean paste (doubanjiang)

Salt and pepper

Rinse the dried mussels and soak in plenty of water for an hour. Drain and dry.

Heat up oil in a frying pan and add garlic, ginger and chopped chili. Fry over high heat till fragrant and slightly crisp, stirring all the while.

Add mussels and hot bean paste, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, add half the spring onions and toss well.

Garnish with remaining spring onions and serve hot.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page18)

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2018-12-07 08:11:04
37366258 <![CDATA[The relic hunter]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366258.htm For three decades, Duan Shengkui has devoted himself to building a collection of artifacts that tell the story of Yunnan in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

Over the past 30 years, Duan Shengkui has accumulated more than 100,000 items relevant to the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), in a bid to raise awareness of a part of history that he believes deserves more attention.

Duan, a 53-year-old native of Tengchong, in the western part of Yunnan province, started his longtime collection with 200 pieces that he originally used as props while playing at being soldiers with his childhood friends.

 

An oil painting depicting a war scene in 1944, when the Chinese army successfully took back Tengchong from Japanese occupation.

"It was easy for us to find game props and costumes. There were real guns, helmets and military uniforms left over from the war period. Almost every household in our village kept some," Duan says, adding that it was a popular pastime for rural children to play the "game of war" back then.

Duan's hometown was one of the battlefields during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. His uncle, Duan Yueren, was a member of the Kuomintang party and headed one of the three famous anti-Japanese guerrilla units in Tengchong during the conflict.

From both his father and his grandfather, Duan learned about the heinous crimes committed by the Japanese army.

"I heard a lot of tragic stories about the villagers being brutally treated by the aggressors," says Duan. In the early 1940s, more than 200 people from the local area were killed by Japanese troops after one of their officers was shot dead by the guerrillas, he says.

"It has always been my dream to ensure that more people know about the crimes committed by the Japanese aggressors in western Yunnan and the unwavering resistance of the Chinese people."

While in high school, Duan was inspired by magazine articles about hobbies such as stamp collecting and decided that he would start collecting items related to the War of Resistance. Starting with the "game props" he already had, he began searching for all kinds of war relics.

At first, he exchanged items to get ones he wanted, while some people offered him artifacts for free, but eventually he started to spend money on his growing collection.

It was when Duan was in college that he started to research history behind items in his collection and was surprised to discover that his hometown's part in the War of Resistance was not as widely known or as frequently recorded in historical materials as events that took place elsewhere.

"Few people, such as my classmates, were aware of it, which was a sharp contrast to the stories I heard," Duan says.

Gradually, Duan had the idea to narrow his focus and collect more relevant items with a view to one day establishing a themed museum.

In the beginning, Duan primarily sought out military items used by the Japanese troops during the war, before he gradually realized that it was important to collect things used by the Chinese army and its international allies, such as the US "Flying Tigers", to comprehensively and accurately reflect the war.

Duan started working for the local branch of Agricultural Bank of China in the mid-1980s, and he has used a large portion of his income to build his collection of war relics.

As well as extensively traveling through villages and towns in Tengchong to look for artifacts left over from the war period, he has even traveled to Japan, the United States, Myanmar and India to attend auctions in his bid to find suitable items to expand his collection.

Duan would carefully search for and verify each item before he'd decide whether to acquire it, and years of study and extensive reading have made him an expert. He can easily tell the difference between types of weapons and uniforms, among other things, and can accurately identify the factories and the year in which the items were produced.

In the eyes of Duan's friend Ge Shuya, a local expert on the War of Resistance in western Yunnan, Duan's limited income in the early years forms a sharp contrast with his rich collection now.

"He had to live a frugal life back then, but he didn't balk at paying for relics he believed were important," Ge says.

Spending almost all of his salary on his collection, Duan had to apply for loans in order to support his family. Later, Duan started collecting more valuable antique pieces that he could sell to repay his loans.

Duan estimates that, over the course of his 30 years of collecting, he has spent more than 30 million yuan ($4.3 million; 3.8 million euros; £3.4 million) collecting relics and items related to the War of Resistance in western Yunnan.

Despite the misunderstanding and doubts of others - and even being called "crazy" by people, including members of his own family - Duan says he doesn't regret devoting himself to his collection.

"It's about Tengchong's history; it's very important," he says.

Eventually, after gathering enough items to exhibit, Duan was able to realize his dream in 2005 and establish a museum in Heshun, an ancient town in Tengchong. It opened with about 7,000 items on display, each carefully arranged according to Duan's own ideas.

When someone asked Duan if he was trying to stir up hatred through his exhibition, Duan replied: "Hatred should be resolved, but memory and history must be preserved forever. A nation without awareness of its history and struggle is dangerous. I spent half of my life doing this to alert every citizen."

In addition to continuing his search for relics, Duan is eager to record the stories of old soldiers who fought in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. According Duan, while the relics are physical evidence, the surviving soldiers' narrations are more vivid and a valuable historical record. Unfortunately, he notes, they are a rapidly diminishing resource and are far more difficult to collect.

Li Yingqing in Kunming contributed to this story.

liuxiangrui@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Duan Shengkui says, a nation without awareness of its history and struggle is dangerous. He has spent half of his life doing this to alert every citizen. Photos by Liu Xiangrui / China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page20)

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2018-12-07 08:11:04
37366253 <![CDATA[Evidence found of Tibet's earliest human inhabitants]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366253.htm Archeologists discover Stone Age artifacts on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau dating back 40,000 years

Chinese scientists have uncovered the oldest signs of human activity on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at about 4,600 meters above sea level, showcasing the astonishing resilience of early humans who inhabited one of Earth's harshest environments tens of thousands of years earlier than expected.

Researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found more than 3,600 stone artifacts made from black slate at Nwya Devu, which is in the Changthang region of the Tibet autonomous region, about 300 kilometers northwest of the capital, Lhasa.

 

Attendees at a news conference in Beijing on Nov 30 get a close look at stone artifacts made from black slate that were found on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Zou Hong / China Daily

Most of the tools that were found underground were made around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago during the Stone Age. The toolmakers, whose identity remains a mystery, crafted blades and arrow-like flakes of stone, some of which are up to 20 centimeters long.

This makes the site the oldest and highest-altitude evidence of human occupation on "the roof the world", one of the monikers given to the highest plateau on Earth, with an average altitude of 4,000 meters, according to the study published on Nov 30 in the journal Science.

Due to its high altitude, thin air, lack of resources and extremely cold weather, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is one of the last regions to be colonized by early humans in Asia, and it remains one of the planet's least-populated areas.

Archaeologists previously estimated that hunter-gatherer humans were living on the margins of the plateau about 15,000 years ago. People only began settling permanently on the plateau about 3,600 years ago, after they had mastered yak and sheep herding, as well as the cultivation of barley, one of the staple foods of today's residents of Tibet.

Bai Chunli, president of the academy, said in a statement about the discovery that the new finding has great scientific significance in expanding understanding of prehistoric humans' migration patterns and adaptation to different environments.

It also has great social significance in studying the origin of native people and their culture, as well as facilitating the preservation and protection of Tibetan artifacts and cultural resources, Bai said.

Gao Xing, a researcher from the CAS institute, says Nwya Devu qualifies as a national-level archaeological site with huge research interests, and government agencies at various levels will need to protect the area from potential artifact scavengers and other disturbances.

"We still need to find animal, plant or human remains in the area to collect DNA samples that can answer some of our biggest questions, such as who are these prehistoric humans and how did they survive in this challenging environment?"

Researchers speculate that the toolmakers used Nwya Devu as a seasonal workshop and camping site. Hunter-gatherer groups might have followed herds of animals onto the plateau and camped for weeks at a time at the site, which was also near several lakes where migratory birds rested.

"There are still so many questions, and the artifacts we discovered might just be the tip of the iceberg," Gao said. "If we can find other evidence of human activities, like a campsite or a fireplace, it will help clarify matters."

zhangzhihao@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page15)

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2018-12-07 08:10:22
37366252 <![CDATA[China-US trade truce brings confidence]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366252.htm G20 meeting has both countries confident that a good-faith trade deal can be finalized soon

President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump agreed not to impose additional new tariffs when they met after the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires on Dec 1.

They reached the consensus over a working dinner in what was described as taking place in "a friendly and candid atmosphere" in the Argentine capital.

The US had previously signaled that in the new year it would increase to 25 percent the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on which 10 percent had been levied in September. This increase will not go ahead now.

 

President Xi Jinping meets with his United States counterpart, Donald Trump, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec 1. They had a working dinner and agreed to maintain close contact. Li Xueren / Xinhua

The dinner was the first face-to-face meeting between the two men since Trump's visit to China in November last year.

As well as stopping the imposition of the new tariffs, the two leaders agreed to continue bilateral trade negotiations.

China also said it would further open its market and expand imports into the country as part of the further reform and opening-up of its economy.

According to a statement released after the meeting, Xi said it was crucial for the world's two largest economies to appropriately manage differences and find solutions acceptable to all.

In a White House news release, Trump struck a confident note and praised Xi.

"This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China. It is my great honor to be working with President Xi," he said.

A spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce described the meeting as "very successful" in a later statement on Dec 5.

"We are confident about the implementation (of the consensus from the meeting)," the spokesperson said.

"In 90 days, economic and trade teams of both sides will actively push forward the consultation following a clear schedule and road map."

The spokesperson added that China would start implementing the specific aspects of the newly reached consensus as soon as possible.

Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said the outcome signaled to the world that the two countries had demonstrated good faith in wanting to solve problems and manage any differences.

"It is very good news for export-oriented enterprises in China and US as both parties agreed not to impose new additional tariffs," Zhang said in an interview with Xinhuanet.

Berthold Kuhn, who specializes in China and international relations at Free University of Berlin, said the meeting was "a first step" toward the settlement of China-US trade disputes. He acknowledged, however, that more time was needed for negotiation.

"I am ... slightly optimistic," he said.

The agreement was also welcomed by the business community in the US.

Myron Brilliant, vice-president for international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement on Dec 2 that he welcomed the fact that the two presidents were "de-escalating tensions and returning to the negotiating table".

"Setting aside the imposition of tariffs is the right course of action for US workers, job creators and the economy," he added.

Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, based in Washington DC, said the clothing industry was dependent on complex global supply chains and he wanted the "swift removal of the punitive tariffs" already imposed by the Trump administration.

"We will continue to emphasize to the administration the need to stop taxing American consumers to the detriment of our retail economy. In that light, we will be watching the negotiations closely," he said in a statement released on Dec 2.

US farmers, who have been particularly fearful of an escalation of tensions, also welcomed the development.

"Any signal, even if temporary, that this trade war may de-escalate is welcome news for farmers," said Angela Hofmann, executive director of the Illinois-based advocacy group Farmers for Free Trade.

Jon Taylor, professor of political science at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, said the agreement was "the beginning of the end of the trade war".

"The greatest achievements by far were agreements in principle to stop any additional tariffs and to open each other's markets."

The outcome was also welcomed by those outside the US and China who saw the possibility of a trade war damaging trade around the world.

David Gosset, founder of the Europe-China Forum, set up to promote greater cooperation between Europe and China, says that while the meeting was "highly constructive", it had to be part of a process.

"Sino-US relations cannot be about one event. They are about a long-term process. But such a process is made of steps, and the event in Argentina is certainly a step in the right direction," he says.

Osoro Omboga, an economist and consultant at Smartcomm Communications, a think tank based in Kenya, says a pause in trade hostilities was seen as a welcome development in Africa.

He says the continent is now very much part of the global supply chain, supplying many intermediate products.

Cao Desheng, Zhao Huanxin, Cecily Liu and Tang Ying contributed to this story.

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page14)

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2018-12-07 08:10:22
37366251 <![CDATA[Crackdown leads to less foreign waste, smuggling]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366251.htm

The minister of China's top environment watchdog vowed to further crack down on waste smuggling and accelerate legal changes to strengthen management, as waste imports to the country decreased by over 50 percent this year.

As of Nov 15, the country imported about 18.6 million metric tons of solid waste, Li Ganjie, also head of a cross-ministry team for reforming waste import management, said in a meeting of the team on Nov 29.

It was the first meeting of the group, according to a media release from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

"The work of banning foreign garbage and the reform for solid waste management has entered a deep-water zone and is facing more complicated situations," said Li, according to the release.

Li vowed to promote changes to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste to offer legal guarantees for the ban and the reform.

He also called for strengthening the control on foreign waste smuggling and promoting various campaigns to crack down on such illegal activities. In addition to intensifying the monitoring of the entire waste import process, a special law enforcement campaign will target enterprises that process foreign trash, he said.

The construction of a domestic waste collecting and recycling system should be accelerated with more complete infrastructure and sound recycling standards, he noted.

The meeting was attended by at least 15 government bodies, including the General Administration of Customs and the National Development and Reform Commission, all members of the cross-ministry group.

Hu Hualong, deputy director of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment's Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center, said the draft of the amended law on solid waste includes "extended producer responsibility", which is being piloted for refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and computers.

It is designed to integrate the environmental costs associated with products throughout their life cycles into the goods' market price.

Under the pilot program, manufacturers contribute to a fund to subsidize 109 enterprises that dismantle e-waste. From 2012 to 2017, 7.7 million metric tons of the waste was dismantled. The program is expected to soon cover printers, Hu told the forum in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment established a special department on solid waste and chemicals in September.

The move shows the increasing importance China has attached to solid waste management and will play a significant role in strengthening the governance, said Mei Fengqiao, an associate professor of environmental management at Peking University.

The State Council, China's cabinet, has adopted a set of measures to counter air, water and soil pollution. Solid waste governance is highly related to these kinds of pollution, Mei said.

Contact the writers at houliqiang@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page15)

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2018-12-07 08:10:22
37366250 <![CDATA[More internet access needed for 'left-behinds']]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366250.htm

China must bridge digital divide by making public WiFi hotspots more ubiquitous and accessible

Similar to Europe, free WiFi connections are also available in China. In cities and tourist sites, we find free hotspots in hotels, popular restaurants and cafes. Airports and large train stations in China, too, provide free WiFi, even if only subscribers to Chinese mobile operators can connect.

According to Wiman app, China has 681,153 free WiFi hotspots. But the state of New York alone has, according to Wiman, more than twice as many free WiFi hotspots: 1,574,124. Yet numbers are not the real issue. The real issue is that, in China, hardly any free WiFi hotspot can be found in villages or towns.

This appears to me as a paradox, as China today is the leading country in terms of digital innovation and manufacturing.

One would expect China to be leading in terms of free public WiFi in order to set a good example for the rest of the world to follow. For the time being, the only Chinese example that is referred to in Europe is that of Hong Kong's free public hotspots branded "Wi-Fi.HK", which are available nearly anywhere in the special administrative region. Availability is nevertheless only part of the solution. Equally important is public awareness. That's why the Hong Kong authorities have put up posters to raise public awareness, closely linked to which is the need for a common visual identity, allowing visitors to easily spot free hotspots.

Statesmen seldom admit copying other nations. But I wouldn't be surprised if Hong Kong's example inspired European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's visionary initiative of "WiFi4EU" in September 2016. The initiative is aimed at providing financial support for public institutions that want to install cutting-edge WiFi networks, so locals and visitors can benefit.

A common visual identity, too, has been put forward and the EC is working on a WiFi4EU single authentication and monitoring service. Moreover, the local authorities benefiting from the program will be encouraged to develop and promote their own digital services in areas such as e-government, e-health and e-tourism through a dedicated app. The aim of public hotspots goes beyond providing access to social networks.

Digital literacy is indeed a major reason for the digital divide. However, it will not suffice to teach digital-illiterate groups, such as the elderly, to use tablets or smartphones. They will only embrace cyberspace if they see the benefits - for example, if they realize how easy it is for them, when connected to a hotspot, to apply for administrative documents without having to line up in the town hall.

The main argument in support of WiFi4EU is that free WiFi hotspots are a necessary tool to promote digital literacy among different age groups of people that are not primarily interested in being permanently connected to the internet. Therefore, in his 2016 State of the Union speech, Juncker proposed "to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centers of public life by 2020".

A global initiative with a similar purpose is World WiFi Day, organized by the Wireless Broadband Alliance. This symbolic initiative aims to showcase current WiFi initiatives of industries and governments to connect the unconnected and remind us that public WiFi networks are the most affordable means to the internet.

But WiFi hotspots will also play a key role in allowing the surge of internet of things applications. Given that the internet of things often requires seamless roaming between different hotspots, the industry players have developed Next Generation Hotspot technology, based on PasspointTM certification to allow for WiFi roaming. A key advantage of such hotspots, in comparison with mobile communications networks, is that WiFi is operating in unlicensed - and thus free - spectrum bands.

But for the time being, the digital divide remains the main risk to target. Indeed, while cyberspace has revolutionized the way people, businesses and governments communicate and engage with one another, some sections of the population are either excluded from the internet or cannot enjoy any fruits of technological development.

Reducing the digital divide is a priority for Europe, and policies have been implemented to bring the "left-behinds" on board. Some of these policies may be helpful to China. The European Union and China could therefore learn from each other and become reliable partners in this area, too. Let us work together to build an inclusive, fully connected digital world.

The author is president of ChinaEU. He contributed this article to the China Watch Institute, a new think tank platform powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page12)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366249 <![CDATA[Finance plays key role in supporting real economy]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366249.htm

Editor's Note: At a recent forum on financial holding companies organized by China Everbright Group and the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, to mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, some officials and scholars shared their views on the role of finance in boosting the real economy and helping the private sector. Following are excerpts from the speeches delivered by three of them:

Private economy needs a shot in the arm

Financial holding groups should make serious efforts to support the real economy, in particular the private economy and innovative economy, and prevent risks so as to better facilitate high-quality economic growth.

First, financial holding groups, or FHGs, have to strike the right balance between financing and the real economy. After all, the 2008 global financial crisis was a result of a serious imbalance between the real economy and the financial sector.

As for the Chinese economy, it faces three major economic imbalances: between the real economy's supply and demand structures, between industry and finance, and between the real estate sector and the real economy.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the financial sector's value added increased from 4 percent of GDP in 2008 to 8 percent in 2017 - higher than even in some developed countries. FHGs, therefore, need to return to their original function: serving the real economy.

Second, FHGs should help small and medium-sized enterprises to overcome their financing difficulties and promote the healthy and sustainable development of private enterprises, which are a pillar of the real economy. President Xi Jinping has said that the government should resolutely support the development of the private economy and SMEs.

Financing difficulty and high financing costs are the top problems facing private enterprises, especially SMEs. As such, based on equality and market-oriented principles, FHGs should focus on providing comprehensive financial services, including credits and loans, and asset management, to private enterprises.

Third, FHGs should aim for technological and financial innovation in order to promote innovation in enterprises and facilitate the high-quality development of the real economy. They also should focus more on the long-term development and market value of enterprises, while promoting enterprises' transformation and upgrading, and enhancing support for high-tech innovative enterprises in key fields so China can become a leading player in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Last, FHGs should also play the role of financial stabilizer so that financial risks can be prevented, financial system security safeguarded and a stable financial environment built for sustainable development.

Gu Shengzu, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee

Moderate growth can double GDP by 2030

The financial holding groups model has been developed to meet the requirements of rapid industrialization, especially because internal capital market cooperation can effectively reduce financing costs, and FHGs can help build big data platforms and an internal risk prevention and control system to reduce risks.

To better develop China's FHG model, three major factors should be kept in mind.

First, a good financial asset scale does not necessarily mean the more the better, although higher levels of financing are needed.

One indicator of good financing is reduced financing costs. In the United States, for example, the average cost of generating financial assets is 1.5 percent to 3 percent, but in China it is 3 percent or higher based on our study.

Second, in the four decades of reform and opening-up, countless enterprises have emerged, but many of them have not performed well in terms of return on capital, which is a yardstick to measure value creation or value added.

In the past two decades, the average return on capital of China's A-share listed companies has been only 3 percent, which is not good enough. As a result, the leverage ratio has been relatively high, and capital has failed to flow from sectors with low return to sectors with high return. Instead, the flow has been in the other direction.

In this context, FHGs can be expected to make financial innovations to shift capital to sectors and enterprises with high return - a much-needed change for high-quality development at the micro level.

Third, China's economic momentum has changed. According to our estimates, if China maintains a 5.5 percent economic growth from 2020 onward, by 2030 its actual GDP could reach 160 trillion yuan ($23 trillion; 20 trillion euros; £18 trillion) according to current price rates. Its financial asset scale is expected to be four times (compared with 3.7 times now) the volume of GDP, or 600 trillion to 700 trillion yuan, by 2030.

According to our study, by 2035 China's per capita GDP is expected to reach $35,000 based on purchasing power parity. Accordingly, Chinese consumption demand will change, with higher demand for high-end services, in medical treatment as well as health and food safety, which in part will fuel the national economy.

Liu Qiao, dean of the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University

Promotion of high-quality economic growth needed

This year marks the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, which among other things has gifted us with financial holding groups, which now need healthy development.

The core function of an FHGs is to strike the right balance between risk and efficiency. Statistics show that a big, comprehensive FHG has greater risk resistance capacity than a single financial organization; this was proved during the global financial crisis. Still, its efficiency may decline and risk increase if it simply pursues increasing its scale with an aggressive development strategy.

China's FHGs have developed rapidly over the past few years and made great contributions to the development of the real economy. But while doing so, they have also revealed many of their problems.

Beginning this year, regulators including the People's Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission are dealing strictly with FHG violations. The regulators have, to a large extent, curbed FHGs' blind expansion and illegal behavior, which has helped eliminate many of the hidden risks and thus promoted the healthy development of the financial sector.

The China Financial Stability Report 2018, issued by the central bank recently, has laid out the regulatory ideals for FHGs, which will not only help implement all-around, continuous and targeted regulations, but also establish an overall regulation planning system for FHGs.

According to the report, the key points for the regulator in the next stage will include making clear the market access regulation, strengthening regulation of capital adequacy ratio and enhancing the overall risk control of financial holding groups.

Moreover, enacting and implementing regulations for FHGs will ensure that they follow the law during their development process, better serve the real economy, help improve the modern financial system and company governance, and prevent systemic financial risks. And as a special company management model, FHGs should be subject to licensing.

Since FHGs are like financial department stores that can meet diversified demands during the period of high-quality economic development, they should put their advantages of comprehensive operation to good use by supporting the real economy, especially the private economy, and promoting China's high-quality economic growth.

Li Xiaopeng, Party secretary and chairman of China Everbright Group

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page10)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366248 <![CDATA[Beijing isn't interested in a new 'cold war']]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366248.htm

US and world will realize, with a better understanding of China's trade policies, that its aim is a community of shared destiny

Of late, there has been talk of and concern over a possible "cold war" between the United States and China. The argument goes that Beijing and Washington are competing to establish their respective versions of "political correctness" and global order.

And although the Sino-US trade conflict has eased after US President Donald Trump agreed at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Dec 1 to not impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports, and President Xi Jinping said China will increase US imports, Beijing still favors a multilateral approach to international trade based on rules and equality, while Washington seems keen on pushing ahead its version of "fairness" and "reciprocity".

Before the G20 Summit, the US had also been ignoring the World Trade Organization's consultation and arbitration system while trying to impose its demands on China and its other trade partners.

On the one hand, China appears confident of promoting its path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and showcasing its economy as an alternative mode of development. On the other hand, US Vice-President Mike Pence earlier questioned China's approach to developing its Belt and Road Initiative, raising doubts over its global financial transparency and debt sustainability related to infrastructure connectedness.

However, looking for any similarity between the present Sino-US tension, which to a large extent has been defused now, and the Cold War would be an exercise in futility. The Cold War was a massive ideological confrontation, initially between the US and the Soviet Union, with each bent on developing its own version of world order. From time to time, their conflict even extended to the real battlefield such as the Korean War and Vietnam War.

But despite their vast differences, China and the US have not entered into such zero-sum ideological competition. China is promoting its idea of a world of diversified civilizations and shared destiny. And its disputes with some of its neighbors notwithstanding, it insists on sharing its overlapping interests with other countries.

The US, too, has taken a far more realistic approach to China. The Trump administration's foremost concern is "hiring Americans and buying Americans", that is, exports and investments. Also, the Trump administration withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Paris climate accord, ostensibly to reduce its global responsibilities.

But still, the US alleges that China has not been as open as it should be, especially on import tariffs and trade barriers. Perhaps China's State-owned enterprises and subsidies have been troubling the US, prompting it to question China's efforts to become an innovative nation.

Basically, the Trump administration seems less interested in imposing US values on China and the world, or waging an ideological war. In fact, while trying to "reconcile" with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the US does not seem interested in turning the trade disputes with China or Russia into an exchange of allegations over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Therefore, talking about a new cold war is making much ado about a trade conflict that seems on the way to being resolved. Yet one cannot say China-US relations will proceed smoothly until the two sides accept that sharing common economic and trade benefits is in their best interests.

China has observed the WTO rules and therefore not violated any international law to attain its current leadership status. The US, however, wants the WTO to be reformed. For instance, it says the WTO might not have imposed its strict rules on areas such as labor rights, environmental protection, intellectual property rights and technology transfer, and China may have used that fact to its advantage. Perhaps that's why the administration of former US president Barack Obama formed an additional regional free-trade group, the TPP, to maximize the benefits of high-level free trade, while excluding China.

With its expedited program of drastically cutting its overall tariff, and President Xi vowing at the G20 Summit to increase US imports, especially of agricultural, industrial and energy products, China is committed to further opening up its economy to the outside world. Its institutional reform to strengthen intellectual property rights protection shows its determination to deepen its collaboration with the world. And its emphasis on neutral competition demonstrates it believes in fair conduct of business.

Therefore, we hope the US will better understand the trade policies of China - which aim to build a community of shared destiny for humankind - and the world will realize it is not interested in sparking a new cold war.

The author is a professor at the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page13)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366247 <![CDATA[Cooperation key to Europe-China ties]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366247.htm

Recent US trade spat underlines the need for dialogue, multilateralism and a nonantagonistic approach to resolving differences

The mood I felt during my visit to Spain and Portugal in the past week was quite different from the months covering the contentious China-US trade conflict before I was posted to Brussels in early November. The message from European officials and pundits is largely centered on how to expand and elevate cooperation with China, just as the Chinese often say: make a bigger cake so everyone has a bigger slice.

A Spanish national who has advised his government was excited about the fast-growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Spain as well as the many Chinese studying in Spanish universities in recent years. He also bet that Spanish wine - good quality and reasonably priced - should have a promising market in China. Since most Chinese tourists visiting Spain arrive not in summer, but during China's National Day holiday week in early October and Spring Festival holiday, which falls either in late January or February, they have helped make the once "slow tourism season" not that slow anymore.

Just days before my visit to Madrid, a friend in Shanghai had returned to China after a group sightseeing tour across Spain and Portugal. She posted "multiple findings" on WeChat Moments, from cathedrals, flamenco dance and olive trees in Spanish cities and the countryside to the fascinating maze of cobbled and narrow alleys in Alfama district and seaside Cape Roca in Lisbon. She seemed overflowing with excitement after learning about the two beautiful countries.

That was my feeling, too, after chatting with Portuguese students learning the Chinese language and culture at the Confucius Institute at the University of Lisbon. I had tried very hard to learn Portuguese years ago to prepare for a possible posting to Sao Paulo, Brazil, but that was not to be.

Learning Chinese is no easy job for foreigners, yet those students at the University of Lisbon are undaunted. Some have made plans to study in China next summer, while some others said they wanted to go to China in the coming years.

There is too much toxic rhetoric these days, including demonizing student and other academic exchanges between China and other countries. Unilateralism and trade protectionism, as well as tariff and trade wars, are some other deeply troubling phenomena haunting the world today.

However, what I heard during my visit to Spain and Portugal from people such as former NATO secretary-general Javier Solana and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was their strong endorsement for multilateralism and a rules-based free global trade system.

It was touching when Solana, also a former Spanish foreign minister, praised China for being very generous during the 2008 global financial crisis. Another speaker at the same forum in Madrid highlighted China's responsible behavior during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when it did not devalue its currency. Those were indeed touching moments because blind accusations against China have become common in some countries today.

I am not saying there have been no differences between China and Spain or Portugal or other European states. Differences and disagreements between countries are to be expected, just like there are differences and disagreements between countries within the European Union or even among regions within any one country. But that does not mean they should treat each other like enemies, as exhibited by some Western politicians in their hostile attitude toward China.

Eugenio Bregolat, a three-time Spanish ambassador to China, told me that dialogue is the right way to solve problems. He described the existing issues between China and Europe as (nonantagonistic) contradictions among the people, not (antagonistic) contradictions between people and enemy.

He was quoting Mao Zedong.

The author is chief of the China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels. Contact the writer at chenweihua@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page13)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366246 <![CDATA[Small firms need more financial aid]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366246.htm

Government efforts are needed to provide private companies with ways to access startup funding

China's private companies have made a great contribution to its economic development. They have played an important role in job creation, technological innovation, the country's tax income and expansion of overseas markets.

By the end of 2017, China had more than 27 million private companies, and more than 65 million individually owned businesses. They have provided more than half of China's tax income and account for more than 60 percent of the country's GDP. They also have made more than 70 percent of China's technological innovations and offer more than 80 percent of jobs in urban areas.

Research shows that small and medium-sized enterprises are extremely important for the health of the economy, especially for innovation and employment. However, most unicorn companies are started from very small ones. Small companies are numerous, have a flexible business model and are passionate about creating and sensitive in embracing new demands. Many countries set up specialized funds to offer financial aid to small companies. Although China has advocated innovation and entrepreneurship, small companies have difficulty getting financial aid.

However, in sectors that concern the lifeline of the national economy, Stated-owned companies still dominate. Since the service industry is more technology-intensive, small companies should have more opportunities, but in many service sectors, such as financing, telecommunications, healthcare and education, there are still some policies that are restricting the entrance of private companies. This is why many private companies are mainly in the low-end market, gaining a relatively lower profit margin.

Since private companies are stuck at the entry threshold, have difficulty getting credit endorsement from the government, lack resources and experience more difficulty in getting service and support from the government, they are less able to deal with the changing market environment. So as the global economic situation changes, and China undergoes economic transformation, it is inevitable that China's private companies will have difficulties. It is no wonder, then, that trade tension between China and the United States can be a devastating blow to the confidence of private companies regarding the future economic situation.

However, if private companies cannot survive, this will be a big blow to the whole economic situation. For example, if many private companies close, this will increase the unemployment rate and affect social security.

China's economy might currently face risks that could cause a chain reaction, which is why we need to restore a sense of confidence in the private sector. These risks include a real estate bubble, a high debt ratio of local governments and high dependence on the export economy.

In the short term, it is necessary to reduce the taxes of private companies, help them get financing and provide some support by way of subsidies. Moreover, the government should reduce taxes, reduce administrative intervention and streamline approval procedures to create a better business environment for private companies.

The government should also open more sectors in which people can start businesses. Meanwhile, a level playing field should be provided for private companies and SOEs.

Since many private companies have a heavy dependence on exports, China should take more diplomatic steps to stabilize the export sector.

In the long term, it is also necessary to give entrepreneurs good expectations about the future. Otherwise, they will lack a sense of security and won't be able to achieve.

Private companies are the key to making the country and the people strong and rich. Society should reach a consensus that private companies should at least be given treatment equal to that of foreign companies and State-owned enterprises. The government should also systematically protect, through legislation, the intellectual property rights of private companies.

The author is a lecturer at the Management School of Shanghai University and a research fellow at the China Europe International Business School's Lujiazui International Finance Research Center. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page12)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366245 <![CDATA[Britain facing a political breakdown]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366245.htm

Parliament's looming Brexit vote on EU exit deal brings little solace and much uncertainty

Outside observers would be forgiven for thinking the Mother of Parliaments is undergoing a nervous breakdown as Britain heads for possibly its biggest political crisis since World War II over the terms of its departure from the European Union.

The only thing currently uniting a majority of the country's 650 MPs is their rejection of the terms Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the EU before the UK formally leaves the bloc in March.

A makeshift alliance that includes some of the most ardent supporters and opponents of Brexit is set to vote the deal down when she seeks parliamentary approval next week. The level of discord was such that there was even talk of the vote being delayed.

So what then? Can May renegotiate? The EU says no. Will the prime minister quit? She says no. Will the UK leave without a deal? All but the most zealous "leavers" say that would be a disaster.

The opposition Labour Party has threatened that if May's deal fails to gain parliamentary support, it would call a vote of no confidence that could end her premiership.

On top of the UK's unexpected referendum vote, the current parliamentary mayhem has come as a shock to the rest of the world, which is used to thinking of British politics as often boring, but invariably stable.

Britain's political meltdown is not just of academic interest to the country's allies and partners beyond the EU. China was among a dozen countries that sought assurances in the World Trade Organization that the UK-EU deal would not leave them worse off.

They fear they have been left in the dark about Europe's future trade relationship with post-Brexit Britain. But, to be fair, so has everyone else.

These trading partners would probably much prefer if the British could just call the whole thing off and reverse the referendum-backed decision to leave the EU.

There is a growing movement in the UK for a second, so-called "people's vote" on whether to overturn the June 2016 referendum, but most MPs reject the option. Even previously pro-remain parliamentarians fear it could spark popular unrest among the 52 percent of the electorate who voted "leave" the first time around. A further potential peril of a second vote is that the British might still decide to quit.

That said, a rerun of the referendum is backed by the Scottish nationalists, the third largest bloc in Parliament, and is creeping up the agenda of the Labour Party.

If, in the end, there is no prospect of turning back the clock, the UK's partners would like at least a measure of certainty that could be provided by MPs rallying around May's existing EU deal.

Recommending that the House of Commons accept May's deal, the South China Morning Post argued in an editorial: "A world already facing turmoil in trade and economic uncertainty needs the Brexit issue to be resolved."

US President Donald Trump has suggested that the terms of May's Brexit deal make a US-UK trade agreement more difficult.

Parliament's pro-leave MPs hope that increased trade with China will form a central part of a post-Brexit bonanza that was promised to voters.

That bonanza is looking increasingly uncertain, however, as departure day looms. The UK will remain tied to EU regulations and tariff for years until a new economic relationship is eventually worked out.

Another Brexit promise was that leaving the EU would restore parliamentary sovereignty that had been undermined by an overweening Brussels. MPs would have the authority to determine the country's future rather than bowing to the will of distant, unelected bureaucrats. How's that going so far? Not well.

The author is a senior media consultant for China Daily. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page11)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366244 <![CDATA[China paving the way in agricultural technology]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366244.htm

New initiatives, farming advances and educational programs are helping to feed the developing world

That China's population is growing exponentially is not news in global economics. With the number of people approaching 1.4 billion, the big challenge facing the country on a daily basis is the issue of how to feed all of them. China's heavy investment in agriculture technology is enabling the supply and infrastructure to satisfy this demand.

The techniques that have been developed are of interest to developing countries around the world. The fusion of agriculture and technology matters, and China is doing its bit to lead the way.

The use of artificial intelligence is one way that farmers are streamlining operations, increasing efficiency and ensuring sustainability. Earlier this year, Alibaba announced the launch of the ET Agricultural Brain. The application, backed by Alibaba's enormous cloud computing infrastructure, can digitally produce records of crop yields and regulate production cycles. This has helped to automate the farming process by cutting down on administrative time and boosting the quality and capacity of farming projects.

"The introduction of cloud-based agricultural intelligence is aimed at helping Chinese farmers to increase their crop yields, by, for example, helping them to potentially achieve income of $1,000 (880 euros; £790) for rice per acre of land," said Simon Hu, the president of Alibaba Cloud.

The aim of many of these initiatives is to reduce mass-production costs, and progress is being made in innovation to ensure food security for the country and give farmers greater economic freedom. Lowering the ceiling increases profit, and with AI advancements and collaboration in other areas, this goal is becoming a reality.

According to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the key technologies, apart from AI, are used in breeding high-quality crop varieties, food processing, automated vehicles, water efficiency, pollution control, waste recycling and ecological restoration and protection. Over the next few years, the application of these technologies will greatly shape the way the country manufactures food and distributes it to the world's largest population. The country is already well on its way, according to the CAAS report, which said these technological processes contributed to 57.5 percent of China's agricultural growth last year.

More recent breakthroughs by Chinese scientists include high-yield rice varieties and crops that are genetically resistant to certain types of diseases and insects. Further developments in the vaccination field are also significant. For example, vaccinations protecting livestock from the H7N9 bird flu virus have proved effective.

This investment is paying off, and now agricultural expertise is a staple Chinese export in itself. In Rwanda, dozens of Chinese agricultural technology demonstration centers have popped up, with the aim of modernizing farming in developing areas of the country. Highyield crops such as mushrooms have been introduced, predominantly varieties that are hardier and can grow quickly in infertile soil. A Rwandan farmer can earn as much as $90 in just the eight days it takes the mushrooms to grow, a significant amount of money in the developing country.

Meanwhile, more traditional crops such as corn and sorghum may take up to six months to grow before harvesting, and they cannot be stored for nearly as long. Dried mushrooms can stay edible, when stored correctly, for up to a year.

According to AidData, Chinese investment in African agricultural projects has increased almost fivefold in the past 15 years, with figures reaching $300 million.

Countries such as Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya are all part of China's agriculture and business initiative, focusing on technological and expertise development on the continent. More recently, conferences held in West African countries such as Nigeria have kicked off infrastructure plans for agricultural technicians, aiming to provide assimilated and independent agricultural technology.

Along with education and healthcare, agriculture is arguably an industry that is about more than just money. Agriculture and the art of feeding people is a central pillar of human civilization, and applying new advances in technology and expertise is vital for the food security of all growing populations and countries, whether or not they are still in development stages. China's work in this field has proved highly successful, and as knowledge and technology improve, the gift of self-sustainability is a prized one.

The author is a London-based columnist. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page11)

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2018-12-07 08:10:05
37366241 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 2)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366241.htm

 

International students learn Lyuju Opera postures at the Donghai Foreign Language School in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, on Dec 4. During their short-term seminar program, some students from Brigham Young University in the United States studied the local opera, which is popular in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces. They also learned about mask painting and costume design. Zhang Zhengyou / For China Dail

Coffee shop adds royal flavors to Palace Museum

The Palace Museum opened a coffee shop for the modern-day guests of Chinese emperors recently - the Corner Tower Cafe - and it quickly became a hot spot for visitors, bringing traditional cultural heritage closer to the younger generation. The decor of the cafe will be altered from time to time based on the themes of the exhibitions in the Palace Museum, says Zhang Yadong, who runs the shop. In addition to drinks and food, the Corner Tower Cafe offers cultural and creative items such as stamps, fans and table mats, all of which have designs related to the museum.

Training in Portuguese emphasized by Macao

The Macao Special Administrative Region has placed "unprecedented" importance on encouraging people to learn Portuguese, language and culture scholars say. They added that the efforts by Macao are one answer to the country's call for the SAR to become a commercial and trade cooperation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Only 0.6 percent of Macao residents speak Portuguese, according to official statistics. The total population of Macao is more than 650,000. Yao Jingming, head of the Department of Portuguese at the University of Macau, says more seats and scholarships have been provided for local students to study Portuguese.

Hydropower operator looks to opportunities

China Three Gorges Corp, which built and now operates the world's largest hydroelectric power plant-Three Gorges Dam - is looking forward to further cooperation with Portugal to jointly tap the potential of third-party markets. In addition to the 950-megawatt Moray offshore wind project in Scotland that CTGC and Portuguese power company Energias de Portugal will jointly explore, the Beijing-based company said it looks forward to more exploration of third-party markets around the world. The two sides have made significant progress in third-party markets since a strategic partnership was established in 2011. The companies aim to further combine efforts to become a worldwide leader in renewable energy generation.

Contributions of 3 to Angkor Wat recognized

The Cambodian government awarded honorary medals to three Chinese cultural heritage conservators in Siem Reap on Dec 4 for their outstanding contributions to the protection of Angkor Wat. The three conservators from the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage in Beijing-Xu Yan, Wang Yuanlin and Gu Jun - were leading experts in the China-led renovation of Ta Keo, a 46,000-square-meter temple dating back to the 10th century in Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Siem Reap. The renovation began in 2010 and was completed earlier this year.

Officials fired over English exam scores

Several senior officials with the education and examination management authorities in Zhejiang province were punished on Nov 5 after the weighting of scores in the college entrance examination's English test sparked widespread discontent and challenges from examinees and teachers. Chen Guangsheng, deputy secretary-general of Zhejiang's provincial government, told a news conference that Guo Huawei, Party secretary and head of the provincial Education Department, and Wang Yuqing, Party secretary of the Zhejiang Education Examinations Authority, had both been removed from their posts. The provincial discipline inspection commission also launched an investigation of Wang and Chen Yujun, the chief of the examinations authority's discipline inspection commission, for violations of Party discipline.

Employment kept stable amid downward pressure

A number of measures disclosed on Dec 5 are expected to keep China's employment market stable and support the real economy amid increasing downward pressure. Four measures were released in a guideline by the State Council, China's Cabinet, to promote stable employment, support company operations, business startups and professional training, and help laid-off workers. Fifty percent of the unemployment insurance paid the previous year will be refunded to company participants in the social security program if they don't lay off any workers or keep redundancies to a minimum. Individuals and small businesses can apply for loans of up to 3 million yuan ($437,000; 384,000 euros; £343,000). In the next three years, 1 million young people will be trained and intern subsidies will be expanded to those ages 16 to 24 who have yet to find jobs.

282 get prison terms for telecom fraud roles

Courts in Jilin province have sentenced to prison 282 members of a massive telecom fraud network that swindled 153 million yuan ($22.3 million; 19.6 million euros; £17.5 million) out of its victims. The Intermediate People's Court in the city of Baishan said on Dec 4 that the gang had operated in Guangdong province as well as in Indonesia and Fiji. Between March 2016 and July last year, the gang sent out online messages luring victims to a fake platform for purchasing lottery tickets. The victims' accounts were later seized by the gang. The gang was busted by police last year in an operation that saw 77 suspects repatriated from Fiji for trial. From Nov 29 to Dec 1, Baishan's intermediate court and six lower-level courts sentenced the two ring leaders to life in prison and handed down prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years to the 280 other members.

Eight are arrested in online gambling case

Police in Anhui province arrested eight people for allegedly organizing online gambling that involved more than 500 gamblers and a cash flow of over 100 million yuan ($14.6 million; 13 million euros; £11 million). Police in the city of Chuzhou received a tip in July about a gang organizing an online casino via an instant messaging app. The informant confessed to having lost 130,000 yuan since March in chat groups. A task group was set up to investigate the case in the city of Pingxiang, in neighboring Jiangxi province, where the chat group organizers were based.

Constitution endorses 'one country, two systems'

The nation's Constitution is the "supreme embodiment" of the "one country, two systems" principle, Shen Chunyao, chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said on Dec 4. All Chinese, including Hong Kong compatriots, should thus safeguard its highest legal authority, Shen said at a symposium marking Constitution Day at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Some 500 cross-sector representatives in Hong Kong, including about 300 secondary school students, attended. "One country" is the basis of "two systems", he said. Under "one country", the national Constitution is the country's fundamental and supreme law, and it is valid in all territories in the country, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, he said.

Better control of opioids will reduce risks

China's announcement that it will expand control of fentanyl and related substances will further reduce the risks of illegal production, abuse and smuggling, a narcotics-control expert said. Currently, more than 20 derivatives of the opioid are strictly controlled in China, including their production, use, import and export, said Chen Shuaifeng, an associate professor of narcotics control at People's Public Security University of China. That list will be expanded to cover all related substances, and also any new ones that are developed.

Beijing removing clumsy English translations

Do not slide when you see a sign in a washroom telling you to "slide carefully", since it actually means "caution, wet floor". Such mind-boggling mistranslations, once commonplace in Beijing, are quickly disappearing from the Chinese capital's public signs, thanks to a new correction campaign to make the city more foreigner-friendly. Beijing's Foreign Affairs Office said it has vetted more than 2 million Chinese characters on signs and notices that have English versions since a national standard on English translations in public service took effect on Dec 1 last year. Working with Chinese and foreign experts and volunteers, the city this year has run translation checks in the central business district, international hotels and other areas frequented by foreigners, as well as public venues like schools and hospitals, the office said.

Honor climate-support pledges, nations urged

Developed countries were called upon to honor their pledges of financial support for developing countries in tackling climate change at the opening of the annual UN climate change conference on Dec 3 in Katowice, Poland. The 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 24, is tasked with finalizing the detailed implementation guidelines for the landmark 2015 Paris climate change agreement. "This meeting is the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris Agreement was signed," said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the opening ceremony.

Hotel inspections target hygiene issues

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism will send teams to inspect hotels named in media reports as allegedly having serious hygiene problems. The reports said cleaners in several luxury hotels were caught on camera washing cups, sinks and mirrors with dirty rags, towels and sponges. The teams will work with local culture and tourism departments and other related authorities to examine the hygiene, fire control and security work of the hotels, the ministry said on Dec 3.

Online exhibition to mark reform, opening-up

An online version of an exhibition at Beijing's National Museum of China to mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up has been launched. The digital showcase features an interactive 3D map of the venue, 154 panoramic pictures, 2,163 photos, 218 videos and 34 audio commentaries. It has been made available through China Central Television's website at ggkf40.cctv.com.

Documentary highlights 40 years of progress

An 18-episode television documentary, We Walk Through Together - A Tribute to the 40 Years of Reform and Opening-up, a coproduction of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and China Media Group, was launched on CCTV-1 on Dec 2. It is scheduled to air two episodes a day. Based on the achievements and changes made in the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, the documentary showcases 107 stories of the development and changes in various areas of China's economy and society.

All chemical factories will be examined

The Ministry of Emergency Management will launch a thorough examination of all chemical factories to root out safety hazards in the wake of an explosion in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, on Nov 28 that killed 23 people. The ministry's work safety bureau will set up 10 teams made up of members of industry associations and experts. The teams will provide safety guidance and help in conducting in-depth investigations of 50 key counties with plants producing hazardous chemicals, Huang Ming, the ministry's Party secretary, said on Dec 2. It will also strengthen safety control and management with regard to the planning of plant sites and examine storage facilities for chloroethylene gas - an industrial chemical - at 75 enterprises across the country, he said.

Courts vow to fight employee dishonesty

Beijing courts vowed on Dec 3 to fight dishonest behavior in employment disputes, aiming to uphold justice and help improve the relationship between employers and employees. "As witnessed by a rise in labor cases in recent years, we've found more disputes were caused by dishonest conduct in job seeking or employment," said Shan Guojun, chief judge of the No 1 Civil Division at the Beijing High People's Court. He added that such irregularities must be prevented by rule of law. For example, some people were taken to court after they cheated employers by falsifying resumes and educational certificates to obtain jobs or promotions, while some were accused by employers of breaching contracts, such as leaking business secrets, Shan said.

Red Cross seeks to improve trust

The Red Cross Society of China will intensify efforts to improve public trust in the organization and improve its ability to provide humanitarian services, according to a plan to reform the society. It will improve its transparency, establish an information disclosure system to aid public supervision, and better protect donors' and the public's rights to access information, participate in society activities and supervise them, according to the plan, which was approved by the State Council, China's Cabinet. The plan was released to the RCSC and its branches across China, the society said.

Work has begun on Xiongan Railway Station

Construction started on Xiongan Railway Station in Hebei province on Dec 1, with the project expected to last two years, China Railway Corp sources said. The station will be the biggest of five along the 92.4-kilometer intercity link between Beijing and Xiongan. It will also be connected to five high-speed and intercity railways, allowing passengers to travel from Xiongan New Area to Beijing or Tianjin in half an hour.

Bigger reward set for reporting pornography

China has raised the reward for those who report pornographic and illegal publications to 600,000 yuan ($86,400). A new guideline on the rewards detailed their range, standards, procedures and supervision, and laid out 16 circumstances under which they will be given. The guideline was jointly reviewed and issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, the Ministry of Finance and two other departments.

3 cases of statistics violation are identified

The National Bureau of Statistics has exposed three cases of violation and falsification in counting fixed-asset investments, as part of efforts to ensure data is authentic and accurate. In one case involving fixed-asset investment data in Xianxian, Hebei province, 32 of the 33 statistical categories were fabricated. Local statistics workers were said to have refused and hindered inspectors sent by the central government, according to a source at the bureau. The NBS has handed the three cases to the provincial governments for further investigations.

Group of Buddhist cliff carvings found

A group of Buddhist cliff carvings created during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) have been found in Wu'an, Hebei province, local officials said. The carvings were discovered on a smooth rock wall 2 meters tall and 2.4 meters wide with four niches. They are of high historical, artistic and scientific value, archaeologists in Wu'an said.

Traditional Tibetan bathing on heritage list

Traditional Tibetan bathing for health and healing was added to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list on Dec 5. The entry - officially listed as "Lum Medicinal Bathing of Sowa Rigpa: Knowledge and practices concerning life, health and illness prevention and treatment among the Tibetan people in China" - was added to the list during the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Port Louis, Mauritius. The committee said in its decision that the element "underlines the importance of traditional knowledge concerning nature and the universe and offers a positive example of the sustainable relationship between humans and their environment".

 

The image of a thrush designed with ginkgo leaves is displayed in Chengdu, the capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, on Dec 4. A gardener in the neighborhood has worked out several such designs and won kudos from residents and netizens. Wang Huan / For China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page2)

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2018-12-07 08:09:32
37366240 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366240.htm

"There is still a feeling among scientists and researchers that the delivery of relevant policies has fallen short in some respects. We must review and address this problem promptly. Wider application of these policy incentives will help catalyze greater creativity and innovation."

PREMIER LI KEQIANG, who said the central government's pro-innovation policy measures have been implemented more widely over the years, but more reform to encourage innovation is needed.

"As a developing country, we must coordinate our efforts to promote sustainable development and tackle climate change. We have to improve people's livelihoods by developing the economy. Meanwhile, we have to try to lower carbon intensity."

HE JIANKUN, deputy president of China's National Expert Committee on Climate Change.

"The mainland's policy orientation of providing good services to Taiwan businesses is consistent. The door of opening up to Taiwan will get wider and the policies and services will get better."

WANG YANG, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page2)

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2018-12-07 08:09:32
37366238 <![CDATA[What's next for China's airports?]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366238.htm

Successful projects should be designed with the needs and desires of passengers, employees and local residents in mind

The construction of Beijing's second airport hub in Daxing offers an opportunity to reflect on what Chinese airports have achieved so far, and how they can do better in the future. What are the next steps that China's airports need to take in order to become world-leading aviation hubs?

To answer that, let's take a look at three challenges that currently confront Chinese airports: how to improve the customer experience, how to integrate aviation with high-speed rail, and how to promote urban development around the airport.

The focus should be on the customer experience. Chinese airports have a reputation for technical competence and architectural ambition. But they're also known for confusing signage, long walking distances and sparse retail offerings, and sometimes it can be a nightmare to enter or exit the airport at peak hours.

The next generation of Chinese airports will need to focus on the needs and desires of their customers. The first step? Identify what types of passengers your airport hosts, and develop tailored strategies for each of them. Does your airport host a lot of international business travelers? Budget tourists flying on low-cost airlines? Retirees visiting their children? Each of these passenger segments has unique needs and desires. For example, in an ageing society such as China's, it's crucial to ensure that elderly travelers have full access to airport facilities and can easily navigate the terminal.

In addition, as China goes global, it will be essential to provide better support for passengers who do not speak Mandarin. Successful airports will offer tailored goods and services to different types of passengers in order to improve the overall customer experience, and to increase non-aeronautical revenue.

At the same time, Chinese airports need to cut down on delays, which are far too common. Delayed flights significantly drive down the passenger experience and can spark bad behavior. Delays also prevent Chinese airports from becoming major players as international transfer hubs. You might offer your customers a wonderful transfer experience within the terminal, but if passengers are worried that they will miss their connecting flights due to delays, then they will not choose to fly through China.

The integration of aviation and high-speed rail should be promoted. Successful airports are reinventing themselves as multimodal mobility hubs where road, rail and maritime networks intersect with air transportation. As the examples of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Beijing's Daxing reveal, China is quickly becoming a global leader in the integration of aviation and high-speed rail. But Chinese airports - and Chinese airlines - need to do more if they want these intermodal hubs to reach their full potential.

A look abroad offers a few clues on how to do that. For example, the German airline Lufthansa operates an online ticketing platform where customers can combine air and rail journeys within a single purchase. On busy train routes, the airline provides dedicated seating for air-rail transfer passengers in branded Lufthansa cars. Switzerland's railway authority allows air travelers to deposit their baggage at train stations, which is then checked through to their final destination. Getting rid of luggage at the start of the journey increases the speed and efficiency of passenger flows, and it makes passengers more likely to purchase goods and services along the way.

Overall, this air-rail integration will be good for Chinese airports, which can increase their throughput and grow their catchment area - the geographic area from which an airport can expect to draw passengers - through high-speed connections on the ground. And by shifting some short-haul traffic to high-speed rail, airports can free up capacity for more lucrative medium-and long-haul flights. But resistance from airlines, along with poor coordination between air and land transportation ministries, may pose significant challenges. In response, successful airports will develop pilot programs that promote new forms of cooperative governance, cross-investment and profit-sharing across transportation sectors.

New districts should be built around the airport. Many Chinese cities are building new districts around their airports to advance broader urban development and rural reform goals. Some of these new zones focus on technological innovation and aim to attract research and development hubs and high-tech industries. Others will house thousands of residents in model townships that emphasize walkability and environmental sustainability. These are ambitious goals, and they will dramatically expand the spatial and functional scope of China's airports.

However, these projects will only succeed if they can attract a mix of public and private investment, and a mix of new residents, to the airport area. Many airport development zones fail to reach their full potential because they don't have a clear understanding of who their target customers are. They simply string together a series of buzzwords and wait for investors and residents to come rolling in. Based on a shaky business case, these projects fail to deliver a significant return on investment.

By contrast, successful airport-area development projects identify what their city is currently lacking and what the local business community needs to grow. They then translate those insights into a development plan that responds to those unmet demands. Do entrepreneurs in your city require specific types of production facilities? Is there a shortage of certain kinds of housing, for example for young families or retirees? Does your city lack particular leisure facilities, such as a concert arena or an agritourism center? Above all, how can these projects leverage the industries and skill sets that already exist in the airport area and capitalize on proximity to the airport?

In recent decades, China has invested in airport infrastructure on a scale that is unparalleled anywhere else. While there are a few greenfield projects on the horizon, much of that infrastructure is now in place. As China transitions from a developing aviation market into a mature one, successful decision-makers will adapt their thinking to that new reality. Above all, they need to shift the emphasis from quantity to quality. The days of impressing the flying public with gargantuan structures are over; economic and environmental sustainability are the new priorities. In other words, it's better to build a human-scale airport terminal, outfitted with high-quality goods and services, rather than one that is oversized and mediocre. Similarly, a compact airport economic zone with a convincing unique selling proposition is more commercially viable and environmentally sustainable than one that sprawls in every direction and tries to attract dozens of different industries.

Ultimately, the economic dynamics of China's airports revolve around three sets of actors: passengers, airport employees and local residents. Successful airport projects are designed with the needs and desires of these three groups in mind. That people-focused approach empowers us to see more clearly how Chinese airports can improve their business model and, in so doing, establish themselves at the forefront of global innovation.

The author is a professor at the University of Hong Kong and a leading expert on airports and urban development. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page9)

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2018-12-07 08:09:12
37366237 <![CDATA[Architect's works inspired in China]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366237.htm From Beijing's Galaxy SOHO to the Guangzhou Opera House, her style combines high-tech with natural forms

The late Zaha Hadid, the noted Iraq-born British architect who was the primary designer of Beijing Daxing International Airport, was highly influenced by her first trip to China in 1981.

"My trip to China was a very seminal experience, because before then I wasn't interested in landscape. After I went to China, I became very interested in landscape and also the way they manipulated the Chinese garden. My work might not look like Chinese gardens, but I was very influenced by that trip," she said during a question-and-answer session at the Oxford Union in 2016. She died later that year at age 65.

 

View of Changsha Meixi Lake International Culture and Arts Center. Photos by David Blair / China Daily

In Beijing, the Galaxy SOHO shopping center and office building, a prominent feature on the East Second Ring Road, and the similarly designed Wangjing SOHO in northeast Beijing - both designed by Hadid - are a series of curved towers that evoke the steep karst mountains of southern China, she said in 2012 at a panel discussion held at Ivory Press in London. The sunken lower concourses in these centers resemble hidden grottoes.

Hadid is sometimes called the "queen of curves" because she used few, if any, straight lines or right angles in her designs. Her works are seen as an intriguing combination of high-tech and organic. For example, the Meixi Lake International Culture and Arts Center in Changsha, Hunan province, might look to some like a natural rock formation, but also might be seen as a spaceship preparing to lift off.

Experts say her architecture is not just stunningly original, but also serves the intended purpose of the building. Wray Armstrong, a Canadian classical music impresario who represents a number of the world's leading classical music artists, told China Daily last year: "In Changsha (at the Meixi Lake center), the acoustics were brilliant and the look is completely different and wonderful. The center looks like orchid blossoms when seen from above."

Like many other international architects, Hadid was attracted to the booming construction market in China and created much of what is considered her most significant work in the country. In a 2011 interview with China Daily, she emphasized that the Chinese authorities really wanted to engage new ideas.

"They are very updated in their approach. They don't want you to do something you have done 10 or 15 years ago. They want something fresh and new, something that connects to the situation in the country now."

Soon after her death, the Sky SOHO building near Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai's high-speed rail station was completed. Some commentators viewed it as a spaceship, while others interpreted it as a series of train cars. From above, it also looks like the Chinese character zhou, which means administrative district. Its courtyard incorporates gardens and waterfalls at many levels.

Perhaps Hadid's most famous building in China is the Guangzhou Opera House in Guangdong province, which she said was intended to represent two stones eroded by the Pearl River.

Hadid designed many buildings in the 1980s and 1990s, but many of them were never built. Her career only took off after 2000. Her firm, Zaha Hadid Associates, pioneered a design technology called "parametricism", which allows the designer to lay out the underlying form and then use computerized engineering programs to develop a buildable version of the design. Many of her ideas could not be engineered or built before the advent of faster computers.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Wangjing SOHO in 2014, Hadid said: "How do you match oblique angles with scale? ... We were led to this idea of landmass. Through this investigation, we began to look at buildings like grottoes, like hills and mountains. Then we began to look at living organisms. We have always been interested in geometry. So with work and digital technology, we combine all these things together."

davidblair@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The Galaxy SOHO shopping center and office building is a prominent feature on the East Second Ring Road in Beijing.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page8)

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2018-12-07 08:09:12
37366236 <![CDATA[Michelin rocks the boat in Shanghai]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366236.htm In what appears to be a response to those who have deemed the Shanghai Michelin Guide too mild and biased toward Cantonese and French restaurants, the 2019 edition, which was released in late September, has rocked the boat a little by stripping three restaurants of their stars.

The most notable of the three was Tang Court, which received three stars in the first two guides. It is now a two-star establishment alongside the likes of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Canton 8, which made headlines for being the cheapest two-star restaurant on the planet in the inaugural edition.

This downgrade also means that Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, which serves innovative cuisine by combining food with multisensory technologies, is the only three-star restaurant in Shanghai.

 

President of Michelin China Bruno de Feraudy and a mascot unveil the latest Shanghai Michelin Guide. Photos Provided to China Daily

Jin Xuan, a Cantonese restaurant in the Ritz Carlton Pudong, and Kanpai, a Japanese-style establishment on the Bund, both lost their only stars in the current edition.

A total of 34 restaurants were awarded Michelin stars in the 2019 edition, up by four last year. The winners this year include one new two-star restaurant and five debutants in the one-star category.

Although some have pointed out the departure of Tang Court's chef as the reason behind the loss of its star, industry insiders told China Daily that it is not so much a matter of the restaurant resting on its laurels but more about the guide's response to criticism in China.

Each of the guide's former editions has been slammed for overlooking Shanghainese and other types of Chinese cuisine and instead dishing out stars to Cantonese restaurants. Statistics from the Shanghai Tourism Administration show that nearly a quarter of the 43,000 restaurants and eateries in the city offer traditional or modern Shanghainese cuisine, also know as benbangcai, yet these establishments account for less than 10 percent of the winners in the inaugural guide.

Spicy Sichuan cuisine and refined Huaiyang cuisine, both of which can be easily found in Shanghai, also had a limited presence in the inaugural guide.

The latest Shanghai Michelin Guide seems to have addressed these issues with diversity. Among the new entrants in the one-star category are Moose, which serves Huaiyang cuisine, Xin Rong Ji, which specializes in Taizhou cuisine from East China's Zhejiang province, and Amazing Chinese Cuisine (Jing Xi Hui), a Chaozhou cuisine restaurant.

Bruno de Feraudy, president of Michelin China, said at a news conference that the restaurant scene in Shanghai could be best summarized by the words "dynamic" and "global" as the city of 24.8 million residents has accommodated not only the most traditional and modern cuisines, but also a variety of foods from all over the world.

He expressed hope that local foodies could use the Michelin stars to explore the dynamics of Shanghai as well as China, considering that the guide was released in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, earlier this year.

But the guide is not merely expanding geographically in China. In May, Michelin announced a strategic and long-term partnership with Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall, which will attempt to "leverage the power of online retailing to explore possibilities of localizing global delicacies".

As part of this partnership, three Michelin-starred chefs in Shanghai have been commissioned to create nine recipes using imported foods sold on Tmall, such as New Zealand salmon and Australian wagyu beef. Supported by instructional cooking videos, the recipes have been specially designed for the country's young and tech-savvy households who value home cooking as a healthier, instead of cheaper, alternative to eating out or ordering in.

Stiff competition

Michelin's move to expand its footprint in China comes at a time when the company is facing increasing competition from brands such as World's 50 Best Restaurants and local companies such as Dianping.com that have their own food influencers. In fact, the website launched its own China restaurant guide earlier this year and uses diamonds instead of stars for ratings.

Called Black Pearl, the guide has singled out 28 one-diamond restaurants as "must try once in a lifetime" dining establishments, with five of them located in Shanghai. According to Dianping.com, each restaurant featured in Black Pearl has been reviewed by at least three judges. About 200 anonymous judges, one-third of whom are chefs, are part of the judging process. The bills are covered either by the website or the judges themselves. None of the judges are paid for their efforts.

"It takes passion, cash and patience to create a guide like this. And we are not planning to make money from it," says Wang Xing, CEO of Dianping.com.

After all, the Shanghai-based company is hardly short of cash. In 2017, the company - it has more than 250 million active users and listings of 7 million shops and restaurants in 2,800 Chinese cities and counties - generated transactions worth 360 billion yuan ($51.9 billion; 45.7 billion euros; £40.6 billion).

"Black Pearl is not trying to be the Chinese version of the Michelin Guide. Rather, it is aiming to be a world-class list compiled by Chinese for Chinese," says company Vice-President Zhang Chuan.

But it is not the only company that is trying to influence Chinese diners.

Another new competitor is Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency. This year, the company introduced its Ctrip Gourmet List for Shanghai, with editions for dozens of other cities to follow. But unlike the Michelin Guide, which is renowned for maintaining the anonymity of its inspectors, this list has proudly displayed its judges, who include Dong Keping, the consultant for China's most-watched food documentary A Bite of China, Chinese celebrity chef Liu Yifan and Chinese singer-turned chef Lin Yilun.

In January, Ctrip also announced a collaboration with US online restaurant reservation service provider Open Table to facilitate bookings at tens of thousands of restaurants across North America.

A poll conducted by Hotels.com in 2017 found that food was the third-most important option for Chinese travelers after safety and sightseeing.

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A total of 34 restaurants were awarded Michelin stars in the 2019 edition of the Shanghai Michelin Guide. Provided to China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page1)

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2018-12-07 08:09:12
37366235 <![CDATA[Superhub rising]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-12/07/content_37366235.htm Beijing's new airport will be a transportation center as well as a development engine for the entire region

Beijing Daxing International Airport, now rising on former farmland south of the city, will be much more than an airport. When completed by October 2019, it will be a hub for air, high-speed rail, subway, highway - and even bicycle - traffic.

It is also expected to drive development throughout the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province region, also known as Jing-Jin-Ji.

In addition, the 150-square-kilometer planning zone around the airport is expected to become a center for research, industry, logistics and cultural activities, as well as a pleasant place to live.

 

The Daxing airport is still under construction. Photos by David Blair / China Daily

 

The entrance to the departure gates.

"The airport area is designed for people, for their living and working and convenience. ... Living areas will be designed around 'life circles' in which all the daily necessities of life can be found within a 15-minute walk from residences," Liu Dingding, vice-general manager of Beijing New Aerotropolis Holdings, told China Daily.

Beijing New Aerotropolis was set up by the government of the Daxing district of Beijing and Beijing Yizhuang Investment Holdings Corp to plan the long-term development of land adjacent to the airport. The airport will be partly located in Daxing, a southern district of Beijing, and partly in Hebei province. Yizhuang is a town in Daxing.

The new airport, which is 43 kilometers from Tian'anmen Square, sits exactly on the city's traditional north-south central axis, which was established by the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). It is in the middle of a triangle formed by the port city of Tianjin, roughly 100 kilometers southeast of Beijing; the new city of Xiongan, which is under construction in Hebei about 100 km southwest of Beijing; and the southern sections of Beijing.

Because of its location, the airport will be a key link in two national economic development strategies - the Xiongan New Area, an economic zone that will reduce Beijing's noncapital functions, and the economic integration of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Unlike the generally linear designs of the past, the Daxing airport will be shaped like a flower, with a central hub used for passenger processing, ticketing and security. Five petals of the flower will lead to the gates, and administrative offices will be located in a sixth petal.

The design of the airport, which will be the world's largest in terms of area, ensures that the farthest gate is just a 600-meter walk from the central hub.

By using distributed zones of operation, the airport is set up so that passengers will need to walk less than eight minutes to or from a gate, and luggage will arrive at the carousel in less than 13 minutes after a flight's arrival.

High-speed rail and Beijing subway stations, meanwhile, will be at underground levels of the airport, ensuring what is called "zero-distance" changes between transportation modes. And, for the first time at any airport, according to Max Hirsh, a research professor at Hong Kong University, there will be two levels of roads leading to the departure areas to reduce traffic congestion.

Cao Yunchun, director of the Institute of Aviation Economics at Civil Aviation University in Beijing, says plans for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Xiongan New Area, along with the Belt and Road Initiative, are driving a new round of technological transformation. He says air transportation is especially important to central and western parts of China, which are not close to the sea.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, created two airport economic zones - Daxing and one in Zhengzhou, Henan province. Ten more airport zones were created by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority.

China is currently building eight new airports per year and will have a total of 260 by 2020, up from 175 in 2010, according to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

Cao points out that the Zhengzhou zone has had a growth rate of 19.4 percent per year and thus has become a growth driver of Henan province.

In October, airport-area development experts and practitioners from many countries met in Beijing at the Sustainable Airport Areas International Seminar 2018, organized by Beijing New Aerotropolis and Hubstart Paris Region, an organization that promotes development of the regions around Paris' airports.

The idea of an "aerotropolis," meaning city development with an airport as its center, drives much current airport development.

"The aerotropolis will provide services to the Jing-Jin-Ji area - international culture exchange, international trade and international industrial cooperation," says Liu, the Beijing New Aerotropolis vice-general manager. "Jing-Jin-Ji people will have lots of opportunities to work in this area."

In addition, airports, especially in Asia, are becoming destinations unto themselves - with recreational facilities, conference centers and shopping either at the airport or nearby. In the movie Crazy Rich Asians, the main character walks through the new Terminal 4 at Changi Airport in Singapore and says: "I can't believe this airport has a butterfly garden and a movie theater. All we have at JFK (New York City's leading airport) is salmonella and despair."

Beijing Daxing International Airport, meanwhile, is being designed as an efficient transfer hub for international travelers going on to other cities in China or elsewhere, according to Kong Yue, vice-general manager of the airport.

At Beijing Capital International Airport to the north, he says, less than 10 percent of the passengers are transfers. Members of the SkyTeam global alliance, which includes China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines, will move to the Daxing airport from Beijing Capital airport, thus facilitating transfers.

One goal of the Daxing airport's designers is to give travelers something to do, and somewhere to spend money, while waiting for their continuing flights.

Liu says the Daxing airport represents the first time an airport will be a driver of national development. He says the airport will play three roles. First, it will be a conference center to support Beijing's roles as a political, cultural and international communications center. Second, the new airport zone will have many aviation-related and innovation-related industries. Third, it is in a cross-provincial area covering Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, so it will support coordinated development of all three.

"Beijing is special because it is the capital of China, so many companies want to land here," Liu told the recent seminar in Beijing. "That means we need to choose the industry, to select the companies. If you don't have strict requirements, maybe some of the low-end industries might want to come. So we have to have strict access indicators.

"We are also looking into how to create a world-class business environment. In terms of infrastructure, for example, we will have an underground corridor. We are even going to have a bicycle expressway in order for people to be able to stay, live and work here," Liu added.

"We are also doing research on how to improve the business environment, including the government approvals," he said. "This is about public services, government services and green development capabilities. All of these will be part of the business environment creation."

Hirsh, the Hong Kong University research professor, says Hebei province and the southern parts of Beijing have long been less wealthy than northern Beijing, where many universities and Beijing Capital International Airport are located.

For the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, "the challenge is how we can make sure that the whole region is attractive to people from all walks of life", Hirsh says. "How can you make sure that these satellite cities are going to appeal to a wide range of people of different income and education levels? If you don't have a plan for that in place, it will lead to more social problems."

Such airports in China "are increasing the aerial connectivity of the cities, but they are also kind of doubling as a strategy for urban expansion and rural development", Hirsh adds.

"This fits in with the larger global trends in which you have rapidly growing large cities that face pressure on the historical inner core," he says. "What is happening a lot in China is to build very large transportation nodes as a way to direct traffic and activity outward.

"In the case of Beijing, this has a bigger dimension because it is not just about extending the city outward but about regional integration and rural reform, trying to bring some of the benefits of proximity to Beijing to underserved communities farther out. ... This is a tremendous opportunity for urban redevelopment."

Planners around the world also struggle to ensure that airports create job opportunities for poor people and those with fewer skills. For example, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US state of Georgia, which is the world's largest airport in terms of passenger traffic, has not transformed the relatively poor areas nearby.

Todd Greene, executive director of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, an association of traditionally African-American colleges and universities, says most of the neighborhoods near the Atlanta airport are relatively poor, and many of the jobs being created by companies near the airport pay around $100,000 a year. However, the skills of nearby residents qualify them mostly for jobs that pay half that amount or less, he says. Better education is needed, but it is also crucial to shape development that is appropriate for local workers, he adds.

Green also says: "What is happening with shared prosperity? Is the development of the airport for the airlines? Should the industries that develop around the airport be for the people or the politicians? Is it for the short term or for the long term? Will the industries provide durable benefits for the people?"

Beijing's Daxing airport, meanwhile, is seen as a good example of collaboration between China and Europe. It was designed by ADP Ingenierie, an engineering subsidiary of the company that operates the Paris airports; London-based Zaha Hadid Architects; and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design. Zaha Hadid, the Iraq-born British architect who died in 2016, was the primary designer of the Daxing airport.

Peter Budd, vice-chairman of the China-Britain Business Council and CEO of Ultra, a company that builds autonomous vehicles for airports, says: "There have already been a number of major contributions to this project by British companies in terms of supporting the structural design (and) the simulation of passenger flows through the terminal, and a number of companies are talking to the airport company about supply of security equipment and other supply items."

Ultra will use its autonomous vehicles to move passengers from parking areas to the terminal at the new Chengdu airport, which is also scheduled for completion next year. This will be the second deployment of this technology in the world, following Heathrow Airport in London, where it has been used for seven years.

Alexander Kirby, founder and managing director of Final Approach, a company that focuses on developing "airport cities", has worked closely with Gatwick Airport south of London. He says connectivity with China has grown significantly now that Gatwick has direct connections with Chengdu in Sichuan province, Chongqing and Tianjin and is about to start service to Shanghai. He adds that the automotive and aerospace companies around Gatwick do a lot of business with China.

Budd says there will still be a large role for European companies in China as industry and technology in the country are upgraded in the next decade.

"There are many precedents in the world for what is happening in China. You look at what happened in Japan after the Second World War. I can remember when I was a kid, things made in Japan were regarded as rubbish. Yet they started by not innovating, but by refining, motorbikes, stereos, camera systems. They were basically designing manufacturing systems. Just-in-time processes basically developed in Japan. The same is going to happen to China.

"That doesn't mean that everybody else is not going to be part of the venture," he adds. "They are going to get involved in our economies and we are going to remain involved in theirs. It is very shortsighted to think that any one of us is going to be knocked off the planet in terms of business opportunities. That is not the way it works."

davidblair@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Members of the sustainable airports seminar examine a model of Daxing airport. Photos by David Blair / China Daily

 

A delegation from Atlanta airport takes a selfie at Daxing airport.

 

Workers work on the roof of Daxing airport.

( China Daily European Weekly 12/07/2018 page1)

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2018-12-07 08:09:12
37334847 <![CDATA[Rehabilitation industry sees need to close gap and grow sector]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334847.htm China's medical rehabilitation industry is projected to reach 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion; 12.7 billion euros; £11.2 billion) in annual sales by 2023, with an annual compound growth rate of over 18 percent, according to a recent report.

The report, released during the China International Medical Equipment Fair in Shanghai from Oct 29 to Nov 1, said that the current usage-per-elderly population ratio of elderly rehabilitation and home healthcare equipment in China is 1:10.

The corresponding figure for European and North American countries is 1:1, demonstrating great growth potential for China's medical rehabilitation industry.

 

Visitors have their blood pressure checked at a recent international aging industry fair in Beijing. Chen Xiaogen / For China Daily

The nation's medical rehabilitation industry remains relatively small due to a lack of rehabilitation equipment, related hospitals and beds.

At present, there are 3,800 rehabilitation institutions in China, accounting for 28 percent of the total number of hospitals nationwide. A complete rehabilitation medical equipment supply system remains to be established.

"The backwardness of Chinese consumers' spending on rehabilitation showed that the domestic medical rehabilitation industry is still quite immature, and the public awareness, equipment, talent and industry chain remain at a primary level," said the report from online market research consultancy Qianzhan.

According to a report released by Chyxx, an online industry information network, the volume of China's rehabilitation medical industry is 20 billion yuan, and the annual per capita expenditure is 15 yuan.

The corresponding figures for the United States are 138 billion yuan and 552 yuan, respectively.

In 2011, the National Health Commission issued a guideline on the establishment and management of rehabilitation departments in hospitals, requiring that comprehensive hospitals set up rehabilitation departments and standard rehabilitation equipment, including multifunctional assessment equipment, exercise therapy equipment, physical treatment equipment and speech disorder-related cognitive treatment equipment.

According to the guideline, 10,000 comprehensive hospitals in China will need to establish rehabilitation departments. Given that the average cost of setting up rehabilitation equipment for each hospital is 3 million yuan to 5 million yuan, the total cost will be from 30 billion to 50 billion yuan.

A recent survey conducted by Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that nearly 24 percent of respondents had no idea about rehabilitation treatment and 40 percent held wrong notions about such treatment.

Chapal Khasnabis, a representative of the World Health Organization, says: "Twenty years ago, people had a misunderstanding that only disabled people need rehabilitation equipment. Therefore, when some of them really had the need to use the equipment, they felt shameful. However, now the situation is different.

"As people age, and their physical condition deteriorates, for the consideration of health, they will become users of rehabilitation equipment sooner or later.

"Apart from providing timely medicines and vaccines to more patients in need, medical rehabilitation or auxiliary equipment should be included in future medical public services," Khasnabis adds.

Fan Yubo, director of the National Research Center for Rehabilitation Technical Aids, which is part of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, says: "Internet, virtual reality, big data, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, new material ... all of these cutting-edge sciences and technologies are dedicated to solving problems related to medical rehabilitation.

"Aging, food safety issues and lifestyle have resulted in many chronic diseases in China," Fan says. "People need the help of medical rehabilitation equipment. Currently, there is a gap between China and other countries in the medical rehabilitation industry. China needs to bring about innovative breakthroughs and have its own medical rehabilitation brands."

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page29)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334846 <![CDATA[Foreign investors get greater access]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334846.htm

China plans to step up efforts to deepen reforms by granting more access to overseas companies and individuals to make investments in the country's free trade zones, the latest in its efforts to further open up the financial sector for investors.

A total of 12 new measures covering securities, insurance and banking services will be adopted in the free trade zones to better support the development in the pilot regions and the nonfinancial sector, according to a guideline released by the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Nov 23.

For instance, banks in free trade zones will be allowed to conduct yuan derivative businesses on behalf of overseas institutions, and qualified individuals will be allowed to invest in overseas securities directly in the pilot regions, according to the guideline.

These new measures, which will be adopted first in the country's 12 free trade zones, including Shanghai and Chongqing, might be gradually introduced to other regions after the government gains some experience.

Such efforts are expected to attract more overseas investors to China's financial market and promote the free flow of funds, Xu Zhong, director-general of the Research Bureau of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said during a briefing on Nov 23.

The central bank will gradually shorten the negative list in the financial sector and further remove the caps on shareholdings by overseas financial institutions in sectors that require financial licenses, he said.

As part of earlier pledges to further promote opening-up, China has introduced a slew of measures to gradually grant more access to overseas investors and reduce red tape while striving to ensure financial stability.

Overseas financial institutions have started to apply for greater access after the government rolled out these guidelines.

Nomura Securities and JPMorgan Chase have sought permission to launch majority-owned brokerages in China, with an eye on gaining control of their joint ventures in China by lifting their stakes in the business to 51 percent.

On Nov 13, JPMorgan's application for the establishment of a foreign-invested securities company received feedback from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Zhang Xiaojing, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the building of an open economic system means higher requirements to better regulate the financial sector.

The government needs to pay attention to prevent financial risks and make sure financial supervision capabilities can be matched with financial openness, Zhang said.

wangyanfei@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page25)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334845 <![CDATA[New rules to boost e-commerce sales]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334845.htm Online retailers are expected to benefit from policies geared toward fueling greater growth in the sector

Businesses engaged in cross-border e-commerce say they stand to benefit from a slew of preferential policies unveiled by the State Council on Nov 21 to boost the sector's development and further unlock consumption potential.

Measures to simplify procedures for the entry of first-time imported items, expand product categories to enjoy preferential rates, and lift the bar for purchase limits per head are clear indications that China aims to use cross-border e-commerce as an impetus to fuel steady economic growth, according to industry players and experts.

 

Parcels are checked at the customs facility in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. Lyu Bin / For China Daily

"The string of policies are seen as concrete steps taken to implement President Xi Jinping's pledge to further open up the economy and accelerate the development of e-commerce, which was made during the China International Import Expo" in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10, says Zhang Lei, CEO of NetEase Kaola, a leading Chinese cross-border portal.

"It is a strategic commitment to the industry as a whole and is conducive to driving consumption upgrade and advancing economic growth," she says.

The company had pledged to procure 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion; 2.5 billion euros; £2.25 billion) worth of goods with 110 companies during the six-day event to beef up its imported product inventory and meet the growing needs of the country's tens of millions of middle-and high-income earners.

Zhang made a special reference to the addition of 63 categories, and the increase in the limit on purchases of goods that are eligible for preferential policies, which she says can not only spark spending in affordable luxury items, electronics and beauty products, but further adjust and optimize cross-border e-commerce categories.

Also jumping on the global procurement bandwagon is Tmall Global, the dedicated cross-border platform of Alibaba Group, which announced a plan to help import $200 billion worth of goods over the next five years.

"We see continued stability and certainty on the policy front," says Liu Peng, general manager of Tmall Global Import & Export. "It is a clear nod to the innovative model of the entire cross-border e-commerce model in China."

Imported merchandise hogged the limelight during Alibaba's iconic Nov 11 shopping festival this year. Without disclosing sales figures, the company said it took just over six hours for cross-border online transactions to reach last year's full-day record on Tmall Global.

Foreign brands can also harness Chinese companies' expansive analytics and technologies to discover opportunities, fine-tune product selection and craft campaign messages tailored to the Chinese consumers, Liu says.

Cross-border e-commerce is a better way for foreign brands to make their Chinese market debut, thanks to easier access, lower costs and reduced time for market entrance, according to Zhang Tianbing of Deloitte Asia-Pacific.

Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, says the enhanced policies will also "propel different e-commerce players to really build up their respective strengths and tighten their grip on resource integration from procurement, logistics, customs and sales ... to provide genuine end-to-end quality services".

Zhang from Kaola also finds it encouraging that government authorities are working on tax refund policies to boost Chinese companies' exports via e-commerce. She says such endeavors will inspire Kaola to empower Chinese manufacturers and help Chinese brands tap into foreign consumers.

hewei@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page25)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334844 <![CDATA[Kenya's Huawei ICT winners head for next round]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334844.htm The contestants now move on to the regionals in South Africa. Those who succeed will receive a sponsored trip to Shenzhen

The Kenyan round of the Huawei 2018 Global ICT Skills Competition in Nairobi, Kenya, came to a close on Nov 21 with 11 students emerging as national winners.

Six of the winners were from four Kenyan universities: Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology, Meru University, the University of Nairobi and Zetech University.

 

Li Xuhang, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Kenya, presents an award to Kennedy Muthaura from Zetech University, the top winner of Huawei 2018 Global ICT Skills Competition's Kenyan round. Lucie Morangi / China Daily

Kennedy Muthaura of Zetech University was the champion of the Kenyan national final.

All of the winners will move on to the sub-Saharan regional round, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the beginning of December. Those who succeed there will in turn go to Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on a fully sponsored trip for the global finals, which will draw competitors from more than 50 countries.

Kenya's first such competition was launched in July and saw more than 4,000 information technology students register at the preliminary stages from 40 universities across the country. Of these, 600 were selected for training, after which the top 100 underwent further coaching at a boot camp session before taking nationwide exams conducted by Huawei.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Li Xuhang, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Kenya, urged Kenya's information and communications technology students to leverage ICT to create miracles, just like what Huawei and Alibaba have achieved in China and across the globe.

"To empower the youth is to empower the whole nation. I encourage all young students to grasp opportunities presented by innovative technologies such as ICT to nurture homegrown global companies in Kenya. I also wish that they become ambassadors of friendly relations between Kenya and China, as the two countries are set to mark their 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties in December this year," he said.

Launched in 2015, the competition challenges ICT students from all over the world to test their ICT capabilities and provides a platform for the exchange of skills and experiences.

"Huawei has demonstrated its commitment to leading digital transformation in Kenya through investing in young people by empowering them with the necessary knowledge and providing them with platforms and opportunities to sharpen their IT skills," says Jerome Ochieng, principal secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology.

"We continue to work together to leverage technologies as catalyzing powers of the Big Four (development) Agenda, such as precision agriculture for food security, smart and technologically ready homes for affordable housing, and connected hospitals for universal healthcare," he adds.

The Huawei ICT competition is a platform that is part of the Huawei Authorized Information and Network Academy, a certified program that provides the latest technical training and certification to students by training lecturers for the Huawei Certified Network Associate - Routing and Switching program.

lucymorangi@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page27)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334843 <![CDATA[Challenges and opportunities await tech sector]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334843.htm Technology leaders predict a leading role for China in artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing

Editor's Note: China Daily reporter Ouyang Shijia quizzed senior executives from three leading Chinese internet-based companies - Xiao Hong, CEO of movie and gaming conglomerate Perfect World; Zhou Hongyi, chairman of the board and CEO of security software provider 360 Security Technology Inc and Gong Yu, founder and CEO of iQiyi Inc, a video streaming platform. They discussed new landscapes of innovation and the future development of internet business in China.

Chinese tech enterprises have stepped up efforts to master key technologies with self-owned intellectual property rights despite lingering trade friction between China and the United States. In which sectors or cutting-edge technologies do you think the country will achieve breakthroughs in the next few years?

Xiao Hong: With many technological bottlenecks in different industries that have been broken through, China is gradually growing into a global leading force in many fields, from the world's largest total volume of cashless transactions to the world's fastest big data computing, from the world's largest electric vehicle market to the world's most advanced high-speed rail network, and from the world's biggest publisher of artificial intelligence papers to the world's leading photovoltaic industry chain. In terms of emerging technological fields, significant progress is expected in cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence.

 

Two visitors interact with an AI-enabled robot at the 2018 Popular Science Products Expo in Shanghai on Oct 27. Xing Yun / For China Daily

In the future, China will make further breakthroughs in the above-mentioned cutting-edge technologies and applications, including current translation technology, medical, artificial intelligence, cloud technology, automated driving systems, civilian unmanned aerial vehicles and voice recognition, which will be perfected in the future.

Zhou Hongyi: Artificial intelligence is the future. Many Chinese companies, like 360, have increased their research and development efforts for AI technologies. I take a rosy view of AI's prospects. However, there's also challenges ahead, such as the safety concerns. AI is based on running programs. Once attacked and controlled by hackers, the consequences may be catastrophic. In the future, there will be hundreds of billions of smart devices in various fields, and we will face unprecedented security challenges. With more than 10 years' experience in cybersecurity technologies, 360 has launched the 360 Brain of Security, a comprehensive smart system deploying AI and big data, to solve network security problems in the next five to 10 years.

Gong Yu: I believe China may make breakthroughs in aspects such as artificial intelligence. AI will be at the core of future technological innovation, and personalized content will be the future.

How can companies leverage the internet and innovation to further China's economic transformation?

Xiao Hong: First of all, companies can take advantage of internet thinking to accelerate the industry digitalization, and form new business models for economic development. Secondly, companies must focus on technology innovation and application, and exploit internet innovative development for further industry upgrades. Lastly, companies will have to utilize innovative development patterns to effectively integrate global resources, which leads to the realization of mutual benefit and integrated development of all parties.

Zhou Hongyi: In recent years, with the popularization and application of new technologies such as big data, cloud computing and AI, a wide range of traditional companies have embraced the digital transformation and have already reaped the rewards.

Currently, the world is in the wave of the fourth industrial revolution. Characterized by quantum computing, AI, biotechnology and many other cutting-edge technologies, the new round of technological revolution will transform the world economy, offering opportunities for latecomer countries across the globe.

China is no longer stuck with the timeworn recipe of trade, investment and construction, and heavy industry-led growth. It is now seeking new growth engines powered by innovation and technologies.

Traditional companies should actively use the internet and related new technologies to embrace digital transformation, which will contribute to transformation of the country's economy. Tech enterprises need to gear up in the research and investment on key technologies, to improve the ability of participating in global competition. And that will offer another way to serve the nation's economic transformation process.

Gong Yu: For China's entertainment industry, technological innovation, especially the booming internet and AI technologies, will be one of the key factors to drive the industry's rapid development. IQiyi has applied the AI technologies to production, distribution and many other sectors. AI helps improve user experiences, increase the monetization capabilities, reduce the operation costs and raise production efficiency. Meanwhile, technological innovation is also bringing a shift in the trend of entertainment content.

First, AI will not only enable a variety of smart distribution and labeling, but also help increase resolution and make video clearer with less bandwidth and data consumption, offering better user experiences.

Second, AI will increase the monetization capabilities for both iQiyi and our partners. For instance, powered by AI and deep learning algorithms, we will be able to offer consumers personalized recommendations of products and services according to specific scenarios.

Third, AI will help reduce costs. For example, during the production of reality shows, AI will help automatically recognize the key guests and reduce hours of mediocrity to three or five images. Thus the efficiency will be greatly improved. The smarter machines will do more for us.

From your perspective, what are the characteristics of a powerful internet nation? What do you think are the advantages and challenges for China as it strives to be a formidable internet nation?

Xiao Hong: The characteristics of a powerful internet nation include the following: a global-leading innovative capacity of internet technologies and a sense of responsibility to work together to jointly build a community with a shared future in cyberspace.

China's strength lies in its leading industries, such as e-commerce and sharing economy. And in the future, China will make further breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing.

What's more, China, with the largest population of internet users in the world, which is over 800 million, has already established an online environment of e-payment.

However, China is also faced with challenges on its way to becoming a powerful internet nation. For starters, there is room for improvement in its network infrastructure. Furthermore, the "information island" phenomenon still exists in China.

Zhou Hongyi: The key characteristic of a powerful internet country is to master the core technologies, such as the key cybersecurity technologies. With powerful core technologies, a country will be able to actively participate in the governance and construction of the global cyberspace.

President Xi Jinping said that without cybersecurity, there is no national security. Globally, the cybersecurity threats are increasing. During this year's Summer Davos Forum, cybersecurity was defined as the third largest risk after natural disasters and extreme weather. The overall cybersecurity capability is definitely one of the key signs of a powerful internet country.

China has an institutional advantage that other countries don't - the strong governmental support for the internet industry. It is possible to foresee that the government will give stronger support in the future. And the support will promote the accelerated development of the industry.

I think the main challenge will be around the talent. The talent backs the innovation. Compared with developed countries, our internet industry needs more talent.

Gong Yu: China is currently transforming itself into a leading internet power.

In the future, the internet and other related technologies will promote the continuous transformation and upgrading of the real economy through integration with other industries, and thus lay a solid foundation for sustained economic growth.

This is also the way China must go to become a leading cyber power.

Buoyed by the government's open attitude and supportive policies as well as the steady growth of the overall economy, China's internet industry has experienced rapid development in recent years.

In order to become a leading cyber power, China needs to adhere to technological innovation and attach more importance to the establishment of talent training mechanisms. That would provide continuous driving power for the long-term development of China's internet industry.

In the past year, what transformations in the internet or technology sector do you think have the ability to influence our future or the future of the industry? What do you think are the reasons for this transformation?

Xiao Hong: The tremendous development of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, as well as transformations in fields of internet sharing economy and new retail, will bring a positive impact on future industry development, as well as people's lives. It is especially true in the field of artificial intelligence development, where a wave for globalization has been spotted.

China is accelerating the deployment of artificial intelligence. A Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan issued by the State Council has set up the following strategic objectives for the development of China's new generation of artificial intelligence: By 2020, the overall technology and application of artificial intelligence will be in step with globally advanced levels; by 2025, artificial intelligence will become the main driving force for China's industrial upgrading and economic transformation; by 2030, China will become the world's primary artificial intelligence innovation center.

In recent years, China's artificial intelligence has achieved rapid progress in various fields such as technology and application. At present, the industrialization of artificial intelligence research achievement has entered the fast lane, and will be further expanded in four directions, including unmanned driving, smart city, medical imaging and speech recognition, which will have a huge impact on our future lives. At the same time, China's artificial intelligence development environment is also continuously being optimized, which will further lay a solid foundation for the future advancement of artificial intelligence and the fusion of artificial intelligence and the real economy.

Such transformation lies on people's yearning for a better life, which urges the continuous escalation of the consumption structure, and promotes the innovation and upgrading of new technologies and new business models.

Zhou Hongyi: A lot of smart brains have emerged this year. Most of China's top tech companies have issued their own brain plans based on AI technologies.

In May this year, we unveiled the 360 Brain of Security, the world's first brain program in the cybersecurity sector. Based on AI technologies, the plan aims to address the security challenges brought by the intelligent era.

In the future, the smart brain will continue to evolve from the current version, achieving a higher level of perception, judgment, decision-making and feedback. And thus it will offer more intelligent and integrated cybersecurity protection.

Together with other brain technologies, the security brain will profoundly affect production and lives in the future. The goal of the security brain is to let people enjoy the future smart life with no worries.

Gong Yu: In the past decades, the internet has transformed a wide range of industries in innovative ways. Compared with traditional entertainment media, internet media platforms collect a large amount of information on the power of technologies, and make it easier for users to find information by browsing and searching online. Powered by AI, it is being turned into reality that users will get exactly what they expect. In the future, AI will help improve user experiences and increase monetization capabilities, as well as improve the ecosystem efficiency.

In the next few years, which sector do you think will most likely become a disruptor in the internet or technology space? In other words, what do you think will be the next hotspot or major trend?

Xiao Hong: With the rapid development of the internet industry, the roadmap of future development is clearly revealed. For the moment, at least three major developments will become hotspots in the future internet industry: artificial intelligence, big data application and smart city.

A development trend of mutual influence and mutual reinforcement has been formed among the three industries. The development in big data technology will provide the basis for data research for artificial intelligence, and artificial intelligence will in turn provide efficient data mining and promote the application of big data technology. Both big data and artificial intelligence will serve as the strong foundation in the development of smart cities.

By improving existing urban information and communication technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and internet of things, we can intelligently collect, monitor, analyze and integrate key information in the core system of city operations at a faster pace, and respond smartly to various demands from areas such as people's livelihood, environmental protection, public safety, urban service and industrial and commercial activities, and create a better urban life for mankind.

Leading internet-based companies in China are actively expanding their business in the above-mentioned fields in order to establish a pre-emptive advantage in the future.

Zhou Hongyi: At present, we can see the major future trend is AI and the internet of everything. Once the two technologies have progressed to a certain advanced level, they will entirely change our lives and even the whole world.

Gong Yu: AI, big data and other technologies will be more and more often applied to the production and distribution of entertainment content. And technological innovation will also bring a shift in the trend of entertainment content.

We believe that the vertical content will become one of the future trends. More than 70 percent of Chinese users will frequently use vertical screen devices like mobile phones to spend their fragmented time. And viewing vertical videos is the natural way to use cellphones.

IQiyi has already worked on the emerging business. Now we have several studios partnering with outside resources to cultivate the grassroots users and online celebrities to professionals who are able to produce high-quality vertical content.

With the new trend on the horizon, we will see changes in the way of viewing and consumption, which will also affect the marketing.

ouyangshijia@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page30)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334842 <![CDATA[Great Wall Motor sets up plant abroad]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334842.htm In the first half of next year, China's first full-fledged overseas automobile plant will begin operations in Russia's Tula region.

The $500 million facility of Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, China's largest SUV and pickup manufacturer by sales volume, is part of the automaker's plan to increase its global footprint.

With headquarters in Baoding, Hebei province, GWM is making its "biggest move" in overseas markets "since our first vehicle went abroad two decades ago", says Wang Shihui, the company's general manager for international market operations.

 

Wang Shihui, general manager of Great Wall Motor for international market operations, says his company now focuses more on the quality of products and after-sales service. Provided to China Daily

Wang joined GWM in 1999 as a salesman and has been a witness to its global development. According to Wang, the plant in Russia will make self-designed cars from scratch, not just assemble them like in many knock-down plants that GWM has set up overseas.

With an annual capacity of 150,000 units, the plant will supply to the Russia market and export some of its output to other European markets, Wang says.

"Once the Russia plant starts, our overseas volume is expected to increase enormously by 2020," he says, without offering any production targets.

The company said it exported 39,168 vehicles last year, up by 125 percent year-on-year. This year, exports are expected to reach 55,000 units.

"The current export volume is not big compared with our best year in 2012, when GWM sold about 100,000 vehicles in foreign countries," Wang says.

His immediate challenge is to fine-tune GWM's global strategy, maintain steady growth and brighten the company's brand image.

"We attach more importance to the good reputation of our vehicles than just a quantitative increase in sales," says Wang, who has been developing GWM's international market for 15 years.

He says the company learned the hard way how crucial it is to back up production with efficient after-sales operations. In 2012, GWM realized that rapid growth in exports caused problems in after-sales service and supply of spare parts.

"For more than a decade, selling more vehicles in more countries was the key aim of our global strategy," Wang says. Early success in exports led to a robust growth rate, which tempted the company to concentrate on boosting numbers initially, only to shift the focus to quality later.

Learning, adapting to changes and exploiting new opportunities have been the hallmarks of GWM's evolution over the years. For instance, when the company saw a market for pickups developing, it started producing them in the 1990s.

In 1998, a Chinese construction company bought 60 GWM pickups to be used in infrastructure construction projects in Iraq.

"At first, we only exported based on the orders that came in, still not thinking of exporting our products proactively," Wang says.

He and his dozen-strong team managed to increase exports via various channels. They found franchisees that helped exhibit vehicles in different countries.

Around 2010, nearly 100 countries imported GWM vehicles. "But we started to cut the export volume and vehicle types in 2012 when after-sales service issues emerged, which hurt our reputation. That influenced our long-term development strategies," Wang says.

"We started to focus more on the quality of products and after-sales service. We set up overseas research centers, sales branches and knock-down plants."

He says branches and plants were established to guarantee high-quality development overseas and were directly managed by corporate headquarters.

At present, GWM vehicles, mainly SUVs, are exported to about 60 countries. Ecuador, South Africa, Peru, Malaysia, Russia and Australia are the key export markets, Wang says.

"We are preparing to export our products to the US, India, Brazil and countries in Europe next."

It is not easy to sell China-made vehicles in markets like the US and Europe, where the automobile industry is well established and quality-conscious consumers and strict regulations and trade tariffs pose great challenges, he says.

"But given our achievements in the domestic market, we aim to grow into the world's SUV leader one day," Wang says.

According to GWM, its SUV sales volumes have topped the domestic market charts for 15 consecutive years since 2003.

zhangyu1@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page26)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334841 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334841.htm

"Xiaomi and Ikea share a similar mission to create better life for people, and the global partnership will help accelerate the development of the world's smart home industry."

FAN DIAN, general manager of the IoT platform segment of Xiaomi.

"China is an important market for Merlin as we continue our strategy of geographic diversification."

JOHN JAKOBSEN, Merlin's chief new openings officer.

"The NDRC will further enlarge the quota of offshore financing for foreign banks in China through foreign debt, based on the country's needs for economic growth and its financial situation ... Meanwhile, the commission will guide foreign banks to optimize the structure of their foreign debt, make their directions of investment more rational and improve their return on investment."

The National Development and Reform Commission.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page24)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334840 <![CDATA[Qualified tech firms can list on new board]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334840.htm Sources say government mulls new IPO platform for easier access to funding

The first group of companies to list on the new technology innovation board are expected to be high quality technology firms with good growth potential, as the government looks to encourage technology development by giving qualified companies easier access to funding, according to sources close to the nation's securities regulator.

Companies of a certain scale that possess promising growth potential will be the first to benefit from the new initial public offering platform, but definitive thresholds have not been hammered out and listing requirements are still in the works, sources say. Unlike earlier market anticipation, the regulatory framework of the new technology innovation board is not likely to be the same as the strategic emerging industries board introduced in 2015, and sources say, "regulators want something new, so not so much can be borrowed from past experience. They want to borrow something good from the regulatory framework in the United States."

The China Securities Regulatory Commission earlier planned to launch a new IPO platform called the strategic emerging industries board in late 2015, but efforts were halted amid significant stock market volatility.

Market interest was reignited again after President Xi Jinping announced the plan to launch a new trading platform on the Shanghai Stock Exchange during the China International Import Expo held in Shanghai in early November. Qualified companies will be able to seek listings through a much more efficient registration system than that which currently governs IPOs in China.

"The first batch of companies are expected to be companies that have appointed an investment banker and started to prepare for a listing. They may focus on fields including integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, aerospace and new energy vehicles," wrote analysts with Citic Securities.

Some local governments have started to collect names of qualified candidates, setting high thresholds. According to a document from the financial services office of Wuxi, Jiangsu province, companies worth over a hundred million yuan ($14.4 million; 12.7 million euros; £11.3 million) and having positive net profits will be qualified to be on the list for further consideration.

Shen Meng, director of boutique investment bank Chanson& Co, says positioning is key. The new plan should become an efficient way for high-quality firms to raise funds and bring overseas-listed Chinese high growth and innovative companies back to raise funds in the domestic market.

Many technology startups and internet giants have adopted the variable interest entity structure to raise funds, as they have difficulty meeting profitability requirements to list on the A-share market.

Contact the writers at wangyanfei@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page26)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334839 <![CDATA[Sunrise sector brightens sunset years]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334839.htm

China's elderly care market is set for a giant leap with entry of foreign capital

Economic risk or hidden opportunity? Or, is it a potential game-changer, even an economic growth driver?

These days, such questions divide experts debating demographic forecasts that China will soon become an aging society, slowing the Chinese economic juggernaut.

But thanks to an imaginative tweak of the country's reform and opening-up policy, the threat seen in an aging society may actually turn out to be a huge business opportunity, experts say.

By the end of 2017, there were 241 million Chinese, or 17 percent of the population, aged 60 or above. And 158 million of them - more than 11 percent of the population - were 65 or above, according to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics.

The country's elderly population is increasing by 10 million annually. It is estimated that by 2020, those aged 65 or over will account for 14 percent of the population. A forecast from the World Health Organization says that by 2050, more than 35 percent of the Chinese population will be aged 60 or above, which would make China the country with the highest number of aging people.

In any other country, such figures might trigger alarm bells, given the adverse impact that an aging society has had on the Japanese economy in recent years; but in China, the situation seems to also come with a silver lining for the economy.

A report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences states that elderly care is a sunrise industry with annual sales that could reach an estimated 13 trillion yuan ($1.87 trillion; 1.65 trillion euros; £1.5 trillion) by 2030 from the current 5.9 trillion yuan.

Such stupendous growth is expected based on experiences of other developed countries. A large base of aging people in an economy that has seen both restructuring and sustained rapid growth is a perfect recipe for growing a sophisticated market for senior-care services. That's because people would have benefited from rising incomes and saved a bit in the past for a stable, financially stress-free, post-retirement life, experts say.

On top of that, when new policy measures enable foreign investment in the potentially lucrative elderly care sector, what could have been a risk may prove to be one of the drivers of economic growth, they say.

Such interpretations appear plausible in a private nursing home in Weihai, Shandong province. Here, Sun Ying, 85, and her husband, Zhang Wei, 86, experience their sunset years in quiet contentment and peace, in spite of Zhang's neurological condition, which was detected three years ago.

Their peace appears to come from the fact that they live in a community of people of a similar age. The community is a commercial venture that is operated by professionals who deliver services tailored to exacting standards.

The nursing home, called Dongfa House, was Sun and Zhang's choice when they realized they needed care. They did not want to be a burden on their children, who live hectic lives.

"Here (in the nursing home), each of us has a health record. Our BP (blood pressure) is checked once a week. We receive medical attention whenever required. I enjoy reading books every day, while my husband often plays with his poker-mates," Sun says. "Sometimes, student volunteers come here to perform for us. Compared with public nursing homes, we find the staff here to be more patient. Our lives have been enriched."

So are lives of all the stakeholders - nurses, caregivers, doctors, physiotherapists, attendants, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, construction workers, florists, material suppliers and providers of various other services.

An elderly care project entails a plethora of investments, activities and services. Done on a mass scale across a vast country like China, it could help drive economic growth, experts say.

For instance, the nursing home that Sun and her husband live in charges a monthly fee of 2,140 yuan per person. They live in a midrange, 30-square-meter apartment. A high-end apartment could cost 2,460 yuan per person per month. The fee includes a buffet meal every day. Residents undergo a physical before admission; the practice ensures no one with infectious diseases is admitted.

There are many takers for modern elderly care services in China. Demand outstrips supply. So, the government has amended regulations to allow the private sector to set up profit-oriented businesses in elderly care. Small wonder, foreign investors are lining up to back a range of projects in this segment.

Already, 29 provinces and autonomous regions have decided to open up their eldercare markets. And 26 of them have proposed foreign investment in the segment.

In fact, in January, China's Taikang Community, a privately held company, teamed up with French senior-care company Orpea, to set up a joint venture on the Chinese mainland.

According to their strategic partnership, the two entities will cooperate and explore the market for urban-type nursing homes and rehabilitation centers in China.

Orpea will provide its advanced care techniques as well as bring standards and processes. For its part, Taikang will integrate its resources in clients, insurance products and healthcare. Both parties aim at building a high-quality brand in China's pensioner care services.

"Our cooperation (with Taikang) is expected to inject new vitality into the Chinese senior-care industry," says Gao Tianli, president of Orpea's China unit.

Elsewhere, various government departments concerned are researching the sector intensively and holding seminars.

Administrative procedures are being simplified to expedite private investment in the sector. At the same time, state institutions in elderly care are being reformed and modernized.

That's not all. The government says it will improve the policy on financial support for elderly care projects. This is expected to increase investment as well as financing channels, and better coordinate planning for balanced urban-rural distribution of projects and judicious land use.

The net result of all these measures could be not only that supply of elderly care services will rise to meet demand, but the quality of the industry will likely improve, market insiders say.

According to a recent report by market research company ASKCI Consulting, state institutions outnumber private-sector services in China's eldercare market. The demand-supply gap has been widening, especially in terms of beds.

In 2016, there were 28,500 nursing homes for the elderly in China offering 7.8 million beds. In other words, for every 1,000 elderly people, there were only around 34 beds available, a far cry from the situation in developed countries.

Even though the number of homes for the elderly will surpass 30,000 this year, the potential for future growth remains huge, experts say.

Li Chang'an, a professor with the School of Public Administration of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing says: "The introduction of foreign investment can make up for the capital shortage. Although the country has always been actively raising funds for the eldercare industry, the funding gap is still huge. The entry of foreign capital will help increase supply.

"In addition, through the introduction of foreign capital, the quality of the nation's eldercare services can be raised. We can learn from advanced management, expertise, service concepts and technologies of foreign companies in the sector to improve the service quality in China."

He says many foreign institutions appear to target pensioners in the medium to high-end consumption groups in China. Although services in these segments tend to be costlier and the number of target consumers relatively limited, the expected entry of foreign companies will likely meet the increasingly diverse needs, Li says.

Ren Yuan, a professor at the School of Social Development and Public Policy of Fudan University, says: "Now is the best time for foreign capital to enter the market for Chinese pensioners. The competition will only get fiercer from now on."

Song Nan contributed to this story.

zhengyiran@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page28)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334838 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 24)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334838.htm

 

A visitor gets a manicure during the China International Nail Expo in Beijing on Nov 26. According to the organizers of the exhibition, the manicure market in China is worth around 120 billion yuan ($17.3 billion; 15.2 billion euros; £13.4 billion). Zou Hong / China Daily

FTZ buoys imports, exports in Shanghai

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone accounted for 42.9 percent of the total imports and exports in the municipality during the first 10 months of the year, local authorities said. According to Shanghai Customs, more than 19,000 new enterprises have been registered since the FTZ was set up five years ago, bringing the total number to 28,000. The total import and export volume in the first 10 months of 2018 in the Shanghai FTZ stood at 1.21 trillion yuan ($174 billion; 152 billion euros; £136 billion), up by 5.8 percent from a year ago.

Wanhua to set up chemical plant in US

Wanhua Chemical Group will invest $1.25 billion to develop a methylene diphenyl diisocyanate complex in the southern US state of Louisiana. Wanhua has selected Convent in Louisiana's St. James Parish for its new MDI plant, according to a company statement. The project is set to start construction in 2019 and be operational by 2021.

CBN to be new player in 5G sector

China's multibillion-dollar 5G market is shifting from a trio game to a four-player battleground, after the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology allowed China Broadcasting Network Ltd to engage in the construction of a network for the fifth-generation mobile communication technology. The ministry confirmed on Nov 28 that it has green-lighted CBN to build 5G networks, which will allow it to grab a spot in a market long dominated by the nation's big three mobile carriers - China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. Sources close to the ministry said. CBN, the builder and operator of China's cable TV network, is officially applying for a 5G license and the company has an inherent advantage in 5G, given its abundant spectrum resources.

China, Uganda seek to boost economic ties

A group of 30 Chinese entrepreneurs concluded on Nov 28 their three-day trip to Uganda to look for business opportunities. Uganda has held several Chinese investment forums with the aim of convincing the Asian country that it is among the best investment destinations in Africa. The Uganda Investment Authority, a state agency charged with investment promotion, said on Nov 27 that its 2016-21 strategic plan emphasizes collaboration with China in the development of industrial parks and the setting up of science, technology and innovation parks.

Rules on foreign banks to be revised

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission unveiled a draft instrument on Nov 28 on the regulation of foreign banks to solicit public opinions. The revision on the detailed rules for regulating foreign banks aims to expand the opening-up of the banking industry, enhance the competitiveness of banks, increase the risk-prevention capabilities of foreign banks and beef up the protection of financial consumers' rights and interests, a CBIRC statement said. A total of 18 items have been modified, including the calculation of working capital appropriated by foreign banks to their branch banks in China and the application of a reporting system when business branches of a foreign-funded bank conduct the business of agency marketing, agency distribution, proxy cashing and government bonds underwriting. The revision also touches on some business requirements. For instance, the branch banks of a foreign bank that has also set up wholly owned foreign banks or joint-venture banks in China can only engage in wholesale business.

Policy to allow more cross-border e-commerce

China will soon release details of a new policy on allowing more cross-border e-commerce purchases, Economic Information Daily has reported. More than 60 categories of products will be added to the list of duty-free goods via cross-border e-commerce platforms, covering more high-demand consumer goods such as electronics, small home appliances, food and healthcare products, according to the newspaper. Goods on the list have so far enjoyed zero tariffs within a set quota and had their import VAT and consumer tax collected at 70 percent of the statutory taxable amount. Beginning on Jan 1, the annual quota on cross-border e-commerce purchases for individual buyers will rise to 26,000 yuan ($3,740; 3,290 euros;��2,930) from 20,000 yuan, according to a meeting of the State Council held in November. The tax-free limits on single transactions will increase to 5,000 yuan from 2,000. The new policy will be applied to cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in another 22 cities including Beijing, Nanjing and Shenyang.

Huawei opens new research center in France

Chinese tech giant Huawei opened a new research and development center in France in a bid "to support companies in their digital transformation project", it announced in a statement on Nov 28. Located in Grenoble, southeastern France, Huawei's fifth R&D Center "will bring together up to 30 researchers by 2020 working on topics related to sensors and software", it said. According to Huawei, the center was "a positive result" of three years of scientific cooperation with ST Microelectronics, its first French technology partner. Weiliang Shi, Huawei France's general director, said: "For us, this means constant investments in favor of innovation and daily commitment to the French economic fabric. We are proud to contribute to the digital ecosystem in France."

Didi 'hitch' service suspended

The Ministry of Transport said on Nov 28 that the "hitch" service of Didi Chuxing, China's largest mobile ride-hailing platform, would remain offline until safety hazards are corrected. The requirement came after an in-house joint inspection by 10 departments in September of eight major players in the ride-hailing industry, including Didi, for safety loopholes and problems concerning the safety of passengers. The inspectors found several safety risks in the hitch service, including the risks of leaking passenger private information and irregular operations of fund clearing, the MOT told a media briefing. The inspection group also found illegal operations of Didi's mobile ride-hailing service, since a large number of autos in use and drivers employed by the company were unqualified. "Didi's management loopholes were also exposed in the inspection, such as inadequate assessment of drivers' professional qualification and background information, posing a threat to public safety," the ministry said. Besides suspending the hitch service, the inspectors also called for punishment of Didi executives by local administrators and required the company to stop illegal advertisements.

Banks set up wealth management units

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, both among China's largest lenders, said on Nov 26 that they would establish subsidiaries focusing on the wealth management business. The wealth management subsidiary of ICBC will be established with registered capital of 16 billion yuan ($2.3 billion; 2 billion euros; £1.7 billion), while ABC's will have registered capital of 12 billion yuan, the two companies said in separate statements to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page24)

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2018-11-30 08:05:19
37334835 <![CDATA[Rock steady beat]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334835.htm Three decades later, China's godfather of rock 'n' roll is still on the road

When Cui Jian stepped onto the stage to perform at a concert at Beijing Workers' Stadium in 1986, few Chinese knew what rock 'n' roll was.

At the packed venue, Cui, then 25, performed his original song Nothing to My Name.

That song opened a chapter in China's rock music story and marked the start of a journey that would eventually make Cui the country's godfather of rock 'n' roll.

 

Cui Jian, Chinese rock 'n 'roll singer, gives many performances worldwide each year. Photos by Song Xiaohui / China Daily

 

From left: Cui Jian's bandmates, Liu Yuan (saxophone), Eddie (lead guitar), Liu Yue (bass), Lu Chao (drums) and Zhou Xia (keyboards).

Now, more than 30 years later, the 57-year-old Cui, wearing his trademark white cap with a red star on it, is still on the road.

On Dec 6 and 7, he will perform two shows along with his bandmates at Blue Note Beijing, the first Chinese branch of the Blue Note Jazz Club, the famous New York establishment.

Unlike his shows at stadiums, theaters and outdoor music festivals across the country, which attract tens of thousands of people, Cui will offer an intimate live performance experience for his fans and perform his songs with new jazz arrangements.

"We give many performances worldwide each year, and we want to do something different every year," says Cui. "The two shows at Blue Note Beijing will have different repertoires. I don't plan to perform some of my best-known hits, like Nothing to My Name, Greenhouse Girl, False Monk and Rock 'n' Roll on the New Long March. But maybe I will perform the songs if the audience requests them. I don't know yet."

One of the songs he is going to perform, however, is Another Space, which was featured on his 1998 album The Power of the Powerless.

Cui rarely performs it because the song, which combines electronic music and rock, is demanding and the song is heavy and philosophical.

"During the rehearsals, we rearranged the song by taking off electronic music elements, which gave the song a different dimension," says Cui. "I am looking forward to sharing it with the audience."

The Blue Note was founded in 1981 by Danny Bensusan in New York's Greenwich Village. Many legendary jazz musicians, including Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock, have performed on the Blue Note stage.

Ever since Blue Note Beijing opened in the summer of 2016, Cui has watched shows there, including some of the biggest jazz names in the world.

"I am a big jazz music fan and some of my band members are jazz musicians.

"I am open to different music genres because each of them gives me unique energy," says Cui, adding how music from South Africa and Latin American has inspired him.

His longtime band members include saxophonist Liu Yuan and bassist Liu Yue.

Speaking about the shows, Cui says: "Rock, jazz and classical music, these three different music genres have influenced me. And I am excited to see how these music elements merge onstage and, most important, I want to see the reaction of the audience."

Commenting on Cui, Wu Jiajia, in charge of the performances by Chinese entertainers at Blue Note Beijing, says: "Cui has been pushing boundaries for a while now. For example, he performed with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and, this time, the audience will enjoy some of his rarely performed songs with fresh twists."

Cui, who was born to a musician father and a dancer mother, is a classically trained singer-songwriter who joined the Beijing Symphony Orchestra as a trumpet player in 1981, where he started to learn the guitar and formed a band with other classically trained musicians.

Speaking about his life, Cui says: "I am lucky to be born into a family of artists.

"My parents' friends are all artists. So I talked to them, learned with them and I wanted to live a life like them. There was no other job than being a musician that was good enough for me," he says.

Cui has also starred in movies such as The Sun Also Rises (2007), directed by award-winning filmmaker Jiang Wen. And he made his directorial debut in 2013 with Blue Sky Bones, which features his own music.

Cui's last album, Frozen Light, was released in 2015. Regarded as his musical comeback, and 10 years after his album, Show Your Color, it explores the theme of light, darkness and space with tracks such as Fish and Bird, Outside Girl and Cool Melon Tree.

Speaking about his work, Cui says: "I am not a productive musician. That's because for each song I write, I want to find the most accurate lyrics and melodies to express myself."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page21)

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2018-11-30 08:04:54
37334834 <![CDATA[Love and loathing from the footnotes of history]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334834.htm

Few artifacts from the Sogdians have been found, but those that have been offer insights into their role in the ancient world

"Of all the more than 60 stone tablets unearthed in Luoyang and bearing the epitaph for their Sogdian owners, only one was discovered during official excavation," says Mao Yangguang, a professor of history at Luoyang Normal University.

For the past decade, Mao has been reading between those inscribed lines, hoping to garner more clues about a people who once controlled a crucial part of international trade but have become mere footnotes of history.

"The tomb-raiding once rampant in this part of the country has left little for us, but this particular one, which was intact upon its excavation by archaeologists, is of special importance," Mao says.

"This is because the tomb owner, a man named An Pu, was no ordinary trader like most of his contemporary Sogdians, but a general who once fought to defend the borders of the Tang Empire (619-907)."

An Pu's grandfather, who went by the name An Xili, was the tribal leader of a small Sogdian kingdom northwest of the Chinese empire, Mao says.

"Around 630 An Pu and his father, whose name we have no way of knowing, reneged on their nomadic overlord and submitted to Tang. Appearing in the pages of history as something of a war god, An Pu proved invincible on the battleground and was made a general by the Tang court."

The Sogdian general died in 664, age 64, and was later inhumed with his wife, who outlived him by 40 years. The burial ground was constructed by An Jinzang, An Pu's son, who, instead of leading a horseback life of his own, became a court musician.

"Between them the three generations of Sogdians witnessed the height of Tang, to which their own lives provided the most titillating annotations," Mao says.

"The love-hate relationship they had with the Chinese empire was characterized by mutual courtship and the occasional pang."

In an article written for the catalog of a Silk Road exhibition at the Henan Provincial Museum, Sun Ji, a Chinese historian, cited a Tang Dynasty travelogue in which the Sogdians were described as "shrewd, cunning and reckless".

Given that the Sogdians were first and foremost businessmen, this assessment may not be entirely groundless. However, local Chinese also found the Sogdian practice of consanguineous marriage deeply disturbing, Sun says. (It is true that until the early 20th century, it was perfectly normal for a Chinese to marry his or her cousin. But if the writings between the sixth and the eighth centuries are to be believed, it was acceptable for a Sogdian to marry his blood sister or even mother.)

Adding to this were the Sogdians' unconventional funerary traditions, which involved having the remains of the dead eaten by dogs. (Similar practices can be found in what is known as the "sky burial" of the Tibetans, whereby a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop to decompose or to be eaten by scavenging animals, mostly carrion birds. But if there is any concrete connection between the two, it has yet to be established.)

Consequently, although during the Tang era, especially its first half, the Sogdians had a prominent place in the life of the local Chinese, marriages between the two people were rare.

Personal sphere aside, this tinted view did little to prevent the Sogdians from making inroads into almost all other aspects of Chinese society, thanks in equal part to their great adaptability and the many skills they had acquired by tradition or by learning.

One of these was what seemed to be their natural prowess in dance and music, which largely explains the popularity of Sogdian servants among the wealthy elite of Tang. (Some of them were men of magic, as a pottery figurine unearthed in Gansu province, in northwestern China, clearly indicates. With both hands hidden behind his back, the man, whose high-bridged nose and thick beard revealed him as a Sogdian, was in the middle of playing finger tricks.)

Images of Sogdian musicians and dancers, rendered mostly as pottery figurines or on murals, abound in Tang Dynasty tombs, testifying to a willingness of the local Chinese to be entertained by the same people in their afterlife.

Some were also chiseled onto the gilt surface of various metal wares that bore the unmistakable influences of West Asia, influences brought by the Sogdians themselves and representing a more profound aspect of Silk Road exchanges.

In other cases the likeness of a Sogdian served unlikely functions in a rather amusing way, for example as a pottery granary stopper or a box lid.

Rong Xinjiang, a professor of history at Peking University, says many Sogdian men served as metalsmiths in the imperial workshops of Tang. But rather sadly, very little of their craftsmanship was later passed down to their Chinese counterparts, a fact that some historians believe was partly due to Chinese society's deeply entrenched bias against artisans. They were viewed as lesser mortals compared with the literati. So there was little effort in Chinese history to record and preserve what they were doing.

Between the fourth and 10th centuries, the Sogdian dominance of the Silk Road in effect turned their Eastern Iranian language into a lingua franca of Asian trade. On the other hand, their role as middlemen had given them a unique linguistic edge from a relatively young age; most Sogdian merchants were proficient in more than one tongue.

As a result, many well-educated members of the group were recruited by the Tang court as official interpreters. There were also others who converted to Buddhism and were active in translating religious scriptures.

"In retrospect, this latter engagement spared the ancient Sogdian language - at least its written form - the fate of total extinction," Rong says. "By comparing the original scripture with the Sogdian translation, historians have been able to decipher a large part of the archaic tongue."

One place where these precious documents used to be housed, Rong says, is in the Dunhuang Grottoes in northwestern China, whose 500 or so caves are treasure troves of Buddhist art. The Sogdian translations have been found in one particular cave, where the dry desert climate combined with a lack of oxygen have contributed to their remaining relatively intact.

"In fact, the Sogdians played a major role in religious transmission along the Silk Road, a role often overlooked," Rong says. "They helped to bring to China the Buddhist religion, which reached its height during the Tang time, and in this process themselves converted, from their original belief of Zoroastrianism."

Archaeological discoveries provide evidence of the conversion. Unearthed in the Buddhist shrine in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, is a clay head sculpture of a Sogdian gongyangren, or donor. Bearing in mind the wealth they accumulated in trade, it is not surprising that some of that wealth was offered up to temples of worship.

Another example involves a gilt bronze rendition of a Sogdian performer, leaping and twirling on top of an inverted lotus flower. The dance is purely Sogdian, but the flower, on which Avalokitasvara, or the Goddess of Mercy, is often seated, is commonly viewed as a symbol of Buddhism. (It should be noted that there were also Sogdians who took up Christianity and, as the earliest Christian believers in China, helped to disseminate their religious message in their adopted home.)

Changes took place not only in the religious sphere, Rong says.

"The two-way influence between the Sogdians and the local Chinese is encompassing to say the least. And there's no better place to observe this than the inside of their burial chambers.

"So far, no pre-fifth century Sogdian tombs have been discovered, for clear reasons: people at the time still preferred the aforementioned organic way of dealing with their bodies, a practice closely related to Zoroastrianism. However, stone-inscribed epitaphs for Sogdians started to appear in China around the late sixth century, a telltale sign of their gradual cultural conversion."

Mao of Luoyang Normal University says that almost all Sogdian tombs discovered in Luoyang have stone epitaphs - the wooden coffins have long rotted and been reduced to traces on the ground.

"Some epitaphs are dedicated simultaneously to the husband and wife."

Sogdian elements were introduced into the final resting place of their contemporary Chinese, not only in the forms of ceramic sculptures and murals.

"The Sogdians were cast not only as servants and entertainers, but also as retinues and protectors," Mao says, referring to a clay sculpture that used to guard the entrance to a Tang Dynasty tomb in Xi'an.

The tomb guards, indispensable for ancient Chinese burial grounds, usually took their images from ferocious animals, real or mythical. But this particular one has the pricked ears of a horse, the spiky wings of a unicorn, the stout legs of a lion and the fierce face of a Sogdian man.

We should not be surprised, says Sun Ji, a Chinese historian.

"Long under the rule of Xiongnu, the Sogdians themselves, although vulnerable in a way, also developed a tough side."

Needless to say, the long journey they took, often under unpredictable circumstances, also helped to inject a dose of hardiness into the Sogdian blood.

Thus came another profession of the Sogdians: to serve as mercenary soldiers among foreign troops, including that of Tang. And with the deepened influence that the Sogdians exerted over the Chinese empire in the seventh and eighth centuries, their presence in the Tang army took on a new dimension during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (685-762).

"That was when, after nearly a century after the founding of Tang in 618, the fighting capacity of its troops had greatly dwindled," Sun wrote in an article. "At some point it was suggested to the emperor that the introduction of Sogdians as not only ordinary soldiers but also generals might provide a solution."

The emperor took the advice, and a couple of decades after the death of An Pu his men were enjoying a higher political profile.

Among them was An Lushan, no relation to An Pu, a Sogdian general stationed in what is today northeastern China. Having won the total trust of Emperor Xuanzong and his beloved concubine Yang Yuhuan, An Lushan, who was given more military power than any of his Sogdian predecessors, rebelled. One direct result was Xuanzong's fleeing from his royal palaces in Xi'an, palaces later sacked by the rebel troops. Another was the forced suicide of Yang during their escape, by angry soldiers who accused her of having fostered nepotism and misled the emperor.

The rebellions - another erupted soon after - were not completely put down until 763. Part of the blame was placed on the Sogdians, whose signature leaps and twirls, once part of Tang's dance routines, were now viewed as a deluding force.

This was not totally unjustified. An Lushan, a good dancer despite his plumpness, was believed to have first swirled himself into the favor of Yang Yuhuan, herself well-versed in dance and music. Meanwhile, Emperor Xuanzong, the self-proclaimed king of music, had taken under his personal tutelage more than a few Sogdian artists.

Forever gone was all the confidence and optimism associated with a golden era in Chinese history, and an openness that was a byproduct of that confidence.

At one time the Sogdians, after staying in China for more than three years, could officially register as Tang citizens. Some became court officials, their elevated status mirrored by the resplendent funerary objects filling their tombs.

However, not everyone was affected, Mao says.

"By the time people changed their attitude, many Sogdians had been living in China for so long - some were second- or even third-generation immigrants - that they had long stopped feeling like foreigners. The backlash sent little ripples across the local Sogdian community, although trade along the Silk Road did wane."

An Pu and his son An Jinzang were lucky enough to not have to live through all this. The son, a court musician who served the crown prince during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian (624-705), the only female monarch in Chinese history, earned himself a page in the annals of Tang through a rare act of loyalty.

According to historical record, the empress, after receiving a secret report that her son, the crown prince, was plotting against her, ordered an investigation. All who were close to the prince were thrown into torture chambers where confessions were extracted

An Jinzang was not immune. But he did not flinch. Instead, he cut his own abdomen with a knife, shouting to his investigator: "Let my heart prove what my words cannot."

However, he did not die. The empress, deeply shocked, ordered prompt treatment for him and the immediate closure of the case.

The crown prince later became emperor and was succeeded by his son, Emperor Xuanzong, during whose reign the rebellions took place. An Jinzang, for his part, lived a long life and died in 731, having been made a nobleman by the grateful father and son.

"His story reads more like a martyr than a merchant or mercenary," Mao says.

zhaoxu@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page18)

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2018-11-30 08:04:54
37334833 <![CDATA[Chengdu's all-day snacks]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334833.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

Sichuan cuisine is known for its mala quality, a numbing spiciness that comes from the prolific use of its famous peppercorns. But Sichuan food is not just about heat. It includes a much broader spectrum of flavors, and this is best showcased by its vast variety of street snacks.

In Chengdu alone, you can be eating street food from morning till midnight, and you'd have just skimmed the surface of the available choices.

 

Chengdu loves a good skewer of meat or vegetables, which they call chuanchuan (above); Zhongshuijiao (above right) are dumplings served in hot oil. Photos Provided to China Daily

Let's take a trip, which begins with a leisurely cup of tea in the park, where pavilions and booths selling hot tea are a common sight. A lidded bowl of tea here is a morning ritual, and you sip it slowly, catching up on the day's news with a newspaper, or settling down as a friendly old man cleans your ears for a small fee.

He uses a bamboo sliver with a scooped edge, so tiny it looks like a caviar spoon. He would methodically clean your ears, and then brush it clean with another bamboo stick, this time tipped with a tiny clump of downy feathers.

Hot tea and ear-cleaning services - an odd but irresistible combination.

Now that you can hear perfectly, it's time to sally forth in search of breakfast.

Start with a bowl of soft, savory bean curd. The tender, custardlike curds are topped with pickled vegetables for a bit of crunch and then drizzled with hot oil.

Those with a sweet tooth can choose to eat their curds sweet, with a ladleful of brown sugar syrup. The curds are beloved in Sichuan, where they call it bean curd flower.

Or breakfast can be a bowl of noodles, if you can decide which variety you prefer.

There are the famous dan-dan noodles with savory meat sauce, little bowl noodles with tailor-made condiments that include sesame paste, soy, chili oil, herbs and Sichuan peppercorns, or the "sweet-water" noodles that are served with a sugary but spicy hot bean paste.

Chengdu folks have a fondness for innards, and a popular choice any time of the day is noodles served with chunks of large intestines doused with chili oil to help mask the gaminess.

Dumplings are also popular in Chengdu, and there are two or three very famous choices.

Hongyou chaoshou are large wanton dumplings served in a vinegary sauce spiced up with chili and Sichuan peppercorns. Named after the bright red sauce, these soft-skinned dumplings are fiery favorites.

Zhongshuijiao are also dumplings served in hot oil, but they're shaped differently.

Apart from noodles and dumplings, Chengdu loves a good skewer of meat or vegetables. They call these chuan-chuan.

Bamboo sticks are used to string up all sorts of ingredients and cooked in a spicy broth. These are then piled into a large basin and placed on the table. Diners pick out their favorites and then pay for what they eat.

There is also something called maocai, which is a selection of food such as fish, prawns, pork, beef, chicken or mutton cut up in slices or pieces. You choose your meat and add vegetables or tofu. The platter is then handed over to the cook, who then cooks up everything the way you want it, with the seasoning you prefer.

This stir-fry special is a city favorite for lunch, dinner or late night supper. At the same stall, you can often find another interesting off-cut - deep-fried nuggets of brain.

The brain has to be carefully cleansed of any blood vessels. It is blanched to firm it up and then coated in a crispy seasoned batter before being cooked in hot oil. For those who dare, the result is a crisp crunch at first bite, followed by the custardlike texture of the brains.

Those with a taste for the even more exotic can try another Chengdu specialty, spicy rabbit heads.

These skeletal tidbits are a favorite street-side snack, although it is a bit disconcerting to see pretty Sichuan lasses munching happily on a rabbit skull spotted with chili flakes.

Compared with this, the next Chengdu dish is positively tame. Granny's pig trotters are pig's feet cooked till they are fall-apart tender. They come in a thick soup, but you eat them dipped into spicy chili oil - what else?

Sometimes, the name intrigues more than the dish. "Lung slices by husband and wife" is one. It is a delicious stir-fry using beef, tongue, heart, tripe and intestines and the only organ it does not include is lung.

Still, misnomer or not, it remains one of the most popular dishes on the streets.

After the skewers and meats, Chengdu foodies love their desserts.

Glutinous rice balls are cooked in boiling syrup till they turn golden brown. They are then drained and cooled until a brittle sugar crust forms. Hongtang guozi, or brown sugar rice balls, are then sold skewered onto bamboo sticks.

They must be eaten hot, so the sugar crust crackles in the mouth, exposing the soft, hot glutinous centers.

Another dessert that Chengdu children of all ages love is something called three cannonballs, also made of glutinous rice flour.

Cooked rice flour balls are bounced onto a dough board where cymbals are placed. The balls hit the cymbals before ricocheting into a basin full of toasted soy bean flour.

Customers buy these snacks more for the acrobatic skills of the vendor than the actual dumpling, but that's where the fun lies.

The candy artist also sells his skills and delights in exhibiting them. Using a special funnel, he draws with heated caramel and artfully turns out flowers, butterflies or even dragons as his customers watch.

As the caramel hardens, the candy becomes edible art.

And finally, there are the jellies.

Wobbly cakes made from bean pastes and starches are eaten with sweet or spicy sauces. Collectively known as liangfen or cool cakes, the plain white cakes are made of potato starch, and the yellow cakes from mung beans.

There is also a transparent jelly made from fig sap known as bing liangfen or iced jelly. These are served cold with brown sugar syrup.

These are just some of Chengdu's street snacks. To fully savor the whole range, you'd have to get an airplane ticket and plan for a very long, very delicious holiday.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page20)

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2018-11-30 08:04:54
37334832 <![CDATA[The man who helped design China's urban landscape]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334832.htm Since meeting with Deng Xiaoping in 1978, Singaporean has helped plan nearly 50 cities nationwide

He is best known as Singapore's "father of city planning", but Liu Thai Ker can also boast of having a hand in shaping the urban landscape in China.

You could say it started in 1978, when Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore.

"I was asked to take care of him as I could speak Mandarin well," recalls Liu, the chairman of Morrow Architects & Planners, who served as chief planner and CEO of Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority from 1989 to 1992.

 

A model of the Fujian-Singapore Friendship Medical Service Center, designed by Liu Thai Ker, is unveiled in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Aug 8, 2009. The center was opened in 2011. Yang Fushan / China News Service

Deng was taken to the rooftop of the Ministry of National Development building, where Liu explained Singapore's urban planning.

"I like to think that partly because of that, when Deng went back to China a few months later, he made the announcement (that China would learn) urban planning from Singapore," Liu, 80, says.

Back then, Liu was a junior staff member at the Housing and Development Board of Singapore, where he rose to become chief architect and CEO.

"I was an ignorant young man, but I knew that Deng was a very important reformer for China," he says. "He was very down-to-earth with no airs. He asked pointed, practical questions. I was very comfortable briefing him. He made a very good impression."

A year later, Liu made his first visit to China, where he made stops in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, and had the chance to see the country at the start of reform and opening-up.

"I saw the historic parts of Beijing, with a lot of siheyuan," he says, referring to the capital's traditional courtyard homes. "Unfortunately, most of them are gone already.

"In those days, people in the street wore either black or blue colors. They were very drab-looking, and yet the historic buildings were so beautiful."

It wasn't until the early 1980s that Liu received his first commission to plan a city in China - Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province - through the Singapore government.

His experience on the topic stems from planning new towns for Singapore, each capable of accommodating about 200,000 people. By the end of his 20-year HDB career in 1989, he had created 23 new towns, including public housing and complementary facilities and amenities for their residents, such as playgrounds for the children and community centers for recreational activities.

"When I did the planning at HDB, I also planned the surroundings to protect the neighborhoods," Liu says. "This meant I would have to keep updated on the urban plan of Singapore. By extension, I had no problems planning a city."

A lot of convincing

That the city in question was Fuzhou was probably no coincidence. The ethnic Chinese living in Singapore mostly had roots in southern Chinese provinces like Guangdong and Fujian.

"It was probably to encourage them to invest in China, too," Liu says.

On a more personal note, Liu's mother hailed from Fuzhou, which further compelled him to take up the commission.

"As a child, I heard a lot of stories about the city, so I was comfortable," he says. "For example, Fuzhou has the nicknames of Rongcheng (banyan tree city) and Sanshan (three hills). In fact, I went to Sanshan Primary School, established by the Fuzhou people living in Singapore."

One of the first things he did in Fuzhou was to look for the three hills. When he could not find them, he realized it was because there were no roads leading to the hills and they were obstructed by buildings.

"I created roads around the hills so they can be seen more easily," he says.

Another cause he championed was the preservation of the city's historical buildings. The most famous area is Sanfangqixiang (three lanes, seven alleys), which had been home to the literati, government officials and the wealthy upper class. However, rather than preserve the area, the local authorities were determined to raze it to the ground.

"Those were beautiful buildings with unique styles that you don't see elsewhere in China," Liu says. "It took a lot of convincing not to demolish them."

He found himself repeating the same arguments when it came to the Minjiang River that runs through the city. Although it was filled with sewage, Liu could see its potential.

"They protested, but I forced them to select a site to put a sewage treatment plant to treat the sewage so the river would become clean," he says.

In the early 1990s, toward the end of Liu's work on the Fuzhou master plan, Xi Jinping, now president of China, was appointed Party secretary of Fuzhou.

Liu met with Xi to brief him on his plans for the city. Later, he was asked to design the Fuzhou Changle International Airport. "I said no because I had never planned an airport," Liu recalls.

A few months later, Xi visited Singapore and asked to see Liu privately, and again he broached the subject. "He said he appreciated two things about me: First, the timely delivery of the Fuzhou master plan, and second, its good quality."

Xi said if Liu could do that, then he was confident Liu could do the same for the airport. In the end, Liu accepted and had the Changi Airport Group help out.

An important learning point was not to underestimate the rate of urbanization in China. While Liu consciously planned for the long-term growth of the city, it developed much faster than anticipated.

"The change of China is really dramatic," he says. "In those days, when I planned the area, I thought it would last a long time. But actually the rate of urbanization has moved much faster than that."

Last year, the Fuzhou government knocked on his door again to ask him to plan greater Fuzhou, which will stretch all the way to the coast. He is now working on the master plan.

Back in the '80s, before he finished planning Fuzhou, Liu received his second commission - for Xiamen Island, also in Fujian. Again, the thirst for progress drove the authorities to want to pull down historic buildings to replace them with skyscrapers.

Liu says: "I told them if you insist on pulling down these buildings, it's like throwing the gold mine of tourism into the sea. Do you really want to do that?"

Today, visitors to Xiamen Island can see a neighborhood of heritage shophouses that Liu saved from demolition. They can also make a stop at Yuandang Lake, which Liu says was a "cesspit of sewage" when he first visited.

The authorities had insisted on breaking the dam that divided the lake and the sea, and let the water flow out.

"I told them it was one of the highlights of the city and that they were not allowed to," Liu says. "One day in a meeting, I sat down and said I'm not going to dismiss the meeting until we find the solution for a sewage treatment plant to treat the lake - so we talked until we did."

For many years now, Xiamen Island has been rated one of the most livable areas in China, Liu says with pride.

"Old habits die hard," he says. "You needed to give a lot of explanations to convince them. But I sensed they were all patriotic about rebuilding China, so if you told them it would be good for the city, at the end, they would accept."

Another noteworthy project was the master plan for Ningbo, Zhejiang province, which Liu did after he left the Singapore civil service to join RSP Architects Planners and Engineers as senior director.

To show just how important the project was to the Singapore government, the city-state's founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, joined in the final presentation of the concept to the Ningbo authorities.

Liu remembers wanting to plan the area around the port.

"It took me three and a half hours to drive there," he says. "Ten years later, when I returned to the city and asked them to show it to me, it took me 35 minutes to drive to the port. That's the power of planning."

Architectural history

A more recent project is one in Xi'an that was approved in 2016. It is a master plan for a new central business district that will connect the capital of northwestern China's Shaanxi province with Xianyang, a neighboring historic city to the west.

Integral to the plan is a line linking the central business district to a site dating back to the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557-581).

Rather than ignore such an ancient site, Liu included a pedestrian walkway along the line that will be paved with contemporary buildings designed in architectural styles progressing from the Northern Zhou Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

"When you walk along this line, you walk through China's architectural history," he says.

Liu has planned close to 50 cities in China over almost 35 years. More are in the pipeline, in places such as Qingdao, Yantai and Jinan, all in Shandong province.

Two years ago, he was appointed chief planning adviser to Yunnan province and has been busy working on plans for greater Kunming, Shangri-la and Dali.

He said urbanization in China has become more sophisticated, thanks in part to the Chinese people and their extensive travels. This has inevitably affected the way Liu designs master plans for his Chinese clients.

"I have to provide a greater range of urban facilities to satisfy their needs," he says. "For example, I have to show them more clearly the education plan, such as the location of the universities.

"In the past two to three years, President Xi Jinping has been emphasizing more than before about the importance of the protection of ecological areas. They are also more specific about what they want to use the space in the cities for."

Even as he works, Liu is conscientious about imparting his knowledge of urban planning to Chinese planners. He often uses the analogy of cooking, saying there are three things required to design a good city.

The first is good raw materials. Most cities in China have outstanding ones by way of historic buildings and gifts endowed by Mother Nature.

Second, the recipe must be well-written. Chinese urban planning needs help in this area, which is why he goes there to help them "write the recipe".

Third, good cooking skills are important. This means the implementation of the plan has to be strictly enforced.

"I describe the Singapore urban planning experience used by me as being updated, Asianized, Western planning theory," he says. "While the concept of urban planning originated from the West, it cannot be used wholesale in Asia, since 60 percent of the world's population lives on 30 percent of the world's land area - making it high-density. The demands on urban planning are more complex than before. For example, there are challenges like industrialization, pollution and traffic.

"This approach is not well understood in the West and China, therefore I feel they have not quite reached the level of understanding we take for granted in Singapore."

Still, Liu says he feels other Asian countries have plenty to learn from China.

"In the context of urban planning, China has four strengths," he says. "It has a strong government, so if you have a good idea, it will be implemented. It has total ownership of land. If you want to develop, the most important capital of development is the land. China is economically well off. Whenever there is the need for infrastructure investment, they can afford to do so.

"Finally, there has been a large amount of urbanization in the past four decades. The planners in China are more experienced and sophisticated than in many other places, which have not gone through the same process," Liu says.

Liu often tells his Chinese clients that China, in the near future, will be the best country in the world in terms of its military, economics, culture and science. To complete the list, they must create good cities. "That part is their biggest challenge," he says.

For China Daily

 

Liu Thai Ker talks with local media in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Nov 20, 2013. Zhang Chang / China News Service

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page22)

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2018-11-30 08:04:54
37334828 <![CDATA[Fujian's pilot FTZ seeks trade ties with Taiwan]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334828.htm

The Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone looks forward to building stronger business ties with its neighbor Taiwan and other investors by further facilitating trade, using the negative list and enhancing cooperation in the service industry.

According to the recent announcement by the State Council, China's Cabinet, on deepening FTZ reform, Fujian will further enhance financial cooperation with Taiwan, including in currency clearing and settlement and allowing qualified Taiwan insurance institutions to set up branches in the FTZ.

Since its beginning in 2014, the Fujian FTZ has focused on building strong trade ties with Taiwan.

"After three years of hard work, the Pingtan district has generally implemented the negative list system," says Lin Li, assistant director of the FTZ office in the Pingtan district of the provincial FTZ. A negative list names industries in which investment is limited or restricted.

"The trade supervision system is made to serve trade facilitation and the financial system is made to serve the real economy," Lin says.

Chen Xiangquan, general manager of the Pingtan branch of Taiwan logistics company Wagon, says the facilitation measures have benefited the company.

"Only Pingtan can issue a special business license. What you need to do is to register online, and the registration can be done in a few hours," he says.

Shi Minghao, former chairman of Tradevan, which provides clearance and cross-border electronic transaction services, told local TV news station Xiamen Star: "The capital market in Taiwan started earlier and is mature. If the two sides can work together, there will be potential for a win-win situation. I think that in the services industry, more Taiwan companies will show up in Xiamen."

As of the end of September, the number of companies from Taiwan that had registered in the Fujian FTZ stood at 2,185, bringing a total investment of $6 billion (5.3 billion euros; £4.7 billion).

A cross-border e-commerce industrial park is also a highlight of the Fujian FTZ. According to the Fuzhou Bonded Area, the park is home to a number of established e-commerce companies such as eBay, Alibaba and Cainiao.

In 2017, the area imported 640,700 orders of bonded goods through crossborder e-commerce merchants, up by 136.7 percent year-on-year. The sale of the goods netted 210 million yuan ($30 million; 26 million euros; £23 million), up by 124 percent year-on-year.

renxiaojin@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page15)

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2018-11-30 08:04:37
37334827 <![CDATA[Uproar ensues on gene-editing of babies]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334827.htm

Scientist He Jiankui's claim to have genetically altered twins against HIV has led to global outrage and prompted calls for an investigation

A Chinese scientist's attempt to produce the world's first gene-edited babies immune to HIV has sparked heated controversy among the public and academics.

In an online video posted on Nov 26, He Jiankui, a biological researcher, announced that twin baby girls, Lulu and Nana, born healthy a few weeks ago, were conceived through in vitro fertilization and genetically edited for immunity to HIV infection.

"The mother started her pregnancy by regular IVF with one difference. Right after sending her husband's sperm into her eggs, we also sent in a little bit of protein and instructions for gene surgery," He said in the video sent from Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. "Lulu and Nana were just a single cell when the surgery removed the doorway through which HIV enters to infect people."

He went to Hong Kong to attend the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, a three-day conference on Nov 28. His announcement sparked heated controversy over concerns about medical ethics and effectiveness during the past days.

The Shenzhen Health and Family Planning Commission said on Nov 26 that it had not received any ethical assessment application for the study, which is a prerequisite for such experiments.

The Associated Press reported on Nov 26 that He sought and received approval for his project from the ethics committee of Shenzhen Harmonicare Women's and Children's Hospital, and an approval document from the hospital was circulated online on Nov 26.

However, the Shenzhen commission said the hospital ethics committee's approval was not valid because the hospital did not register the committee with the commission as required.

The commission has started an ethics investigation and will release the results to the public, it said. The hospital would not comment.

Southern University of Science and Technology said on Nov 26 that it was not aware of the research, as He did not report it to the school.

The university said the academic council of its biology department, where He works as an associate professor, thinks that the research seriously violated academic ethics and rules. The university said it would immediately set up an independent investigation team for the matter.

A regulation released in 2016 by the former National Health and Family Planning Commission - now the National Health Commission - requires health institutions to establish ethics committees with authority over biological or medical research involving humans that would have to approve the research.

The commission has told its provincial branch in Guangdong to investigate the matter and handle it according to laws and regulations. The information should be made public in a timely way, it said in an official release.

Bai Hua, head of Baihualin, a nongovernmental organization that promotes the interests of people with HIV/AIDS, says that the parents of the twins were likely to have HIV.

He Jiankui spoke with Bai in April last year, hoping to find people with HIV for the research, Bai says, adding that he spread the news and about 200 showed interest.

"Of the group infected with HIV, many have special conditions such as an inability to conceive naturally, but the reality is that they cannot have babies through IVF in hospitals," he says. "Many of them thought the research gave them a chance to have babies who do not have the risk of getting HIV."

Mixed reactions

When the news broke, more than 120 scholars from prestigious universities and institutes from China and abroad, such as Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, strongly condemned the research in a signed statement, saying it lacks effective ethics oversight and amounts to human experiments.

In the statement published on weibo.com, they said any attempt to change human embryos with genetic editing and allow the birth of such babies entails a high degree of risk due to inaccuracies in existing editing technologies.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says: "Genetic editing technology is far from mature and could have unforeseen consequences for the subjects."

Some researchers are trying to use genetic editing technology to treat people infected with HIV, so the virus will not replicate and be transmitted to others, he says. "Animal experiments should be done to assess gains and risks for the subjects, before the possibility of doing this with humans."

Some scientists in Hong Kong for the summit said they thought it could induce serious problems for a person's immune system, while others think people should not be overly scared because it would not affect the core genome.

Tsui Lap-chee, president of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, says that if one gene is edited, it will affect others that interact with it. And the whole genome, a collection of genes, may also be affected.

Robin Lovell-Badge, head of the Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute, says "gene editing is not something to be scared about", and he doesn't think what He has done will affect a human's core genome. Side effects may not be very serious, he says, as there are millions of healthy people with the exact same mutation.

Zhou Mo in Shenzhen contributed to this story.

Contact the writers at wangxiaodong@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page14)

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2018-11-30 08:04:37
37334826 <![CDATA['New-generation' aircraft carrier being built]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334826.htm China is building its third aircraft carrier, according to a Xinhua News Agency report, the first confirmation of the project.

While the nation's second - and first domestically designed - carrier is undergoing sea trials, a "new-generation carrier" is being constructed at a shipyard on schedule, according to an article published on Nov 25 on Xinhua's WeChat account.

The article, marking the sixth anniversary of the first takeoff and landing by a Chinese fighter on the country's first carrier, the CNS Liaoning, did not elaborate.

Chinese weapons enthusiasts and foreign observers have long said that China had begun to build its third carrier at China State Shipbuilding Corp's Jiangnan Shipyard Group in Shanghai, speculating that it will be bigger and more powerful than the Liaoning and the second carrier, which has yet to be named.

Publicity officers of the People's Liberation Army Navy and China State Shipbuilding declined to comment.

An industry insider with knowledge of China's carrier programs told China Daily on Nov 26, on condition of anonymity, that if everything goes well, construction of the new carrier would take at least five to six years, and if technical issues arise, it could take 10 years or longer.

"We have built 50,000-ton carriers, so it would not be difficult for us to produce an 80,000-or 90,000-ton one if we use techniques, materials and equipment that have been used in the first two carriers," he said.

"However, if engineers decided to adopt a lot of new things on the vessel, it will become very challenging and take more time for construction."

Observers have speculated that the new carrier will use an electromagnetic catapult to launch fixed-wing aircraft. That would give the new vessel much greater combat capability than its two predecessors, which use a ramp to launch jets.

Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Navy, previously said China has a reliable electromagnetic launch system and J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets had conducted "thousands of takeoffs" using the cutting-edge device at an unnamed land base.

zhaolei@chinadaily.com.cn

 

China's second aircraft carrier was launched on April 26, 2017. The Type 001A aircraft carrier is China's first totally domestically made carrier based on research from the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning. Xinhua

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page14)

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2018-11-30 08:04:37
37334825 <![CDATA[More HIV cases seen among foreigners]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334825.htm Control and prevention means better public education; voluntary testing to be promoted

China has reported an increasing number of foreigners with HIV/AIDS entering the country since it lifted a travel ban in 2010, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Nov 23.

The number of reported HIV cases among foreigners seeking to enter China was 660 in 2010, which increased to 1,146 the next year and 2,154 last year, Han Mengjie, director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, under China CDC, said at a news conference.

"With the number of inbound tourists expected to rise continuously in China due to more frequent international exchanges, more foreigners with HIV will be reported in China," he said. "More joint efforts from different departments are needed for control and prevention of HIV for expats in China."

It is important to improve education to promote voluntary testing, so people can get timely treatment if they are infected, Han said.

Before 2010, foreigners had to claim their HIV status when seeking a Chinese visa, and faced deportation if they were HIV-positive.

Han said it has become a universal practice to allow entry of inbound passengers with HIV, with around 143 countries adopting the practice.

A majority of inbound HIV cases reported last year were foreign spouses of Chinese living in Southwest China, but the reported number of foreign students with HIV coming to China has kept rising rapidly - from 13 in 2010 to 100 last year, Han said.

Overall, the total number of newly reported HIV cases in China has been rising every year. Last year, 135,000 new cases were reported, a rise of 8 percent year-on-year, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese CDC.

The major reason for the increase in reported cases is that more tests are being conducted-200 million last year, twice as many as six years ago, he said.

The prevalence of HIV in China is 9 out of every 10,000 people, which is still low compared with many countries including the United States, Russia and India, he said. In the US, the prevalence of HIV is more than three times higher, he said.

Wang Bin, deputy chief for disease control and prevention at the National Health Commission, said 850,000 people were reported living with HIV in China by the end of September, although the total number of people who are believed to be infected in China is estimated at 1.25 million, which means about 30 percent of people with HIV in the country are not aware of their HIV status.

"We face very big challenges to reach the target of getting 90 percent of all HIV cases tested by 2020 so they are aware of their status," she said. "We will improve public education to promote voluntary testing."

wangxiaodong@chinadaily.com.cn

 

An HIV test is conducted at a hospital in Chongqing. Provided to China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page15)

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2018-11-30 08:04:37
37334818 <![CDATA[European SMEs in China can get help]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334818.htm

Center offers support, advice to close the knowledge gap

On a cold December morning in 1995, I arrived in Beijing for the first time. China was growing and becoming a world economic leader, but not too many people knew this or even could predict this. We came to China to pick up our daughter whom we adopted. There and then I fell in love with China and I promised myself that one day I would move to China to live. From 2003 on I started to visit China from a business perspective. During these years and up to 2008, I was involved in bringing wind energy technology into China. With a new business set up here my wife and adopted daughter moved to China in 2008.

In October of this year, I accepted a new challenge to join the EU SME Centre as the director to lead the team to explore new paths for helping European small and medium-sized enterprises with their China businesses. I'm very excited about this new role because it combines my passion for China and my longtime experience in running and supporting SMEs in China.

The EU SME Centre is a European Union initiative with funding from the European Commission to support EU SMEs on their journey to the Chinese market. It is implemented by a consortium of six partners - the China-Britain Business Council, the Benelux Chamber of Commerce, the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce, the French Chamber of Commerce in China, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Eurochambres), and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

Our team of experts provides advice and support in four areas: business development, law, standards and conformity, and human resources. Collaborating with external experts worldwide, the center converts valuable knowledge and experience into practical business tools and services easily accessible online. From first-line advice to in-depth technical solutions, we offer services through "Knowledge Centre", "Advice Centre", "Training Centre", "SME Advocacy Platform" and "Hot-Desks".

With the help of our team, our partners in Europe and China and many experts around the world, we are working very hard to bridge the knowledge gap of the SMEs toward China, provide a comprehensive range of hands-on support services and get them ready to do business in China.

All of our services, including training, publications, advice and advocacy, are aiming for one ultimate purpose - to help European SMEs obtain an unbiased and objective view of the Chinese market. We help them from the very beginning, providing them with all the essential information needed to evaluate if they are ready to enter the Chinese market. It is very crucial to support SMEs in their early stage of internalization because the risk for them is too high. Many of them have small teams with very limited resources, so exploring a new market outside of Europe is a big challenge. This is one of the reasons that only about 20 percent of 20 million SMEs export to countries outside of the EU single market and about 10 percent export to China, according to information from the European Commission.

If some of them make decisions to come as the next step, we provide them with training and advice on what they should do and should not do. For example, we explain to them the common ways of exporting and selling products, services and technologies to China, rules and regulations related to setting up a business in the country, and what to look out for when looking for Chinese business partners.

During the last decade of working in China, I have witnessed many foreign business owners achieve remarkable success, but many failed as well. A lot of those mistakes could be avoided if they were better informed and prepared.

This year we have seen the Chinese government make quite a few significant steps to continue its reform and opening-up and to improve its business environment for foreign companies.

One of the most recent examples was the first China International Import Expo, held in Shanghai in November, which attracted thousands of foreign businesses from all over the world, including many small-business owners who are still curious about China. We were asked by our European partners to support their delegations with training workshops and we could tell that the companies were all very eager to learn more about China's market landscape.

In addition, we are happy to see less restriction for foreign businesses to access the Chinese market, following a shortened negative list released by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce in June. We trust that with this change, those newly opened sectors in China such as automotive, professional service and agriculture could also benefit from the know-how of European SMEs, as many of them are pioneers in their areas and the driving force of innovation in Europe.

We also hear good news in favor of SMEs in general operating in China. For example, the preferential tax treatment for small low-profit enterprises was also expanded. Small businesses with annual taxable income of less than 1 million yuan ($144,000; 127,000 euros;��112,000), instead of 500,000 yuan previously, can benefit from a preferential corporate income tax rate, following the announcement of the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation in July.

Cross-border e-commerce is another area we observe very closely. When the State Council recently announced the extension of the current policy for cross-border e-commerce retail imports after Jan 1, the reaction we received from our partners and European SMEs was quite positive.

Despite those improvements, EU SMEs that take an initial step in the Chinese market should remain prudent, gather all the available information out there, and seek professional help along the way. As a Chinese saying goes, opportunities are there for those who are prepared.

Sadly enough, from our experience, we learned that many times European SMEs run into many habit and culture differences. When doing business in China, SMEs need to learn to have patience, prepare well for the market, protect intellectual property rights and take time to invest in relationships.

China is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is a country with citizens who are hard-working, dedicated and proud. We, together with millions of European SMEs, share the same vision to contribute our efforts to create a prosperous society, not only for businesses, but also for families, communities and our environment. And we do believe that with joint efforts from governments, companies and individuals, we can make it happen.

The author is the director of the EU SME Centre based in Beijing. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page11)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334817 <![CDATA[APEC still has a key role to play]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334817.htm

But Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is making more substantive progress on integration

The 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit was held in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, from Nov 17 to 18.

For a while now, tension has been building in regard to unilateralism versus protectionism, and those forces were in the spotlight at the summit. Under this umbrella, it is important to note that the majority of leaders at the APEC meeting insisted on supporting liberalization of trade and investment as well as open regionalism, and opposing protectionism.

If we look a bit closer, we can see that in the two years the United States has all but ignored multilateral organizations and mechanisms. Trump's absence from this APEC meeting is another sign of his attitude.

The APEC Beijing summit in 2014 clearly stated the aim of establishing a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, and in the following two years, the collective strategy research for the FTAAP was completed. The key issue, however, lies in how to realize all the targets in motion. The working principle of APEC is basically based on trying to achieve common agreement among a membership functioning on free will. So in a group of 21 members, when the system is relatively weak, no wonder it is not easy to push forward the FTAAP.

At this year's APEC meeting, many members voiced their advocacy of free trade and anti-protectionism, and reiterated open regionalism. And many tried to make progress in specific areas including tariff and nontariff measures, investment and so on. From this perspective, the course of APEC is positive and meaningful, but meanwhile there are some restrictions on the model. In terms of regional economic integration, more substantive progress will be seen in mechanisms other than APEC.

In the Asia-Pacific region, that could be the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

There are 16 countries participating in the RCEP, including 10 Association of South-East Asian Nations members and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. After years of negotiations, there is already important progress, and all sides have expressed the will to conclude negotiations before the end of this year.

At present, the 16 countries have completed consultations in seven chapters. Nearly 80 percent of the negotiations have been completed, and breakthroughs have been made in some rules-based chapters.

China holds a very positive view about the RCEP negotiations and is working hard to push forward the conclusion of an agreement by the end of this year, which is consistent with China's deepening of reform and expansion of opening up.

But there are still some barriers to the RCEP negotiations. For example, lowering import tariffs is inevitable for reaching the agreement, but some countries are still against it. But even if the agreement could not be completed within this year, it is still very likely that the agreement will be reached in the near future, which will mark significant progress in the region's economic integration.

Compared with APEC, the RCEP has seen more substantive progress.

That said, APEC still has an opportunity to push forward regional economic integration, such as building the APEC trade value-added database. But progress might be small because it is not easy to coordinate with different economies based on their free will. Moreover, APEC could also play an important role by providing a platform for leaders of member economies to push forward bilateral diplomacy.

The author is professor of international relations and director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy at Fudan University. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page12)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334816 <![CDATA[Robots the next step in consumer leisure]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334816.htm

In the wake of the Singles Day mania on Nov 11, Chinese consumer health has never been stronger. Alibaba alone reached a record-breaking $30.8 billion in e-commerce revenue in the 24-hour shopping event, prompting the question of how industries can continue to please market tastes that are increasingly sophisticated.

The pursuit of ideal living is nothing new for consumers, however. In the West, millennials and tech-savvy aspirational families over the decades have demonstrated the urge to obtain the newest and shiniest products and services. The largest flat-screen TV, smartest fridge or voice-activated artificial intelligence assistant have all been different points of the same race in pursuit of the perfect life.

In China, the same pattern is starting to occur, with the fastest-growing middle class in the world showing a hunger for the latest technology to bless them with a life of ease and perhaps luxury, both inside and outside the house. Consumption of luxury goods and high-class service interactions in the East are at an all-time high, and this demand has spurred innovation to satisfy the masses.

Companies such as Alibaba are rising to this challenge. At the "Ideal Living" expo earlier this year, Alibaba, in conjunction with Shanghai tech startup Ratio, revealed a robotic arm capable of making drinks for customers visiting the hotels and restaurants of the future, without the aid of a human bartender. The robotic arm, surprisingly dexterous, is capable of filling the role of a mixologist or barista, creating classy alcohol and coffee drinks with human-like precision.

The robot at the expo effortlessly produced a litchi cocktail for Alibaba co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma and a latte for Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, awing journalists attending the event, who were keen to be next in line to try out the drinks. Consumers in the future will be able to customize their drinks via their smartphone and allow the robot's AI system to precisely measure the percentage of alcohol or caffeine in each drink.

The boundaries between science fiction and middle-class living in China are increasingly blurred, and at a faster rate than one might expect. Robotic butlers that can bring anything from room service food and toothpaste to spare razors to your hotel room are already operating across China, albeit in a few forward-thinking establishments. At the InterContinental Hotel in Nantong, Jiangsu province, these robots even have names such as "Little I" and "Little C".

The AI algorithms and 3D sensors required to make this happen are no easy feat. Jumps in these Chinese industries and healthy investment have enabled such robots to navigate hotels and take unmanned elevators to their destinations, as well as make phone calls to guests or knock on the door.

The sophistication of these anthropomorphized robots is spreading across the rest of Asia, too. In the Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore, such robot butlers have names such as Jena and Jamie, and are dressed in sleek pink and turquoise tuxedos. They are smart and slick service providers, which also have no requirement to tip (although if you wish to, the robots are equipped with a range of cashless payment options).

"They are more than just gadgets of novelty, but rather reliable resources that are both fun and entertaining for guests", says Wouter de Graaf, the general manager of Sofitel Singapore, which also owns a fleet of silver servants.

The ambition for technology to create such services beyond life's necessities is testament to the effects of innovation in every part of our lives. Such innovation plays a vital role in upgrading the entire way that 1.38 billion people live and, perhaps more important, the way they enjoy that life. Whether it be robot baristas or butlers or any other type of technology, the growing Chinese market demands that day-today moments be made easier and more pleasant. Given the nation's work ethic, it may be about time that the masses were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The author is a London-based columnist.

Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page10)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334815 <![CDATA[Private-sector financing to get needed boost]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334815.htm

Bond market skepticism has made credit access difficult, but new policies can offer turning points

Since the beginning of this year, there have been a series of defaults in the credit debt market. Whether in volume or size, private companies are responsible for more than half of these defaults. Under this circumstance, bond market investors are reluctant to lend money to private companies, and some institutions even try to avoid it. It is not only that it is difficult for private companies to get financing in the bond market, but also from other financial channels.

To be honest, it is not only in China that banks are cautious about lending money to small and medium-sized companies. The difficulty of financing for private companies is common across the world. But China's current situation is still worth pondering, and there are mainly two reasons for this phenomenon.

First, the hidden danger was made apparent a long time ago. In the past decade, China has experienced three rounds of credit expansion and contraction. In the first round of credit expansion, 4 trillion yuan ($575 billion; 509 billion euros; £451 billion) was put into the market as an economic stimulus and a way to deal with the global economic crisis in 2008, giving private companies much credit support. But in the other two rounds, private companies didn't gain much support and also had difficulties in getting financing, like what is happening now.

Second, private companies themselves also have some problems, especially when compared with Stated-owned companies. The decrease in revenue for private companies is faster than that of the SOEs, and the decrease in cost for the private companies is slower than that of the SOEs. Thus, the increase of the profit of the private companies is weaker than that of the SOEs, and has been staying at a low level. The size and growth of interest that private companies are paying are both still higher than SOEs, and are at relatively high levels.

So if we look at the assets to liabilities ratio, there are significant differences between the private companies and the SOEs. Since the launch of supply-side reform in China in 2015, SOEs' leverage ratio has stayed steady and has slightly lowered, but that of the private companies has increased, and almost reached a peak since 2012. Moreover, private companies have more short-term debt than SOEs. In the second quarter of 2018, the net cash flow of private companies reached the lowest point since 2008.

Although the situation is still tough, from the policy side we can see signs that there might be turning points. Since the beginning of this year, monetary easing has been confirmed, and since July, credit easing policies have been put forward. And different from what we saw before, this round of credit easing targets private companies instead of governmental infrastructure projects or the real estate industry. With more high-level signals on boosting the development of private companies being released, relative credit easing policies for private companies will continue coming out.

I think the policies should advocate that bond markets differentiate financing entities from the perspective of whether they are good companies, rather than whether they are private companies or SOEs.

The author is a researcher with the International Monetary Institute of Renmin University of China. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page12)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334814 <![CDATA[AI puts translation at your fingertips]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334814.htm

Tech tools, however, cannot replace the cross-cultural benefits of traditional language learning

Personal language translation apps are advancing at such a pace that it may not be long before we are able to communicate face-to-face with anyone in the world via our mobile phones.

Using developments in artificial intelligence, tech companies are competing to develop systems that could arguably make old-style language learning a thing of the past.

Last year, Google launched new earbuds that the US company claims can translate 40 languages in real time. Last month, China's Baidu announced an AI translation system that it says is smart enough to anticipate what a speaker will say before he or she says it.

How long before the old-style tourist phrase book goes the way of the paper map, already largely replaced among modern travellers by screen-based GPS apps?

How long before the armies of translators who outnumber the delegates in many international forums become redundant?

As the technology develops, it will likely reach the stage where we could theoretically do away with the need to learn each other's languages all together.

It is perfectly possible to lead a happy monolingual life, depending on where we live in the world. People who spends most of their lives in Boston, Birmingham or Beijing have no absolute requirement to learn another language.

In some parts of the world, however, multilingualism is the norm. Many Africans can shift effortlessly between their local language, their regional lingua franca and official languages such as French, English or Portuguese. The same is true in parts of Asia and even Latin America.

It is a talent that has more advantages than drawbacks. The knowledge of a second or third language opens a window on how other societies view the world. It can also reveal previously hidden secrets about how one's own language has evolved. It can also boost your overall brain function, according to some experts and language enthusiasts.

In an era of increasing globalization, it would be logical to think that language-learning is on the rise. That depends largely, however, on where you live. An increasing number of Chinese, as many as 400 million, according to some estimates, are learning English at some level.

In the United States, however, enrollment in language classes is in decline, down 15 percent between 2009 and 2016. It is a similar picture in the United Kingdom, where a drop in interest in learning another language is predicted to be exacerbated by the country's departure from the European Union.

Most people in the US and the UK share both the advantage and disadvantage of having English as their mother tongue, a language now spoken by 1.5 billion people across the globe.

That creates a natural disincentive to learning another language and can even breed a certain arrogant belief that the global language challenge could be solved overnight if only everybody else learned English.

But, even if language learning is, for now, on the wane in the English-speaking world, there are some exceptions. Many aspiring middle class parents now send their tots to Mandarin classes, still barely available in the public system, in recognition of the growing global status of China.

It might be tempting to cut through all these linguistic challenges by embracing the AI solution - why not just let the machines do the talking? But think what we might lose in the process. Ironically, it might actually further isolate global citizens rather than bringing them together. What chances would we give a cross-cultural romance that had to rely on earplugs?

Perhaps the best motive for learning another's language was expressed by Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter and future president who learned Afrikaans, the language of his oppressors, from his prison guards.

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head," Mandela said. "If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

The author is a senior media consultant for China Daily. Contact the writer at editor@mail.chinadailyuk.com

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page10)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334813 <![CDATA[Forget the cynics - financial stability to go on]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334813.htm

Those trying to understand the soundness of the Chinese economy and its financial institutions can be divided into two crucial interpretative "groups": The first one has been predicting an imminent economic crash (that never comes); the second one, moderate, foresees a forthcoming stagnation process.

Both have failed in their forecasts. What else do they have in common?

They blame the increases in the credit provision and its mismatch with the nominal GDP growth after the 2008 global financial crisis for the so-called ills in the Chinese economy. They are critical of the role of State-owned enterprises as strategic drivers to foster and underpin development, and say the SOEs are less productive and prone to resource misallocation.

Both have criticized the Chinese political approach, albeit this very same system has lifted out of poverty more people than in any other country, while many of the so-called liberal democracies haven't been able to improve the living standards of their people at the same pace as China.

And most critics have neither foreshadowed a financial crisis due to the mounting pile of debt that has been pouring from developed countries' central banks post-crisis, nor could they anticipate the 2008 financial crash.

Half-truths merged with misinterpretation could scale up rumors and destabilize economic and political systems, and make it even more difficult for developing countries to catch up with their more advanced counterparts, as has been the case with those that blindly followed the Washington Consensus.

Thanks to reform and opening-up, China succeeded in building a unique political and economic system with Chinese characteristics. China never suffered a financial crisis as the United States did. The Chinese system has an internal intelligentsia that regularly improves its mechanisms while combining a certain dosage of regulation with optimal use of macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policies addressed to underpin the real economy and financial stability.

China has four of the world's top six commercial banks, thanks to a long process of building capital adequacy, and creating asset management companies with debt restructuring mandates and new financial products. It also has the largest (and profitable) export-led apparatus, which generates a robust asset position for the People's Bank of China, the central bank, according to the International Monetary Fund's assessment of reserve adequacy.

Besides, China has continuously facilitated the improvement of institutional and human resources and perfected its guidelines and regulations. It has also helped establish two new multilateral financial institutions, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank, in order to alleviate the fiscal burden on developing countries. And it has come up with bold and innovative proposals, fostering innovation, advanced production and the integration of goods, services and cultures, which could become turning points for a new and integrated global era.

To understand China, therefore, one has to first respect its uniqueness and avoid ideological prejudices that aren't proved by empirical observation. The "one size fits all" approach has been proved wrong, for it doesn't consider development as a wide range of points along a continuum with multiple degrees in a constantly changing world. Assessments and policies need to be at an optimal point between a country's stage of development and characteristics, and the global trend.

It's also necessary to realize that the world is not a dichotomy (poor versus rich; or West versus East). Instead, we share a common destiny and agenda, which require joint engagement to achieve sustainable development, improvement in living standards and financial stability.

China, like any other country, has its own challenges. True, China has huge reforms to realize and difficult tasks to perform. But thanks to its reliable institutions and able leadership, it can achieve these domestic goals while playing a decisive global role. If China maintains its sound fiscal balance, and continues to implement innovative and stable policies, it is not going to be shattered by a crisis or economic stagnation. Instead, it will be ready for a new development stage.

The author is a visiting scholar at the Fudan Development Institute at Fudan University. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page13)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334812 <![CDATA[World at a climate-action crossroads]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334812.htm

Time is running out to seize opportunities or face potentially disastrous consequences

As negotiators prepare for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland, the world is at an existential crossroads: It can continue on a path of gradual but insufficient progress on climate change, or shift to high gear to avoid the worst effects of rising global temperatures.

Fortunately, our understanding of the economic benefits of climate action is greater than ever. The world must wake up to seize these opportunities or face rising consequences of inaction. Decisions we take today will make the difference to the generations to come.

We know from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's special report, released in October, that the window to keep the world temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees C is closing. We need major, immediate transformation across economic sectors, including how we generate and use energy, how we plan and live in cities, how we produce and consume food, and how we use and protect forests. We know that every additional fraction of a degree of warming can have a negative impact on economic growth, prosperity and quality of life.

The Paris Agreement, forged in 2015, brought the world together around the goal of limiting emissions below 2 C. Today, many national governments are moving forward, though not at the pace that is necessary. More encouragingly, we are seeing businesses, provinces and states, and cities making progress.

Many businesses are moving faster than governments to adopt low-carbon strategies. Nearly 500 companies have committed to set science-based targets to reduce climate-warming emissions in line with the Paris climate pact. More than 150 major companies, with a combined annual revenue of $2.75 trillion (2.4 trillion euros; £2.1 trillion) have joined the RE100 initiative, committing to power their operations entirely with renewable energy.

In the financial sector, more than 500 companies and organizations with combined market capitalization of more than $7.9 trillion have publicly committed to support recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which recognizes the need for voluntary, consistent disclosures of climate-related financial risk to investors, lenders, insurers and others.

In the United States, too, there are signs of momentum despite the opposition of US President Donald Trump's administration. For example, a new law in California - which has the fifth-largest economy in the world - requires that all of its electricity must be generated by renewable energy and zero-carbon sources by 2045. California recently joined two provincial governments in Canada, Ontario and Quebec to create the world's second-largest carbon market.

New research conducted by America's Pledge shows that policies already adopted by US states, cities and businesses will reduce US emissions by 17 percent by 2025 compared with 2005 levels. With additional action by these provincial players, the US could get to within striking distance of its Paris Agreement commitment of reducing emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.

Major global cities are moving forward with ambitious action as well. Under the Global Covenant of Mayors, more than 1,600 cities have committed to climate action. Together, these cities could reduce emissions equivalent to 1.4 gigatons of carbon in 2030 and 2.8 gigatons in 2050 (compared with business as usual). Paris, for example, aims to be carbon neutral and powered completely by renewable energy by 2050. And Copenhagen has a plan to become the first carbon neutral capital by 2025.

Businesses, regions and cities are acting because the economic case for low-carbon economic development is strong and becoming stronger. It can benefit people's health, improve efficiency and drive innovation. According to research conducted by the New Climate Economy, bold climate action could yield $26 trillion in global economic benefits between now and 2030, compared with business as usual.

But despite these shining points of light, the world is still on a trajectory for global temperature rise that could be catastrophic. National governments need to step up with ambitious policy and investment decisions to accelerate the low-carbon transition.

In recent years, China has been an important player on the global climate stage, especially in helping draft the Paris Agreement. The country set a national target to peak its emissions by 2030, though many experts suggest it could happen earlier. Also, it has invested heavily in renewable energy and electric vehicles and accounts for more than one-third of all electric vehicles in the world, with EV sales expected to surpass 1 million vehicles this year.

But China's carbon emissions continue to rise and its coal consumption increased in 2017. Also, it should assess its investments in other countries to ensure they are climate-smart and financially sound. By pushing forward its low-carbon development strategy, China can benefit its own citizens while encouraging other countries to raise their ambition.

With signs of mounting climate impacts - from wildfires in California to record-breaking typhoons in the Pacific - the world must recommit to bold climate action. The economics are clear, and incremental steps will not be sufficient. It's time for a decisive shift to an innovative and productive low-carbon economy.

The author is executive vice-president and managing director of the World Resources Institute. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page13)

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2018-11-30 08:03:52
37334805 <![CDATA[IN BRIEF (Page 2)]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334805.htm

 

Tianjin Symphony Orchestra conductor Tang Muhai (left) plays ping-pong with a musician from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tianjin Grand Theatre on Nov 26. Other members of the two orchestras also participated in the match. The Vienna orchestra later performed with Chinese pianist Lang Lang at the theater to kick off its China tour, which runs through Dec 3. Tong Yu / For China Daily

$13 billion allocated early for poverty fight

The central government has dispensed part of its 2019 poverty alleviation fund in advance to local governments, the Ministry of Finance said on Nov 27. The poverty alleviation fund allocated to 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities totaled nearly 91 billion yuan ($13 billion; 11.5 billion euros; £10.2 billion), accounting for 86 percent of the amount recorded last year, according to the ministry.

Dark sky reserve set for stargazers

China launched a new dark sky site on Nov 27 to preserve the starry night above Qinshui county, Shanxi province. It is the fourth of its kind to be created in the country. The new China Conservation Area for Dark and Starry Sky based in Taihang Honggu National Forest features unique starry nights and nocturnal environments, according to the county government.

New facilities to aid South China Sea studies

Construction of a new base to support China's archaeological studies in the South China Sea began in Qionghai, Hainan province, on Nov 27. Hu Bing, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, said the base is planned as a complex of facilities for research, underwater excavation and conservation of historical heritage in the South China Sea. It will also be used to promote relevant international exchanges. The facilities will include a scientific research institute for maritime cultural heritage, a conservation workshop for salvaged shipwrecks and a training center for archaeologists.

G20 asked to play large role in protecting trade

President Xi Jinping called for a greater role for the Group of 20 in maintaining the multilateral trading system, building an open global economy and promoting economic globalization ahead of his attendance at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a signed article published in the South American country's largest newspaper, Clarin, on Nov 28, Xi said China fully supports Argentina in its hosting of a successful event this year and hopes the G20 will adhere to the multiparty partnership and work closely together.

Taiwan authorities urged to lift barriers

The Chinese mainland will expand exchanges with Taiwan if the island removes obstacles hindering cross-Straits communications, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Nov 28 after many newly elected county and city heads said they expect more cooperation with the mainland to boost their economy. He said that with a correct understanding of the nature of cross-Straits relations, the exchanges and cooperation between counties and cities will definitely be more extensive.

Hard line taken on acts against children

China's top court vowed "zero tolerance" and tough punishments on Nov 28, including the death penalty, for those who hurt children. The comments follow the execution of two child killers and two serial rapists. "We've given, and will continue to give, heavier punishments to those who harm juveniles, especially those who make use of positions of trust, such as teachers, or who target students to get revenge on society," an official of the No 1 Criminal Division at the Supreme People's Court said in a written statement provided by the court.

1,000-year-old ink painting sells for $59.2m

An 11th-century Chinese ink painting fetched HK$463.6 million ($59.2 million; 52 million euros; £46.2 million) at a Christie's sale in Hong Kong on Nov 26, making it one of the most expensive of all classic Chinese paintings and works of calligraphy sold at auction. The monochromatic painting Wood and Rock, measuring only 26 by 50 centimeters, is attributed to Su Shi (1037-1101), a pre-eminent scholar, artist and statesman of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Su's aesthetic views ushered Chinese art and culture into a new era. Su's work is said to demonstrate a maxim of classical Chinese painting that ink has five shades. That approach is demonstrated by the painting's use of light, medium and dark tones of ink to achieve a harmonious effect.

African envoys meet political advisers

About 50 African ambassadors and diplomats to China and representatives of the African Union to China visited the Museum of the History of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Nov 27 to better understand China's political system. They also had a meeting with officials from the CPPCC to learn about the top political advisory body.

Day care workers get prison for abusing kids

Eight people convicted of child abuse at a Shanghai day care center owned by one of China's leading travel service companies, Ctrip, were sentenced to up to a year and a half in prison by the Changning District People's Court of Shanghai on Nov 27. Zheng Yan, who was in charge of the center, received the most severe sentence. The seven others received sentences of one year to one year and two months. Five of the accused were put on probation, during which time they are prohibited from providing care to others. Zheng Yan, along with Liang Shuo and Tang Ying, were barred from caregiving for five years after serving the full term. Testimony was given during the trial that the workers had applied spicy mustard to the children's mouths and hands as a means of punishment at the day care center in August last year.

Spanish tourist sites increasingly attractive

Spain is taking advantage of a rapid growth in Chinese arrivals as travelers from China become more sophisticated and independent, seeking out new experiences in European destinations. Last year, Spain saw a record 514,000 Chinese tourists visit the country, a surge of more than 290 percent compared with five years earlier, according to the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, which has branches in Beijing and Hamburg, Germany. Average per capita expenditure last year by Chinese visitors stood at 946 euros ($1,067), making them the biggest spenders among all nationalities, according to the institute.

43 fraudsters held in dating scam

Police have detained 43 people in a telecom fraud that targeted single people through matchmaking websites. More than 4,100 victims had been bilked out of money - more than 14.5 million yuan ($2.1 million; 2.5 million euros; £2.3 million) altogether, according to the public security bureau of Anqing, Anhui province. In late October, police busted the gang at three sites, confiscating more than 50 computers and freezing 143 bank cards. The suspects rented offices in Hefei, Anqing and Tongcheng and registered matchmaking websites. They won the trust of victims before asking them to pay senior membership fees.

Airport processes record numbers

Gonggar Airport in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region, has received a record 4 million passengers so far this year, local aviation authorities said on Nov 26. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China's Tibet office, passenger volume at Gonggar Airport, the largest airport in the region, exceeded 2 million in 2013, and 3 million in 2016. It is estimated that the airport will see 4.3 million passengers by the end of this year.

Old epitaph found in farmer's home

A memorial epitaph that is more than 800 years old has been found in the foundation of a farmer's home in Linxi county, Hebei province, local authorities said on Nov 26. The epitaph was engraved on a ceramic tombstone - a slab 70 centimeters long, 37 cm wide and 9.5 cm thick - and included 720 characters. It records the family trees of the occupant of the tomb, named Guo Cong. The epitaph also detailed some of the warfare between the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), while praising Guo's loyalty and filial piety.

E-tickets for fast trains will go national

All high-speed railway stations across the country will allow passengers to check in without a paper ticket next year, China Railway Corp said. Trial operations kicked off in Hainan province on Nov 22, and the results will help the railway operator improve its e-ticket service before launching it nationwide sometime next year, the company said. It did not provide a specific date. The company said that passengers who succeed in purchasing an island-looping high-speed train ticket in Hainan will have access to an information sheet that includes a QR code. When entering the station and checking in, passengers need only to swipe an identification card - a second-generation ID card for Chinese mainland residents, a permanent residence permit for foreign "green card" holders, or a mainland residence permit or travel permit for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents - at the self-service counters.

Shanghai goes all-in for garbage sorting

Authorities in Shanghai are asking for opinions from the public until Dec 6 on a draft regulation regarding garbage classification. The document was submitted to the city's legislative body for a second review recently. The draft aims to regulate all processes related to garbage sorting, including dumping, collection, transportation and treatment. It retained the four categories of garbage classification - dry, wet, recyclable and harmful - which were specified in a plan released earlier by the Shanghai municipal government. "The draft makes clear the details of garbage sorting management, strengthens supervision regarding this matter and boosts awareness of garbage classification for members of the public," says Ding Wei, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Shanghai People's Congress.

Invention helps to set proper antibiotic doses

Chinese scientists have developed a prototype instrument to quickly determine the level of antibiotic resistance in cells infecting a patient, thereby allowing more precise administration of the drugs. The device was unveiled recently by the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which said it was the first of its kind in the world. It can determine the level of resistance in sample cells within three hours without the need to grow more cells in a lab. Existing methods typically take 24 to 48 hours, said Ma Bo, a research fellow at the institute. Widespread antimicrobial resistance and the associated rise of superbugs is a major public health threat. One leading cause is the misuse or overuse of antibiotics due to incorrect assessments of how much is needed.

Nation continues to improve animal welfare

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will continue cooperating with China on farm animal welfare to help improve animal health and food safety, the organization's China representative said. China has made quick progress in farm animal welfare, although it is taking time for full public recognition of the issue, says Vincent Martin, the UN's FAO representative for China and the DPRK. "We want to support China in this endeavor. ... We are now promoting awareness of farm animal welfare," he says. "We have a lot of projects with the Chinese government in many different areas, but we have never conducted any joint technical pilot project to promote farm animal welfare."

Exchanges swap math teaching styles

Nov 26 marked the start of the fifth round of math teacher exchanges between the United Kingdom and China, as 86 math teachers from primary schools in the UK arrived at Shanghai Normal University for a two-week program. After a day of training, the teachers were to visit 62 primary schools in the city for immersive teaching and learning activities. Launched in 2014, the exchange involves teachers from the UK visiting China, and teachers from China visiting the UK for two to three weeks, enabling them to learn from each other's education systems. A delegation of 86 Shanghai math teachers will visit 43 primary schools in the UK in January. The UK-China Math Teachers' Exchange and Cooperation Program has deepened the sharing of math teaching between the two countries, Paul Kett, director-general for education standards at the UK's Department for Education, said at the launch of the program.

Xinjiang building houses able to resist quakes

The newly built earthquake-resistant houses in rural areas of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have withstood more than 30 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or above in the past seven years, the region's housing authorities said. As a quake-prone region, Xinjiang introduced a project to construct earthquake-resistant houses, which usually have two rooms and a kitchen, aiming to replace people's adobe houses with sturdier ones made of brick and steel. From 2011 to 2015, the autonomous region subsidized the construction of 1.5 million single-family houses for about 6 million farmers and herdsmen with an investment of 121 billion yuan ($17.5 billion; 15 billion euros; £13.6 billion), according to Xinjiang's Housing and Urban-Rural Development Department. Xinjiang will subsidize another 1.37 million houses for impoverished families in the 2016-20 period. Currently, about 882,000 houses have been completed, the department said in a statement.

Hiding facts of chemical leak 'terrible'

A company responsible for a chemical leak in Quanzhou, Fujian province, was accused of covering up facts to escape punishment after the incident in early November, and seven people have been detained, the local government said on Nov 25. The incident involved a leak of 69.1 metric tons of petrochemicals, not the 6.97 tons reported earlier by Fujian Donggang Petrochemical Industry, Wang Yongli, mayor of Quanzhou, said at a news conference. He added that the company's attempt to hide the actual volume of the leak and falsify evidence was "terrible". A hose from an oil tanker owned by the company ruptured while offloading toxic petrochemicals at a wharf in Quanzhou's Quangang district on Nov 4. Aliphatic hydrocarbons are oily, pungent chemical compounds typically derived from the oil refining process. The toxicity is similar to gasoline and can cause irritation if exposed to human skin, eyes or respiratory tracts.

112 held over gun, explosives crimes

Police in Beijing have put 112 people in criminal detention since a campaign against gun and explosives-related crimes started in February. More than 560 guns and more than 550 replica guns were confiscated. More than 70,000 bullets, 5,400 knives and 4,500 items of explosives were found, according to the municipal Public Security Bureau.

WWII shell found by resident

A resident in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, has unearthed a shell believed to be from World War II, local authorities said on Nov 22. The man, surnamed Zhang, found the shell when he was digging up water pipes at the back of his house on Nov 27, and reported it to the local police. The rusty shell measured 58 centimeters long and 15 cm in diameter. It had been well preserved and still posed a high risk. Police moved it to a safe place for investigation.

 

Two fathers carry their children during a game in a farmer's field in Changxing county, Zhejiang province, on Nov 28. Children from a local kindergarten and their parents participated in the event, which aimed to help them better understand the beauty of the countryside. Xu Yu / Xinhua

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page2)

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2018-11-30 08:02:47
37334804 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334804.htm

"I feel more disturbed now. It's an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society. I hope it never happens again."

DAVID LIU, a researcher at Harvard University and inventor of a variation of the gene-editing tool, condemning Chinese researcher He Jiankui's claim of genetically manipulating human cells.

"We will also have a blacklist and make it available for public use for market access, public services, travel and employment. We will continue to complete the blacklist and limit their activities."

TAN XUXIANG, head of the Beijing Development and Reform Commission, saying Beijing will establish a public credit information service platform covering all permanent residents.

"In the information era, we should reflect on and reconstruct the Criminal Law, as legislation from past eras fails to constrain some types of new illegal behavior."

LIANG GENLIN, a law professor at Peking University.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page2)

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2018-11-30 08:02:47
37334803 <![CDATA[Latin America in spotlight at G20 summit]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334803.htm The G20 meeting in Buenos Aires will aim to demonstrate the important contribution Latin America can make to the rest of the world, according to Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

Argentina is the first South American country to host the G20 Leaders' Summit, although not the first from Latin America, with Mexico staging it in 2012.

"Our presidency (of the G20) will seek to embody the expression not only of one country, but that of a whole region. Latin America and the Caribbean have much to contribute to the world order, through their talented people, abundant natural resources and as a region of peace and cooperation," Macri said in an address ahead of the summit.

 

Argentine President Mauricio Macri says the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires will aim to demonstrate the important contribution that Latin America can make to the rest of the world. Qin Lang / Xinhua

Juliana Gonzalez Jauregui, research fellow at the Latin American social sciences institute FLACSO, believes it is important that the summit is being held in Argentina.

"There is an excitement about it in Argentina. It is part of an effort by the government for the country to be reconnected to the rest of the world. It is important that it is the first time the summit is being held in South America," she says.

However, Jauregui, who was speaking from Buenos Aires, is doubtful that Latin American concerns will drive the summit agenda.

"Latin American members, particularly Brazil and Argentina, used to be very critical and wanted to change those rules of the financial system and international trade that they considered were unfair," she said.

"They promoted politics that protected labor and social inclusion inside the G20, and with the support of other emergent countries, aimed to achieve a more balanced multilateral trade system that would guarantee developing countries their own legitimate place."

She says, however, that over the past two years in particular, they have become more accepting of the existing order.

"Compared to the past, Latin American countries have shown a more complacent position toward the rules of the financial system and the Bretton Woods order. In effect, they have become rule takers."

The G20 is not the first major meeting to take place in Buenos Aires over the past year, with the 11th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization being held there in December last year.

Ariel Martin Slipak, an economist at the National University of Moreno in Buenos Aires, says Argentina is trying to put itself on the map and send out a signal that it is open for investment.

The country has had a number of recent economic setbacks and had to secure a $50 billion credit line agreed to with the IMF in June and raise interest rates to 60 percent in August to bolster the currency.

"Macri is very keen for Argentina to be commercially open to the rest of the world. He is very much in favor of foreign direct investment from the rest of the world, whether it comes from the US, China or Russia," Slipak said.

With infrastructure one of the G20's priorities, Argentina is very supportive of China's Belt and Road Initiative, and is now a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

China has provided major financing for a number of infrastructure projects in the country, including railways and hydropower dams.

Chinese companies are likely to be involved in a new tunnel project linking Argentina and Chile under the Andes, which will take nine years to complete and will give Argentina another oceanic link to China.

Gonzalez Jauregui, from FLACSO, adds: "Infrastructure is very important to Argentina. This tunnel link would be one of the most significant projects within the Belt and Road Initiative that would benefit Argentina."

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page7)

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2018-11-30 08:02:31
37334802 <![CDATA[WTO seeks 'positive momentum']]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334802.htm Trade organization's deputy head says China 'has a big role to play' in cooperative push for reforms

The World Trade Organization wants its members to work more closely for reforms and modernization, according to its deputy head.

At the two-day G20 Leaders' Summit, which begins on Nov 30 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, leaders were expected to agree on WTO reform plans - improving on the unsuccessful attempts to reach a consensus on the topic at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in mid-November.

Leaders gathered in the Argentine capital also were looking to President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump to improve the tone of global trade relations.

 

WTO deputy director-general Karl Brauner says he expects that China will have its own input in the WTO reform. Dirk Hendler / For China Daily

"It needs to be inspired by the political leaders. A positive signal from the G20 would definitely strengthen confidence in the world economy," says Karl Brauner, the WTO's deputy director-general.

Brauner, a lawyer before turning to a career in trade policy, says he always seeks solutions and settlements through dialogue. "I think any platform where a conversation could take place should be used," he emphasizes.

"We, the WTO, are a forum where these conversations can take place. I would like to see those who have issues with one another sit down and talk. ... As the forum for the negotiations on these issues, we provide the venue, but the inspirations should come from the top."

Brauner's areas of responsibility include dealing with the WTO's dispute settlement system as well as administration and general services, including budget and finance and human resources.

"The WTO has grown from a small number to 164 members currently (of which 117 are developing countries or separate customs territories). There is some concern with certain developments among members. And there are reform proposals coming from the European Union, for example, and also Canada, on some very specialized issues," he says.

"I think this is a very good development, if those who would like to have a reform discussion could join forces and create a positive momentum," Brauner says.

A week before the G20 Summit, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference that Beijing backs reforms to enhance the authority and effectiveness of the WTO, which is facing "profound crisis".

The Chinese government has stressed that such reforms must uphold the organization's core values of nondiscrimination and openness, protect the interests of developing members and uphold the decision-making mechanism.

Beijing unveiled five proposals to support these three principles, aimed at defending the dispute settlement regimen, avoiding abuse of the national security exception clause to impose tariffs, and preventing unilateral action by members.

Brauner says: "We want to uphold multilateralism, and we can see China is sponsoring certain reform proposals. China is a very important economic power in the world, and China should also have an intellectual input in what is happening by way of reforms, which is welcome.

"There is no doubt that China has a big role to play. China is also No 2 in the contributions to the budget of the WTO, and has overtaken Germany - the traditional No 2 contributor, now the No 3," he adds.

In 2017, China contributed around $18.8 million (16.6 million euros; £14.7 million) to the consolidated budget of the WTO's Secretariat and the Appellate Body Secretariat.

According to the 2018 WTO budget, China's contribution will rise to nearly $19.3 million, which will account for 9.8 percent of the total budget.

Before joining the WTO, Brauner was director-general for external economic policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economics for 12 years. He was responsible for export promotion and export controls, as well as Germany's bilateral economic relations outside the European Union.

From his perspective, the EU, which is now working with China, the United States and others, has established itself as a coordinator between key members of the WTO.

"The EU is playing the role as a bridge. This could be and should be helpful," he says, adding that the most urgent task now is to prevent the withering away of the WTO's Appellate Body, which is responsible for resolving disputes, a core function of the WTO.

The body is supposed to have seven judges, but there currently are only three, and if the vacancies cannot be filled soon, the organization's dispute settlement regime will be jeopardized.

The EU, the world's largest trading bloc, announced on Nov 26 that it and 11 other WTO members, including China, Australia, Canada and Mexico, will present a joint proposal for changes to overcome the current deadlock in the Appellate Body. The proposal will be presented to the entire membership at the meeting of the WTO General Council on Dec 12. The EU is also proposing reinforcement of the Appellate Body's independence and impartiality and improvement of its efficiency.

In response to calls by some European stakeholders for members to seek alternative approaches to overcoming hurdles, Brauner says multilateral agreements are unquestionably better, because they will cover all 164 members and provide a better basis for legitimacy.

"The plurilateral agreements are negotiated only among a smaller group of membership. But they are allowed in the WTO if they follow the principles of most trade recognition.

"We are now in a situation where, after the ministerial conference in Buenos Aires (in December last year), we have four joint initiatives, which are promoted by smaller groups of members ... But they are open to the full membership. And we can only hope that they will produce some outcomes that attract more than the original numbers," Brauner says.

"All reforms eventually hinge on the good cooperation of the players in the WTO. So it would be an illusion to think that we tweak a few rules here and sharpen a few definitions there, and this is our reform and then things work," he adds.

"What we need is the willingness to cooperate. And if the willingness to cooperate is generated among the major players in the world economy, this would clearly be very helpful," he adds.

In addition to collaboration between members, he also calls for urgent action from the global business community. "I think it is clear from history that the Uruguay round (of trade negotiations) was successfully concluded because the businesses actually ran up to the politicians and said: 'Do this, finalize it.'"

In terms of the future agenda, Brauner highlights e-commerce as a growing force in global trade, with huge potential to drive inclusive growth for world economies, and developing countries in particular. "Members are working to find rules to facilitate e-commerce. E-commerce is also looked upon as an element of development, of helping developing countries to have easier access to the world market," he says.

On the margins of the WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires in December last year, a new initiative titled Enabling E-commerce was launched by the WTO, the World Economic Forum and the Electronic World Trade Platform.

The initiative, which aims at driving public-private dialogue on e-commerce, brings together leading voices from governments, businesses and other stakeholders to address challenges and find solutions for a more inclusive e-commerce landscape in the years ahead.

"Businesses have an enormous say. And we need this engagement from businesses now. Encouraging the businesses to play a role is also very important," Brauner says. "All that we are doing now, eventually, is ... for the people's benefit."

For China Daily

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page8)

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2018-11-30 08:02:31
37334801 <![CDATA[Masters of the legendary, lively twirl]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334801.htm If the ancient Silk Road was a theater, then the Sogdians were its most dynamic performers. Monopolizing the trans-Eurasian trade route for half a millennium between the fourth and eighth centuries, they left behind nothing but legends. Natural-born dancers, they entered history's stage just as they exited it - with a twirl.

This twirl captured the vivacity of their existence, reflecting the freewheeling, optimistic spirit of Chinese society of the day. Yet those who performed this twirl were ultimately blamed for the downward spiral that society eventually took.

However, before that heady performance, the Sogdian people - a group as hard to define as the ancient Silk Road - had dazzled with their commercial acumen and utter determination in pursuing commercial goals.

 

A retinue of pottery soldiers unearthed from the 6th century tomb of a Han general in Ningxia. Among the soldiers were both Han ethnic majority people and the Sogdians. Photos Provided to China Daily

They traveled vast distances - as much as 8,000 kilometers - trading in almost everything and turning a profit in almost everything they traded.

Rong Xinjiang, a professor of history at Peking University who has spent decades looking into the lives of the Sogdians, says: "Very often they are described as homeless, largely due to the fact that they were constantly on the road. But this is inaccurate. In fact, the Sogdians, who spoke Eastern Iranian, hailed from basins of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers in what is today Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, regions known in ancient Western literature as Sogdiana.

"It's true that they never had among themselves a strong army and therefore were vulnerable militarily, but this did not stop them from setting up a number of small countries, countries located in desert oases and largely dispersed in Central Asia. Among them, Samarkand, today the second-largest city in Uzbekistan, was the most well known."

In many cases, military vulnerability meant political fickleness: Historically, the Sogdians were always ready to form an alliance with, or to pledge allegiance to, foreign powers pounding on their door.

One example is the ancient kingdom of Loulan, later known as Shanshan, at the northeastern end of the Taklamakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of Northwest China.

"The rulers of Loulan submitted their tiny kingdom first to the authority of the Han Empire (206 BC-AD 220), and then to Xiongnu, a confederation of Eurasian steppe nomads with whom the Chinese empire had been engaged in long-term conflict," Rong says. "For a certain period, these two relationships overlapped.

"People have been tempted to attribute this apparent lack of loyalty to an unreliability and untrustworthiness associated with merchants. This is unfair; very often the Sogdians had little choice."

Sometimes they were even stalked by political uncertainty while on the road, Rong says, pointing to a wooden-slip document unearthed in Gansu province in Northwest China, dated to 39 BC. The document records the disputes between officials at a Silk Road relay station in Gansu and a trade envoy coming from Samarkand.

"The argument seems to have centered on the color and number of the camels being brought by these men. But the back story to this is that before the Sogdians' departure, Samarkand, called the Kingdom of Kang by their Chinese counterparts, was in a friendly relationship with the Han Empire. Yet the situation took a U-turn while these men were heading toward their destination: Having provided assistance to Xiongnu troops, Samarkand, by the time of their arrival, had in effect become an enemy country.

"These men should have been grateful that instead of being thrown into prison, they only faced a minor dispute."

It is worth noting that in most cases, the submissive relationship formed between a Sogdian kingdom and a mightier power usually had nothing to do with military occupation. Rather, the Sogdians were required to pay taxes to their masters, the result of wealth accumulated through trading on the Silk Road.

To amass wealth, it was necessary to deal in commodities that could fetch the highest profit - profit huge enough to cover the immense time and human cost demanded by such long-distance trade.

A renowned Chinese historian, Ge Chenyong, says the Sogdians "had an eye for gems".

"Bearing in mind that it could take a year to travel from what is today Iran to China, goods that were light in weight, high in value and easy to carry were the most popular, and gems topped that list," Ge says. "The Sogdian merchants were believed to have sewn those precious stones into a little pouch they tied to the upper end of the thigh or carried under an armpit."

One frequently traded gem was fluorite, whose fluorescent light was expected to light up an aristocratic lady's boudoir by night. Another was ruby, a perfect match for gold, which replaced jade as the material of choice for the rich and powerful during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). By dint of rampant tomb-raiding over the centuries, most gold ware and accessories that have come to light are bereft of their inset gems.

Spice, whose scent permeated the Tang Dynasty, also featured prominently on that list of desirables.

Animals and humans were also traded by Sogdians, who did their best to fuel Chinese society's imagination toward an outside world. They were importers of exotic species including camels and elephants, and were also grooms who helped to foster related cultures, for example polo.

The humans, many of whom were young Sogdians, were sold into rich Tang households as domestic servants and entertainers and were often given common Chinese names that obscured their true identities as they appeared in the writings of history.

"These young men and women were sometimes taken as far as to Fujian province on China's southeastern coast," Ge says. "There they could bring in much more money than they would have done if sold in the country's western regions."

The Sogdians set up a whole chain composed of many midroute relay stations to ensure the smoothness of the transit trade upon which their commercial success hinged, Rong says.

"Transit trade was the key to their dominance of the ancient Silk Road. Rather than trekking the entire length of the road from Samarkand to Chang'an, the capital city during China's Western Han (206 BC-AD 24) and Tang dynasties, the Sogdians divided the journey into numerous sections and built settlements in each, often close to water sources. These settlements became relay stations that witnessed the shuttling of people and the passing of goods between two neighboring ones."

Given their enviable role as intermediaries, the Sogdian settlements were never immune from harassment, marauding and even pillaging, especially by nomadic horsemen. But throughout those centuries, the Sogdians managed to maintain all these links, including the tenuous ones, through wit and grit.

Today most of what was once built by the Sogdians along the ancient Silk Road has long vanished, buried in the sand or reduced by the perennial whipping of the desert wind to solitary existences. Hustle and bustle has become a whisper as the wind passes through the skeletal remains of ancient constructions.

Yet the people themselves, or at least their images, have survived the torrents of history and surfaced in relatively large numbers from the resting places of their Chinese contemporaries, those to whom they had tried to sell everything.

"The images, often rendered as ceramic or clay figurines, speak for the depth with which the Sogdians once penetrated Chinese society, not merely as traders," Rong says. "The influence they exerted, through commerce as well as their mere presence, reached its peak during the Tang Dynasty."

In most of the Tang-era figurines, the Sogdian merchants were portrayed as having a high nose, deep-set eyes and thick beard. Equally distinctive was what they wore: turban or pointed hat, coat with lapels coat or kaftan with narrow sleeves and tight-fitting trousers, complete with felt boots.

They often appear alongside or mounting their companion of the road, a camel or a horse. At other times, they seem to be enduring the hardship alone: A Tang Dynasty porcelain figurine unearthed in Luoyang, Henan province, depicts a Sogdian merchant holding a water bottle in one hand and carrying a big sack of goods on his bending back. In Luoyang, one of the two major trading hubs of the Tang Empire, large market-based Sogdian communities formed. The other was Xi'an, Shaanxi province, the empire's capital.

The things they sold in the Chinese heartland, often in exchange for the famous silk, touched almost all aspects of local life. Apart from gems and spices, this included metal wares, medicines and even gold and silver coins from various countries along the road.

If all these things contribute to the magic bag of exoticism, for the local Chinese the Sogdians embodied this word. That might explain why, as the people of Tang avidly took up everything brought to them through the Silk Road, they also opened their arms to the indigenous culture of the traders, whom they conveniently called the "Hu people". Hu refers loosely to a foreigner and more specifically to Western and Central Asian men who spoke eastern Iranian languages, Rong says.

"Hu dress, Hu sound, Hu food and Hu religion - those were four main aspects that came to influence and encompass the life of a local Chinese living during the Tang era, especially its first half between the seventh and eighth centuries."

Of all, the Hu sound, and the dance that came with it, had the most fanfare and vivacity.

It is easy to imagine that the music and the dance served to soothe ruffled souls as people traveled the physically and mentally challenging journey on the Silk Road, sometimes at risk of their lives. Occasionally appearing on the back of a porcelain camel is a stringed musical instrument whose big belly and crooked neck set it apart from similar ones that Chinese used at the time.

Images of music performers and dancers found their way onto everything from the exterior of an octagonal gilt bronze cup unearthed in Xi'an to that of a flattened flask discovered in Luoyang. In the case of the cup, its side is divided into eight facets, each featuring a panel decorated with the chiseled image of a Sogdian musician.

A more vivid group portrait involves ceramic renditions of five musicians and a storyteller, unearthed in a Tang tomb on the outskirts of Xi'an. With their Sogdian identity clearly established through both facial features and dress style, these men were engaged in performance requiring a high degree of coordination. The tacit consensus among these men, as well as the depth with which they allow themselves to be absorbed into the narration, was captured in a fleeting moment of interactive gestures and intense expression. The story told must be one about their own home.

There certainly were moments of deep lamentation, but the Sogdians, whose entrepreneurship was matched by admirable daring, were never short of vim.

And whatever lay ahead, they could always stage a twirl, with a signature leap that led the dance being dubbed Hu Teng Wu or Hu Xuan Wu, meaning literally the dance of leaping or twirling.

The dance provided an apt metaphor. During the heyday of the ancient Silk Road, the Tang Empire had a passion for all things foreign, a passion that can now be seen as full-blooded infatuation.

In 755, the empire and its ruler, Emperor Xuanzong, were yanked out of their reverie by internal rebellions led by two of its military governors of border regions. Both men were of Sogdian origin.

"At the end of the twirl, the emperor was left in a daze," wrote the Tang Dynasty poet Yuan Zhen in the aftermath of the shock, offering mild criticism of Xuanzong, himself a music virtuoso and aficionado of the Hu dance.

The rebellion, taking more than seven years to quell, not only sapped the powerful empire of all its energy and zeal, but also represented a turning point of the fortunes of the Sogdians in China.

Overnight, infatuation was replaced by mistrust, if not hatred, and openness by rejection. Economically and emotionally, a weakened Tang Empire was no longer the market it once was for Sogdians, whose own status on the Silk Road was also challenged by Arabs from the west and by Uygurs from the east.

"It is fair to say that in terms of doing business, the Sogdians were the teachers of the Uygurs living in what is today the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in western and northwestern China," Rong says. "The two people also intermarried. By the 10th century, the Sogdians had largely retreated from the center stage of international trade."

The dust that they and their pack animals had raised on the Silk Road also gradually settled: Although a dramatic decline took place much later, around the 16th century, the kind of brisk trade the Sogdians witnessed was never repeated.

On a pair of stone gates leading to a Tang Dynasty tomb in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in northwestern China are two dancing Sogdians. With one leg rooted on a round carpet and the other lifted up, both are engaged in a spin of their own. Everything else - the ribbons, the upturned skirt hems and even the surrounding clouds - spin with them.

For a moment it may seem they will never stop.

zhaoxu@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page1)

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2018-11-30 08:02:31
37334800 <![CDATA[Fair winds expected from Buenos Aires]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334800.htm

Hopes are high that G20 summit will provide a breath of fresh air to help world leaders chart a new course

A decade after the first G20 leaders meeting in Washington, world leaders will meet this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the 2018 G20 Summit. This time is different due to an expected sidelines bilateral meet-up that the world is keeping a close eye on.

Ten years ago, with the onset of the financial crisis, it was recognized that a new global governance platform was needed to meet transnational challenges and adapt to shifts in the world economy. In particular, it was hoped that moving to a more inclusive mechanism than the traditional G7 would better reflect the importance and interests of developing countries and emerging markets such as China, India and Argentina. The members of the group account for around 90 percent of the world GDP and 80 percent of global trade. It is thus fitting that this decennial summit should take place in Buenos Aires, a cultural melting pot shaped by international trade and migration.

The political landscape has shifted dramatically in the decade since that first summit in Washington. Today, however, the world again finds itself at a crossroads. Recent years have seen a rise in anti-globalization sentiment around the world, and countries that helped to build the international order are now undermining the very institutions that support it. The global governance deficit has widened as multilateral institutions have failed to reform and adapt to new challenges.

The Buenos Aires G20 Summit offers a chance for world leaders to reinvigorate multilateralism and avert a slide toward increased protectionism and isolation. This summit takes on extra significance because it is expected to see a crucial meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump - their first face-to-face meeting since China and the United States became embroiled in a damaging trade dispute that has seen several rounds of punitive tariffs imposed by both sides, with the threat of more to come. Issues to be addressed in the expected discussion will affect not only the outlook for the world's two largest economies, but also workers and consumers in third countries and the global economy at large.

The Xi-Trump meeting, expected to take place on Nov 30, provides a chance to de-escalate bilateral tensions that have intensified over the past year. It is hoped that through this discussion, Xi and Trump can reach a consensus on a framework agreement that can help guide future talks and resolve the current dispute. Since Trump recently signaled that he would like to make a breakthrough with his Chinese counterpart during the summit, it's likely that the leaders' meeting would set a sound tone for a final way out for the two sides.

Despite the challenges to be overcome in putting the Sino-US relationship back on an even keel, there are good reasons to be optimistic that the two sides can steer away from the current course and avert drawing the world into a damaging trade war resulting in costs that no one could afford.

First, China's economic interests are deeply entwined with the US and indeed every other major economy in the world. Recently, some observers have invoked the idea of an "economic iron curtain" descending between the world's two largest economies, drawing parallels with the deterioration of relations between the US and the Soviet Union after World War II. However, this framing completely fails to capture the reality of China-US relations in today's globalized economy.

In the late 1940s, the US and Soviet Union shared little in the way of bilateral trade and investment. By contrast, in our current age of deepening globalization, the US and China are bound by global value chains that enable increasingly sophisticated specialization and division of labor across borders. Given the densely woven links shared by China, the US and other trading partners, any attempts to force a "decoupling" of the world's two largest economies would cause massive disruption and long-term economic damage to both countries and the global economy.

Leading international organizations have already revised growth forecasts for 2019 downward due to uncertainty over the economic recovery and impact of the ongoing Sino-US trade dispute. Any further escalation of the trade tensions would seriously threaten the fragile recovery of the world economy.

Second, despite frictions in the bilateral relationship, Trump and Xi have established a good rapport and friendly relationship with each other. Maintaining this personal bond can stabilize relations and help both sides to overcome their differences and come to a mutually beneficial agreement on a way forward. Given the central roles of both figures in their respective administrations and Trump's unique governance style, this top-level "leadership diplomacy" is of particular importance and could hold the key to unlocking the current impasse.

Third, and arguably most important, China and the US still have enormous potential synergies to exploit through closer cooperation. A relationship "reset" would not only help avert more economic damage, but it could also open up avenues for deeper cooperation and mutual benefits. For example, there is great potential to expand Sino-US cooperation in infrastructure, particularly given the match between the Trump administration's large-scale infrastructure plan and China's financial resources and considerable experience in this field. It is also vital that the two sides work together if they are to address major transnational challenges, such as climate change, poverty alleviation and terrorism.

Given the high stakes at hand, China and the US have a responsibility to make significant efforts to put their bilateral relationship back on track. This should start with both countries accelerating the restructuring of their own economies, building on the foundation of domestic reforms to bring about a joint improvement in the trade imbalance.

For China, this means pressing forward with implementing policies to open up the economy, such as relaxing market entry requirements and offering a fair and open marketplace to the world. As President Xi said at the recent import expo in Shanghai, over the next 15 years, China is set to import $30 trillion (26.5 trillion euros; £23.5 trillion) worth of goods and $10 trillion in services. Further moves to boost imports should be made to benefit Chinese consumers and ensure that China's market continues to be an engine for the global economy.

At the same time, the US should abandon biased policies that unfairly target China and artificially inflate the trade deficit, such as restrictions on high-tech exports to China. Lifting these restrictions could benefit both economies, supporting workers in the US and helping to reduce the trade deficit. According to a study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a third of the US trade deficit with China could be reduced by lifting export control to China to a level equivalent to France.

In addition to pursuing these changes at home, China and the US should also increase their support for global governance institutions. The G20 in particular has great promise to serve as an effective platform to facilitate cooperation between the two sides, helping them achieve shared objectives and contribute to global public good.

Reform of the multilateral trading system should be high on the agenda, to help strengthen the World Trade Organization and help avert any possibility of a slide back to 1930s-style protectionism. The G20 should also promote talks on how to deal with new technologies and forms of trade.

By working together through the G20, the US and China can help to build a new generation of global governance mechanisms to address key issues related to the traditional ones, like global warming and WTO deadlock, and emerging ones, such as digital economy and automation in the new era, helping to ensure that all can benefit from these innovations and societies around the world are ready for dramatic shifts in the way we work and interact.

It is said that Buenos Aires (translated as "fair winds") was named by sailors arriving on the Rio de la Plata, blessed by good winds. This week, the city may just provide the breath of fresh air necessary to help world leaders chart a new course forward.

The author is founder and president of the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page9)

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2018-11-30 08:02:31
37334799 <![CDATA[Winds of change]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/30/content_37334799.htm

Analysts anticipate China, US leaders' talks on summit sidelines

Trade tensions loom large over what could be one of the most important G20 meetings in recent years.

The focus of the G20 Leaders' Summit to be held on Nov 30 and Dec 1 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will be the much anticipated meeting on the sidelines between President Xi Jinping and his United States counterpart Donald Trump.

It will be the first time the two have met face-to-face since the trade conflict between the US and China escalated.

The US announced 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in September, and on Nov 27 Trump reiterated his threat to raise the rate to 25 percent in the new year, and hinted that other tariffs would be imposed.

China is hoping that the G20 Summit will play a similar role to the one in London in 2009 - which produced a concerted response to the global financial crisis - and steer the world away from a path toward protectionism.

Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said the unified approach demonstrated in London nearly a decade ago was needed now.

"At a time when global trade is facing challenges from protectionism, we hope the G20 members can also take collective actions against unilateralism and protectionism," he said at a news briefing on Nov 23.

Xi's attendance at the meeting will be part of his overseas trip that includes state visits to Spain, Panama, Portugal as well as Argentina.

Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the best outcome from the summit would be some kind of truce in the trade conflict between the US and China.

"Both sides could suspend the high tariffs, or the Americans may agree not to enforce the new escalation of raising tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in the new year.

"The very strict restrictions that the US is imposing on China's high-tech sector will not end in the immediate future. This is part of the bigger concern that Trump and Americans have of China becoming a more technologically advanced country than the US," Shi said.

Stephen Roach, senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, believes China holds the stronger cards in any negotiations with the US.

"China ... has a lot of options. Unlike the United States, China never went to quantitative easing and zero interest rates, so there is plenty of scope for action on the monetary front. It also has fiscal space, which it used a little bit last month to provide some tax incentives for Chinese consumers. It also has currency leverage," he says.

"The economy is also shifting away from relying on external demand for its exports toward internal domestic consumption."

David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, also believes the US can ill afford a protracted trade war.

He predicts that US growth will fall to less than 3 percent in the fourth quarter and that the effects of Washington's tax-cutting stimulus will begin to fade in the new year.

"The uncertainty caused by a protracted trade war could well slow investment spending further. An escalating trade war with China sits at the top of most lists of potential triggers for the next recession," he says.

Taking a break

It is not only the two parties involved who will want to see some resolution of the tariffs issue.

It is also important for third-party countries such as the United Kingdom, whose prime minister, Theresa May, will be taking a break from selling her Brexit deal to attend the summit in Buenos Aires.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London stated that tariffs placed by the US on Chinese goods had so far hit £1.9 billion ($2.4 billion; 2.1 billion euros) of UK exports. This is because British goods are caught up in the supply chains of both countries.

Douglas McWilliams, founder and deputy chairman of the CEBR, says, "This is the direct effect, but there are a series of knock-on effects worldwide to this, and if it impacts on China's growth or the US', then there will be less demand for everyone else's exports."

Notwithstanding the trade turbulence, just over 10 years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, there are fears the world could be facing the prospect of another downturn, if only because the current recovery is looking increasingly prolonged.

There are a number of concerns, including the effects of tightened monetary policy globally, particularly in the US, a slowdown in Chinese growth, the vulnerability of Italian banks and the risk this poses for the euro, and the possibility of the UK having a disorderly exit from the European Union.

Roach, a former Asia chairman of Morgan Stanley and author of Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China, said it is not the time for G20 members to be complacent.

"We have had a long recovery from a very deep hole. The major economies were damaged horrifically by the crisis and what we have had is still an uneven recovery," he says.

"Yet if you look at the leading indicators, there is no sign of an imminent downturn."

Apart from the global economy, the main priorities for the summit are infrastructure for development, the future of employment, and food sustainability.

The world is facing a projected infrastructure gap between now and 2035 of $5.5 trillion, according to estimates provided to the G20.

China, with its Belt and Road Initiative launched in 2013, and also the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which opened in 2016 and has 87 member countries, is one nation that has prioritized and led the way on infrastructure.

Bukola Ogunsina, editor of the Sunday edition of the Nigerian newspaper Leadership, says the summit is right to prioritize infrastructure, as no continent suffers more from a lack of it than Africa.

"China has assisted in infrastructure development throughout Africa through the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (which promotes African development and consists of China and nearly all African states) and the Belt and Road. They have built railways, roads and industrial parks," she says.

Ian Goldin, professor of globalization and development at Oxford University and a former economic adviser to late South African president Nelson Mandela, says it is not just about building new infrastructure in places such as Africa, but also about replacing old infrastructure in developed countries.

"We basically have to move to zero carbon over the next 20 years or so and that means all existing carbon infrastructure has to be replaced. This not only has massive implications for energy generation, but also for distribution and storage systems," he says.

The G20 is prioritizing retraining and reskilling as a way to deal with future employment.

According to a study by the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, 60 percent of Chinese jobs could be lost to robotics and artificial intelligence in the next 20 years.

The US could lose 47 percent of jobs over the same period, Europe 40 percent and, perhaps most alarmingly for global development, a country such as Ethiopia - which has seen manufacturing as a route to economic progress - 80 percent of its employment.

According to Goldin, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution could be the one that does not create new jobs.

The first such revolution, in Britain in the 18th century, created urban factory jobs, the second, which began in the US, led to mass production in the early 20th century, and the third, or computer revolution, created many new opportunities in such areas as IT and call centers.

"Basically, anything that is repetitive and rules-based that doesn't require dexterity and empathy or very high levels of skills and sophistication could be disintermediated (cutting people out) by artificial intelligence and machine learning," Goldin says.

James Fallows, a US journalist and national correspondent for Atlantic magazine, who visited Deqing, Zhejiang province, in November for the World Geospatial Information Congress, believes there is already evidence in the US of jobs being created.

He has collaborated with his wife, Deborah, on the book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America. During the research for this, they witnessed jobs being created in the US Midwest.

"In the classic Rust Belt town there was a giant factory, and that factory is not coming back. What we witnessed, however, was a boom in jobs that are now often unfilled in areas such as robotic repairs, small-scale advanced manufacturing and clean energy technology. For people with the right skills, there are now a wealth of opportunities."

This G20 gathering will be remembered most perhaps for the outcome of the expected meeting between Xi and Trump, with the global economy being so dependent on the Sino-US relationship.

Some observers argue that the trade conflict is a proxy for a much bigger struggle between the world's two biggest economies, and that they are falling into a Thucydides Trap, where a rising power clashes with a declining one.

Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations in Beijing, believes people are misjudging China's intentions.

"What China wants from the G20 is to see this trade issue resolved, because it is not in the interest of anyone. China certainly does not want to rule the world. That the US has this leading global position is largely a legacy of World War II and the Cold War," he said.

"China is preoccupied with its own problems, since it is a continent-sized country. In any new world order you would not just have the US and China but also countries like India being leading nations."

Shi, from Renmin University, believes that if nothing is resolved at the G20 summit, China may look to build better relationships with Europe and countries such as Japan, Canada and Australia.

"People talk about the US and Chinese economies decoupling. China's only response to this will be to make itself attractive to other developed economies. It will want to avoid any situation where it is largely dependent on trade with just developing countries."

Roach believes that whatever the outcome of the trade talks between Xi and Trump, the summit will produce some positive results.

"It won't be an empty-handed summit and they won't disband without a communique. There will be a broad agreement signed on some of these other tough issues. Whether, however, there is progress on trade remains to be seen."

Cao Desheng and Chen Yingqun contributed to this story.

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 11/30/2018 page1)

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2018-11-30 08:02:31
37303165 <![CDATA[Nation meets carbon emissions goal early]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/23/content_37303165.htm China will continue to share climate data and take further measures to reduce the country's greenhouse gas levels

China has met its goal of reducing its carbon intensity - emissions per unit of GDP - three years before schedule. But more global effort is required to reduce the world's emissions of greenhouse gases and tackle climate change, according to a report published on Nov 16.

In 2017, China's carbon intensity, measured in kilograms of carbon emitted to produce $1 of gross domestic product, was 46 percent lower than in 2005, fulfilling China's goal to cut carbon emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. The goal was set by the State Council in 2009.

 

Technicians check the facilities at a photovoltaic power station in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, in July. Provided to China Daily

The results are from the 2018 Global Ecological Environment Sensing report published by the National Remote Sensing Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology. China's renewable energy sector also saved the nation from emitting 425 million metric tons of carbon gas in 2017, according to the report.

"The Chinese government has been effective in slowing down its carbon emissions rate, fulfilling its commitment to the world," says Wang Qi'an, director of the sensing center.

However, despite the gradual decrease, China's carbon intensity level is still higher than that of developed countries, with China emitting 0.25 kg of carbon per $1 of GDP in 2016. In comparison, the United States had a carbon intensity of 0.08, and that of the 28 countries of the European Union taken as a group was 0.06, during the same period.

The report also found that China and the US are the world's top carbon-emitting countries among the world's major economies, with China producing around 2.77 billion tons in 2016 and the US 1.45 billion tons. The US is also the world's largest carbon emitter in terms of average emissions per person, at around 4.5 metric tons per person in 2016, significantly more than the global average of 1.3 tons.

China emitted around 2 tons per person in 2016, while the European Union emitted around 1.9 tons and India 0.5 tons.

"China will need more technological innovations, as well as to change its industrial and energy structures to improve its energy efficiency," Wang says.

By the end of 2017, China's renewable energy generating capacity had reached 650 million kilowatts, and the ratio of nonfossil fuel energy in the national energy structure was around 13.8 percent, closing in on the 15 percent goal set for 2020, the report said.

More than 1,700 power companies, accounting for more than 3 billion tons of carbon emissions, had entered China's pilot carbon market by the end of 2017. The market allows the trading of carbon emission units between companies, encouraging them to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Guo Huadong, a researcher from the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, says, "China will continue to share its data and knowledge with the world, and contribute to jointly tackling climate change, preserving the environment and achieving sustainable development goals."

Some of the planet's largest carbon emitting regions include the eastern and western parts of US, Western Europe, East Asia and the northern parts of South Asia. The burning of fossil fuel is the primary carbon source, accounting for around 87.9 percent of all emissions produced in 2016.

"It will take a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change," says Wang.

These efforts include cutting emissions, enhancing ecological monitoring and protection efforts, and improving the carbon-absorbing capability from land-based ecosystems, such as tropical rainforests.

zhangzhihao@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/23/2018 page13)

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2018-11-23 09:30:24
37302526 <![CDATA[Expanded rail bridge in the 'pipeline']]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/23/content_37302526.htm Trains 'connecting companies, countries and people', says president of pan-Eurasian enterprise

Russia and its partners want to widen their Eurasian bridge with a "pipeline for trains", according to Alexey Grom, president of pan-Eurasian railway company United Transport and Logistics Co Eurasian Railway Alliance.

UTLC ERA is a state-owned, joint-stock company registered in Moscow and co-owned by partners Russian Railways, the National Union Belarusian Railway and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, the national railway company of Kazakhstan.

"Railway is one of the main tools to bring us closer in Eurasia. The areas where the rail is developing, the life is developing, and our people start to live better," says Grom.

 

Alexey Grom says he is optimistic that railway has a key role to play in connecting companies, countries and people. Liu Jia / China Daily

"I'm always looking for new developments. This is the best time for this industry. And I'm optimistic that railway has a key role to play in connecting companies, countries and people," he says.

Grom, who is Russian, has worked for 25 years in the rail transportation industry. He is an enthusiastic proponent of initiatives aiming to boost Eurasian connectivity, particularly projects to unleash railway's potential.

"I like all the initiatives which help us get close to each other, because we understand that development benefits all the countries and people who live on this new Silk Road," Grom says.

"And we support these initiatives, not only in words, but also in practice. Our so-called railway bridge between South Asia, China and Europe is developing very fast. We are creating the so-called pipeline for trains at our Eurasian economic area," he adds.

The UTLC ERA family networks include 35 rail and transportation companies from the Eurasian region. They currently operate 50 regular routes for railway transportation on the Eurasian transit corridor between cities in China and Europe.

"We have up to 15 trains a day between China and Europe. In five days, you can get your cargo from the Chinese border to the European border, despite the 5,430-kilometer distance. This route is safe, reliable and fast," says Grom.

Earlier this month, UTLC ERA sent two trains with containers to Chengdu, Sichuan province. The containers had originally been sent by sea from Rotterdam, Netherlands, arriving at the Russian port of Kaliningrad. The launch of these pilot trains was part of the company's multimodal transportation development project, which aims to boost Europe-China transportation through Russian ports.

Grom says UTLC ERA's target is to hit a handling capacity of 1 million containers by 2025.

By the end of October, the volume of freight traffic operated by UTLC ERA had reached a record 214,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (one TEU is equivalent to a standard 20-foot shipping container), which is 38,000 more than the total amount last year.

"It is developing. Like three years ago, nobody believed it could develop so fast. But now we see from the real figures that capacity within European borders has increased a lot in the past two years. The number of railway trains between China and Europe is increasing a lot. We see more and more European companies and countries are involved in this process. This is our common Eurasia future," Grom says.

"I also appreciate the initiatives from the European Union. It is important to see the first result after these initiatives had been declared by the European countries. Because it is important to see the practical things," Grom says, speaking about the EU's strategy to connect Asia and Europe.

Although there are 25 shipment points and destination terminals that already cover major European countries, and about the same number of terminals in China, UTLC ERA is looking for alternative transit routes in Europe and opportunities to expand their services to other such Asian countries as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

Last month in Shenzhen, Grom presented the Eurasian Rail Alliance Index at the 13th China International Logistics and Transportation Fair. ERAI is a composite index of the cost of transit container shipments in the Eurasian rail corridor across the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union between China and the EU.

He emphasizes that rail transit traffic through the East-West transportation corridor has become competitive, thanks to high delivery speed and optimal rates for freight transit services.

"If you ask me what is the future of trains - freight or passenger - I would say it is very reasonable to have combined trains," Grom says.

"I think it is a good idea to have fast-speed trains from China to Europe and vice versa, as it will bring perspectives for many industries in our common Eurasia. I also think it's a good idea to use the tracks for our railway which we are creating in Eurasia both for passenger trains and container trains," he adds.

There are already some promising projects under construction in Russia, with both China and Europe involved, which aim to provide new technology trains that could combine passengers and freight in one train, Grom says.

The 770-km-long Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail line is one example. It is expected to serve approximately 10.5 million passengers in its initial year of operation. The line's passenger and freight rolling stock will be jointly developed by Russian Railways, China Railway, Sinara and China Railway Rolling Stock.

Russia and China are currently building the Tongjiang-Russia Railway Bridge across the Heilongjiang River, known as the Amur River in Russia, which links the city of Tongjiang in northeast China's Heilongjiang province with Nizhneleninskoye, Russia.

The Chinese part of this first cross-river railway bridge between the two countries was completed in mid-October. The bridge, which uses a set of rails that can adapt to Russia's 1,520-mm and China's 1,435-mm track gauges, is expected to become a new international channel connecting China, Russia and Europe.

There is currently only direct freight rail service linking China and Europe. However, Belgium and China are working on a program to launch a passenger train line between Europe and China. The so-called Diamond Silk Road is to connect Antwerp and Shanghai by a passenger train running through 10 other cities including Brussels, Moscow, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and Beijing.

"If you ask me which is more important, passenger or cargo, I would definitely say passengers. Cargo is transited for the benefits of these passengers from these countries. These railway projects will boost connectivity not only in infrastructure but also in people-to-people communication," he says.

In Grom's mind, Eurasia is a region with unique advantages regarding competitiveness and connectivity. Due to booming trade along the new Silk Road, businesses and people in the region should establish relations on a personal level, he says.

"On the one hand, we are so different. But on the other hand, this difference between us has encouraged us to be connected even more. And it will offer opportunities for us - we are all neighbors - to know and learn about each other," he says.

In addition, Grom says: "We are all in one supply chain. It's very important to synchronize our developments. There is no value if someone will be ahead in this race.

"We all have to be winners. What I call 'win' is that we are playing on one team. To be the winners is to have us all involved, unite our efforts and work together for our common Eurasian future."

liujia@chinadaily.com.cn

( China Daily European Weekly 11/23/2018 page32)

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2018-11-23 08:36:12
37302525 <![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2018-11/23/content_37302525.htm

"Chinese brands will step further onto the global stage with their products, technology, management and investment, which will bring benefits to people across the world."

LEI JUN, founder and CEO of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.

"Mixed ownership reform should be a twoway street. The government will not only encourage nonpublic capital to participate in SOE reform, but also support the development of private business together with SOE resources."

WENG JIEMING, vice-chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

"3D printing