Sci-fi to promote study of science
Science fiction plays an important role in encouraging children to study science, according to a senior official with the China Association of Science and Technology.Speaking at the ongoing Another Planet Science Fiction Convention, Bai Xi, head of the CAST Department of Science Popularization, praised Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin and other Chinese writers for inspiring the nation’s youth.“Having a few Nobel laureates, academicians, experts and professors won’t make China an innovative country,” he said, in a spirited speech to sci-fi writers and fans attending the event in Beijing.“Science fiction is entrusted with promoting the scientific spirit and thinking in society.”The official said only 16.1 percent of children wish to become scientists when they grow up, citing a People’s Daily survey, a figure lower than the 22 percent in 1978 when the reform and opening-up started.He also said China had only 8.47 percent of scientifically literate citizens last year, a leapfrog from 1.36 percent in 2005 but still “a very low level” compared with 25 percent in the United States in 2015.China has set a goal of pushing the scientific literacy rate to 10 percent by 2020 and to reach an advanced level globally by 2035, according to Bai.“To complete this challenging task, we can’t just rely on those specializing in science popularization,” Bai said. “We are inviting writers, artists and even the 91 million science and technology practitioners to join this cause.”The Chinese market for sci-fi literature reached 900 million yuan (US$130 million) in the first half of 2018, nearing the yearly total of 970 million yuan in 2017, while the sci-fi box office in the same period of 2018 reached 9.5 billion yuan, according to a report by the Shenzhen-based Southern University of Science and Technology.Earlier this year, China-made sci-fi blockbuster “The Wandering Earth,” adapted from Liu Cixin’s short story, ignited a cinema-going craze. The groundswell of public interest in sci-fi has been partly attributed to the continuous stream of scientific breakthroughs achieved by China in recent years, including sending the first probe and rover to the far side of the moon.Sci-fi literature and industry has accompanied the modernization of countries such as Britain and the United States, said Liu, who predicted a similar boom in China.“In today’s China, a strong sense of future is a fertile land for the growth of sci-fi,” he said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

From organics to tourism, rural life is improving
China’s rural revitalization strategy is helping revamp the countryside. For decades, fruit and vegetables from the village of Gunan used to be sold within its vicinity in Yichun City, east China’s Jiangxi Province.But in recent years, organic produce from Gunan has found its way onto the shelves of chain supermarkets in the provincial capital Nanchang, where it is wildly popular.“We have set up 10 chain supermarkets in Nanchang and in Gaohu Township (which administers Gunan), and we provide more than 30 job positions in the markets,” said village official Zhong Yinghua. “About one-third of our employees are from cities and townships.”Meanwhile, rural tourism is booming thanks to pleasant scenery and local delicacies.In Jiangxi’s Wentang Township, for example, villagers used to make little more than 1,000 yuan (US$145) per capita on average annually. In the past three years, locals have rented their houses as family inns, which can generate annual revenue of up to 40,000 yuan a year.Amid the tourism boom, authorities in Jiangxi have issued a notice to continue efforts to transform about 20,000 rural villages.Each village will receive a subsidy of 300,000 yuan to boost local development. Government funds will be allocated to build roads, renovate toilets and houses, and beautify villages by planting more trees, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.Rural revitalization is also bringing back migrant workers.“More state-owned and private enterprises are coming to the countryside, which has brought good investment and improved industrial chains including production, logistics and sales in rural areas,” said Xu Wenqin, an agriculture official in Jiangxi’s Fuzhou City. “The situation has made locals more willing to stay than go.”In addition, the 4G network and faster logistics have allowed many farmers to enter e-commerce.In the remote Shuangxi Village of Wanzai County, 220 out of 3,200 local residents have engaged in e-commerce, selling agricultural products worth 20 million yuan.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Learning to cope with automated economy
Chen Shaopeng carefully draws golden roosters, mandarin ducks and luxuriantly colored peonies on a piece of paper, not with paint, but with jam.The 20-year-old chef is trying to demonstrate his culinary skills, and how human ability will always be superior to that of a machine.“No matter what, the value of a chef is about creativity and originality,” said the student at the Culinary School at Shunde Polytechnic. “My goal is to work as a chef at a five-star hotel.”As the world becomes technologically driven, China’s manufacturing hub Guangdong is reforming its education system to train young people to cope with the age of automation in which robots start to replace workers. Guangdong has 694 vocational schools with 2.23 million students. Gan Muyi, chief of the culinary school, said they are focused on fostering students’ creativity to meet the increasingly diverse cuisine market.At the Shunde Liangqiuju Vocational & Technical School, students who study 3D printing have to learn interdisciplinary knowledge in model building, digital control, design and assembly.School vice principal Zhao Ruqi said they have integrated previously isolated courses to teach students the knowledge they need to work in smart manufacturing.“It’s not enough for students to master one type of technology or be good at one step of a manufacturing process,” he said. “We are being forced to make changes.”Guangdong started to reform its manufacturing industry five years ago. In the city of Dongguan, from 2014 to 2017, a total of 38.6 billion yuan (US$5.6 billion) was invested in automation, which reduced the need for 200,000 workers.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Yanshan swine fever
China has had a new outbreak of African swine fever in Yanshan County, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has confirmed. Some 48 pigs were confirmed dead, the ministry said, citing a China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center report. A team was dispatched and local authorities have initiated an emergency response to block, cull and disinfect affected pigs.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Death for drug dealing
Five people have been sentenced to death for drug dealing, according to a court in north China’s Shanxi Province. Of the 23 people involved in the case, three also received death sentences with a reprieve, and one received a life sentence. The rest were sentenced to three to 16 years of imprisonment. Their personal properties were confiscated. The drug gang was involved in selling drugs weighing more than 84 kilograms between September 2016 and January 2017.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

TCM aims big with WHO nod
MEDICINE originating from traditional Chinese medicine has been incorporated into the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases, marking a major step for TCM’s internationalization. The revision was approved on Saturday at the 72nd World Health Assembly being held in Geneva, Switzerland, according to China’s National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. “The release of ICD-11 can help China establish a disease statistics network with the country’s TCM health service information according to international standards,” said Zhang Boli, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. It can also promote international exchange and cooperation of TCM and the integrated development of TCM with medical and health-care systems of other countries, said Zhang, who is also president of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. China has signed specialized TCM cooperation agreements with over 40 countries, regions and organizations, and built a group of TCM centers in countries and regions along the B&R.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Xi says countries need to bolster ties on Internet, big data and AI
COUNTRIES should cooperate in developing the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a letter to the China International Big Data Industry Expo in the southwestern city of Guiyang. “The new generation of information technology, represented by the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence, is booming at present and has significant and profound impacts on the economic development, social progress and people’s lives of all countries,” Xi said. Different countries need to strengthen cooperation, deepen exchanges, grasp the opportunities of digital, Internet-based and intelligent development, and properly address the legal, security and governance challenges in the development of the big data industry, he said. China attaches great importance to the development of the big data industry, and is willing to share opportunities of the digital economy’s development with other countries and jointly explore new growth drivers and development paths by exploring new technologies, new business forms and new models, Xi said. Xi added that he hopes delegates and guests at the expo discuss plans for the industry’s development and cooperation in the field to contribute to the common development of all countries and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity. The international expo on big data opened yesterday in southwest China’s Guizhou Province, focusing on the latest innovation of the technology and its applications. The four-day event in the provincial capital of Guiyang will be attended by 448 enterprises from 59 countries and regions, according to the organizing committee. Among them are more than 150 foreign companies, including 39 Fortune 500 firms. The expo will feature nine high-level dialogues, including one on big data and global efforts on poverty alleviation, as well as more than 50 forums. It will also include a global competition on artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. “Today, the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence have integrated deeply with the real economy, while the digital economy has enjoyed rapid growth,” Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, said at the opening ceremony of the expo. “Such integration has become the key driving force for high-quality development of the economy.” By the end of 2018, the scale of China’s digital economy reached 31 trillion yuan (US$4.5 trillion), accounting for about one-third of the national GDP, Miao said. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sent a message for the big data expo, expressing his best wishes for a fruitful event. “From medicine to transportation to farming, big data presents the world with a remarkable tool to advance global progress,” Guterres said. He also encouraged participants of the big data industry to reflect on the analysis provided by the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation launched by the UN, so that “we can create a digital world that we are proud to pass on to our children and grandchildren.” Since 2015, the expo has been held four times in Guiyang. As China’s first big data pilot zone, the mountainous province of Guizhou has attracted heavyweight players, including Apple, Qualcomm, Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and Foxconn, to establish cloud computing and big data centers as well as regional headquarters.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Tax, fee cuts to ease burden on firms
CHINESE Premier Li Keqiang stressed tax and fee cuts and improvement of financial services to alleviate burdens on companies and promote their healthy development. Li made the remarks during his tour in east China’s Shandong Province on Friday and Saturday. He underscored the importance of tax cuts and fee reductions, as they are key to coping with current downward economic pressures and can benefit the economy in the long run. In Weichai Group, a leading machinery manufacturer, Li encouraged the staff to strengthen international cooperation in innovation. He also called for craftsmanship to produce more competitive, highly reliable products. A manager of Weifang Goertek Electronics Co, a privately owned intellectual products maker, told Li that the company will pay 100 million yuan (US$15 million) less in taxes and fees this year. Li said China has huge market potential and that through technological innovation, their own efforts and extensive cooperation, Chinese companies will eventually win consumers and the market. The government will also continue to improve policies and encourage companies to increase inputs into research and development, he added. During his visit to a local bank, Li said lenders should use big data techniques and innovate financial products and models to provide better financial services to small and micro-sized enterprises, as these enterprises play a crucial role in driving economic growth, increasing employment and improving people’s livelihoods. Li also asked local authorities to monitor prices of daily products and take proper measures to ensure sufficient supply and reasonable prices.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Albino panda spotted at nature reserve
A RARE all-white panda has been caught on camera at a nature reserve in southwest China, showing albinism exists among wild pandas in the region, state media reported. The spotless, red-eyed animal was photographed while trekking through the forest in mid-April in southwestern Sichuan Province, said Xinhua news agency on Saturday. The panda is an albino between 1 and 2 years old, said Li Sheng, a researcher specializing in bears at Peking University. The Wolong National Nature Reserve, where the animal was spotted, said it had no further details about the albino panda. More than 80 percent of the world’s wild pandas live in Sichuan, with the rest in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. There were about 548 giant pandas in captivity globally as of November, reported Xinhua. The number living in the wild has dwindled to fewer than 2,000, according to the World Wildlife Fund. In 2018, China announced plans to create a bastion for giant pandas three times the size of Yellowstone National Park to link up existing wild populations and encourage breeding of the notoriously slow-reproducing animal. At least 10 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion) had been budgeted for the Giant Panda National Park in mountainous southwest. Pandas are listed as a vulnerable species, which means that while their survival is still threatened, conservation efforts have helped reduce their danger of extinction.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

10 dead as gas leaks from ship
AT least 10 people died and 19 were injured after carbon dioxide leaked from a cargo ship’s fire prevention system in eastern China, local officials said yesterday. The gas leak occurred at 4pm on Saturday at Longyan Port in Weihai, eastern Shandong Province, the local government said through its official Twitter-like Weibo account. The injured are receiving medical treatment and their condition is stable, the statement said. The cargo vessel belonged to Fujian Shipping Company and was being repaired when the gas leak happened. A preliminary investigation has found that the accident was the result of improper procedures by the ship’s crew. Local police have the “relevant personnel” in custody, and further investigation is underway.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 26 May 2019 | 12:09 pm

Chinese driver gets ticket for scratching his face
A man was fined and given points on his licence after a smart traffic camera decided he was on the phone.

Source: BBC News - China | 24 May 2019 | 10:12 am

Trump says Huawei could be part of trade deal
Huawei could feature in a US-China trade pact despite being "very dangerous", says the US president.

Source: BBC News - China | 23 May 2019 | 9:51 pm

Huawei: China warns of investment blow to UK over 5G ban
A top Chinese diplomat tells the BBC there could be "substantial" repercussions if the UK bars Huawei.

Source: BBC News - China | 23 May 2019 | 11:04 am

Panasonic scrutinises relationship with Huawei
US restrictions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei are having a ripple effect across the tech industry.

Source: BBC News - China | 23 May 2019 | 9:24 am

Ozone layer: Banned CFCs traced to China say scientists
Atmospheric observations pinpoint eastern China as the source of a rise in ozone-destroying chemicals.

Source: BBC News - China | 22 May 2019 | 5:31 pm

US-China trade war: Shoe giants urge Trump to end tariffs
Nike and Adidas are among 173 firms who say higher tariffs are "catastrophic" for consumers.

Source: BBC News - China | 22 May 2019 | 6:24 am

Boeing 737 Max: China's top airlines seek compensation
China was the first country to ground the 737 Max in March after two fatal crashes involving the jets.

Source: BBC News - China | 22 May 2019 | 3:00 am

China's latest weapon in the trade war: Karaoke
A patriotic song by a retired official, about the ongoing China-US trade war, goes viral.

Source: BBC News - China | 21 May 2019 | 2:46 pm

TFBoys: Wang Yuan sorry over illegal smoking
China goes wild over TFBoys star and role model caught smoking illegally

Source: BBC News - China | 21 May 2019 | 8:47 am

US warns of threat from Chinese drone companies
The alert raises concerns that the Chinese government might gain access to confidential data.

Source: BBC News - China | 21 May 2019 | 8:47 am