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SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
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  19-23.7.2021, No. 875  
    Archiv / Archives
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Switzerland

Swiss Architecture Month launched in Hebei Province to focus on 'sustainability' and 'art' (Global Times)
2021-07-19
A cultural forum on Swiss architecture and art kicked off on Saturday at Aranya, a trendy artsy tourism-oriented community space in Qinhuangdao, North China's Hebei Province, as the first chapter in space's Swiss architecture month that is set to run until mid-August. Collaboratively organized by the Embassy of Switzerland in China and Juanzong Books, the forum invited four ingenious Chinese architects - able to play to their oriental cultural tastes through Western approaches - to share their projects that reflect on the topic of "sustainability," a pivotal issue in architecture. Adopting rather abstract themes such as "sensitive mountains" and "passive architecture," the forum discussion focused on how buildings are designed to fit into the mountainous geography commonly seen in both China and Switzerland. Three Chinese architects Liu Kenan, Zhuang Ziyu and Yu Dao engaged the audiences by deductively showing the thought processes behind their projects to allow them to understand how they balanced idealistic vision and well-calculated functionality in their designs. Zhuang and Yu explained how "parallelism," an aesthetic visual quality often seen in ancient Chinese artworks, inspired his designs and how complex negotiations are often behind innovative architectural techniques. The three designers said they associate sustainability with a concept called "passive architecture," which is related to a designer's desire to use natural energy sources that are internally provided by a building (through design) rather than relying on energy that is brought in from outside. "It is not a good concept. In my opinion, such an attempt aims to make a building self-sufficient. For example, designing a natural ventilation system for a house according to local air circulation," Dylan Yang, an architect, told the Global Times on Sunday. Alongside the forum, the space is also holding an art exhibition focused on Switzerland's most iconic modern artist Max Bill. The exhibition shows the artist's rare prints to draw audiences closer to the Bauhaus art movement - a post-war modern design philosophy that praises "simplicity" and "rationality" in art that continues to influence today's designers. "I became a Max Bill fan while I was studying art in Paris. I love his Helvetica character too, but never saw his real works there. I'm so pleased to see his works up close this time," Zhu, an audience member at the conference, told the Global Times on Sunday. Besides "architecture" and "art," a Swiss architecture book exhibition was also launched that same day. Also part of the month-long event, an online conference to discuss China-Switzerland relations is scheduled for July 30.  ^ top ^

Jazz echoes again in Montreux, Switzerland amid pandemic (Global Times)
2021-07-18
The legendary Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland wrapped up its 55th edition on Saturday, an event showcasing up-and-coming young talent and celebrating world music while defying heavy rainstorms and pandemic restrictions. The prestigious summer music event kicked off its comeback on July 2 on the shores of Lake Geneva, taking place in a reduced but intimate format on four stages, including a floating stage built on the lake, for a limited number of fans with a COVID-19-free certificate. "It was a big challenge, definitely," Mathieu Jaton, CEO of the festival, told the Xinhua News Agency. "We decided in March that we should launch the festival, that we should do something." "We decided to just turn the table completely and make something completely different, which fits the brand values of the festival, which is patrimony, intimacy, quality and innovation," Jaton said. Nestled between the Alps and the Switzerland's largest body of water, minutes from the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, the festival drew nearly 250,000 music lovers every year in usual times. "The overall capacity is roughly 2,000 a day, which is much smaller than what we are used to because normally it's like 20,000 people a day," he said. "But what we see, what is very interesting and what we were looking for, is that the spirit of the festival is still there," he said. Although COVID-19 infection rates in Switzerland have stabilized in recent months, allowing the Swiss government to slowly ease restrictions, many outdoor music festivals, including the Paleo in Nyon and Bern's Gurten festival, were canceled for the second year in a row. The Montreux Jazz Festival was created in 1967 by Claude Nobs and takes place for two weeks every summer. After 2020's cancelation due to the pandemic, musicians such as Woodkid, Zucchero, Ibrahim Maalouf, Nathy Peluso, and Sam Fischer featured on the program this time. Under the slogan "Where Legends Are Born," supporting young Swiss and international talents has always been at the heart of the festival. Rising Tamil-Swiss star Priya Ragu, who mixes R&B and electro-pop with Sri Lankan and South Indian sounds, said her dreams came true in Montreux. "This is my first time in Montreux. I have been dreaming about it for a very long time and I can't believe that it's actually happening. I'm very, very excited," she told Xinhua before her concert. Ragu released her new single Kamali during the festival and announced her upcoming debut mixtape. "I was at a concert here in Montreux from The Neptunes years ago, and I was standing in line and just thinking: If I make it here one day then I can die happily," she said. In its more than 50 years of history, the small Swiss town of Montreux has hosted iconic performances by music legends Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. While jazz, soul and blues are at the roots of the event, other styles of music have quickly found their place. In recent years, superstars like Lady Gaga, Muse, Radiohead, Pharrell Williams, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Adele and others have performed here. "It's a bit strange to perform at the Montreux Jazz during COVID[-19] but at the same time it's an honor and a privilege," said Arma Jackson, a winner at the Swiss Music Awards 2021. Malian singer-songwriter and guitarist Fatoumata Diawara, who received two nominations at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, told Xinhua, "We often come to Switzerland to play, to perform, honestly. But the Montreux Jazz Festival is very special, it's really special." Even torrential rainfalls and thunderstorms in Switzerland this week could not take away spectators' joy to once again witness a live music event. "I have been waiting for so long, I don't care about the rain. Let the music live!" festival-goer Jessica Villeneuve who traveled from Geneva said. Since the end of the 1970s, the Montreux Jazz Festival has exported its savoir-faire, heritage and atmosphere to various cities around the world with editions in Sao Paulo, Detroit, Atlanta, Singapore, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. The event is expected to travel to China for the first time in the fall, with the first edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival China taking place in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, between October 4 and October 8 under the theme "When West Meets East." "We are very proud, and we are very honored to have the Montreux Jazz Festival for the first time ever in China in Hangzhou," said festival CEO Jaton. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Sherman's China trip more of 'keeping in touch' than 'problem solving' (Global Times)
2021-07-23
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited South Korea on Thursday, the last stop before her highly anticipated meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice Minister Xie Feng in North China's Tianjin, which will take place from July 25 to 26. Although Sherman will be the highest-level US official to visit China under the Biden administration, amid deteriorating bilateral relations, Chinese political experts view the visit as one of "keeping in touch" rather than problem-solving. Moreover, Seoul and Tokyo, Washington's allies, have shown varying degrees of conservatism with the repetitive US "anti-China pattern." The Global Times found that in South Korea's Yonhap News Agency's report covering Sherman's meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, no China-related issue was mentioned - only the background of trilateral talks in Tokyo, which involve the US' attitude toward China. Following Sherman's meeting with the vice foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in Tokyo on Wednesday, a statement from the US Department of State read that the three countries reaffirmed the need to maintain an inclusive, free and open Indo-Pacific, opposed unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea, and emphasized the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. Stressing the North Korean nuclear issue, the statement from South Korea's foreign ministry did not record any China-related issues in the talks between the South Korean foreign minister and Sherman on Thursday. Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that the US' persistent anti-China lobbying is turning State Department officials into "pesky and annoying" characters. Compared with China's positive attitude and active actions as a major power in the international community, Lü said that the US is constantly repeating negative anti-China statements in the ears of other countries, which makes the US State Department "quite creepy." Observers said that holding the meeting with Sherman in Tianjin instead of Beijing is not a snub. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Thursday explained that the arrangement stems from the capital's epidemic prevention considerations, and Tianjin is a nearby city. Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday that sensitive issues will remain on the table at the Tianjin meeting, and China and the US will use every opportunity to reaffirm their fundamental positions. Diplomatic contacts between the two governments in the past have shown that China and the US will stick to their positions on major issues, be it Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, supply chain restructuring or the origins of COVID-19. So even if the two sides arrange a high-level meeting, it's more about "keeping in touch," Shi said. No matter where senior officials from China and the US meet, the US always meets with its allies to give the outside world the impression that the "US is united with its allies and dealing with China from a position of strength." Sherman's Japan-South Korea tour before meeting in Tianjin "is a fixed diplomatic pattern for the Biden administration," Shi said. Ahead of China-US Alaska talks in March, the US held "2+2" diplomatic and security talks with Japan and South Korea. From a positive view, "keeping in touch" is still much better than mutual scolding from a distance, as it will play an important role in preventing uncontrollable conflicts in regional hot spots like the South China Sea and Taiwan Straits, Shi said. China will not make concessions on issues involving its core interests and national dignity, but China is also concerned about regional stability. Only by "keeping in touch" can China and the US prevent conflict, Shi said. ^ top ^

China rejects WHO's phase-2 COVID-19 origins study, calling it 'lack of respect for common sense, arrogant toward science' (Global Times)
2021-07-23
While calling the World Health Organization (WHO)'s second phase study proposal on COVID-19 origins lacking respect to common sense and arrogant to science, Chinese health officials and observers on Thursday said China will not accept such a plan and the next stage study should be carried out in more countries and places around the world on the basis of wide consultations among member states, not in places that have already been inspected. The WHO's plan was proposed as the US-led West intensifies the politics-driven conspiracy about a "lab-leak" theory and exerted political pressure on international scientists to give up their scientific position on the origins issue. Chinese observers called on the WHO to adhere to science and resist the adverse trend of politicizing the COVID-19 origins issue. Disgruntled by the US' overt political manipulation and shrugging off international concerns on its biological labs, a group of Chinese netizens drafted an open letter to ask the WHO to investigate the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, which has generated more than 7 million signatures in less than six days. Move on to more countries Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said at Thursday's media briefing on COVID-19 origins that China has submitted phase-2 COVID-19 origins-tracing recommendations to the WHO believing the study should be based on the WHO-China joint study in January, and should be carried out in many more places around the world after full consultations with member states. The WHO on Friday proposed a second phase study into the origins of the coronavirus in China, which includes studies of animal markets in and around Wuhan and audits of relevant labs and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019. Zeng said that he was "shocked" to read the proposal and he could sense the "lack of respect for common sense and the arrogance to science in the proposal." "It's impossible for us to accept such a plan," Zeng said, noting that the second phase study should not be carried out in places that have already been inspected in the first phase study, especially places where a clear conclusion has been reached. Liang Wannian, team leader of the Chinese side of the WHO-China joint expert team on the COVID-19 origins, said at the briefing that we believe that the lab leak theory is highly unlikely, and there is no need to invest more data and resources in that area. "If some countries believe that further investigation in this area should be carried out, then the investigations should be conducted in labs that have not yet been inspected," Liang said. Liang told the Global Times at the media briefing that multiple studies in different countries point to the possibility that COVID-19 had surfaced before the cases previously reported. He listed some examples. An Italian woman's skin biopsy detected genomic sequence of the coronavirus in November 2019. Donated blood check-ups in nine US states found 106 blood samples, ranging from December 13, 2019, to January 17, 2020, that tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. The long list of scientists' studies indicates that Wuhan might not be the first place of the coronavirus' inception, Liang said. Zeng said that China hopes the WHO could consider recommendations proposed by Chinese scientists, truly regard the tracing task as a scientific issue, get rid of political interference and promote the origins study in more countries and places around the world. Renowned scientist in evolutionary biology and genetics Wu Chung-I told the Global Times on Thursday that the novel coronavirus can only come from nature, and cannot be man-made. He called on the WHO and international scientists to seek truth with the spirit of science. Wu and 20 other Chinese scientists, and one British scholar working in China published an article recently, strongly demonstrating why the novel coronavirus cannot be man-made by using classical evolutionary theory. Noting some countries led by the US tried to politicize the issue of tracing the origins with the US even directing intelligence agencies to launch a 90-day investigation into China, Wu, a professor at the School of Life Sciences of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province and director of the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stressed the main reason why the global epidemic is out of control is that the voices of scientists are too weak. If the global response had been scientific and positive, the COVID-19 outbreak would have ended in May last year. "Is it possible for someone who knows nothing about physics to say something sensible about the origin of the universe?" Wu asked. Wu said every search has to start with a model, much like a hunt for a crime suspect needs a profile of the hunted (such as height, age, physique). Therefore, the WHO should define what the origins means first before it decides where to go. "In our model, we have a fairly specific idea where to search for the origins. It would be a place with an abundance of bats, a low density of local humans, and frequent contacts between humans and bats, especially where bats are an important part of the local cuisine," Wu said. Not just Chinese scientists, some international scientists have expressed the need to visit more countries for origins study. Marion Koopmans, a WHO-China joint study team member and head of the viroscience department at the Erasmus MC Rotterdam in the Netherlands, told the Global Times previously that the follow-up studies on coronavirus origins should look at regions outside China that have reported "viral sequences very early in 2019," as recommendations in the joint study report called for studies in regions where viruses are almost identical to the first detected viruses from Wuhan, Koopmans said. She said there is also a need for more surveys of bats, particularly in China's neighboring countries. Next stop: the US A group of Chinese netizens drafted an open letter urging the WHO to investigate Fort Detrick, and entrusted the Global Times with posting the letter on WeChat and Weibo on Saturday to solicit a public response. They said in the letter that to prevent the next epidemic, the WHO should pay special attention to labs that are conducting studies on dangerous viruses or even biochemical weapons. The open letter particularly noted the Fort Detrick lab, which stores the most deadly and infectious viruses in the world, including Ebola, smallpox, SARS, MERS and the novel coronavirus. After foreign media including Russia's RT reported the open letter, some foreign netizens asked whether the open letter could be signed by foreigners as they believe citizens around the world deserved to know the truth about Fort Detrick. Some Chinese experts also pointed out that the US should be prioritized for WHO's next stage origins study. Zeng Guang, a former chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told Global Times that the US should be prioritized, as the country was slow to test people at an early stage, and it possesses so many biological laboratories all around the world. "All bio-weapons related subjects that the country has should be subject to scrutiny," Zeng said. Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times that almost all prevailing coronavirus variants have been discovered in the US. The virologist also called on the US to hand over blood samples of those COVID-19 patients, and disclose more information about the country's epidemiologic survey, to give a clearer picture of the relation between US cases and those of other countries. Doubts about the US will not end Instead of facing up to world concerns and its own COVID-19 response failure, some US politicians used the COVID-19 origins issue to stigmatize and demonize China to shift the blame, observers said. White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange on Tuesday with Senator Rand Paul. Paul believes that the National Institutes of Health funded a lab in Wuhan, USA Today reported on Tuesday. Fauci responded as he pointed his finger at Paul: "If anyone is lying here, senator, it is you," CNBC reported. Some Americans put politics above science and political self-interest above people's lives and health, which is also an important reason for the US' failed response to the epidemic, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at Thursday's media briefing. Zhao said that the US must be clear that the international community, including China, has every reason to raise questions about Fort Detrick, demand clarification and explanation from the US, and call on the WHO to conduct a thorough investigation. "The doubts will not end until the US side gives a reasonable explanation," Zhao said. Not just politicians, some American media have been cooperating with politicians to fan the flames. The Wall Street Journal cited a US intelligence report claiming three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care. In response, Yuan Zhiming, director of China's National Biosafety Laboratory and professor at the WIV, said at Thursday's media briefing that the claim was made up, and no one can provide the names of the patients despite the institute's demand. The Global Times learned from online influencer BUYIDAO on Thursday that it had emailed WSJ, asking it to correct its story. "Should the names of the three researchers at the WIV be further disclosed?" the influencer asked, a question many Chinese netizens have. Before December 30, 2019, WIV did not contact, preserve or study the novel coronavirus, and it never designed, made or leaked the virus, Yuan said. No employee or student at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was infected with the coronavirus, Yuan added. No pathogen leakage or human infection occurred in Wuhan's P4 lab since it was put into operation in 2018, he said. The WHO-China joint study report issued on March 30 reached a clear conclusion that the Wuhan "lab leak" hypothesis is extremely unlikely. ^ top ^

The world has reason to call for investigation on Fort Detrick: FM spokesperson (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
The international community, including China, has every reason to raise questions about Fort Detrick and call on the World Health Organization (WHO) to thoroughly investigate it for the safety of people in all countries, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Thursday. On the issue of COVID-19 origin-tracing, some people in the United States may indeed have a guilty conscience, Zhao said, adding that the U.S. side has remained silent on the serious concerns raised by the international community about Fort Detrick and the more than 200 biological laboratories overseas. "The U.S. side must understand that the international community, including China, has every reason to raise questions about Fort Detrick, which has a poor track record and is notorious for breaches in lab and contaminant leak, and demand clarification and explanation from the U.S. side and call on the WHO to conduct a thorough investigation into it," Zhao said at a daily press briefing. This requirement is not only for tracing the source of COVID-19, but also for the safety of people in all countries, he said. "The questioning will not end until the U.S. side gives a reasonable explanation." At the briefing, Zhao made comments on a media report that scientists from two labs in Italy, including Milan's Istituto Nazionale Tumori, a cancer research centre, wrote in a new paper published on July 19, that retesting of a small number of pre-pandemic blood samples had indicated the presence of antibodies normally observed after coronavirus infections. Zhao said for some time, more and more reports have pointed to separate outbreaks in multiple places in the world in the latter half of the year 2019, and at least five states in the United States alone had earlier COVID-19 infections before the first officially reported confirmed case. This again shows that origin-tracing of COVID-19 is a complex scientific matter, which calls for a global collaboration of scientists with a global perspective, he said. However, some people in the United States still ignore science and facts. Obsessed with political manipulation, they are hyping up the so-called "lab leakage theory," advocating intelligence-led origins study, suppressing and threatening experts and scholars who are making an objective and rational voice, in an attempt to shift responsibility for their botched epidemic response by discrediting other countries, Zhao said. "Some individuals in the US put politics above science and selfish political gain above people's lives and health, which in large part accounts for the poor epidemic response," he said. ^ top ^

Mideast trip aims to boost friendship, cooperation, says Chinese FM (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that the purpose of his trip to Syria, Egypt and Algeria is to push forward the implementation of the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the heads of state of the three Mideast countries, and to enhance friendship. Wang made the remarks during an interview with Chinese press as he wrapped up his visit to the Middle East. He said that his visit is also to strengthen mutual trust, deepen cooperation, promote regional peace and stability, push forward unity and cooperation among developing countries, and safeguard international fairness and justice. Wang said that he and his hosts have agreed to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, continue to support each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns, and make new contributions to the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future. All parties have also agreed that the joint construction of the Belt and Road serves the fundamental interests of both China and Arab states, and the two sides will continue to deepen cooperation in such fields as infrastructure, industrial parks, energy and transportation, information and communication, aviation and aerospace, personnel training, in a bid to achieve common development, said the senior diplomat. "We all agree that it is urgent to realize peace and stability in the Middle East and all parties should work together to find a permanent solution," he added. Wang also noted that facing the sudden strike of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Arab states have helped each other, set a good example of jointly battling the pandemic, and opened up new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation, adding that China has donated and exported over 72 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 17 Arab countries and the Arab League. China and the Arab states hold that the origin tracing of the virus is a scientific issue, which should be carried out by professionals in a scientific manner, Wang said, adding that politicization of the pandemic should be rejected. In the next stage, China will work with Arab countries to further carry out joint production of vaccines, promote fair distribution of vaccines, oppose "vaccine nationalism," and continue to contribute to the world's final victory over the virus, he added. Trampling on the sovereignty of other countries in the name of democratic transformation is an unpopular practice, Wang said, noting that instigating "color revolutions" and forcing regime changes are even more harmful. The international community should urge the United States and the West to immediately lift all unilateral sanctions and economic blockades against Syria, and on that basis quickly carry out cross-line humanitarian assistance on the premise of respecting Syria's sovereignty, he said. China is committed to upholding sovereign independence and territorial integrity of all countries, and Syria is no exception, he said, adding that China is ready to work with the international community to make due contribution to restoring stability and realizing reconstruction in Syria. Wang noted that the Palestinian issue concerns the root cause of unrest in the Middle East. A settlement of the issue cannot be delayed indefinitely, and Palestine's dream to build an independent state should not be shelved indefinitely, he said. China welcomes Palestinian and Israeli representatives to hold direct talks in China, and calls for an international peace conference led by the United Nations (UN), with the participation of permanent members of the UN Security Council and all stakeholders in the Middle East peace process, so as to truly step up efforts to resolve this historically unsolved case, Wang said. China will continue to provide much-needed assistance to Palestine on the existing basis and donate another one million doses of vaccines to the Palestinian side, Wang said. China will also work with Egypt to jointly provide 500,000 doses of vaccines to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, relying on the vaccine packing plant established jointly by the two countries in Egypt, he added. Noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the People's Republic of China's lawful seat in the UN, Wang said that over the past 50 years, China and other developing countries have always supported each other, vigorously boosted the democratization of international relations, world multi-polarization and economic globalization. Developing countries have also always extended valuable support to China over the issues concerning China's core interests, and become China's strong reliance, he said. China and other developing countries should resolutely defend fairness and justice, safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, oppose hegemonism and power politics, practice genuine multilateralism, and resist a minority group imposing its rules on the international community, Wang said. China and other developing countries should back each other in searching for paths of development that fit their national conditions, and promote such common values as peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, which are shared by all humankind, Wang said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China issues guideline on high-quality development of central region (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
China has issued a guideline on promoting the high-quality development of the country's central region in the new era. The guideline, jointly released on Thursday by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, details measures to promote the region's economic growth, scientific and technological innovation, urbanization, green development, opening-up and people's well-being. China's central region includes the provinces of Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei and Hunan. By 2025, the comprehensive strength and competitiveness of the region should be further enhanced, and marked progress should be achieved in innovation capacity, with its proportion of research and development input in the regional GDP reaching the national average, says the guideline. The region's urbanization rate should be increased by more than 1 percentage point annually, and the balanced development between urban and rural areas should be further strengthened, according to the document. By 2035, the region should put in place a modern economic system, basically accomplish socialist modernization and make substantial headway in common prosperity, according to the document. Regarding promoting advanced manufacturing, the guideline urges the building of industrial bases focused on sectors including intelligent manufacturing, new materials, new-energy vehicles and electronic information. Efforts should also be made to facilitate the major technological transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing sector, attaching importance to fostering the intelligent, green, service-oriented development of traditional sectors such as the coal, construction and steel industries, according to the document. It also underscores accelerating the construction of national logistics hubs in Zhengzhou, Changsha, Taiyuan, Yichang and Ganzhou, and increasing the listed products of the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange. To promote integrated development, the central region should become integrated into major regional strategies, the guideline said, stressing support for Anhui Province to take an active part in the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region. Amid efforts on urban development, it urges the region to improve infrastructure and public services, build more sponge cities, and enhance the capacity of flood prevention and control. Efforts should also be made to advance agricultural and rural modernization, with major grain producers such as Henan being supported to build core areas for grain production. In terms of environmental protection and pollution control, the guideline says compensation mechanisms for ecological protection and damage should be implemented, while prominent environmental problems in the region should be addressed. With a focus on city clusters and metropolitan areas, the region should coordinate efforts to prevent and control air pollution, and promote air-pollution treatment in key industries, according to the document. The region should make efforts to conduct the market-oriented trading of permits for pollution discharge, energy use, water use and carbon emissions. To achieve inland high-level opening-up, the country should speed up the development of transportation in the region, including building high-speed railways, promoting the construction of an international logistics center and international air-freight shipping center, and improving the international air-traffic network, the guideline says. It also urges continued efforts to develop pilot free trade zones in the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hubei and Hunan to a high standard, and optimize a business environment that is market-oriented, rule-based and internationalized. To enhance the region's ability to provide public services, authorities should carefully review the experience gained from COVID-19 control and strengthen the public health system, the guideline says. The central region should accelerate the standardization of hospitals for infectious diseases and centers for disease control and prevention, and improve the ability of urban and rural communities to provide medical services. The supply of high-quality public goods, such as world-class universities and large-scale medical institutions, should be increased in the region, the guideline says, specifying that world-renowned universities will be encouraged to run schools in partnership with local institutions, while large-scale comprehensive medical institutions are welcome to set up subsidiaries in the region. The guideline also calls for the early implementation of policies to restore the economic and social order of Hubei Province, which was hit hard by the epidemic last year. In terms of fiscal and financial support, the central government will continue to increase transfer payments to the central region, and local governments can be allocated more bond issuance quotas on condition that risks are under control. ^ top ^

Over 8,000 soldiers aiding central China's flood-hit Henan (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
The Central Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has sent 8,360 troops to flood-hit areas in central China's Henan Province, as of 12:00 p.m. Thursday. Heavy rainfall and floods have caused the deaths of 33 people in the province, with about 3 million people affected. As the rainfall moves toward the northern part of the province, PLA soldiers are rushing to multiple counties on rescue missions. A total of 44 batches of troops have been dispatched by the Central Theater Command. In the city of Xinxiang, which suffered heavy downpours from July 17 to 22, militia personnel have rescued or helped 1,778 people. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the armed police force delivered 18 rescue boats, 2,000 life vests and 500 lifebuoys to Zhengzhou, the provincial capital. ^ top ^

Nanjing, airports move aggressively against virus (China Daily)
2021-07-22
Nanjing, Jiangsu province, reported 13 confirmed cases and nine asymptomatic carriers as of 1 pm on Thursday. Fu Jinjin, deputy head of the city's Jiangning district, noted at a news conference on Thursday afternoon that the district's 29 communities have been under lockdown since Tuesday. "Plenty of supplies have been delivered to guarantee normal life for the 30,000 residents of the communities," she said. The district, where Nanjing Lukou International Airport is located, set up 551 testing centers and finished testing its 1.9 million residents in a single day. Airport workers recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Nanjing upgraded 10 of its communities from low-risk to medium-risk for COVID-19 on Thursday morning. Eastern Airports, a company that oversees seven airports in Jiangsu, has ordered that staff members in key positions take a coronavirus test every three days. While some will be assigned to work on international fights, all cleaning and freight transport staff will be strictly monitored. Waste disposal and disinfection of key areas will be strengthened to prevent spread of the virus, it added. ^ top ^

China calls on Portugal to jointly oppose 'vaccine nationalism,' 'political virus' (China Daily)
2021-07-22
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Portugal and other European countries on research and development and fair distribution of vaccines and drugs, and jointly oppose "vaccine nationalism" and "political virus". Wang made the remarks when holding the first round of strategic dialogue at the foreign ministers' level in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, with Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Portugal have supported each other in times of difficulty. The traditional friendship between the two countries has stood the test and opened up new opportunities, Wang noted. Noting that the origin tracing of the virus is a scientific issue, Wang said it is hoped that the two sides will jointly oppose political manipulation of the origin tracing issue, jointly resist the "political virus" and safeguard the overall situation of solidarity against the pandemic. There is no conflict of fundamental interests or opposition of real interests between China and Europe, Wang said. "We hope that the current difficulties can be overcome as soon as possible to bring bilateral relations back to the track of sound development. It is believed that Portugal will continue to play a constructive role to this end." Silva expressed condolences to China over the severe flood disaster in Henan province, thanked China for providing anti-epidemic supplies to Portugal, and expressed readiness to cooperate with China on vaccines. The Portuguese market will always be open to Chinese enterprises, Silva said, hoping to further cement the ties between the two sides in the post-epidemic era. The two sides also exchanged in-depth views on international and regional affairs of common interest. Both sides are satisfied with the success of the first round of strategic dialogue at the foreign ministers' level. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Bach encourages Beijing 2022 preparations to "keep going strong" (Xinhua)
2021-07-21
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach expressed his appreciation toward the progress in Beijing Winter Olympic Games preparations on Wednesday and hoped it can "keep going strong." "Keep going strong with regard to the preparations," Bach told a delegation from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG) at the 138th IOC Session here. After being informed of the progress in the Games preparations through the BOCOG's demonstration report, Bach reiterated the top priority is to ensure a safe and secure Olympic Games. "Thank you for having demonstrated the great progress and very satisfactory situation with regard to the technical preparations, the venues, the sustainability and legacy plans, and the engagement of the Chinese people with the winter sports. "We will continue to work closely together to make these Games, first of all, safe and secure. The same principle will apply and has to be applied for all Olympic Games that the first priority is to have safe and secure Olympic Games," he said. "We can also make progress on all aspects of this preparation very quickly. In this way, we are preparing what we all want to have. That means a successful Olympic Winter Games in a couple of months from now in Beijing," Bach was also impressed by China's vision of engaging 300 million people in winter sports through staging the Beijing Winter Olympics. "You can imagine what this will mean for winter sports. If you have after this Games, 300 million people more engaged in winter sports, this will make winter sports globally. "This is a real milestone in the global development of winter sports, which we all should support. It's a great opportunity for winter sports and the sport in general," the German said. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Shenzhen issues China's first digital yuan insurance policies (Global Times)
2021-07-21
The nation's first digital yuan insurance policies have been issued in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, in what analysts describe as another major step forward in the broader deployment of the China's digital currency. The Shenzhen subsidiary of Pingan Property Insurance, working with the Bank of China branch in Shenzhen, issued the first batch of digital yuan insurance policies, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported on Tuesday. The move aims to conduct a simulation exercise for the use of the digital yuan in more application scenarios and information systems, Wang Peng, an assistant professor at the Gaoling School of Artificial Intelligence at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday. It also aims to cultivate user habits for a broader range of application scenarios, as the previous trials mostly targeted e-commerce and online payments, according to Wang. "As more users get used to making payments with the digital yuan and the market matures, the application scenarios will be able to expand from the insurance industry to more scenarios such as financial services, life services, and even the purchase of funds and trading in securities," Wang said. The emergence of such insurance policies represents the insurance sector's pilot application of the digital yuan to online premium payments, which takes the digital yuan into people's daily lives, according to Shenzhen Special Zone Daily. The new insurance policy targets medical workers in Shenzhen's Nanshan district, and it provides 300,000 yuan ($46,221) in coverage for death from COVID-19. It pays 50,000 yuan if a medical worker is diagnosed with COVID-19, and 50,000 yuan for an accidental death, per media reports. Applicants are eligible for exclusive preferential allowance if they use the digital yuan wallet to make payments, reports said. Pingan Property Insurance will further explore the application of the digital yuan in insurance claims, payments, and other aspects, and continue to expand the use of the digital yuan in the insurance industry to more scenarios, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported, citing an official at Pingan's Shenzhen subsidiary. In mid-October 2020, when China commenced public testing of the digital yuan in Shenzhen, the local government and China's central bank jointly gave away 50,000 digital red packets with each containing 200 yuan. It was the first time that the digital currency was tested in a public setting. Since then, China has been continuously promoting the application of the digital yuan, with bidding projects for the field increasing significantly that targeted several cities in China, according to media reports on Tuesday. China Mobile on Friday revealed a patent for technology designed to improve the security of users' digital currency assets. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Xi visits Nyingchi in Tibet (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has visited the city of Nyingchi in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Xi arrived at the Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was warmly welcomed by local people and officials of various ethnic groups. He then visited the Nyang River Bridge, to inspect the ecological preservation in the basin of the Yarlung Zangbo River and its tributary Nyang River. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China pools resources to help Xinjiang achieve moderate prosperity (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
In Kunyu, a newly-built city on the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert in northwest China, Yu Lijuan is the only pediatrician in town. Yu was sent by the Beijing municipality to work in the city in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region under a "pairing assistance" program through which financial, technical and talent support in various fields have been channeled to Xinjiang from other regions of China. China has been implementing the "pairing assistance" program in Xinjiang since 1997. In 2010, a new round of pairing assistance was launched, involving central and state organs, centrally administered state-owned enterprises, and 19 provinces and municipalities. Since then, around 17,000 talents and cadres have come from afar to aid Xinjiang. The region has eradicated extreme poverty under the nationwide program. Despite the harsh working conditions near the vast desert, Yu is determined to pass on her expertise to local doctors. "My goal is to help build a sound pediatric department so that children here can have easier access to medical care," Yu said. ^ top ^

Beijing signals stronger support for Xinjiang amid US sanctions (SCMP)
2021-07-22
China has pledged to commit more resources to help Xinjiang as the far-western region faces tough US sanctions. Wang Yang, who heads the Communist Party's leading group on Xinjiang affairs, attended a meeting on "pairing assistance" – a decades-old practice under which China's coastal provinces and municipalities are "paired up" with cities and counties in Xinjiang to send investment and personnel directly to those areas. His comments suggested Beijing was ready to pour more resources into the region, which has been the subject of criticism and sanctions over claims of human rights abuses, including US sanctions targeting companies and industries there. "Pairing assistance for Xinjiang is a major political task given by the central leadership," Wang said. "[We] must insist that the funding goes to welfare, to the grass roots and key areas." Wang – who ranks fourth in the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's seven-strong top decision-making body – made his comments during the three-day meeting, which ended on Wednesday, according to Xinhua. The meeting was held in Aksu in south Xinjiang, near China's border with Kyrgyzstan. It had been two years since a meeting was convened specifically on pairing assistance to Xinjiang. The latest meeting came with tensions over Xinjiang continuing to grow between China and its critics. Two weeks ago, the US government added a further 14 Chinese companies to its trade blacklist for roles in suspected human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Sanctions have this year been exchanged by China and the governments of the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada. In January, the US announced bans on all imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang, citing claims of forced labour. Speaking at the meeting, Wang called for stronger "intellectual aid" to Xinjiang through attracting more talent to the region. Officials from 19 cities and provinces responsible for pairing assistance for Xinjiang attended, along with Xinjiang's party secretary Chen Quanguo, who is among the officials who have been placed under US sanctions. Wang called for deeper cultural exchanges between Xinjiang and the rest of the country to strengthen the recognition of Chinese culture among different ethnic groups in Xinjiang. "There's no major change of current policy, but the assistance seems to be more comprehensive," said a state-employed researcher on Xinjiang, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. "China wants not only poverty alleviation in Xinjiang but a further consolidation of the industries there. "[The idea is that] Xinjiang and the rest of the country will grow and become more familiar through the cultural exchange, and Xinjiang's economy will be further integrated [with the rest]." Beijing believed it had little choice but to strengthen its approach to Xinjiang, according to Shih Chien-Yu, a lecturer on Central Asia international relations at Taiwan National Tsing Hua University. "There is no turning back or room for compromise as the US and China continue to polarise on the agenda," Shih said. "It is obvious that there is nothing China can do but to double down domestic efforts and policy in Xinjiang while the US is doubling down on its own agenda." ^ top ^

China holds national meeting on pairing-assistance to Xinjiang (China Daily)
2021-07-21
Wang Yang, a senior Party official, reiterated comprehensive, targeted and long-term support to Xinjiang through "pairing assistance" programs at a meeting from Monday to Wednesday. Efforts will be made to address deeply-rooted problems that affect the region's long-term governance and streamline pairing assistance programs, said Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, at the eighth national meeting on pairing-assistance to Xinjiang held in Aksu of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. China has been implementing the "pairing assistance" programs in Xinjiang since 1997, channeling financial, technical and human resource support in various fields to Xinjiang from other regions of the country. The pairing assistance programs have contributed to poverty alleviation and improvement of people's livelihood in Xinjiang and promoted ethnic solidarity, showcasing political advantages of the CPC's leadership and institutional strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Wang said. Funds and assistance programs will focus on improvement of people's livelihood and go to the primary level and regions which need them the most, he said. Wang urged other regions in the country to send competent officials and professionals to Xinjiang and carefully carry out industrial cooperation in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). Efforts should be made to promote cultural exchanges between different ethnic groups in Xinjiang and other regions of the country, he said. He also called on people from different ethnic groups in Xinjiang and those from other regions to engage in interactions and exchanges at various levels, in various forms and aspects. Representatives of 19 provinces and municipalities involved in the pairing assistance to Xinjiang, together with those from local and central authorities, attended the meeting. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

HKSAR gov't strongly condemns U.S. for smearing national security law (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Thursday condemned the United States for maliciously smearing the national security law in Hong Kong. The implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong safeguards the SAR's unique advantages under "one country, two systems," guarantees its security and stability, and reinforces its status as a global financial hub, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government Paul Chan said, stressing that more global investors will be attracted to do business in Hong Kong. Chan's remarks came in response to the so-called Investment Climate Statements issued by the U.S. state department, which smeared Hong Kong's business environment. The U.S. government has repeatedly attacked the national security law in Hong Kong and interfered in Hong Kong affairs, Chan said, voicing strong disapproval of the malicious comments in the report. Chan pointed out that the U.S. report is self-contradictory as it vilifies the national security law in Hong Kong but at the same time recognizes Hong Kong's popularity among American investors and traders and its competitive professional services. The report exposed the U.S. double standard, Chan said, noting that every country has the right and responsibility to safeguard national security. The HKSAR government continues to welcome global businesses, including U.S. businesses, to set up offices in Hong Kong, Chan said, adding that Hong Kong's investment environment is more stable after the national security law took effect. Hong Kong remains a competitive global financial hub and the HKSAR government is confident in giving full play to Hong Kong's advantages, seizing enormous opportunities in national development and pushing forward Hong Kong's economic growth, Chan said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

'Taiwan representative office' shows 'malicious intent' of Lithuania that impacts foundation of China ties (Global Times)
2021-07-21
The island of Taiwan said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Lithuania to establish a Taiwanese representative office" in its capital, Vilnius, a provocative move criticized by the international community, as Chinese experts said it's a violation of the one-China principle and could lead to changing formal ties between China and the Baltic country. China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the island of Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic ties with China, and opposes the establishment of the so-called representative office between these countries and Taiwan, Chinese FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. We urge Lithuania to adhere to the one-China principle and abide by the commitment of bilateral diplomatic relations, he said. Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, urged Lithuania to adhere to the one-China principle and quit sending wrong signals to the Taiwan secessionists. The island external affairs department said the establishment of the office will foster "actual relations" and enhance cooperation with Lithuania. "Preparation is underway," read a statement the island authority issued Tuesday morning. China does not oppose normal economic and cultural exchanges between other countries and the Taiwan region, but the fact that "Taiwan" is used in the naming of the new mission instead of the normal reference of "Taipei" shows the malicious intentions of the island's separatist forces and the Lithuanian government, as it goes against the one-China principle, Xin Qiang, a cross-Straits expert and deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Tuesday. At worst, if Lithuania continues to go down the wrong path, it may lead to the severing of diplomatic ties between the two countries, as the one-China principle is the bottom line of China and political foundation of all countries to have diplomatic ties with China, Xin said. Neither the Taiwan external affairs department nor Joseph Wu, Taiwan island's leader of external affairs, revealed when the mission will open. The US' American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) applauded the decision, claiming that "all countries should be free to pursue closer ties and greater cooperation with Taiwan." Chinese experts told the Global Times that the US statement shows its evil political plan to encourage smaller countries to test China while Washington itself dares not to bear the consequences as it knows well how serious Beijing is on the Taiwan question. Even a similar island's mission in the US is named "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US." The AIT statement was sending signals to other countries and to the Taiwan secessionists, Xin noted. Besides the office in Lithuania, the Global Times found that the island's only overseas "representative office" using Taiwan in its name is the one in Somaliland, a self-run political entity that remains mostly unrecognized by the international community. However, many netizens from within the region have heavily criticized the island's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities and secessionist media outlets such as the Liberty Times. Many said the DPP was desperately pathetic, and others pointed to the uselessness of the new office and said it's a waste of money. Chinese analysts urged the DPP to give up its daydreaming of promoting secessionism, as it goes against the international community's consensus. Zhu on Tuesday also said that the ultimate intent of such farce was to promote independence. But they cannot change the fact that Taiwan is a part of China, nor can they shake the one-China principle agreed upon by the international community. ^ top ^

US military aircraft landing on Taiwan a provocation, must not become routine: experts (Global Times)
2021-07-19
Landing a civilian variant of military aircraft on the island of Taiwan is yet another "salami-slicing" provocation by the US, and it sent a wrong signal to Taiwan secessionists, Chinese mainland analysts said, after the US reportedly landed a civilian variant of a warplane on the island on Monday. The Chinese mainland will not allow US military planes' recent landings on the island of Taiwan to become routine, experts said. A US L-100-30 aircraft, which was chartered by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and is a civilian-use version of the US military's C-130 transport aircraft, landed at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Monday at noon, loaded and unloaded various cargos, and took off after about an hour, Taipei-based news website udn.com reported on Monday. Some other reports on the island said that the aircraft is affiliated with a contractor of the CIA. The C-130, from which the L-100-30 is derived, is a medium-sized tactical transport aircraft fully designed for military use, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese mainland military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Monday. Even if the aircraft is used by the AIT for civilian purposes, the fact that it is military in nature is a huge provocation, Fu said. By landing the L-100-30 on the island of Taiwan, the US is using another "salami-slicing" tactic of using military aircraft in civilian disguise, a Beijing-based military analyst who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Monday. The US has been sending military aircraft in civilian disguise for close-in reconnaissance operations on Chinese coastlines, islands and reefs, some of them deployed by defense contractors and some of them faking their identification codes as civilian aircraft, the analyst said, noting that this could also happen when it comes to US military landings on the island of Taiwan. The landing by the L-100-30 came after a US Air Force C-146A plane and a C-17 transport aircraft landed on the island on Thursday and June 6, respectively. Since the US has been frequently sending military aircraft to land on the island of Taiwan, the Chinese mainland could expand its air defense identification efforts near the island, assess the situation of the aircraft near it, and send warplanes to identify, track and drive them away when necessary, Fu said. The Chinese mainland should not allow this serious condition to become routine, and there should be countermeasures, Fu said. The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army and Navy held joint amphibious landing exercises in the waters off East China's Fujian Province on Friday, geographically divided from the island of Taiwan only by the Taiwan Straits, just one day after the C-146A landed on the island. Also on Friday, the PLA conducted military exercises in the waters off East China's Zhejiang Province in the East China Sea, not far from the northern entrance to the Taiwan Straits, with media on the island saying the exercises were related to the landing by the C-146A. China is gravely concerned about a US Air Force plane landing on the island of Taiwan on Thursday, and any trespassing by foreign ships or planes into China's airspace or territorial waters will result in serious consequences, Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian said on Thursday, while warning the US to stop playing with fire. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's employment stable, back to pre-pandemic level (Xinhua)
2021-07-22
China has seen generally stable employment this year thanks to its economic recovery and supportive policies, and recruitment online and offline has become more heated. In the first half of 2021, a total of 6.98 million new urban jobs, or 63.5 percent of the country's annual target, were created. It is an increase of 1.34 million over the same period last year, said Zhang Ying, an official with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, at a press conference Thursday. As business activities become more vigorous, companies are hiring more. "In the first half of this year, the catering industry has managed to achieve growth out of the pandemic," said Xiao Saifeng, marketing director of a catering management company in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province. "We will open seven or eight restaurants in the second half, and our recruitment scale is also expanding." At a refrigeration equipment company in Foshan, Guangdong province, more employees are in demand due to booming export orders this year. Wu Chengping, chairman of the company's labor union, said the company would go to Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in the neighboring Guizhou Province for further recruitment at the end of July. Official data also showed the country's surveyed urban unemployment rate fell from 5.5 percent in February to 5 percent in June, down by 0.7 percentage points from June last year and about the same as the pre-pandemic level in June 2019. To enable more job seekers to access job opportunities, the country has also launched specific online recruitment campaigns. They include a Wednesday-concluded one that focuses on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, new infrastructure, e-sports, and agriculture, providing 200,000 positions from a total of 17,000 employers. "While we see the general stability of employment, we should also notice the structural problems," said Liu Aihua, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, adding that the surveyed unemployment rate for urban youth was relatively higher. According to Liu, the total number of college graduates this year hit a record high of 9.09 million. "The higher unemployment rate is not only related to the intensified competition but also to factors like the lack of change in young people's attitudes towards choosing a job and the mismatch of vocational skills," said Zeng Xiangquan, a researcher with Renmin University of China. Zeng suggested more vocational education and guidance would help college graduates. Looking ahead, China will continue to expand job opportunities by supporting innovation and start-ups, and strengthen employment support for key groups, including college graduates, said Zhang at the press conference. The country will also help improve employment services to ensure the sound operation of online recruitment and the orderly running of offline job fairs, Zhang said. ^ top ^

Carbon biz to spur green investments (China Daily)
2021-07-22
Vibrancy in China's carbon emissions trading system will help advance the green transformation of the country's energy-intensive industries and make green investment a major theme in the capital market, said experts. Inaugurated on July 16, China's national carbon emissions trading system, which is the world's largest at present, saw total trading volume exceed 4.7 million tons in the first five trading days. The carbon emission trading price closed at 55.5 yuan ($8.6) per ton on Thursday, up 2.06 percent from Wednesday. A dual-city mechanism has been adopted for the national carbon trading system. The Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange is responsible for building the trading system while the China Hubei Emission Exchange in Wuhan, Hubei province, deals with applications. China's initial carbon trading participants are the 2,225 electricity companies that are registered with the Hubei exchange. Chen Li, chief economist at Chuancai Securities, said that China's electricity industry will embrace green transformation, thanks to the carbon emissions trading. As the country will gradually tighten its grip on carbon emissions quota, electricity companies that take a slower pace in low-carbon transformation, are sure to purchase quotas from industry peers. In other words, companies taking the lead in low-carbon transformation can expect to reap a windfall, he said. Zhang Xia, chief strategist at China Merchants Securities, said industries known for high carbon emissions-petrochemicals, chemicals, construction materials, steel, nonferrous metals, paper-making and aviation-will be included in the carbon emissions trading system during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period. Policies will be introduced to guide companies in such industries to reduce their carbon emissions. Outdated production capacities will be eliminated from the market more rapidly, he said. Yang Yu, general manager of the research and innovation department at Hwabao Securities, estimated the amount of carbon emissions included in the carbon emissions trading system will increase to 8 billion tons every year with the addition of the eight high-carbon-emission industries during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, which will double the current amount. Ethan Wang, head of investment strategy for wealth management at Standard Chartered China, said climate change-related topics such as carbon neutrality will be one of the major investment themes in China. The transformation of the country's energy mix will mean clean energies such as wind and solar power will replace coal in electricity generation eventually, he said. Yin Zhongshu, chief analyst for environmental protection, power equipment and new energy industries at Everbright Securities, said that in the second half of the year, investors can look for opportunities in companies related to the changes that will revolutionize the power industry and related segments, including photovoltaic, new energy vehicles, energy storage and wind power. As carbon trading matures, new demand for services like consultation, verification, management and market-making will emerge. The A-share carbon-neutrality sector has risen for three consecutive trading days since Tuesday, according to market tracker Hithink Royalflush Information Network. ^ top ^

China issues guideline to vitalize market, improve business environment (Xinhua)
2021-07-21
China has released a guideline to energize market entities and improve the business environment with streamlined administrative procedures and better services. Focusing on the demand from market entities, related authorities should help fiscal and monetary policies better benefit those in need, and improve public services with infrastructure development, said the guideline released by the General Office of the State Council. To create a market-oriented business environment, efforts should be made to streamline administrative approval procedures, formulate a new negative list for market entry, and tighten regulation over monopoly conduct and unfair market competition, it said. On improvements of a law-based business environment, the guideline urged protection of all types of property rights and a stricter crackdown on infringement of intellectual property rights. Efforts should also go into creating an internationalized business environment, the guideline added, calling for higher standards for trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. It also called for a shortened negative list for foreign investment, and more convenience for high-level international talent dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation. ^ top ^

Vice premier urges building world-class trade-promotion body (People's Daily)
2021-07-20
Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Monday called for efforts to build a world-class trade-promotion body that plays a greater role in advancing high-level opening-up. Hu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks while attending a conference held by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). Giving credit to the CCPIT's work in recent years, Hu urged the body to base itself on serving businesses and speed up the building of a wide-ranging service system. Efforts should also be made by the council to create more platforms for high-quality economic and trade cooperation, and foster a favorable external environment for high-level opening-up, he added. Founded in 1952, the CCPIT is China's national foreign trade and investment promotion agency. ^ top ^

China's carbon market tops 210 million yuan in first-day trading (Global Times)
2021-07-19
China's national carbon market, the largest emissions trading system in the world, made its debut on Friday with a turnover of 210 million yuan for carbon dioxide emissions on the first day. More than 4.1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions quotas changed hands on Friday, at an average price of 51.23 yuan per ton, which was also the closing price of the day, up 6.73 percent from the opening price of 48 yuan. The first-day price was slightly above market expectation. Industry experts believe this may signal a strong upward momentum in the national carbon market. In the past, carbon emissions quotas were traded at prices sometimes as low as 20 yuan per ton and sometimes as high as 100 yuan in some regions' pilot trading system. But the overall average price is around 40 yuan per ton, Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Saturday. "So the first-day close may look a little bit expensive for some," Lin said. "Given China's targets of peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality, the carbon market is set to rise considerably over the next few years so as to offer enough incentives to companies to cut their carbon dioxide emissions." A group of Chinese power and energy giants including CNPC, Sinopec, Huaneng Group and Datang Group participated in the first-day trading of the national carbon market, according to the Securities Times. According to Lin, there are two main reasons why the power generation became the first industry included in the national scheme. First, the electricity industry has a huge amount of carbon emissions. Second, as long as the electricity price remains stable, the move won't have too much impact on the downstream industries, so the overall impact on the real economy will be manageable, Lin noted. In the meantime, other industries with massive carbon emissions can also have more time to get prepared to shift toward low-carbon development, Lin added. Take the steel industry as an example. In 2020, the total revenue of member enterprises of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) reached 5.16 trillion yuan, with research and development accounting for 2.17 percent of the total, a senior CISA official said on Saturday at an industry forum. Much of the R&D by steel mills is about energy saving and emissions reduction. China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in September 2020 at the general debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly via video. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

PM to pay visit to Japan (Montsame)
2021-07-21
Prime Minister of Mongolia L.Oyun-Erdene will pay a working visit to Japan on July 21-25 and attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. This will be the first working visit of Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene abroad since assuming his office. The visit seeks to reaffirm that the development of relations and cooperation with Japan is one of the top priorities of Mongolia's foreign policy and is of great significance in determining the direction of future cooperation. During the visit, Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene is set to hold an official meeting with Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and exchange views on a wide range of issues of bilateral relations and international and regional cooperation. Discussions are also planned to be held between the two Prime Ministers regarding the major projects and cooperation in the short and medium term. Moreover, the Prime Minister will also hold meetings with the representatives of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and the Friendship Group in the Japanese Parliament. ^ top ^

U.S. Deputy Secretary Sherman to visit Mongolia next week (Montsame)
2021-07-18
United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman will travel to Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Mongolia from July 18 to July 25, reports the Office of the Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State. The Deputy Secretary will be travelling to Ulaanbaatar to meet with Mongolian officials to reinforce Mongolia-U.S. Strategic Partnership and discuss the shared values of democracy and human rights, including freedom of religion or belief and respect for traditional cultural identity and practice. "Throughout the trip, the Deputy Secretary will reaffirm the U.S. commitment to working with allies and partners to promote peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and to upholding the international rules-based order."  ^ top ^

Xi calls on China, Mongolia to enrich strategic partnership (Xinhua)
2021-07-19
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called on China and Mongolia to enrich their comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era. Under the current circumstances, the two countries share more and more common interests, Xi said in a phone conversation with his Mongolian counterpart, Ukhnaa Khurelsukh. Xi stressed that China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, and the development of bilateral relations maintains a sound momentum. After the onset of COVID-19, he noted, the two countries joined hands in fighting the pandemic and deepened the friendship between their people, as demonstrated by such touching stories as China's Hubei province shipping local tea to Mongolia as gifts in appreciation of its earlier donation of sheep to China. China is ready to continue providing support to the best of its capacity for Mongolia's fight against the pandemic, he added. He suggested that the two countries respect each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect each other's development path independently chosen by their people, and accommodate and support each other's core interests and major concerns. Xi added the two sides should leverage their geographical proximity to better synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Steppe Road program, and to strengthen cooperation in such areas as minerals, energy, infrastructure and ecology. The Chinese side, he said, is ready to import more mineral and agricultural products from Mongolia. China is also willing to work with Mongolia to strengthen coordination and cooperation, uphold true multilateralism, and promote the building of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, Xi added. For his part, Khurelsukh extended warm congratulations on the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), saying that the CPC has led the Chinese people to make many remarkable achievements in the past 100 years. In particular, under Xi's strong leadership, China has won the battle against poverty and built a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said, expressing his confidence that China will achieve new successes on its new journey to achieve the second centenary goal. Noting that the Mongolia-China comprehensive strategic partnership has maintained a sound momentum despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that a friend in need is a friend indeed, and the Mongolian side sincerely thanks China for the precious assistance it provided to Mongolia at a difficult time. The development of China has brought important opportunities to Mongolia, and made important contributions to world peace and development, he said. Mongolia, he added, is ready to work with China to intensify exchanges, advance practical cooperation in various fields, actively promote Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral affairs, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. ^ top ^

 

Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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