The death of Chuang Chuang, who was famous for efforts to stimulate his sex drive, has caused anger.
Surrounded by the mist of early morning, a motorized tricycle carrying fresh vegetables runs slowly through a steep and rugged man-made tunnel toward Guoliang, a small Chinese village perched atop a cliff.As the sun begins to peek over the horizon, the view becomes truly breathtaking. And so begins another day for Guoliang. Owners of rural family inns rush to the vegetable peddler, selecting produce to prepare delicacies for upcoming tourists.Attracted by the village’s breathtaking scenery and Guoliang Tunnel, a death-defying road dug through the side of the mountain by hand, around 1.4 million tourists from home and abroad visited the village last year.Guoliang sits on a cliff at an elevation of 1,700 meters in the Taihang Mountains, central China’s Henan Province. For a long while, hardly anyone knew about this small village with 300 and some residents because of its inaccessibility. The only way anyone could reach it then was 720 steep, narrow stairs embedded in the mountainside named the “Sky Ladder,” which was formed in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).“It was a tough life. Commodities from the outside world could not reach the village and our fresh farm products could not be transported to other places,” said 72-year-old villager Song Baoqun.“We had to limit the weight of pigs to 50 or 60 kilograms. Otherwise it would be difficult to carry them down the mountain.”The biggest challenge was posed by medical treatment. If a villager fell ill, eight people were needed to carry a stretcher down the mountain via the “Sky Ladder” over a treacherous four-hour journey to the nearest hospital.Many villagers died en route, while those with connections moved out of the mountains altogether.However, all this changed in 1972 when the village cadres decided to build a tunnel through the mountains to connect Guoliang with the outside world.With little engineering knowledge, 13 of the strongest villagers volunteered to take on the difficult mission. Lacking large machinery, they used hand tools such as hammers and chisels and suspended themselves in the air with ropes to carve the roadway inch by inch.As more villagers joined the team, the 1,250-meter-long Guoliang Tunnel road was completed five years later. The death-defying tunnel, with over 30 rock windows of various sizes and shapes, was honored as the “eighth world wonder.”Isolation, once the very thing that locked people into endless poverty, has turned secluded Guoliang into a tourist attraction since the 1990s. The area, far from the hustle and bustle of modern cities, has also been used as a film location and a site for painting and photography.“We have seen growth in tourists every year. Last year, our entrance ticket sales reached 120 million yuan (US$17 million),” said Li Haiyan, manager with the local tourist resort.Walking through the village, the centuries-old stone walls stand in stark contrast to modern buildings. Li said every household in Guoliang has gotten involved in the tourism industry, running restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops.“Today’s village is quite different from the village of old. Clever minds can put their ideas into practice now,” said 32-year-old Shen Hongqi, who owns a rural family inn in Guoliang.After graduating from university, he returned home and took over the business from his father. Over the past decade, he upgraded his family inn into a modern hotel equipped with meeting rooms and 35 guest rooms, achieving the highest scores among hotels near Guoliang area on Chinese travel services and social networking platform Mafengwo.Shen is among a dozen university graduates who have returned to Guoliang, their hometown, and started their own businesses in recent years.For Shen Heshan, a local village cadre, the biggest change lies in the people. Before the tunnel road was built, villagers could hardly fill their bellies. Now the annual per capita income could surpass 30,000 yuan.“In the past, hungry villagers envied those living on the plains. Now nobody wants to leave this clifftop village. We feel good about our home,” he said.
A total of 2,963 neighborhoods in Beijing had gone coal-free by the end of 2018, with around 1.1 million rural households switching to clean energy for winter heating, said the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs yesterday.Beijing stepped up efforts to make areas coal-free as coal fires in winter challenge the commitment to achieving smog-free days.The metropolis launched a program in 2013 to wean itself off coal use in favor of clean energy, in its drive to improve air quality.As of last year, the move has reduced the amount of coal burned in the city’s heating seasons by nearly 4 million tons.Air quality in Beijing has since improved over the years. The city’s average concentration of PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) in the first eight months of this year hit a record low of 42 micrograms per cubic meter.
A new Chinese drug to alleviate patients’ neuropathic pain, or nerve pain, has entered clinical trials, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology yesterday.The pain reliever SR419 was developed by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai SIMR Biotechnology Co Ltd.Neuropathic pain, often described as sharp, stinging or burning, is chronic pain caused by damaged nerves or a problem with the nervous system. It is also the result of or accompanied by viral infection, diabetes, chemotherapy and surgeries.Data shows that the incidence of neuropathic pain among Chinese elderly is 49.8 percent and more than 50 percent in cancer patients. Conventional painkillers are largely ineffective.Zhang Xu, a CAS academic and lead researcher, has studied neuropathic pain for almost 30 years. Based on his research, the Shanghai company established China’s first complete neuropharmaceutical research and development platform.The drug proved effective in relieving chronic pain caused by nerve damage. It reduced potential side effects on central nerves and could replace opioids and their morphine-like effects.
A weeklong campaign has been launched in China to promote Mandarin, the China Education Daily reported yesterday.The campaign launched on Monday, the 22nd of its kind, is themed on celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. When specifying requirements for this year’s campaign, the national Minister of Education Chen Baosheng called for efforts to realize the goal of popularizing the use of Mandarin by next year. He also called for giving full play to the role of the language in poverty alleviation.
Chinese scientists have developed online monitoring instruments for marine biological surveys and tested them in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The instruments were developed by the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science under the CAS. A series of instruments with different functions have been developed including those used for monitoring seawater chlorophyll, marine primary productivity as well as dissolved oxygen. These instruments were installed in a monitoring ship, which has traveled over 806 nautical miles in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea. The instruments have conducted online monitoring for over 130 hours and collected over 9,200 profiles of data related to algae community structure, chlorophyll concentration, dissolved oxygen as well as the distribution characteristics of biological elements in typical sea areas, researchers said.
Zhou Shu, former director of the transportation department of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for taking bribes, according to a local court. Zhou took bribes 65 times with a total of over 17.2 million yuan (US$2.43 million) when he was in the position, the Intermediate People’s Court of Guyuan said. Zhou took advantage of his position and illegally accepted bribes to help these people make profits. All the bribes have been seized and will be confiscated, according to the court. Besides the 13-year jail sentence, Zhou was also fined 4 million yuan, the court said in its judgement.
CHINA is ready to work with the Solomon Islands to usher in a new era for developing bilateral ties, a foreign ministry spokesperson said yesterday.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s remarks came after the Solomon Islands decided at a cabinet meeting on Monday to sever “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan and establish diplomatic relations with China.
“The decision of the Solomon Islands to recognize the one-China principle and establish diplomatic ties with China once again testifies to the fact that the one-China principle meets the shared aspirations of people around the world and constitutes an irresistible trend of the times,” Hua said.
Establishing and developing diplomatic ties with China, the world’s second largest economy with a population of nearly 1.4 billion, will definitely bring unprecedented development opportunities to the Solomon Islands, she said.
In response to a question concerning economic aid to the Solomon Islands, Hua said that those accustomed to “using money to buy diplomacy” might not understand that neither principles nor trust can be bought.
As for the exact date for establishing formal diplomatic relations, Hua said the decision will be made when conditions are ripe.
CHIEF Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam said yesterday that the HKSAR government will start its first session of the dialogue platform with the community next week amid efforts to stop violence and restore law and order in Hong Kong.
Lam stressed the dialogue platform is not a one-off gimmick type of function but intended to be organized on a very sustainable and long-term basis.
Before presiding the Executive Council conference at the government headquarters, Lam said the dialogue session with the community will be carried out transparently, and the HKSAR government is open to different topics.
She hoped participants from all walks of life, regardless of their background, stance or social stratum, can express and exchange their views in an atmosphere of “letting a hundred flowers blossom.”
“This is because of our conviction that communication is far better than confrontation,” she said.
Sparked by the now-withdrawn amendments to ordinances concerning fugitive offender transfers, the social unrest, sometimes quite violent and disruptive, now entered the fourth month in Hong Kong, with underlying problems well beyond the bill.
It’s important for the HKSAR government to listen and engage the community to have a better understanding of those problems about housing, land shortage, less diversity and less inclusiveness in the economy, Lam said. “Since we are going into a new style of governance that is more open and more people-oriented, I think this sort of dialogue will be very helpful,” she said.
When asked about the illegal demonstration, and confrontations and even fighting between groups of people over the weekend, Lam said the HKSAR government condemns all forms of violence and such acts are not acceptable in a place like Hong Kong, where people are so proud of the rule of law.
“At the moment, Hong Kong is undergoing a very difficult situation. We need to work as a team not only within the HKSAR government but also with community and society at large to overcome the current difficulties,” she said.
Asked about Moody’s downgrade of Hong Kong’s outlook rating from “stable” to “negative,” Lam said she did not agree with the rating and Moody’s decision is disappointing.
CHINA and Russia yesterday agreed in Moscow to strengthen cooperation in scientific and technological innovation.
The agreement was made when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, co-chaired the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government.
Li called on the two sides to harness their complementary advantages, fully tap cooperation potential in such areas as basic research, applied research as well as the application of scientific and technological achievements in production.
For his part, Medvedev also expressed his willingness to reinforce cooperation with China in high-tech fields.
In face of increasing instability and rising protectionism, Russia stands ready to deepen strategic communication and practical cooperation with China, and expand cooperation in high-tech fields such as artificial intelligence and robotics while developing cooperation in such traditional sectors as energy, said the Russian prime minister.
China and Russia have designated the years of 2020 and 2021 “Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation” in each other’s country.
Later in the day, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said that the two countries are working on a joint project to create a low-orbit satellite constellation for distributing high-speed internet, Sputnik News reported.
“We are planning an interesting project on a low-orbit satellite constellation for the distribution of high-speed Internet. We have already begun to work on this project,” Akimov told reporters.
Akimov added that Moscow and Beijing will sign a concrete agreement in 2019 on the deployment of ground stations as part of Russia’s Glonass and China’s Baidu satellite navigation networks.
Also, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova have agreed to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
TERRY Gou, founder of Apple supplier Foxconn, announced on Monday in a statement he will not take part in the 2020 Taiwan leadership election.
This comes days after he quit the Kuomintang (KMT).
“This decision was not because of anyone’s persuasion or influence but because after thinking it over, I felt we all need to return to rationality and policy discussions when choosing our next leader,” Gou said. “I’d also like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone for your support and love,” Gou said, apologizing to supporters who had urged him to run for the election.
Gou said although he did not contest in the election, it doesn’t mean he has given up politics, adding he would continue to push for the policies he proposed during the KMT primaries.
The KMT said in a statement that it believes Gou will make the best decision that benefits Taiwan. “We should let go of the past and look forward. Comrades of the party should unite as one,” it said.
Gou stepped down as the chief of Foxconn this year, handing over the running of the company to an operations committee.
CHINESE President Xi Jinping yesterday signed a presidential decree to award 42 Chinese and foreign individuals national medals and honorary titles, as the People’s Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary.
The conferring of the Medal of the Republic, the Friendship Medal and national honorary titles, with some to posthumous awardees, was endorsed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee yesterday.
The eight honorees of the Medal of the Republic are deceased nuclear physicist Yu Min, longtime national legislator Shen Jilan, aerospace engineer Sun Jiadong, war veterans Li Yannian and Zhang Fuqing, “father of hybrid rice” Yuan Longping, nuclear submarine designer Huang Xuhua and Nobel Prize winner Tu Youyou who led the discovery of malaria drug artemisinin.
Six foreigners were awarded the Friendship Medal for their great contributions to supporting China’s socialist modernization, promoting cooperation between China and foreign countries and safeguarding world peace.
They are Cuba’s Raul Castro Ruz, Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Tanzania’s Salim Ahmed Salim, Russia’s Galina Kulikova, France’s Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Canada’s Isabel Crook.
The national honorary titles, including “the people’s scientist,” “the people’s artist,” “the people’s hero” and “the people’s role model,” were granted to 28 prominent figures who have made great contributions and enjoy prestige in various fields.
A TRAIN carrying hundreds of passengers derailed in Hong Kong’s Kowloon during the rush hour yesterday morning, injuring at least eight people onboard.
Of those injured, five passengers, including one male and four females, needed to be taken to the hospital for treatment and were “in conscious condition,” said Cheung Kwong-yuen, a senior officer of the Fire Service Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.
Their injuries were mostly on the necks and shoulders, according to local firefighters.
The accident occurred at around 8:30am local time when the train of the Mass Transit Railway’s East Rail Link pulled in the Hung Hom MTR station.
A passenger who gave his surname as Kwok remembered hearing noises shortly before the accident, while the train was swaying before ultimately derailing. He was sitting in the train when the accident happened, and had his head bumped on the handle in the front. Another man who identified himself as Chung said he felt a strong force of braking. “We (passengers) looked at each other, with no idea as what happened,” he said.
Images from the scene showed three carriages were off the tracks and zigzagged across the rails near Hung Hom station in Kowloon — a busy interchange that provides services to China’s mainland.
Passengers had to leave the train through a broken door and cross tracks on the East Rail Line to make their way to safety.
Five hundred passengers had been evacuated from the train.
“This is a very grave train accident in Hong Kong,” Alfred Sit Wing Hang, Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, told a press conference after arriving from the scene of investigation.
The area was cordoned off for a thorough investigation. The cause of the accident is still unknown.
When asked whether it’s a deliberate sabotage or mechanical problem after previous attacks by radical protesters on the city’s mass transit system, Sit said the authorities aren’t ruling out any possibility.
“We would not rule out any possibility but at this stage we won’t speculate on any particular suggestions,” the city’s transport chief Frank Chan also said as he talked to reporters.
“We will carry out an independent, thorough and in-depth investigation,” he said, adding it will take about three to six months for the department to complete the investigation and submit a report.
Lau Tin-shing, operations director of the city’s only rail company, the MTR Corporation, told media that short section of the track nearby had been replaced on Monday and the condition of the replacement is “not unusual,” according to his visual assessment.
Subway services between two stations on the line were suspended and intercity services to mainland cities including Guangzhou, Dongguan and Beijing were canceled for the day, according to MTR.
A passenger surnamed Yeung said that the train ran into “something solid,” and he saw smokes from the train.
Preliminary investigation showed a crack on the track, according to the fire service department.
The MTR Corporation, which operates Hong Kong’s rail networks, apologized for the accident, saying its staff were helping the passengers leave the scene, and the reason for the accident is being investigated.
Hong Kong is in its fourth month of unrest, which has seen radical protesters turning increasingly violent with clashes between police and hardcore protesters becoming frequent.
MTR has been targeted by protesters, who were vandalizing entrance barriers and ticketing machines and smashing windows in several stations.
MTR chief executive Jacob Kam told the Financial Times in an interview published before the derailment that the protests were an “unprecedented” challenge and that the firm has been struggling to cope.
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DNA from historical museum specimens may help save the giant salamander from extinction in the wild.
A giant panda research base in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, said yesterday that they had carried out a series of dental examinations for giant pandas, in an effort to ensure’ oral health. The examinations were carried out by veterinarians of the base and a veterinary dentist from South Africa at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on September 2. Some pandas suffer from mild gingivitis, dental calculi and tooth abrasions.
Chinese mainland box office revenue reached 790 million yuan (US$111.64 million) during the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which ended Sunday. Leading the box office was domestic fantasy film “Jade Dynasty,” which earned about 270 million yuan during the holiday, according to the China Movie Data Information Network. It was followed by “The Fist of Blue Sapphire,” the 23rd instalment of the Japanese animated film “Detective Conan,” with nearly 159 million yuan.
China has built the first test base for unmanned ships, which will be operational at the end of this year, according to the Science and Technology Daily yesterday. The test base named Xiangshan Marine Scientific & Technological Port is in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province. It will create an innovation platform for the design, research and testing of unmanned marine systems and intelligent equipment. The base will help develop the industrial chain of unmanned ships and foster research on advanced equipment manufacturing as well as the new generation of information technology.
China’s National Health Commission yesterday pledged to enhance medical service safety and better protect patients’ health rights ahead of the first World Patient Safety Day that falls today. The slogan of the day in China will be “Patient safety involves everyone,” aiming to draw the attention of hospital staff, patients and their families as well as the public to patient safety and encourage them to make joint efforts, said Zhou Changqiang, an official from the NHC at a press conference in Beijing. Patient safety focuses on the reduction of risks in medical services and hospitals that may cause preventable harm to patients. In May, the 72nd World Health Assembly endorsed the establishment of World Patient Safety Day.
Ulijidelger never imagined he would become an Internet sensation overnight, just because of the way he took his son to school on the first day of the new semester — riding a horse.Wearing traditional Mongolian hats and robes, one shiny red and the other Tiffany blue, the father and son rode two white horses to school through high-rises in the city of Ordos, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.Their short video clip taken by a passerby soon became one of the most searched hashtags on Weibo, with more than 10 million views.“Although we’ve settled in the city for years, I don’t want my son to forget our tradition of horse riding,” Ulijidelger said.Riding a horse on the first day of school has become fashionable. As an indispensable part of nomadic culture in north China, the centuries-old Mongolian horse culture is coming back to the grasslands in new forms.Horses gradually began to decrease in importance in the late 1990s as Mongolian urban settlers abandoned their traditional nomadic lifestyle on the grasslands.Chulu, 43, who grew up in Taipusi Banner of Xilingol League, an imperial racecourse in ancient times, bid farewell to his life on horseback in 1992 when his father insisted on selling the family’s last five horses. The mounts were replaced by a motorcycle.The once indispensable Mongolian horses faced urgent need of conservation as their population dropped from 2.39 million in 1975 to less than 700,000 in 2007. Some herdsmen even sent their saddles to museums.For China’s nomads, moving away from horses is a result of the changing pastoral animal husbandry with a more mechanized, industrialized and market-oriented development, said Manglai, vice president of Inner Mongolia Agricultural University.“Horses have lost their value since herdsmen rarely make money from stock raising,” he added.Yet thriving tourism spurs the horse industry which bulges the herdmen’s wallets.
China has made public a total of 300 candidates recognized for their outstanding performance over the past seven decades since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.The nominees were selected from all walks of life across the nation, including 278 individuals and 22 units.Starting in mid-June, the candidates went through the process of being recommended by local governments, voted for online by the public and consultation and deliberation by the organizing committee.Candidates on the list range from wartime heroes such as Huang Jiguang and Qiu Shaoyun to outstanding figures from various fields in the new era including late geophysicist Huang Danian and island guardian Wang Jicai.Huang, known for his expertise in deep earth exploration technology, made great contributions to China’s deep earth exploration and national defense after returning to China from Britain in 2009.Wang, former head of the militia post on Kaishan Island in east China’s Jiangsu Province, spent 32 years guarding the island post with his wife since 1986. They dedicated all their youth to the lonely strategic outpost in the Yellow Sea. Wang died of a sudden illness while on duty at the age of 58 in 2018.The honorees’ merits and accomplishments have been released online and are open to public feedback from Sunday to Friday.
The China National Nuclear Corporation will put the country’s first domestically produced medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources into the market, which will be used to produce gamma knives for cancer treatment.The first batch of medical cobalt-60 material components made in China was officially shipped from the Qinshan Nuclear Power Station in Zhejiang Province to a trial production line for the radioactive sources, the CNNC said.Chengdu Gaotong Isotope Company Limited, a unit under the CNNC, said the materials have safely arrived at one of the company’s plants and the first set of domestically produced medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources is expected to debut in October.The CNNC started research on medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources in 2016 and produced the first batch of domestically developed medical cobalt-60 radioactive materials at the Qinshan Nuclear Power Station in April this year.Cobalt-60 radioactive sources are widely used in agriculture, industry and medicine. In the medical sector, cobalt-60 is especially important, as cobalt-60 gamma knives have been widely used in cancer treatment for its strengths such as accurate positioning, minor side effects and relatively lower costs.
CHINESE Premier Li Keqiang arrived in St Petersburg yesterday for a three-day official visit to Russia.
Li and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will co-chair the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic ties, and bilateral relations have recently been upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, Li said.
A new stage for bilateral relations of higher level and greater development has started, he said. “I hope the regular meeting this time will promote our two countries’ all-round pragmatic cooperation to bear new fruits, further enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, and better benefit the two peoples.”
Amid complicated and profound changes in the international situation and an increasing downward pressure on the world economy, Li pledged China’s willingness to step up coordination and cooperation with Russia on international affairs, jointly defend multilateralism and free trade, and work together for improving global governance, forging an open world economy, and safeguarding regional and world peace, development and prosperity.
Li and Medvedev will hold talks, sign a joint communique of the 24th regular meeting, witness the signing of cooperation documents, and jointly meet the press in St Petersburg. The Chinese premier is also scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
The premier’s visit will focus on key directions in future bilateral cooperation and broaden the space for practical cooperation between the two countries, Chinese ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said yesterday.
The two sides will exchange ideas on fully implementing the important strategic consensuses reached by the two countries’ heads of state, sign key documents on bilateral cooperation and inject strong vitality to the development of a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, Zhang said.
China and Russia will continue to promote multi-dimensional cooperation in a mutually beneficial and practical way, Zhang said.
Gladys Liu faces loyalty questions - but some say she is the victim of "xenophobic paranoia".
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Hong Kong's chief executive announces a series of measures in response to months of unrest in the region.
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Ms Lam responds to a leaked recording of her telling business leaders she would quit if she could.
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In China, posting banned words on social media can get you in trouble with the authorities. Chinese writer Karoline Kan explains how people try to get around the censors.