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Coronavirus: China reports no Covid-19 deaths for first time

For the first time since January, China reports no coronavirus-related deaths.

Source: BBC News - China | 7 Apr 2020 | 5:51 pm(NZT)

China wants stricter land border controls to stem imported cases

CHINA will work to prevent COVID-19 cases being imported through land borders, the government said after a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang yesterday. The meeting urged local authorities to hold the defense line of communities, ports and borders, saying China will support the border regions to step up their lab test and medical treatment capabilities while tightening port management, quarantine inspections and traffic controls in border areas. China’s mainland reported 39 new coronavirus cases as of Sunday, of which 38 were people who had entered China from abroad, compared with 25 a day earlier. Of those, 20 had arrived in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang from neighboring Russia. All were Chinese citizens who had flown from Moscow to Vladivostok and traveled to China by road. The province also reported an increase of 28 imported asymptomatic COVID-19 cases on Sunday, who were all Chinese. Twenty-six came from Russia, one from Canada and one from the Philippines. The National Health Commission said yesterday that 78 new asymptomatic cases had been identified by Sunday, compared with 47 the day before. Imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who show no symptoms but can still pass the virus to others, have become China’s chief concern after draconian containment measures succeeded in slashing the overall infection rate. According to the meeting, stricter epidemic control measures will be imposed in economic cooperation centers and trade markets along the border. Efforts will be made to ensure smooth international freight transport on the premise of safety. NHC spokesman Mi Feng said yesterday that “the risk of imported cases from our neighboring countries keeps rising,” adding that China needed to keep alert and prevent a resurgence of the epidemic. China has closed its borders to most foreigners as the virus spreads globally, though most imported cases have involved Chinese nationals returning from overseas. It began testing all international arrivals for the coronavirus from April 1, a customs official Song Yueqian said. Those who try to hide their travel history or health condition face a fine of up to 30,000 yuan (US$4,230) or even criminal proceedings, Song said, adding such people will be placed on a customs “blacklist” of travelers who will be subject to tighter checks in future. Another possible source of infection are the 1.6 million Chinese citizens who study overseas, many of whom have struggled to return home since airlines and governments cut international flights. Charter flights are being arranged to bring home Chinese students studying in the United States, starting with the youngest. Writing in the New York Times yesterday, China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, noted there had been “unpleasant talk” between the two countries about the virus. “But this is not the time for finger-pointing. This is a time for solidarity, collaboration and mutual support,” Cui wrote. One new locally transmitted infection was reported in the latest China data, in the southern province of Guangdong, down from five a day earlier in the same province. Guangdong’s health commission raised the risk level for a total of four districts in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Jieyang from low to medium late on Sunday. The worst hit Hubei Province accounted for almost half the new asymptomatic cases. A total of 705 people with asymptomatic cases were under medical observation around Chinese mainland. The surge in asymptomatic cases, which China began reporting last week, poses a worry as Hubei’s capital Wuhan prepares to allow people to leave the city on April 8 for the first time since it was locked down in late January. Hubei began easing travel curbs late last month, part of a wider effort to get the economy back on track. Wuhan officials revoked the “epidemic-free” status of 45 residential compounds due to the emergence of asymptomatic cases. “Epidemic-free” status allows people living in Wuhan compounds to leave their homes for two hours at a time. China has reported a total of 81,708 cases, with 3,331 deaths.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

New parachute system to control rocket debris fall

China has been testing high-tech parachutes to control rocket debris and make space launches safer, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.During the March 9 launch of a Long March-3B rocket carrying a satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, a booster was equipped with parachutes and control devices.After the booster separated from the rocket, the parachutes opened in a sequence to control its attitude and direction, and data of the fall trajectory and landing site was sent to ground control in Xichang, southwest China’s Sichuan Province.It shows China has achieved a breakthrough in the technology of precise positioning of rocket debris, said CALT.It took just 25 minutes for staff to find the debris, compared with hours or up to a fortnight previously, CALT said.China has had more than 30 space launches annually in recent years, and the risk of rocket debris has aroused wide concern. Currently, residents in the fall areas are evacuated before each launch, which disrupts their lives and raises the costs and difficulties of launches.CALT has been researching and developing grid fins and parachutes, aiming to narrow the range of the debris area by 85 percent. China first tested grid fin control technology on a Long March-2C carrier rocket on July 26, 2019. The first stage of the rocket was controlled to fall in a predetermined area.The feasibility of the parachute-based control technology on booster was verified in the recent mission.Engineers have spent more than 10 years developing the technologies. One of the difficulties is how to open the parachutes as each booster, weighing about 4 tons, travels faster than 2 kilometers per second when separating from the rocket and its attitude is not controlled, said Zhang Puzhuo, a CALT parachute system designer.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Siberian tigers returning to forest park

Four wild Siberian tigers have been spotted by infrared cameras in a national nature reserve in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province since March.According to the images captured by the cameras, two tigers have already settled down in the reserve, while the other two have just crossed the border from Russia, the Taipinggou National Nature Reserve in Luobei County said yesterday. The nature reserve is an important channel for the migration of large mammals between China and Russia, as well as a key area for the restoration of the wild Siberian tiger population in the Lesser Khingan Mountains.The reserve administration has been intensifying efforts to save the habitat for the wild animals, and a series of measures, such as turning cultivated land into forests and grasslands, have been taken. Together with the China State Forestry Administration Feline Research Center, the reserve administration has set up infrared cameras.Siberian tigers, otherwise known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, mainly live in eastern Russia, northeastern China and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.An incomplete statistical observation shows there are only hundreds in the wild. Thanks to China’s environmental protection efforts in recent years, Siberian tigers are making more frequent appearances. On March 24, Mao Lijie, a rice farmer, came across a Siberian tiger at Yalyuhe Farm, 400 kilometers from the reserve.Tigers are at the top of the food chain. Their revival suggests the food chain is healthy in the reserve.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Music to students’ ears: pianos in trucks

When 7-year-old Sophia Cheung hears a truck park outside her home in Hong Kong, she grabs her sheet music and runs out the door.In the truck, instructor Evan Kam, holding a sanitizer bottle and wearing a face mask, greets her by a piano.With schools shut since January by the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed four people in Hong Kong, students have been asked to study online.But that won’t work very well for piano lessons.Ming’s Piano, with 12 teachers and about 200 students, has hired three trucks to deliver lessons at students’ doorsteps and save its business.For students like Sophia, the lessons are also a rare and welcome opportunity to get out of her home.“I feel very depressed myself, not to mention my children,” said her mother, Wendy Yeung. “They are always asking: ‘When can we go out to play? Where can I go? What else can I do?’ Now we have an option.”The school lost more than two-thirds of its business after the outbreak. Inspired by mobile blood donation centers, Ming’s Piano took its business on the road in late February and is back to 70 percent of pre-outbreak levels.The piano keys get disinfected between lessons and the truck’s trailer is equipped with an air purifier and lighting, which means the engine has to be running.As the idling truck rumbled softly beneath her feet, Cheung, in a caterpillar-themed face mask, practiced her favorite song “Let it Go,” from Disney’s “Frozen.”Teaching in a truck feels the same as teaching in the studio, Kam said, apart from the challenge of finding washrooms.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Final launch for BeiDou satnav

China is expected to launch the last satellite for its BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System in May from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province. The 55th satllite of the BeiDou System. It arrived in Xichang on Saturday, where it will be tested, assembled and fueled before the launch. The BDS satellites are a geosynchronous earth orbit satellites. The BDS is China’s independently developed and operated global satellite navigation system.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Tour the Forbidden City, virtually

Online tours of the Forbidden City have racked up millions of views amid the coronavirus pandemic.A live broadcast from 8am to 10am yesterday garnered more than 34 million views on Xinhuanet’s livestreaming service alone.The site, also known as the Palace Museum, has been closed to the public for more than 70 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.Curator Wang Xudong said its live streams, two on Sunday and one yesterday, were the first such events since the closure.Through apps including People’s Daily, Xinhuanet, Douyin and Tencent News, museum staff took viewers on a tour of the ancient imperial mansions, including the must-see main palaces and some lesser known ones only open to museum staff, cultural relics and the springtime flora and fauna in the compound.“The cloud tour is a good way to better savor the historic and natural charm of the former imperial palace,” said Yang Minjun, a 67-year-old who had been to the Forbidden City once before. “For tourists, it is hard to escape crowds in the museum. I remember I had to move on and rush through. The live streaming enabled me to explore the history and culture in a laid-back manner and enjoy the tranquility in the complex.”Xie Huiyi, a 23-year-old white collar worker, said the live broadcast prompted her to go to the Forbidden City for the first time since the epidemic eased but thought the production was not as good as other similar documentary series about the site.Shen Yan, a 35-year-old chief developer with a Shanghai IT company, thought the live-streaming had little originality. “I couldn’t see any interaction between the tour guides and online viewers during the live streaming, so what’s the difference between live and recorded?”The pandemic has kept most people from going outside, but it hasn’t dispelled their desire to shop or travel. Live streaming activities, such as “cloud” sales, concerts and even tomb-sweeping ceremonies, have become increasingly popular, especially with young people.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

China medics arrive in Manila

THE medical team sent by the Chinese government arrived in Manila yesterday to assist and advise the Philippines in its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. The 12-member Chinese anti-epidemic medical team comprises experts in the fields of infectious disease prevention and control, clinic treatment, and laboratory testing. Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the team, which arrived on a chartered flight, is among the first three teams sent by China to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. Huang said in a statement that most of the team members have had front-line experience in fighting against the epidemic. Huang expressed hope that “the arrival of this team will help the Philippines improve its ability of epidemic prevention and control as well as diagnosis and treatment, so as to boost the confidence of the public in overcoming the COVID-19.” Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque were on hand to welcome the Chinese team. Locsin and Duque thanked China for its help to the Philippines in combating the fast-spreading viral disease. “To the Chinese people, thank you so much! We are so grateful because this is a new virus, and the only ones who can really tell us how to handle it are those who fought it on the ground and those are the experts in China,” Locsin said, adding China’s gesture is “deeply appreciated, (and) will never be forgotten.” Duque said the Philippines is grateful to the Chinese government and its people for “their benevolence, their generosity,” adding the Philippines will benefit from the support. Besides dispatching the medical team, China also donated to the Philippines a new batch of medical supplies, including 300,000 surgical masks, 30,000 medical N95 masks, 5,000 medical protective suits, 5,000 medical face shields, and 30 non-invasive ventilators. “Virus respects no borders. We always say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. During the time of crisis, the Chinese government and people feel keenly for the health and safety of the Filipino people,” Ambassador Huang said. As of yesterday, the Philippines said it has tallied 3,246 COVID-19 cases, including 152 deaths and 64 recoveries.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Xi leads China in national mourning

CHINA paused in silence on Saturday to mourn the lives lost to the coronavirus outbreak. President Xi Jinping led the national mourning, which paid tribute to martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting the outbreak and fellow Chinese who died. The nation, with its 1.4 billion people, came to a halt for a full three minutes, from 10am to 10:03am. Xi led other Party and state leaders to attend the national mourning. Inside the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in central Beijing, they stood in silence, had white flowers pinned to the chest, and paid a silent tribute in front of a national flag, flying at half-mast outside the Huairen Hall. A black banner hung over the doorway of the hall, with white characters “deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots who died in COVID-19 outbreak.” In Beijing, flags were lowered to half-staff from Tian’anmen Square to the compounds of the central leadership organs of the Party, the national legislature, central government, national political advisory body, military, court and top procuratorate. Across the nation, air raid sirens blared. Cars, trains and ships honked horns. Public recreational activities were suspended for the day. Across the world, flags also flew half-mast at Chinese embassies and consulates. The National Health Commission yesterday said 81,669 confirmed cases had been reported on the Chinese mainland, with 3,329 deaths. Global coronavirus cases, meanwhile, have topped 1 million, with more than 60,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The COVID-19 outbreak is considered a major public health emergency that is the fastest spreading, most widely affecting and most difficult to contain since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. A certain number of health professionals, cadres and staff members, as well as community workers, died on duty fighting the outbreak. On Saturday, these heroes received the highest form of commemoration by the state. In Wuhan, the hardest-hit city in central China’s Hubei Province, a commemoration was held at a large outdoor public square. People bowed in the square on the bank of the Yangtze River, with the siren sounding in the sky. Police stood by their vehicles at a nearby bridge and took off their caps. Pedestrians, sanitation and factory workers, and even children stopped what they were doing and stood in silence for the moment. “Today, I’m bidding in my heart a final farewell to the deceased,” said community worker Deng Linghao. “We, who are alive, must stay strong.” Subway trains in big cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, briefly suspended operations. Passengers stood up in subway cars. Station staff observed a moment of silence on the train platforms. Commemorations were also held in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as in overseas Chinese communities. By Saturday, a total of 862 confirmed cases, including four deaths, had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 44 confirmed cases in the Macau Special Administrative Region, and 355 in Taiwan, including five deaths. “The compatriots on the mainland have made a huge sacrifice to defeat the epidemic, which also showed how great we Chinese people are,” said Huang Zhi-xian, a Taiwan-based journalist. Black was the color of the day. Many people, including national leaders, dressed in black. Newspapers, websites, news app interfaces, social media images were turned black-and-white. Hunan Satellite TV, a leading Chinese channel known for entertainment content, took all dramas, entertainment and variety programs off-air for Saturday. Tomb-sweeping online Saturday was also China’s Tomb-sweeping Day, known as the Qingming Festival, an important occasion for the Chinese to visit cemeteries, sweeping tombs and mourning their ancestors. This year, tomb sweeping was done virtually on the Internet and mourning for coronavirus victims was a main theme. Nearly 13.4 million people in China used online platforms to mourn the deceased, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said. Many people mourned the coronavirus martyrs and victims online, posting images of candles and chrysanthemums against black backgrounds. The topic “National Mourning” was trending on Sina Weibo, attracting over 2 billion reads by Saturday afternoon. “Farewell to heroes, and may those who died rest in peace,” said a widely shared message on social media. To pay tribute to their loved ones, people set up commemorative space and wrote messages online instead of visiting tombs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 7,729 funeral facilities was also opened for on-site mourning on Saturday, receiving about 5.7 million visitors. Over 8,500 charitable mourning ceremonies were held on behalf of groups who were not present and 220,000 ceremonies held for individuals in the same situation, the ministry said. People can watch the ceremonies live online or via mobile phones. This also led to dropping traffic flow on Saturday, the first day of a three-day Tomb-sweeping Day holiday. As of 4pm, the volume of traffic for the past 24 hours dropped by 16 percent year on year based on statistics from 200 monitoring sites across the country, said the traffic management bureau under the Ministry of Public Security. According to the NHC, though more than 76,964 patients — or 94 percent of all confirmed cases — have been discharged, there were still 1,376 patients being treated in China. “We still have a few patients. We can’t relax,” said Zhang Jianchu, a respiratory disease doctor in Wuhan. “We will wipe our tears and fight to secure the ultimate victory of this battle.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

New mainland virus cases jump

THE Chinese mainland reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 19 a day earlier as the number of cases involving travelers from abroad as well as local transmissions increased, highlighting the difficulty in stamping out the outbreak. The National Health Commission said yesterday that there were 25 of the latest cases who had entered from abroad, compared with 18 such cases a day earlier. Five new locally transmitted infections were also reported on Saturday, all in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, up from a day earlier. The mainland has now reported a total of 81,669 cases, while the death toll has risen by three to 3,329. Two more imported cases of coronavirus were reported in Shanghai on Saturday, bringing the total number of such infections to 192, the Shanghai Health Commission said yesterday. The new cases includes one from France and another from Russia. Twenty-seven Shanghai coronavirus patients were discharged from hospital yesterday, the health commission said. All these patients were inbound passengers from overseas or had been in close contact with arrivals. So far, a total of 383 patients have recovered and left hospitals in Shanghai. Among the recently discharged patients, there were an Italian man aged 44, a French woman aged 47, an American woman aged 20 and three Britons. The British trio includes a 7-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl. The health commission will carry out follow-up visits to ensure their good health. The so-called imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who have the virus and can give it to others but show no symptoms, have become among China’s chief concerns in recent weeks. The country has closed its borders to almost all foreigners and dramatically reduced international flights as the virus spreads globally. The central government also has pushed local authorities to identify and isolate asymptomatic patients. The national health commission said that 47 new asymptomatic cases were reported in the mainland on Saturday, compared with 64 a day earlier.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Medical exports’ quality fears allayed

CHINA has sold nearly 4 billion masks to foreign countries since March, officials said yesterday, as they tried to stem concerns over the quality of medical exports. Despite Chinese cases dwindling, authorities have encouraged factories to increase production of medical supplies as the pandemic has killed over 60,000 globally and parts of the world are facing a protective equipment shortage. China has exported 3.86 billion masks, 37.5 million pieces of protective clothing, 16,000 ventilators and 2.84 million COVID-19 testing kits since March 1, customs official Jin Hai said, with orders for more than 50 countries. He added the country’s medical supply exports were valued at 10.2 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion). Although some nations have complained about substandard or faulty medical products shipped from China, Chinese officials said that they “did not reflect the full facts.” “In reality there are various factors, such as China having different standards and different usage habits to other countries. Even improper use can lead to doubts over quality,” said Jiang Fan, an official with the Ministry of Commerce. Last week, the Dutch government recalled 600,000 masks out of a Chinese shipment of 1.3 million that did not meet quality standards. China said the manufacturer “stated clearly that (the masks) are non-surgical.” Jiang’s comments echoed remarks from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who over the past week has repeatedly urged Western media not to “politicize” or “hype up” the issue. Stressing China always attaches great importance to the quality of export products, Hua said relevant Chinese authorities have issued stricter supervision measures. Last week, China tightened regulations for exported coronavirus medical equipment, requiring products to fulfil both domestic licensing standards and that of their destination countries. China has increased its production capacity of COVID-19 testing kits to over 4 million a day.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Guangxi closes border to foreign travel

SOUTH China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which borders Vietnam, has suspended cross-border passenger movement and restricted exit of citizens from the country amid concerns of an increase in the imported novel coronavirus cases. It has closed most ports except for a few being used for freight, the Guangxi health commission said. Regions around China’s porous borders with Southeast Asia have been scrambling to plug border gaps as thousands flood into a country seen as a safe haven in the global war against the disease. Guangxi’s recent move does not allow Chinese citizens, including those living near the border areas, to leave China through land or waterways transportation. Businesses involved in foreign aid projects, foreign investment, technical support and emergency medical assistance have to submit a written application and a list of exit personnel to the epidemic prevention and control headquarters in the district where the exit port is located, and leave the country collectively after approval. And crew on inbound ships from overseas are not allowed to disembark, according to the notice. “It is strictly forbidden for Chinese ships and foreign ships to conduct maritime transactions and supplies, and illegal employment of foreign personnel to work in our ships is strictly prohibited,” the statement said. Drivers of Vietnamese trucks are limited to unloading yard activities and all drivers have to return to Vietnam the same day. The general public is encouraged to report illegal immigration with offers for cash rewards between 3,000 yuan (US$90) and 10,000 yuan, according to the statement.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Apr 2020 | 4:00 am(NZT)

Wang Quanzhang: China releases jailed human rights lawyer

Wang Quanzhang, who was imprisoned for subversion, is freed but not allowed to see his family.

Source: BBC News - China | 6 Apr 2020 | 2:41 am(NZT)

Coronavirus: China mourns Covid-19 victims with three-minute silence

A day of mourning is held for the 3,300 people who died in China, where the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Source: BBC News - China | 4 Apr 2020 | 9:43 pm(NZT)

Tomb Sweeping Festival: China pays 'virtual' respects to ancestors

The coronavirus outbreak has closed cemeteries across China, so people are paying respects online.

Source: BBC News - China | 4 Apr 2020 | 12:01 pm(NZT)

'People have started leaving their houses again'

As part of a BBC blog series, Jen Smith talks us through one week as pandemic restrictions ease in Shenzhen.

Source: BBC News - China | 4 Apr 2020 | 10:04 am(NZT)

China's Luckin Coffee slumps on 'fake' data news

The company said its chief operating officer and other employees had fabricated financial information.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Apr 2020 | 8:22 pm(NZT)

Robots easing burden of hospital staff

The Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in central China’s Hunan Province has introduced two intelligent robots to disinfect the outpatient hall amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.The use of the robots can greatly reduce the workload of the hospital staff and cut the risk of cross-infection, said Meng Sha, deputy director of the hospital’s logistics distribution center. The robots use three types of disinfection methods: ultraviolet rays, ultra-dry fog hydrogen peroxide and plasma air filtration. The auto-navigation robots can be remotely controlled.In the evening, after all medical staff and patients leave, the robots start patrolling according to a preset route, using nine ultraviolet lamps for disinfection.In the day, the robots use the other two methods that can be done while people are around.“The robots have relieved the pressure of our work. After completing the work, they find their ways to the charging pile to charge automatically,” said Huang Weiping, head nurse of the outpatient department.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Strict action to prevent forest fires

China’s forest and grassland fire control command office dispatched six groups to inspect local fire prevention work, especially during the upcoming Qingming Festival.The inspection groups will travel to nine regions in the country, including Beijing, Guangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan and Shaanxi, the Ministry of Emergency Management said yesterday.They will check the fire prevention and control measures of local bureaus, the latest emergency plans, the staffing of firefighting teams and the preparation of firefighting materials.The ministry also stressed learning lessons from the heavy casualties in recent forest firefighting and improving forest and grassland fire safety.Nineteen people died in southwest China’s Sichuan Province while battling a forest fire earlier this week.Another forest fire broke out in southwestern Yunnan Province Tuesday and had been put out as of yesterday.Authorities demanded a focus on prominent risks of fires this season, while enhancing monitoring and early warning systems to prevent large forest fires.The traditional tomb-sweeping holiday, Qingming, which falls tomorrow this year, is a time for Chinese people to mourn the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. The tributes involve burning incense and joss paper.From 2010 to 2019, over 97 percent of fires were triggered by human activities, with a large share linked to sacrificial and agricultural activities, and mountain cover burning for afforestation, said the ministry.Experts said the dry conditions, large fuel load and flammable vegetation may also lead to more frequent fires this season.On Wednesday, China issued a red alert for forest fires, warning of “extremely high” fire risks for the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan, and an orange alert for Beijing and the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

43kg meth bust made in Yunnan

Police in southwest China’s Yunnan Province have seized over 43 kilograms of methamphetamine, local authorities said yesterday.About 3am on March 28, police in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan saw a suspect escaping from a white van on a road. Police arrested the suspect and seized 43.975 kg of methamphetamine from eight carved wooden elephants in the van.The suspect, surnamed Yan, confessed that he became acquainted with a man in Laos who had promised to give him 300,000 baht (US$9,000) if he transported the wooden elephants to a designated place. Further investigation is underway.Yunnan is a major front in China’s battle against drug crime, as it borders the Golden Triangle covering parts of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, known for its rampant drug production and trafficking.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Expected bumper grain harvest to sustain food self-sufficiency

The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it is a “high-probability event” that the country will see a bumper grain harvest in 2020 as ample reserves and stable agricultural production ensure self-sufficiency amid the novel coronavirus disease pandemic.“China has seen a pretty long streak of bumper years, with inventories and reserves abundant and grain price consistently stable,” said MOC official Wang Bin.China, the world’s top food producer and consumer saw its grain output reach a record high of 664 million tons last year, the 16th bumper year in a row, he said.“By the end of last year, the country had inventories of more than 280 million tons of wheat, corn and rice, which will enable complete self-sufficiency as the average annual consumption of grain hovers above 200 million tons,” he said. “The international market’s impact on the country’s grain supply is minimal.”The country’s grain imports are mainly fodder grains such as soybeans, with imported rice and wheat accounting for only 1 percent and 2 percent of the total domestic consumption, respectively, Wang said.‘No need to worry’“Even zero imports will not lead to a shortage of grain supply in China,” he said. “Consumers do not need to worry about the shortage or price spike of grains. They do not need to buy in bulk or hoard food at home.”China’s grain crops have three phases: early rice, summer grain and autumn production. Autumn grain crops, which include corn and middle- and late-season rice, account for the bulk of the grain production.An analysis by the country’s agriculture ministry points that greater early rice acreage and yield, a bumper summer grain harvest and well-planned purchases of autumn grain this year, all shows a generally sound trend of the country’s grain production this year, Wang said.“Wholesale and retail markets around the country have enough rice, flour and edible oil, and prices remain stable,” Wang said. “Grain production and processing enterprises are resuming production with sound progress, and the sector’s production is sufficient.”The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many countries to throttle the outflow of grains. Kyrgyzstan, for example, imposed a temporary ban on the export of certain types of food products and essential goods over COVID-19 concerns. The ban includes wheat, flour, vegetable oil and rice.“Export bans by some countries were imposed mainly to prioritize domestic food needs and we do not expect the majority of food exporters to follow suit,” Wang said.China has already taken multi-pronged measures to ensure stable spring farming. A special guideline on coordinating the virus control measures with spring farming preparation was issued in early March to ensure the agricultural production.All provincial-level regions should keep their sown areas and grain output stable, on par with that registered last year. And efforts will be made to fully implement support policies to motivate farmers to secure a bumper harvest, said the guideline issued by the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on the prevention and control of the outbreak.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Govt plans measures to help ‘crucial’ auto sector

China will aim to stabilize new car sales, loosen purchase restrictions in certain cities and invigorate the used-car market in a bid to unleash the consumption potential for cars, an official said yesterday.As a pillar of the national economy, the auto industry plays a crucial role in boosting domestic consumption and facilitating consumption upgrades, Wang Bin, deputy director of the Department of Market Operation and Consumption Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce told reporters.Car sales accounted for 9.6 percent of total retail sales in 2019.Tax revenue and employment in the auto and related industries made up 10 percent of the country’s total, he said.Due to multiple factors, China’s car sales have fallen for two consecutive years.Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, sales plunged 42 percent year on year during the first two months of this year.To prop up the market, the government recently announced a slew of measures to boost demand.A State Council executive meeting on Tuesday decided to extend subsidies and tax exemptions for new energy vehicle purchases by another two years, which were set to expire at the end of this year.Value-added tax on the sale of old vehicles by second-hand vehicle dealers will be cut to 0.5 percent from May 1 to the end of 2023. Liu Changyu, official with the Department of Foreign Trade of the MOC, said the pandemic overseas inevitably affected the country’s auto trade and supply chains.China will strengthen international cooperation to maintain the stability of the global automobile industrial chains and supply chains, Liu said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Roads lined with flowers: village finds new way of life

Benefiting from environmental protection, Yucun Village in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province has found the secret to sustainable prosperity.About 15 years ago, it was hard to imagine that the village could now have a beautiful country road with flowers lining either side, become a national tourist attraction and attract hundreds of thousands of tourists.The village achieved rapid development by running a cement factory and mining industries but suffered from severe pollution.“We hesitated on whether or not to shut down the factory,” said Jiang Zhihua, a villager who worked at the plant. “Although it brought income to almost every household in the village, we all lived in a hostile environment where dust hovered in the air and some villagers even had pneumoconiosis.”The village decided to focus on environmental protection and choose a pace of sustainable development and has undergone unprecedented changes since then.It shut down mining and other industries that caused pollution and started to develop tourism. In 2018, it was listed as a 4A class tourist attraction, the second-best rating on the country’s five-level system.No garbage or trash cans can be seen from the road in the village. “The village has practiced garbage classification, and household garbage is collected and transported by designated personnel regularly,” said Hu Bin, a villager in Yucun.“More than 800,000 tourists visit our village each year,” said Jiang. “The beautiful environment has brought us wealth.” Tourism has become a pillar of the village, which has 280 households and 1,050 villagers.Pan Chunlin was a tractor driver working for a stone mine in the village. He opened the village’s first travel agency after the mine was closed. “People in cities love our vegetables such as bamboo shoots,” he said.From 2005 to 2019, the village’s collective economic income rose from 910,000 yuan (US$128,270) to 5.21 million yuan, and the per capita net income increased from 8,732 yuan to 49,598 yuan.“We respect nature. And nature will never mistreat us,” said a villager surnamed Gu.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Quake hits hundreds of homes

Over 4,000 people have been affected in Shiqu County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit the area on Wednesday, local authorities said yesterday.The earthquake damaged more than 790 local households in 84 villages.The economic losses are estimated at 79.83 million yuan (US$11.28 million), local publicity department said.No casualties have been reported so far.The earthquake hit Shiqu County in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze at 8:23pm Wednesday.The local government said the epicenter, 559 kilometers from Chengdu, the provincial capital, is sparsely populated and has an average elevation of 4,661 meters in the surrounding areas.As of 8am yesterday, the local government has set up 30 emergency tents and evacuated 1,447 people in the epicenter.Other rescue supplies, including 76 tents, 105 quilts, and 1,000 cotton clothes, have also been sent due to the low temperature in the area.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Abusive foreigners causing trouble

a NIGERIAN who tested positive for the novel coronavirus allegedly attacked a nurse as he tried to force his way out of a hospital in Guangzhou has been put under police guard.The 47-year-old, Okonkwonwoye Chika Patrick, will be handled by police according to China’s immigration regulations and criminal law after his treatment is over and he is cleared of the virus, police in Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong Province said yesterday.Police received a report at 7:28am on Wednesday that the patient violently refused to take a blood test. He allegedly pushed a nurse to the ground, beat her and bit her face after she tried to stop him from walking out of the isolation ward where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the Guangzhou No. 8 Hospital.The nurse, surnamed Wang, suffered minor injuries to her face, neck and waist, police said.The Nigerian entered Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on March 20 and tested positive for the virus.Police have tightened security at the hospital.Separately, three foreigners yesterday apologized for their improper behavior after video of them cutting in a coronavirus testing line and shouting abuse in Qingdao, Shandong Province, sparked fury among Chinese netizens.The incident happened at a testing site in Qingdao’s Laoshan District on April 1 and as the footage circulated online showed, one of the foreigners even shouted “Chinese get out!” when locals tried to stop them queue-jumping.Public security officials in Laoshan quickly launched an investigation after the video sparked fury online. They criticized and educated the three foreigners involved yesterday, warning them to strictly abide by Chinese law and follow regulations on the prevention and control of the epidemic.The foreigners apologized to the public for their improper words and behavior and also wrote an apology letter.The local health authority had apologized on Weibo on Wednesday over the incident, and said it would strengthen its management and take measures to keep lines in order.The local information office also responded to the incident on Weibo yesterday, saying the relevant department was investigating the case.It said all Chinese and foreigners would be treated and dealt with equally.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Shenzhen first to ban dog, cat meat

SHENZHEN in Guangdong Province has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus. Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold. Authorities in the southern Chinese technology hub said the ban on eating dogs and cats would come into force on May 1. “Dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” the city government said in an order posted yesterday. “This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.” China’s top legislature said in late February it was banning the trade and consumption of wild animals. Provincial and city governments across the country have been moving to enforce the ruling but Shenzhen has been the most explicit about extending that ban to dogs and cats. Dogs, in particular, are eaten in several parts of Asia. Liu Jianping, an official with the Shenzhen Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said that the poultry, livestock and seafood available to consumers were sufficient. “There is no evidence showing that wildlife is more nutritious than poultry and livestock,” Liu told Shenzhen Daily. Shenzhen’s initial rules, first proposed in late February, appeared to ban the consumption of turtles and frogs — both common dishes in China’s south. But the city government acknowledged this week that this had been “a hot point of controversy” and clarified that both could be eaten.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Apr 2020 | 5:14 am(NZT)

Shopper buys $6m rocket launch in China

Rocket launch service sold for $6m via Chinese livestream.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Apr 2020 | 3:44 am(NZT)

Coronavirus: How China's using surveillance to tackle outbreak

China is using its high tech system to tackle the outbreak, but is the state interference justified?

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Apr 2020 | 12:06 pm(NZT)


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