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Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai detained for fraud

The prominent pro-democracy supporter's detention comes a day after several activists were jailed.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Dec 2020 | 8:28 pm(NZT)

Chinese step up attempts to influence Biden team - US official

A US intelligence official says Beijing is targeting people close to the incoming US president.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Dec 2020 | 3:43 pm(NZT)

Hong Kong: Joshua Wong and fellow pro-democracy activists jailed

The trio were convicted of unauthorised assembly during mass protests in the city last year.

Source: BBC News - China | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:32 am(NZT)

Chang’e-5 begins mission to scoop lunar samples

CHINA’S Chang’e-5 probe took samples of the moon’s surface yesterday as part of a mission to bring lunar rocks back to Earth for the first time since the 1970s, the country’s space administration announced. The lander-ascender combination of Chang’e-5 has sealed up soil samples obtained from beneath the moon’s surface, and is gathering samples from the surface as planned, the China National Space Administration said yesterday. After making a successful soft landing on Tuesday night, the lander started rolling out its solar panel wings and unlocking some of the payloads on board to prepare for sample collection. It released images of the barren landing site showing the lander’s shadow. The lander first drilled a 2-meter-deep hole, digging out soil, and sealed it up at 4:53am early yesterday. Next, it will use its robotic arms to scoop up more samples from the lunar surface for backup. These samples, expected to weigh about 2 kilograms, will be sealed in what scientists have described as a long “sausage-like package.” “Samples have to be sealed up in case any contamination occurs during the course back to earth,” Luan Enjie, the chief commander of China’s first lunar mission told CCTV. “The moon environment is very different from the Earth, so samples need to be stored in a very clean container,” he added. The Chang’e-5 probe, launched November 24 from the tropical island of Hainan, is the latest venture by a space program that sent China’s first astronaut into orbit in 2003. China also has a spacecraft en route to Mars and aims eventually to land a human on the moon. Plans call for the lander to spend two days on the moon and collecting 2 kilograms of rocks and debris. The top stage of the probe will be launched back into lunar orbit to transfer the samples to a capsule to take back to Earth, where it is to land in China’s northern grasslands in mid-December. If it succeeds, it will be the first time scientists have obtained fresh samples of lunar rocks since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe in 1976. From the rocks and debris, scientists hope to learn more about the moon, including its precise age, as well as about other bodies in our solar system. Collecting samples, including from asteroids, is an increasing focus of many space programs. Tuesday’s landing is “a historic step in China’s cooperation with the international community in the peaceful use of outer space,” said a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying. “China will continue to promote international cooperation and the exploration and use of outer space in the spirit of working for the benefit of all mankind,” Hua said. American and Russian space officials congratulated the Chinese program. “Congratulations to China on the successful landing of Chang’e 5. This is no easy task,” NASA’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, wrote on Twitter. “When the samples collected on the Moon are returned to Earth, we hope everyone will benefit from being able to study this precious cargo that could advance the international science community.” “For the space program of China, this event is undoubtedly historic,” Deputy Director General of Roscosmos Sergei Savelyev said in a statement, after congratulating his Chinese colleagues on behalf of the corporation.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Nano drug carrier to treat cancer

Researchers from Chinese institutes and Columbia University have developed a new nanomaterial that can act as an anti-cancer drug carrier, representing a promising strategy for precise drug delivery in cancer therapy.Drug carriers are compounds that can be attached to drug molecules for targeted delivery.Published last month in the international journal Advanced Materials, the results of animal experiments showed that the nanomaterial with a tumor cell membrane wrapped around its surface can precisely guide chemotherapy drugs to tumors.The main components of the new material are selenium and silicon dioxide, which can be degraded under X-ray irradiation, said lead researcher Dong Wenfei of the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences yesterday.Under low levels of X-ray irradiation, the material achieved controlled drug release. Tests on mice with breast cancer showed that the use of the nano drug carrier could double the efficiency of tumor treatment and greatly reduce toxic side effects when compared with conventional chemotherapy.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Disabled storyteller her own champion

As a popular storyteller on China’s online audio-sharing platform Ximalaya FM, headmaster of a training school and founder of an NGO offering mental health services, Cao Yan seems always full of beans and ready for new adventures.“I would like to do things that others have never done before. Of course, such things must be useful to society,” Cao said.However, her audience may never know that such a lovely voice belongs to a 60-year-old woman who has suffered from severe disabilities for decades.Born in 1960 in an ordinary Beijing family, Cao had to walk with crutches as she suffered from infantile paralysis when she was six months old. Fortune has not been on her side: she lost her mother at the age of six.During childhood, Cao was fascinated by the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and made up her mind to become a writer like the Danish writer. Instead of playing outdoors like other children, she spent most of her time with a radio.To be a good fairy-tale writer, Cao needed to understand children’s wild flights of fancy, so she started to visit the library every day and narrate stories to children at a primary school in Beijing as an after-school activity counsellor. She even learnt story-telling from Sun Jingxiu, a famous Chinese educator and storyteller for children.In the beginning, some children would make fun of her disability. But her persistence finally won her a loyal audience.Misfortune struck again when she was 26. A severe traffic accident condemned Cao to five orthopedic surgeries in the next six years and left her wheelchair-bound for life.Despite all odds, Cao never failed to see the silver lining. She knows what she wants and what kind of person she would like to be.Cao always makes plans for her life. After the car accident, she was desperate to become a teacher and open a school.After initially raising 50,000 yuan (US$7,600), she opened the Beijing I-Shine Education for Young Learners in 1994 to provide extracurricular art, science and language classes for children.The school now has more than 140 students and was rated a top-level private school in the downtown Xicheng District.“I always tell people you must be your own champion,” the self-made woman said. “I cannot rescue people like the firefighters but I can help them in my own way.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Wild horses get cozy in bitter winter

Przewalski’s horses are being treated to a winter feast as Chinese breeders prepare a buffet of nutritious food for them.“We stored more than 400 tons of fodder including clover, corn and carrots for Przewalski’s horses in captivity,” said Yang Jianming, director of the Xinjiang Wild Horse Breeding and Research Center in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.There are more than 2,000 of the wild horses native to Central Asia worldwide. The center is the world’s largest breeding base, with 481 horses, including 97 in captivity, 267 in the wild and 117 in semi-captivity. Just days ago, a blizzard hit the center, with temperatures as low as minus 12 degrees Celsius.“The food, especially the carrots and corn, can meet the needs of the wild horses in winter and prepare them for the breeding season in spring,” said Yang.The endangered breed is named after its Russian discoverer.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Miao girl honors ethnic silvercraft

Sitting at an operating platform with a pair of tweezers in hand, Pan Xue places a tiny little silver thread inside a silver loop about 1 centimeter in diameter.“This is called thread-adding, which is one of the many steps of making the Miao ethnic silver ornaments,” said Pan, 23.Pan was born and raised in the village of Shuli, under the city of Kaili, in southwest China’s Guizhou Province. In her spare time, she records the process of her making ethnic silver ornaments and uploads them on China’s popular short-video platforms, such as Douyin and Kuaishou, bringing traditional craftsmanship to the public.The Miao have a long history of wearing silver ornaments. These are not just pretty, but also cultural symbols, the intricate pictures on them representing aspects of Miao history. Pan has uploaded more than 100 short videos online.“Each individual Miao ornament tells a vivid story,” she said. “I hope that, through the videos, people will better appreciate the beauty of Miao culture.”Pan’s passion for the Miao silver ornaments began when she was just a child.“The Miao people have a tradition that every Miao girl inherits a pair of silver ornaments from her parents as dowry,” Pan said.At 12, Pan’s granny took her to a local silversmith to make her dowry.Pan was amazed at how the silversmith, Zhang Yongfu, managed to create her future dowry “out of nowhere.”“From that point on, I often went to Zhang’s shop to watch him craft silver ornaments, and I helped him occasionally,” she said. “I began to want to learn the skills.”In 2016, Pan graduated from high school and chose music as her major in college. But every summer and winter holiday, she would go to Zhang’s shop to learn how to make the silver ornaments as a part-time job.During college, Pan was constantly promoting her ethnic culture by uploading videos of herself dressed in the Miao costumes, playing the Lusheng — a reed-pipe wind instrument ­ and making Miao silver ornaments. The videos grabbed people’s attention on the Internet, and some netizens wrote comments below the videos, saying they loved the Miao traditions.Pan was inspired by the feedback, and decided to learn how to make silver ornaments professionally, with a view to passing on the craftsmanship. In August 2018, she officially became Zhang’s apprentice.“Making the Miao ornaments was definitely not as easy as I thought,” Pan said.After graduating from college this year, she committed to becoming an artisan although she initially hid the decision from her parents.“It was a tough decision for me,” she said. “My parents had always wanted me to find a more ‘decent, stable’ job.”Her parents did not know their daughter’s chosen trade until journalists came to interview her. “They love the traditional culture, so they voiced no objections,” Pan said.The COVID-19 pandemic caused many silversmith shops to close, including Zhang Yongfu’s. So, Pan resorted to the Internet, posting videos and live-streaming.Once orders starting coming in, she shared them with silversmiths like Zhang. From early February to mid-April, Pan received more than 500 orders worth 115,680 yuan (US$17,606).“If it weren’t for Pan, I would not have any business this year,” Zhang said.Although now a skilled artisan, Pan often watches online training courses and studies the masters.“Innovation is important if we want to make traditional stuff more interesting,” she said. “I’m still learning.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Qingdao carries out mass tests

THE city of Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province inspected companies that deal with imported frozen food and conducted COVID-19 tests on workers, local authorities said yesterday. The move follows a worker of a local seafood company being found an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 on Tuesday. So far, 48,435 workers in the industry have been sampled for nucleic acid tests, with 48,315 testing negative and the rest awaiting results. Meanwhile, one person tested positive for the virus in south China’s Shenzhen. The case surnamed Yang is a close contact of a previous imported case who works as a cross-border truck driver from Hong Kong. All Yang’s close contacts are now quarantined. Local authorities have advised citizens to avoid traveling.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 3 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

China #MeToo: Court to hear landmark case of intern versus TV star

Six years after the alleged incident, one woman is taking a prominent TV star to court.

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Dec 2020 | 10:21 pm(NZT)

China: Looted horse head returns to Beijing's Old Summer Palace

The sculpture was stolen in the 1860 sacking of the Old Summer Palace by British and French troops.

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Dec 2020 | 3:46 pm(NZT)

Qualcomm: Android phones to get 'lucky number' Snapdragon 888 chip

The Californian firm is launching its chip at a time of trade tensions between the US and China.

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Dec 2020 | 7:35 am(NZT)

BDS offers key tools on the road

China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System has remarkably enhanced the country’s comprehensive traffic management in both efficiency and safety, according to a new report.The BDS and related technologies have been extensively applied in all major fields in China’s transportation sector, said the report on the construction and development of the BDS released by the China Satellite Navigation Office.The BDS has been applied in many areas such as key transportation process monitoring, highway infrastructure safety monitoring, port high-precision real-time positioning and dispatching monitoring.By the end of October, around 7 million commercial road vehicles had been fitted with the BDS, accounting for 96 percent of such vehicles in operation.A total of 31,400 postal and express delivery vehicles have also applied the BDS, around 88 percent of the total.Around 1,400 public service boats and ships, 75 percent of the total, have been equipped with the BDS.It has also been installed on about 300 general aircraft, 11 percent of the total.China declared the official commissioning of the BDS on July 31, marking the formal opening of the BDS-3 system for global users.Along with positioning, navigation and timing services, the BDS-3 system also provides a variety of services like assistance in global search and rescue, short message communication, ground-based and satellite-based augmentation, and precise point positioning.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Ecological plan frees 20m poor

More than 20 million people living under China’s poverty line shook off poverty through ecological poverty-relief programs, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.The country has so far completed all the tasks of its ecological poverty-relief programs while coordinating poverty alleviation with ecological protection, NFGA deputy director Li Chunliang told reporters yesterday.The administration has carried out several such programs, including ecological compensation and government-sponsored afforestation projects.As part of the compensation mechanism, forestry authorities have recruited a total of about 1.1 million forest rangers around the nation from impoverished households since 2016, Li said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Cold-chain worker in Shandong tests positive

ONE asymptomatic case of COVID-19 was found during regular checks on cold-chain workers in the city of Jiaozhou in east China’s Shandong Province, authorities said yesterday. The carrier surnamed Li, 30, is a loader who was also involved in disinfection work at Qingdao Gain Seafood Co Ltd, according to the municipal health commission of Qingdao, which administers Jiaozhou. Packaging samples of a batch of frozen seafood Li had loaded tested positive. The products have been sealed. So far, health authorities in Qingdao have found 486 close contacts of Li, and they have been quarantined. Qingdao is screening, quarantining, and testing personnel, sealing and disinfecting areas, and conducting further investigations to find people with infection risks. China’s National Health Commission said that it received reports of 12 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Monday, including four domestically transmitted cases and eight imported ones. The four domestic cases were found in the city of Manzhouli, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, after the city on the China-Russia border completed the second round of city-wide nucleic acid testing covering 203,378 people. Meanwhile, all the nucleic acid test results of the contacts of a South Korean worker in southwest China’s Chongqing returned negative. The Korean was diagnosed as an asymptomatic COVID-19 case on arriving in South Korea. He is an employee of the semiconductor giant SK Hynix. Chongqing has now allowed the company, which had been temporarily shut down, to resume operation.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Hainan a leader in plastic war

Disposable plastic bags and tableware that are non-degradable have been banned from production, sale and use starting from yesterday in China’s island province of Hainan.The first batch of items banned under the strategy includes disposable plastic bags, packaging bags, meal boxes, bowls, drink cups and straws made from non-biodegradable polymers.Hainan announced the comprehensive ban in February as part of an effort to cut “white pollution” in the province, which has been designated a national ecological civilization pilot zone.From August, the province launched a pilot program on phasing out single-use non-degradable plastic products in a range of places such as Party and government organizations, state-owned enterprises, schools, tourist attractions, big supermarkets and hospitals.Hainan has also been cultivating and developing eco-friendly substitutes for non-degradable plastic products.It is expected to form a complete industrial chain of fully biodegradable materials and products between 2022 and 2023, in cooperation with industry.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Chang’e-5 probe lands on moon’s surface

CHINA successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon’s surface yesterday in a historic mission to retrieve lunar surface samples. The Chang’e-5 probe “successfully landed on the moon in the pre-selected landing area,” the official China News Service said, citing space officials. The probe, launched on November 24 from the tropical southern island of Hainan, adds to a string of increasingly bold missions by a Chinese space program that aims eventually to land a human on the moon. The uncrewed mission, named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, aims to collect lunar material to help scientists learn more about the moon’s origins. The mission will attempt to collect 2 kilograms of samples in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Storms.” If the mission is completed as planned, it would make China the third nation to have retrieved lunar samples after the United States and the Soviet Union. The lander vehicle that touched down on the moon’s surface was one of several spacecraft deployed by the Chang’e-5 probe. Upon landing, the lander vehicle is supposed to drill into the ground with a robotic arm, then transfer its soil and rock samples to an ascender vehicle that would lift off and dock with an orbiting module. State broadcaster CCTV said it would start collecting samples on the lunar surface in the next two days. The samples would be transferred to a return capsule for the trip back to Earth, landing in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. China made its first lunar landing in 2013. In January last year. The Chang’e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon, the first space probe from any nation to do so.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Old Summer Palace gets back stolen relic

A BRONZE horse head sculpture, a treasure of China’s Old Summer Palace that went missing after Anglo-French allied forces’ looting 160 years ago, returned to its original palace home yesterday. It is the first time that a lost important cultural relic from the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, has been returned to and housed at its original location after being repatriated from overseas. Twelve animal head sculptures once formed a zodiac water clock in Beijing’s Yuanmingyuan, built by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The originals were looted from the royal garden by Anglo-French allied forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War (1856-1860). The horse head, designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione and crafted by royal craftsmen, is an artistic blend of East and West. Macau billionaire Stanley Ho bought the artefact for HK$69.1 million (US$8.9 million) ahead of a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2007 and publicly displayed it in Hong Kong and Macau for many years. Ho decided to donate it to the National Cultural Heritage Administration and return it to its original palace home in November 2019. The administration and competent departments of the Beijing municipal government have spent one year refurbishing the old Zhengjue Temple, the main place of worship for Qing Dynasty emperors in the garden, to an exhibition venue, said Liu Yuzhu, head of the administration. An exhibition commemorating the return of the horse head has kicked off at the temple, displaying about 100 items including relics and photographs. The horse head sculpture was returned to the palace amid the challenges brought by COVID-19, said He Yan with the Beijing Urban Planning Society. “It also led to an all-round upgrade of security at the Old Summer Palace, which allows for long-term exhibitions.” “There is international consensus on returning lost cultural relics to their original homes, and China’s efforts to bring relics home in recent years have enhanced that consensus,” He added. Over the past two decades, wealthy collectors have been buying the looted antiques at art auctions and returned them. To date, including the bronze horse figure, seven of the 12 animal head sculptures had been returned to China, while the rest remain missing. Ho also paid HK$6 million for the collection’s pig head in 2003, donating it to the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Sanctions against Chinese firm flayed

CHINA urged the United States yesterday to correct its mistake and lift all illegal sanctions, after Washington imposed Venezuela-related sanctions targeting a Chinese firm. “We are firmly opposed to the abuse of unilateral sanctions and other means to coerce the Venezuelan people to change their development path,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a routine briefing. China will take necessary measures to safeguard companies rights and interests, Hua said. The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on Chinese firm China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation, accusing it of supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to undermine democracy. The US Treasury Department said in a statement the Chinese company supported the leftist government of Maduro in its “efforts to restrict Internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents.” Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry called the move “illegal” and said in a statement it was aimed at “isolating the country and generating difficulties for the Venezuelan population.” Washington in January 2019 recognized Venezuelan politician Guaido as the OPEC nation’s rightful leader and has ratcheted up sanctions and diplomatic pressure in the aftermath of Maduro’s 2018 re-election. Monday’s action freezes any US assets of the Chinese firm and generally bars Americans from dealing with it.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Internet for all schools

By the end of 2020, all educational institutions in China will have access to the Internet, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. About 99.7 percent of schools in China have gone online so far, up by more than 30 percentage points compared to 2015. There are 10.6 million teachers’ terminals and 17.03 million students’ terminals in schools.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

‘Birdman’ Zhang flying high to make sport cool

Zhang Shupeng appears untroubled as he surveys the jagged mountains of a national park in central China — before diving head-first off a cliff to bullet down at 230 kilometers an hour.Any potential disaster is averted when he opens a parachute and drops gently to the ground, Asia’s top wingsuit athlete in his element.Zhang is among a different breed of Chinese sports star that is inspiring the next generation.Zhang’s sport — one of the most extreme in the world — sees practitioners jump into the void from a mountain, a plane or a helicopter wearing a flexible, wing-shaped suit that allows ‘human flight’ in the form of a high-speed glide. “When I walk up to the top, my pulse is racing. But during the flight I am super-serene,” 34-year-old Zhang said with a smile, seconds before jumping off the majestic Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province.Custom-made in the United States, his red Batman-style suit cost more than 70,000 yuan (US$10,000) and is emblazoned with a picture of the Great Wall.Unlike the rest of the world, where many athletes are stuck at home due to anti-COVID restrictions, China has brought the virus almost completely under control.That means Zhang has been able to return to training.During a jump, the air rushes into the suit whose material goes rigid and generates lift, allowing him to glide in a more horizontal trajectory.“I feel like a bird,” explains the former world paragliding champion, who has carried out more than 3,000 wingsuit flights.“It becomes one with my body. By changing my posture, I can turn, speed up or slow down.”Wingsuit jumping arrived in China in 2011, when American star Jeb Corliss glided through the “Gate of Heaven”, a 130-meter-high natural arch in Tianmen Mountain, in front of local TV cameras.Zhang attended the first edition of the world championship the following year, held at the same location, and was hooked.He left China to train in Europe and the United States and by 2017 was among the best in the world.“The current environment in China allows and supports the emergence of sports which give more space to the personality of the athletes. It is my dream to make the image of Chinese athletes cooler.”The sport inevitably comes with risks, including soaring too close to a cliff edge or a sudden strong gust throwing the jumper off course.But Zhang is sanguine in the face of danger.“There is no dangerous sport. There are just dangerous people, who want to go beyond their capabilities or challenge themselves with every jump,” he said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Nation’s education enrollments surging

The number of graduates from Chinese colleges and universities is expected to hit 9.09 million in 2021, an increase of 350,000 over 2020, the Ministry of Education said yesterday.Efforts should be made to secure high-quality employment for graduates, according to a video conference held jointly by the MOE and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.The meeting stressed the importance of supporting graduates to find jobs and start businesses in emerging industries and modern services.State-owned enterprises as well as medium, small, and micro businesses are encouraged to create more positions for graduates, according to the conference.The meeting also called on graduates to serve in communities and the armed forces. The ministry also announced that the popularization of education at all levels has caught up or overtaken the corresponding average levels in middle- and high-income countries during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).The gross enrollment rate of senior high education reached 89.5 percent in 2019, followed by of pre-school education, at 83.4 percent, said MOE official Liu Changya.China has made headway in higher education with its gross enrollment rate exceeding 51 percent in 2019, marking a leap from mass higher education to universal access, according to the official.The country’s working-age population receive 10.7 years of education on average.And over half of the new labor force has had access to higher education, with the average years of education being 13.7, he added.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 2 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

China refuses to apologise to Australia for fake soldier image

The retort comes after Canberra demands an apology over a fake image of a soldier killing a child.

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Dec 2020 | 4:35 am(NZT)

China's Chang'e-5 Moon mission probe touches down

The robotic Chang'e-5 probe makes a picture-perfect soft landing on the lunar nearside.

Source: BBC News - China | 2 Dec 2020 | 4:29 am(NZT)

Agnes Chow: Hong Kong’s 'real Mulan' fighting for democracy

The pro-democracy activist is “traumatised” after being arrested under a controversial security law.

Source: BBC News - China | 1 Dec 2020 | 11:55 pm(NZT)

China-US trade war: Beijing escalates tit-for-tat with Washington

Beijing has introduced tough new laws which restrict the export of "controlled items".

Source: BBC News - China | 1 Dec 2020 | 3:51 pm(NZT)

Tibet’s incense smells of success

As high-altitude winds greet the early morning, Gyatso loads the packages of incense sticks into a car. The incense is bound for the city of Lhasa more than 100 kilometers away.These incense sticks are made through a unique process — a waterwheel drives wooden strips around, causing them to beat against stones underwater, turning the strips into a wood-mud material that is used to make Tibetan incense.The tractional technique dates back more than 1,300 years in Tonta, a village in Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.“Our family has been making Tibetan incense for generations. When I was a child, the Tibetan incense was made by hand. During our spare time, we carried the incense to Lhasa, Shigatse and other places to sell it. At that time, it was very hard and we didn’t make much money,” said Gyatso.Tibetan incense is a kind of medicinal incense. Due to the high price of Tibetan medicinal materials needed to make such incense, many people have given up the traditional craft and moved on to other places to make a living. The prices of incense made in family workshops vary greatly, thus leading to blind competition and a lack of innovation.In order to open up a market, Gyatso began to innovate the incense varieties. After hundreds of failures, eight new Tibetan incense products were born. With the new products, Gyatso’s business gradually improved.In 2008, Gyatso established a company based on his original workshop with his own trademark. In 2019, his incense brand won a gold award at the China Trademark Festival.Increasing in popularity, Gyatso’s Tibetan incense is not only a hot commodity in Tibet, but also deeply loved by customers in other regions including Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangdong. In 2019, the turnover of his company reached 950,000 yuan (US$144,000) and profits exceeded 300,000 yuan.“Now we have 25 employees, most of whom are local women, with an average age of over 40, and some of them are from poor households,” he said.“We provide our employees with raw materials, venues and training and pay according to output. Now everyone’s income has increased, and poor households have been lifted out of poverty.”In August 2016, Tonta Village set up another Tibetan incense company in the form of a cooperative. The local government’s favorable policies encouraged the purchase of shares and 35 villages have joined the company. In 2018, Tonta cast off poverty, with an annual per capita income of over 11,000 yuan.In recent years, the company has actively explored the domestic market and cooperated with major e-commerce platforms to sell its incense.“We are also going to cooperate with a professional e-commerce team in Lhasa to continue to expand our online business via livestreaming and short videos,” said Tenzin Jigme, a village official.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 1 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Tomb find highlights ethnic mix

Chinese archeologists have uncovered an ancient tomb dating back to the late Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) at the Xuyang Cemetery in Luoyang, central China’s Henan Province.It is thought to be the tomb of a noble or royal of the Luhun Rong people, an ethnic group that immigrated from the northwest and inhabited central China during the period.Bronze bells and chimes, jade ornaments and thumb-rings were found in the well-preserved tomb which was surrounded by horse and chariot pits, said Wu Yeheng, who is in charge of the excavation.The tomb is believed to have integrated the burial customs of the Rong people and the culture of China’s central plains located on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, given the bronze funerary objects as well as the heads and hooves of horses, oxen and sheep found in the chariot pits, according to Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang.Liu Qingzhu, an archeologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the discovery further confirmed the story of the Luhun Rong.It shows social life of the time and cultural integration and evolution — solid evidence of the inclusiveness of Chinese civilization.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 1 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Yunnan has major win over HIV/AIDS

After more than 30 years of fighting HIV/AIDS, one of China’s major anti-AIDS battlegrounds has achieved the UN “90-90-90” targets.The HIV/AIDS prevention bureau of southwestern Yunnan Province said yesterday that as of the end of November, Yunnan has attained the goal set by UNAIDS.The goal has three measurable objectives: 90 percent of people living with HIV should know their infection status; 90 percent of those with HIV are receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of those receiving such treatment are “virally suppressed,” indicating a negligible risk of transmitting HIV sexually.“Through unremitting efforts, Yunnan has transformed itself from one of the regions hardest hit by HIV/AIDS into a demonstration area of comprehensive prevention and treatment,” said Lu Lin, head of the bureau.When Jia Manhong began her job in HIV testing over three decades ago, her family and friends regarded it as “dangerous and unmentionable.”“My mom was so worried about possible infections. Every time I came home from work, she stared at me as I washed my hands and changed clothes,” said Jia, 53. She is a senior advisor for the Yunnan provincial anti-AIDS commission and also serves on a disease prevention and control expert advisory committee of the National Health Commission.Yunnan reported its first HIV infection in 1987 and found clusters of cases in 1989, becoming one of the country’s main anti-AIDS battlefields. Jia, who had graduated from a medical school, joined the front line.After 30 years, Jia noted a marked improvement in public awareness and the working conditions of medical staff.“I remember we used to face a high risk of occupational exposure during experiments, and every year, several colleagues had to take HIV-blocking drugs,” she said.From 2005, four rounds of the war against HIV have been launched. “A province-wide prevention network is functioning well. The government-led, multi-sectoral participation model has consolidated and curbed the AIDS epidemic in the province,” Lu said.To boost early detection, Yunnan promotes voluntary counseling and testing services in key areas. All rural townships have ample capacity for testing. The key to success has been partnerships between different sectors and organizations, experts say.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 1 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Rare ancient ocean fossil discovered

Chinese scientists have found a fossilized trilobite with an unusual cephalic morphology dating back around 500 million years in east China’s Shandong Province.The 4-centimeter-long trilobite, Phantaspis auritus, has a head with an extended anterior area with a double-lobate shape resembling a pair of rabbit ears, according to the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.Trilobites are a fossil group of extinct marine arthropods with a heavily calcified external skeleton that populated the oceans from about 520 million years ago to about 250 million years ago.The discovery of this unique trilobite provides new insights into the morphological range and structural foundation of the cephalic specialization in Cambrian trilobites.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 1 Dec 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Kimchi ferments cultural feud between South Korea and China

South Korea is angered by false claims that China had won certification for the iconic cabbage dish.

Source: BBC News - China | 1 Dec 2020 | 3:34 am(NZT)

Huawei ban: UK to impose early end to use of new 5G kit

The cut-off date of September for the installation of new equipment is earlier than expected.

Source: BBC News - China | 30 Nov 2020 | 1:02 pm(NZT)

Carrie Lam: Hong Kong's leader says she has to keep piles of cash at home

Carrie Lam says she has no bank account due to US sanctions, and pays cash for everything.

Source: BBC News - China | 29 Nov 2020 | 12:13 am(NZT)

Coronavirus: Pandas leave Canada for China's bamboo

Calgary Zoo had to send the two Chinese pandas home early after the pandemic hit bamboo supplies.

Source: BBC News - China | 28 Nov 2020 | 7:46 am(NZT)

Chinese doctors jailed for illegal organ harvesting

The four men were part of an organ trafficking ring that targeted accident victims.

Source: BBC News - China | 27 Nov 2020 | 7:06 pm(NZT)

China slaps up to 200% tariffs on Australian wine

It has been investigating the "dumping" of cheap wines in China - an accusation Australia denies.

Source: BBC News - China | 27 Nov 2020 | 5:02 pm(NZT)

US-China trade war: Trump gives one last twist

The US says it will impose tariffs on twist ties, used to seal bread bags and tie up cables.

Source: BBC News - China | 25 Nov 2020 | 5:40 pm(NZT)

Uighurs: China rebuffs Pope's criticism as 'groundless'

Beijing says remarks by the Pope about the persecution of China's Muslim Uighurs are "groundless".

Source: BBC News - China | 25 Nov 2020 | 4:42 pm(NZT)

How to 'disappear' on Happiness Avenue in Beijing

A group of volunteers trying to avoid surveillance cameras took more than two hours to walk 1km.

Source: BBC News - China | 25 Nov 2020 | 5:13 am(NZT)

Stephen Ellison: Diplomat who saved drowning woman given banner

The banner, a Chinese gift of gratitude, reads "righteous and courageous, saving people from water".

Source: BBC News - China | 24 Nov 2020 | 6:09 pm(NZT)


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