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TikTok: Trump says Oracle deal for video app 'has my blessing'

The president says the bid by Oracle and Walmart would protect the data of TikTok users in the US.

Source: BBC News - China | 20 Sep 2020 | 12:45 pm(NZT)

Former MI6 man suspected of selling information to undercover Chinese spies

Fraser Cameron calls the claims "ridiculous" and says he has no access to sensitive information.

Source: BBC News - China | 20 Sep 2020 | 11:19 am(NZT)

China holds military drill as US envoy visits Taiwan

The military drills near the Taiwan Strait comes as China accuses the US and Taiwan of "collusion".

Source: BBC News - China | 18 Sep 2020 | 9:07 pm(NZT)

Team finds 100-million-year-old sperm

Chinese paleontologists along with their counterparts from Germany and Britain have discovered the oldest known animal sperm in the world in a piece of amber dating 100 million years ago, according to the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.The research finding has been published in a paper on the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Before this latest discovery, the oldest confirmed animal sperm dated to about 50 million years ago.The sperm came from a species of crustacean named ostracod. It is minuscule — usually about 1 millimeter long — but widely distributed in oceans, lakes, swamps, rivers and ponds.The researchers discovered the ostracod sperm in amber from the Cretaceous Period found in Myanmar. It weighs 0.676 gram and contains 39 ostracod specimens. More than one-third of the animal’s body length, bears a close resemblance to its modern forms.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Sep 2020 | 4:11 am(NZT)

Sun shines on vibrant Xiamen economy

As sunshine poured on the tables by the French window through a bamboo dome, visitors sip coffee and stroll around the cafe looking at the exquisite exhibits.For Fang Guoxi, owner of cafe Enjoy More in southeast China’s coastal city of Xiamen, all this seemed impossible over a decade ago when he first arrived at the site, occupied by an old factory workshop.In 1980, China’s State Council approved the establishment of the Xiamen Special Economic Zone in the district of Huli, then mostly covered by paddy fields. Companies from both home and abroad rushed in.By the time Fang arrived at Xiamen in 1998 after graduating from college, factory clusters dotted the district. “The streets were packed with people during rush hour, and manufacturing was prosperous back then,” Fang recalled.As Xiamen restructured its economy many of the industries were moved to other places, leaving behind the old plants. The local government launched an initiative in 2006 to transform the deserted plants into a zone for creative industries.Fang grabbed the opportunity to set up his own business. “We hoped to retain the industrial vibe of the area through design while still telling the story of the special economic zone,” Fang said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Sep 2020 | 4:11 am(NZT)



Xinjiang White Paper highlights progress in jobs

China yesterday published a paper on the employment and labor rights in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.“Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang,” was released by the State Council Information Office.China is committed to a people-centered philosophy of development, attaches great importance to job security, gives high priority to employment, and pursues a proactive set of policies on employment, the paper says.In accordance with the country’s major policies on employment and the overall plan for eliminating poverty, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region takes the facilitation of employment as the most fundamental project for ensuring and improving people’s wellbeing, it says.“Through its proactive labor and employment policies, Xinjiang has continuously improved the people’s material and cultural lives, and guaranteed and developed their human rights in every field,” the paper says.From 2014 to 2019, the total number of people employed in Xinjiang rose from 11.35 million to 13.3 million, an increase of 17.2 percent, according to the white paper. The income of residents and workers has increased steadily, says the paper.Workers’ job preferences have always served as an important reference for the local government of Xinjiang in designing its employment policies, expanding employment channels, creating jobs, organizing vocational training sessions, and providing placement services, according to the paper.“This ensures that the people can make their own choices about work and enjoy a happy life,” it says.Xinjiang strictly observes relevant laws and regulations of the state, providing information on the law through education campaigns, strengthening the legal awareness of employers and employees, and conducting routine inspections to ensure that labor laws are enforced, it adds.“The goal is to bring the establishment, management, supervision and arbitration of labor relations under legal scrutiny, and take resolute action to prevent or punish any incidents of forced labor,” the paper says.“The Chinese government is committed to respecting citizens’ right to work, safeguarding their legitimate labor rights and interests, and ensuring them a decent job,” it says.Strictly following the principles as embodied in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and relevant national laws, Xinjiang has formulated and implemented a series of autonomous regional regulations based on local conditions, providing a solid legal guarantee for citizens in Xinjiang to enjoy equal rights to work.The local government fully respects and guarantees the right of workers of all ethnic groups to freedom of religious belief, and ensures that no organization or individual interferes with this freedom, it says.“While promoting standard spoken and written Chinese in accordance with the law, Xinjiang fully respects and protects the rights of ethnic minority workers to use their own spoken and written languages, and ensures that workers can choose which languages to use for communication,” says the paper.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Sep 2020 | 4:11 am(NZT)

Flying robot roams ‘roof of the world’

Capable of flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters and conducting environmental monitoring, a Chinese-developed flying robot is helping researchers learn more about the “roof of the world.”The robot named Yunque is capable of conducting high-altitude environmental research and was used to monitor glaciers and lakes during China’s second comprehensive scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known for its high altitude, thin air and harsh weather, has posed a challenge for scientific surveys. For those extremely high altitude areas that are hard to reach for human investigators, a lack of data limits the capacity for comprehensive and in-depth scientific investigation.Developed by researchers from the Shenyang Institute of Automation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the robot can conduct autonomous takeoff and landing, fly along a fixed route and avoid dynamic and static obstacles in extreme environments such as thin air and strong wind disturbance.It can carry 5 kilograms of scientific research samples, resist strong winds up to force seven.And it can fly at an altitude of 6,000 meters for nearly 30 minutes.In glacier areas at an altitude of 6,000 meters, the robot conducted thermal infrared image monitoring of the ice temperature, surveyed and modeled the three-dimensional topography, and monitored the temperature, humidity and black carbon content of the high-altitude atmosphere.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Sep 2020 | 4:11 am(NZT)

US official’s Taiwan visit ‘buoys separatists’

CHINA will make a “necessary response” to a visit by US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach to Taiwan, and has lodged a complaint with Washington, the foreign ministry said yesterday ahead of his arrival. Krach, who arrived in Taipei yesterday for a three-day visit, is in Taiwan for a memorial service on Saturday for former leader Lee Teng-hui, who was the chairman of the Kuomintang from 1988 to 2000 and had openly advocated “Taiwan Independence.” Krach, the highest-level State Department official to visit the island in decades, is to meet Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials. His visit follows a trip in August by US Health Secretary Alex Azar, the highest-level US Cabinet official to visit since the US switched formal relations from Taiwan to China in 1979. Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China has lodged “stern representations” with Washington about Krach’s trip. “China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan. This position is clear and consistent,” he said. Krach’s visit to Taiwan severely violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, encourages the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, and undermines China-US ties as well as cross-Strait peace and stability, Wang said. “We urge the US side to fully recognise the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue,” Wang said. “China will make a necessary response depending on how the situation develops.” Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council also expressed opposition to the visit. The Chinese mainland has a firm will, full confidence and sufficient capabilities to defeat any interference by foreign forces and any secessionist attempt for “Taiwan independence” in any form, the office’s spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang told reporters, urging the US and the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan to stop any actions that may harm cross-Straits relations and jeopardize the interests of Taiwan compatriots. Krach is also likely to hold at least some form of trade talks during his trip, though details have not been announced. Taiwan has long sought a free trade deal with the United States, but Washington has complained about barriers to access for US pork and beef. Taiwan said that was for health reasons, especially with concern over mad cow disease and additives. However, late last month, Tsai said the government could ease restrictions on pork and beef imports, allowing in US pork containing ractopamine, an additive that enhances leanness, and allow in US beef from cattle more than 30 months old. But this has run into objections. Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, last weekend began collecting signatures for a referendum to block the pork imports, saying ractopamine was a health threat. Relations between China and the United States have nosedived in recent months. Ahead of Krach’s arrival, US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft had lunch on Wednesday with Taiwan’s top official in New York. Craft said her lunch with James K J Lee, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, at an outdoor restaurant on Manhattan’s East Side was the first meeting between a top Taiwan official and a United States ambassador to the UN.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Sep 2020 | 4:10 am(NZT)

Lawyer caught in sex row deported

BAO YUMING, a Chinese-American lawyer, was cleared of child rape allegations, but has been disbarred and will be deported from China for violating law practice regulations, police in Yantai, a city in Shandong Province, announced yesterday. Bao hit the headlines in April this year after a woman identified as Han, who claimed to be his adopted daughter, accused him of sexually abusing her from the age of 14. Her story became a widely discussed topic online and in the media and unleashed a wave of anger among the public. Bao stepped down as a non-executive-director at Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. A team set up by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the case said yesterday there was no evidence of rape and that the alleged victim was an adult when she had sex with Bao. But police said Bao will be deported as he had seriously violated Chinese regulations during his stay in China and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice had revoked his certificate to practice. Bao had concealed his American citizenship in 2006 and had continued to practice as a full-time lawyer after losing his Chinese citizenship, which is illegal. According to the investigation, between April 2014 and February 2015, Bao made several postings online seeking to “adopt” a child. Meanwhile, Han, who was born in October 1997, also sought “adoption” via messaging app QQ in a bid to improve her life. In March 2015, Han and her father applied to change her birthdate to August 2001 with a fake birth certificate and false testimony by witnesses. After Han saw Bao’s posts, she contacted him and he went to Nanjing to meet her and her mother on October 10, 2015. Bao and Han began a romantic relationship under the guise of “adoption” and it later turned into a sexual one. They broke up in June 2019 after more than 150 days of living together, during which they had argued several times. The team didn’t find any evidence to show that Bao had forced Han to have sex with him. They also found that Han was an adult when the two met. Han’s statements that she was forced to have sex didn’t tally with the facts, the team said. Its investigation found that Han have reported to police several times accusing Bao of raping her when they had conflicts in their relationship. She would later withdrew all the accusations after she made up with Bao. During their relationship, Han had full freedom to act and keep in normal touch with her family and friends. There was no sign that her personal freedom had been limited and that she could not contact others, the team said. It also didn’t find any evidence that Han was brainwashed by Bao into sleeping with him. Han had also contacted other men and had relationships with them. After taking all these things into consideration, the team decided there was no evidence to convict Bao of rape. The procuratorate also said Han was not formally adopted by Bao and he did not know Han’s true age during their four-year relationship. But he did think Han was a minor, amounting to a “violation of social ethics and public morals, meriting condemnation from society,” the procuratorate said. The team said local police had responded to each of Han’s reports in this case. But it criticized a few officers for their poor attitude in dealing with her calls. Han’s hometown, Taihe County in Anhui Province, has punished 12 people who had direct or indirect liability in changing her birthdate.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Sep 2020 | 4:10 am(NZT)

Xinjiang: China defends 'education' camps

Beijing has faced widespread criticism over detention centres set up for mostly Muslim Uighurs.

Source: BBC News - China | 18 Sep 2020 | 2:52 am(NZT)

Premier League rights: New China broadcast deal agreed

The Premier League agrees a new broadcast deal in China to cover the rest of the 2020-21 season.

Source: BBC News - China | 17 Sep 2020 | 11:28 pm(NZT)

Chinese and Malaysian hackers charged by US over attacks

Five Chinese and two Malaysian men are charged by the US over separate alleged hacking plots.

Source: BBC News - China | 17 Sep 2020 | 5:04 am(NZT)

Xi: Private sector vital for growth

CHINESE President Xi Jinping has stressed efforts to unite people from the private sector around the Communist Party of China to better promote the healthy development of the sector. Xi’s remarks follow a set of guidelines on strengthening the government’s leadership role involving the private sector issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee. He said the non-state sector is a vital part of China’s economy and reaffirmed his longstanding pledge to give “unwavering” support to private as well as state-owned firms. Businesspeople must maintain high consistency with the Party regarding the political aspects of position, direction and principles, say the guidelines. “We should build a backbone team of people in the private economy that can be relied on and used at critical moments,” it said. Mechanisms for communication and consultation between government and businesses should be established and improved, it said, urging measures to give full play to the role of federations of industry and commerce and chambers of commerce and strengthen the Party’s leadership over the private sector. The Party also encouraged private firms to participate in reforms of state firms and the Belt and Road Initiative, while pledging to improve the business environment for them. The move aims to address emerging challenges and risks as the scale of private enterprises increases and private businesspeople have more diverse values and interests. It is an important way to realize the Party’s leadership over the private economy, an important content to develop and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and an important guarantee to promote high-quality development of the private economy, it read. “The document shows China is trying to mobilize more resources around the national strategy amid the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic and the deterioration of diplomatic and trade relations with the US,” said Yue Su, China economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, based in Shanghai. “The authorities will give priority to companies that assist in realizing policy goals when allocating financial and policy resources,” she said. Private businesses account for 60 percent of economic output and create 80 percent of urban jobs. But they have borne the brunt of the US-China trade war and the pandemic.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Seating cap for cinemas raised to 75%

MOVIE theaters in China will raise their cap on maximum seating capacity from the current 50 percent to 75 percent as in a mark of further recovery of the world’s second-largest box-office market amid the COVID-19 epidemic. The new attendance cap will take effect on September 25, according to the latest version of a guideline for movie theaters to resume business while putting in place COVID-19 control measures, which was issued on Tuesday by the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association. The move comes as China’s box-office revenue has hit 5 billion yuan (US$740 million) by Monday since theaters reopened on July 20, following months of closure due to COVID-19. Public health measures at cinemas, however, will remain in effect. Online ticketing is still required to avoid human contact. Temperature screenings, mask-wearing and thorough disinfection of theater facilities are still required as well. Food and drinks are forbidden in theaters. According to Gu Yan, general manager of Shanghai Film Art Center, the move has strengthened their confidence in box-office revenues for the upcoming National Day holiday in October. “The increase in the cinema capacity will attract a lot more families to screenings and propel the revival of the film market,” said Gu. A batch of highly anticipated movies will be released around the eight-day holiday. “Leap,” a sports feature-length film about the glories and unyielding spirit of Chinese women’s volleyball team, will be released on September 25. Action film “Vanguard,” which features kung fu star Jackie Chan and young idol Yang Yang as a rescue team, will hit cinemas across China on September 30. Animated fantasy movie “Legend of Deification” will be screened from October 1. The movie tells the story of Jiang Ziya, a mythological figure. Jiang is a genius strategist from the novel “Fengshen Yanyi,” or “The Investiture of the Gods,” a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) book that inspired “Ne Zha,” the Chinese film about its eponymous hero. The film is a new production from the companies behind “Ne Zha,” which made more than 5 billion yuan at the box office on the Chinese mainland. Also on the list of movies set to hit theaters is the Chinese comedy feature “My People, My Homeland.” Similar to the 2019 blockbuster “My People, My Country,” the latest venture adopts a storytelling technique of collective creation — one film contains multiple stories by different directors.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Xi sends congratulatory message

CHINESE President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Yoshihide Suga on his election as Japanese prime minister. In his message, Xi pointed out that China and Japan are friendly neighbors to each other, and are both important countries in Asia and the world. Developing a China-Japan relationship that features long-term stability and friendly cooperation not only serves the fundamental interests of both nations, but also contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world, Xi said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

US China tariffs violated trade rules, WTO says

The US did not justify its decision to raise border taxes on Chinese goods, the World Trade Organization says.

Source: BBC News - China | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:39 am(NZT)

Vertical forest invaded by mozzie hordes

An experimental green housing project in a Chinese megacity promised prospective residents life in a “vertical forest,” with manicured gardens on every balcony.All 826 apartments were sold out by April, according to the project’s estate agent, but only a handful of families have moved into Chengdu’s Qiyi City Forest Garden because of an infestation, state media have reported.The problem? The mosquitoes love the plants too. The project in the southwestern city was built in 2018, with every private balcony designed to provide space for plants to grow.Without any tenants to care for them, the eight towers have been overrun by their own plants.And they have been invaded by mosquitoes.Plants have almost entirely swallowed up some neglected balconies, with branches hanging over railings all over the towers. Paper has been taped over some of the windows that were still visible behind the overgrown plants.But some residents appeared to have braved the mosquitoes and made the decision to move in.A handful of balconies had pruned plants and outdoor furniture, and lights turned on inside the apartments.But so far, only about 10 families have moved in to the ambitious project.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Chinese team makes history with surgery

The Chinese University of Hong Kong said yesterday it had successfully preformed the world’s first colorectal endoscopic submucosal dissection recently by using a newly developed flexible endoscopic robotic platform.The ESD is a more advanced and less-invasive endoscopic treatment for early gastrointestinal cancer when compared to minimally invasive surgery. It has significant advantages as an organ preservation surgical treatment, but it is technically challenging with substantial risk of perforation and bleeding.In 2011, the research team of the university’s Faculty of Medicine had successfully performed the ESD for treatment of early gastric cancer by using the first prototype flexible endoscopic robot.The team later further developed the robot for performing the ESD in the colorectum, namely the EndoMaster EASE system. It consists of an independently designed flexible platform with an endoscopic imaging system, and allows the passage of two minute robotic arms to achieve tissue retraction and dissection. The university led the world’s first clinical trial on robotic colorectal ESD using the new system in May and has shown satisfactory outcomes.Philip Wai Yan Chiu, director of the university’s Minimally Invasive Surgical Skills Center, said six patients have been successfully treated by colorectal ESD using the new system and there was no case of perforation and the patients were able to resume a normal diet and were discharged within one or two days.“From our initial observation, the flexible endoscopic robotic system is a very promising armamentarium for performing ESD and treating early-stage colorectal cancer. Our clinical trial is still currently underway and we will continue to enroll suitable patients to participate,” Chiu added.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)



Delta breaks down borders, changes lives

Every weekday at 7:12am, Si Dong, a 26-year-old resident of Ma’anshan City in east China’s Anhui Province, gets on a high-speed train bound for Nanjing, capital of neighboring Jiangsu Province.In 18 minutes, he arrives there to start the day’s work.“There are many passengers like me, who commute between the two cities by high-speed rail in the morning and evening,” said Si. “Both the frequent runs and the about 20-minute ride make it as convenient as the subway.”Si’s experience is echoed by Zhang Xiaochen, a Shanghai citizen who works as a business manager in a company based in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. She often needs to travel among cities along the Yangtze River Delta to negotiate business deals.Last year, China unveiled an outline for the regional integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, which is one of the country’s most economically active, open and innovative regions, and produces about a quarter of the country’s GDP. Local governments have rolled out a raft of measures to enhance cooperation and communication in the region.The 358,000-square region expanse, about the size of Germany, encompasses the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shanghai.With the continuously deepening integration of the Yangtze River Delta, people there are experiencing lifestyle changes brought about by the national strategy.“I often have meetings in Shanghai in the morning and rush to Nanjing in the afternoon. It is very efficient,” said Zhang, who lives only 20-plus minutes away from the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station.Infrastructure connectivity represented by improvement in railway density makes it possible for people to live and work in different cities in the region.According to plans, in 2020, more than 10 railway projects in the Yangtze River Delta will open or start construction. The entire region’s annual railway investment is planned to exceed 80 billion yuan (US$11.73 billion), accounting for nearly one-sixth of the national total.Meanwhile, passengers can take the subway in 10 cities in the region, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Suzhou and Ningbo, by scanning the QR codes on their local apps.“The dense transportation network accelerates the integration of two places. With the opening of roads, the cultural exchanges will be closer, administrative exchanges smoother, and economic and trade exchanges more active,” said Teng Qing, deputy director of the development and reform commission of Ma’anshan City.Chen Ju lives in Taozhuang Township of Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province, which is close to Lili Township, Jiangsu Province.It takes Chen at least 50 minutes to drive to the hospital in Jiashan, but only 20 minutes to the one in Lili, which is a better choice for her.“Before, we had to pay for inter-provincial medical treatment in advance and then return to the local medical insurance institution with the invoice for reimbursement,” said Chen. “After the integration, we can settle the medical expenses directly at the outpatient clinic in other place in the region, which saves us a lot of legwork.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Sleepy? Napping may give you a heart attack

Chinese researchers have found that daytime naps lasting more than 60 minutes may raise the risk of heart disease and death.Researchers from Guangzhou Medical University analyzed more than 313,000 participants from more than 20 studies to examine the link between napping and potential health risks. About 39 percent of participants took naps.The results found that compared to those who did not nap, people who regularly napped for more than 60 minutes each day had a 34 percent higher rate of cardiovascular disease.According to the study, naps, regardless of length, were linked with a 19 percent increased risk of death.The connection was more pronounced among women, with nappers seeing a 22 percent higher risk of death than non-nappers, and older participants, whose risk rose by 17 percent with naps.But the results also suggest that shorter naps, especially those less than 45 minutes, might improve heart health in people who sleep insufficiently at night, said the researchers.They said the reasons why snoozing affects the body are still uncertain, but some studies have suggested that long naps are linked with higher levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart health and coranary conditions.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

EU envoys get the nod to visit Xinjiang

China said yesterday that it has agreed to arrange a visit to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by European Union envoys. On Monday, the EU asked China to let its independent observers into Xinjiang. In response foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the bloc was “welcome” to visit the area “to truly understand the real situation and not rely on hearsay.” “The diplomatic envoys of the EU and its members in China said they wish to visit Xinjiang. China has agreed and is ready to make arrangements,” Wang told reporters. But he said China opposes any investigation that bears presumption of guilt. China says criticism of its handling of Xinjiang is politically motivated, and based on lies about what happens in the vocational training center it has built. Meanwhile, four companies and a manufacturing facility in Xinjiang were blocked on Monday from shipping their products to the US because of their suspected reliance on “forced labor.” US Customs and Border Protection issued orders freezing imports from companies that produce cotton, clothing and computer parts in Xinjiang. China slammed the US move as “bullying” and dismissed accusations of forced labor as “a complete fabrication.” The US actions “violate the rules of international trade, and disrupt global industrial, supply and value chains,” said Wang. “The so-called forced labor issue is entirely fabricated by some organizations and people in the US and the West,” he said, adding that China will take all necessary measures to protect its companies’ legitimate rights and interests.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

China vaccine may be ready by November

CORONAVIRUS vaccines being developed in China may be ready for use by the general public as early as November, an official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. Phase 3 clinical trials were proceeding smoothly and the vaccines could be ready for the general public in November or December, CDC chief biosafety expert Wu Guizhen told state TV late on Monday. Wu, who said she has experienced no abnormal symptoms in recent months after taking an experimental vaccine herself in April, did not specify which vaccines she was referring to. China has four COVID-19 vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials. At least three of those have already been offered to essential workers under an emergency use program launched in July. A unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech are developing the three vaccines under the state’s emergency use program. Representatives of the firms said that they hope their vaccines will be approved after phase 3 trials as early as year-end. A Sinovac spokesman said this month that 90 percent of its employees and their families — between 2,000 and 3,000 people — had voluntarily taken its vaccine. A fourth COVID-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June. Global vaccine makers are racing to develop an effective vaccine against the virus which has killed more than 925,000 people. There are currently nine vaccine candidates in late-stage human trials, although some have hit recent obstacles — pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University momentarily paused clinical trials last week after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness. Leading vaccine makers pledged earlier this month to uphold scientific study standards and reject any political pressure to rush the process.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

9 satellites launched into orbit from Yellow Sea

A CHINESE Long March-11 carrier rocket carrying nine satellites was launched from a platform in the Yellow Sea yesterday for its first commercial launch at sea. The launch mission, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, was carried out on the De Bo 3, one of China’s biggest tugboats with a maximum load capacity of 20,500 tons. “The sea launch shortened the distance from rocket manufacturing site to the launch pad, which to a large extent enhanced the operation efficiency,” said Peng Kunya, chief designer of the Long March-11 carrier rocket. The nine satellites, belonging to the Jilin-1 Gaofen 03-1 group, blasted off atop the rocket at 9:23am. The satellites were developed by the Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co Ltd. Three of the satellites will be used for video imaging, one of which is for China’s popular video sharing platform Bilibili and another for the state broadcaster CCTV. Meanwhile, the other six satellites are push-broom imaging satellites. The Bilibili satellite has features of low development cost, low power consumption, lightweight and high resolution. It was designed to shoot videos and pictures for popular science. The satellite can obtain color videos and images with a resolution higher than 0.98 meters. The data will be used to create videos, covering fields such as science and technology, humanities, history and education, and will be released on Bilibili. The Jilin-1 is China’s first self-developed remote sensing satellite for commercial use. The nine satellites will provide remote sensing data for the country’s land resource survey, urban planning and disaster monitoring services. The Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center conducted the launch mission. The Long March-11 is the only rocket among China’s Long March rocket series that uses solid propellants. It is used to carry small satellites and can take multiple satellites into orbit.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

After mass testing, HK to open bars, pools, parks

HONG Kong will reopen bars, swimming pools and theme parks from Friday as it relaxes coronavirus restrictions after the testing of nearly 2 million people found 42 cases. The announcement by the city’s health secretary, Sophia Chan, comes days after the Chinese special administrative region reopened gyms and entertainment venues and increased the number of people allowed to gather to four. The ban on gatherings of more than four people remains in place as does a ban on people visiting public beaches as authorities called for vigilance. “We appeal to the public to not be complacent and let down their guard,” Chan said. No local infections were reported yesterday, except for four imported cases. Hong Kong has detected 4,976 cases of the virus with 101 deaths. The loosening of curbs comes after the Universal Community Testing Program screened 1.78 million people — almost a quarter of Hong Kong’s population — with 42 infections found, including 5 cases through contact tracing. Hong Kong’s swimming pools will have to operate at half capacity while dining outlets, including pubs, will have to close by midnight. The city’s two theme parks, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, will also open on Friday as will convention centers. Hong Kong Disneyland closed on July 15 for a second time this year due to the virus, after having reopened in June. Authorities announced a third round of coronavirus relief funding of HK$24 billion (US$3.1 billion), aimed at supporting struggling businesses. The total amount allocated to providing support is more than HK$300 billion.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Authorities lock down border city over imported virus fears

CHINA has locked down a city on the border with Myanmar and will launch a mass coronavirus testing program, officials said yesterday, after two imported infections from Myanmar were detected there. The cases were found in the city of Ruili in the southwestern Yunnan Province, a major land border crossing point with neighboring Myanmar. City officials said in a statement yesterday that residents were being told to stay home and people had been forbidden from entering or leaving the city without special reasons from Monday evening. They said every resident would be tested for the virus in Ruili, which is home to more than 210,000 people, although no local transmission of the virus has been reported. Businesses have been closed except for supermarkets, pharmacies and food markets. It also banned vehicles from the streets for the duration of testing, unless delivering essential items. The infections were brought in from Myanmar and Chinese authorities would “crack down on illegal immigrants,” the officials said. Ruili is separated by a shallow river from the border town of Muse, Myanmar’s main gateway to China. Yunnan’s rugged 4,000-kilometer border with Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam makes it tough for authorities to step up surveillance and cut illegal immigration as thousands pour into China, seen as a safe haven in the global pandemic. Yang Bianqiang, vice mayor of Ruili, said that the city would repatriate those who cannot verify their time of arrival into China, “have no fixed residence and have no fixed place to work.” Chinese Embassy officials in Myanmar have held talks via teleconference with the country’s authorities to beef up joint efforts for disease control and prevention, the embassy said on its website. Chinese officials have said areas on the Myanmar border should put the fight against the disease on a wartime footing. Myanmar has seen a surge in new coronavirus cases. The Southeast Asian nation of some 55 million had weathered the epidemic relatively well until late August, with case numbers under 400 and just six deaths. But in under four weeks infections have steadily spread, jumping to 3,299 cases and 32 deaths by yesterday. So far, commercial hub Yangon, capital Naypyidaw and conflict-stricken Rakhine state are all under lockdown.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

EU, China in food and drinks deal

The European Union and China signed a deal yesterday to protect each other’s exported food and drinks items from feta cheese to Pixian bean paste ahead of discussions at an online China-Germany-EU summit. The two sides will respect the names of 100 European regional food designations and 100 Chinese equivalents, meaning, for example, that China will only allow “champagne” to be used on sparkling wine from the French region of that name. China was the third-largest destination for EU agricultural and food products in 2019, worth 14.5 billion euros (US$17.2 billion). Under the new deal, US, Australian or New Zealand producers will no longer be able to use the protected names on their exports to China, although there is a transition period for certain cheeses.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Xi urges EU to promote healthy ties

China and the European Union should be committed to peaceful coexistence, open cooperation, multilateralism and dialogue, and consultation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday, calling on the two sides to firmly promote the healthy and stable development of their comprehensive strategic partnership. Xi made the remarks while co-hosting a China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting yesterday in Beijing via video link with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating changes unseen in a century, and mankind is standing at a new crossroad, Xi called on China and the EU to unswervingly promote the sound and stable development of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties, and this was the second video meeting between Chinese and EU leaders in less than three months. It also comes after recent visits by senior Chinese diplomats to EU member states such as Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Greece. The two sides also vowed to accelerate the negotiation of the China-EU investment agreement and reaffirmed the goal of concluding the negotiation by the end of the year. China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner after the US, and the EU is China’s biggest trading partner with two-way trade totaling US$710 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, Xi and the European leaders decided to establish a China-EU high-level dialogue on environment and climate, and one in the digital field, in order to build a green partnership and a digital cooperative partnership.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Sep 2020 | 4:05 am(NZT)










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