China Deigest

Beijing Book Fair opens with Iran as guest

The five-day 24th Beijing International Book Fair in Beijing opened on Aug 23 featuring guest of honor Iran and its theme The Colorful Dream of the Silk Road.

Mohammad Rasoul Almasieh, cultural counselor of the Iranian embassy in Beijing, said: “It’s our honor to have this chance at the fair, which is a grand cultural event.” Iran brought more than 100 publishers, writers, illustrators and artists to the fair.

Majid Jafari Aghdam, director of the Iranian Pol Literary & Translation Agency, said he has been doing business with Chinese publishers and agencies for two years.

“I want to introduce Iranian titles to the Chinese market, and hope to get more familiar with the Chinese one, and that I can introduce more Chinese authors to Iranian readers,” he said.


US sanctions seen as ‘wrong behavior’ 

New sanctions imposed by the United States go against mutual trust and bilateral cooperation, China said on Aug 23, asking the US to stop its “wrong behavior” immediately.

The US Treasury Department announced on Aug 22 the sanctions on 16 entities and individuals, mostly in China and Russia, for alleged ties with the nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The sanctions came less than two months after sanctions on June 29 by the US Treasury Department on a bank, a shipping company and two individuals from China.

“What the US has done does not help the solution of the issue, and does not help mutual trust between China and the US and their cooperation on relevant issues,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chun-ying told reporters at a daily news conference in Beijing. “We request the US to immediately stop the wrong behavior.”


BAIC sets up national car rental network

Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC) announced it will open a nationwide car rental network in late August.

Named Qingxiang, meaning easily shared, the network aims to enter the nation’s emerging car rental sector, which is likely to hit 1 million vehicles by 2020, according to Zhang Yong, head of BAIC New Energy Group’s marketing unit.

The Qingxiang network will offer diversified deposit services, as well as recognition of auto ID cards and driving licenses. It will support car accident photography and tracing, and payment services.

To date, three BAIC subsidiaries have offered car rental services, covering public, commercial and tourism services in eight cities, including Beijing and the eastern city of Xiamen.


Nation willing to train foreign astronauts

China is willing to help other nations select and train astronauts and will gladly cooperate with them in its space station program, a senior official of the China Manned Space Agency said on Aug 22.

Yang Liwei, deputy head of the agency and the first Chinese person in space, said more than 10 countries, mostly developing, have asked for China’s assistance in selecting and training astronauts.

The agency hopes to prepare astronauts for prospective joint missions to China’s future space station, he said.

“It normally takes about four years to train a Chinese astronaut. The time needed to train a qualified foreign astronaut will vary based on each candidate’s individual situation,” Yang said. “Considering that we will have our own space station in about four years, now is the time to begin such training for nations interested in joining our space station program.”


Bullet trains ready to lay on the speed

Bullet train trips between Beijing and Shanghai will get faster from Sept 21 when Fuxing bullet trains run at 350 kilometers per hour, bringing passengers in China the world’s fastest commercial trains, China Railway Corp said on Aug 20.

Fourteen Fuxing bullet trains will serve passengers on the 1,318-km Beijing-Shanghai line starting on Sept 21, reducing the travel time to about four and a half hours, State-owned China Railway Corp, the train’s operator, said.

Currently, the trip between the two metropolises, on one of China’s busiest rail lines, takes from four hours and 49 minutes to six hours, the difference arising because of varied numbers of stops being made.

China reduced its bullet trains’ maximum speed to about 300 km/h in August 2011 for safety reasons.


Tencent issues apology for sex slave emojis

Technology giant Tencent has apologized after users of its QQ instant-messaging service were found sharing emojis made with pictures of wartime sex slaves.

The emojis — using images taken from Twenty Two, a newly released documentary about “comfort women” during World War II who were forced into sex slavery by the Japanese army — are overlaid with phrases in Chinese such as “I am lost” and “I am wronged”.

Outraged netizens complained to the company, which responded on Aug 22 by saying all of the offending emojis had been removed from the platform.

“The incident has exposed shortcomings ... in terms of content examination and supervision,” the company, which also operates WeChat, said in a statement. “We will carry out a review immediately,” it added.


Strongest typhoon of 2017 hits coastal areas

Hato, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, ravaged coastal regions in South China with fierce winds and waves.

Eight people died in the Macao Special Administrative Region as the typhoon brought chaos and destruction to the enclave after sweeping through neighboring Hong Kong.

Local media reported severe flooding, showing cars underwater and people swimming through Macao’s streets. The region’s mega casinos were running on backup generators.

In Hong Kong, the weather observatory issued its highest warning for the second time since 2000. The first was in 2012.

Hato triggered the first red alert to be issued by the Central Meteorological Center. The typhoon made landfall in the Jinwan district of Zhuhai, in the southern Guangdong province, at 12:50 pm on Aug 23, with winds at the center raging at up to 162 kilometers per hour.


Book highlighting Xi’s time in village a hit

A newly published book of the seven years that President Xi Jinping spent at a poor village four decades ago has gained popularity soon after its debut.

The book, Xi Jinping’s Seven Years as an Educated Youth, is a collection of interviews with people who used to live and work with Xi when he was a zhiqing, or educated youth, in Liangjiahe village, Yanchuan county, in the northwestern Shaanxi province, from 1969 to 1975.

Zhiqing refers to urban youths sent to the countryside for “reeducation” amid late chairman Mao Zedong’s campaign for urban youth to experience rural labor during the “cultural revolution” (1966-76). Xi was only 15 when he was sent to Liangjiahe in early 1969.

The book was released by the Publishing House of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.


Nation’s first Internet court up and running

China has set up its first court specializing in the handling of Internet-related disputes in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, where many technology enterprises are located, amid rapid growth of online purchases and financial activities in the country.

The Hangzhou Court of the Internet is responsible for hearing six types of civil and administrative Internet-related cases in the city, such as those involving online intellectual property rights and e-commerce disputes. It will also handle other Web-related cases designated by higher courts, according to the top court.

“The establishment of the court is to meet the growing legal demand from litigants. It will also help the public to solve online disputes more effectively,” Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court, said after visiting the court on Aug 18.


Top smuggling suspect returns from Indonesia

One of China’s most-wanted fugitives, suspected of smuggling ordinary goods valued at 438 million yuan ($65.7 million), was captured and returned from Indonesia to face trial, according to the General Administration of Customs on Aug 20.

Ji Wenhong, founder and former CEO of online luxury retailer Shenzhen Zouxiu Network and Technology — branded as — was arrested in the island province of Bali in early August and returned to China on Aug 17. He had spent 15 months on the run in Indonesia.

An online statement by Xiu confirmed that the third-party cross-border operation platform had been involved in smuggling, and that some individuals in the company were under investigation.

“We believe the judicial departments will make a fair judgment,” the statement said, adding that now “all the company’s business is normal”.


Guideline tightens grip on ODI in some sectors

The Chinese government released a guideline on Aug 18 to further tighten the grip on or ban outbound direct investment (ODI) in sectors including real estate, hotels, entertainment, sports and casinos to avoid investment risks or potential crime.

The policy came as the government increased scrutiny of overseas investment and reined in speculative deals by Chinese companies in some industries and sectors, such as equity investment funds, the key military and national defense sector and highly polluting industries, as well as businesses in war-torn or politically unstable areas.

China will continue to tighten review of the authenticity of overseas investment and its compliance with regulations, hoping to guide more investment into the real economy and to reduce investment in sectors in which Chinese companies are not proficient at managing, said Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng.


Military gives assurance on quality of recruits

The Chinese military has dismissed speculation that unhealthy applicants are entering the armed forces, and has reassured the public about the quality of new recruits.

“Recruitment is the foundation of national defense, and high-quality recruits are crucial to the military’s combat capability,” the Defense Ministry’s recruitment office said in an online statement on Aug 22.

The military eliminates unfit applicants who fail rigorous physical examinations, it said. It added that recent public worries about the quality of recruits were the result of people mistakenly assuming that an increase in the number of rejected applicants meant there were more subpar recruits.

“China’s recruitment process has strict rules and procedures,” the Defense Ministry office said. “The quality of our recruits is guaranteed, and the headwaters of our military will flow long and strong.”


Chinese shipbuilders get bigger global share 

Chinese shipbuilders are outperforming their South Korean rivals in constructing high-end mega containerships after further sharpening their manufacturing edge and grasping a larger share of the global market.

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co confirmed on Aug 22 that the company and Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co, another Shanghai-based shipyard, together have received a letter of intent from the French group CMA CGM for nine vessels capable of transporting 22,000 twenty-foot-equivalent-unit (TEU) containers — the largest carrying capacity in the world.

However, the final order is subject to board approval from both sides.

“The 22,000-TEU containership will become the world’s largest of its kind once completed, outsizing the current leader, a 21,413-TEU containership made in South Korea. It really is an industrial breakthrough of decades,” said Dong Liwan, a shipbuilding industry researcher at Shanghai Maritime University.


Kuomintang chairman reaffirms 92 Consensus

The new chairman of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang acknowledged the one-China policy and firmly opposed “Taiwan independence” on his inauguration ceremony and the party’s 20th plenary congress on Aug 20 in Taichung.

“Upholding the foundation of the 1992 Consensus, we will firmly oppose ‘Taiwan independence’ and carry forward Chinese culture, promote mutual respect and tolerance and maintain dialogue through economy, culture and the peace forum,” Chairman Wu Den-yih said in his inauguration speech.

The Kuomintang will also work to improve understanding between the two sides, explore peaceful cross-Straits prospects, ensure peace and stability in the region and safeguard the well-being of the people of Taiwan, he said.

Wu was elected Kuomintang chairman on May 20 with 52 percent of the vote.

The meeting also approved a new party platform that pledged to oppose “Taiwan independence”.

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