China Digest

Make homeland green, says Xi

Both quantity and quality should be ensured as China unfolds its effort to make the homeland greener, President Xi Jinping said on April 2 as he took part in a voluntary tree-planting event in Beijing.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has called on top officials at different levels to lead public efforts in planting trees voluntarily and cherishing the natural environment as much as their lives.

China has set the goal of increasing the area covered by forest to average world levels around the middle of this century.

The homeland greening effort also aims to increase its percentage of forest cover to about 23 percent in 2020 and 26 percent in 2035.

The April 2 event helped fulfill a duty and is also a tangible move that helps shape a beautiful China, boosts ecological civilization and improves public well-being, Xi said.

App to help protect students overseas

A private Chinese company has released an app dedicated to providing professional security services for overseas Chinese students, whose safety abroad has become a growing public concern due to a slew of recent safety scandals.

Designed by ZBHA Group, a Chinese enterprise engaged in modern security services, the app embraces 16 types of overseas security services for Chinese in the United States, Australia, Cambodia, Israel and New Zealand.

The app, which is available for both Apple and Android phones, involves various functions. Students can reserve regular safety training and professional assistance at an airport, such as baggage-claim, check-in and pick-up or drop-off services, especially for those going abroad for the first time who are not familiar with foreign environments.

President welcomes Zimbabwean leader

China is hopeful Western countries will improve relations with Zimbabwe and work toward the country’s development, President Xi Jinping said on April 3.

Xi made the remark while meeting with visiting Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Witnessed by the two presidents, China and Zimbabwe signed cooperation agreements covering such areas as the economy, technology, agriculture and human resources.

The two leaders also agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership.

Noting that China and Zimbabwe are all-weather friends, Xi said the two countries have always supported each other in the past, no matter how international relations changed.

The two countries should continue high-level exchanges, draw the blueprint for cooperation in all areas and keep supporting each other on issues related to core interests and major concerns, Xi said.

Easier residency for top foreign experts

Shanghai streamlined the procedures on April 2 for highly skilled foreigners working in the city to get their residence permits within three working days through an online application, the municipality’s latest measure to attract such overseas workers.

High-level professionals identified by national or Shanghai authorities who manage human resources or foreign experts affairs only need to go to and submit documents, according to the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. They can retrieve their permits at exit-entry offices after three working days.

“High-end professionals employed by the 8,818 enterprises on a list seen as key leaders in Shanghai’s quest to become a global technological innovation hub by 2030 will also become beneficiaries of the new measure,” said Xin Wenke of the information office of the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau.

Policies to motivate students to return

China will roll out more incentives for overseas Chinese students to return to start their own businesses and make innovations, a State Council, China’s Cabinet, executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on April 7.

Measures will be introduced to simplify certification requirements and procedures at local levels and to make it easier for overseas Chinese students to obtain hukou, the government system of household registration for urban residency. Favorable policies concerning the schooling of returnees’ children will be implemented without delay, it was decided at the meeting.

Li said a considerable number of Chinese students each year choose to return home to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship after completing academic studies overseas.

“The policy incentives in the pipeline require close interagency cooperation and coordination to see concrete results delivered,” he said.

Tiangong I space lab bids fiery farewell

China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong I, bade farewell on the morning of April 2 as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere before breaking apart in a fireball over the South Pacific Ocean.

In a statement posted online, the China Manned Space Agency said the results of analysis and tracking by the Beijing Aerospace Control Center and other Chinese space organizations showed that re-entry took place at 8:15 am and that most of the spacecraft burned up in the process.

Remnants may have crashed somewhere in the central part of the South Pacific, the agency said, without elaborating.

In the last hours of Tiangong I’s flight, Chinese space authorities closely watched its trajectory and released two announcements about its position in orbit before the last one confirming its re-entry.

There were no reports of damage caused by the re-entry, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

New private varsity to cultivate top talent 

China’s first private university aimed at cultivating high-level talent in advanced technology and reaching the forefront of scientific research has won approval to open in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, officials announced on April 2.

Approved by the Ministry of Education, Westlake University will be a new type of research-oriented university, with emphasis on basic and advanced scientific and technological research.

Launched by the Hangzhou Westlake Education Foundation, the university will be a nonprofit organization for higher education and advanced academic research. The university’s plan shows it will enroll a total of 1,220 full-time students during the next five years, growing to 5,000 students after a decade.

It will be China’s first private doctorate-granting university. One aim is to rival international counterparts such as Rockefeller University and the California Institute of Technology.

Ship being built to dig far into Earth’s mantle

China is developing an advanced scientific drilling ship capable of reaching about 10 kilometers below the seabed that will allow scientists to explore what truly happens in the Earth’s mantle.

Professor Wu Lixin, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and head of the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, said the design for the ship — named Dream — is expected to be finalized this year.

If all goes well, the vessel will be launched around 2021, with construction continuing for several years before it can be commissioned due to the outfitting work, Wu said.

He said its service will allow people to fulfill the long-held dream of seeing the mantle and extensively boost the nation’s research on geosciences.

Beijing and Vatican to improve relations 

China and the Vatican have an open and effective channel to hold discussions and exchange views, which holds the promise of more constructive dialogue to improve ties, senior religious affairs officials said on April 2.

“Improving ties between China and the Vatican is the desire of both sides. China has made solid efforts to improve the relationship with the Vatican,” Chen Zongrong, deputy director of the former State Administration of Religious Affairs, said on April 2.

The administration has been merged into the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee amid recent Party and government institutional reforms.

China warming faster than global average

China has been warming faster than the global average and has seen its coastal sea level rise over several decades, according to a report published by the China Meteorological Administration on April 3.

From 1951 to 2016, the annual average land surface temperature in the country has increased by an average of 0.24 C every 10 years, nearly double the global average, according to the 2018 blue book on China’s climate change.

“There are big differences for different regions. Northern China is warming up obviously quicker than the southern part. The western part surpasses the eastern part. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau temperatures have risen the fastest,” said Chao Qingchen, deputy director of the National Climate Center.

While extreme low temperatures have been in decline since 1961, there has been an obvious increase of extremely high temperatures in the country since 1990.

FM calls for joint effort with Vietnam

China is ready to work with Vietnam to effectively tackle and manage their differences and explore joint development, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on April 2.

Wang made the remark when meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, during an official visit to Vietnam on April 1-2.

Trong said the two sides should properly handle maritime issues through friendly consultation in the spirit of comrades and brothers.

As a transitional measure, Hanoi and Beijing could discuss conducting joint developments to champion maritime peace and stability, Trong said.

Wang said the two sides should consistently reinforce the fundamental role of reciprocal public goodwill that supports the two nations’ ties and make sure the relationship always develops on the right track.

ZTE dials up 5G phone call success

Chinese telecom company ZTE Group announced on April 2 that it has succeeded in making the first phone call enabled by 5G technologies as Chinese smartphone makers scramble to work on 5G in hopes of applying this next-generation mobile communication technology to their products as soon as possible.

The move comes as China evolves from being a follower into a pioneer in the global telecom arena, experts said. The country is expected to commercialize 5G by 2020 and become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025.

“The success moves China a step forward in developing 5G technologies, which will accelerate its speed in commercializing 5G,” said Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and chief executive of telecom industry website Cctime, adding that the call was one of the world’s first using 5G technology.

Improved immigration services for foreigners

The State Immigration Administration was officially set up on April 2 to improve China’s immigration management and provide better services to foreigners.

The new administration has integrated the entry and exit management and frontier inspection departments from the Ministry of Public Security, but is still under the ministry’s management.

In March, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, unveiled a major plan to deepen reform of government institutions.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, the new administration will take charge of drawing up and coordinating immigration policies and supervising their implementation, along with dealing with border control, foreigners’ stays, refugees and nationality.

Steady increase in organ donations

China has seen a steady rise in the number of organ donations since the country began a pilot donation program in 2010, according to the Red Cross Society of China.

At the end of March, nearly 46,500 organs had been donated in China, and nearly 422,000 Chinese had registered for voluntary organ donations, the Red Cross said.

China ranks first in Asia in the annual number of organs donated and transplanted, the society said at a memorial service for organ donors in Wuhan, in Central China’s Hubei province, on March 31.

Huang Jiefu, chairman of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, said that last year more than 5,170 people in China donated organs after death, and another 2,350 people donated organs while alive — mainly to relatives. That is up from 2016, when 4,080 people donated organs after death.

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