PLA plays to its strengths in war games

China’s Ground Force excels in events testing air defenses, driving and maintenance in battlefield conditions. Cui Jia reports from Korla, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Soldiers load ammunition onto a tank on Aug 4 during the International Army Games 2017 in Korla, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY

Lu Donghua carefully lifted the QW-2 antiaircraft missile launcher to his shoulder, drew a breath, and then pulled the trigger. Within seconds, he was watching his target “blossom like a flower” in the sky.

“Just imagine if that target was an attack helicopter sent by the enemy in a real battle,” the 26-year-old private with the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force said shortly after jumping down from atop a 92A infantry fighting vehicle.

The target was in fact a large circular board about 1.5 kilometers away in the Gobi Desert that had been raised 13 meters above the ground to simulate a helicopter strike.

Four days earlier, on Aug 1, Lu had also shredded a moving target in an antimissile exercise to begin his air-defense unit’s campaign at the International Army Games 2017 in Korla, a city in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The games, known as the Military Olympics, were initiated by Russia in 2014. This year, for the first time, China hosted four sections: Suvorov Attack, Clear Sky, Safe Environment and Gunsmith Master.

Militaries from 10 countries competed under the blazing desert sun from July 31 until Saturday. According to the official results released over the weekend, teams from the PLA Ground Force won 11 contests over the four sections.

Colonel Tan Yingshuai, a spokesman for the PLA Ground Force, said he believes any military that can claim victory in the International Army Games is also likely to succeed on a real battlefield.

Ministries respond to major public concerns

Departments and ministries under the State Council, China’s Cabinet, have responded to a series of public concerns in the past week, including rental housing, social relief and aid, social insurance, industrial heritage lists and teacher information management systems.

Public housing

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has made public rental housing a key task of 2017. The ministry required local authorities to accelerate implementation of this task, in order to increase allocation of public rental housing for 2 million people this year.

According to Lu Kehua, vice-minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, allocation of public rental housing will be included in the assessment of local authorities. The ministry has signed agreements of responsibility with provincial governments on this issue. The ministry has required local authorities to take active measures to accelerate allocation of public rental housing.

Social relief

Huang Shuxian, minister of civil affairs, said at a national meeting of social relief and aid held in Beijing on April 17 that related work should be strengthened through departmental collaboration.

The meeting requires local authorities to establish a collaborative mechanism at county level to guarantee the basic livelihood of residents encountering difficulties. Earlier this year, Vice-Minister of Civil Affairs Gong Puguang said the population living in impoverished circumstances that enjoy urban and rural basic living allowances reached 60.5 million by November 2016, which accounted for 4.5 percent of China’s population.

Social security reform

You Jun, vice-minister of human resources and social security, said that China has deepened reform of the social security system and further expanded coverage of social insurance. According to You, the number of people that benefit from the pension program has reached 890 million, and the number that has medical insurance has exceeded 1.3 billion, which has basically achieved universal coverage of all the citizens.

Industrial heritage

Wang Qianli, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Industry Policy Department, said in an industrial culture development meeting held in Luzhou, Sichuan province, on April 21 that China is actively promoting the development of industrial culture, and the first pilot list of industrial heritage will be released this year.

Industrial heritage refers to industrial architecture and construction sites, including workshops and plants, as well as the industrial culture they generate.

The ministry stresses the significance of protection and utilization of industrial heritage. Wang also said that China will promote the upgrading of industrial design, development of industrial arts and industrial tourism.

Teachers’ information system

The Ministry of Education said that a national teacher information management system was launched on April 20. The system has completed collection of information on teachers at all levels nationwide for the first time in China, and has established e-records for more than 15 million teachers nationwide.

The building of the national teacher information system started in 2014, and consists of national and provincial teacher systems. The new system could deal with core tasks, including teacher training management, transfers and job rotation.

The Ministry of Education issued a document on comprehensively promoting teacher information management recently. According to officials of the ministry, the teacher information management system will be further connected with relevant educational management service platforms, in order to collect and analyze the big data of teachers nationwide and enhance the effectiveness of teachers’ decision-making.

Chinese premier meets British foreign secretary

Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in Beijing, July 30, 2018.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in Beijing Monday, hailing the positive progress in China-UK ties and substantial cooperation in all areas.

Li said that as permanent members of the UN Security Council and two of the world’s major economies, China and Britain have the responsibility to uphold the international order and systems based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core.

“China and Britain should jointly adhere to multilateralism, safeguard an open world economy, and add constructive forces for stability in the world,” Li said during the meeting.

China expects to advance all-round development of bilateral relations and cooperation with Britain, in a principle of mutual respect and equal treatment, Li stressed.

He called on the two sides to make a good use of each other’s advantages and expand cooperation in various areas, and take the opportunity of the launch of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect within the year to cultivate new growth points for cooperation and achieve win-win results.

Vice president calls for building of mass organizations online

NINGBO — Vice President Li Yuanchao has called for efforts to build mass organizations online presence to sustain closer ties with the people.
During a tour of Ningbo in East China’s Zhejiang province from Wednesday to Thursday, Li said organizations should use the Internet to better communicate with, serve, guide and mobilize the public.

Grassroots Communist Party of China (CPC) committees should take a leading role in reform involving mass organizations, and help grassroots mass organizations to solve their problems including a lack of personnel, funds or office venue, Li said.

Mass organizations represent people from different lines of work or age groups, such as trade unions, women’s groups and youth leagues.

Kuwaiti Emir to visit China

BEIJING – Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will pay a state visit to China and attend the opening ceremony of the eighth ministerial meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) in Beijing from July 7 to 10, it was announced Monday.

The Kuwaiti Emir is visiting China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Xi will hold a welcome ceremony and banquet for the Kuwaiti Emir. The two heads of state are scheduled to hold talks, witness signing of documents, and attend the opening ceremony of the eighth ministerial meeting of CASCF on July 10, according to Lu.

Kuwait was one of the first countries in the Gulf region to establish diplomatic relations with China, Lu said, adding that the two countries’ relations have undergone rapid development in recent years.

China and Kuwait understand and support each other on issues concerning mutual core interests and major concerns, Lu said.

According to the spokesperson, Kuwait was one the first countries to sign a cooperation document with China on jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.

Besides active people-to-people exchanges, the two sides have achieved remarkable cooperation outcomes in such fields as energy, trade, investment, financing, and infrastructure, Lu said.

Al-Sabah’s last state visit to China took place nine years ago, Lu recalled, expressing the Chinese side’s hope that the Emir’s upcoming visit will consolidate traditional China-Kuwait friendship, enhance political mutual trust, and deepen cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative so as to elevate the bilateral ties to a new height.

Saying Kuwait is an active participant of CASCF, Lu said he believes the Emir’s visit is of great importance to boost China’s cooperation with the Arab States as a whole.

Taiyuan community offered more heating options after ‘improper ban’ on coal

People in Taiyuan wear winter clothes. [Photo/IC]

All households in a community in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, have been offered heating options based on their needs after a high-level environmental inspection team found their heating supply had been affected by an improper ban on the use of coal, authorities said.

Eight working teams visited all the affected households this month to seek their suggestions for addressing heating problems. Residents will be offered free clean coal to warm their homes and they can also request more electric heaters if required.

The local government will also offer free accommodation to residents who find it difficult to warm up their homes in the community, which is going to be demolished and rebuilt soon, the city government in a news release.

Taiyuan authorities held an urgent meeting after an inspection team headed by a minister-level official found that the 1,500 residents in the community had been suffering from cold conditions at home because of an improper ban on coal burning that was designed to control air pollution, it added.

The inspection team visited the community on Nov 6, five days after the heating supply was turned on in Taiyuan.

As part of efforts to curb air pollution during the heating supply season, the time of the year with the worst pollution, many regions have been making efforts to shift from coal to clean energy as a heating source for families without central heating.

The top environmental watchdog has reiterated many times that no “one-size-fits-all” approach should be adapted in the shift, noting that heating sources should be chosen based on local conditions, and families could still use coal if conditions were not mature enough for a shift to electricity or natural gas.

A news release from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said that in the absence of central heating and natural-gas-powered heating facilities, the local government had simply given each family in the community an electric radiator, without considering whether they could afford to use them or the state of the wiring in their homes.

Taiyuan authorities said local power suppliers had inspected wiring and electric devices in the community to root out safety hazards.

The release from the ministry quoted a resident as saying: “If we use the radiator based on our needs, it consumes 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day. It can only warm up one of our rooms. We cannot afford it.”

A resident would face a bill of almost 1,200 yuan ($173) a month to use an electric radiator.

Inspectors found residents collected whatever they could find to use as heating sources, including discarded furniture, wooden floorboards and tree branches.

The local government didn’t forbid such heating sources, even though some were even more polluting than coal, the ministry said, adding many families only turned on their boilers an hour or two before going to bed because such fuel was in short supply.

“The ban on coal is imposed to ban the pollution,” it said. “It has, however, resulted in more pollution. It’s really absurd.”

Beijing has fewer hukou holders

BEIJING – Beijing saw a declining number of holders of household registration permit, or “hukou”, last year, according to a statistical bulletin published Tuesday.

The number of people holding Beijing’s hukou, a crucial document entitling residents to social welfare in a given city, fell to 13.59 million at the end of 2017, down 37,000 compared with the same period of 2016, it said.

Beijing’s permanent population fell to 21.7 million at the end of 2017, down 22,000 year on year. Around 86.5 percent of them live in urban areas.

The bulletin was released by Beijing municipal bureau of statistics and the National Bureau of Statistics.

Beijing plans to cap its population at 23 million by 2020 to address problems such as traffic congestion and pollution.

Yang Jiechi, Mike Pompeo discuss China-US relations on phone

Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, spoke with USSecretary of State Mike Pompeo on China-US relations on the phone late Saturday.

Yang, who is also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said China-US relations are currently at a crucial stage. The two sides should earnestly carry out the important consensuses reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump.

He said that the two countries should strengthen bilateral exchanges at high levels and all other levels, continue keeping close contact over economic and trade issues, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns.

The two sides should properly settle disputes and sensitive issues, maintain communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, and push bilateral ties forward along the right track, added Yang.

Pompeo said there is huge potential for cooperation between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. The United States attaches great importance to its relations with China, and is willing to maintain close communication and coordination with China on boosting bilateral ties.

Yang and Pompeo also exchanged views on other international and regional issues.

Harvard graduate sorts trash through education

Zhou Chun (center) works with a local community worker to ensure the waste is correctly disposed. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Zhou Chun, a master’s student at Harvard, came back to Shanghai after graduation in 2016 and launched a company focused on educating people on trash sorting in October.

Now, her company has eight full-time employees and has created awareness and trained volunteers to help form trash-sorting habit in 88 residential communities in Shanghai. They work with property management staff members and local community workers to ensure the waste is correctly disposed.

Born and raised in Shanghai, the 35-year-old woman has been interested in environment protection since 2011, when she quit her civil servant job and joined an NGO to protect bar-headed gooses in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Xi to host China-Africa forum in Sept

Summit will focus on stronger ties, win-win cooperation with continent

President Xi Jinping will host the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held Sept 3 and 4, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced on Monday.

Xi will also hold relevant activities on the sidelines of the event, Lu said.

Leaders from forum member states have been invited to attend the gathering to help boost ties between China and the continent, Lu said.

Representatives of related regional organizations from Africa and international bodies will also participate in relevant activities, he added.

Also on Monday, the official website of the summit’s media center – www.focac2018.com – was officially launched.

The forum, established in 2000, already held two summits – in Beijing in 2006 and Johannesburg in 2015.

During the Johannesburg summit, Xi announced 10 major programs to boost China-Africa cooperation in the coming three years.

Li Dan, head of the African Studies Center of China Foreign Affairs University, said China-Africa cooperation has seen fruitful results over the past few years, especially since the Johannesburg summit. And this year’s summit is expected to make further proposals to improve the quality and efficiency of bilateral cooperation projects.

The meeting is also expected to further affirm African countries’ participation in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, giving an impetus to China-Africa cooperation, he said.

This year is a bumper year for China-Africa cooperation with frequent high-level exchanges, said Li Wentao, deputy director of the Institute of African Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

In July, Xi visited several African countries during his first overseas trip after being re-elected as Chinese president in March.

It also shows the strategic significance China attaches to Africa by its hosting of the event after the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress held in October last year, Li of the institute said.

He added that the Beijing summit comes at a time when the China-Africa relationship has entered a new era faced with unique development opportunities, and the gathering is expected to provide additional areas of cooperation.

China and the African continent should also unite as a power in promoting a more fair and just global economic and political order, amid the trend of unilateralism and economic supremacy, he said.