‘Basket doctor’ makes Yunnan villages healthier

Guan Yanping and her colleagues carry medicine and other devices in baskets on their backs to provide villagers medical services, Jan 12, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Guan Yanping now feels a little accomplished after having worked in Bingzhongluo, a remote township in Southwest China’s Yunnan province, for nearly two and a half years.

It is not because she was chosen as a model worker of poverty alleviation collaboration in Yunnan in 2018, or because she was selected as the most admirable medical worker in Jinwan district in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, last year.

“What fulfills me most is the poor health awareness of residents in Bingzhongluo has improved, and I am really happy to see more villagers come to my clinic to seek help whenever they feel sick,” said the 51-year-old doctor from Zhuhai.

After graduating from Jilin Medical University in 1991, she worked as a surgeon, gynecologist and obstetrician in Zhuhai. She signed up to work in Yunnan and offer medical services in remote villages in March 2017.

Among people there, she is better known as “basket doctor”, because for about 30 months she and her colleagues have carried medicine, electrocardiographs, B ultrasonic and related medical machines as well as other devices in baskets on their backs to provide villagers medical services.

She has climbed mountains, crossed rivers via drawbridges and walked on the narrow winding trails in the cliffs more than 300 times to visit 46 remote villages since then.

“Many local mountainous villages have not yet been linked to the outside world by roads, and ambulances could transport us only to the foot of the mountain,” she said.

She was shocked when she arrived in the rural township, located in Gongshan county in the northern part of Nujiang prefecture, near the Tibet autonomous region.

“Local death rates of newborns, pregnant and lying-in women (those who have recently given birth) were three to four times higher than the figures recorded in Zhuhai,” Guan said.

What shocked her more at the beginning was that few village patients came to her clinic to seek her help. Local officials had to encourage people to see doctors via loud speakers.

In Zhuhai, Guan usually had to work overtime as there was always a long line waiting outside her office.

“It was a very big contrast,” she said. “Many villagers in the rural areas in Yunnan had very poor health awareness. They cared little about their health and never thought of seeing a doctor when they fell ill.”

Many local clinics had no more than a doctor. The electrocardiograph, B ultrasonic and related medical machines and devices were found in the clinics’ warehouses, covered with thick dust, she said.

“No one knew how to use and operate these machines and devices at that time,” she said.

Guan said she was really sad to learn during her first visit to a local mountainous village in 2017 that a man in his 20s had just died of hypertension.

“It was not a single case, and I found that because of excessive drinking and unhealthy diet, many local deaths were actually caused by hypertension and cerebral hemorrhage, and the average age of such deaths was much younger than those in developed areas,” she said. “As a medical worker majoring in gynecology, I felt I should do something to help locals and reduce such death rates.”

Guan, who was previously asked to work in Yunnan for only six months, then decided to extend her stay to three years.

“It had taken me more than three months to visit all the villages and familiarize myself with the local situation,” she said. “So, I asked to work in Yunnan for longer because I needed more time to work in the township and map out a plan to help the locals.

Guan said her family and colleagues supported her wishes to continue working in the province. Liu Baixue, Guan’s son, said he fully supports his mother’s efforts to realize her dream to help the people in remote areas in Yunnan, although he misses her very much.

“After I told them about my work experiences and the situation in the remote townships in Yunnan, many of my colleagues in Zhuhai also said they would like to come to Yunnan and work in the rural village if they get the chance,” Guan said.

In addition to paying visits to village patients, Guan has tried her best to help improve the health awareness of locals, popularize the knowledge of public health and do research work. Over the past two years, she has established a total of 5,143 health files for local patients.

Guan said she hopes that by the time she leaves, she can produce a valuable research report to give to the local government to help improve local public health and basic medical care.

Xie Jiamin contributed to this story.

China willing to help Cameroon promote sustainable development: premier

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with Cameroonian President Paul Biya in Beijing, capital of China, March 23, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday met with Cameroonian President Paul Biya, saying that China is willing to help the western African country’s sustainable economic development.

During their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Li said both China and Cameroon are developing countries that share common interests in development.

China has provided Cameroon with assistance within its capability and never attached any political conditions, Li said.

The premier encouraged Chinese enterprises to invest in Cameroon and called for innovative cooperation in areas of infrastructure and construction of industrial parks.

Li called on both countries to safeguard liberalization, trade and investment, abide by market principles and business rules and oppose protectionism.

Li also hailed the long-term friendship between the two countries, saying that China is ready to boost political mutual trust and beneficial cooperation in the hope of forging ahead bilateral ties.

Echoing Li’s remarks, Biya said Cameroon appreciated China’s great support and assistance in areas of economy, social development and culture.

Cameroon will continue to advance friendship and cooperation with China so as to lift bilateral relationship to a new high, he said.

Biya is paying a state visit to China from Thursday to Saturday at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi held talks with him on Thursday. The two presidents witnessed the signing of agreements on economic and technological cooperation, human resources development, infrastructural construction and industrial cooperation.

Li: Accelerate western development

Premier Li Keqiang presides over a meeting of the State Council leading group for promoting western development on Aug 21, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

Advance infrastructure, industry upgrades for region, premier urges

A number of major projects, including the Sichuan-Tibet and Chongqing-Yunnan railways, should be accelerated in the western regions of China to help prioritize economic structure and expand domestic consumption, Premier Li Keqiang said.

These projects should focus on western China’s shortcomings and also be in line with national planning, Li said when presiding over a meeting of the State Council leading group for promoting western development on Tuesday.

The strategy for western development has aimed for balanced regional growth in China for about two decades. It benefits 12 provincial regions, including Chongqing, the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, and China’s five autonomous regions, such as Tibet.

The premier said western regions have made enormous achievements in their social and economic development in the past five years. But they still need to rely on reform and opening-up to increase development momentum and realize industrial upgrading and improvement of people’s livelihoods.

The central government will offer support, and western regions should actively encourage the participation of private capital in those major projects, Li said. Some key water diversion projects in the provinces of Yunnan, Qinghai and Gansu and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region should be promoted, he said.

Li called for faster infrastructure construction to dispose of wastewater and trash under an innovative mechanism of investment and management to promote a new-type urbanization.

Consumption potential should be tapped by encouraging emerging online shopping and consumption in cultural and healthcare sectors, he said.

The western regions should reduce institutional costs and improve the competitiveness of their industries, targeting key issues that hamper the development of enterprises and the public welfare, Li said.

In addition, Li urged winning the battle of poverty alleviation in the west and improving public services such as education, healthcare and employment by using new means such as the internet, especially for remote and poverty-stricken areas.

The leading group was reshuffled last month, following the new lineup of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, in March. The leading group has promoted the strategy of western development since 2000. Li became head of the leading group in 2013 after he assumed office.

Western regions cover an area of more than 6.8 million square kilometers with nearly 30 percent of the country’s population. Last year, they accounted for one-fifth of China’s GDP.

Over the past five years, economic growth of these western regions went up by 8.8 percent annually, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. The increase was 7.4 percent in the first half of this year.

Fixed-asset investment rose by 13 percent per year. More than 35 million people were lifted out of poverty during those five years.

Taiwan’s DPP phone primary marred by low participation

Tsai Ing-wen announced her resignation as the chair of the Democratic Progressive Party late Saturday, to take responsibility for the party’s performance in Taiwan’s local elections. Photo: VCG

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) inner-party primary result is not a representation of the will of the people among those on the island since participation was extremely low, said a Chinese mainland expert on Taiwan studies.

The DPP announced on Thursday the regional leader of the island, Tsai Ing-wen, had won the DPP primary poll by nearly 35.7 percent, defeating former head of the Taiwan administrative authority Lai Ching-te by 8.2 percentage points, chinatimes.com reported on Thursday.

Although Tsai still needs approval from the DPP’s executive committee to become the official candidate, her nomination is almost certain to be ratified for the upcoming 2020 election in January.

According to the announcement, the result was determined by a public opinion phone survey that included 16,051 respondents, and involved 8,056 calls to landlines, and 7,995 calls to mobile phones.

“The sample was really small compared to the population in Taiwan [about 23 million], and Tsai only got less than 36 percent among them to win the primary poll. This shows the DPP has really low support among the people on the island,” said Li Fei, a professor with the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, to the Global Times on Thursday.

Voters on the island are not interested in participating in the “election,” especially after the poor performance from the DPP during the past four years, said Li.

According to the Beijing Daily, Tsai manipulated public opinion by including cellphone users into the primary polls and postponing the poll date that was originally scheduled for late March, to secure her party nomination.

Earlier this week, Tsai showed support on her Facebook account for the violent demonstrations in Hong Kong, which harm city’s stability.

The DPP is good at using Taiwan’s so-called “democracy” as a tool for elections, Li said.

Tsai has been assertive against the Chinese mainland with her strong pro-separation stance since she won the 2016 election, which brought tension and uncertainty to Cross-Straits relations.

President urges military to push forward reforms

President Xi Jinping meets with foreign leaders invited to multinational naval events marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province, on April 23, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Forces asked to prioritize work related to troops’ combat readiness, welfare

President Xi Jinping urged the Chinese military to continue reforming its policy system, saying this is crucial to building a world-class force.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Tuesday in Beijing that reforms of the military policy system are intended to resolve institutional hindrances to allow the armed forces to better fit into their new roles and fulfill their new missions.

He said the military must make all-out efforts to push forward reforms of its policy system, and he urged it to strengthen communication with service members to rally support for reforms.

Xi called for the military to integrate policy system reforms with other parts of the ongoing military overhaul that have been ongoing for nearly four years. He also asked forces to prioritize work during reforms that concerns troops’ combat readiness and welfare.

The military should use new ideas and try new methods in reforms and should also enhance research and appraisal work to facilitate reforms, he said.

Xi said the Party and central government must spare no efforts in supporting reforms and that the military must update the central departments about the reforms’ development.

The president also extended greetings at the meeting, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, to all members of the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force as well as militiamen and reservists as the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the country’s armed forces falls on Thursday.

In another development, Xi promoted 10 senior officers of the armed forces to the rank of general or admiral at a ceremony on Wednesday at the Central Military Commission’s headquarters in Beijing.

In addition, the president recently gave citations and honorary titles to several military units and service members.

Under Xi’s leadership, the Chinese military has been making steady strides toward its goal of becoming a world-class force.

The PLA and the People’s Armed Police Force have been undergoing massive reforms launched and guided by the president since late 2015 that aim at making the military leaner, stronger and more efficient.

The Chinese military has extensively shrunk the number of noncombatant personnel in its ranks and streamlined its command structure, according to a defense white paper published last week.

The white paper, China’s National Defense in the New Era, published by the State Council Information Office, said the number of offices, administrative levels and office personnel inside the armed forces has been substantially reduced.

Nearly half the noncombatant jobs in the military have been abolished and about 25 percent of office posts at military units above the regiment level have been shed.

Military organizations involved in artistic performances, sports, news services, publications and medical and research work have been dismantled or simplified, the white paper said.

The military had fulfilled its goal of reducing troop numbers by 300,000, and now maintains an active force of 2 million troops, the white paper said, adding that positions had been transferred from the PLA Ground Force to the PLA Navy and PLA Rocket Force.

In his report to the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, Xi pledged to make sure that by 2020, the PLA will basically achieve mechanization, make big strides in informatization and make substantial improvement in strategic capabilities. He also set a midterm goal for the Chinese military — to turn itself into a modernized power by 2035 — and a long-term goal of turning it into a top-tier military by 2050.

Senior Colonel Wang Wei, from the CMC’s Reform and Personnel Arrangement Office, said the unprecedented military reforms launched by Xi have been extensively transforming and strengthening the military.

Senior Colonel Shi Qingren, a researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said through the reforms, the PLA has set up a new chain of command and a new set of management systems, adding that it has become more capable of handling modern warfare.

The learning process in China is changing

Illustration: Peter C.Espina/GT
Chinese students used to be stereotyped as bookworms obsessed with rote learning and exam scores. But that stereotype is now out of date.

Take a look at questions posed recently by a junior high school student surnamed Wu from Beijing. Was Zhou Yu, military general and strategist of warlord Sun Ce in the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), trying to kill Zhuge Liang, military strategist who served under another warlord Liu Bei, out of pure jealousy of Zhuge’s talents? Did King You of Zhou, 12th king of the Chinese Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771BC), really try to amuse his favorite queen by lighting warning beacons, fooling his armies into thinking their enemies were about to attack?

Without hesitation, any Chinese adult would say “isn’t that elementary knowledge in textbooks?” But in Wu’s letter to People’s Education Press, he pointed out these elements from a textbook may be wrong after researching Romance of the Three Kingdoms, The Records of the Grand Historian, The Zizhi Tongjian and other giant novels or chronicles of history, which very few Chinese have ever dipped into.

In the same letter he wrote, there are many more questions hard enough to confound adults. Unlike previous generations, most of whom tended to believe everything in textbooks must be correct, young Chinese students are more likely to think, raise doubts and do research on what they are being taught.

Wu is not the only one. When I put “query validity of textbooks” in Chinese in search engine Baidu, similar news stories can be found. The most recent question has been raised by an eight-year-old boy surnamed Feng from Fuzhou, East China’s Fujian Province, who said the use of a verb in his textbook puzzles him.

Instead of memorizing standard answers and learning in a hurry, more and more of Chinese young people today seem to share the philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, a German philosopher, on slow reading when studying, which is to learn “slowly, profoundly, attentively, prudently, with inner thoughts, with the mental doors ajar, with delicate fingers and eyes.”

This change in studying methods in China, to be honest, hasn’t come about easily. Thanks to the country’s test-driven education, students, teachers and parents used to pay more attention to how to ace exams in a more efficient way. Rote learning has thus become a popular method since there is so much knowledge but not enough time to imbibe it. Nevertheless, change has occurred, not only among students, but also examiners and parents.

When the Dream of the Red Chamber was included in gaokao’s test range in 2017, some people believed they could get a good score by memorizing the name of the authors or the brief introduction to the masterpiece’s background. Yet a few months later, a question that appeared in gaokao was – pick a tragic figure from Dream of the Red Chamber and sketch its character. If one has not read the book, he or she will have no clue about how to answer it. An increasing number of such questions these days show that teachers who design test papers believe the learning process is more important than acing exams.

Young parents, on the other hand, believe stimulating children’s enthusiasm to learn is more significant. After becoming a parent, something I accidentally came across has overturned my previous concepts – education is about enlightenment, meaning letting a beam of light shine in the dark, help little ones know that there is a big beautiful world to explore and let them do it themselves – instead of simply teaching everything I know to my kid.

The daughter of my friend recently went to Harvard. My friend said he never encouraged her to study hard. Instead, he sometimes took her to have British afternoon tea. While enjoying their leisure time, the father would tell his daughter the history of afternoon tea, what the Tea Party movement is, tea’s connection with the US war of independence and that there is a nice little teahouse near the Harvard. She was inspired. And he is not the only father with such an open mind on education.

It is no exaggeration to say that society’s mind-set over how to learn is changing. Of course, it may be a phenomenon taking place mostly in big cities. But it is still a trend worth encouraging.

The author is an engineer based in Beijing. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Russia-China trade, technological cooperation enjoys sound momentum: minister

There will be a rosy future for trade and technological cooperation between Russia and China, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has said.

In the face of global market volatility and rising protectionism, one of the most important tasks for Russia and China is to increase the stability of their trade and economic relations, Manturov told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China remained Russia’s top trading partner and their two-way trade hit a record high of over 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, he said.

Bilateral trade continued to grow in the first quarter of this year, he said, expecting further growth in Russian exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs to China.

The industrial and technological cooperation is multifaceted and the partnership in civil aviation, including the joint development of the wide-body long-haul airliner CR929, is an important aspect, said Manturov.

The CR929 program is at the design stage, when the main tasks are to select suppliers of systems and equipment and conclude agreements of intent with them, he said, adding that the prospective airliner will be “absolutely competitive” in the global market.

In addition to civil aviation, Manturov also sees “considerable prospects” in expanding partnership in the fields of medicine development and production, robotics as well as radio electronics.

There is still potential for cooperation in such traditional sectors as agriculture, food industry, timber industry, engineering, consumer goods production, metal, and construction materials, he added.

“It should be noted that the comprehensive development of strategic cooperation between Russia and China corresponds to the interests of both countries,” Manturov said.

Xi urges all-out rescue after SW China landslide

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out efforts in rescue and relief work after a landslide in southwest China’s Guizhou Province left 11 people dead and 42 others missing.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed strengthened disaster prevention measures and protection of people’s lives and property safety.

Top political advisor calls for concrete outcome of Party education campaign

Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, inspects the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee on its party education campaign themed “staying true to our founding mission” on July 31, 2019. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

BEIJING – China’s top political advisor Wang Yang on Wednesday urged officials of the Party’s united front work to actively engage in the ongoing education campaign themed “staying true to our founding mission.”

They are expected to raise morale and become more motivated in doing their work through the education campaign, said Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, when inspecting the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.

Wang urged them to enhance their theoretical study and apply what they learnt in everyday work.

Officials with the united front work department should be aware of their difficult tasks of pooling wisdom and strength and accumulating consensus as the country faces the unprecedented mission of advancing reform and development and maintaining stability, he said.

He told them to aim for concrete progress at work, prevent the practice of formalities for formalities’ sake and faithfully implement the CPC Central Committee’s decisions and policies in this regard.

Belt & Road cushions impact of trade war

China Communications Constructions Ltd workers stand in front of a tunnel for the East Coast Rail Link project in Dungun, Terengganu on Thursday. Malaysia on July 25 restarted the rail project that is part of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative following its suspension last year. Photo: AFP

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has greatly boosted China’s foreign trade, achieving major progress in Europe and Asia and also cushioned the negative impact brought on by the US-initiated trade war, Chinese analysts said over the weekend.

Beyond foreign trade, the BRI, as a way of how China interacts with the world, offers a stark contrast to the America First approach heralded by the current US administration, the experts said.

The BRI, now 6 years old, is a massive development plan aimed at promoting interconnection of infrastructure and economic and cultural exchanges between China and neighboring countries.

Boosted by the initiative, China’s western provinces have recorded fast growth in their foreign trade, with a total 12 provinces and municipalities posting a foreign trade annual growth rate of 14 percent in the first half of the year, according to a report by Chinese news site jiemian.com on July 29.

The growth rate was 10.1 percentage points higher than the national average.

Published foreign trade data by 26 province-level regions shows robust trade growth with the EU and the member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the report said.

With foreign trade between China and ASEAN growing 4.2 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2019 to $291.85 billion, the two sides have conducted a series of key projects from connectivity arteries to industrial parks, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Wednesday.

As of 2018, bilateral investment volumes grew 22 times in 15 years and ASEAN has been a major destination for Chinese overseas direct investment.

Photo: Xinhua

Progress in ASEAN

ASEAN nations striving to spur growth against the backdrop of simmering anti-globalization have been riding the wave of BRI, as landmark BRI projects are giving local economies a much-needed boost, the experts said.

They said a high-speed rail project linking Jakarta-Bandung is on track to catapult Indonesia to be the first ASEAN nation to join “the bullet train club.”

The Indonesia Java No.7 coal-fired power generation project, comprising two 1,050 megawatts units, is poised to be a great shot in the arm for the southeastern Asia economy which still has a low electrification rate, they noted.

Two China-aided bridges, when complete, will help with traffic congestion in metropolitan Manila and the East Coast Rail Link is expected to connect Malaysia’s east and west coasts, the experts noted.

Without the initiative, these projects being built and pushed forward by Chinese firms would be much more difficult to accomplish, they said.

Besides concrete projects, the BRI also brought career opportunities to local people and a ladder to improve their lives, the experts said.

Expressing gratitude for creating job opportunities for locals, Mark Kim Budianto, an on-site interpreter for the No.5 mixing plant of China Railway Group Limited’s Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project, said he also learned management skills from his Chinese employer, an invaluable asset to career development.

Tulus Martini from Cilacap in Central Java, working as a human resources specialist for Energy China’s Java No.7 coal-fired power generation project in Serang, recalled her career from “a nurserymaid to a well-paid white-collar worker.”

The makeover, enabled by learning Chinese and working with Chinese companies, she said, has changed her life for the better.

Chinese experts said Tulus Martini’s case was symbolic of how BRI has aided ASEAN economies and hundreds of millions of people in the region aspiring to turn their lives around.

Chen Fengying, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that the expansion of the BRI could actually help boost Chinese exports to partner countries and regions.

“As many companies have built up industrial parks overseas, they need to import parts or materials needed for production from China,” Chen said.

“This has helped beef up China’s exports, now facing protectionist headwinds.”

The promulgation of the initiative also become a bandwagon onto which central and western Chinese regions could jump, to develop trade with a new destination or produce exports unwanted by China’s original trading partners, bringing them to the forefront of opening-up, experts said.

Beijing has achieved significant progress in pushing negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations over Friday and Saturday, a MOFCOM spokesperson said on Saturday.

RCEP is a proposed free trade deal between ASEAN and its six trading partners including China.

Foreign trade

As the trade war between China and the US wages on, the progress of BRI has provided some cushions to companies caught up in the tariff battle.

“So far China has been able to effectively diversify its sources of supply for many agricultural and mineral commodities for which tariffs were imposed on US imports as these are relatively easily obtained from other nations worldwide,” Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist with IHS Markit.

As BRI is based on win-win, so it has immense potential for future growth, said Dong Dengxin, director of the Financial Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology.

“Because of the trade war, China will develop a closer and deeper economic relationship with more countries,” Dong said.

“The Chinese approach of win-win, and its contribution to multilateralism will help the country win the respect of world countries and attain global leadership.”

To pursue connectivity between Europe and Asia, the EU and ASEAN agreed to upgrade their relations to a strategic partnership on Friday.

Huang Ge also contributed to this story