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Chinese vice premier stresses high-quality Yangtze River Delta integration

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng has urged efforts to push forward Yangtze River Delta integration, focusing on integrated and high-quality development. While promoting regional integration of the Yangtze River Delta, efforts should be taken to break new ground in opening up, said Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at a meeting Monday in Shanghai. Han stressed institutional innovation to promote high-level opening up and reform, sharpening the region’s competitive edge in international cooperation. He underlined efforts to accelerate new area building of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, optimize institutions and mechanisms to stimulate innovation among market entities, make breakthroughs in some key and core technologies, and enhance the transformation of scientific and technological achievements. Han also called for building an integrated transport system and prioritizing environmental protection and green development. China has made the regional integration of the Yangtze River Delta a national strategy. The area covers Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. The delta region takes up only one twenty-sixth of China’s territory and one-sixth of its population but creates almost one-fourth of the country’s gross domestic product.

China’s unreliable entities list a guardian of market order

By introducing an unreliable entities list targeting rule-breakers, China aims to ensure a reliable market environment for those who abide by the rules. The Ministry of Commerce on Saturday outlined factors for consideration in listing unreliable foreign entities to warn market disruptors. China will consider whether the foreign entity has adopted discriminatory measures on Chinese entities including a blockade or supply cut, whether the foreign entity violates market rules or contract spirit for non-commercial purposes, whether it causes actual damage to Chinese firms or related industries, and whether it poses actual or potential threats to China’s national security, according to the ministry. The timely countermeasure is a rightful answer to the unjustifiable clampdown on Chinese entities and a strong defense of the rules-based multilateral trading system. Some countries have imposed discriminatory measures such as blocking and cutting supplies on Chinese firms for non-commercial purposes. Putting a “national security” tag on such actions could not whitewash their fouls as abuses of long-arm jurisdiction measures and typical cases of state will trampling on market forces. The legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies have been damaged, and the costs are being passed on to the global industry and supply chains as the world economy is highly interwoven. Many more companies and consumers could suffer losses. Without a normal order, things could go terribly wrong. The unreliable entities list is also expected to deter similar breaches of international economic and trade rules as well as the multilateral trading system. The best way to contain unreliable entities is to enforce the rule of law. When they are flagged, the rule-abiding firms can bypass the business landmine field. The list also underscores China’s commitment to creating a better business environment. As China keeps widening its opening-up, it has also devoted great efforts to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of both domestic and foreign companies. China will keep making things easier for foreign companies that comply with laws and rules. The negative list for foreign investment is getting shorter and shorter, and legal protection of foreign investment is growing stronger. By punishing rule-breakers, a stable, fair and sustainable order of trade between enterprises can be ensured and a reliable business environment maintained.

China issues warning over traveling to US

One day after China issued a warning over studying in the US, two of the country’s key ministries on Tuesday issued another alert over travel to the US, the latest measure to counter the negative consequences Chinese people are facing after the escalation of the US-initiated trade war, which has spread beyond broad economic measures to target the technology, education and tourism sectors. US law enforcement departments have been increasingly harassing Chinese nationals in the US by questioning them as they enter or exit the country, as well as talking to them in their homes, Chen Xiongfeng, deputy director-general of the Department of Consular Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a Tuesday press conference in Beijing. Chen said that Chinese nationals traveling to the US and Chinese companies operating in the US should be on alert to their safety and take preventive measures, and should contact Chinese embassies if necessary. Echoing Chen, Yu Jiannan, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said that according to information from Chinese consulates, the rate of crime, including theft, has increased recently in the US, so Chinese nationals should be cautious when traveling to the US and take preventive measures and be alert to their surroundings. Chen said the travel warning was issued as Chinese consulates across the US have received a lot of complaints from Chinese nationals after they were harassed by American law enforcement departments. The travel warning is also out of concern over the safety of Chinese nationals, Yu said, noting that the US, despite its position as a major travel destination for Chinese tourists, often experiences incidents of violent crimes which could threaten the safety of Chinese nationals in the North American country. Twelve people died during the recent tragedy in Virginia Beach on May 31 US time. The number of Chinese tourists to the US fell 5.7 percent in 2018 to 2.9 million. It was the first time since 2003 that the number of Chinese travelers to the US slipped from the previous year, the Associated Press reported in May. Yu said that roughly 150 million trips were made abroad in 2018. Tourists choose destinations based on their own will and on the situation of the destination. “Undoubtedly, the most important factor people consider is safety. Chinese tourists will surely make wise choices and cautiously evaluate their travel destinations,” said Yu. Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s International Market Research Institute, told the Global Times that the number of Chinese tourists to the US far outnumbered those traveling from the US to China, and the US tourism industry is heavily dependent on the rapidly increasing number of Chinese tourists, so a drop in the number of travelers will exert a heavy blow on relevant US industries. It shows that the ongoing trade friction between the two countries has begun to hurt people-to-people exchanges in the two countries, Bai said. An employee from a Shanghai-based travel agency, who asked for anonymity, told the Global Times that summer is the peak time for Chinese to travel to the US, but this year, more people have been consulting about safety and tightened visa policies in the US. Also, the number of tourists applying for US visas via their platform had also dropped drastically during this period of time. Strong measures

China approves norovirus vaccine for clinical trial

Chinese authorities have greenlit a clinical trial for the world’s first tetravalent vaccine against norovirus, the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis. The vaccine received the clinical research permit from the National Medical Products Administration on May 30, its developer, the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai (IPS) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced at a press conference Tuesday. As the number one cause of acute viral gastroenteritis, the highly contagious and sometimes deadly norovirus infects about 685 million people worldwide annually and has increasingly emerged as a public health issue in China. The vaccine, after four years of development, can theoretically prevent 80 to 90 percent of norovirus infections also known as “stomach flu,” said Huang Zhong, who leads the project at IPS. The norovirus has long eluded the world’s vaccine development, as traditional strategies of inactivation and attenuation fail on the virus that cannot be cultured in vitro on a large scale. This was further complicated by the virus’ many genotypes, regional variations and its propensity to mutate, according to Huang. The clinical trial is expected to last for five years before the vaccine can apply for new drug registration, which will benefit norovirus prevention in both China and abroad, said Tang Hong, researcher with the IPS.

US arms sales jeopardize cooperation, stability in Asia-Pacific

The US Department of Defense announced on Friday the sale of 34 surveillance drones to four countries in the South China Sea region – Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The sale seemed to be in line with the Pentagon’s newly released Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, details of which show the US’ goal of containing China. Reuters reported on Tuesday that “the drones would afford greater intelligence gathering capabilities potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region.” However, if we take a second look at the manufacturer of those ScanEagle drones, Boeing Co, we can discern that the US does not necessarily mean to assist those allies in the South China Sea region, where China has been defamed by accusations of “behaving like a ‘bully,'” but to make money. Due to the deadly crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets, the aviation giant has seen the biggest slump in its share price since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, according to Time magazine. That a US company is suffering in the international market is too inconsistent with US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy. Amid increasing tensions between China and the US due to the trade war, the Trump administration is happy to let US firms make money, especially if it also provokes China. In light of this, if we look back at the US’ attempts to hit DJI, China’s leading drone manufacturer, we will not view these attempts as absurd as they first seemed. Even though Trump has taken office, his business nature doesn’t fade. He will do anything as long as the US can make a profit and not be taken advantage of, despite sacrificing anyone else’s interests. This is why he has started trade wars around the globe and sells US drones while cracking down on drones made by Chinese companies. The US has been selling arms to Asia-Pacific countries, to which it is paying more attention. The arms sales will bind these countries to the US, because if you buy US equipment, it comes as a whole package, including support equipment and technical services. The US will make sure its equipment cannot be used in combination with technology from other countries. As a result, the buyers of US arms will eventually face a choice – either meet any demand of the US or have no other option to update their military equipment. In its Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, the US described China as a “Revisionist Power.” Then on Saturday during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said the US will not ignore China’s behavior in the South China Sea. By increasing arms sales to China’s neighbors, the US intends to provoke conflicts between China and those countries and jeopardize stability in the Asia-Pacific. The US is subduing China while simultaneously selling arms in the region and establishing a security framework aimed at China. Asia-Pacific countries should be vigilant in case the US’ moves intensify the regional situation and seriously endanger regional cooperation – what they and China need most.

Stark warning

Over 100 years ago, 120 Chinese teenagers were sent to the US to study on the “Boxer Indemnity Scholarship” program offered by former US president Theodore Roosevelt, which became a landmark in the history of China-US people-to-people exchanges. Members of China’s first generation of returnees have helped to shape China’s modern history. Since the country ushered in the era of reform and opening-up in 1978, a total of 4.58 million Chinese have gone abroad to study and 3.22 million of them returned, according to data released by the MOE. The returnees from the US have made the ties closer between the two peoples and made significant contributions to the nation’s economic development and scientific progress. However, the US has singled out Chinese students and scholars as a national security threat, casting a shadow over bilateral relations which have already been beleaguered by trade tensions. Chinese analysts stressed that the warning is aimed at Chinese parents and students. “China has been open and supportive to studying abroad. Now facing the tensions caused by the US, the warning is a gentle reminder to Chinese parents: Studying in the US will cost a fortune in time and money, and if their children cannot get a sound education, it will be a huge loss,” a Peking University professor told the Global Times on Monday on condition of anonymity. It also reminds them that many schools with high quality education resources in other countries may be an option, the professor said, noting that the warning will affect US schools greatly as Chinese students are a prominent contributor to their finances. He Weiwen, former economic and commercial counselor at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco and New York, pointed out that the warning suggests that the trade war has already begun to affect the field of education. “From trade to science and technology, and to education, it shows that the US is launching a war from its strategic concerns. It is obvious who is instigating trouble,” He said. The US action has forced China to react and choose a more prudent attitude toward studying in the US, he said.

China’s logistics services need to follow its manufacturing to expand overseasUS logistics giant FedEx, one of the world’s top delivery brands, has surprisingly – and repeatedly – mishandled Huawei’s packages. Regardless of whether there were any long-armed instructions behind the scenes, the incident should serve as an alarm bell to global companies about the safety of international delivery services.

Courier services are different from other logistics services. If core technical documentation, business tenders and other business intelligence are stolen or damaged during delivery, it may cause irretrievable losses. As such, express delivery companies generally attach great importance to credibility, with emphasis on safeguarding customers’ packages and information security. It would be shameless of a government to use state power to “hijack” corporate mail. Logistics is a basic link in the supply chain. Huawei may be able to switch to self-made chips after being cut off from US chips, but if something goes wrong with Huawei’s logistics, will it have any contingency plan? At present, the international supply chain of consumer electronics products requires fast logistics like air delivery, but about 70 percent of the international delivery market in China is spread among the three major giants – FedEx, UPS, and DHL -with domestic courier companies like SF Express only accounting for a small share of China’s international logistics market due to a lack of overseas service networks and air transport capacity. China’s largest express delivery company SF Express has only 55 cargo aircraft, while FedEx, the world’s largest, has a fleet of 680, and UPS has more than 500. Manufacturing is the soil that gives rise to the logistics industry, and the logistics industry is the guarantee for a strong manufacturing sector. However, during the past four decades, China’s industrial development has been characterized by structural problems of valuing production over circulation and valuing manufacturing over service, leading to the country’s relatively weak, small and scattered circulation services. Unlike Chinese manufacturers, most logistics companies are unable to tap the global market. China has maintained service trade deficits for 26 years, with transport and logistics being the industry with the second-largest deficit after tourism. Of course, a similar industrial imbalance also exists in other latecomer countries like India and Vietnam. Without the guarantee of modern logistics, it is difficult for China’s manufacturing industry to move up the global value chain. In order to promote the joint development of the manufacturing and logistics industries, the National Development and Reform Commission in 2007 held the first joint development conference for the two industries. Yet the links between the two industries happen more at the domestic level, with little interactive development in going global. FedEx and UPS have worked with US tech giants like Microsoft and Google to explore the global market, thus staying strong together. By comparison, although China has well-known technology companies such as Huawei, ZTE, and DJI, it lacks the synergy effect from local logistics companies in terms of high-end logistics guarantees. It is true that China’s manufacturers should adhere to the values of openness and inclusiveness instead of narrowly advocating that Chinese cargo be transported by Chinese companies, but they should also guard against possible harm from others. When it comes to the logistics of core technological documentation, information security, and strategic materials, Chinese logistics services should be the top choice. In the US, the first modern express delivery service was founded in 1839. It will take time for Chinese logistics services to play catch-up, and they should not be alone in doing it. Overseas collaboration between Chinese manufacturers and logistics services should first be reflected by strengthened cooperation in supply and demand as well as the supply chain. China is the largest buyer of international express logistics services, and its big market should give it a bigger voice in the industry. With more outsourcing orders from Chinese manufacturers, Chinese logistics companies will have more opportunities to grow. The two sides can build overseas warehouses together so as to enhance the synergy effect in the international supply chain. Meanwhile, the collaboration between Chinese manufacturers and logistics services could also strengthen security guarantees and emergency logistics support in overseas markets. China’s private technology companies and express delivery companies have mostly grown up in a peaceful environment, with insufficient experience in crisis response. UPS, which was founded in 1907, has experienced World War I and World War II, while FedEx founder Frederick Smith participated in the Vietnam War. The advanced security systems and emergency logistics response of US companies offer lessons for Chinese companies.

Hollow claims by US on caring about Chinese human rights

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a statement on Monday in which he accused China of “abusing human rights” and smeared China’s resolute measures to maintain national stability in the late 1980s. He also criticized China’s governance in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The US has stepped up its attacks on China on human rights issues simply because Washington’s trade war with China is proving to be invalid. Now, the US has decided to impose more pressure on China over human rights issues. In fact, the US has no credibility to hold the moral high ground. Its accusations are nothing but empty talk from a high-pitched speaker. Pompeo’s statement will not be echoed in Chinese society. Instead, it will reaffirm the Chinese public’s belief that current US administration is hostile to China, and Chinese cannot pin hopes on it. Chinese are convinced that the US government is trying to deprive China of its continued development. Washington is treating interests of the US and China as a zero-sum game. It is well recognized that the rights of Chinese are mostly rooted in sustained national stability and development. The destruction of China’s stability and development is the ultimate deprivation of the rights of Chinese. The current US government is becoming the top hijacker of Chinese human rights. Chinese are no longer so naive to believe the US is a protector of Chinese human rights. The US government always threatens to move jobs in China to the US or to Southeast Asia. They celebrate every sign that could be interpreted as economic downturn in China. Is that sincere compassion for Chinese human rights? When Washington released information regarding trade war, it didn’t care about any negative impact it may have on China’s stock market or potential losses it may cause for Chinese stock investors. The US would rather see bigger losses on China to bring the country to its knees. The trade war launched by the US put the welfare of Chinese people at risk. Meanwhile, the same group of US politicians put on another face and made accusations about China’s human rights, as if they really care about human rights of Chinese people. Under the campaign of “America First,” Washington has utilized its policies to eliminate the opportunity for social and economic development in many countries that will lead to the improvement of human rights. China is facing perhaps the most vicious and most hypocritical US government since its reform and opening-up. In examining cases of China’s so-called human rights violations raised by some US elites, it is obvious that those cases often relate to Chinese dissidents. The purpose is to stir up political division within China in order to split the country. In other words, they are advocating specific rights so that they can disrupt China without taking any responsibility. It is well recognized that the US vigorously pursues its self-defined human rights philosophy for vicious political purposes. Chinese are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of not accepting human rights issues raised by the US and not accepting US values for obvious political purposes. The improvement of Chinese human rights hinges on China’s continued economic and social development. Chinese know where to go and how to go, and do not need “teachers” that have vicious intentions. If Pompeo really cares about Chinese human rights, he can order the US State Department to lift the newly-imposed visa restrictions for Chinese students. Those students have made a lot of preparations for studying abroad, which signifies an important step in their lives. Refusing their visas tramples their individual rights. Secretary Pompeo, who has the power to set visa policies, would make great contributions to Chinese rights if he could lift those visa restrictions. The US offers its commiserations for human rights in China, yet in actions, it has been trampling on China’s human rights. It is time for Mr Pompeo and his colleagues to stop the self-contradictory moves.

Costume TV series canceled

Two highly-anticipated TV dramas were canceled, leading to public speculations that the alleged ban on costume dramas since March remains in effect, with experts noting it might suggest that China is looking to positively guide audiences through correct historic view. Novoland: Eagle Flag, known as China’s Game of Thrones, which was one of the two removed, was slated to premiere on Monday night on three different platforms: Zhejiang TV and video streaming platforms of Tencent Video and Youku. However, it was canceled 30 minutes before airtime. Adapted from a fantasy novel with a huge fan base, the story tells of war, conspiracy, betrayal and lust. Some critics call the drama series a work of historical nihilism. An officer from the Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Radio & TV Group, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the reason for the withdrawal remains unclear. However, they admitted having received an order from “higher level,” which is “the China’s National Radio and Television Administration.” According to The Beijing News on Tuesday, the producers of the two dramas said that the reason for the sudden change remains unclear as well. “We’re sorry to inform you that due to a ‘medium problem,’ the drama cannot be aired as scheduled,” Tencent Video told viewers on the platform. Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based industry insider and critic, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he prefers to see “medium problem” as a commonly-used alibi in the industry, since if the problem does exist, the drama cannot pass the technical inspection beforehand. The “medium problem”, Shi explained, is about the format and the delivery process of video files. Coincidentally, almost simultaneously, another costume drama, Investiture of the Gods, which is being aired on Hunan TV, was replaced by Young Blood, also a costume drama. Allegedly a loose adaption of a classic Chinese novel of the same name, Investiture of the Gods tells a story of the plot to overthrow the Shang Dynasty (1600BC-1046BC), while Young Blood depicts young heroes defending the country in time of war. Shi said that Young Blood tells a much more positive story on patriotism. And there might be another reason for the arrangement that students normally complete their school work in June and watch TV at home, and having supplementary patriotism education is needed to set up a healthy character for the youth. Besides the two, other dramas of the genre, like The Legend of White Snake (The Legend) and The Longest Day in Chang’an, have been withdrawn or postponed in March, leading the public to suspect a total ban on the genre. Shi continued to point out that speculation of a tighter regulation aimed at better protection of teens from three months ago has become a clear trend.

China-Russia synergy drives regional stability and development

China-Russia relations are cordial in all respects. The comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries runs deep and has made substantial progress in recent years. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia will further consolidate the friendship between the neighbors. By finding a proper way to get along, China and Russia have kept a stable and mature relationship, which has become a model for major countries. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations. These relations go back to the times of the Soviet Union, the first country in the world to recognize the People’s Republic of China after it was founded in 1949. Over the past seven decades, the two sides have wound their way through confrontations, even bloody conflicts. Both countries have learned a lesson from history: Peace benefits both sides. This is especially true today. Amid an overdose of hegemonism and unilateralism, stable and mature ties between Beijing and Moscow are strategically important to world peace, contemporary development, multilateralism and globalization. Some disputes between China and Russia stemmed from ideological differences, others were about national interests, and yet some were caused by divergence in opinion or lack of communication. However, both sides have stuck to a basic principle: cooperation on the basis of equality. When disputes occurred, they sat across the table rather than pressuring each other to find a way out. In this way, tensions between Beijing and Moscow were eased and a healthy relationship was formed. The way China and Russia treat each other is in sharp contrast with the methods of certain big powers fond of unilateralism and using hegemony to settle scores with other countries. On May 29, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said at the fifth China-Russia Think Tank Forum in Moscow that based on current cooperation, China and Russia will further promote the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Some Russian scholars were once skeptical of the BRI, but they changed their mind after doing more research and China clarified their doubts. Through consultation and communication, Russia began to understand that the BRI is conducive to the development of China and Russia, and will also benefit the wider region surrounding the countries. The heated discussion about the collaboration of EAEU with the BRI in recent editions of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was the result of Russia changing its approach, which has manifested itself in mature Beijing-Moscow relations. Both China and Russia are developing. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of land area, China is the most populated, and the two share a long border. They are complementary in terms of the economy and thus it is only natural for them to strengthen economic links. Take cooperation in the energy sector as an example. A stable supply of petroleum and natural gas is important for China’s rapid growth, while Russia, by exporting energy resources, can earn foreign currency to boost development. The trade volume between China and Russia in 2018 reached $100 billion, the highest in history. The political, diplomatic, economic and military cooperation between China and Russia are consistent with the long-term interests of their people and the world. Additionally, the two countries are stepping up people-to-people exchanges, thus further narrowing the cultural gap. China-Russia relations and their cooperation mechanism are significant to both countries and regional stability and development. This new type of major country relations has been demonstrated under the framework of the BRI. It is quite normal to have doubts and contradictions in global exchanges. Many problems can be properly dealt with through peaceful consultation and mutual understanding rather than suspicion and conflict.