8 school children killed after boat capsizes in Ghana

 

8 school children killed after boat capsizes in Ghana

Illustration for boat mishap in Ghana

 

Eight school children in Ghana’s Bono East Region were killed after the boat taking them to school capsized on the Volta Lake, officials confirmed.

National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) told newsmen that the eight, five boys and three girls aged five to 12, were among 20 pupils who were on their way to school in Wayokope, a community across the lake.

Ibrahim Wudonyim, the coordinator of NADMO, said the Marine Police Unit of Ghana Police Service, assisted by some locals, have recovered the bodies of the deceased.

Investigations are underway to find out the cause of the accident.

Looking forward to joint efforts in advancing global green transition

By Gerd Schwandner

I have been to China more than 100 times and forged an unbreakable bond with the country.

In 2013, I was granted Honorary Citizenship of Xi’an, which was a recognition of my efforts in deepening the friendship between Oldenburg of Germany and Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, and promoting Germany-China friendship. I was truly honored to receive it.

I like to experience a country by public transport. When I first came to Beijing and Shanghai, both cities had only two subway lines. Nowadays, the rail transit systems in the two cities are far-reaching and efficient.

In 2016, I traveled from Beijing to Shanghai by high-speed train. The journey took less than five hours and the train was very punctual and comfortable. China has also built many modern airports. I think the constantly improving transportation infrastructure in China is an epitome of its rapid development.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has successfully found a development path that suits its national conditions.

Over the past more than four decades since reform and opening up, China has lifted over 700 million impoverished rural residents out of poverty, which is undoubtedly a great achievement in the poverty reduction history of mankind. The living standards of the Chinese people have kept rising and the size of Chinese middle-income earners has exceeded 400 million.

The European Union (EU) and China have maintained close trade ties, sharing extensive common interests and enormous demand for cooperation.

Statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce showed that the EU’s overall investment in China rose by 123.7 percent year on year from January to August 2022. Statistics from the Eurostat also indicated that in the first half of 2022, China remained the largest trading partner of the EU.

The Germany-China economic and trade cooperation has been running at a high level and enjoys potential for further progress. The two countries have rich experience, advanced technologies and strong innovation capabilities in environmental protection, embracing broad prospects for relevant cooperation.

I still remember clearly that during an event held in March 2009, the then Chinese Ambassador to Germany told me that China attached great importance to sustainable development. In recent years, China has taken solid efforts in ecological environmental governance, and has embarked on a fast track of green development.

As the second largest economy in the world, China’s adherence to sustainable development is of great significance to the world. I believe that China will become a global forerunner in more and more green industries. In the future, Germany and China can strengthen cooperation in hydrogen power, solar power and wind power, and jointly promote the global green transition.

Through my experience of living in Africa over the past two years, the EU and China enjoy vast room for third-party market cooperation in Africa, which will benefit developing countries in the continent. China has rich experience in infrastructure construction and I very much look forward to more cooperation carried out in Africa between Germany and China and between the EU and China.

The 20th National Congress of the CPC is of great significance to the future development of China and has garnered worldwide attention. The event achieved fruitful results and I look forward to more contributions made by China to the common development of all countries.

Gerd Schwandner is the former mayor of Oldenburg, Germany.

China to inject new impetus into global economy

By Qu Song, Yu Limin, Xie Yahong, People’s Daily

Foreign enterprises and international experts believe that China’s optimization of COVID-19 response, which expands the flows of people, will help activate the country’s economic vitality and potential, and bring important benefits to world recovery and growth.
China’s economy maintained average annual growth of around 4.5 percent in the past three years, obviously higher than that of the world.
The Chinese economy has demonstrated strong resilience and huge potential. Last year, facing challenges of high winds and choppy waters in the global environment, the Chinese economy achieved stable growth. China’s grain output exceeded 650 million tons for eight consecutive years, and the task of expanding urban jobs was completed ahead of schedule. Besides, the country for the first time saw its total foreign trade exceed 40 trillion yuan ($5.97 trillion), and maintained the world’s largest trader in goods for six years in a row.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said global economies will face a tougher year than the previous 12 months as all major growth engines face weakening activity. However, the organization noted that China will achieve stable economic growth in the new year and become the largest positive factor of the world economy.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva believes that the Chinese economy will gradually achieve high-level development and end 2023 on a brighter note.
Multiple financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, French banking group Societe Generale and Morgan Stanley estimated that China’s economy would see stable recovery in 2023.
HSBC said in a Q1 report that China’s export growth still outran the global trade growth. Swiss investment bank UBS AG said many multinational corporations were expanding their production and investment in China.
In a recent report issued by Rhodium Group, the New York-based advisory firm noted that companies which had already invested billions of dollars in China were still executing their investment plans.
George N. Tzogopoulos, a senior fellow in media, international relations and Chinese affairs at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, said as China optimized its COVID-19 response, the cross-border flow of people will be significantly expanded.
“Investors will find more development opportunities in the dynamic Chinese market,” he said, adding that helps promote economic growth.
Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Spain’s asset manager Tressis Management, noted that China’s optimization of COVID-19 response is good news to the market in 2023 and will unquestionably boost economic growth around the world.
Albert Keidel, an adjunct professor of economics at George Washington University said more potential in the Chinese economy will be unleashed as China makes efforts to optimize its pandemic response.
The Chinese economy will be strong and a bright spot in the world in 2023, providing “a node of support in terms of global demand,” the professor noted.
Pagon Gatchalee, a lecture at Chiang Mai University, Thailand, noted that China, as a major trading partner of over 130 countries and regions, is committed to promoting high-level opening up and building a new development paradigm. As China optimizes its COVID-19 response, the resilient Chinese economy is expected to provide more and better opportunities for foreign investors and to a large extend benefit ASEAN countries including Thailand, he said.
China’s efforts to coordinate pandemic response and socioeconomic development will better facilitate the exchanges of personnel and cross-border business travel and benefit the global economic development, said Yu Feng, president of Honeywell China.
According to Yu, China has grown into Honeywell’s second largest single market and largest growth market. The company is optimistic about Chinese economy’s advantages in market potential, industrial system, infrastructure and business environment, and is confident in China’s high-quality and sustainable development, he added.
French newspaper Le Monde said on its website that Provence, the Louvre Museum and the La Samaritaine department store are all expecting Chinese tourists to return to France soon.
Harrods, a London luxury department store, recently bought clothing stock designed for a Chinese fit for the first time since 2019.
“We are talking very significant numbers if Chinese tourists return,” said the department store’s managing director Michael Ward, adding that the store would get back old friends that it hasn’t seen in the UK for years.
Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao said on its website that the market is expecting a sooner rebound of the Chinese economy. According to analysis by the World Bank, every one-percentage growth of China’s GDP will drive the Singaporean GDP to go up 1.2 percentage points. Australian, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian GDP will also experience growth thanks to the recovery of the Chinese trade sector, the newspaper added.
Alejandra Grindal, senior international economist for Ned Davis Research Group, said China’s optimization of COVID-19 response has lowered the chance of the world GDP growth dropping below 2 percent from 80 percent to 65 percent.
Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, the senior country economist of the World Bank for Thailand, noted that China’s stable economic recovery will become a positive factor driving global recovery.

British don to share leadership insights on better management of change


British don to share leadership insights on better management of change

 

Paul Griffith, the world’s first professor of management to lead a team to launch a rocket, will share insights into how world leaders can better manage change in the present uncertain times.

Griffith, a Professor of Practice and the Senior Vice President, Products at Ashridge Executive Education, Hult International Business School is to share his knowledge at the forthcoming programme of TEXEM UK.

The online executive development programme is titled, Self-awareness for better management of change in uncertain times and will come up on Feb. 8 to March 4.

According to a release on TEXEM’s website (www.texem.co.uk) issued by Director of Special Projects, Caroline Lucas, other expected faculties are, Prof. John Peters, Ambassador Charles Crawford and Ambassador Rachel Aron.

“Leveraging TEXEM’s tested and proven methodology, participants will learn practical skills and actionable insights from the faculties and gain valuable insights from their professional exchange with critical partners and colleagues.

“This programme aims to help develop leadership agility for innovation and sustainable success. Its focus is to help the participants develop a clearer understanding of how to drive innovation for sustainable success successfully.

“At the end of this programme, you should expect to develop excellent skills that will help you better understand and manage your team in a volatile work environment,” the release explained.

It affirmed that attending the programme would be a game-changer in how leaders manage change and take tough decisions for greater productivity.

Other benefits of attendance are, boosting leaders’ ability to make impactful decisions, becoming a better manager of challenging work situations, and imbibing the ability to manage recalcitrant employees.

Griffith, veteran senior executive from the oil and gas, telecoms and space industries, also spoke on the coming programme.

“Strategy involves ‘choice’ to deliver long term success. Making good choices in a fast moving and uncertain business environment is challenging.

“TEXEM can help you lead your organisation with strategic effectiveness by giving you the tools to assess your business context and respond to deliver exceptional results.

“In this programme, you will explore the best contemporary techniques for innovating your strategic leadership by identifying new value creation for your market and aligning your organisation for implementing these initiatives for maximum impact,” he said.

Griffith added that benefit from real life examples, immersive experiential exercises, powerful conversations and hands on executive experience would be highlighted.

He said participants would be challenged and supported to enhance their strategic leadership capabilities.

Defaming China’s optimization in COVID-19 response exposes political prejudices of the West


By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

China, enhancing the construction and coordination of its medical resources, has taken a series of detailed measures to protect its people’s lives and health to the fullest extent.
The country has converted nucleic acid testing booths into temporary “fever clinics” and launched expansion programs for first-aid centers. It has mobilized hundreds of key enterprises to keep improving the production and supply of major medical materials and guided them to precisely distribute the materials in accordance with infection peaks in different regions. It has also worked to guarantee the prevention and control needs of key regions and high-risk groups.
China has adapted its prevention and control protocols to the evolving situation, coordinated COVID-19 response and economic development in a science-based manner, and shifted its focus from preventing infections to ensuring people’s health and preventing critical cases. The adjustment is scientific, timely and necessary.
However, some media outlets in the West, turning a blind eye to the facts and ignoring science, viciously defamed the adjustment in China’s COVID-19 response, which completely deviates from the professional ethics of journalism and has no credibility at all.
COVID-19 is a major test for every country. Since its outbreak, China has always followed the principle of putting people and their lives above everything. It has gathered all available resources to protect the life and health of every Chinese citizen, withstanding rounds of resurgences and successfully getting over the toughest time.
The country has issued nine editions of prevention and control plans and diagnosis and treatment plans, which has helped it avoid the widespread infections of the original strain and the Delta variant that are relatively more pathogenic than the other variants.
As a result, the numbers of critical cases and deaths have been significantly reduced, and the country has won valuable time in vaccination and medicine development, as well as the preparation of medical resources.
China has kept its COVID-19 severe cases and death rates among the lowest in the world. Despite the pandemic, average life expectancy in China went up from 77.3 to 78.2 years. Even when the global Human Development Index dropped for two years straight, China went up six places on the Index.
The optimization of China’s COVID-19 prevention and control measures mirrors the country’s scientific and practical attitude.
At present, the virulence and pathogenicity of the Omicron variant have significantly declined, and China is continuously improving its capability in terms of medical treatment, pathogen detection and vaccination.
It was under such a background that China optimized its prevention and control measures and downgraded its management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B.
The optimization came in time and is of great necessity. It is a strategic and visionary move to coordinate the COVID-19 response and the development of the economy and society at a higher efficiency, and to protect the fundamental interests of the people.
Every country needs to go through an adaptation period when adjusting the COVID-19 prevention and control measures, and China is no exception.
Under the joint efforts of all relevant parties, China’s COVID-19 situation is within expectations and controllable. Local authorities and relevant departments are working actively to expand medical resources, establish a hierarchical diagnosis and treatment system, improve the supply of medicines, and gather all resources to protect high-risk groups such as seniors with underlying diseases, women in maternity and children.
International personages that are objective and impartial believe that China has gained enough experiences and is well-prepared for the COVID-19 response. They said the country is capable of ensuring a smooth transition.
Facts have proved that China’s optimization in its COVID-19 response measures is by no means “lying flat.” Those who have “laid flat” are exactly some Western countries that enjoy abundant medical resources.
These Western countries had already succumbed to the virus. They prematurely removed the face mask mandate, stopped quarantining the infected and abandoned the tracking of close contacts. They failed to formulate solutions to the social problems caused by the wide spread of the virus, which finally led to the loss of lives and health of the people.
According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S., the life expectancy of Americans dropped for the second year in a row in 2021, declining nearly a year from 2020 to 2021. The decline in life expectancy was attributed primarily to mortality from COVID-19, the report said.
Surrendering itself to COVID-19, the U.S. has triggered a trauma that’s almost incurable to its society. Over a million Americans died because of the virus, which exposed the systemic flaws of the U.S. government in responding to public health crises.
By defaming China’s optimization in COVID-19 response measures, some Western media laid bare their deep-rooted political prejudices. Over the past three years, they ignored China’s achievements in pandemic control and attacked every single control policy released by China.
From smearing China on the COVID-19 origin tracing to fabricating the so-called “lab leak” rumor, and to pointing fingers at China’s optimization in control measures, they have made the pandemic response an ideological issue. They are addicted to putting politics first and following double standards, which has severely damaged the global unity in fighting COVID-19.
China has always put people and their lives first. It is sincerely protecting the health and well-being of the Chinese people and assisting the international community to fight COVID-19. With the solidarity of over 1.4 billion Chinese people and the support of an increasingly strong national strength, China and its people will finally secure a victory over the virus.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)

Openness an intrinsic path toward global prosperity and development

By He Yin, People’s Daily

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement took effect for Indonesia on Jan. 2, which means the freetrade pact has taken effect for 14 of its 15 members so far.
It fully indicated the huge appeal and vitality of the RCEP will inject new impetus into regional economic integration.
As the world’s most promising free trade area covering the largest population and boasting the most diverse membership, the RCEP has released constant dividends through tariff reduction and expanding market access over the past year.
It has facilitated the free flow and efficient gathering of the factors of production, made closer the trade and investment cooperation among its members, and contributed to higher- and deeper-level regional economic integration.
The trade pact has injected strong positive energy into the prosperous development of the region and even the world at large, and brought tangible benefits to enterprises and people.
According to statistics, the exports of Korea and Singapore to other RCEP members grew by 18.7 percent and 19.1 percent in the first half of 2022, respectively. In the first nine months of 2022, the trade volume between Thailand and other RCEP members increased 10.1 percent year on year.
Auramon Supthaweethum, head of the Department of Trade Negotiations under Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, said the most obvious benefit of the RCEP’s implementation is that the trade pact has boosted trade between its members and further facilitated regional economic integration.
Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan noted the RCEP is expected to increase technology transfer and boost the development of supply chain in the region by expanding exports of goods and services.
Despite the fluctuations in global investment, most RCEP members have seen rapid growth in the utilization of foreign direct investment. The Asian Development Bank recently lifted its forecasts for economic growth in Southeast Asia, which to some extent reflected the positive impacts from the RCEP on regional and national economic development.
As the largest RCEP economy, China champions true multilateralism and follows open regionalism. It has worked with relevant parties to advance the high-quality implementation of the RCEP, so as to make the world’s largest free trade area release more dividends.
From promoting the development of trade of goods and ensuring that preferential rules of origin play their roles, to implementing customs procedure and trade facilitation rules at a high standard and further opening up the service trade sector, China has continued working with relevant parties to advance trade facilitation and investment liberalization.
In the first 11 months of 2022, China’s total trade with other RCEP members reached 11.8 trillion yuan ($1.71 trillion), up 7.9 percent year on year and accounting for 30.7 percent of China’s total imports and exports.
According to a report released by the HSBC in November the last year, 93 percent of the surveyed enterprises said their trade with China might increase in the future, and over 40 percent of the respondents expected that their business in China would increase by at least 30 percent in 2023.
The Asia-Pacific has entered a key stage of post-pandemic recovery. Economies in the region are seeing disorders in the supply chain, tension in food and energy supply, as well as increased pressure from inflation.
Under such a background, RCEP members have worked hand in hand to promote the implementation of the comprehensive, modern, high-quality and mutually beneficial free trade pact. Together, they have sent a positive signal of safeguarding multilateralism, following open cooperation, promoting free trade and striving for common prosperity. It is not only significant to the RCEP members, but also will inject new impetus into the in-depth development of economic globalization.
Peter Drysdale, head of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research at the Australian National University, pointed out that the RCEP has already demonstrated its potential of projecting Asian dividends to the globe in its first year of implementation.
Openness is a key driving force behind the progress of human civilizations and an intrinsic path toward global prosperity and development. China will keep staying committed to a win-win strategy of opening-up, open up more sectors of the economy in a more thorough fashion, and provide new opportunities for the rest of the world with its own development.
The country is willing to work with all relevant parties to implement the RCEP at a high standard, promote the building of an open world economy, and create bright prospects for the future of the world through openness.

China’s optimization of control measures lays solid foundation for COVID-19 response

People line up to buy antigen test kits for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a pharmacy in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China December 19, 2022. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.
By Zhong Yin, People’s Daily

Local authorities and relevant departments in China have been making unremitting efforts recently to ensure the supply of medical resources, satisfy the demand for medicines and focus on the prevention and treatment of high-risk groups, building a solid defense line against COVID-19 that protects people’s health.
They have expanded medical resources by converting nucleic acid testing booths into temporary “fever clinics” that provide nearby medical services for the people. Prescriptions can be filled online nowadays by doctors based on a diagnosis and treatment protocol and a guideline on home treatment.
Besides, the supply of major medicines has increased. Pharmaceutical enterprises are guided by authorities to stabilize and expand production, and distribute medicines in an orderly and targeted manner.
When COVID-19 broke out in 2020, China went all out to relieve the pandemic, mobilizing the most excellent doctors, most advanced equipment and other urgently needed resources. Facing resurgences mainly caused by the Delta variant in 2021, the country activated an emergency command system and established expert teams for the epidemiological investigation that identified, screened and targeted people at risk, so as to minimize the impacts of the virus on economic and social development.
Since March 2022, to deal with the highly infectious Omicron variant, China has requested nucleic acid testing to be completed within 24 hours, and promoted a monitoring model combined with antigen detection and nucleic acid tests.
Facts have proved that every optimization of China’s prevention and control measures was based on the experiences achieved by the country through its previous practices. The country has made full preparations for dealing with issues it had discovered.
Besides, China always follows a people-centered way to resume work and normal life and better guarantee the safety of key groups such as the elderly and children.
China has withstood rounds of impacts from COVID-19 over the recent three years and earned valuable windows of opportunity as the virulence of coronavirus variants continuously declined. More time was given to effective medicine development, improved medical treatment and mass vaccination.
Entering a new phase of COVID-19 prevention and control, China is closely watching the features of the virus to keep abreast of the situation.
It has worked to expand vaccination and medicine supply, enhance the construction of medical and prevention systems and improve its capability in emergency response. These efforts have all created conditions for the country to downgrade its management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B.
China’s optimization of its prevention and control measures, which is based on its meticulous examination of the current situation, is necessary, correct and responsible. The country is well prepared, and its move of COVID-19 control measures is by no means passive or laissez-faire.
Downgrading the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B doesn’t suggest that all prevention and control measures would come to a stop, but that the country will continue enhancing relevant services.
At present, China is further expanding its supply of medical resources and services to cope with the rising demand for fever clinics. It is leveraging community-based health institutions and internet hospitals to offer more convenient health services for people.
Facing the surging need for medicines, the country is working to further ensure the stable and orderly production of pharmaceutical enterprises, release production capacity and supply the people with adequate medicines.
“We have now entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain. Everyone is holding on with great fortitude, and the light of hope is right in front of us. Let’s make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in his 2023 New Year Address.
It is believed that as long as China remains vigilant and makes unremitting efforts to implement its COVID-19 response measures, and comprehensively improves its prevention and treatment capability, the country will surely secure the final victory over the virus.

People line up to buy antigen test kits for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a pharmacy in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China December 19, 2022. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

China makes solid steps toward strong space presence

By Feng Hua, Du Yifei, People’s Daily

From realizing in-orbit stay to launching the Mars exploration mission, and from upgrading its launch vehicles to retrieving lunar samples with its Chang’e-5 probe, China’s space industry has entered a “fast lane” of innovative development over the recent years.
China is making solid steps toward a strong space presence. The country has witnessed leapfrog development in its aerospace technology and significant improvement in its launch capability, which indicates comprehensive breakthroughs in space science, technology and application.
Independent innovation holds the key to China’s success in aerospace. China unswervingly takes self-reliance and self-improvement efforts in science and technology as strategic support for developing its aerospace industry, and has achieved remarkable accomplishments in a series of major projects, which significantly improved its comprehensive strength in aerospace.
China’s three-step lunar exploration program of orbiting and landing, and bringing back samples wrapped up successfully. The Chang’e-4 probe made the first-ever soft landing on the moon’s uncharted side never visible from Earth, and the Chang’e-5 completed China’s first attempt to retrieve samples from an extraterrestrial body.
The construction of the country’s space station has been finished. Chinese taikonauts completed China’s first in-orbit crew rotation in the space station, which marked the beginning of the country’s long-term presence in space.
The BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System, a major item of infrastructure independently constructed and operated by China, was put into use. A high-resolution Earth observation system program was completed as scheduled, enabling high-spatial-resolution, high-temporal-resolution and high-spectrum-resolution earth observation.
Besides, the Tianwen-1 probe of China is the first in the world to carry out an orbiting, landing and rovering mission on Mars successfully on its maiden attempt, making China one of the most advanced countries in planetary exploration.
The application of aerospace technology mirrors China’s achievements and creates a better life.
China has widely applied satellite communication, navigation and remote sensing in the livelihood sector. The country has over 500 satellites currently in orbit and its civil space infrastructure has been constantly improved.
According to statistics, Chinese communication satellites are providing TV services for 140 million families in remote areas, and the country’s high-throughput satellites enable internet services at speeds higher than 100 megabytes at a height of over 10,000 meters.
The BeiDou system has served over seven million operational vehicles and 40,000 marine fishing boats. China’s remote sensing satellites are serving over 10,000 clients at home and over 100 foreign countries, strengthening the emergency monitoring of major natural disasters around the world.
Besides, over 2,000 aerospace technologies have been employed to serve the development of smart cities, smart energy and smart robotics, so as to better meet people’s demand for a better life.
The peaceful utilization of the space has always been a principle followed by China, and international exchange and cooperation remains a development direction of the country in its aerospace exploration.
China always upholds a vision of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful utilization, and inclusive development in the development of aerospace for the benefit of all humanity.
The China National Space Administration has built platforms to launch cooperation with overseas aerospace organizations, enterprises and research departments.
For instance, the Chang’e-4 probe carried international payloads from Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden, and China also worked with France and Austria during the Tianwen-1 mission. Such cooperation created opportunities for Chinese and foreign scientists to jointly explore the space, launch scientific experiments and carry out technical verification.
China has helped other developing countries boost their space science and research.
It has built satellite research and development infrastructure with countries including Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. Adopting an active strategy that encourages relevant enterprises to seek global development, China is one of the few countries in the world that export satellites.
It will also work with relevant countries, international organizations and its global partners for the construction of an international lunar research station.
In the next five to 10 years, China will continue carrying out lunar projects. The Chang’e-6, Chang’e-7 and Chang’e-8 missions have all been planned. Besides, the country will keep launching planetary exploration missions, such as retrieving samples from an asteroid, a Mars sample-return mission, and a Jovian system exploration mission.
Exploring the vast universe is a common dream of all humankind. It is believed that as China continues to build itself into a space power, the country will contribute more to the well-being and a better future of mankind with more achievements in space exploration and technology.

Chinese consumers favor avocadoes imported from Kenya

By Wan Yu, Yu Limin, People’s Daily

Susan, who works for Kakuzi PLC, an agricultural cultivation and manufacture company in Kenya, finished picking the last batch of avocadoes of 2022 with her colleagues in an orchard in Murang’a county, some 70 kilometers away from Nairobi. These fruits were soon shipped to China.
Kenya is the world’s sixth largest exporter of avocadoes, and the largest in Africa. In January 2022, China and Kenya signed an export agreement for fresh avocado shipment. Five months later, China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) gave nod to allow qualified fresh avocadoes from Kenya to enter the Chinese market. In August, the first batch of fresh avocadoes grown in Kenya hit the Chinese market.
The fresh avocadoes picked by Susan arrived at a port in Shanghai, China after a 20-day voyage. This batch of imports totaled 45 tons.
“Before the avocadoes arrived at the port, we had contacted the importer for the information of the imported fruits, so we could open a green channel for them and ensure that inspection could be carried out at the earliest time possible,” said Luo Kaiming, a customs official in Shanghai.
To ensure the freshness of imported agricultural products, the inspection of the avocadoes was completed in a closed cold-chain facility. After the fruits passed on-site inspection and random samples were qualified in lab tests, the avocadoes soon got a “green light.” They were packed and then shipped to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other Chinese cities.
In the past, the avocadoes on the Chinese market between March and September each year were imported from Peru, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Now with those from Kenya, the choices of Chinese consumers are very much diversified.
So far, the Kenyan government has appointed 15 orchards, nine factories and a fumigation treatment facility in the country as designated organizations for avocado export to China.
The successful entry of Kenyan avocadoes into China will involve more Kenyan farmers in the avocado industry, said Joseph Ongeri, an agronomist from Kenya.
Chris Flowers, Managing Director of Kakuzi PLC, told People’s Daily that the avocadoes from Kenya were quite popular among Chinese consumers and were soon sold out.
He said China’s consumption market is expanding and the country has complete laws and regulations. “Chinese consumers and agents have a high requirement on quality. We are very optimistic about our prospects in China,” Flowers noted.
Strict quarantine and advanced cold-chain technologies make sure that fresh avocadoes from Kenya are of high quality.
According to an official with the GAC, the administration gives priority to the access applications of agricultural products filed by African countries and would quicken the inspection quarantine, so that avocadoes from Africa can get to Chinese consumers in a convenient and safe manner.
Agricultural products from the same country and similarly processed, or those of the same category but from different countries, can go through risk assessment procedures together, so as to accelerate the approval process, the official said.
“The facilitated customs clearance further reinforced our confidence in expanding agricultural imports from Africa,” said Liu Mosu, general manager of a Shanghai-based importer.
According to Liu, the company imported about 200 tons of avocadoes in 2022 and the figure is expected to exceed 9,000 tons in 2023.
Wu Peng, head of the Department of African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and Africa has brought important opportunities to African industrial and supply chains over the recent years.
The two sides, overcoming the negative impacts from the external economic situation and COVID-19, have steadily put into practice various measures, such as establishing a “green channel” for African countries’ agricultural products entering China, Wu said, adding that the first batch of exported avocadoes from Africa to China marked phased achievements of China’s imports of fresh fruits from the continent.
Since 2022, China has inked a series of fruits trade agreements with African countries. South Africa has exported its fresh pears to China and Zimbabwe has signed a citrus export deal with China. Besides, China has signed agreements with Malawi and Zambia to legally import bean and candyleaf, respectively.
More quality agricultural products from Africa will hit the Chinese market through the green channel, and the increasingly closer agricultural trade relation between the two sides is expected to grow into a new highlight of China-Africa cooperation in the new era.

Intangible cultural heritage contributes to China’s rural vitalization

By Zheng Hai’ou, People’s Daily
Intangible cultural heritage constitutes an important part of the fine traditional Chinese culture and plays a vital role in promoting the market economy, integrating culture and tourism, assisting poverty alleviation and boosting rural vitalization.
Since 2021, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, together with other departments, has worked to assist rural vitalization with intangible cultural heritage.
So far, the country has established over 2,500 intangible cultural heritage workshops that are engaged in more than 1,700 intangible cultural heritage items of different levels. In particular, 1,400 of these workshops are located in regions that have shaken off poverty, helping promote local employment and increase people’s income.
Xiaoshiquan village in Yinping township, Yicheng district, Zaozhuang, east China’s Shandong province has set up an intangible cultural heritage workshop of fenpi, a type of sheet jelly made of sweet potatoes. The typical Chinese food is a provincial-level intangible cultural heritage of Shandong province.
So far, the workshop has launched over 300 training sessions on fenpi making. With this workshop, villagers are able to make money near their homes while taking care of their families, which not only helps integrate local culture and tourism, but also boosts rural vitalization.
Based on the workshop, the village has also mobilized over 100 local households engaged in fenpi making to produce the food together in accordance with standard procedures. Such a cooperative-like operation allows these households to standardize processing standards by purchasing raw materials and receiving orders together.
By selling the food via both online and offline channels, villagers can have a collective profit of over a million yuan ($143,425) a year, said Sun Zhongkun, an inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage item of fenpi making.
Intangible cultural heritage workshops around the country are realizing villagers’ dreams of securing a job near their homes and increasing their income.
For instance, Quyang county of north China’s Hebei province has provided over 8,000 jobs for residents from 73 villages at intangible cultural heritage workshops engaged in items such as China’s traditional Ding porcelain and stone carvings.
Relying on local intangible cultural heritage items, Wuzhishan of south China’s Hainan province and Yining of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region established community- and village-based production centers. These production centers, cooperated with workshops and companies, offer skills training for residents and distribute orders to them, so as to help them secure a job at home.
Workshops of intangible cultural heritage items that feature comparative advantages, a large workforce and high market recognition are able to create a number of jobs for the people and inject impetus into rural vitalization, said an official with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
To expand the market for more inheritors of intangible cultural heritage items, regions across China have mobilized enterprises, e-commerce platforms and industry associations to help with the production and sales of intangible cultural heritage workshops.
Over the recent years, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has worked with other relevant departments to encourage e-commerce platforms to host an intangible cultural heritage-themed shopping festival.
According to statistics, some 150 prefectural-level cities held relevant activities about the festival in 2022, selling intangible cultural heritage products worth over 2 billion yuan. In particular, these activities were joined by over 1,000 intangible cultural heritage workshops in 334 counties that have shaken off poverty, covering 65 key counties to receive assistance in pursuing rural vitalization.
Apart from that, promotional activities have been launched in scenic spots and historical and cultural districts across the country to make intangible cultural heritage workshops’ products more popular. The integration of intangible cultural heritage and tourism could further boost rural vitalization.
Sichuan and Guizhou provinces have set up exhibition and sales areas for products of intangible cultural heritage workshops at Class A tourist attractions.
Hebei and Henan provinces have built intangible cultural heritage-themed B&B hotels and featured towns that display items such as traditional Jun porcelain and Ru porcelain, so as to enrich the cultural connotation of tourist attractions and improve local communities’ income.
Xupu county of Hunan province and Huangzhong district of Qinghai province also leveraged local resources of intangible cultural heritage to develop featured tourism and educational tourism, enriching rural tourism.
People are key to rural vitalization and the inheritance of intangible cultural heritage. Chinese culture and tourism departments have launched massive training programs to continuously improve the skills, innovation capability, and the awareness of market and copyrights of intangible cultural heritage inheritors.
These inheritors have been invited to attend classes at renowned universities and visit culture and internet enterprises to widen their horizons, which helped increase their designing, producing and marketing ability, as well as the added value of their products.
It is believed that as China continues its efforts to drive rural vitalization with intangible cultural heritage and as the inheritors work to promote innovative development of intangible cultural heritage, Chinese traditional crafts will enjoy stronger vitality, said an official with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.