Economic Watch: Hainan's low-altitude economy soaring high

As a strategic industry, the low-altitude economy is emerging as a forerunner in developing new quality productive forces across China, including the southern island province of Hainan.

On April 24, a remarkable show unfolded as a drone departed from an airport in the provincial capital Haikou and embarked on a three-hour flight to transport a batch of shrimp seedlings from the province's Wenchang City to an airport in Zhuhai, located in the neighboring Guangdong Province, marking the first cross-sea public cargo transport through drone from Hainan to Zhuhai.

"This drone transport will greatly reduce transportation time and enhance the survival rate of aquatic seedlings, thereby playing a crucial role in cost reduction and efficiency improvement," said Yun Yongchao, general manager of a local marine biotechnology company in Wenchang.

He added that aquatic products were previously transported by land and ferry to Guangdong, taking about 13 hours, leading to high losses. "This cross-sea drone flight is a new model that provides us with a new transportation choice."

This cross-sea drone transportation exemplifies the advancement of new quality productive forces in Hainan, greatly improving the transportation efficiency of agricultural products between Hainan and Guangdong. It also contributes to the reduction of logistics costs and injects fresh vitality into the development of the low-altitude economy in both provinces.

As the only tropical island province in China, Hainan has over 300 days available for flights annually, which offers unique environmental advantages for developing the low-altitude economy.

In 2010, Hainan became one of the first pilot regions for low-altitude airspace management reform in the country. The province released a map for unmanned aircraft in 2023, demonstrating early and ongoing efforts to open up low-altitude airspace in the country.

According to Hu Qingqun, deputy general manager of China General Aviation Co., Ltd., as one of the first regions in the country to carry out low-altitude airspace management reform, Hainan has continuously strengthened the foundation for the development of the low-altitude economy by constructing general aviation airports throughout the province.

He noted that Hainan has established a relatively complete low-altitude management system and an efficient infrastructure service system.

In recent years, Hainan has developed its low-altitude economy according to local conditions, leading the country in low-altitude tourism, aviation sports, emergency rescue and other fields.

In 2023, Hainan ranked first in the country in terms of aerial tours and skydiving flights, with about 13,700 hours of flight time, 152,000 takeoffs and landings, and 364,800 passengers, accounting for approximately 45.9 percent, 63.2 percent and 61.1 percent of the national total, respectively, making Hainan the leading province in China's low-altitude tourism, according to official data.

"As a free trade port, Hainan enjoys more preferential policies. Key technologies such as drones and electric aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing are developing rapidly. At the same time, people's demand for convenient travel and leisure tourism is increasing, and so is the market," said Li Yan, general manager of Sanya Base of China Southern Airlines General Aviation Co., Ltd.

At present, Hainan has more than 160 locally registered general aviation companies and nearly 50 non-local general aviation companies.

Guo Yao, an official of the Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, said that in the future, Hainan will harness its natural resource advantages to focus on commercial short-haul transportation, low-altitude tourism consumption, and marine economic development. This strategic focus aims to establish the province as a pilot demonstration area for the low-altitude economy and to inject new momentum into the high-quality development of the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Smart agriculture shines

A technician inspects the germination status of experimental rice seeds in the three-dimensional seedling-growing greenhouse of a 5G smart farm in Haizhou district, Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu Province on May 8, 2024. Haizhou district has vigorously implemented science and technology to strengthen agriculture and accelerate rural revitalization. Photo: VCG

2023 Yearender: Fujian ‘boat dwellers’ chart new hope-filled path ashore amid China’s modernization process

Editor's Note:

The end of the year and the start of a new one is a time for reflection and anticipation. Throughout 2023, the Chinese society has undergone various developments and changes, behind which manifests the exploration and practice of Chinese path to modernization.

In light of this, the Global Times is launching a series that elaborates on this unique path through the stories of ordinary people's New Year's wishes. These wishes serve as a window to the changes and achievements of Chinese society as the Chinese modernization has brought Chinese people more concrete consensus, a more vibrant countryside, more imaginative innovation, more balanced education, a more dignified old age with stronger security, and a more confident civilization. This shows that Chinese modernization is the prerequisite and driving force for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The first installment shares the story of the boat tribe from Ningde, East China's Fujian Province, who have transitioned from a life of drifting at sea to enjoying prosperity onshore. Their wish is to live fulfilling and prosperous lives on land, which reflects the concrete consensus among Chinese people brought about by Chinese modernization.
"This is my treasure!"

A yellowed newspaper has been carefully preserved in a ziplock bag by Lin Caizeng, a fisherman from Xiapu county, East China's Fujian Province, for 22 years.

The six family photos in this newspaper briefly outline the first half of Lin's life. In 1984, Lin, the third child in a family of six, lived on a small boat, subsisting on fishing. In 1998, with the support of the local government, Lin's family moved from the sea into a new two-room house measuring 35 square meters. In 2001, Lin and his brother raised 1,000 yellow croakers offshore.

After bidding farewell to an unstable life on the boat and embracing a "down-to-earth" lifestyle, Lin's family welcomed a newborn in 2017.

Three years later, following the local government's policy of green development, Lin Caizeng replaced his sea farming nets with environmentally friendly materials.

"This is also my treasure!" said Lin excitedly, while holding the newly issued water and tidal flat aquaculture certificate for the year. He told the Global Times that with the government's support for the industry, "I want to earn more money, raise more fish, and live a better life."
In the Houyu village where Lin lives, the cement wall still retains the slogan "Love your hometown and pay attention to hygiene" written by fishermen shortly after they moved on land. This is Lin's earliest memory of coming ashore.

What he remembers most vividly now is the phrase "Today's China is a country where dreams become reality" declared by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his 2023 New Year Address. This sentence was neatly posted by the village committee.

In southern China, regions such as Guangdong and Fujian have had a long history of generational offshore dwelling communities engaged in fishing known as the Tanka people or boat dwellers.

Usually, families shared a small wooden vessel, and the boat served as a place of residence as well as a workplace. For the Tanka people, the boat served as a place of residence as well as a workplace, with fishing activities taking place on the deck while the cabin serves as the family bedroom and storage area. In the past, the community had no property, and harbored no hopes of a decent life on land.

In front of the house, at the dock, on the fish row, Lin listened to the villagers sharing many stories about boat dwellers like him who "move and get rich" on the shore. He knew that many people had shown great concern for their once-marginalized community. Within these stories and the aspirations, countless Chinese people expressed their determination to escape absolute poverty and their hope for rural revitalization, working tirelessly to transform the vision of a beautiful Chinese modernization into reality, step by step.

"Ending life adrift at sea and settling down on land… I want to chase a better life with my diligent working and persevering spirit," Lin Caizeng made this New Year's wish - simple, pure, and full of hope.

From sea to land
Despite having stepped ashore, the sea still plays an extremely important part in the life of the Lin family.

"In the past, drifting in the sea meant leaving everything to fate. Now, living off the sea means reaping what you sow," Lin said.

Boarding the "Sea Taxi" speedboat at the Houyu village pier, bound for the aquaculture site, along the way, Global Times reporters saw the endless fish farms and neatly arranged fish cages, presenting a busy and orderly scene in the vast "sea fish fields."

In the fields, Lin happily meets his elderly brother, Lin Fangcun.

At sea, Lin Fangcun and Lin Caizeng's fish farms are only a 5-minute boat ride apart. Lin Fangcun is engaged in the cultivation of seaweed, earning a monthly income of over 4,000 yuan ($560). Lin Caizeng, on the other hand, specializes in breeding yellow croakers, with a family annual income exceeding 50,000 yuan.

When the Global Times reporters met them, the broad smiles on their tanned faces speak volumes.

Fujian rarely experiences harsh winters, and even at this time of the year one brother sports flip-flops, while the other wears rubber shoes. It's part of a signature boat-era style that's followed them ashore. "In the past, our whole family of six lived on a boat that was only eight or nine meters long. We ate, drank, slept on the boat. The children didn't even have suitable clothes to wear," recalled Lin Caizeng.

In 1997, as the then deputy secretary of the Fujian provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi led the local government in initiating the overall relocation of the boat dwellers. Relevant departments made continuous efforts to address the issue, taking into account the tribe's production and living habits, exempting various land taxes and fees, providing housing construction subsidies, and allowing the community to repay housing arrears in installments. By the early 21st century, the conundrum of the boat dwellers' settlement on land had completely been resolved.

Since then, local authorities have shifted more attention to the shore. They have availed technical training to the community, solved funding issues in production and entrepreneurship, and gradually promoted targeted assistance, helping the fishermen ashore completely detach themselves from the label of absolute poverty that has lasted for thousands of years.

With the increase in income, most households in Houyu village have expanded their initial single-room houses into two or three-story buildings. Faced with the dilemma of insufficient living space due to the expanding families of some villagers, the town has invested about 1.1 million yuan to build a canteen especially designated for the elderly and a senior citizen's residence on the site of a local school. The current project is in the final settlement phase, ensuring that the elderly who are willing to move in can celebrate the New Year in their bright new homes.

After settling down on land, Lin Fangcun and Lin Caizeng live in adjacent rooms on the second floor of a jointly built three-story building. Lin Caizeng hopes to get a good price for yellow croaker this year "to [help] renovate the three floors of the house and expand aquaculture with more capital."

The four siblings of Lin's family also plan to take another group photo during the Chinese New Year, adding the "new treasures" into the sealed bag.

From poverty to prosperity
Jiang Chengcai has had many wishes in his life, but he jokingly said that his current most urgent wish is to "lose weight successfully." Though not a tall man, the 56-year-old retired volunteer guide from Xiaqi village, Fu'an, which is also a coastal city 15 minutes away from Xiapu county via high-speed rail, holds himself in a straight posture. It is hard to imagine that this straight frame endured 30 years of hunched boat living on a cramped vessel.

"In the past, when the weather was good, we would go out to catch fish. But when there was a typhoon, our whole family would go hungry. Our parents were afraid that the children would fall into the water, so they tied us tightly to the boat with ropes, and when the luck was bad, the boats would capsize and our home would be lost. We would lose everything," Jiang told the Global Times.

"But now I have a carefree and comfortable life, eating more food and getting fatter and fatter," he joked.

Since he can remember, Jiang has lived on a boat. The few moments of happiness he has from the period are of calm nights, when he would lie on the edge of the boat and gaze at the moon in the sky and admire the lights on the shore.

His parents named him Chengcai in Chinese, which literally means to achieve success and wealth, hoping that he would escape the hardships of his upbringing. But before the age of 30, Jiang's only wish was to live like the people on the shore one day, and to have a house and a warm light in his home.

Jiang still remembers his first day of relocation ashore in 1999. A family of six carried their belongings, including old cotton wadding and iron pots, and moved them into Xiaqi village. Inside the house, there were spring beds and a liquefied gas stove provided by the government.

Nowadays, whenever Jiang has free time, he loves to take tourists for walks around his hometown. Here, rows of yellow-walled and red-tiled buildings are scattered, and nearby, fishing boats return fully loaded at the dock. Just a street away in the market, calls from the fishermen who have turned to seafood wholesale can be heard as they direct customers to scan QR codes to make payments.
On December 14, Jiang participated in a speech competition called "The Past in the Words of the People of That Year." He shared his journey from being landless, penniless, and uneducated to making his first fortune in the aquaculture industry after coming ashore. He then led over 30 villagers in the construction of pile foundations, transforming from someone without a place to live to someone who builds houses for others.

"I want to tell more people that the boat dwellers also have dreams," Jiang said.

Jiang wanted to express his gratitude to the village and town officials. "After coming ashore, villagers would 'seek the Party chief' when they had no money or no job, and even when naming their children."

With the caring support of generations of local officials, the average annual income of fishermen in Xiaqi village increased from less than 1,000 yuan in 1997 to 30,360 yuan in 2022. The collective income of the village also grew from zero to 630,000 yuan.

They became wealthy both monetarily and mentally. Previously, 95 percent of the Tanka people in the village were illiterate, but now there are over 290 university students among them.

From struggling to thriving

Chen Ling, the 34-year-old Party chief of Xiaqi village, felt gratified that "villages that hail from the sea," like Xiaqi and Houyu, are becoming increasingly famous.

Chen is also a descendant of the boat dwellers. In 2018, Chen, who was working in Beijing, heard his hometown needed talents in the cultural arena. He resolutely quit his well-paying job and returned to the village to contribute to rural revitalization.

As a first-generation college graduate returning to his hometown, he actively led the villagers in creating a seafood street and committing to building a prosperous countryside where local people can peacefully engage in farming, fishing, and aquaculture.

"I hope to truly drive everyone to achieve the leap from 'settling down' to 'becoming prosperous,'" Chen told the Global Times.

Now, not only are young college students returning home to start their own businesses, but Xiaqi village has also attracted tourists and field research groups from all over the country. Some foreign heads of state have also paid visits to this small fishing village that was thought to be unremarkable in the past.

In September 2023, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilem visited China and went to Xiaqi village for an inspection.

"I believe this is another example of promoting national development, not serving specific groups, but for the well-being of all people, which is crucial," Hichilema said in a media interview in September in Beijing.

Hichilema said he was deeply moved by the personal involvement of the Chinese leadership in improving the plight of disadvantaged populations, finding the root cause of the problem.

I told my colleagues that I hope you can carefully understand and connect with the situation in our country, Hichilema noted.

In various communication activities, Chen has become increasingly proud of his profession. He is well aware that the practical success of the transformation of the boat dwellers, in which he participated, exemplifies China's unique path to modernization.

With this vision, the former sea of sorrow has long since been turned into a sea of prosperity and wealth. In front of this sea, the drifters who suffered from discrimination in the old era have realized a new life, shared the fruits of the country's modernization equally, and now have their own internal motivation to pursue happiness and create wealth.

Boat dwellers are now ashore, out of poverty, and pursuing better life. Their inspirational stories and aspirational journeys are just beginning.

Sustainability in action: Pernod Ricard China's enduring support for UG 13 Award

Pernod Ricard China, the internationally renowned spirits and wine group and a pioneer in sustainable practices, continues its unwavering dedication to fostering innovation and sustainability by supporting the Universities for Goal 13 Award (Greater China Competition) for the third consecutive year as the final competition successfully concluded on Friday.
As an innovation competition facing university students from around the world, the UG 13 Award encourages young people to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to find feasible and innovative solutions to tackle the pressing challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals, which this year outlines climate actions, such as “responsible production and consumption”, “natural resources conservation”, “sustainable agriculture” and “carbon peaking/neutrality and renewable energy”.

Co-hosted by the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals of Tsinghua University (TUSDG) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the UG 13 (Greater China Competition) received works from about 150 students from different universities in China, with A Kernel of Corn Team, Upcyclothes Team, and Buildings as Carbon Sinks Team obtaining the “Winning Prize”. These groups will later compete in the global finale as the Chinese representatives.

Empowering youth for climate action

The UG 13 Award is an annual international competition that brings together global innovative young talents, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

In China, this event has seen a collaborative innovation in sustainable development education between Pernod Ricard China and the TUSDG for three years in a row.

To further inspire students and empower their proposals’ feasibility and commercial potential, Pernod Ricard China set up two "Pernod Ricard China Special Awards" for projects that demonstrate exceptional promise in advancing sustainability and introduced two mentors to provide industry insights and help nurture entrepreneurship among young people.

The company's exclusive sponsorship not only amplifies the importance of sustainable development but also underscores the pivotal role of corporate partnerships in driving meaningful change.

As a responsible corporate citizen, the company recognizes the importance of nurturing young talents and fostering innovation, essential components in building a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.

“Pernod Ricard is committed to sustainable development and believes that young people are the key to driving the sustainable transformation of the world. By providing young students with innovative resources and platforms, we empower them so as to promote sustainable development. At the same time, exchanging ideas with students can also inspire us on our projects in related fields,” said Kathie Wang, Vice President of Communications and S&R at Pernod Ricard China.
Leading the way towards a sustainable future

The sponsorship of the UG 13 Award is part of Pernod Ricard’s efforts to directly support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aligning with their 2030 plan in the corporate Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap.

Zhu Xufeng, Executive Director of TUSDG, lauded the enduring partnership among TUSDG, CUHK, and Pernod Ricard China on the competition, emphasizing the importance of long-term commitment in addressing global challenges such as climate change.

“Sustainability is not something that can be achieved overnight. It requires long-term commitment and collaboration by all parts of society. We’re delighted to join hands with Pernod Ricard China to host the UG13 Award’s Greater China competition for the past three years, providing a platform for creative students to exhibit their talent. We look forward to deepening the partnership so that together we can cultivate more young talent that puts a premium on sustainability, has the requisite skills and will work to tackle global challenges such as climate change,” said Zhu.
With a shared vision of green development, the collaboration of Pernod Ricard China and TUSDG to promote the advancement of sustainable development goals in China can date back to 2019, when the two parties jointly launched the first-ever "Sustainable Bar Operation Initiatives and Application Guidelines" for China, leading the industry towards sustainable operations.

In 2020, they collaborated to host a forum on sustainable development and jointly released a public service film. In the same year, Pernod Ricard China supported the sustainability scholarship at the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University.

Pernod Ricard China remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainability, continuously seeking new avenues to promote environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Exclusive: Chinese mainland, HKSAR to deepen cooperation to create more new growth drivers: national political advisor from HK

The economy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is recovering and growing, and it's expected to continue expanding this year, as the region further taps its role as a "super connector" between the Chinese mainland and the world, and as the integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) further gears up, Kingsley Wong Kwok, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

A Chinese mainland GDP growth rate of about 5 percent for 2024 would also help elevate the HKSAR economy, Wong said, while highlighting new growth drivers in the mainland economy, which he believed could provide new insights into Hong Kong's development. Wong is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. 

"We saw the rapid rise of the 'new three,' or electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and solar cells in the Chinese mainland market. Now, more Hong Kong residents are purchasing electric vehicles produced by Chinese mainland automakers. 

"We have also been impressed by the manufacturing prowess of the home-developed C919, which visited Hong Kong in recent days," Wong said. He added that the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR could cooperate further to create more rising futuristic sectors. 

With regard to Hong Kong's allure, Wong said that the city has great attractions for international talent and capital as an international center. 

In recent months, Hong Kong has seen an increasing foreign talent influx under its leading talent admission program. Since its launch one year ago, the program has attracted almost 70,000 applications, with nearly 79 percent being approved, the South China Morning Post reported in February. 

"If multinationals and global capital look to make inroads into the Chinese mainland, they could first establish a base in Hong Kong as a bridgehead," Wong explained, noting that this is the HKSAR's unique advantage stemming from the "One Country, Two Systems" policy.

In 2019, Chinese authorities unveiled the outline development plan for the GBA, aiming to develop the region into "a role model of high-quality development." According to Wong, significant progress has been made in the area's development in recent years, and he expected the integration to further gain steam. 

According to a proposal Wong shared with the Global Times, he suggested expanding the scope of HKSAR re-entry permits for use in the mainland, including in such areas as banking applications, transportation, travel, payments and entertainment. 

"As more Hongkongers travel to the GBA to spend their weekends, the expansion will facilitate more people-to-people exchanges, and draw more Hong Kong young people to live and work in the mainland," he noted.

In 2023, there were more than 50 million visits to the mainland by Hong Kong residents, according to media reports.

As a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, Wong also noted that the Council is fully promoting the legislation involving Article 23 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

"We have started a series of legal review work and hope to complete the legislation as soon as possible, so that we could focus more on boosting the economy and improving people's livelihoods," Wong said. He stressed that national security lays the foundation for Hong Kong's social and economic development.

BYD overtakes Tesla in quarterly EV sales, reflecting China’s rapid industrial upgrade

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) producer BYD Co overtook US-based Tesla Inc to become the world's biggest EV maker in the fourth quarter of 2023 for the first time, according to latest data from the companies. This had added another milestone to a historical year for China's auto industry as it's poised to propel China to become the world's biggest auto exporter. 

BYD's success, which also include an impressive growth rate throughout 2023 that outpaced Tesla and other EV makers, is a microcosm of the achievement in China's upgrade of its vast manufacturing industry, export sector and the domestic market - all crucial to China's high-quality development, experts said. 

On Tuesday US time, Tesla said that it delivered 484,500 EVs in the final quarter of 2023, which also marked a new record for the company. However, that means BYD, which said on Monday that it had sold about 526,400 EVs during the same period, overtook Tesla to become the world's biggest EV maker in the fourth quarter of the year for the first time.

For the whole year of 2023, Tesla retained its spot as the biggest EV maker, as it delivered a total of 1.8 million EVs, larger than BYD's total sales of about 1.57 million units. Still, BYD's recorded a year-on-year sales growth rate of 73 percent for 2023, far outpacing Tesla's sales growth of 38 percent. Such sales growth rate has also led many to speculate that BYD will surpass Tesla to become the world's biggest EV maker in 2024. 

This is also significant considering that BYD's market capitalization, at 573.17 billion yuan ($80.21 billion) as of Wednesday, represents only a fraction of Tesla's $778.42 billion. Over the past six months, BYD's shares dropped by 28.85 percent, while Tesla's shares fell by 11.22 percent. 

Despite such a huge gap in the financial market, analysts expect that BYD is well positioned to maintain its lead in EV sales in 2024 over Tesla. 

Hu Qimu, a deputy secretary-general of the digital-real economies integration Forum 50, said BYD's success is due to a slew of factors, including its own technological innovation, major policy support for industrial upgrading, a complete and stable domestic supply chain - which all helped BYD to make high-quality but affordable EVs. 

"Given all these factors, it is no wonder that BYD surpasses Tesla," Hu told the Global Times on Wednesday.  

In a statement it sent to the Global Times, BYD noted that it has grown to be the world's biggest EV company, and since its passenger car export strategy in May 2021, it has exported to 58 countries and regions around the world.

"Going forward, BYD will continue to promote the overseas expansion of passenger cars and continue to accelerate the global expansion of new-energy passenger cars," the company said. 

BYD's milestone also came as China's whole EV sector saw a bumper year in 2023. According to the latest data from the China Association of Automobile Manufactures, in the first 11 months of 2023, China's exports of new-energy vehicles jumped 83.5 percent year-on-year to 1.09 million units. Thanks to such rapid growth, China's total auto exports reached 4.41 units, up 58 percent year-on-year and outnumbering Japan's 3.99 million units during the same period. 

This also represents a landmark event for China's auto industry as it becomes the world's biggest auto exporter after surpassing Japan in 2023 and Germany in 2022 - two countries that had been dominating the world's auto market for decades. 

Industrial upgrading

The success of BYD as well as the whole Chinese EV sector directly reflect solid progress China has made in relentlessly pushing for industrial upgrade and high-quality development, experts said.

Cui Dongshu, secretary general of China Passenger Car Association, said BYD and other Chinese EV makers have benefited greatly from China's vast domestic market as well as the country's efforts to boost industrial transformation and upgrade. 

"The biggest factor behind Chinese EV's success is the technological transformation. In addition, the Chinese market also offered a huge advantage for them to grow," Cui told the Global Times on Wednesday, noting that China's auto industry, especially the EV sector, has seen relatively better growth than other countries around the world thanks to China's policy supports. 

For its success, BYD also pointed to various policies, including China's continued reform and opening-up, support for private businesses and the building of a new development model. 

"Looking back, we feel more and more strongly that it was the reform and opening-up that gave birth to BYD, and it was the new development concept that created huge opportunities that strengthened BYD," the company said in the statement.

Policy support for the EV sector is just part of China's broader effort to transform and upgrade its industrial system, which has become a top priority in the pursuit of high-quality development. The Central Economic Work Conference held in December, which set priorities for economic work for 2024, listed the development of a modern industrial system led by innovation as a top priority.

Hu said that China's industrial transformation and upgrade has made great strides. "Through industrial transformation and upgrade, our international competitiveness is also strengthening and in terms of the macroeconomic situation, all three main drivers have been revitalized," he said. 

One example of industrial upgrade revitalizing China's main economic drivers is the exports of EVs. Lithium batteries and solar panels became a highlight of China's exports in 2023, and they have been described as "the new three items" of China's exports sector, a drastic shift from the previous "three items" of China's exports - clothes, furniture and electronics. 

In the first three quarters of 2023, total exports of "the three new items" jumped by 41.7 percent year-on-year, compared to a mere 0.6 percent in China's total exports during the period due to weak external demand. 

China, Egypt sign deals to boost lunar exploration, spacecraft launching

China and Egypt have signed cooperation documents in space exploration in Beijing on Wednesday to boost deep space exploration, spacecraft development and construction of space infrastructure, which is of great significance to foster a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Zhang Kejian, administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Sherif Sedky, Chief Operating Officer of the Egyptian Space Agency (EGSA), signed a memorandum of understanding between the governments of the two countries on space cooperation and peaceful use of outer space and a cooperation agreement between the CNSA and the EGSA on the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).

According to the cooperation documents, both sides will encourage joint researches and development cooperation in a variety of areas including lunar and deep space exploration, development and launch of spacecraft, construction of space infrastructure, satellite data reception and application, the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation, space science and astronomical observation.

They will also collaborate on the joint demonstration and research of the ILRS, space missions, space systems and subsystems, space equipment, ground segments and applications, education and training and capacity building.

China and Egypt have achieved fruitful results in space cooperation. The China-assisted Egyptian Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test Center completed the acceptance checks in June this year. The China-funded MisrSat-2 satellite completed its assembly and testing at the center and was launched on Monday.

The satellite MisrSat-2, launched by a Long March-2C carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu Province, will be used in Egypt's land and resource utilization, water conservancy, agriculture, and other fields. It is a landmark project of deep cooperation between China and Egypt in the field of aerospace high-tech, and is of milestone significance in aerospace cooperation between the two countries, according to the CNSA.

The signing of these space agreements between China and Egypt will guide future collaboration and play a significant role in advancing space technology and fostering comprehensive strategic partnerships between the two countries, said CNSA in a press release on Wednesday.

SW China’s Sichuan man under criminal detention for killing and eating national first-class protected black-necked crane

Police in Meigu county in Liangshan, Sichuan, recently received a report from the School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, which said that a black-necked crane with a tracker for scientific research had remained in a static status for an extended period. The institute asked for an investigation into the condition of the migratory bird. 

The police immediately formed a task force to investigate into the incident in the outskirts of a sparsely populated hamlet. 

After extensive investigations and visits, the police finally tracked down the suspect surnamed Jike. 

Jike confessed under interrogation that he illegally captured and killed the rare species of the endangered wildlife animal black-necked crane. 

According to Jike, he happened to see the big bird resting on the river bank on his way home and the idea of catching and eating the bid just occurred to him. A thought that he soon followed up on.  

According to the judicial appraisal results by a forestry judicial appraisal center in Sichuan, the bird killed by the suspect was a black-necked crane, which is one of China’s national first-class key protected animals. The tracking device tied to the bird’s foot and the serial number show that the black-necked crane was exactly the one that was used for ecological study of migration of the crane by the college institute. 

Jike has been placed under criminal detention by the police for the suspicion of the crime of endangering precious and endangered wildlife animal. The case is currently under further investigation. 

According to media reports, the black-necked crane is the only species of crane endemic to China and is among the 15 crane species that currently exist in the world. It is also the only crane species in the world that grows and breeds on plateaus, earning it the titles of “plateau fairy” and “plateau divine bird.”

China’s top legislature passed regulation on February 24, 2020 to strictly ban the illegal wildlife trade and eliminate bad habits of eating wild animals in China to safeguard people’s health and livelihoods. 

According to China’s Criminal Law, anyone who illegally captures, kills, transports, purchases or sells national protected, precious, endangered wildlife and their products, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years or faced with criminal detention, along with a fine. 

In cases of serious circumstances, the punishment may be extended to 5-10 years of imprisonment, along with a fine. In particularly severe cases, the sentence may be more than 10 years of imprisonment, along with a fine or confiscation of property and assets. 

Beijing subway carriages’ separation caused by rear-end collision due to snowy weather: transportation authority

Preliminary investigation shows the separation of carriages accident along the Changping Line of Beijing subway on Thursday evening was due to the snowy weather, which affected the train's braking system, resulting in a rear-end collision with the front train, Beijing transportation authorities said on Friday.

Around 11:00 pm on Thursday, the personnel transfer was completed, and the on-site disposal work basically finished. A total of 515 people were sent to the hospital for examination, and 102 people were found to have suffered fractures, with no fatalities, the authorities said on Friday.

According to the authorities' announcement, the accident occurred as a result of the slippery tracks caused by the snowy weather. The preceding train had to make an emergency brake to stop. Unfortunately, the following train was situated in a downhill section, making it difficult to effectively brake due to the snowy conditions.

Beijing transportation authority apologized for the inconvenience, fright, and injuries caused to the passengers in this accident, and vowed to do a good job in carrying out post-accident work and conduct a comprehensive investigation to improve extreme weather operation and emergency response to ensure the safety of operations.

It was at 6:57 pm on Thursday, when a rear-end collision occurred in the section between Xi’erqi to Life Science Park stations of the Changping Line. The municipal government officials immediately went to the scene and set up a working group for on-site accident disposal. The relevant departments including transportation, firefighting, health, public security and emergency response responded quickly and made efforts for rescue, according to the authorities.

As of 6 am on Friday, 423 people have been discharged from hospital, 25 people are under observation, and 67 people are receiving hospital treatment, the authorities said.

On Friday, Beijing Subway apologized again over the incident, while putting in place measures to reduce inconvenience for passengers.

Currently, the Beijing municipal government has established an investigation team for the Changping Line accident, which will further investigate the cause of the accident, evaluate the emergency response, and learn lessons from the accident, effectively carrying out rectification measures.

China allocates 200 million yuan in disaster relief funds after earthquake in northwest China's Gansu

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management on Tuesday have urgently allocated 200 million yuan ($28 million) in disaster relief funds to northwest China’s Gansu and Qinghai provinces. This funding will support local earthquake relief efforts and ensure the safety of people's lives and property, minimizing the impact and losses caused by the disaster, China Media Group (CMG) reported.

China is stepping up rescue and relief efforts to ensure the safety of people's lives and property after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake shook Jishishan County in northwest China's Gansu Province at midnight Monday.

The State Council has sent a working group to the stricken regions to help guide relief work. Gansu and Qinghai provinces have organized relief support with immediate allocation of relief supplies such as camps and folding beds to impacted areas.

Relief supplies were immediately redeployed from nearby areas, with supplies gradually arriving to impacted communities, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told a press conference on Tuesday.

The NDRC has activated emergency response mechanism to ensure energy, electricity, and essential supplies. Efforts are being made to repair damaged power facilities and provide emergency power supply. Food and material reserves are being allocated for disaster relief, a spokesperson from the NDRC said.

The first shipment of 46,100 emergency relief supplies from central and provincial level have been dispatched to the disaster-stricken areas, including cotton tents, quilts, mattresses, folding beds, cotton shoes, and stoves, according to Gansu provincial grain and material reserve bureau. The bureau has also obtained 15 tons of flour for emergency supply in Jishishan.

The State Council's earthquake relief headquarters and the Ministry of Emergency Management have upgraded the national earthquake emergency response to Level II.

At present, the earthquake has led 105 deaths in Gansu and 11 deaths in Qinghai, with damaging basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, transportation, and communications, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rescue and relief efforts are progressing in an orderly manner, including hazard inspections, evacuation and resettlement of residents, and repair of damaged facilities, China Media Group reported.