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THE Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued the country’s first electronic certificate of social security, at the opening on Sunday of the Digital China Summit in Fuzhou, capital of east China’s Fujian Province.
The e-certificate, which is applicable nationwide, contains all the digital functions of the current e-card, including self-service inquiry and e-payment functions.
The high-profile summit hilights China’s latest push in digital development.
The official launch of the e-certificate of social security builds on an earlier pilot program in cities such as Fuzhou and Qingdao.
Under the program, local governments allow users of Alipay, Alibaba’s third party online payment service platform, to pay for social security such as medical insurance.
Alipay’s phone app confirms user identities through a facial recognition system. Users can then get their QR code to make medical payments more swiftly and conveniently.
Zhai Yanli, head of the Information Center with the ministry, said at the summit that the e-certificate has adopted a number of safety measures to confirm the holder’s identity.
Cities like Fuzhou and Qingdao will be the first to carry out the e-certificate of social security on a trial basis.
By the end of March, China’s social security system had covered 1.12 billion citizens, or 80.6 percent of the total population, according to the ministry.
The system has been widely used in medical services, elderly care and employment.
HUNDREDS of Vancouver citizens crammed into the city’s Chinese Cultural Center on Sunday to witness the city government’s apology for decades of history of racism against Canadian citizens of Chinese descent.
The audience was so large that it overflowed the building and a live feed had to be screened outside the center to accommodate those who couldn’t squeeze in.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson issued the apology at a special City Council session at the cultural center in Chinatown.
He acknowledged the discrimination by the City of Vancouver that inflicted harm against Chinese residents for decades and asked for forgiveness.
In the ensuing 60 years or so from 1886, various policies blocked Chinese residents from voting, holding certain jobs and living in particular parts of the city. City bylaws enforced segregation and restricted business opportunities.
Vancouver’s government successfully lobbied the Canadian government to wage a head tax against Chinese immigrants that lasted from 1885 to 1923.
It wasn’t until World War II when young Chinese Canadians, many born in Vancouver, earned their right to vote and to receive better treatment by volunteering to fight for Canada — a country that didn’t seem to want them.
The apology was read in both English and Chinese.
The English version was read by Robertson, and the Chinese version by former city councilors Bill Yee and Maggie Ip.
“On this day, on behalf of City Council and the City of Vancouver, I sincerely apologize for these past injustices and their cruel effects on individuals and their families, and commit to ensuring that similar unjust practices are never again allowed to fall on any group or community,” Robertson said.
A steady stream of applause transformed into a standing ovation from the audience as Roberston said those words.
“The historical wrongs of Vancouver City Council need to be addressed, particularly as the city is focused now on being a city of reconciliation, and that extends beyond our First Nations to people of other cultures who faced racism and discrimination in the past,” Robertson said.
“This is an important step to address that historic travesty and move forward.”
He said delivering the apology within the community at a public place rather than at a government building would help to convey the city’s intention to make sure Chinese culture is embraced.
Jenny Kwan, a member of the Canadian parliament, said: “To make an apology today I think it is very significant.” She said it shows that the city acknowledges that what it did was wrong and it will lay the foundation for mutual respect and equality.
“We must remember this history (not only) to see how far we have come, but also to say that we must never repeat this kind of discrimination; this kind of racist attitude towards any community as we move forward.”
Canadian Senator Yuen Pau Woo said: “Chinese couldn’t become lawyers, they couldn’t shop in certain places, they couldn’t enter certain establishments.
“There is a very long list of really shameful rules and regulations that were ... put in place by the city that made life unfair for Chinese people.”
He added that the past history shouldn’t be forgiven and urged no more discrimination against others because of their ethnic origin or home country.
Also at the session, Vancouver city councilor Raymond Louie, in his remarks, emotionally reflected on racism his own ancestors experienced after relocating to Vancouver decades ago.
“Today is a celebration,” he said. “It’s a turning of the page for us to move forward, and I think there is some positive road ahead of us to make that happen.”
Melody Choi, a fifth-generation Chinese Canadian, was among those who joined the ceremony to officially accept the apology from the city.
The 17-year-old said her relatives faced various types of discrimination in life and business, and that she’s thankful that she now lives in a city free from unfair treatment.
“Knowing now that I can grow up ... in a society where diversity and acceptance is just first nature is an incredible thing,” she said. “When I go to school or with my community, I feel completely safe and I feel completely accepted to be who I want to be, no matter what culture I come from.”
Vancouver’s apology follows similar apologies issued earlier to Chinese residents and citizens by the Canadian government and the provincial government of British Columbia.
In 2006, then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology in parliament for the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants and included C$20,000 (US$15,600) in compensation for families or surviving people who paid the tax.
Thousands of Chinese immigrants arrived in Canada during the 1880s to help to build the country’s railway from Vancouver to Montreal, but from 1885, the federal government imposed a head tax of C$50, which rose to C$500 in the early 1900s.
At that time, C$500 was worth about two years of a Canadian Chinese worker’s salary.
According to the 1924 Yearbook of Canada, Canadian Chinese paid a total head tax of C$24 million, which hit the appropriation fund by then Canadian government for the construction of so-called Pacific railway.
In 2015, on behalf of the British Columbia provincial government, then Premier Christy Clark made an formal apology to Canadian Chinese for more than 100 racist laws, regulations and policies of past provincial governments.
Clark pointed out the contribution of Chinese in building the national railway system, noting that one Chinese worker died for every mile of track laid between Vancouver and Calgary. It was reported that at least 1,000 Canadian Chinese died building the railway.
Robertson said more work is needed, though, to turn the apology into a lasting legacy through education and heritage programs.
City Council says attention will now turn toward seeking a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage designation for Vancouver’s Chinatown.
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping has asked the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately take “all necessary means” to handle a major road accident involving Chinese tourists.
Xi called for “all-out” effort to rescue the injured and “handle ensuing issues of the deceased.”
A tourist bus fell from a bridge in North Hwanghae Province around 6pm on Sunday, killing 32 Chinese tourists and four DPRK personnel. Two Chinese tourists were seriously injured.
The foreign ministry and the embassy have been in close contact with the DPRK to coordinate emergency response.
Xi said the recent frequent occurrence of accidents demanded closer attention to safety issues.
Many people will be traveling during the May Day holiday, he said, ordering local authorities and government departments in China to close safety loopholes, strengthen accident prevention and improve responses to better protect people and property.
China dispatched a working group with medical experts to the DPRK yesterday, the foreign ministry said.
Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China conveys profound condolences to the Chinese nationals and DPRK personnel who were killed in the accident.
He added that DPRK departments have been cooperating with the Chinese side to carry out rescue, rehabilitation and investigation work.
President Xi Jinping has demanded solid efforts to spread the experience of east China’s Zhejiang Province in building a beautiful countryside with a pleasant living environment to boost the sense of gain and happiness of all rural residents.Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said that Zhejiang has made constant efforts over the past 15 years to improve the rural living environment, creating “tens of thousands of beautiful villages.”“As I have said on many occasions, developed and underdeveloped areas should all get involved in improving the rural environment, though the standards may vary,” Xi said.During the implementation of a three-year campaign to improve the rural living environment and the rural vitalization strategy, the country must popularize Zhejiang’s experience and practices, he said, adding that measures should be targeted and adjusted to local conditions.Since 2003, Zhejiang has implemented a project to overhaul the living environment of villages. At the end of last year, 97 percent of villages in the province had completed the revamp.
Two years ago, Liu Jinqing, a farmer in southeast China’s Fujian Province, was shocked that the 350 kilograms of dried sweet potatoes he had produced sold out online within a few days.Liu decided to focus on the potato business. In 2017, he produced 2,400kg of dried sweet potatoes, making nearly 50,000 yuan (US$8,000), a handsome income for a farmer living in a remote village in the mountains.E-commerce has helped poor farmers sell rural specialties and improve their livelihoods, as an increasing number of people turn to green and organic food, which farmers produce in abundance.Chen Cuihua, head of a produce cooperative in Pucheng County, Fujian, said their annual sales volume climbed from 30 tons to over 100 tons after they opened an online shop.Online retail volume in rural areas topped 1.24 trillion yuan in 2017, up 39.1 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.More than 9.8 million online shops were based in villages by the end of 2017, up 20.7 percent year on year, creating over 28 million jobs.E-commerce is not the only digital technology that has benefited millions of farmers in China. Technology such as e-government, telemedicine, and intelligent monitoring are also transforming traditional lifestyles in rural areas.In Dengguang Village, Fujian, Huang Jinguo, 68, lives alone in a hut, but he does not worry about burglars or falling ill.“We have installed cameras in his house that are connected to the village’s monitoring system, so that we can be alerted and offer help in the event of an emergency,” said village official Huang Xiaolian.Villagers can also learn about local affairs, watch TV programs, use rental bikes, and shop online via a “smart village” platform set up in 2015.Besides bridging the rural-urban gap in terms of living standards, digital technology has also helped lure migrant workers to return to villages, which have seen large numbers of farmers leave to find work in cities over past years.Zeng Wei, 32, moved to Longtan Village, Fujian from neighboring Jiangxi Province, after he rented an old house to run a bookstore and teahouse, and another for a guesthouse.“Thanks to the Internet, e-commerce, and better logistics, rural life is not much different from that in the cities,” said Zeng. “The countryside is a perfect place for freelance painters, writers, and designers who prefer to live close to nature.”As new inhabitants arrived, Longtan became lively again. The local elementary school was reopened, with new arrivals as teachers. “The best way to revive rural areas is to bring more people in,” said Zhang Zhengrong, a local official.
THIS month the 10th China International Garden Expo takes place in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province. It is lush and surrounded by flowers — but for local residents it is a wonder to behold.
Zhang Huaqing, 70, strolls here with his wife every day. To him and many local residents, the fresh air and clean water are beyond imagination as the original site of the expo had been a landfill for almost two decades.
“The sewage flooded everywhere with strong odor. In summer, the mosquitoes were all over the sky and we always had to keep the windows and doors closed. Many times we had wanted to move away,” Zhang said.
The Jinkou landfill, covering 46 hectares, was opened in 1989 in suburban Wuhan as a result of the fast growth of the urban population and household refuse.
Before it was closed in 2005, the landfill had dealt with more than 5 million cubic meters of garbage, about 3.76 million tons. Even after its shutdown, environmental issues continued to surface, including gas pollution, liquid infiltration and damage to the landscape.
In 2012, Wuhan proposed restoring the site and rebuilding it as the main venue for the expo. The idea was approved.
Natural degradation would have taken decades to remove the heavy metals accumulated in the soil. To restore the wasteland more efficiently, the city began an “aerobic ecological restoration” project to alleviate long-term safety issues and better utilize the land.
Using such technology, 60 percent of the living waste was filled to biodegrade within two years, benefiting more than 100,000 residents nearby.
“The garden is now strewn with flowers, lawns and a pleasant smell rather than stink,” said 62-year-old Huang Yunlin, who used to work at the landfill. Huang now works at the expo.
An automatic system operates round the clock to process 200 cubic meters of methane into carbon dioxide every hour. At the same time, 110 cubic meters of polluted water are recycled to water the trees and flowers in the garden every day, according to Shao Fugen, who is in charge of the system.
In December 2015, Wuhan was given the C40 Cities Award in Paris for its successful restoration of Jinkou landfill.
The transformation of Jinkou is a mirror of the green application of Wuhan, which has a population of 10.9 million.
CHINA has seen a good start to its high-quality development, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee said yesterday.
The economy has maintained its steady growth momentum in the first quarter of this year, as major economic indicators pointed to stronger domestic demand and good coordination between the growth of the industrial and service sectors, according to a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
The meeting, presided over by President Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, studied the current economic situation and economic work.
China’s GDP grew 6.8 percent year on year in the first three months of 2018, unchanged from the growth rate in the previous quarter, official data showed last week.
Economic restructuring has played a bigger role in supporting growth as good progress was made in developing new industries and upgrading traditional sectors, the statement said. The economy still faces pronounced underlying structural challenges despite the upside cyclical turn for growth, the statement pointed out.
The central government should speed up the release of indicators, policies, standards, statistical system and performance evaluation methods as guidance for local governments and departments to follow in promoting high-quality development. Local governments are also encouraged to explore ways that fit their local conditions to pursue high-quality development.
Efforts should be enhanced to win the “three tough battles,” namely controlling risks, reducing poverty and tackling pollution, the statement added.
The government will stick to a proactive fiscal policy and prudent and neutral monetary policy. Market-based measures will be taken to reduce overcapacity and support will be offered to new sectors.
The meeting also urged bolder reform and opening-up efforts and timely implementation of major opening-up policies. The development of the country’s financial and real estate markets should be watched closely to guard against potential risks.
CHINA yesterday launched the selection process for up to 18 astronauts for future space station missions.
“They will be the third group of China’s selected astronauts. After comprehensive training, they will participate in a mission for China’s space station,” said Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office.
The astronauts will include pilots as well as engineers and payload specialists. Besides pilots from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, they will also include aerospace researchers in related industries, research institutes and universities.
China selected its first group of 14 astronauts in 1998, and seven were chosen in 2010.
China plans to start assembling its space station in 2020. It is scheduled to become fully operational around 2022.
Also yesterday, China called for submissions from the public for the design of its manned lunar landing and ascent vehicles.
According to Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space program, the aim is to find innovative ideas for the design of manned lunar surface landing and ascent vehicles.
Submissions should include new concepts, approaches and technology.
“The public is welcome to provide their ideas for the development of the Chinese manned space program.”
China Manned Space Engineering Office’s Yang said last June that China is making preliminary preparations for a manned lunar landing mission.
A manned spaceship and the lunar lander will be sent into circumlunar orbit separately, according to Wu Yansheng, president of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
A CASC report issued in November said that around 2030, heavy carrier rockets will be launched to provide powerful support to manned lunar landing missions and sufficient transportation power for samples from Mars to return to Earth.
Further information is available on the China Manned Space website, www.cmse.gov.cn.
CHINESE President Xi Jinping will hold an informal meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and Saturday in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement after talks with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Xi and Modi will have strategic communication on the world’s profound changes, and exchange views on overall, long-term and strategic issues regarding China-India relations, Wang said.
The last meeting between Xi and Modi took place in China’s southeastern city of Xiamen last September after the ninth BRICS summit.
Wang said socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, while India is at a critical period for its development and rejuvenation.
Against this background, Xi and Modi decided to hold their informal meeting, which will help to deepen mutual trust between the two leaders and guide the two countries to set new goals and open up new prospects for bilateral ties, Wang said.
“This not only benefits the two countries and peoples, but will also exert significant and positive influence on regional and world peace and development,” he added.
Calling the two nations “natural cooperation partners,” Wang said their common interests far outweigh their disputes. “It is an inevitable choice of the two countries to stick to long-term friendship, mutual beneficial cooperation and common development.”