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As night falls on Qiqian Village, locals turn on the lights. It shines through their windows and the entire village glows.For residents of Qiqian, the light heralds a new era.At the end of 2017, stable electricity supply finally reached Qiqian after the 11 families there spent almost half a century enduring power shortages at night. Now all towns and villages in Inner Mongolia have access to stable electricity.In villager Liu Shuxia’s house, light illuminated the entire living room. Steam floated up from just-cooked rice, and Liu’s son was busy doing homework.“In the past, we shared a solar-wind hybrid electricity system with the border troops here, and when the weather was bad, we did not have enough electricity at all,” Liu recalled. “We only cooked rice once a week.“Now we can cook whenever we want, and my child can study in the light,” she said.Qiqian sits in the heartland of the Greater Higgan Mountains on the China-Russia border. It is Inner Mongolia’s northernmost village. The closest town is 342km away.“The electricity problem has always been a stumbling block hampering Qiqian’s development. There was a shortage of electricity, and the power was unstable,” said Shao Rimin, a local Party official. “The wind-solar hybrid system equipment was also getting old.”In November, a local branch of the State Grid upgraded the photovoltaic system and set up another, which was put into use on December 31.“As Qiqian is extremely cold in the winter and the ground was frozen, it was very difficult to conduct the project,” an official of the State Grid branch said. “It took us a lot of effort and heavy machinery to complete.”In 2017, the State Grid invested more than 3.3 billion yuan (US$467 million) to help 400,000 families in 3,055 villages in Inner Mongolia get access to electricity.
CHINA yesterday criticized recent moves by the United States listing some Chinese trading areas as “notorious markets” for fake products and targeting Chinese telecoms equipment, saying Washington lacks objectivity in its approach.
Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters the US Trade Representative lacked direct conclusive evidence and supporting data for listing three Chinese online commerce platforms and six physical bazaars within China as “notorious markets” engaging in commercial-scale “copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.”
“We have to question the objectivity and credibility of the relevant US department in issuing its report,” Gao said at a news conference.
“The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the protection of intellectual property, the results of which are obvious to all,” he said.
Among the online platforms listed by the USTR’s Notorious Markets this month was e-commerce giant Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao. Physical outlets included Beijing’s famed Silk and Hongqiao markets popular with tourists.
Michael Evans, Alibaba’s group president, said the company has worked above and beyond on each of the list’s concerns to protect brands and copyright holders.
“In light of all this, it’s clear that no matter how much action we take and progress we make, the USTR is not actually interested in seeing tangible results,” Evans said, adding that the company had “no other choice but to conclude that this is a deeply flawed, biased and politicized process.”
At the news conference, Gao also criticized a US House bill introduced on January 9 that would prohibit government purchases of telecoms equipment from Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation.
He said the bill would harm US-China cooperation in telecommunications and shake the confidence of Chinese enterprises in the US.
Gao said the US should treat Chinese companies and products with an objective and fair attitude so US customers can enjoy the benefits of Chinese products.
“Mutual benefits weigh more than differences in the Sino-US economic and trade ties,” Gao said. “We hope that trade frictions do not upgrade, but will also take resolute actions to protect Chinese rights and interests.”
Huawei’s US business suffered a setback when a congressional panel recommended in 2013 that phone carriers avoid doing business with it or ZTE. China rejected the move as an effort to keep Chinese companies out of the US market.
Huawei, founded in 1987, is the world’s No. 3 phone maker and first Chinese brand to break into the top ranks of global technology suppliers.
Meanwhile on the issue of so-called forced transfer of intellectual property and proprietary technology, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had no law mandating such practices.
“Such cases might occur in some commercial cooperation, but that is purely the market behavior between the enterprises,” Lu said yesterday.
“Fair exchange is no robbery. There is no interference from the government,” he said, adding that China would “firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests.”
Tashi Tso has to change into three different pairs of shoes a day: high heels before entering the office, canvas shoes at work and white rubber soles in the manufacturing room.She works at the pharmaceutical department of Qinghai provincial hospital of Tibetan medicine in northwest China, and shoe changing is necessary to meet national hygiene standards. “I love my job and am thrilled to be in an industry that was once under male dominance,” she said. For thousands of years, knowledge of and treatment with Tibetan medicine were passed down in monasteries, and the best doctors were often monks. Women rarely had the chance to learn medicine, and their roles were restricted to household chores and raising children.As one of China’s most influential medical subjects, Tibetan medicine has been used to cure aches and ailments for over 3,800 years. It draws on traditional Chinese, Indian and Arab medicine and uses herbs, minerals and sometimes insects and animal parts. China has intensified measures to support the development of Tibetan medicine. An innovation platform of Tibetan medicine jointly built by Beijing, Tibet, Gansu and Qinghai was recently launched. In Qinghai, a program supporting the development of Tibetan medicine was launched in December.Fifteen therapies and practices of Tibetan medicine have been listed as national intangible cultural heritage, and the output of such medicine reached 2,300 tons, worth 1.5 billion yuan (US$234 million) in 2016. Due to government support and the fast development of Tibetan medicine, females are gradually breaking male dominance.Women make up half of the physicians at the Tibetan Hospital in Lhasa, capital of Tibet. Of the graduates of Qinghai University’s School of Tibetan Medicine each year, half are female, according to Tencho with Qinghai University.Now, both men and women can learn Tibetan medicine in colleges in Qinghai, Tibet, Gansu and Sichuan, according to Dorje with Qinghai Provincial Hospital of Tibetan Medicine.“Women are more patient and careful in manufacturing process such as making pills, pulverizing and quality control,” said Tashi Tso. “Of the 51 medical staff at my department, 26 are female.”Tashi Tso was among the first batch of students enrolled in the Tibetan medicine school of Qinghai University in 2011. “Not only did we learn the basic theories of Tibetan medicine and distinguish medical materials in the mountains with our teachers, but we also received lessons on Western medicine, including anatomy,” she said.Tibetan medicine pharmaceuticals have introduced modern equipment, and Tibetan medicine has developed to be interdisciplinary. “It is meritorious that the medicine can help more people in the future,” said a doctor at the same hospital as Tashi Tso.
THE mating calls of a female snow leopard are causing concerns for staff at a wildlife rehabilitation center in northwestern China.
“It makes growling sounds all day and night, calling for a mate,” said Maltsen Guli, who works at the center in Aksay Kazak Autonomous County, Gansu Province.
The center was established in 2013 to care for sick and injured wild animals. It has taken in over 200 animals.
In December 2014, the then 1-year-old female snow leopard was found by a herder and taken to the center, where it has been cared for ever since.
“The snow leopard was very weak and bony when it was found. It may been left behind when its mother was attacking sheep in the mountains,” said Li Zhilong, assistant engineer at the center.
Li said there are no snow leopards in zoos in nearby Jiuquan or the provincial capital Lanzhou. They are now contacting zoos in Qinghai and Xinjiang to find a mate for the animal.
Snow leopards are a Class A protected animal in China and are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They live in the Himalayas in central and south Asia at an altitude of 2,500 to 4,500 meters.
The number of snow leopards is believed to be around 7,000 to 11,000, with about 60 percent living in China. The mating season for the snow leopard is from January till mid-March.
“This snow leopard had not yet learned how to live in the wild. We have tried to train it to catch prey, but it still does not have enough skills to survive by itself,” said Li.
Guli has been the animal’s primary caretaker at the center.
“Once, when I was closing the cage, it leapt from the ground as if it wanted to attack me. Instead, it held onto one of my legs like a kitten. I lifted my leg and it just let go,” she said.
However, Guli knows it is not a good thing for the animal to be mild. The caretaker has tried to train the snow leopard to prey on live animals and jump from high places, skills it will need to survive on its own.
The wildlife center is located at 1,650 meters above sea level, where temperature can reach up to 38 degrees Celsius in summer, not an ideal environment for a snow leopard. Every summer, staff spray water into the animal’s cage daily to cool it down.
Zhao Xiang, director of the Sanjiangyuan project with Beijing Shanshui Conservation Center, said the wild snow leopard population is threatened by climate change, habitat destruction and human activity.
About a year ago, a man surnamed Song, a programmer in Shenzhen, received a mysterious call and lost 280,000 yuan (US$43,460) via Alipay, one of China’s most popular online payment platforms. This was odd as Song did not have a single penny in his Alipay account.It turned out the swindlers had taken three steps to transfer his loan via Alipay’s micro-loan provider Ant Micro.Almost at the same time, about 1,400km away, Lin Liangquan rushed to the police department, reporting that more than 27 million yuan was missing from his company account in Haining City, east China’s Zhejiang Province.Lin said a stranger called up and faxed a wanted poster, claiming the company had been involved in a pyramid scheme and demanded an immediate check of their bank accounts. A malware program was later implanted and the vast sum of money was soon transferred via multiple third-party payment platforms.China has tightened the number of multi-function accounts a person can open and stipulated a “frozen time” of 24 hours for money transfer on ATMs. However, third-party payment platforms have emerged as a leading method for fraudsters to bypass such obstacles.The Public Security Bureau of Beijing said that since 2015 up to 70 percent of stolen money has been scammed through third-party payment platforms. In the first three quarters of 2017, the anti-fraud center in Shenzhen had frozen more than 9,800 suspected accounts, retrieving 315 million yuan.“The money recovered was only a small fraction, most of it was untraceable,” said Wang Zhengtu at the center. “It was easier to track the flow of money when most transactions were done through bank cards. But now, the swindlers first transfer the money to third-party payment platforms before putting it into their bank accounts. These platforms are like a big pool, it is almost impossible to track its origin,” Wang said.It is estimated that over 20 trillion yuan of capital was transacted via third-party payment platforms in 2016. There are currently 270 licensed such platforms, and a large quantity are operating without proper qualifications.Chinese banks now demand strict real-name registration in the application of bank cards. But opening an account on a third-party payment platform needs nothing more than an email account. Moreover, a person can hold multiple accounts, making it the perfect channel to move money. Inquiries for online transactions from the company often need at least three days, more than enough for money to be transferred elsewhere. Fake IDs are often used for online registration, leaving the police little evidence.Wen Yanbing, associate professor at Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, said the government should improve the cybersecurity law and set up a cross-sector supervision mechanism. The authorities should also supervise these platforms.“Third-party payment platforms should be included in the investigation platform targeting telecom fraud set up by the Ministry of Public Security,” said Wu Shenkuo, associate professor at Beijing Normal University. “Therefore, police can retrieve the account information and freeze the money immediately after the report.”“Companies running third-party payment platforms are often headquartered in first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and it is hard for police in other regions to investigate. Therefore, a unified enquiry center should be established in every province and be connected to the national system to raise investigation efficiency,” Wang said.
POLICE in Macau are hunting for a dealer suspected of stealing HK$48 million (US$6 million) worth of casino chips from Wynn Macau, authorities in the Chinese special administrative region said yesterday.
Casino thefts in Macau, which rakes in gambling revenue more than five times that of the Las Vegas strip, are rare, with the majority of cases typically involving employees.
Wynn confirmed that the matter was being handled by the police. Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, known as the DICJ, said it was concerned about the incident and had asked casino operators to beef up their security.
The theft, which took place this week, was carried out by a man from Macau who worked in a high-roller VIP room at Wynn’s resort on Macau’s teeming peninsula, media reported.
Public broadcaster TDM said police were also investigating if there were multiple suspects but did not give further details.
Typically, Wynn casino chips can only be exchanged for cash in Wynn’s casino, so anyone with stolen chips would likely try to cash in small amounts at a time rather than all at once, to avoid attracting attention.
The last major casino heists occurred in 2015 and 2016 when staff working in Macau’s VIP parlors stole millions of dollars from junket rooms in the casinos.
Macau’s booming revenues, which totaled US$33 billion last year, are underpinned by its VIP junket system, where licensed middlemen act on behalf of casinos to attract “big whale” spenders by arranging their travel and accommodation and handling their gambling credit.
Macau’s six concessionaires Sands China, Wynn, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment all rely on the junket industry for much of their gambling revenue.