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Friday, January 31, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak: WHO declares an international public health emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

However, the UN health body stressed that it does not recommend limiting trade and travel.

It also once again spoke highly of China's prevention and containment measures.

A WHO declaration of an international public health emergency is rare, with only five going into effect in the past decade. These include situations concerning the 2009 H1 virus that caused an influenza pandemic, West Africa's Ebola outbreak, polio in 2014, the Zika virus in 2016 and the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

No need to overreact on coronavirus PHEIC label: analysts 

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a global public health emergency (PHEIC), emphasizing that it was not a vote of no confidence in China. Chinese analysts said there is no need to overreact to the declaration while fighting the virus, although it could add extra pressure to the world's second-largest economy.

Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen, which has escalated into an outbreak, and which has been met by an unprecedented response, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday.

At least 98 novel coronavirus cases have been reported in 18 countries, including eight human-to-human transmissions in Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and the US. The majority of the cases outside of China involved people who had traveled to Wuhan, or were in contact with someone who had visited the city, said Ghebreyesus.

After considering multiple factors, WHO designated the coronavirus as a PHEIC. However, WHO continues to have confidence in China's ability to control the outbreak.

Chinese analysts said it was not necessary to overreact or interpret the news as a hostile attitude toward China from the global community. The shared priority is to prevent the deadly virus from spreading across the globe.

"Indeed, it may give extra pressure to China, with both economic and political implications," Shen Yi, director at the Research Center for Cyberspace Governance of Fudan University, told the Global Times.

"But it's up to how China continues fighting the epidemic in order to help its economy recovered," Yi said, noting that the WHO decision has little influence on how other countries handle economic ties with China amid the pneumonia outbreak.

Serious events that endanger international health are considered to be PHEIC as it constitutes a risk to other countries through the spread of the disease, which is also "serious, unusual, or unexpected," and carries implications for public health beyond the affected country's borders or requires immediate international action, according to WHO.

A PHEIC declaration is rare, as only five have been made in the past decade including the H1N1 virus that caused an influenza pandemic in 2009, West Africa's Ebola, polio in 2014, the Zika virus in 2016, and the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that started in 2019.

Concerns have emerged over whether other countries would close their borders or impose trade and travel restrictions, which has happened in the past when a PHEIC is declared.

There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade, WHO said, calling for all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent after it declares novel coronavirus a global public health emergency.

According to the International Health Regulations (IHR), if the WHO declares a PHEIC, the director-general shall issue temporary recommendations including health measures regarding people, baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, and postal parcels to prevent or reduce the spread of the disease and avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic.

However, temporary recommendations are non-binding advisories issued by WHO and are on a time-limited, risk-specific basis, according to IHR.

When WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a PHEIC, the organization emphasized it was essential to avoid the punitive economic consequences of travel and trade restrictions on affected communities, in a statement published on its website in July 2019.

Under the IHR, countries implementing additional health measures going beyond what WHO recommends will be obliged to send public health rationale and justification within 48 hours of implementation for WHO to review, said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic to the Global Times on Thursday.

WHO is obliged to share the information about measures and the justification received with other countries involved, Jasarevic said, noting that countries are asked to provide public health justification for any travel or trade measures that are not scientifically based, such as the refusal of entry based on suspect cases or unaffected persons to affected areas.

Yang Gonghuan, former director of tobacco control at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times that WHO would depend on the situation of the epidemic rather than targeting a specific place or for political purposes.

In response to concerns that a PHEIC would "hold China's breath," Yang said such thinking is "incorrect and unreasonable."

"WHO's decision and measures are based on the perspective of global disease prevention," Yang said.

However, the PHEIC label could frighten contracting countries to the point that they could disobey WHO recommendations and impose more stringent limits on travel and trade with the country where the virus originated, which would create significant economic losses.

During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, WHO stressed the virus could not spread through pork products and yet over 40 countries banned pork imports from H1N1-affected nations, according to media reports.

Contracting states have agreed to follow WHO guidelines, and they should act within the forum of the organization, Yang noted.

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Chinese premier urges vaccine, medicine development against epidemic

Li called for joint research efforts of multidisciplinary experts to expedite the development of easy testing kits, vaccines and effective drugs to fight the novel coronavirus. 

China's top university developing novel coronavirus vaccine

Researchers from China's prestigious Tsinghua University are stepping up vaccine development targeting the novel coronavirus, which has already caused 7,711 confirmed cases of pneumonia in China as of Thursday.  

China to send civil airplanes to bring back overseas Chinese: MFA

Chinese government decides to send charter flights to bring overseas Chinese citizens from Hubei Province, especially Wuhan City, directly back to Wuhan as soon as possible: MFA

China reports 9,692 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia, 213 deaths

China announced 9,692 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia and 213 deaths.

China's Hubei reports 1,220 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's non-manufacturing sector came in at 54.1 in January, up from 53.5 in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.

China "confident in, capable of" containing, defeating epidemic: NHC

China is confident in and capable of effectively containing the novel coronavirus epidemic, and eventually defeating it, the National Health Commission said in a statement Friday.

China has full confidence, capability to control epidemic: FM

"We have full confidence and capability to win this fight against the epidemic," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Hubei official removed for negligence on epidemic treatment capabilities

The health commission head for Huanggang, the second most affected coronavirus city in Hubei Province, the epicenter for the virus, was released Thursday due to a lack of knowledge on the city's disease treatment capabilities and resources.

Virus inflection point could emerge in one month: expert

With measures taken to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, an inflection point is likely to appear within the next one or two incubation periods, according to one expert on Thursday.

China remains confident in the fight against the coronavirus: official

China appreciates the efforts of other countries in helping to combat the novel coronavirus and is confident it will win the battle, a spokesperson from the National Health Commission (NHC) said at a press conference on Thursday.

Xi voices full confidence in winning battle against novel coronavirus

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that China has full confidence and capability to win the battle against the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Epidemic turning point expected

The Chinese people have just experienced an unforgettable Spring Festival as the whole country has been forced to endure the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has resulted in more than 170 deaths and 8,152 confirmed cases in all of the Chinese mainland's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

WHO chief thanks China for its commitment, openness in coronavirus battle

WHO chief said that WHO appreciates the seriousness with which China is taking the coronavirus outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated, including sharing data and genetic sequence of the virus 

Australian media urged to apologize for discriminating against Chinese amid coronavirus outbreak

More than 46,000 people have signed a petition demanding the Australian media to apologize publicly for racism against the Chinese community after two media outlets carried headlines and highlighted characters on their front pages which labeled the novel coronavirus-related pneumonia as a "Chinese virus" and hyped sentiments that would require Chinese children to stay at home.

US Tibet bill interference in China's internal affairs

Experts on Wednesday slammed the Tibetan bill that was passed by the US House on Tuesday, which proposes sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, calling the bill a gross interference in China's internal affairs under the disguise of religious freedom which will not have any substantial influence on China.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

WHO chief: China deserves gratitude and respect for efforts to fight virus outbreak, against virus-related evacuations, as countries plan pull-outs

Fight the virus

WHO chief: China deserves gratitude and respect for efforts to fight virus outbreak ...

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

GENEVA (Xinhua): The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday (Jan 29) that China deserves the international community's gratitude and respect for having taken very serious measures to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak and prevent exporting cases overseas.

Addressing journalists at a press conference in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked the Chinese government for the extraordinary steps it has taken to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Tedros reiterated that almost 99 per cent of cases and all deaths have been within China, with only 68 confirmed cases and no deaths in 15 countries and regions outside China.

"For that, China deserves our gratitude and respect... China is implementing very serious measures and we cannot ask for more," he said.

The WHO chief returned to Geneva on Wednesday from China, where he met with the Chinese leadership to discuss cooperation on implementing containment measures in Wuhan (the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak) and public measures in other cities and provinces, as well as on conducting studies on the severity and transmissibility of the virus, and sharing data and biological material.

He revealed that one of the strategies the WHO and China have agreed on and are following is serious and strong intervention at the epicentre, which helps limit the spread of the virus.

The WHO chief also thanked China for having identified the pathogen in a short time and shared it immediately, which has led to the rapid development of diagnostic tools.

"China has been completely committed to transparency, both internally and externally, and has agreed to work with other countries that need support," he reiterated, citing the latest case in Germany which, due to the immediate notification and sharing of information by the Chinese government, was very quickly identified and given medical care.

The cooperation between China and Germany in responding to the outbreak is a good illustration of how China is engaging with the WHO and other countries based on the principles of solidarity and cooperation, Tedros said.

"The level of commitment (of the leadership) in China is incredible; I will praise China again and again, because its actions actually helped in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus to other countries... we shall tell the truth and that's the truth," he concluded.

A WHO team of international experts is to visit China as soon as possible to increase the understanding of the outbreak and guide global response efforts.

Tedros also announced that the WHO Emergency Committee will meet again on Thursday to discuss the outbreak.

Earlier, the committee already met twice on Jan 22 and Jan. 23, and decided that the outbreak had not been a "public health emergency of international concern," citing major reasons that the cases of infection outside China were still limited in number and that the Chinese authorities had already implemented very forceful containment measures. - Xinhua

President Xi: China sure of slaying the 'devil' virus

Xi said that the Chinese people are currently engaged in a serious fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak. People's lives and physical health are always the first priority, and prevention and control of the virus is the most important task at present. Xi said: "I have personally been directing the effort and deploying resources, I believe that as long as we strengthen our confidence, help each other, control and prevent the virus appropriately, and implement policies precisely, we will definitely overcome this disease."

The WHO chief said that China has released information transparently, identified pathogens in record time, and proactively shared relevant viral gene sequences with the World Health Organization and other countries. He added the world has admired how the Chinese government has demonstrated firm political determination and adopted timely and powerful policies in the face of the coronavirus. "I believe that the measures taken by China will effectively control and eventually overcome the disease."

WHO: China virus evacuations not necessary | New Straits ...

Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus takes part in a news conference after a meeting of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee for Pneumonia due to the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV in Geneva, Switzerland on Jan 22, 2020. (Photo credit: Christopher Black/WHO/Handout via REUTERS) 
The head of the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that he is confident in China's ability to contain a new coronavirus that has killed 106 people and that he did not think foreigners should be evacuated, China's foreign ministry said.

A growing number of countries have said they will evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, a central city of 11 million people and the epicentre of the outbreak. A chartered plane taking out U.S. consulate staff was set to leave Wuhan on Wednesday, a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Beijing said. Some space was being offered to other U.S. citizens.

India said it was preparing to evacuate its citizens from Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

Concern is mounting about the impact of the coronavirus may have on the world's second-biggest economy amid travel bans and an extended Lunar New Year holiday. Global stocks fell again, oil prices hit three-month lows and China's yuan currency dipped to its weakest in 2020.

The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a meeting with State Councillor Wang Yi in Beijing, said he approved of the government's measures to curb the outbreak, the foreign ministry said.

"Tedros said the WHO does not advocate for countries to evacuate their citizens from China, adding there was no need to overreact," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "He said the WHO is confident in China's ability to prevent and control the epidemic."

The WHO chief, who also met Presiddent Xi Jinping, was not available for comment. A WHO panel of 16 independent experts twice last week declined to declare an international emergency over the outbreak.

The flu-like virus has spread overseas, with Sri Lanka and Germany the latest countries to be hit, but none of the 106 deaths has been outside China and all but six have been in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged last month.

Thailand confirmed six more infections among visitors from China, taking its tally to 14, the highest outside China. Far eastern Russian regions would close their borders with China until Feb. 7, Tass news agency said, citing the regional government.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong said cross-border ferry services would stop.

Wuhan, where the virus apparently jumped to a human in an illegal wildlife market, has been all but put under quarantine, with a lockdown on transport and bans on gatherings.

Tens of millions of others in Hubei live under some form of travel curbs set up to try to stifle the virus.

The WHO said only one of the overseas cases involved human-to-human transmission.

"That’s still one case too many. But we’re encouraged that so far we have not seen more human-to-human transmission outside China," the WHO said on Twitter.

"We’re monitoring the outbreak constantly."

Tuesday's toll of 106 dead was up from 81 the day before. The number of total confirmed cases in China surged to 4,515 as of Monday from 2,835 the previous day, the National Health Commission said.

Incubation estimates

Analysts said China's travel and tourism would be the hardest-hit sectors, together with retail and liquor sales, though healthcare and online shopping were seen as likely outperformers.

Officially known as "2019-nCoV", the coronavirus can cause pneumonia, but it is too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads.

Some health experts question whether China can contain it.

Chinese health officials say the incubation period could range from one to 14 days, and the virus is infectious during that time. The WHO estimated an incubation period of two to 10 days.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday offered China whatever help it needed, while the State Department said Americans should reconsider visiting China.

Canada, which has two infections and 19 potential cases, warned its citizens to avoid travel to Hubei.

Authorities in Hubei, home to nearly 60 million people, have been the focus of public outrage on China's heavily censored social media over what many see as a bungled initial response to the virus.

In rare public self-criticism, Mayor Zhou Xianwang said Wuhan's management of the crisis was "not good enough" and indicated he was willing to resign.

China's ambassador to the United Nations, following a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said his government put "paramount importance" on the epidemic and was working with the international community in a spirit of "openness, transparency and scientific coordination".

Communist Party-ruled China has been eager to seem open in its handling of the epidemic, after it was heavily criticised for efforts to cover up an epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed about 800 people globally in 2002-2003.

SARS, which was also believed to have originated in a wildlife market, led to a 45% plunge in air passenger demand in Asia. The travel industry is more reliant on Chinese travellers now, and China's share of the global economy has quadrupled.

With Chinese markets shut for the holiday, investors were selling the offshore yuan and the Australian dollar as a proxy for risk. Oil was also under pressure as fears about the wider fallout grew.

The U.S. S&P 500 closed down nearly 1.6%.

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Chinese medics give up new year celebrations to head to coronavirus quarantine zone

A 46-year-old man has become the first patient in east China's Zhejiang Province to recover from the coronavirus. The man, surnamed Yang, left the hospital on Friday after undergoing treatment for a week. The patient had been living in Wuhan for a long time. Yang will continue to visit the doctors for regular checkups.

19 Chinese provinces, municipalities launch highest-level emergency response

Over 1,317 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed globally. So far, 42 infected people have died in China. A total of 19 provinces and municipalities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu provinces have declared the highest level of public health emergency to combat the coronavirus outbreak. 

Some traditional holiday celebrations, such as temple fairs and cultural performances and other public gatherings have been canceled. At least 16 cities in the worst-hit province of Hubei have suspended public transportation, including local buses, subways, ferries and long-distance coaches. 

Around 450 military medical personnel have been deployed in the province, while nearby Sichuan Province has also sent 135 medical staff members. China's Finance Ministry has allocated a total of one billion yuan to support Hubei. 

In addition, the provincial capital of Wuhan is building a special hospital on the outskirts of the city to treat patients with the virus. The 1,500-bed facility is expected to open by February 3. Subscribe on YouTube:

11 million people are under lockdown in Wuhan

Wuhan lockdown leads to empty streets, train stations

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Is travel to China safe?

Wuhan is closed to travelers.  

The CDC advises travelers to China to:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals, animal markets, and products that come from animals.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if that’s not available.
  • Seek medical care right away if you have a fever, cough, or a hard time breathing. Tell your health care professional about your travel.

What are the symptoms, and how is the virus diagnosed?

China created a test for the virus and shared that information with other countries. The CDC has developed its own test.

Symptoms include a fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. They may appear 2 to 14 days after you’re exposed to the virus. What is the source of the virus, and how is it spread?

Health officials are not sure of the source of the virus yet or how easily it can spread. Coronaviruses are found in many different animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. One research paper also suggested snakes as a possible source. The new virus may be linked to a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan that has since been closed

The virus can spread from person to person. Health officials are seeing this happen most often where people are close together and in health care settings. To date, 16 health care workers have been infected.

The CDC believes that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), two other types of coronavirus, are spread through droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.

Is there a vaccine?

There is no vaccine, but the National Institutes of Health is working on one and hopes to begin testing in several months. That testing would be for safety. If it’s safe, there would be testing to see how well it works.

How is it treated?

There is no specific treatment for the virus. Patients are generally given supportive care for their symptoms, such a fluids and pain relievers. Hospitalized patients may need support with breathing.

Are you in danger of catching the coronavirus? 
5 questions answered :

1. Am I at risk?

Not now, because currently every case of the novel coronavirus is linked to Wuhan.

There are lots of different coronaviruses that group into three types. The common cold can be caused by both alpha and betacoronaviruses.

Coronavirus was never really taken that seriously until 2003, when a coronavirus jumped species – likely from bats to humans via civets – and led to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. This species-jumping ability of coronaviruses is being observed again, now in Wuhan at the seafood market. This coronavirus is in the betacoronavirus group. China has now put travel restrictions in place to limit spread from Wuhan.

2. What’s the big concern with this virus?

For the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, there is no vaccine, and we’re lacking a specific therapy. So it is key to limit spread through quarantine of infected individuals and by tracing of contacts.

3. What is so unusual about this coronavirus?

This is a coronavirus that has never been seen in humans before. It likely came from bats, and it’s much more serious than the common cold coronavirus. This is only the third time that we’ve seen a coronavirus jump species from animals to humans. The concern is that this coronavirus is going to behave like SARS and MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012, both of which were serious.

4. Do the deaths appear to be among people of a certain age?

Many were in older men with pre-existing conditions.

5. How can I stay safe?

First of all, you need not be concerned about catching this right now. Practice the same precautions that you would to prevent catching a cold. Viruses that cause the common cold are on surfaces of handrails and doorknobs, so wash your hands, use sanitizers and stay home when you are sick.

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Salute to Wuhan citizens for their sacrifice

Rationality and unity needed in fight against virus

Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, where the ongoing spread of coronavirus pneumonia began, said at a press conference on Sunday night that more than 5 million people have left the city because of the Spring Festival and the epidemic. The news came as quite a shock.

Wuhan pneumonia response reflects progress in China's system

More adjustments and improvements are needed in China's governing system. In the Wuhan pneumonia case, is it possible to release information more timely and comprehensively? It will prove to be a test of China's system. But more and more Chinese people believe the system will stand the test and improve itself amid the challenge.

Wuhan pneumonia a wake-up call for basic Chinese research

Time is needed for basic research. But times waits for no one. Any attempt to seek quick success and instant benefits must be avoided. However, it is time for China to increase investment, focus on talent training, team building and policy adjustments in this field.

Virus attracts global efforts

The World Health Organization (WHO) is scheduled to convene a special meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday to discuss whether the epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus detected in China and now spreading across the world should be declared a global emergency.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Countdown to the Chinese New Year around the world for the year of the mouse
A live countdown to the Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year) for Hong Kong, Hanoi, Vietnam, and New York on January 25, 2020.

While most of the world celebrates the New Year on January 1, many people also celebrate the traditional new year based on the lunar calendar. Celebrate as the clock strikes midnight and the new year arrives. Happy New Year from the Youtube Battles community! :)

At the beginning of this year we did a live countdown to 2020 with coverage for all 35 time zones in the world so that everyone could celebrate the moment as the clock struck midnight in their time zone on New Years Eve and the new year began. As the day progressed, the countdown was updated to show the next time zones to hit the year 2020.

Chinese New Year 2020 falls on January 25 | Human World ...

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北京时间1月24日20:00,2020年中央广播电视总台春节联欢晚会将如约而至!锁定CCTV春晚频道,春晚直播等你来看,我们不见不散! 2020年中央广播电视总台春节联欢晚会直播地址:

Celebrating Spring Festival with KOLs at the CGTN office 四位外国网红齐聚央视大楼喜迎春节

Moderate gains for year of the rat - StarProperty

Chinese people around the world prepare for the year of the mouse
People in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province pick hangings with Chinese character "Fu (fortune)" at a market on Monday. Photo: cnsphoto
The Chinese Lunar New Year will arrive on Saturday. Chinese people across the country and around the world are preparing to welcome the year of mouse with various traditions.

Chinese people value celebrating the New Year with families.

As of Monday, the national railway has served 12.24 million trips within 11 days since the peak travel season started, a 19.8 percent year-on-year increase. A total of 1,370 temporary trains have been added, China National Radio reported Tuesday.

Traditional conventions in Spring Festival vary across China.

In Chaozhou, South China's Guangdong Province, people march with god sculptures from temples. "The gong and drum band would follow the firecrackers in the march," Chen Aijing, a Chaozhou resident, told the Global Times.

"Each village would have different dates to celebrate. There would be performance for Chaozhou operas and traditional puppet play," she said.

Several days before the New Year day, people in Guangzhou, Guangdong's capital city go shopping in "Flower Street" where one can buy almost anything. On December 28 of the Lunar Calendar, families clean their houses. On the New Year Day, they make rice cakes, according to Zhao Shi, a local resident.

In Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, there used to be dragon and lion dances, but the convention has been replaced by a lighting show. "Dried fish, meat and sausages are a must for Spring Festival," a local university student Wu Han said.

Wu interns in Chongli, North China's Hebei Province. Due to the spread of pneumonia in his home city, Wu hesitated whether he would return home.

In the northeastern provinces, people usually stay indoors during the festival due to cold temperatures.

"Watching the Spring Festival gala is a must for us," Lun Yu, a resident from Da-
qing, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, told the Global Times on Tuesday. Her big family gathers together on the New Year eve and makes dumplings with fillings of sauerkraut and pork. The dumplings are served on the table right at midnight.

For Chinese living overseas, it is often difficult for them to go home at Spring Festival. Tina Ma, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, decided to visit a friend in Brisbane. "We plan to have a big meal and watch the gala on the internet," she told the Global Times.

Police officers perform traditional dance at a Spring Festival gala in Du'an Yao autonomous county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sunday. Photo: cnsphoto

Colored lanterns featuring the Red Army displayed in Zunyi, Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Photo: cnsphoto

A child is attracted by holiday decorations at a Spring Festival market in San Francisco. Photo: cnsphoto

A child tries the head decoration of Chakhar clan in Hohhot, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at an event to celebrate Spring Festival. Photo: cnsphoto

A man is writing couplets at the National Library of China in Beijing on Tuesday. An Exhibition on folk arts and intangible cultural heritage about Spring Festival kicks off here. Photo: Li Hao/GT

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Spring Festival dinner tables underscore digital advantage

From Norwegian salmon, Bostonian lobsters to Chilean cherries, the dinner tables of Chinese people have never been more globalized in the run-up to the Lunar New Year, the most important reunion time for Chinese families.

What's behind the most important feast for Chinese points to the key to China's economic appeal - the government's opening-up efforts, growing consumer demand for diversified choices and better quality, and a digital economy that helps accelerate the country's consumption upgrading.

As China is shifting toward a consumption-based economy, its rising household consumption and enhanced opening-up to the outside world indicate the great potential of the Chinese market, which attracts attention from foreign companies and exporters.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's retail sales rose 8 percent year-on-year to some 41.16 trillion yuan ($6 trillion) in 2019, with the contribution of consumption to GDP expansion reaching 57.8 percent and remaining the top growth engine for the economy. Moreover, the country's per capita GDP exceeded the $10,000-mark last year. By any measure, there is still plenty of room for China's consumption to grow.

But most importantly, a large-scale digital market has taken shape in China, offering a significant boost to consumption, which may be the biggest difference between China's consumer market and those in other countries. With the upgrading of internet services, the popularization of e-commerce and the change of consumption habits, China's internet generation of consumers have become accustomed to buying all their daily necessities online. Such efficiency and simplicity have greatly encouraged consumption innovations, providing more and better goods and services options for consumers.

In the process of promoting its consumption upgrading, China's digital economy has not just boosted its foreign trade but also offered a lift to the rural economy. According to information from Tmall, it sold 190 million kilograms of agricultural commodities during a shopping campaign in early January this year, with income for each participating farmer increasing by 1,037 yuan.

With the rise of the digital economy, Chinese farmers are also using the tool to expand marketing channels for their output so as to improve the living standards. That's a big difference between China and India. While rural Chinese are embracing the internet and making use of it, Indians in rural regions are resisting the shifts e-commerce will bring, which somehow explains the great vitality in the Chinese economy.

In short, China's economic prowess lies largely in its digital economy, which sees all parts of society connect with one another to generate continuous momentum for the country to maintain strong growth.

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Chinese people to celebrate festival despite disease impact

The specter of the Wuhan novel coronavirus hovers over China with at least 544 confirmed cases across the country, and most provinces have reportedly had suspected cases, but due to the approach of the most important festival in Chinese tradition - Chinese New Year - many people across the nation maintained optimistic and will go ahead to celebrate the festival. 

Celebration for Chinese Lunar New Year held in Chinatown of Yangon Celebration for Chinese Lunar New Year held in Chinatown of Yangon

S.Korea's real GDP growth hits 10-year low in 2019

South Korea's real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, posted the lowest growth in 10 years last year, central bank data showed Wednesday. 

S.Korea posts lowest growth in a decade

South Korea's economy expanded at its slowest pace for a decade last year, the central bank said Wednesday.

Chinese economy in good position for future growth: US economist

The Chinese economy is in a good position for future growth as the country is making headway in further reform and opening-up at an appropriate pace, a senior US economist has said. 

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticism and report of China are a lie, reflect Western elites’ hypocrisy, anti China-rise !

HRW’s criticism of China is a lie

US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its World Report 2020 on Tuesday. Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, said in his speech that China has launched an assault on the international human rights system.

An NGO as it is, HRW has been openly coordinating with the US on its tough China policy. The organization's funding source and personnel structure have shown it will embed US national interests deeply into its goals. Roth once served as a US federal prosecutor. HRW's extreme antagonism toward China results from his prejudice and political stand.

The organization's main business is global human rights, but it seems it is unfamiliar with human rights conventions and standards under the UN system. The right to development - a human right that the UN stresses the most - is almost completely missed out in the latest HRW's report.

People like Roth are only suitable for talking big in New York's high society. If their interpretation of human rights is examined from the perspective of developing societies and emerging markets, people will easily find they are narrow-minded and paranoid. They are keen to show their sympathy for the lack of human rights in developing societies, but they have no idea what the most important thing is there.

It is acceptable to criticize China. But HRW has been propagating a huge lie by smearing China, a country where modern life has spread rapidly and people's living standards have been greatly raised. HRW has been living in an abnormal atmosphere of public opinion about China.

Have people like Roth ever visited Chinese cities and spoken with ordinary Chinese families? Have they ever been to the shopping malls and streets that have sprung up all over China, and talked with ordinary Chinese people there? Have they left nightclubs and walked back to the hotel at night in China? Is China's human rights system the worst in the world? Are they talking about human rights or the privileges of the very few followers of the US value?

The life span of the Chinese people is becoming longer. Conditions of food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, public health services and provisions for the aged have been improved. Pollution has been effectively controlled. Chinese people have become the main force of global tourism and studying abroad. China's internet is also one of the most developed worldwide. These have formed the basis of the continuing development of China's human rights.

China is different from the US and the West politically. Thus, China has its own characteristics in political participation and governance of public opinion. The Chinese system supports the country's development. Our system does not threaten that of the West and should gain respect from the West.

Some extreme Western political elites have attacked China violently for geopolitical purposes. People like Roth are not really advocating the general advancement of human rights, but are following the needs of US politics. They are tarnishing the great human rights cause of mankind, and should be ashamed of it.

People like Roth should go deep into a huge society like China and really understand what is going on there and what people really care about. The likes of Roth should seriously study the world, not arrogantly represent the world.

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HRW report reflects Western elites’ hypocrisy: analysts

Experts attend a side-event on China's human rights protection of ethnic minorities amid the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, July 2, 2019.

Criticizing China for "suppressing" human rights is the card that the West has been playing for decades. This reflects the hypocrisy and deep ignorance of arrogant Western elites who cannot give an objective assessment of other countries' situations, analysts said on Wednesday, in response to the latest report of nongovernmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Watch which deemed China as a global threat to human rights development.

In its 335-page World Report 2020, the New York-based NGO claimed that China is now a global threat to human rights. Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, claimed that the country is also using its "growing economic clout to silence critics and to carry out the most intense attack on the global system for enforcing human rights since that system began to emerge in the mid-20th century."

Roth was banned from entering Hong Kong on Sunday, about a month after the HRW was sanctioned by the Chinese central government for their "horrible activities" in instigating the months-long riots in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

The NGO, which claims it does not receive funds from the government, releases human rights reports every year, evaluating the global system for protecting human rights. However, many of its officials and members are former US federal government officials, and the NGO has been using its right to speak to export the ideological tendency, Chinese analysts said.

"To judge other countries at will by ignoring the facts is their way of doing things," an analysts close to a government-related think tank who preferred not to be named, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, another NGO, Freedom House, said in its latest report that Chinese media's overseas expansion posed "serious implications for the survival of open, democratic societies."

Rioters set up barricades on streets to block traffic in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2020. (Xinhua)

Long-term ignorance

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that HRW's China-related remarks, including its report, are devoid of facts and paint white as black, and that there is no need to discuss it.

"These two organizations have been viewing China from distorted views for a long time. Their China-related comments always ignore facts with no objectivity," Geng Shuang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a routine press conference.

"The state of the human rights situation in China is in the best of times," he noted.

Some China-related topics HRW highlighted in its 2020 report have appeared in previous reports, including criticism over so-called repressions of Uygur people, tightening controls on freedom of expression and the erosion of HKSAR's freedom. Also, HRW has always been enthusiastic about criticizing other countries and regions as well as paying close attention to topics on juridical fairness, racial discrimination, extortion, and confessions by torture.

Its 2020 report has also adopted the same biased way of depicting "old stories" with new arguments. For example, in the Hong Kong chapter, HRW claimed that a large number of protesters acted peacefully, but the police used excessive force by intentionally ignoring the legitimacy of police law enforcement.

This is not the first time HRW pointed its finger at other countries' internal affairs, coming up with reports filled with biased views and false evidence. It ignored cases of police beating African-Americans to death in the US or the infamous abuse of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, according to a letter jointly released in May 2014 by more than 130 scholars, mostly from the US, criticizing the HRW. Singapore's Ministry of Law also refuted the NGO criticism of proposed fake news laws in 2019 in Singapore.

The letter, calling on HRW to close its revolving door to the US government, noted that many members of the HRW are former CIA agents and former US officials. The organization's standard on human rights is in accordance with US diplomatic policies and interests, thus damaging its credibility and independence.

"It also reflects the lack of oversight of NGOs in international law. For example, what criteria does HRW use to evaluate human rights in other countries?" the analyst said, noting that it seriously undermines the joint efforts of other countries in the field of human rights.

A rioter starts a fire on a Hong Kong street corner. Photo: Cui Meng/ GT

Politically driven

Chinese analysts also noted that the funding and membership of the NGO linked it close to the US government, although it claims to be nongovernmental, and its goal is to work for the country's national interests.

A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth used to serve as a federal prosecutor, whose perception of China's human rights is embedded with hostility and political bias.

"They've been watching and criticizing other countries based on their understanding and idea of the West's concept of human rights. China has its own human rights concept, formulated on our social, economic and cultural background. But the Chinese concept was often disregarded by those NGOs," another anonymous expert told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Human rights include, first and foremost, the right to life, subsistence and development, the Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary in 2019. When HRW criticized China's Xinjiang policy, it turned a blind eye to the region, which used to fall victim to violent terrorist attacks that has killed innocent people but has been developing into a peaceful and prosperous place.

Its perception of China's human rights status also reflects the hypocrisy and arrogance of provocative Western elites, analysts said.

Though these NGOs claim to be politically neutral, it is impossible for them to completely ignore the political background and stance of Western countries, He Zhipeng, a professor of international human rights and legal education at Jilin University in Northeast China, told the Global Times.

"They usually take Western culture as the basis or ideological fortress, and always stand on the basis of the Western human rights ideology to observe and criticize other countries, while China's socio-economic and cultural background is often unheard in their investigation," he said.

Wang Yabin contributed to the story

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Cutting-edge satellite launched by private Chinese company: GalaxySpace

Galaxy Space plans to establish a low Earth orbit 5G constellation. Credit: Galaxy Space.
China’s most powerful low-orbiting communication satellite, also the biggest spacecraft ever built by a private Chinese company, was launched in Northwest China.

The GalaxySpace 1, designed and built by the Beijing-based startup GalaxySpace and launched yesterday, is also widely considered the country’s first 5G-capable satellite.

The 200kg satellite was lifted at 11.02am atop a Kuaizhou 1A rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert, according to a statement by GalaxySpace.

It has a transmission capacity of 10 Gigabits per second and uses multiple bands such as Q/V and Ka, the company said.

China has been going all-out to boost and promote 5G communication technology, regarding it as one of the major driving forces for future social and economic development.

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