Li Kai'er expected to bounce back strong from scoreless World Cup debut

"I love adversity. Stay tuned." 

China's first naturalized basketball player Li Kai'er, who made a scoreless debut for Team China at the FIBA World Cup on Saturday night in Manila, posted the two lines, coupled with a Chinese national flag icon and heart emojis, on social media on Sunday morning. 

Contributing only four rebounds and four assists, the 29-year-old, 2.06-meter-tall Minnesota Timberwolves forward, better known to National Basketball Association (NBA) fans as Kyle Anderson, missed all his nine shot attempts during the World Cup game against Serbia on Saturday. Team China swallowed a tough 105-63 loss with Li struggling to deliver a pace-setting performance.

Disappointed Chinese basketball fans rated Li's debut a meager 4.6 out of 10 points, one of the lowest of the team squad, with some even saying that his "assimilation" to the team should not mean playing at their level. 

When asked to comment on Li's first game with Team China in the World Cup, Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) Hall of Famer Liu Yudong told media that even in the NBA, Li is not a main scorer. 

"It would be difficult to rely on his individual performance to compete in the World Cup. Basketball fans should not overestimate the capability of him or the team." 

However, it is still too early to feel deflated or to look down on Team China's recruitment of its first naturalized player since growing pains are inevitable for both the team and its new floor general Li as the young squad goes through a period of adaption and adjustment.

Admittedly, despite having a shining resumé and being active for nine years and counting in the NBA, Li has hit a "rookie wall" in the international game under the FIBA basketball rules, Su Qun, one of the best-known basketball commentators in China, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Li has not played against any European powerhouses as strong as Serbia throughout his decade-long career within the NBA. It is hard for his signature slow-motion game style to cut when facing Serbia's well-disciplined defence, Su said. 

Outside failing to score, statistics showed that Li could be considered the worst performing individual in the China-Serbia faceoff - when he was on the court, China was losing 35 points more than when the team was without him. 

It also marked the most embarrassing debut at an international basketball game for any naturalized player worldwide so far, which, according to Su, shows that Li has not fully adapted to playing with the rest of the squad and that China's tactics system built around him has not yet been established.

Naturalizing Li so he could play for Team China before the World Cup and Paris 2024 Olympic Games was a carefully considered decision and so there is good reason to believe that Li and Team China can deliver well-engineered games, Wei Qi, a basketball commentator with the Beijing Radio and Television Network, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Also, it would be unrealistic to expect that the young man from New York could instantly adapt himself to the European basketball style that China's new head coach Aleksandar Djordjevic, who is from Serbia, is known for, Su noted. 

The only nine shot attempts showed that Li has a strong will to better coordinate with Djordjevic's team basketball play style, Wei said.  

Chinese basketball commentators and fans still have high faith in Li, and there could be a strong rebound in the remaining two games in the World Cup group competitions, where Team China is set to take on South Sudan and Puerto Rico. As they won't be going up against powerful Serbia, that means victory is much closer in reach for the team.  

Players with South Sudan who are mostly playing in the development league of the NBA or at that level are entirely different than those with Serbia. Although they also have great physicality, Li may find that kind of game more familiar and there is a great chance Li can deliver a great comeback individual show in the next game on Monday with South Sudan. 

The bad performance China had battling Serbia could also be the result of a "strategic retreat" for the sake of better preparation for matchups with more evenly matched rivals, which is quite common in international tournament games, analysts said. Therefore, there is only more hope that China will bounce back with force in the next games. 

China aspires to be the best-performing Asian team in order to win direct qualification for the Paris Olympics in 2024. All six Asian teams competing in the World Cup, including tournament hosts Japan and the Philippines, suffered losses in the first round. 

Winners of first gold medal in Hangzhou feel proud to win at hometown, aim high for Paris 2024

The Chinese duo Zou Jiaqi and Qiu Xiuping bagged the first gold medal of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou in the women's lightweight double sculls. The pair shared their proud feelings of winning in the hometown and their top goals for the Paris Olympics 2024. 

During an interview on Sunday afternoon, the duo shared with the Global Times their shiny gold medals, as well as their calloused and scarred hands.

They said they didn't feel exhausted or laborious because of it. "People in all walks of life have hard times. Since we chose this path, we must strive to be the best we can be," Qiu told the Global Times.

Talking about the match, Qiu said that she was extremely excited when she saw the national flag and heard the national anthem as they rowed past the terminal line. 

Zou, a Hangzhou local, was excited over the support she received at her hometown. "Usually, we only hear (spectators cheering) in the last 250 meters of the red buoys, but today we can hear it in the 500 meters, which is quite exciting.

Qiu also shared the excitement over the home crowds. "I would like to thank you all for coming today," she said. "I saw so many people paying attention to rowing today. I am really touched. I hope everyone will pay more attention to rowing in the future."

Speaking of the next goal - Paris 2024, the pair did not hide that they are reaching for the top podium. 

"Since we walked off the Hangzhou podium, Paris has become our goal," Qiu said. "We will restart from zero, completing every training session whole heartedly. We wish to go to the top in Paris."

Zou noted that the gold medal in the Asian Games will help them prepare and build self-confidence.

Zou said that she and her partner have developed a tremendous rapport in life. "We eat, live and sleep together, and will get to know each other more and more in life, from every detail, and then bring this tacit understanding to the boat."

In the match on Sunday morning, Zou Jiaqi and Qiu Xiuping finished well clear the other rowers, finishing at 7:06.78, about 10 seconds ahead of Team Uzbekistan in second, while Indonesia claimed the bronze medal.

Since joining hands, they have achieved a series of impressive results. In 2022, they finished second in this event at the World Rowing Cup in Belgrade. The pair has already qualified for the Paris Olympics through the 2023 Rowing World Championships.

On Sunday, the first matchday of the Hangzhou Asian Games, China's rowing bagged six gold medals, taking their all-time Asian Games rowing total to 104, including 98 golds, and they are likely to surpass the 100 gold medal-mark on Monday.

Former Liaoning sports chief Song Kai elected as CFA president

Former Liaoning sports official Song Kai was elected as president of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) at the organization's membership national conference on Monday. Soccer fans have pinned their hopes on Song to revitalize Chinese soccer following the start of an ongoing anti-graft campaign since November 2022 that has seen more than a dozen soccer-related officials investigated.

The 58-year-old has been working as a vice head of the preparatory group for the CFA election since June. Song has been the man at the helm of China's sports powerhouse Liaoning Province in Northeast China since 2016. 

During his tenure, the province successfully revitalized its "three major ball" games - soccer, basketball and volleyball - highlighted by its basketball team the Liaoning Flying Leopards' triple triumphs in the domestic basketball league CBA. 

"We will try our best to build a more united, more hardworking, more open, more transparent and more courageous CFA in the future," Song was quoted as saying at the conference.

Li Yingchuan, an incumbent deputy minister of China's General Administration of Sport, was elected the Party secretary of the CFA.

"We should learn from the profound lessons of systemic corruption in soccer, resolutely abandon the idea of quick success and instant benefits, be prepared for a long and hard struggle and adhere to the long-term success step by step," Li was quoted as saying.

Sun Wen, Yuan Yongqing, Yang Xu and Xu Jiren were elected as vice presidents of the CFA, with Chinese women's soccer legend Sun being the only vice president who remains in her position from the previous membership conference.

The 50-year-old Yuan, also named the CFA secretary-general, has past experiences serving in the Chinese Basketball Association. Yang, previously president of China's softball governing body, has been tasked to supervise China's professional soccer leagues in the future. Xu is a senior sports journalist from the Xinhua News Agency.

Gao Hongbo, a former vice president of CFA who remained intact amid the ongoing anti-graft campaign and was among the preparatory group for the CFA election, has been elected as the technical director of the association.

In addition to the president and vice presidents, the new 20-member executive committee elected by the conference includes female soccer star Wang Shuang and former men's national team captain Zheng Zhi. 

Earlier this year, Du Zhaocai, former deputy head of the General Administration of Sport of China and CFA vice chairman; Chen Xuyuan, former CFA president; as well as several other senior Chinese soccer officials have been put under probes for taking bribes since November 2022.

As the anti-corruption campaign is still underway, the possibility still exists that other soccer officials will be investigated, according to a Beijing-based soccer industry insider.

"It is wishful thinking to say that the damage done to the CFA due to corruption can be fully removed with new leadership," the expert said.

Protection phase begins for China’s 800-year-old Nanhai No.1 shipwreck

Archaeologists will perform desalination on the Nanhai (South China Sea) No.1, the shipwreck of a cargo ship from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and remove caissons for permanent protection, an expert from the Maritime Silk Road Museum of Guangdong in Yangjiang, South China's Guangdong Province, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Starting in 2013, excavation work on the shipwreck was officially finished in November, 2023. The upcoming work marks the beginning of a new phase as the focus of efforts shifts from excavation to overall preservation, research, interpretation, use, exhibition, and academic exchanges, according to a press release the museum sent to the Global Times on Friday.

Chinese archaeological teams have transferred the ship's hull to the museum, the press release said.

After the completion of a long-term support structure for the Nanhai No.1, the plan for the upcoming years involves the removal of a submerged box that has accompanied the ship's hull for many years. This will allow the public to have a closer look at the true appearance of the ship's body, read the release.

Ye Daoyang, deputy director of the museum's Underwater Archaeology and Technology Department, told the Global Times that the National Cultural Heritage Administration initiated the comprehensive protection and excavation project for Nanhai No.1 in November 2013. 

From 2013 to 2023, Chinese archaeologists have focused on the comprehensive excavation phase after salvaging the entire ship, which involved cleaning the silt and artifacts inside the ship's body, leaving only the ship's structure. The next steps will include mapping the ship's body and performing desalination protection.

According to Ye, protecting and preserving a sunken wooden ship from the sea is a global-level challenge, and the Nanhai No.1, an 800-year-old shipwreck, is entering a critical phase in the long-term protection, research, and restoration of the ship's body and underwater artifacts. Various tasks, including the effective removal of sulfur-iron compounds and soluble salts, and dehydration and shaping, will be undertaken in the coming years to ensure the long-term and safe preservation of the Nanhai No.1 and its underwater artifacts.

In August 2023, archaeologists successfully completed the extraction of artifacts from the ship's hold. Exceeding 180,000 items, the recovered artifacts include various kinds of ceramics, gold, silver, copper, human remains, marine life, and terrestrial plants and animals, as well as glass and other material specimens. The ceramics include products from most of the ceramic kiln sites of the ship's era. The total weight of iron concretions exceeded 130 tons, CCTV reported.

Archaeologists once commented that the Nanhai No.1 archaeological project has set a benchmark for underwater archaeology in China, while providing a Chinese solution for the comprehensive protection of sunken cultural heritage worldwide. This excavation has enriched the historical records of the Maritime Silk Road, offering a clear glimpse into international maritime trade 800 years ago and showcasing the history of this important trade route to the world in the 21st century, according to CCTV.

The ‘E-commerce crosstalk’ ignites frenzy on Chinese online shopping

“One, two, three, post the product links!” “Please press the button and give us a thumb-up” “exactly!” the “vibe group,” which means a group of people who are pumping some life into live-streaming and coordinating with live streamers top help steer customers to buy products. The group also billed as the “E-commerce straight man/crosstalk” by Chinese users has stirred a craze in recent weeks on Chinese media platforms such as Douyin and Sina Weibo. 

The “E-commerce crosstalk” is said to earn 8000 yuan ($1,450) per month depending on its wisecrack sentences. “Learning these sentences, you can easily earn over 10,000 yuan ($1,552) per month, quipped by several netizens.” 

For the “E-commerce crosstalk” or people who coordinate with live streamers to help sell their merchandise, it is their specialization. However, others believe that this is confusing to consumers. 

The “E-commerce crosstalk” is also known as the center control of the live stream. The work of the center control spans across the pre, mid and post-stage of the live stream, and needs to be responsible for equipment debugging, backstage operation, maintenance of the live stream order, data review and other contents. 

They usually create a warming vibe to help live streamers sell products such as “I want 100k likes, could you guys help me to get them, please” or “Post product links!” These are normal psychological suggestions for customers which don’t break any of the rules of how to conduct business.  

While, the “E-commerce crosstalk” group doesn’t just control the tempo, they also have another important role—they create a sense of urgency for customers, making them buy now, such as “My friends, the last one! Hurry, buy it now! ” “How many left? No, almost out of stock, only 30 left!” “Buy more today! hurry up my friends! Go to the yellow cart, find the 1st link! Great price, great quality!” 

“These practices are creating an illusion of inventory constraints to mislead customers,” Fan Xiaolin, a Beijing-based lawyer told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Legally, this is infringement of the consumer’s right by means of crosstalk, bullet chat and false propaganda. And those who bring rhythm to the live stream and cause chaos in the public order of the network will be held criminally liable, he added.

Meanwhile, the law on the protection of the rights of the consumer in China also stipulates that they have the right to be informed, and that consumers have the right to know the truth about the goods they buy, use or services they receive. Operators who provide consumers with information about the quality, performance,  and expiration date of goods or services should be truthful and comprehensive, and advertising or marketing should not be false or misleading.  

The unrealistic atmosphere created by the “E-commerce crosstalk” can easily mislead consumers, causing them to make irrational purchases. The 2020 China Live E-commerce Industry Research Report shows that the average return rate of live e-commerce is as high as 30 percent to 50 percent, which is much higher than the traditional e-commerce return rate of 10 percent to 15 percent. 

To address these concerns, Fan advised that when consumers find that for the sale of goods they encounter false advertising, violation of rights and interests, they can promptly collect evidence and go to the relevant departments to file a complaint or file a lawsuit. They can also ask the seller to pay compensation.

In September of this year, Bozhou Public Security Bureau, East China's Anhui Province, took down an illegal business criminal gang. They were buying cell phones to build a server room, and organize personnel for an e-commerce platform to provide followers of the live stream interaction. They had been posting fake reviews and a false number of sales to increase the popularity of the merchants and improve their sales. 

Italy: Ambassador visits Guangdong, deepens friendship

Italian Ambassador to China Massimo Ambrosetti recently visited South China's Guangdong Province and met with Chen Jianwen, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guangdong Provincial Committee and director of the Publicity Department of the Guangdong Provincial Committee.

Ambassador Ambrosetti recalled Italy's long history of cooperative relations with Guangdong. This relationship is rooted in history and has matured over the centuries through the efforts of important historical figures such as Matteo Ricci, he said. 

During the meeting, Ambrosetti and Chen discussed deepening trade and cultural exchanges, and strengthening of people-to-people contacts between the two countries. Meanwhile, Ambassador Ambrosetti also met with Sun zhiyang, acting mayor of the Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong . The ambassador recalled the excellent cooperation that has always existed between Italy and Guangzhou, which builds on the friendship that the capital of Guangdong Province has with the Italian cities of Bari, Genoa, Milan, Padua, and Turin.

The ambassador also visited Shenzhen and experienced the rapid development of the city compared to his first visit in 1992. Shenzhen Vice Mayor Wang Shourui introduced its economic and social development situation to the ambassador, while Ambrosetti pointed out that Italy has unrivaled advantages in the fields of industry and fashion, and that there is huge cooperation between Italy and Shenzhen in these fields. 

"Italy is the world's fashion capital and has had a positive impact on the design sector in Shenzhen, where the creativity of Italian designers is particularly appreciated. This year, the relation links between Shenzhen and Italy have also been gradually strengthened due to increased direct flights," he alleged. 

The ambassador also awarded the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy to Sun Qijie, who is responsible for the Sea World Culture and Arts Center. This is a great honor in Italy, and was awarded to Sun to recognize his contribution to the dissemination of Italian culture in South China.

International body established for performing arts

The World Association for Performing Arts (WAPA) was unveiled on Monday in Beijing with a total of 30 institutions from 19 countries having joined the organization.

Initiated by the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in 2019, the international body will focus on strengthening global cultural exchanges, said Wang Ning, head of the NCPA and chairperson of the WAPA.

"The global performing arts industry shares a common destiny, and over the years, the NCPA has been committed to promoting the cultural integration of various countries and fostering people-to-people exchanges between China and foreign countries," Wang said. 

The alliance aims to provide an open and multilateral platform for communication, promote the international development of the performing arts, strengthen the integration of technology and performing arts, and facilitate mutual exchanges and prosperity among world civilizations, according to Wang. 

"As the initiator of the WAPA, the NCPA will continue to work with global artistic institutions to support the development of performing arts, join hands to weave a spiritual bond of beauty and commonality in the global performing arts," Wang noted.

The alliance will focus on enhancing operational capabilities, promoting ongoing collaboration between institutions, and accelerating the transformation of high-quality results to build a broader platform for mutual exchanges among civilizations.

Cormac Simms, the administrative director of the Royal Opera in the UK, a council member of the WAPA, said the organization will boost international cooperation. 

"Theater, music and the performing arts are hugely important, and they could be meaningful for all races," Simms said. "The WAPA promotes cultural diversity and exchanges, which also facilitate international cooperation. Together, we will make progress."

Rory Jeffes, the international engagement advisor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia, said the organization could bridge divides.

"The WAPA is an opportunity for us across the whole world to be able to bridge divides and to share the common humanity that brings us all together," Jeffes told the Global Times. 

"It's not about language. It's not about our individual cultures. It's not about anything other than a celebration of what it is that makes it special for us all to be human while sharing this planet together." 

Marcelo Lopes, executive director of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, echoed the idea that the organization could bring people together.

"We believe music could pull people together. Putting people onto the same page, so we can understand each other. We can have more tolerance through diversity. That's what we need," Lopes told the Global Times. 

Xu Zhong, head of the Shanghai Opera House, said the establishment of WAPA is sure to facilitate a connection between domestic performing arts and international renowned institutions. 

"The world's symphony orchestras are paying attention to China and the development of Chinese symphony music. It can be predicted that there will be intensive cooperation upcoming between orchestras. I think this is very gratifying for domestic performing artists," Xu said.

A parallel symphony music forum will also be held until Tuesday, with a focus on expanding the influence of performing arts institutions among a younger demographic.

China to increase support for drug control in Greater Mekong Subregion

China announced on Wednesday that, in support of international drug control efforts, the Chinese government will increase its annual drug control donation to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to $2 million starting in 2024. This funding will primarily be designated for the development of the Mekong Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The announcement was made during the 14th Ministerial Meeting of the MOU on Drug Control in the Greater Mekong Subregion, held in Beijing on Wednesday. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Mekong MOU.

More than 80 people attended the meeting, including delegates from the governments of the six signatory countries, UNODC representatives, and diplomatic envoys in China from relevant countries.

The Mekong MOU, jointly established by Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the UNODC, aims to address significant drug issues in the region.

During the meeting, the delegates deliberated on and approved a series of collaborative documents, including the Subregional Action Plan (XII), Beijing Declaration, and China's initiative on Jointly Addressing the Synthetic Drug Problem in the Greater Mekong Subregion by Signatories to the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control in the Greater Mekong Subregion ("China's Initiative").

Among these, the Subregional Action Plan is a foundational document of the Mekong MOU. Its revised version provides a more objective assessment of the regional drug situation and is intended to effectively promote regional drug control cooperation.

According to the summary of the 2022 Mekong River joint patrol and law enforcement meeting, law enforcement authorities from China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand jointly solved a total of 22 cases throughout the year, apprehended 638 criminal suspects, and seized 3.19 tons of drugs. This effectively curbed the rampant trend of various illegal activities in the Mekong River Basin.

The Chinese government will maintain a strong stance on drug control, upholding the international drug control system based on the three UN drug control conventions. Wang Xiaohong, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security, emphasized the importance of deepening international drug control cooperation.

Heads of delegations from all parties delivered speeches during the meeting, calling for continued collaboration among the mechanism's parties to collectively address drug control challenges.

Hamdan bin Mohammed launches Dubai Economic Leadership Program to prepare competent national talent to lead Dubai’s vital sectors

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, launched the Dubai Economic Leadership Programme, which aims to prepare the next generation of competent Emirati talent to lead Dubai's vital sectors by enriching them with knowledge of the latest economic trends and expertise.

The programme, organised by the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development (MBRCLD) in collaboration with strategic international partners prominent in the field of economy, aims to prepare national talent through quality education and targeted activities that help them gain essential future leadership.

Investing in people

In a post published on his official account on X, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "Today we launch the 'Dubai Economic Leaders Programme'. Our goal is to prepare Emirati talent who will assume the responsibility to elevate Dubai's economy and its future, fulfil its economic agenda, D33, and ensure sustainable growth.

"I will personally oversee the progression of this year-long programme, which falls under the supervision of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development (MBRCLD). The nomination and application process is open to those who see themselves as part of the future of Dubai and the UAE.

"With a wealth of creative minds across all sectors, Dubai has enough resilience and proactivity to ensure a leading position at the forefront of the world's most diverse and fastest-growing economies," he added.

Promising opportunities

The Dubai Economic Leadership Programme aims to develop quality new themes that help develop promising national competencies, provide the right conditions to nurture leadership skills and support outstanding talent, while also working towards the goals of D33, in terms of doubling Dubai's economic growth over the next decade, and bolstering its position among the world's top three cities.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development will open registration in the programme between September and October.

Relocation of Gaza residents extremely dangerous: UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that the relocation of Gaza residents from the north to the south as ordered by the Israeli military is extremely dangerous.

After days of airstrikes, the Israeli military has ordered the Palestinians in Gaza City and its surroundings to move to the south of the territory, said Guterres. "Moving more than 1 million people across a densely populated warzone to a place with no food, water, or accommodation, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous - and in some cases, simply not possible."

Hospitals in the south of Gaza are already at capacity and will not be able to accept thousands of new patients from the north. The health system is on the brink of collapse. Morgues are overflowing; 11 healthcare staff have been killed while on duty; and there have been 34 attacks on health facilities in the past few days, he said before walking into a Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The entire territory of Gaza faces a water crisis as infrastructure has been damaged and there is no electricity to power pumps and desalination plants, he added.

Guterres said the situation in Gaza has reached a dangerous new low.

The horrific terror attacks by Hamas on Israel that killed more than 1,200 people and injured thousands more on Saturday were followed by intense Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has already killed 1,800 people and injured thousands more, he noted.

Guterres called for immediate humanitarian access throughout Gaza so that fuel, food and water can be provided to people in need. He called for respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law, and for the protection of civilians. He also called for the immediate release of hostages in Gaza.

"It is imperative that all parties - and those with influence over them - do everything possible to achieve these steps," said Guterres.

The UN chief also warned against hate speech stoked by the conflict - across the Middle East and around the world.

"Dehumanizing language that incites violence is never accepted. I call on all leaders to speak out against Antisemitism, anti-Muslim bigotry and hate speech of all kinds. This is a time for the international community to come together around protecting civilians and finding a lasting solution to this unending cycle of death and destruction," he said.