A panorama of the future of Chinese society mirrored in proposals, motions in two sessions

Editor's Note:

The second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will conclude on March 11 and 10, respectively. The two sessions are a crucial window into China's whole-process people's democracy and will offer the world a window through which to observe the country's development and understand its policy direction for the following year.

The Global Times has initiated a series of articles under the theme "understanding China through motions and proposals." This article, the second installment of the series, glimpses into what kind of new social trends China is striving to create through the proposals and motions heatedly discussed in the two sessions.
A society that lightens burden for the young

During the two sessions, the well-known Chinese media personality Bai Yansong called for a more youth friendly society to help reduce their burdens, rather than blindly blaming younger generations for "ken lao" (or solely relying on parents). Bai's comments quickly won applause on the internet.

"Ken lao" has been a popular internet term in recent decades, describing a phenomenon of young people choosing to retreat to their homes and receive financial support from their families due to the competitive work environment.

China's 2024 Government Work Report pointed out to strengthen social security by reducing the burden of family planning, child-rearing, and education. Bai fully backs it, while calling for more reflection on how society could ramp up efforts to provide practical measures to reduce the burden on the younger generation.

From Bai's remarks, to motions calling for more affordable housing for young people; from proposals to including childcare in public services to empower young parents, from voices of lawmakers and political advisors to calls for more workplace off time for young employees … At this year's two sessions, issues that concern young people around employment, marriage and childbirth, housing, and healthcare have received attention from the public.

"China will improve the population development strategy, establish a policy system to boost birth rates, and bring down the costs of pregnancy and childbirth, child rearing and schooling," noted a Report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC. In 2024, many local governments have proposed that they will introduce more policies to boost birth rates.

According to the 2024 Report on Child-Rearing Costs released by YuWa Population Research think tank, raising a child to the age of 18 costs 6.3 times the per capita GDP. Financial pressure has also become a major killer for many young Chinese couples who are afraid to have children.

During the two sessions, many CPPCC National Committee members and NPC deputies have suggested integrating childcare services into the public service system.

Wu Ruijun, a member of CPPCC National Committee, pointed out that the childcare service institutions in China set a relatively high price, as they're often faced with high operational costs such as rent and labor expenses. NPC deputy Zhong Can further suggested that relevant policies should be established, providing free or low-cost venues for universal childcare services and thus reducing their operational costs to the minimum.

More policies that promote work-life balance have become a new highlight of this year's two sessions.

NPC deputy Huo Qigang suggested increasing the number of days off for young people, implementing a mandatory paid annual leave policy, and improving regulations on illegal practices by companies, because he believes that young Chinese people today have obviously short annual leave.

Similarly, political advisor Lü Guoquan from Hong Kong delegation proposed to enshrine the right to rest after work in law, and to increase the cost of illegal overtime work by companies to rectify the prevalent culture of overtime work.

Lü stated in a media interview that in the age of the internet, digital information technology has blurred the "boundaries" between work and life, with some employers still assigning work to employees remotely through platforms like WeChat after work hours, requiring them to respond to work-related messages and sacrificing their personal rest time.

Therefore, Lü suggested introducing relevant offline rest rights in labor laws and increasing the cost of illegal overtime work imposed by companies.

CPPCC National Committee member Jiang Shengnan called for reducing the burden on grass-roots workers in her proposal, reducing the cumbersome formalities in the workplace and avoiding wasting a large amount of time and energy on report filling and material writing. She suggested the effective use of big data platforms to coordinate and improve the efficiency of grass-roots work.

"We can tell from the two sessions that China places high hopes on the youth and intends to ease their burden. One keyword for this year's two sessions is the new quality productive forces, with young people being the mainstay. There are proposals and motions aiming to enhance the productivity of young people by reducing their burdens. For example, there is a proposal that technological workers should be free from tedious administrative work. The relevant measures and policies fully demonstrate the effectiveness of our socialist market economy system and reflect that the Party and the government do care for our young people," Su Wei, a professor from the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, told the Global Times.

A society driven by scientific, tech innovation

The 2024 Government Work Report says that innovative development of the digital economy will be promoted, an Artificial Intelligence Plus initiative will be launched, and the country will consolidate and enhance its leading position in industries such as intelligent connected new-energy vehicles.

This not only demonstrates China's ambition in the field of emerging technologies, but also reflects that artificial intelligence has become a new driving force for economic and social development. Artificial intelligence has also become one of the hottest topics during the two sessions.

NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members at the two sessions discussed the future development of the artificial intelligence industry from different perspectives, providing ideas for the future development of China's artificial intelligence industry.

Lei Jun, NPC deputy, also the founder of Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi, proposed four motions, focusing on areas such as green and low-carbon, artificial intelligence, intelligent driving, and intelligent manufacturing.

In terms of artificial intelligence, Lei suggested to absorb artificial intelligence courses into the compulsory education stage, promoting artificial intelligence majors in universities, and encouraging large enterprises and training institutions to cultivate application-oriented talents in artificial intelligence.

Suggestions for the development of robots and intelligent manufacturing industry were also heatedly discussed in the two sessions. This year's key point "new quality productive forces" is also reflected on core element of technological innovation.

For example, China's robot industry is developing rapidly and is the world's largest consumer and producer of robots. High-end manufacturing plays an important role in China's economy. However, currently, more than 90 percent of robots used in high-end manufacturing are monopolized by foreign brands from developed Western countries.

In response to this, CPPCC National Committee member Sun Zhiqiang suggested that a national robot association should be established to create an innovative ecosystem for the robot industry that integrates technology, talent, platforms, finance, policies, and international cooperation, to promoting cross-sectoral coordination and achieve new quality productive forces.

Regional governments are also prioritizing innovation and emerging industries in their government reports this year. For instances, Central China's Anhui plans to become an innovation hub for quantum information, fusion energy and deep space exploration; while the city of Changsha in Central China is comprehensively building a global research and development center.

"Since the beginning of the reform and opening-up, the strategy for invigorating China through science and education has always been our focus. Today, only champions survive in the fierce global technological competition. That's why we are mobilizing the entire society to catch up with the new technological revolution," said Su.

A society that keeps high-level opening-up

In recent months, a series of measures have been implemented, sending a clear signal that China is steadfastly committed to expanding high-level opening-up to the outside world.

China introduced new immigration measures to encourage international travel to China; removed all restrictions on foreign investment in the manufacturing sector; issued "24 measures" to further optimize the foreign investment environment and has intensified efforts to attract foreign investment.

"One of the most core features of high-level opening-up to the outside world is institutional openness," Gu Xueming, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the media. He said that at this year's two sessions, how to steadily expand institutional openness in terms of rules, regulations, management and standards have attracted attention from the public.

Keywords such as new driving forces for foreign trade, cross-border e-commerce, supply chain, foreign investment, and institutional opening have frequently appeared in local government work reports and motions and proposals of delegates.

In last year's economic "report card," China's new energy vehicle production and sales accounted for over 60 percent of the global market share; exports of electric vehicles, lithium batteries, and photovoltaic products - the "new three items" - increased by nearly 30 percent.

In the eyes of NPC deputy Lin Zhiying, China has a massive consumer market that drives the global economy. China is cultivating new foreign trade momentum, strengthening global supply chain management, expanding overseas markets and investing overseas.

Su Wei believes that the motions and proposals delivered by NPC deputies and CPPCC National Committee members demonstrate the concerted efforts of the Party and the government to create a more friendly society, which can achieve the greatest possible convergence of interests.

"It's normal to encounter problems on the path of development. What matters is that we have the courage to face these problems and the methods to solve them. The motions and proposals are pooling people's wisdom, and bringing Chinese people together to forge ahead," said Su.

China, France release joint declaration on AI governance, agreeing to work closer

China and France on Monday released a joint declaration on artificial intelligence (AI) and global governance during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to France, with the two heads of state agreeing to take measures to work closer on addressing AI risks, strengthening cooperation and global governance of AI to promote "secure, reliable, and trustworthy AI."

The declaration, consisting of 10 sub-agreements, said that President Xi and French President Emmanuel Macron firmly believe the importance of continued dialogue between the two countries in providing lasting solutions to global challenges and have decided to strengthen China-France relations as a driving force for international governance in addressing global challenges.

It is an add-on agreement following the consensus reached in the China-France Joint Declaration on April 7, 2023. 

The declaration noted that China and France both fully acknowledge the crucial role of AI in development and innovation, the profound impact of its rapid development, as well as the potential and existing risks associated with this technology. 

Thus, the two sides unanimously believe that promoting the development and security of AI and pushing for appropriate international governance is crucial, and are committed to taking effective measures to address these risks associated with this technology. 

Both are on the same page over the basic rules for AI governance. They agreed to take into account the flexibility required for the rapid development of technology, while providing necessary protection for personal data, the rights of users, and the rights of users whose works are used by AI.

They also commit to promoting secure, reliable, and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems, adhering to the principle of "AI for good." 

Another keyword mentioned in the declaration is "cooperation." The declaration said that international cooperation in AI governance will rely on work conducted at the United Nations level and China and France will help strengthen the network capabilities of all countries, especially developing countries, to address various network threats related to AI development, and bridge the digital divide among developing countries.

China is willing to participate in the AI summit that France will host in 2025 and related preparatory work. China also invites France to participate in a high-level meeting on global governance of AI for World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC). 

The WAIC is China's top-level AI event held in Shanghai each year. This year's event will take place from July 4 to 6.

Last year, on the field of AI governance, China, together with more than 20 countries, signed the "Bletchley Declaration" on November 1.

Modernization of China’s border region with Myanmar brings mutual growth, aids in preservation of Wa ethnic culture

Walking through the border villages along the China-Myanmar border in Lincang, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, one is greeted by traditional wooden houses, their intricate carvings and colorful decorations reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the local ethnic groups. 

The last decade has witnessed the local government's great efforts in the governance of border trade, tourism, river and lake management, and ecosystem conservation, to create a prosperous rural model, while emphasizing ethnic unity.

In June 2019, Lincang took the lead in initiating the construction of modernized border villages. Today, 241 villages glitter like a string of beautiful pearls along the more than 290 kilometers of border in Lincang, lighting the southwestern border of China. The area has also received particular attention from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In August, 2021, Xi encouraged veteran Party chiefs from border villages of Southwest China's Yunnan Province to play an exemplary role in leading villagers in building a beautiful homeland, maintaining ethnic unity, and safeguarding territorial integrity, the Xinhua News Agency reported.  

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in his letter replying to 10 veteran Party chiefs from nine border villages of Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County. 

Xi said he was very glad to hear the country's poverty-relief drive has brought about profound changes for locals, and said he could feel the Wa people's faith and trust in the Party and the country.

In his letter, Xi said that eliminating poverty is a vital step toward better lives for the people, and he called for continued efforts to vitalize rural areas, boost development in border regions to benefit the people living there, pursue the common prosperity of all ethnic groups, and promote prosperity and stability in border areas.

Cangyuan, the county with the largest ethnic Wa population, has made remarkable progress in improving people's well-being since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012. Locals now have better access to safe housing, drinking water, medical services and schooling.

By the end of 2019, all 40,000-plus impoverished people from the county's 67 poverty-stricken villages had shaken off poverty.

The Global Times found a group of Wa women sitting together and skillfully weaving bamboo baskets and other handicrafts at the central square of the village. The women work against a backdrop of beautifully adorned doorsteps, further showcasing their creativity and their diligent, harmonious, and joyful life as inheritors of traditional culture.

Villagers told the Global Times that local people have a common awareness that "ecological areas should be protected like our eyes."

The Nanlun River National Nature Reserve located in the middle section of the China-Myanmar border, for example, has a forest coverage rate of up to 93.8 percent. 

Thanks to great efforts in habitat restoration and wildlife conservation in the reserve in recent years, previously endangered species such as the binturong and the Chinese serow can be found there. The calves of three Asian elephants have been monitored for four consecutive years, and multiple new plant species have been discovered, demonstrating significant achievements in biodiversity conservation.

A better environment

Guomen New Village in Cangyuan, which was built in October 2019, is a village on the mountainside with strong ethnic Wa characteristics. The refreshing and exquisite farmhouse courtyards attract many tourists who wish to experience the unique charm of ethnic culture and border village living.

In the village's Wa cultural square, the slogan "Observing Two Countries in One Village" is eye-catching.

Guomen New Village's chief, Bao Aibao, told the Global Times that the ethnic Wa people in China and Myanmar share the same ancestry, language, and customs, and maintain friendly relations. In recent years, many favorable measures in the village have driven the economic development of neighboring towns in northern Myanmar.

Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County, for instance, has made great efforts in recent years to plan and construct urban and rural water supply systems and consolidate the construction of water conservancy infrastructure in border areas in order to provide stable and clean water sources for both Chinese and Myanmar residents through cross-basin infrastructure, benefiting downstream residents in Myanmar.

"The new village has also planned to build a commercial and logistics special area and a border trade market. A centralized market can lower transportation costs and make business more convenient," he said. Bao used to do business on the China-Myanmar border, trading agricultural products such as konjac, coix seed, black fungus, and soybeans.

With the joint efforts from both China and Myanmar to combat rampant cross-border telecommunications fraud, more tourists now have confidence in visiting the villages along the China-Myanmar border, Bao said.
During the fieldtrip of the second Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Joint Media Tour, foreign media reporters along the Mekong River countries highly praised the wisdom of China's border village water management and ecological conservation, and were eager to see such successes replicated in their own countries.

Bao also said that despite of the recent armed conflict in northern Myanmar, border villages on the Chinese side have not been affected. The villagers have not heard any gunshots or sounds of fighting, partly because the Wa State across the border is not a focal point in the conflict.

Liu Yun, a research fellow at the Chinese think tank Taihe Institute, told the Global Times that the outbreak of conflict in northern Myanmar has limited impact on border villages in China. The response from the Chinese side mainly involved implementing preventive measures and increasing border patrols to ensure the safety and security of border areas.

Liu also noted that, in recent years, there have been positive developments in the governance of China's border villages. This includes the implementation of improved industrial policies and other measures. These improvements have had a ripple effect. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of people participating in cross-border trade and production activities.

Chinese MSS releases cartoon episode to enhance public awareness as foreign organizations covert China’s data resources

As January 10 marks the fourth Chinese People's Police Day, the Ministry of State Security warns on Tuesday that in recent years, some overseas organizations have repeatedly coveted China's important data resources, and external data security threats have emerged in an endless stream. The Ministry has also released the latest episode of the classic Chinese cartoon Black Cat Detective to enhance public awareness on data security.

This time, the criminal duo, Monkey Eagle and One-Ear, attempted to jeopardize forest security by stealing residents' data information. However, their actions had already been discovered by the Forest Security Bureau. Led by Detective Black Cat, the Forest Security Bureau team fought back, utilizing high-tech methods such as artificial intelligence. In the end, the criminal gang that posed a threat to forest security was brought to justice.

The vast ocean of data is like the oil resources of an industrial society, containing enormous productivity and business opportunities. Whoever controls the core data controls the resources and initiative for development, making it a coveted target for forest criminal organizations and lawbreakers. When these important data are leaked, various problems and contradictions arise, such as disorder in forest transactions, paralysis of public transportation, loss of personal property, and disclosure of residents' privacy. Some often-overlooked channels and platforms are often the source of information leaks.

In the latest episode, through the collaborative operations of the electronic surveillance team and analysis team, Detective Black Cat successfully captured a criminal gang led by One-Ear, dealing a heavy blow to external forces threatening forest security and effectively safeguarding forest security.

Data security is an important area of national security. Safeguarding data security is safeguarding national security, defending data sovereignty is defending national sovereignty, and protecting data security is guarding a better future.

In recent years, some foreign organizations have repeatedly coveted China's important data resources, and external threats to data security have been emerging. National security agencies steadfastly implement the overall national security concept, and in collaboration with relevant departments, they vigorously crack down on illegal and criminal activities in accordance with the law, timely eliminate major security risks such as data theft and leaks, and effectively safeguard our country's important data security, the ministry said.

BRI to keep shining over next decade with focus on high quality, people-centered and sustainable approach despite 'hideous media campaigns'

The year of 2024 marks the beginning of the second decade of the development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global cooperation platform China proposed in 2013 to support and add vitality to economic globalization and help resolve global development challenges and improve global governance system. How will the "the global project of the century" navigate in the next 10 years? And how should it adapt to cope with the ever-changing global geopolitical landscape? The Global Times (GT) invited a number of Chinese and foreign scholars to share their perspectives. 

BRI's next 10 years development characterized by high quality, people-centered and sustainable approach

BRI's next 10 years development will be characterized by high quality, people-centered, and sustainable approach, this is to ensure that the development best serves the common interests of all countries and benefits of cooperation reach all individuals. 

The West is so jealous of the BRI and has maliciously accused China of engaging in so-called "debt trap diplomacy" to discredit the BRI. That was a complete failure propaganda.

In the next decade, just to avoid any negative view about the BRI, all the BRI investments and collaborations must be transparent and characterized by high quality, people-centered, and sustainable approach. As already people are seeing the tangible benefits, the best way to stop the negative propaganda is to further turn the people of partner countries into more ambassadors.

The BRI also will progress toward new models of growth and development in new fields such as green development, digital cooperation, technology innovation, international cooperation in healthcare. The initiative's next decade goal will be to build a global community with a shared future. This is what many developing nations like Sri Lanka are dreaming of, as some of the Western nations are trying to restrict the development as privilege for them only.

A number of countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Ethiopia in recent days have been officially invited to join the BRICS. Over the next decade, the BRI will further synergize with BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which all represent the Global South that is emerging as a key player in international relations and is demanding a change in the current unfair and Western-centric international world order.

The further development of the BRI will extend its global influence and strengthen trade ties with a wide range of emerging market economies. It will create new economic architecture and find alternative pathways for common currency and payment systems which cannot be weaponized by the US and its Western allies.

I also suggest India join the BRI in the future. This will be a game-changer not only for India and South Asia, but also can benefit the Global South. India will also surely benefit from China's capital and technology know-how. 

The author is the director of Belt & Road Initiative Sri Lanka (BRISL)

BRI keeps shining on diverse global stage despite 'hideous media campaigns, Western-led development approach'

Propelled by in-built features of resilience and sustainability, the new year of 2024 will keep on catalyzing the BRI to spur green growth in all shades of developments.  

Overseas BRI projects will inch toward being greener, with a broader and more transformative focus on environmental sustainability. It emphasized the firm commitment of China, as a responsible international stakeholder, to encourage a low-carbon global economy. 

As a partner country of the BRI, Pakistan will continue to be a beneficiary of a greener BRI vision. With the help of more Chinese companies, it is highly likely that Pakistan's solar energy market size is expected to grow from 1.3 gigawatts to 9.77 gigawatts in coming years. Chinese companies individually and in collaboration with Pakistan's local enterprises have already launched numerous EVs projects in the country, facilitating its greener transformation. 

With regards to challenges, the hideous media campaigns to dwarf the role of BRI on global stage are a major challenge in the next decade. Meanwhile, BRI will continue to face Western-led development approach that encourages protectionism, zero-sum game, de-risking phenomenon, bloc politics and cold-war mentality. 

It is important to note that BRI is not a vehicle of China's economic growth alone, but provides a pathway to shared global prosperity.

The BRI, as an engine of international developmental growth, has immense potential to keep shining across a diverse global stage. It has many dimensions and vibrancies. Across the spectrum of its engagements, the BRI will continue fostering collaboration in an array of domains, spanning economics, culture and ecology. In the past decade, with focus on land-based roads, sea routes, airways and soft connectivity, the BRI has enhanced rules and standards as well as people-to-people connectivity in various arenas like education, culture, sports, tourism, and archeology.

As per my perspective, the BRI and other initiatives proposed by China, such as the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative, will chart out a new course of common global development and build a global community of shared future characterized by multilateralism, co-existence, rule-based world order, mutual respect, peace and harmony.

The opinion is based on an interview with Yasir Habib Khan, president of Institute of International Relations and Media Research in Pakistan.

With strengthened BRI cooperation, Chinese yuan likely to become the third largest global currency in the next decade

There are five focal areas of BRI development looking ahead to the coming decade, including education, new digital basic infrastructure, finance, agriculture and healthcare, some of which are "small yet smart" projects that will significantly improve the livelihood of people in BRI partner countries, especially to the developing countries. The emphasis also echoes with the goal of BRI to build a global community with a shared future. 

Take finance as an example. Some BRI partner countries lack modern financial systems and financial trading markets, a key in financing and the expansion of the private sector. On the other hand, China has mature financial markets, as exemplified by the various stock exchanges in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen as well as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Under the BRI, not only will China help the developing countries to build modern financial system, but also in newly emerging fields such as fintech and green financing.  

In the next decade, the global geopolitical landscape will become more complex and present greater uncertainty. It is likely that the US could further abuse dollar hegemony and weaponize the dollar to impose unilateral sanctions that endangers global financial order. Against the backdrop, it is important that BRI partner countries sign more local currency swap deals with China, expand the use of Chinese currency yuan in trade, payment, and global settlement. And the joint building of a global yuan payment system could then provide a shield against arbitrary hegemony practices that could weight on a country's development prospects.  

I believe that with strengthened BRI economic cooperation, the yuan is poised to become the third largest global currency after the dollar and euro in the next decade. The Chinese yuan is currently the world's fifth most traded currency after the dollar, the euro, the UK pound and Japanese yen. Overtaking the Japanese yen could take place in the next three to five years.

The opinion is based on an interview with Liang Haiming, President of Belt and Road Research Institute of Hainan University

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.

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.

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.

Residents in remote, harsh high-altitude region of Xizang enjoy guaranteed medical care

A hospital located at an altitude of 4,500 meters in Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region has become a shelter for the local people, granting them access to guaranteed medical services, largely thanks to the assistance provided by the central government, reflecting China's efforts to protect human rights.

Nagqu People's Hospital as a high-altitude hospital faced challenges such as its remote location and harsh climate, as well as problems of attracting and retaining highly skilled medical professionals. Thankfully, the sixth group of medical experts dispatched by Northeast China's Liaoning Province continue to prioritize improving medical technology, enhancing service capabilities, and cultivating a team of medical professionals who will remain in the region.

On Friday, the Global Times witnessed the orderly operation of the hospital: children with their parents resting in clean and spacious rooms; premature infants were being cared for by specialist nurses in advanced incubators; in the gastroenterology department on the ground floor, people lined up orderly, waiting for endoscopic examinations.

Since 2015, Liaoning Province has dispatched a total of 116 experts to assist Xizang, providing strong support for the high-quality development of medical services in Nagqu. Additionally, Liaoning Province has invested over 20 million yuan ($2.7 million) for the purchase of equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging and telemedicine platforms to aid in the hospital's development. Currently, critical care units for maternal and child health, pediatric critical care, high-altitude medical research center, and emergency rescue have all been established.

Nagqu People's Hospital has developed an innovative new model, tailoring achievable and sustainable goals based on the local common diseases and departmental development needs to ensure that both the assisting and receiving parties work together to achieve targeted assistance, Jia Zhuqiang, the hospital's director and a doctor from the First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, told the Global Times.

The hospital has also selected a group of skilled staff to be trained as teaching candidates. Training takes place through methods like "teachers and apprentices," according to Jia.

For instance, Angzhen, a gastroenterologist, learned a lot from Wu Pubin, a doctor from Dalian to assist Nagqu. "I am very grateful for this opportunity to learn new techniques and improve my skills from experienced doctors," Angzhen told reporters.

During the Global Times' visit to the facility which first opened in 2021, a young mother from Nagqu's Lhari County was receiving treatment for her nine-month-old baby for pediatric pneumonia on the fifth floor at the hospital. "We traveled for four or five hours to get here, and my child was quite unwell when we arrived." Fortunately, after a few days of treatment, her child is well on the path to recovery.

The mother mentioned that her baby was also born in the hospital, and the medical conditions have significantly improved since the baby was delivered.

"In the past, local herders did not have the habit of giving birth in hospitals, but now people are more willing to come to the hospital because it is safer, more reliable, and more hygienic. People also have a lot of trust in the hospital," said Zhao Yi, the director of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the Nagqu People's Hospital, who is also a doctor from Liaoning.

Nagqu is located in northern Xizang, deep within the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, and is a crucial area covering the country's western border security and a strategic support point. It serves as the "North Gate" of Xizang and a major crossroads for land transportation in the entire region.

Nagqu is also the highest-altitude prefecture-level city in the country, with the harshest environmental conditions and the most demanding conditions for local residents. The average elevation in the city is 4,500 meters, and the oxygen content in the air during the summer is only 58 percent of that at sea level. The annual average temperature ranges from -0.9 C to -3.3 C.