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2019-11-18 07:26:52

China’s space program plans to complete construction of a new space station and send it into orbit by 2022, Zhou Jianping, the program’s chief designer, said at an engineering forum Sunday in the southern Guangdong province.

The station will weigh 100 tons and be able to accommodate three astronauts, with the possibility to be expanded if needed, Zhou said according to Xinhua. The space station’s core cabin module, Tianhe, will be launched in the next two or three years, after which add-ons like the Wentian and Mengtian laboratory cabin modules can be separately launched and connected.

Since its inception in 1992, the Tiangong space station program, has aimed to create a permanent space base capable of operating independently, without relying on support from other countries. Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 — temporary precursors to the expected 2022 space station — served as test beds for key technologies but deorbited in April 2018 and July 2019, respectively.

China is going all-in on becoming a space superpower. In January, the country sent a domestically made spacecraft, the Chang’E-4, to land on the far side of the moon. And on Friday, the country’s space program successfully completed a Mars lander test as part of its plans to put a rover on the Red Planet next year.

The upcoming space station will serve as China’s main platform for space science research, according to Zhou. (Image: Xinhua)

1 day

The People’s Republic of China has recorded its lowest birth rate since its founding over 70 years ago, according to data published Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Last year saw 10.5 births per 1,000 people. Some 14.6 million babies were born in China in 2019, down from 15.2 million in 2018. At the same time, the country’s total population eclipsed 1.4 billion for the first time at the end of last year — though the national population growth rate of 0.33% was also a record low.

Low fertility rates and an aging population have worried demographers and officials alike because of the risk these factors pose to the country’s future. Hoping to boost birth rates, China abolished the one-child policy in 2016 and proposed longer maternity leave for couples considering a second child — but so far these and other measures have achieved limited success due to changing social mentalities and the rising cost of childrearing. Meanwhile, birth restrictions continue to hang over some families’ heads, as couples who have more than two children can face harsh punishments.

1 day

Six months after becoming the first Chinese city to implement strict trash-sorting rules, Shanghai is planning to perfect the system and increase recycling efforts in the coming years, domestic media outlet Jiemian reported Thursday.

At a political gathering, Deng Jianping, director of the Shanghai Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau, said the city had completed the renovation of over 21,000 trash-sorting stations and built over 15,000 recycling stations as of January. Shanghai also recycled 4,049 tons of trash per day in 2019, a 431.8% increase compared with the previous year.

In 2020, Shanghai should improve its current sorting system to collect over 6,000 tons of recyclable waste and sort over 9,000 tons of wet waste daily, Deng said.

Shanghai also ranked No. 1 for three consecutive quarters among 46 major cities selected for trash-sorting inspections conducted by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the country’s housing regulatory department, according to the media report. (Image: Tuchong)

2 days

Less than a week after CEO Elon Musk showed off his company’s first made-in-China vehicles, along with his own memorable dance moves, electric carmaker Tesla announced that it is planning to open a new design center in China with the aim of creating “designed in China” cars, according to an official post Wednesday on social app WeChat.

Tesla’s post described the plan to open a design studio in China as “a very cool thing” that Musk had proposed in order to shift gears from “made in China” to “designed in China.” The company hopes to incorporate “the most beautiful Chinese art into the future-facing Tesla,” and is already soliciting designs for original, “Chinese-style” vehicles, to be sent to an email address included in the post by Feb. 1.

Musk has high hopes for Tesla in the China market, thanks in part to his cozy relationship with top officials. Tesla was the first foreign carmaker allowed to set up an independent operation in China, and its Shanghai Gigafactory — the company’s first such facility outside the U.S. — took just 10 months to build, and has been cranking out Model 3 sedans since October. The company unveiled its first China-made Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Shanghai last week. (Image: From Tesla’s WeChat account)

2 days

Beijing Enlight Media, the studio behind last year’s animated smash hit “Ne Zha,” said it will invest about 1 billion yuan ($145 million) over the next five years to adapt comic content into animated productions.

Company president Wang Changtian said the investment will aim to create 10 productions.

The announcement was made Tuesday at a media event to launch a comic art platform mobile app, Yi Ben Man Hua. The app was launched by Beijing Enlight’s subsidiary, Caitiaowu, which was established in 2015 to focus on creating comic content and producing animated films.

Yi Ben Man Hua’s target will be to make comics suitable for adapting into animations, focusing on themes such as mythology and fantasy, according to Jiang Zibin, the app’s chief editor. The app currently has 21 comic creators with a total of 47 comic titles available, most of which are free, according to Jiang.

The market leader in this area is Tencent-backed tech giant Kuaikan Manhua, which boasts about 3,000 creators and more than 3,000 available titles. (Image: Weibo)

(Republished with permission from Caixin Global.)

3 days

The trailblazing woman featured on the third edition of China’s 1 yuan bill died Tuesday, domestic media reported. She was 90 years old.

Liang Jun, who is seated atop a tractor on the back of the banknote, was also the country’s first female tractor driver. She was widely viewed as a symbol of Mao Zedong’s popular proclamation, “Women hold up half the sky,” often invoked to urge women to work outside the domestic sphere.

Born in a small town in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, Liang was given away to a wealthy family who adopted her at the age of 12 as a future bride under an archaic tradition. However, she managed to break free from the arrangement and married a man she met at school.

At the age of 18, Liang joined a tractor-driving course in which she was the only woman in a class of 70-plus men, plowing the way for others to follow in her tracks. In 1950, China’s first female tractor-driving corps was established and named after her.

Liang’s legacy will live on in the third-generation 1 yuan notes, printed and circulated between 1962 and 2000. (Image: Taobao)

3 days

Authorities in southern China’s Guangdong province are investigating the cause of an explosion at a petrochemical factory Tuesday.

The explosion occurred at Changlian Petrochemical Company in the city of Zhuhai at around 1:40 p.m., according to a statement released by the work safety administration of the Zhuhai Economic and Technological Development Zone, where the company is located.

No causalities have been reported, and employees of the company, as well as others working in the area, have been evacuated. According to the administration’s follow-up statements, the fire had been brought under control by 4 p.m.

According to The Beijing News, an inspection conducted six months ago discovered 15 potential safety hazards at the Zhuhai petrochemical company.

Several work safety-related incidents have made headlines in China in the past year. In March, a chemical plant explosion in the eastern Jiangsu province killed 78 people and injured over 600 more. The next month, an industrial accident at a pharmaceutical plant in the neighboring Shandong province killed 10 people. (Image: @央视网 on Weibo)

3 days

Shanghai has terminated its sister city relationship with Prague after the Czech capital signed a similar agreement with Taipei.

The Shanghai government said Tuesday that the city is suspending all official contact with Prague for “repeated erroneous actions on major issues involving China’s core interests, such as Taiwan.” The Shanghai government also accused Prague of “openly challenging the one-China policy,” which it strongly condemns.

Prague’s mayor, Zdenek Hrib, signed a sister city partnership Monday with his counterpart in Taipei, Ko Wen-je, after announcing the move last month. Prague’s city council had voted in October to dissolve relations with Beijing over ideological differences.

Since assuming office in November 2018, the 38-year-old Czech mayor has repeatedly irked Beijing by voicing support for Taiwan and Tibet. (Image: Tuchong)

3 days

A hospital in northwestern China’s Shaanxi has equipped its employees with wristbands that can alert local police in the event of danger, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Monday.

The Shaanxi Provincial People’s Hospital said the devices are intended to ensure the safety of staff at a time when violence against medical workers is prevalent in the country. The hospital also said it will install alarm buttons in patient wards as a precautionary measure against any future incidents.

The move comes after doctors in Lanzhou — also in Northwest China — and Beijing were killed by a patient and a patient’s relative, respectively. Following these recent attacks, China’s medical professionals have called for upgraded security measures at hospitals and longer sentences for violent patients.

Earlier this month, a hospital in the eastern Jiangxi province implemented security screenings for patients and staff upon entering. The facility’s chief security officer told The Paper last week that the hospital confiscated more than 10 knives on the first day the new procedure was enforced. (Image: @头条新闻 on Weibo)

5 days

A school in China’s southwestern Guizhou province made headlines over the weekend for handing out hundreds of kilograms of raw pork to top-scoring students.

Last Thursday, the private Hanlin school, located in the relatively impoverished county of Nayong, bought and slaughtered seven hogs before distributing the meat to 90 students who had scored well on their final exams. The top students received 18 kilograms, those in the second tier received 12 kilograms, and third-prize winners were each awarded a pig’s foot.

“It suddenly hit me on Jan. 7 that the students could take the meat home for a more festive Lunar New Year atmosphere,” Hanlin headmaster Wang Hao told a local news outlet. The school reportedly spent over 50,000 yuan ($7,250) on the porcine prizes.

In April 2018, a school in the southwestern city of Chongqing also gifted pork to top students — part of an effort to encourage them to cook with their parents. But such an award appears particularly generous this year: An outbreak of African swine fever has decimated the country’s swine herds and driven pork prices to record highs. (Image: @时间视频 on Weibo)

2020-01-09 10:10:54

A Shanghai-based women’s rights group is planning to propose a new parental leave policy for the city that would extend time off for new parents and include mandatory leave for fathers, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Wednesday.

The Shanghai Women’s Federation — the municipal branch of China’s quasi-official women’s rights group — said Wednesday that it plans to raise the issue during the city’s upcoming “two sessions” political meetings. The federation is seeking to extend the current maternity leave from 138 days to six months, and to introduce shared parental leave for couples, with fathers having at least 30 days of mandatory time off after the birth of a child.

A spokesperson for the federation’s Shanghai branch said the proposal is aimed at encouraging more fathers to get involved in childrearing, as well as supporting women’s professional development after giving birth, according to The Paper. She added that the move could also help boost the city’s fertility rate.

Amid slowing birth rates and a rapidly aging society, more cities and provinces are introducing paternity leave to encourage couples to have second children. Authorities hope such enticing provisions will not only encourage procreation, but also shift traditional notions of parenting in a more equitable direction. (Image: Tuchong)