China achieves localization of core high-density connectivity module for quantum computing

China has realized domestic production of a core component for the nation's self-developed quantum computer named "Origin Wukong," breaking foreign monopoly and further cementing China's leading position in global quantum computing research and development.

The high-density microwave connectivity module, the core component, is used for data transmission between quantum chips and external receiving devices in an extremely low-temperature environment of -273.12 C or even lower.

However, a vital wire of the module was once monopolized by Japan, resulting in high purchase costs.

The domestically-made module can provide a stable transmission channel of microwave signal for 100+ quantum chip in extremely low temperature, according to the official social media account of Origin Quantum, the developer of "Origin Wukong", noting that the module enables the quantum chip to exert a more powerful computing capability and effectivity.

Currently, China's Origin Wukong quantum computer, equipped with domestically-made microwave connectivity module, has completed more than 183,000 quantum computing missions for about 8.58 times requests from 120 countries all over the world, said the Origin Quantum.

Origin Wukong is the third-generation superconducting quantum computer launched in January this year. It was based on China's first quantum chip production line, first quantum computer operating system, and first quantum computing measurement and control system. It also marked China's first realization of automated batch testing of quantum chips.

China has established a homegrown and independent industry chain for superconducting quantum computing, and it's one of the very few countries that can independently produce quantum computers, which are believed to be critical for future economic development, industry observers noted.

What makes China’s treasury bonds 'special' as nation eyes quality growth?

The issuance of China's ultra-long special treasury bonds has given those concerned about the nation's economy a glimpse of the country's pursuit of Chinese modernization through high-quality development.

Yet regrettably, opportunistic individuals on the outside seized the opportunity to chant about the "collapse of the Chinese economy." Such allegations are ridiculous. 

China's plan to issue the first batch of 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) in ultra-long-term treasury bonds starting on Friday will help shore up investment and spur consumption, but this doesn't mean the Chinese economy is facing numerous difficulties and challenges that require serious measures to stimulate growth.

Some Western commentators claim that China's 2024 growth target of about 5 percent has put pressure on the nation to unleash more stimulus. Such a misreading reflects Western elites' serious lack of understanding of China's economic development.

China's GDP grew by 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2024, well above market expectations. Steady growth lays a solid foundation for the economy to achieve the target of growing by about 5 percent for the whole year.

China's 5.3 percent growth in the first quarter was much higher than what many Western economies achieved in the same period. It's a little bit ironic that while Western elites said "the Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse," an indisputable fact is that China remains a major driving force for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. 

That is not to say China faces no challenges and risks at all. Countries as large as China - and the entire world, for that matter - face mounting challenges and risks such as increasing geopolitical tensions, lower demand in developed countries, an uptick in trade restrictions and elongated supply chains.

In the face of challenges, China is actually making honest efforts to tackle them. As the world's second-largest economy, China has been able to maintain economic stability.

There is no doubt that the issuance of China's ultra-long special treasury bonds will help stabilize market expectations, elevate market confidence and inject new momentum into the Chinese economy, but this is not the whole story. The bonds are designed to be used to "support the implementation of major national strategies," which makes them different from previous special treasury bonds.

To build a modern socialist country in all respects, we must, first and foremost, pursue high-quality development. The economy is undergoing a transition from old to new growth drivers, in which the optimization of structure, and the robust development of new quality productive forces, provide limitless possibilities.

Policies to encourage economic development are different in different eras of history. With the continuous growth of the Chinese economy, it is imperative to enhance and improve macroeconomic regulation with innovative tools and ideas to support long-term high-quality development. The issuance of China's ultra-long special treasury bonds is an attempt to adapt to an optimized and upgraded economic structure and economic needs of the country.

The Government Work Report of 2024, which was approved during the two sessions earlier this year, stated that in order to "systematically address funding shortages facing some major projects for building a great country and advancing national rejuvenation," it was proposed that, starting this year and over each of the next several years, ultra-long special treasury bonds be issued. 

"These bonds will be used to implement major national strategies and build up security capacity in key areas," the report said.

China has turned to special treasury bonds before, in 1998, 2007 and 2020.

This issuance of China's new ultra-long special treasury bonds is different from previous bond issuances, because the funds raised through the new bond sales are reportedly set to support scientific and technological innovation, integrated urban-rural development, coordinated regional development, food and energy security, and the high-quality development of the population.

The plan to issue new ultra-long special treasury bonds from 2024 is a proactive approach to pursue high-quality development and develop new quality productive forces, instead of forced measures to stimulate a "stagnant economy."

China's FX reserves decline within controllable range, underpinned by strong economic fundamentals: expert

China's foreign exchange (forex) reserves totaled $3.201 trillion as of the end of April, down by $44.8 billion, or 1.38 percent, from the end of March, according to data released on Tuesday by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

The largely stable results, announced as some Asian countries posted the largest declines in their forex reserves in months, underscored the general stability of China's forex reserves, which are supported by the strong fundamentals of the Chinese economy and the resilience of its recovery.

In February and March, China's forex reserves continued to rise for two consecutive months, with the end-March figure totaling $3.2457 trillion.

The SAFE said that the economy has a solid foundation, multiple advantages, strong resilience and vast potential, adding that these traits are conducive to keeping the scale of forex reserves generally stable.

Amid changes in macroeconomic data of major economies and varying expectations on different countries' monetary policies, the US Dollar Index rallied in April and global financial asset prices fell.

The SAFE attributed the drop in the scale of the country's forex reserves to the combined effects of currency translation and changes in asset prices.

Experts said that the drop in the reserves in April was moderate, and its prospects remain upbeat due to China's solid economic fundamentals, effective policy regulation and the resilience of the yuan.

"April foreign exchange reserves data was in part dragged down by a strong dollar performance in the period, but the adjustment was within a controllable range, while the overall data stabilized at levels above $3.2 trillion," Zhou Maohua, a macroeconomist at China Everbright Bank, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Despite the uncertain prospects of overseas assets and price fluctuations of global financial assets, the outlook for China's forex reserves remains steady with positive factors amassing, Zhou said. She predicted that the resilient economic recovery will continue to support a reserve level of more than $3 trillion in the coming months.

A resilient performance in foreign trade and the country's attractiveness to foreign capital seeking gains are factors offering support, said Zhou.

As multiple Asian currencies including the Japanese yen, the South Korean won and Indian rupee continue to depreciate against the US dollar, mainly due to the US Federal Reserve's policy, some countries have had to slash their dollar holdings to shore up their weakened currencies.

South Korea's foreign exchange reserves dropped in April by the biggest amount in 19 months as the country's central bank intervened to curb weakness in the won, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

However, underpinned by China's strong economic recovery, the yuan maintained a stable rate against the US dollar and even strengthened by a notch during the past week, alleviating the pressure for the People's Bank of China, the central bank, to intervene.

The central parity rate of the yuan weakened 8 pips to 7.1002 against the US dollar on Tuesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The yuan's exchange rate has been largely unchanged year-to-date.

The Chinese economy got off to a good start in 2024, with first-quarter GDP exceeding estimates to grow at 5.3 percent year-on-year. 

The country also posted brisk tourism trips, spending data and box-office revenue during the just-ended five-day May Day holidays, reflecting growing momentum in the country's economic recovery.

Xi's visit to France, Serbia and Hungary charts course for future: Wang Yi

Chinese President Xi Jinping returned to Beijing on Saturday morning after wrapping up state visits to France, Serbia and Hungary. Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and foreign minister, referred to Xi's Europe trip as a journey to carry forward friendship, enhance mutual trust, boost confidence and chart the course for the future during a press briefing.

Over the course of five days and six nights, the president visited three countries and four regions, participating in more than 30 events that seamlessly coupled bilateral and multilateral engagements, covering political, economic, and cultural activities. The trip includes formal state events as well as informal interactions, Wang said. 

He noted that during Xi's state visit to France, the Chinese president proposed to uphold independence and jointly prevent a new Cold War or bloc confrontation; adhere to mutual understanding and jointly promote harmonious coexistence ; commit to proceeding from a long-term perspective to jointly push for an equal and orderly multipolar world; and uphold mutual benefit while jointly opposing "de-coupling."

The heads of state of China and France reached a number of areas of consensuses on further developing bilateral relations, agreeing  to consolidate the strategic stability of bilateral ties, tapping into the broad potential of mutually beneficial cooperation, accelerate people-to-people exchanges, and build greater consensus on global cooperation, Wang added.

The two sides issued four joint statements on the situation in the Middle East, artificial intelligence and global governance, biodiversity and oceans, and agricultural exchanges and cooperation, as well as signed nearly 20 cooperation agreements.

During the visit to Serbia, President Xi and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic agreed to form  a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era, and Xi also announced China's initial practical measures to support the building of the community.

Noting the decision marks a breakthrough in the building of a community with a shared future in Europe, Wang said it will surely become a new milestone in the history of China-Serbia relations and help the two countries speed up their respective modernization process.

During the visit to Hungary, Xi expressed willingness to take the opportunity to establish a China-Hungary all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership for the new era to inject new and strong impetus into bilateral cooperation, and Hungary is welcomed to be China's companion on its path to Chinese modernization.

China is willing to work with Hungary to take Xi's visit as an opportunity to write new story of China-Hungary all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership for the new era, and open a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation in a Golden Voyage.

In a trilateral meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Xi said there is neither geopolitical conflict nor fundamental conflict of interests between China and the EU.

Xi pointed out that this relationship does not target any third party, nor should it be dependent on or dictated by any third party, and that China and the EU should continue to see each other as partners, and remain committed to dialogue and cooperation.

In response to the so-called "China's overcapacity" narrative, Xi noted that China's new energy enterprises have not only enriched global supply and alleviated the pressure of global inflation, but also contributed significantly to global climate response and green transition.

Xi stressed that whether viewed from the perspective of comparative advantage or global market demand, there is no such thing as "overcapacity."

On the Ukraine crisis, Xi clarified that China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to it, but rather, China has been working vigorously to facilitate talks for peace  since the conflict first broke out.

China has the sincerity, positive actions and principled position, and China does not accept any remarks or actions that use the crisis to discredit China and incite a new Cold War.

During Xi's visit to France, China and France agreed to treat the Paris Olympic Games as an opportunity to advocate for a global ceasefire and cessation of hostilities during the Games, to speak out for the peaceful settlement of hotspot issues, and to contribute to the construction of a world of lasting peace and universal security.

On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Xi said China supports the convening of a more broad-based, more authoritative and more effective international peace conference as soon as possible to promote the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date. 

This visit further solidified the positive aspects of the China-EU relations, Cui Hongjian, a professor with the Academy of Regional and Global Governance with Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Cui noted the depth of exchanges between Chinese leaders and leaders of European countries is beyond expectations, for example, they touched on tricky issues related to overcapacity, adding that  a China-France joint statement was released on the situation in the Middle East. 

Strategic balance and stability between China and Europe would strengthen the fundamental stability of the global landscape, Cui said.

Flood-relief headquarters warn of severe flooding in middle, lower reaches of the Yangtze River

Three provinces - Central China's Hubei, Hunan and East China's Jiangxi - are expected to experience heavy flooding during this year's flood season and are key flood control areas in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, according to State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. 

As a response measure to recent heavy downpours, the command center led an on-site inspection team to examine local flood-relief efforts. "The three provinces' flood control and drought relief system still have some weak links, flood control and drought relief situation remains complicated and severe," according to the team.

Led by Vice Minister of Water Resources Chen Min, the team visited key sections of the Yangtze River and its important tributaries in Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi between April 23 and 27. 

The team also examined local flood preparation at reservoirs, ongoing river-related projects, hydrological monitoring stations, pre-flood preparations in flood-prone areas, and readiness in flood storage and detention areas, according to a statement released by Ministry of Emergency Management on Monday.

Additionally, in an effort to monitor local governments' efforts and responsibilities in flood-relief, including whether hidden risks in flood season are plugged and readiness in stockpiling of flood prevention materials, the headquarters dispatched covert expert teams. 

Amidst a recent wave of heavy downpours in central and southern part of China, Guangdong Province railway authorities decided to suspend the operation of 62 trains on Beijing-Guangzhou line from Monday to Wednesday, several high-speed train services will also experience delays as well.  

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) continued to issue yellow warnings for heavy rain and severe convection weather on Monday morning.

It is expected that from 14:00 on Monday to 14:00 on Tuesday, there will be heavy rain in central and northern Chongqing, eastern Guizhou, most of regions south of the Yangtze River, central and northern South China, the NMC said.

Among them, there will be heavy rain between 100 and 200 millimeters in southern Hunan, central Jiangxi, northwestern Fujian, northeastern Guangxi and northern Guangdong. 

During the period, the NMC said that heavy rainfall would sweep central and northern parts of Hunan, including Changsha, and many parts of Hunan would encounter strong convection weather. In Changsha, capital city of Hunan, a wave of wind and rain swept many parts of the city Monday noon, with visibility decreased significantly, as if night had fallen.  

Parts of central and southern Hunan, Jiangxi, southwestern Fujian, central and eastern Guizhou, northeastern Guangxi, and central-northern Guangdong are expected to experience thunderstorms with fresh gale or above level, or hail. In some areas, it will experience whole gale or storm. 

In Guangdong, according to the monitoring and forecast of meteorological and hydrological departments, heavy rainfall will continue in the province in the next few days. Local departments also warned of subsequent geological disasters. 

Xi meets Blinken, says China hopes US can view its development in a positive light

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday in Beijing. Xi said China is willing to cooperate with the US, but cooperation should be a two-way street.

China is happy to see a confident, open, prosperous and thriving US, and hopes the US can also look at China's development in a positive light, Xi said.

"This is a fundamental issue that must be addressed, just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right, in order for the China-US relationship to truly stabilize, improve and move forward," Xi said.

China is willing to cooperate with the US, but cooperation should be a two-way street, Xi noted. "China is not afraid of competition, but competition should be about common progress, not a zero-sum game."

Xi said China is committed to non-alignment, and the US should not form small circles, adding that both sides can have their own friends and partners and should refrain from targeting, opposing or damaging each other.

The diplomatic teams of the two sides also reached five points of consensus on Friday including to maintain high-level exchange and contact at all levels, continue military exchanges and further advance cooperation between China and the US in drug prohibition, climate change, and artificial intelligence.

Some Chinese experts said President Xi's meeting with Blinken can be described as a top-level reception, and the US should realize the inaccuracies, biases, and misconceptions prevalent in America's foreign policy toward China.

This also helps the West to view China more accurately and assists China in gaining a more accurate understanding of US policy toward China and its overall foreign policy, experts said.

For a certain period of time, China has been concerned with the US' approach of "saying nice things while continuing harmful actions," Diao Daming, a professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

The US should adhere to its words with actions, ensuring promises lead to results, and not say one thing while doing another, and the trust should be the foundation to protect mutual interests and foster the development of the bilateral relations, Diao said.

During the meeting, Blinken said during his visit, he found that Americans from various sectors in China also hoped to see an improvement in bilateral relations.

The US is not seeking a "new Cold War," does not aim to change China's system, does not seek to contain China's development, and does not intend to oppose China through alliances, nor does it intend to enter into conflict with China, the US diplomat said.

The US adheres to the one-China policy and hopes to maintain communication with China, seriously implement the San Francisco consensus reached between the two leaders, seek further cooperation, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations, responsibly manage differences, and promote stable development in the bilateral relations, Blinken said during the meeting, according to a readout released by China's Foreign Ministry.

The latest communication can also be described as a process of mutual reassurance, Li Haidong, a professor from the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday.

"In the new environment, China and the US need to ensure the establishment of a stable, coordinated, mutually beneficial, equal, and cooperative relationship. Both sides have this willingness, and our actions are very clear, but the US has not kept pace," the expert said.

Therefore, we emphasize that this reassurance process should be pragmatically advanced, enabling China-US relations to withstand various turbulences and endure the impacts of international situations, which is also very important, Li added.

Although the consensus between the two sides on effectively managing their relationship seems to have been largely reached throughout the latest high-level interactions between China and the US, some experts are concerned whether the US can guarantee that it will effectively manage differences and expanding cooperation through action, especially when Biden are currently in the midst of elections.

"If the US is unable to follow the consensus and fulfill its promises, and even further seeks to contain China due to election politics, encircle China, tarnish China's image, and interfere in China's internal affairs, it is very likely to have a negative impact on the future trajectory of China-US relations," Diao said.

The US' negative moves, such as arms sales to Taiwan, the attempted ban of TikTok, and the smear campaign targeting China's human rights and governance in Xinjiang, have been ongoing. Therefore, if the relationship between the two sides is to overcome uncertainty, the main source of uncertainty still lies with the US, Li said.

The overall trend in the bilateral relations this year may also be stable, but there are significant risks. These risks primarily stem from the strong domestic political constraints on the White House in handling issues related to China policy, the expert noted.

China facilitates developing nations to learn about space exploration

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a congratulatory letter to the first China-Latin American and Caribbean States Space Cooperation Forum on Wednesday, highlighted that China is ready to work with Latin American and Caribbean countries to build a high-level space cooperation partnership, promote space technology to better benefit both peoples, and continue to promote the building of a community of China and the Latin American and Caribbean countries with a shared future.

The event, co-hosted by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Hubei provincial government, took place in Wuhan, Hubei Province on Wednesday. The forum holds great significance in inspiring space scientific innovation, deepening international space cooperation, and showcasing the high level of political trust between China and the Latin American, Caribbean countries.

Noting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum jointly announced by the leaders of the two sides, Xi said that China and Latin American and Caribbean countries have seen prosperous development over the past decade in their cooperation in various fields within the framework of the China-CELAC Forum to usher in a new era featuring equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and tangible benefits for the people, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

China is ready to work with Latin American and Caribbean countries to build a high-level space cooperation partnership, promote space technology to better benefit both peoples, and continue to promote the building of a community of China and Latin American and Caribbean countries with a shared future, Xi said.

Only with high-level political trust can the two sides carry out cooperation in the space domain, as it involves large amount sensitive areas in national defense technology, Pan Deng, director of the Latin American and Caribbean Region Law Center of the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Pan said that China has mastered a full range of mature space technology, from launching spacecraft, satellite in-orbit operations to applications on the ground, while countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region have the unique geographical advantage of their location in the Earth's western and southern hemisphere, which is crucial for monitoring and tracking space activities as well as their growing need for space power building such as launching commercial satellites.

Therefore, cooperation between China and Latin America in the field of space not only helps enhance the technological innovation capabilities of both sides but also promotes social and economic development. Such cooperation, based on high-level political trust, commercial collaboration, and equal partnership, holds significant and far-reaching implications for enhancing China-Latin America relations, upgrading cooperation, fostering innovative development, and promoting building of a community of China and Latin American and Caribbean countries with a shared future, he said.

Xi, in the letter, also said that China and Latin American and Caribbean countries have yielded fruitful results in space cooperation in recent years, including new progress in the fields of remote sensing satellites, communication satellites and the deep space station network, which has played an important role in promoting scientific and technological progress, strengthening regional connectivity and improving people's well-being.

Working together for over three decades, China and Brazil have developed six satellites under the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite program (CBERS) so far, with the first successful launch in 1999. China helped launch Earth-observing satellites for Venezuela over the years, and helped Bolivia launch the country's first telecom satellite in 2013.
Capacity building for all

Wednesday marked the 2024 Space Day of China with delegates from over 50 countries' aerospace agencies, international organizations, foreign embassies and consulates in China, and research institutions attending the main event in Wuhan.

China designated April 24 as the Space Day of China in 2016 to mark the launch of its first space satellite "Dongfanghong-1" to space on April 24, 1970. According to statistics obtained by the Global Times from the organizers, a series of nearly 500 space-themed activities is being held by relevant departments, universities and associations across the country on April 24 this year.

China revealed on Wednesday more details of international cooperation in its lunar probe programs.

The International Lunar Research Station (ILRS,) a lunar program currently led by the CNSA and Russia's Roscosmos, has added Nicaragua, the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), and the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Science as collaborating countries and organizations.

The CNSA announced Wednesday that China will cooperate with these three parties in various aspects such as engineering implementation, operation and application of the ILRS program. According to the CNSA's ILRS Partnership Guidelines, the ILRS aims for peaceful use, equality and mutual benefit, and common development.

Through joint construction with multiple countries, the ILRS will establish a comprehensive scientific experiment facility on the lunar surface and in lunar orbit, capable of long-term autonomous operation, short-term human involvement, with expandability and maintainability, the Global Times learned from the CNSA on Wednesday.

Aisha Jagirani, director general of the Department of External Relations and Legal Affairs at APSCO, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China's space program is quite impressive compared with other countries that have been working in the development of the technology for so many years. China, in a small time frame period, has done a lot, and most of the work is indigenous and totally done inside China. That is incredible, Jagirani said.

Commenting on APSCO's official joining of the ILRS program, Jagirani hailed that China now brings opportunities to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly developing countries that do not have much experience in the kind of technology or that cannot work independently.

"So through the platform, the countries have the opportunity to learn about space exploration, what research is involved, what technicalities are involved. We [APSCO] have an agreement with China on the ILRS and that provides an opportunity to the member states including small emerging countries to learn about the dynamics of a space exploration.

"That is something extremely impressive. These kind of opportunities cannot be found anywhere else," she said.

Jagirani elaborated that "the basic idea of joining the ILRS is capacity building, because we understand that not all countries in the Asia-Pacific region have ambitions to send [a] man on the moon, nor maybe have ambition or that much financial capability available to do moon exploration. But through this platform of ILRS, member states could have the capacity building opportunity, and they're working together to get involved in the work to find out how the whole program is being developed, what research areas are available, when the lunar samples will be brought back to Earth, and how these samples are being researched.

"So it's a great opportunity to focus on training, education and capacity building of the member state so that in future, when they aim to go for space exploration, they already have experience accordingly," she said.

China also announced on Wednesday the Chang'e-7 mission is scheduled to launch around 2026, aiming to survey the lunar south pole's surface environment, lunar soil water ice, and volatile components. It will conduct high-precision exploration and research on lunar topography, composition, and structure.

China's Chang'e-7 mission has selected six international payloads to carry onboard, based on scientific objectives and engineering feasibility, from seven countries and international agencies including Egypt/Bahrain, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand and the International Lunar Observatory Association.

The Chang'e-7 lander will carry a laser retroreflector array developed by the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Italy's Frascati National Laboratory to support high-precision measurements on the lunar surface and orbit navigation for orbiters, a lunar dust and electric field detector developed by the Russian Space Research Institute to study the lunar exosphere's dust and plasma environment near the lunar surface, and a lunar astronomical observation telescope developed by the International Lunar Observatory Association to conduct lunar-based observations of the Milky Way, Earth, and the panoramic sky.

The orbiter will carry a lunar material hyperspectral imager jointly developed by the Egyptian Space Agency and the Bahrain National Space Science Agency for analyzing and identifying lunar material and environment, a dual-channel Earth radiation spectrometer developed by the Davos Physical Meteorological Observatory in Switzerland (World Radiation Center) and Shenzhen University for monitoring changes in the Earth's climate system radiation balance from the moon for the first time, and a space weather global monitoring sensor developed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation of Thailand and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand for early warnings of disturbances caused by solar storms and cosmic radiation.

China to see rise in outbound tour for upcoming May Day holidays

China is expected to experience a surge in outbound tourism during the upcoming May Day holidays, as data from major online travel agencies show a rise in tour bookings. Experts said that the growth can be attributed to factors such as visa-free policies and rising demand for travel.

The travel popularity for the upcoming May Day holidays is steadily increasing compared to 2023, with a more significant growth in outbound and inbound travel bookings. Unlike the short-distance trips during the Qingming Festival, medium and long-distance travel will be the focus during the May Day holidays, according to a report sent to the Global Times by online travel agency Trip.com Group.

According to the report, the search popularity for domestic hotels and flights has slightly increased compared to 2023, while the search popularity for outbound flights has significantly increased by 56 percent year-on-year.

Based on the travel agencies' data, the tour bookings' surge can be credited to various factors such as enhanced people-to-people exchanges between nations, the implementation of visa-free policies, a surge in demand for outbound travel, as well as the ongoing enhancement of transportation and destination facilities, Wu Liyun, a professor of China Academy of Culture and Tourism of Beijing International Studies University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Wu said that thanks to the facilitation of visas and the increase in aviation capacity, the Chinese inbound and outbound tourism market is expected to experience rapid growth in 2024, driving the global tourism market to recover. The China Tourism Academy predicted in February that the number of outbound travels could reach 130 million in 2024.

In terms of outbound tourism, popular destinations include Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the US and Indonesia. Meanwhile, the travel bookings to countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have seen a higher year-on-year growth rate, said the Trip.com report. 

Also, the international cruise packages departing from Shanghai and Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province, for the upcoming May Day holidays have almost sold out, according to the report.

Meanwhile, more tourists from small and medium-sized cities are starting to plan outbound trips, with destinations in East Asia and Southeast Asia still being the first choice for many travelers going abroad, according to a report sent to the Global Times by Tongcheng Travel on Wednesday.

The five-day holidays are enough to plan for a relatively long-distance trip either abroad or within the country. "I plan to travel to the South Korea or other regions," a Shanghai resident surnamed Liu told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The Trip.com report also indicated that, in terms of inbound tourism, during the May Day holidays, the number of inbound tourism bookings increased by 130 percent compared to 2023. The main inbound countries include Japan, the US, South Korea and Canada, while the popular domestic destinations for foreign tourists include Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.