Xi congratulates Danish King Frederik X on enthronement

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations on Sunday to new Danish King Frederik X on his accession to the throne.

Xi said that China-Denmark relations have achieved rapid growth since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties 74 years ago, with bountiful cooperation results in various fields and the friendship between the peoples increasingly deepening.

He said he highly regards the development of China-Denmark relations, and is willing to work with King Frederik X to constantly elevate the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples.

Xi also sent regards and blessings to former Danish Queen Margrethe II who announced her abdication on Sunday.

China’s State Council studies measures to develop ‘silver economy’

China’s State Council, the cabinet, on Friday studied policy measures to develop the “silver economy,” or the elderly care industry, which is widely expected to account for one-third of China’s economy by 2050 given the country’s ageing population.

An executive meeting of the State Council noted that developing the silver economy is a crucial measure to actively respond to the aging population and promote high-quality development, and is beneficial both in the short term and in the long run, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The meeting noted the need to fulfill the government’s responsibility of ensuring basic needs and to safeguard the bottom line, strengthen basic livelihood protection for the elderly, and increase the supply of basic public services. It also called for giving the market full play to better meet the multi-level and diverse needs of the elderly, and to jointly promote the development and growth of the silver economy.

The meeting noted that relevant policy measures should be continuously improved to tackle urgent problems such as home care and healthcare for the elderly.

China has been stepping up efforts to develop the silver economy in recent years in an effort to handle the aging population, which has become a hot topic in global headlines.

In February 2022, the State Council issued a plan for the development of the country’s elderly care services system during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), which included major goals in various aspects, including expanding the supply of elderly care services and improving the health support mechanism for the elderly.

In May, China released a guideline to build a basic elderly care system by 2025, offering coverage for the entire elderly population, according to Xinhua.

China’s elderly population aged 60 and above reached more than 280 million by the end of 2022, accounting for 19.8 percent of the total population, and by 2050, the elderly could account for one-third of China’s total population, according to a report in the Economic Daily newspaper.

With the rising elderly population also comes vast potential for the “silver economy.” According to the Economic Daily report, the elderly care market could account for one-fifth of China’s GDP by 2030 and one-third of China’s total GDP by 2050.

A previous report from Fudan University in Shanghai said that the “silver economy” could reach 1.9 trillion yuan by 2035, accounting for 9.6 percent of China’s total GDP.

Wage decline in China short-term phenomenon; employment market to maintain stability in 2024: experts

Chinese experts said on Friday that a decline in wages offered to Chinese workers in the fourth quarter of 2023 is a short-term phenomenon amid enterprises recovering profits, and expressed optimism over stable employment and residential incomes in 2024, in response to some Western media reports that said wages offered to Chinese workers in major cities saw the largest decline on record last quarter.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that average salaries offered by companies to new hires in 38 key Chinese cities stood at 10,420 yuan ($1,458) in the fourth quarter of 2023, down 1.3 percent year-on-year, the worst drop since at least 2016, citing data from Chinese job-hunting platform Zhili-an Zhaopin.

“Wage decline in some industries is a short-term phenomenon as companies’ profits are recovering. However, we should note that some industries representing the country’s new productive forces have shown continuous salary increases,” Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin School of Administration, told the Global Times on Friday.

According to a report Zhilian Zhaopin sent to the Global Times on Friday, wages in the country’s new energy and electricity industries reached 11,840 yuan in the fourth quarter, up 3.3 percent year-on-year over the period, as enterprises accelerate talent hiring for expansion.

Along with continuous services and consumption recovery, wages offered to new hiring in the hospitality and catering industry rose by 2.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, while the transport industry reported 1.5 percent growth, showed the report.

The statistics illustrate that although the country’s employment pressure persists, some structural changes have emerged, with new economy, new energy and advanced manufacturing industries reporting increases in both wages and hiring scale, Li Chang’an, a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies of the University of International Business and Economics, told Global Times on Friday.

Cong expressed optimism for a stable employment market and income growth in the country in 2024, given the sound performance of the country’s private economy and a flurry of targeted policies rolled out to bolster the economy.

China’s private Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) set a new high in four months to 50.8 in December 2023, indicating a sustained recovery in the nation’s medium- and small-sized manufacturers.

As the nine tasks proposed during the Central Economic Work Conference held in December are being earnestly carried out, the country’s upward economic growth trend will be sustained, Cong said.

In order to stabilize the job market, Li underlined the importance of strengthening vocational training, optimizing recruitment services, and taking steps to ensure the stable employment of key groups.

China’s employment situation has registered a stable performance while consistently seeing improvement in 2023. In the first 11 months, the average surveyed urban unemployment rate came in at 5.2 percent, 0.4 percentage points lower year-on-year, according to the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security recently issued a circular, pledging efforts to implement the strategy on developing a quality workforce and prioritizing employment, and providing large-scale skill training to migrant workers to increase their abilities for employment and entrepreneurship, domestic media outlet Thepaper.cn reported on Friday.

Foreign geographic information software collects sensitive data, posing threat to national security: ministry

China’s national security agencies have discovered that foreign geographic information system software used in important industries in China has been collecting and transmitting geographic information data with some of the information collected involving state secrets, posing a serious threat to national security, China’s Ministry of State Security said on Monday, noting that national security agencies will establish and improve a collaborative mechanism for data security protection to safeguard the protection of important national data.

Geographic information data are not only an important strategic data resource, but also a new production factor that can be widely applied in various industries, however, some organizations and individuals with ulterior motives have attempted to steal sensitive geographic information data using geographic information system software, according to an article released on the ministry’s WeChat public account on Monday. 

Geographic information system software is professional software that has functions such as geographic information data collection, storage, analysis, management, and sharing. Such software has powerful functions and can annotate various types of geographic information collected on maps, and analyze and display them in various formats. Coordinate accuracy can even reach the centimeter level. 

However, some foreign organizations, institutions, and individuals have set their sights on the geographic information data, attempting to conduct intelligence espionage activities using geographic information system software, according to the WeChat article.

The methods of these foreign organizations and individuals include automatically connecting to foreign servers during software usage to collect user data without restrictions, and pre-installing backdoors in the software to facilitate network attacks and data theft.

Moreover,a small number of users have limited awareness of data security and mark high-precision geographic coordinates of urban pipelines, military targets, and sensitive units on maps, creating serious risks of leakage and potential irreparable losses, according to the article. 

It also noted that geographic data are a high-value intelligence resource and are a key target for foreign intelligence agencies’ espionage activities. 

“By stealing high-precision geographic information data from our country, they can reconstruct three-dimensional topographic maps of specific areas in important fields such as transportation, energy, and military, providing crucial support for reconnaissance, surveillance, and military operations, posing a serious threat to our military security,” the ministry said. 

Recently, national security agencies have discovered that foreign geographic information system software used in important domestic industries has been collecting and transmitting geographic information data, and some of the data are important and sensitive, even involving state secrets, posing a serious threat to our national security. 

In response, national security agencies, together with relevant departments, are conducting special investigations and governance of geographic information data security risks, guiding and assisting relevant units in conducting inspections and rectifications, and promptly eliminating major security risks such as data theft and leakage.

China’s data security law stipulates that data processing activities should be carried out in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations, establish and improve a comprehensive data security management system, organize data security education and training, adopt corresponding technical measures and other necessary measures to ensure data security.

When units and individuals engage in geographic information data collection and processing activities, they should choose secure and reliable geographic information system software, set strict access permissions based on the importance of the data, and ensure no sensitive information is available on the internet.

National security agencies will establish and improve a collaborative mechanism for data security protection in cooperation with relevant departments to jointly safeguard the protection of important national data, the Ministry of State Security said in the article. 

The ministry also warned that the theft, espionage, bribery, or illegal provision of data that arerelated to national security and interests by foreign organizations, institutions, individuals, or collusion with domestic organizations, institutions, individuals constitute espionage under Chinese law. 

Citizens who discover such behaviors can report them by calling the 12339 tip-off hotline, logging on to the www.12339.gov.cn , or reporting to the national security agencies through the official WeChat account, the article instructed. 

Central government’s office for safeguarding national security in HK supports police arresting five more fleeing anti-China figures

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said on Thursday that it resolutely supports the Hong Kong police in arresting five fleeing anti-China figures in accordance with the law, and effectively preventing, stopping and punishing those who have fled to oppose the country and disrupt Hong Kong. 

The office said that “we must effectively safeguard the authority of the rule of law and consolidate the hard-won good situation in Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong Police Force’s National Security Department announced on Thursday to place five more figures in exile into its warrant list, who are suspected of colluding with foreign or external forces including anti-government figures Joey Siu and Simon Cheng. 

In July, the police issued a HK$1 million ($128,000) bounty each for eight anti-government figures in exile, including Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Ted Hui Chi-fung. 

Cheng and others have long been engaged in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities. After fleeing overseas, they continue to build platforms for disruptive activities in Hong Kong, spreading political rumors and “Hong Kong independence” fallacies about the country and Hong Kong, slandering Hong Kong’s rule of law, and pleading for foreign forces to sanction Hong Kong or interfere in Hong Kong affairs, the office said.

They openly challenge the authority of the National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong and undermine Hong Kong’s development. The Hong Kong Police, based on facts and in accordance with the law, have lawfully issued warrants for these fugitives involved in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities. This aligns with the fundamental interests of Hong Kong, reflects the common will of society, and it’s an inevitable requirement for the comprehensive and accurate implementation of the NSL for Hong Kong, a righteous act to safeguard national security in accordance with the law, and a necessary measure to ensure the prosperous and stable development of Hong Kong, the office said.

This issuance of warrant marks another lawful action following the July warrants against anti-government figure Kevin Yam and eight other fugitives for their leading roles in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities. It targets five individuals suspected of committing crimes of inciting secession, inciting subversion of state power, and colluding with foreign or overseas forces to endanger national security, the office said. 

This demonstrates the Hong Kong Police’s courageous responsibility, firm commitment to defending the authority of the NSL for Hong Kong, and unwavering determination to safeguard national security. It is believed that the Hong Kong police will take all necessary measures according to the law to hold these fugitives accountable for their crimes. 

They will also lawfully deal with those who assist, incite, or fund acts endangering national security, striking at the arrogance of these fugitives involved in anti-China and Hong Kong destabilization activities, the office said. 

The 33-year-old Cheng was suspected of inciting secession and colluding with foreign or overseas forces to endanger national security. Since August 2020, he, along with others, established political organizations and frequently advocated for “Hong Kong independence” on social media platforms, calling for foreign sanctions and hostile actions against Hong Kong government officials and judicial personnel. 

Cheng, a former employee at the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong, was detained by the mainland police at the West Kowloon high-speed rail station on August 8, 2019. Later, the Luohu public security in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong, revealed that he had been “involved in prostitution activities multiple times,” resulting in a 15-day administrative detention, according to media reports. 

FISU Games conclude, yet friendship and solidarity continue among youth

The 31st FISU World University Games, after offering exciting competitions and diverse cultural exposure, concluded on Tuesday in Southwest China’s Chengdu with a splendid ceremony that wrapped up shining moments during the Games and delivered wishes for a happier and brighter future.

The Chengdu FISU Games were not only a gathering for sports, but also a gathering to enhance mutual understanding and make friends, and the friendship will pass on among youth from all over the world with their traits of openness, inclusiveness, solidarity and vitality, analysts said.

The appearance of delegations features the process of a dove tree’s growing from root to giant plant with lush branches and leaves. The dove-like flowers, a symbol of peace, then start to bloom.

The dove tree is a species indigenous to China which survived the ice age and its flower resembles a flying dove with two snow-white bracts. The ceremony incorporates the elements of the dove tree and its flowers to stress the resilience of life and the hope for everlasting peace.

Chinese State Councilor Shen Yiqin and FISU acting president Leonz Eder attended the ceremony.

The ceremony stage was designed based on a “cell phone” and captured the concept of livestreaming. Through the camera of a “livestreamer,” young people from all over the world were able to be part of the FISU Games.

The master display presented 3D visual effects with naked-eye 3D technology, offering novel, amazing, special and delicate spectating experience.

After lowering the FISU flag along the playing of the FISU anthem, the flag was handed over to Rhine-Ruhr, host city of next FISU Games in 2025.

The FISU Games ran from July 28 to August 8 and featured 269 events across 18 sports. The Chinese delegation participated in all 18 sports of the games and claimed 103 gold medals, 40 silvers and 35 bronzes in total, ranking on top of the medal tally.

Besides performance on the competition ground, China’s performance in terms of hosting this international event is also well recognized.

“The preparations and setup of the venues are just unbelievable. Everything has been running smoothly and the competitions are going very well. We can only praise the organizing committee for the great work it’s done,” Eder said in an earlier exclusive interview with the Global Times.

Making friends

For the participants, from athletes and coaches to staff and volunteers, the past weeks have made Chengdu, known for its tasty cuisines, adorable pandas and a leisure lifestyle, an unforgettable place where they’ve shed sweat and tears, challenged themselves and make breakthroughs, and more importantly, make friends beyond borders, analysts said.

One touching moment which can elucidate the sportsmanship of the youth event happened on Friday. When Uganda’s badminton player Amos Muyanja broke his racket without a replacement, his competitor from China Wang Zhengxing offered Muyanja a backup racket.

The FISU Games organizer wrote on Twitter that “we unite to push our limits and inspire each other… We wish all the participants not only to take home victories but also friendship and cherished memories!”

Azerbaijan badminton player Agil Gabilov told the Global Times on Tuesday that Chengdu has been a great experience for him. He made friends with athletes and volunteers and was impressed by the friendliness he received.

Brazilian swimmer Fernanda Gomes Celidonio said that volunteers at the Chengdu Games made her feel “at home.”

Athletes including German volleyball player Yann Bohme got a birthday surprise as after a match, the cheering squad and mascot Rongbao wished him happy birthday and the audience sang in chorus the birthday melody for him.

Athletes also received special gifts, including 3D-printed figurine and local artifacts such as palm fiber weavings and embroidery badges, according to media reports.

The Games also provide a great platform for cultural exchanges other than competition, which Zambian tennis player Esther Sakala appreciated a lot.

Sakala, as a lover of art and an artist herself, was excited to meet those crafty and talented people and see their skills. She had a chance to paint a cup which was later given as a gift and Sakala said she “Loved it so much.”A range of Chinese cultural elements, from handicrafts to musical instruments, have intrigued FISU Game participants at a culture fair held next to the Games Village.

Youth spirit

On and off the competition ground, youth across the world are demonstrating the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and solidarity, igniting a world of division and turbulence, analysts noted.

The Chengdu FISU Games were postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this successful holding marked the resumption of face-to-face communication and exchanges among youth via sports and can leverage more interactions in other fields, such as culture, they said.

Li Haidong, a professor with the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that sport can be an easy bridge to connect people from different countries and regions and help them build friendship.

The FISU World University Games in Chengdu are a precious opportunity for athletes and people from all around the world to deepen mutual understanding and trust, which will also lay the foundation for closer cooperation and solidarity, Li noted.

FISU Universiade was first held during the Cold War in 1959. It not only encourages young people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but also seeks to promote young people communicating across cultural, political and religious barriers through sports, Ren Hai, a professor at the Olympic Research Center of Beijing Sports University, told the Global Times.

When the world is experiencing uncertainty and turbulence, China hopes to deliver a message of peace, communication and cooperation through this gathering of young people, who represent hope and the future, analysts said.

Eder, the acting president of the FISU, has visited China more than 20 times and observed the country’s fast economic development, as well as its increased confidence and openness. “I can feel the country’s readiness to cooperate with many countries whether they come from the East, West, North, or South,” Eder said.

China’s reality show sparks cultural exchange enthusiasm with Saudi Arabia

In recent days, the youth-oriented travel reality show Divas Hit the Road Season V has been captivating audiences on Hunan TV and its online video platform Mango TV, igniting cultural enthusiasm for China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).

This year marks the 10th anniversary of China’s proposed BRI. State-owned Hunan TV, the provincial satellite TV station of Central China’s Hunan Province, launched this program. Seven Chinese artists, including Qin Hailu, Qin Lan, Xin Zhilei, Dilraba Dilmurat, Zhao Zhaoyi, Wang Anyu, and Hu Xianxu, embark on a journey including Saudi Arabia, Croatia, and Iceland.

The show follows a “study-travel” format, offering a unique opportunity to share the stories of people along the Silk Road and strengthen cultural connections in a down-to-earth manner. Before the program’s premiere, multiple national tourism boards from Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Iceland, Britain, Australia, South Africa, and Spain posted hashtags related to the program to invite people to share their travel experiences and leave their marks as they journeyed along the way.

Meanwhile, the participating Chinese companies involved in Belt and Road cooperation projects, such as China Railway Construction and China Railway 18th Bureau Group, also joined hands with online users to collectively share the “China stories” along the Silk Road.

Starting from the Cultural Office of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Beijing, the program takes the “study-travel” approach. On one hand, it delves into essential sites along the Belt and Road, such as the China-built Peljesac bridge in Croatia, highlighting key projects and contributions made by Chinese companies. On the other hand, it offers a deep dive into local customs and traditions, fostering international friendships and making new acquaintances.

Since its debut on October 25, the show has encouraged viewers to learn Arabic, with many online users expressing their eagerness to experience Saudi Arabian cuisine and its stunning landscapes. Domestic travel platforms have witnessed a surge of 772% in searches related to “Saudi Arabia.”

Through the show’s engaging travel explorations, domestic audiences are taken into the lives of real families living along the Belt and Road, feeling the tangible improvements brought about by Chinese wisdom and contributions. Meeting international friends who love Chinese products, speak Chinese, and have a fondness for China in a foreign land has left the show’s participants touched and proud.

China’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chen Weiqing, posted a bilingual promotion of the show to global audiences, stating, China’s most popular variety show, Divas Hit the Road, has completed its filming in Saudi Arabia. Chinese artists have introduced the changes and developments in Saudi Arabia to the Chinese people.

The popularity of the show has not only captivated Chinese audiences but has also led to a surge in interest in the Silk Road and its cultures. Following the program’s broadcast, the search volume for terms like “Saudi” and “Saudi Arabia” on domestic travel platforms experienced a remarkable 772% increase.

As of now, the program has garnered over 2800+ trending mentions on domestic social media platforms, sparking widespread conversations.

Historical drama ‘Qu Yuan’ to tell story of world-renowned patriotic Chinese poet

The historical drama Qu Yuan will be staged in Shanghai this weekend, telling audiences a story of one of the greatest patriotic poets in ancient China, as well as the splendid early Chinese culture of his time.


The play is based on the life story of Qu Yuan, a statesman and poet of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC), today the central and southern areas of China.

Witnessing the fall of Chu’s capital, its people’s displacement as well as the loss of land, Qu refused to align himself with the corrupt officials or yield to oppressive forces. He eventually drowned himself in the Miluo River in Central China’s Hunan Province, completing the magnificent patriotic anthem that he had composed with his own life.

On stage, the story is going to be told using flashbacks, starting with Qu’s last days before he drowned himself in despair. This part will be the biggest highlight of the whole play, said the play’s director Guo Xiaonan.

“Qu had a great affection for saving humanity. His spiritual realm was far beyond that of ordinary people, which brought him a unique sense of spiritual loneliness,” Guo told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

“Qu also had a deep love for his state. When his ideals and ambitions in life were shattered, he chose to end his life, which I think was not a simple suicide, but a sublimation of his soul,” Guo said.

“This spirit has influenced Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, and also is the strongest part of the play.”

Legend has it that after his death, the Chu people were deeply saddened and flocked to the river to pay their respects. China’s time-honored Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, commemorates Qu.

Qu was listed as one of the world’s four literary celebrities by the World Peace Council in 1953, the other three being Francois Rabelais, Nicolaus Copernicus and William Shakespeare. He left many immortal literary works to later generations, such as Chu Ci, or Songs of Chu, and Jiu Ge, or The Nine Songs.

His famous literary works will be presented in the drama to create a strong emotional resonance with the audience.

Guo said he believes one line from Qu’s poetry will resonate the most with the audience: “Long as the way is, I will keep on searching high and low.” 

This well-known line embodies human being’s exploration of the meaning of life, and the great spirit of perseverance and active endeavor, said Guo.

“Qu and his cultural imprint are a precious spiritual wealth not only of the Chinese nation, but also the whole humanity,” he noted.

Apart from Qu’s life and his spiritual world, the play will also highlight the culture of Qu’s homeland Chu, a charming part of early Chinese culture.

According to Guo, the play will showcase lacquerwares and bronze wares of that time through props, lighting and dances, opening a window for the audience to view the representative culture from the 800-year history of Chu.

The play is being produced by the Hubei Changjiang People’s Art Theatre and Hubei Sanxia Performance Arts Group. It is scheduled to be staged at Shanghai’s Majestic Theatre on Saturday and Sunday night, as a part of the ongoing 22nd China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

IFRC continues to provide relief items to quake-affected Afghans, says IFRC official

The Asia-Pacific Regional Director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Alexander Matheous has described the situation of quake-affected people in west Afghanistan’s Herat province as extremely impoverished, and said the body would continue to assist them.

“We will continue to provide relief items in the coming days. Our plan is to work with the Afghan Red Crescent on suitable shelters for the people to live in the short term,” Matheous told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.

The IFRC has already provided humanitarian assistance such as blankets, non-food items and hygiene kits, the official said, adding the affected families need more support.

The official who visited the quake-stricken areas in Herat also noted that the quake-affected people need support to rebuild their homes and live in the long term.

Two deadly quakes, each with a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, followed by several aftershocks, rocked west Afghanistan with an epicenter in the Zanda Jan district of Herat province last Saturday, and left at least 2,053 dead and thousands more injured.

Another tremor measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale jolted Herat on Wednesday, killing one person, injuring more than 150 others, and causing property damages.

“More than 2,000 people and over 2,000 homes are destroyed,” the official said, adding most of the victims are women and children, and the affected families have lost what they had.

“People need food, water, shelter, medical camp…It was a very dramatic and tragic disaster for the people,” the official told Xinhua.

Praising the contribution of the Afghan Red Crescent Society in tackling the problems of the quake-affected people, the official said that it was the first humanitarian organization to be present after the disaster.

“We will support the Afghan Red Crescent to work not just in this relief phase, but also in the months to come to rebuild the houses and people’s livelihoods,” Matheous emphasized.

Turkey celebrates 100th anniversary and investment reception at the embassy in Beijing

The Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey held a reception at the Turkish Embassy in Beijing with the aim of boosting investment cooperation with China. The event, as a part of their “Turkish Century Investment Reception” series, saw more than 500 business people and investors from China’s leading companies to attend. 

Turkish Ambassador to China Ismail Hakkı Musa, President of the Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Ahmet Burak Daglioglu, and the Silk Road Fund Chairwoman Zhu Jun were also in attendance. 

“This year, we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey and the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and China. From e-commerce to telecommunications, from renewable energy to electric vehicles, from cloud technology to the defense industry, we have forged new partnerships with China in a wide range of areas,” the ambassador said. 

In addition, the guests sampled sumptuous Turkish cuisine and discussed cooperation and investment opportunities.