China’s wider opening-up to continue injecting impetus into global development Infographic: GT
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.
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.
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.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is reportedly set to announce an expanded maritime protection force involving Arab states in the Red Sea in response to the escalating attacks against Israel-bound cargo ships by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group. Chinese analysts said by doing so, Washington aims to force its regional allies to become more involved in curbing the spillover of current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but predicted that the move would play only limited role in pacifying the situation.
Washington should do more to solve the Palestine-Israel conflict than to put in place superficial moves, Chinese experts said, noting that US hypocrisy of calling for cease-fire between Israel and Palestine but constant blocking of UN resolutions on demanding cease-fire in fact fueled Israel’s determination of continued military actions.
Being the latest Biden administration official to visit Israel, Austin, who arrived in Israel on Monday, is to gain a clearer assessment from Israeli officials on their military operations, CNN reported.
AP said that Austin is also expected to press Israel to wind down major combat operations in Gaza.
Austin is also expected to announce an expanded maritime protection force, to be known as Operation Prosperity Guardian, involving Arab states combatting increasingly frequent Houthi attacks being mounted from Yemen’s ports on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the Guardian reported. Yet the report revealed no details over which Arab states are expected to join.
Protection of shipping routes in the Red Sea is probably the key agenda behind Austin’s visit, as the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has exerted a huge impact on global economy, Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Monday. He said the Houthi rebel group’s attacks have created a dilemma for the US.
The attacks, targeting a route that allows East-West trade, especially of oil, to use the Suez Canal to save the time and expense of circumnavigating Africa, have pushed some shipping companies to re-route vessels to avoid the area. For example, French shipping group CMA CGM on Saturday said it was pausing all container shipments through the Red Sea after an attack on one of its container ships, MSC Palatium III, one day earlier, per Reuters.
The US is hoping that regional allies become more involved in curbing the spillover effect of current conflict via the proposed protection force, which in reality will only have limited effect, Liu said.
Experts noted that the fundamental solution is to continue to call for cease-fire between the conflicting sides, whilst responding violence with violence will only fuel the current conflict.
France, the UK and Germany -some of Israel’s closest allies- joined global calls for a cease-fire over the weekend, and Israeli protesters have demanded the government relaunch talks with the militant group on releasing more hostages after three were mistakenly killed by Israeli troops while waving a white flag.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel will keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, crushes its military capabilities and returns the hostages, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
Liu noted that the increasing international and domestic pressure are not enough for Israel to change its military action in Gaza as those pressure are mostly at surface level. Moreover, the US is calling for cease-fire in public, yet it is giving Israel green light in the UN by opposing UN’s cease-fire resolutions.
In 2023, a total of 15 giant pandas returned to China from overseas after expiry of loan agreements. Among these 15 pandas, four are currently residing at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province and are in good condition, the Global Times learned during a recent visit.
On February 22, giant panda Yong Ming arrived in Chengdu from Japan with his twin daughters, Ying Bang and Tao Bang. On July 26, giant panda cub Yuan Meng, who was born in France, arrived in Chengdu and also joined the base, a staff member surnamed Liu at the research base told the Global Times.
Among all the returning pandas, Yong Ming is the oldest at 31 years old, which is about 100 years old in human terms. He is also the second oldest captive male giant panda in the world.
After arriving at the base, the pandas undergo quarantine and a period of isolation, said Liu. Once their condition stabilizes, they will be moved to open enclosures to meet the public.
During the visit, the Global Times reporter saw these pandas eating bamboo and enjoying their time at the base. All of them appeared to be in good physical and mental health, which was confirmed by the base’s staff.
At the base, each panda has an outdoor activity area ranging from 500 to 800 square meters in size, which ensures that they have ample space to move around, Liu said. They also each have an “indoor apartment.”
Since the return of the panda cub Xiang Xiang in February, a total of 15 pandas have returned to China in 2023 from countries including the US, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and the UK. In 2024, several more pandas are expected to return to China after their loan agreements expire.
These pandas, who have lived abroad for a long time, have also become favorites among Chinese tourists after returning to China. The Global Times has learned that many make special trips to the breeding base to visit these national treasures.
On the same visit, representatives from Pakistani media and think tanks expressed admiration for China’s panda conservation efforts and shared their expectations for cooperation between China and Pakistan in this field.
“In the past, pandas were a globally endangered species, but China has taken special measures to protect them. Here, all the pandas receive excellent care,” said Faiyan Zia Bangash, a senior reporter from Pakistan’s The News.
“I have always had a special love for pandas, but it wasn’t until today when I saw them with my own eyes that I truly experienced their cuteness,” said Fahd Gauhar Malik, editor of the Pakistan Observer.
“I really hope that in the future, China and Pakistan can also have relevant cooperation so that the people of Pakistan can see pandas in their own zoos,” Malik said.
People shop at a supermarket in Ankara, Türkiye, Dec. 11, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)
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.
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.
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.
Chinese players have accomplished one upset after another at the ongoing US Open.
In the hard-court tennis Grand Slam tournament, Zhang Zhizhen became the first man from the Chinese mainland to beat a player in the top five of the ATP rankings as he pulled off a resilient display of tennis skills to prevail against World No.5 Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 on Wednesday night.
Thanks to his powerful serves (18 aces) and punishing forehand that overwhelmed Ruud with a whopping 60 winners overall, Zhang made it to the third round of the tournament, a new breakthrough in his personal career.
“That was a wild ride,” US Open official Twitter commented on Zhang’s surprise victory over the 2022 US Open runner-up. Rudd had been to the finals in three of the last six Grand Slam events.
The 26-year-old also avenged his loss to Rudd in the third round of the French Open in June. Zhang will face Rinky Hijikata of Australia in the third round. His opponent, Ruud, believes he can keep on going. “I was impressed, in a way, how he played,” Ruud said. “He’s going to be a threat for many years.”
“Last year at the US Open, I can say it was a bad memory. But this year is a little bit different,” said Zhang after the match.
“At the end of the match, when I finished the last point, I didn’t really celebrate, as if I was not super happy. But I was happy inside, it just didn’t show.”
Liu Yu, a Beijing-based sports commentator, told the Global Times that Zhang has been improving, especially after he hired Lu Yen-hsun, a retired player from Taiwan island, to join his team. Liu said he looks forward to seeing Zhang representing China at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Should Zhang reach the fourth round, he will have a chance to become the first Chinese man to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings.
Zhang is not the only Chinese that stunned a seeded player as Zhu Lin moved into the third round after breezing past Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s singles.
The emerging younger generation of Chinese swimmers have contributed massively to China’s swimming dominance at the Asian Games, as the national swimming team brought their gold medal tally on Monday to 11.
A most outstanding breakthrough came from Pan Zhanle, a 19-year-old freestyle sprint specialist. The young man crushed it with a new lifetime best of 46.97 seconds to take the gold medal in the men’s 100 meters freestyle on Sunday.
But Pan remained unsatisfied with the breakthrough.
“I felt my performance was mediocre. I was aiming to break the world record before the race,” Pan told reporters after the race. “The Asian record doesn’t feel like anything extraordinary. This is something I should get. It’s a bit disappointing that I missed it by only 0.11 seconds.”
Pan’s performance has set a new Asian record, making him the first Asian swimmer to finish 100 meters under the 47-second barrier and the fifth-fastest swimmer in the discipline in history. Previously his personal best was at 47.22 seconds produced at this year’s Chinese Championships.
The world record remains at the 46.86 seconds Romania’s David Popovici put on the books at the 2022 European Championships.
Pan told the Global Times that the secret behind his triumph lies in the everyday training during which he has paid close attention to improving his flip turns.
“The last two months I have put a lot of effort into improving my jump start and flip turns,” Pan told the Global Times. “Communication with the coach is very important,” he said, before noting he will continue to strive toward the goal of breaking the world record in the future.
Standing next to Pan on the men’s 100 meters freestyle podium was 18-year-old Wang Haoyu. Speaking of his performance of 48.02 seconds, 1.05 seconds behind Pan’s achievement, Wang said nervousness at the Asian Games thwarted him from attaining a better performance.
“I was a little nervous. It’s impossible not to be [as it’s my first Asian Games]. It was slightly below my expectations,” Wang told reporters. “I got on the podium, but the result could have been better. I still need to fight in the events to come.”
Female breaststroker Tang Qianting, 19, also set up a new Chinese national standard and Asian record in the women’s 50 meters breaststroke.
Firing off a time of 29.92 seconds in the heat, she not only produced the sole outing of the field under the 30-second barrier, but it represented a shiny new lifetime best for the teen and her first-ever foray under the threshold.
Tang’s previous career quickest record was 30.08 seconds she logged at this year’s World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Monday night also saw 18-year-old Chinese swimmer Yu Yiting win the women’s 200 meters individual relay in 2:07.75, setting up a new Asian Games record and outperforming veteran teammate and 2012 Olympic champion Ye Shiwen.
Yang Junxuan, 21, has also played a key role in securing the women’s 4×100 meters freestyle relay gold medal
Besides the young swimmers, already crowned world champions Zhang Yufei and Qin Haiyang remain the marquee names in the swimming squad.
Having publicly announced that she is aiming for the Asian Games MVP award, Zhang told the Global Times that the biggest challenge in achieving the goal is the short-distance sprints.
The previous Asian Games female MVP award winner was Rikako Ikee of Japan who won six gold and two silver medals in eight competitions when she participated in the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018.
Zhang, who anchored the Chinese women’s 4×100 meters freestyle relay to victory following her 200 meters butterfly title, said she wants to win seven gold medals in Hangzhou.
“I’m hoping to get seven gold medals here. And I feel confident about it. Let’s take it one step at a time,” she told reporters.
Breaststroke world champion Qin Haiyang lowered the Asian Games record in men’s 100 meters breaststroke to 57.76 seconds to win his first gold medal at the Hangzhou Games.
The triple world champion has set his sights on setting up a new 50 meters world record, after he crushed Adam Peaty’s 200 meters world record in the worlds.
“The world record I want to break the most is the 50 meters,” Qin told reporters.
“It’s an event that I feel more confident in, and I’ve also been putting more effort into training for this one.”