Shanghai Composite Index rises for fourth straight day

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose for the fourth straight day on Friday to get back above the 2,900-point mark amid the rollout of a series of policies to support the development of the capital market and the macro-economy.

Yang Delong, chief economist at Shenzhen-based First Seafront Fund Management Co, told the Global Times on Friday that the A-share market had been near the bottom level, calling for confidence and patience in the Chinese stock market.

The Central Financial Work Conference called for efforts to accelerate the building of a nation with a strong financial sector. The goal cannot be achieved without a prosperous capital market, which provides support for enterprises’ transformation and upgrading as well as the country’s sci-tech innovations, Yang said, adding that more policies to support the long-term and healthy development of the capital market are expected.

Pan Gongsheng, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBC), the central bank, said at a press conference on Wednesday that China will cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 50 basis points from February 5, which is expected to inject 1 trillion yuan in long-term liquidity.

Underscoring the central government’s resolve to bolster the economy, the news boosted investors’ confidence and reversed the stock market’s recent downward trend.

On Friday, the Ministry of Commerce declared 2024 the “year of promoting consumption” and stressed the need to strengthen consumption rebound momentum. The ministry said it would continue to relax restrictions on foreign investment and improve the business environment in order to attract more investment.

Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on Friday called on various cities to adjust real estate policies based on their local conditions, and pledged to treat developers equally in terms of financing so as to ensure the healthy and steady development of the real estate sector, China Securities Journal reported.

Investors poured almost $12 billion into Chinese equity funds in the week to Wednesday in the largest inflow seen since 2015 and the second-largest ever, Reuters reported on Friday.

Chinese regulators vow ‘all efforts’ to ensure stable capital market

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Tuesday vowed to make “all efforts” to maintain the stable operation of the capital market, saying that it would put more emphasis on stability and strive to stabilize the market and investors’ confidence.

An official from the CSRC also said that the country’s top stock market regulators will cultivate long-term and stable investment forces, enrich policy tools to cope with market volatility and guard against risks, according to a media report on Tuesday.

These comments add to growing signals from Chinese officials that they are stepping up efforts to stabilize the capital market amid recent volatility. On Monday, China’s State Council, the cabinet, called for drawing more long-term funds into the capital market to boost its inherent stability.

The signals will offer much-needed reassurance for investors that policy measures are expected to be taken to tackle risks in the capital market and ensure overall stability, which will help lift expectations and boost confidence in the capital market, analysts said on Tuesday.

A meeting of the CSRC on Tuesday stressed that the agency will make all efforts to maintain the stable operation of the capital market. It also vowed to vigorously improve the quality and investment value of listed companies and increase the entry of medium- and long-term funds, according to a statement on the commission’s website.

Zhang Wangjun, a senior official at the CSRC, said that in terms of stabilizing the market and investors’ confidence, the commission will enrich policy tools to cope with market volatility, hedge against risks in a timely manner and firmly hold the bottom line in preventing risks, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The CSRC will also, along with relevant parties, ensure the continuity and stability of macro policies and industry policies, and avoid introducing policy measures that are not conducive to capital market expectations, in order to stabilize market expectations, according to Zhang.

The remarks from the CSRC come one day after the State Council held an executive meeting to hear reports about the capital market. The meeting stressed that increased medium- and long-term funds should be brought into the country’s capital market and the inherent stability of the market should be enhanced.

The meeting also called for crackdowns on illegal activities and more effective measures to stabilize the capital market and boost investors’ confidence.

Analysts said that these growing signals from government officials could mean concrete policy measures are forthcoming to tackle risks and challenges, boost investor confidence and ultimately maintain stability in the capital market, amid recent volatility.

“The recent declines in the stock market didn’t happen due to major changes in the economic fundamentals, but because of irregular activities that take advantage of pessimistic narratives and market loopholes,” Tian Yun, a Beijing-based economist, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Tian said that this situation isn’t in the interests of investors and will have a significant impact on the overall economy. “This is why regulators must step in to maintain financial stability by using targeted funds and closing loopholes that allow short-selling,” he said.

While China mounted an impressive economic recovery in 2023, with a GDP growth rate of 5.2 percent for the year, foreign media outlets continue to push negative narratives about the Chinese economy that analysts said have had a negative impact on investors’ sentiment, leading to market volatility.

As of Tuesday, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index had fallen by 6.46 percent so far this year, while the Shenzhen Component Index had lost 8.56 percent.

Amid the downward trend, “restoring investor confidence does require strong policies and large-scale capital inflows to reverse the market’s downtrend, so that investors can regain confidence,” Yang Delong, chief economist at Shenzhen-based First Seafront Fund Management Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The State Council meeting pointed out that it is necessary to enhance the consistency of macro policy, strengthen innovation and coordination of policy tools, consolidate and enhance the positive trend of the economic recovery and promote the stable and healthy development of the capital market.

Zhang also said that the CSRC will strengthen monitoring of the trading behavior of key investors and severely crack down on illegal transactions such as illegal trading and manipulation, according to Xinhua.

GT Voice: Boeing crisis shows danger of US protectionism bubble

The escalating crisis of Boeing is giving rise to mounting frustration and anger within the aviation industry, as repeated safety problems of the American aviation giant, which highlight its poor quality control, along with regulatory failures and narrow-minded US industrial policies, clearly can’t easily be fixed.

Two US airlines have cast doubt on Boeing 737 MAX plane orders. Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, one of the biggest buyers of Boeing jets, said in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday that the MAX 9 groundings are “probably the straw that broke the camel’s back,” signaling to the carrier it should seek “alternative plans” for its aircraft inventory.

In another interview on NBC on Tuesday, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci revealed the carrier found “some loose bolts on many” Boeing 737 Max 9 planes. “I’m more than frustrated and disappointed. I am angry,” he said, according to excerpts of the interview.

There is every reason for airlines like United and Alaska to be disappointed. For the aviation industry, safety is the utmost bottom line, as any problem is likely to cause significant damage to life and property. Boeing’s safety problems have posed a great challenge, becoming a major disruptor of the operation of airlines.

Indeed, United Airlines just warned investors that it will report a larger-than-expected loss in the first quarter because of the grounding of all 737 MAX 9 jets after a door plug blew off on an Alaska Air flight on January 5.

If anything, the CEOs’ comments suggest that the safety crisis is not something that Boeing can quickly or easily quell. This is because since the crisis began earlier this month, reports of various safety problems about Boeing aircraft have continued to surface, indicating that its quality controls are facing a serious systemic problem, which cannot be easily fixed by addressing an isolated case.

For instance, a Boeing 757 aircraft lost its nose tire moments before it was supposed to take off from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Saturday, Fox Business reported on Tuesday.

Also last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was forced to change planes to return to Washington from Davos after the Boeing 737 aircraft he was supposed to board suffered a critical failure related to an oxygen leak.

There has been a lot of analysis as to why Boeing is plagued by repeated mechanical mishaps, such as its over-reliance on parts outsourcing for the purpose of maximizing profits and negligence of quality control.

But these may just be superficial issues. Fundamentally speaking, Boeing’s management problems that have led to defects in aircraft production are inseparable from regulatory failure and government protection.

Due to limited resources, the Federal Aviation Administration has long outsourced some of its oversight responsibilities to Boeing and other manufacturers for self-certification, according to an NPR report, meaning that Boeing has played a role as “both athlete and referee” when it comes to safety supervision.

The US government has been one of Boeing’s biggest customers and its biggest supporter. It is no secret that Boeing has long been one of the largest beneficiaries of tax breaks, subsidies and loans. 

When it comes to trade disputes, the US government imposed tariffs on Airbus to protect Boeing’s position in the US market. Also, US officials have been pushing other countries to buy Boeing products, sometimes by offering loans.

Boeing’s decline in competitiveness is due partly to the excessive support by the US government, which has made the giant lose its sense of urgency about quality controls and other issues affecting its competitive edge. 

It’s clear that American influence has become a more powerful guarantee of market share than production competitiveness. But such protection can backfire.

If Boeing continues to rely on US government influence around the world, rather than really addressing its safety problems, it may become the “spoiled child” of high-end manufacturing in the US and lose its pivotal position in the American manufacturing industry.

Whatever happens to Boeing, the US still leads in some manufacturing areas. As the US tries hard to bring manufacturing jobs back to the country, Boeing’s crisis is worth reflecting on for the American manufacturing industry. If US industrial policy continues to be propped up by protectionism, the competitiveness of US manufacturing is bound to be cast into doubt.

China vows to deepen economic cooperation with Belgium

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao vowed to promote healthy and stable development of China-Belgium and China-EU cooperation, and urged the EU to relax trade restrictions on high-tech products.

China is willing to expand cooperation with Europe in digital and innovative sectors, and hopes Europe can relax export restrictions on high-tech products, Wang said on Friday during a roundtable for Belgian enterprises amid the Belgian Prime Minister’s visit to China.

Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo paid an official visit to China on Thursday and Friday last week, marking the first visit to China by a Belgian prime minister since 2016.

The China-Belgium and China-Europe trade structure is a reflection of multiple factors, such as the overall industrial structure, market demand and international trading conditions of the two sides.

China has never pursued a trade surplus and has expanded imports from Belgium and Europe through initiatives such as the China International Import Expo, said Wang.

Wang said that the alleged accusations of “overcapacity” related to China’s new-energy sector by Europe were groundless as China’s new-energy vehicle industry is making a positive contribution to the global green transition.

China firmly opposes the EU’s countervailing probe into China-made electric cars, and noted that excessive government intervention in enterprises’ business will bring uncertainties and risks, Wang noted.

China will actively implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and promote cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises in China and Belgium, said Wang.

The roundtable was the first discussion meeting hosted by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) under the foreign enterprise roundtable mechanism, which indicates China’s close attention to the economic and trade relationship with Europe, said Wang.

Representatives from over 20 Belgian enterprises appreciated China’s response to their feedback on investment and cooperation in sectors such as agricultural products, biomedicine and logistics, and are willing to further facilitate China-Belgium and China-Europe economic trade development, according to MOFCOM.

China, Maldives elevate ties, underscoring mutual support

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu in Beijing on Wednesday. Chinese experts said that the elevation of China-Maldives relations will bring more development opportunities to the peoples of two countries as well as to the Indian Ocean region, which is significant to China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the economic and energy security of China. 

According to the Xinhua News Agency, Xi welcomed Muizzi at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, before holding a bilateral meeting with Muizzu, who is paying a five-day state visit to China from January 8-12. The two heads of state announced the elevation of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership during the talks. 

China stands ready to exchange governance experience with the Maldives, strengthen the synergy of development strategies, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and set a new benchmark for the China-Maldives friendship, Xi said. 

He called on the two sides to strengthen cooperation in such areas as the economy, trade and investment, agricultural parks, and the blue, green and digital economies. He also called for expanded cooperation on marine ecological and environmental protection, as well as strengthened people-to-people exchanges. He said China will support more Maldivian students to study in China and promote more direct flights between the two countries. 

Xi noted that the two sides should strengthen multilateral communication and coordination to safeguard genuine multilateralism and the common interests of developing countries, and build a community with a shared future for humanity to make the world more peaceful, secure and prosperous.

Muizzu said he was honored to pay his first state visit to China with a number of important cabinet ministers and become the first foreign head of state that China has hosted this year, fully demonstrating the great importance both sides attach to the development of bilateral relations.

Noting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi’s historic state visit to the Maldives, Muizzu said that China has provided a significant amount of valuable assistance to his country’s economic and social development. He said the Maldivian people have benefited greatly from the BRI, citing the Maldives-China Friendship Bridge as a symbol of the bond between the two peoples. 

After their talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signature of an action plan to establish the China-Maldives comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, as well as cooperation documents on the construction of the Belt and Road, disaster management, the economy and technology, infrastructure, people’s livelihoods, green development, and the blue and digital economies. 

Strategic significance

Zhao Gancheng, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday that although Maldives is a small country in terms of land area and population, in terms of geopolitics, it has very high strategic significance.

“The Indian Ocean is far from us, but it’s extremely important to the economic and energy security of our country, as well as the BRI, so China needs to try its best to make friends in the region,” Zhao noted. 

Xi said at the meeting with Muizzu that China respects and supports the Maldives in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions, and supports the Maldives firmly in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national dignity.

Muizzu said the Maldives pursues the one-China policy firmly. Firm mutual support in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity is a solid foundation for the sustained and sound development of Maldives-China relations.

The Maldives supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, all of which were put forward by President Xi, and is willing to communicate and cooperate closely with China on international and regional affairs, Muizzu noted.

Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Muizzu’s visit to China shows that Maldives sincerely wants to develop ties with China and strengthen existing cooperation.

“Muizzu’s pledge to the Maldivian people that there will be ‘no foreign military presence,’ makes India angry, so the newly elected president will surely hope China can help his country deal with the pressure from New Delhi,” Hu said.

China-Maldives relations do not target any third party, but due to India’s aggressive stance against its neighbor, countries in the region will definitely want to diversify their ties to preserve their national dignity and sovereignty via cooperation with other major powers like China, said Chinese experts. 

This is why the normal development of ties between China and Maldives is making some India elites and decision-makers anxious, although it is unnecessary and exposes New Delhi’s intention to suppress its neighbors, said analysts.

Cooperation between China and Maldives, as well as other countries in the Indian Ocean will face challenges and uncertainties from India’s interruption, so China and Maldives need to work together to strengthen their security cooperation to ensure the implementation and operation of other projects, and to jointly oppose foreign intervention, Hu noted. 

According to Indian media, some Indian internet users are launching a boycott campaign against Maldives amid tensions between Maldives and India, and reports claim that Muizzu is trying to attract more Chinese tourists to the Maldives to offset the loss caused by India’s boycott. 

Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Chinese tourists will return to Maldives step by step in the post-pandemic era, because it is a well-known paradise for tourism among Chinese public, so the return of Chinese tourists will not be driven by so-called political reasons or any diplomatic activity. 

China had remained as the largest source of tourist arrivals in the Maldives for years before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, nearly 300,000 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives, accounting for around 17 percent of total tourist arrivals that year, Xinhua reported. 

It would be short-sighted and narrow-minded to understand the development of China-Maldives ties only based on tourism. Hu said that apart from the tourist industry, both sides can explore cooperation in other fields related to tourism, such as protection of coastal and marine ecosystems, and the development of the maritime economy, as well as public health cooperation like promoting traditional Chinese medicine to help local people to get better healthcare.

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.