June 2019

World’s population to reach 9.7 bln in 2050: UN Report

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A journalist holds a copy of the World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 17, 2019. The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to a United Nations report released here on Monday. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to a United Nations report released here on Monday.

The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights, published by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that the world’s population could reach its peak around 2100, at a level of nearly 11 billion.

The report also confirmed that the world’s population is growing older due to increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels.

The age group of 65 and over grows the fastest and by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65, up from one in 11 in 2019.

The number of countries experiencing a reduction in population size is growing.

Populations are projected to decrease by 1 percent or more in 55 countries or areas, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least 10 percent.

China’s population is projected to decrease by 31.4 million, around 2.2 percent, between 2019 and 2050, the report said.

The report said that India is likely to overtake China as the world’s most populous country around 2027.

Two Chinese nationals abducted in Pakistan

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed that two Chinese nationals were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in the country’s southwest Quetta city earlier in the day.

An official from the embassy told Xinhua that they are trying to know more details about the incident as well as about the abducted persons, adding that they have urged the Pakistani side to rescue the abductees as quickly as possible.

The kidnappers forced the abductees into a vehicle on gunpoint and drove away, local media quoted Deputy Inspector General of Quetta police as saying.

The kidnapped including a man and a woman were returning from a restaurant when the incident happened in Jinnah Town area of Quetta, the capital city of the country’s southwestern Balochistan Province, local Urdu TV Aaj reported.

The kidnappers were initially taking away three Chinese including two women and the man, but a passerby helped one of the women escape, local reports said.

The passerby got injured in a shootout, who has been shifted to a nearby hospital where police recorded his statement for investigation.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri took notice of the incident and directed police to search the abductees. A search operation has been kicked off in the area.

He further directed to design a standard operating procedure for ensuring the security of foreigners working in the province.

On his direction, a heavy contingent of police has been deployed at all entry and exit points of the city for checking.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping yet.

Tencent’s WeChat boosts China’s information consumption

WeChat, Tencent’s social network app, boosted the country’s information consumption by 210 billion yuan (33 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

CAICT’s statistics showed that in 2017, more than 20.3 million jobs were related to WeChat, double the figure in 2014.

WeChat Pay is used to pay for everything from utility bills and retail purchases to online shopping and subway fares.

CAICT said WeChat has stimulated China’s digital economy, expanding its scope to include transportation, medicare, retailing, finance and education.

It has improved the traditional sectors’ efficiency while lowering costs.

China to restore Siberian tiger population from captive-bred stock

Siberian tigers play during wild training at the Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 28, 2018. (Xinhua/Wang Zhaobo)

Sunday is International Tiger Day, and the world’s largest breeding center for Siberian tigers in northeast China has long dreamed of releasing captive-bred big cats into the wild to restore the population.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, mainly live in east Russia, northeast China and northern parts of the Korean Peninsula. One of the world’s most endangered species, less than 500 Siberian tigers are believed to live in the wild, with only around 20 in China.

Jiang Guangshun, deputy director of National Forestry and Grassland Administration feline research center, expects the wild Siberian tiger population in China to reach 100 by 2050. “But this is not fast enough to restore the wild population. We are planning to send more capitive-bred animals into the wild after training to speed up the process,” he said.

LAND OF MILK AND VITAMINS

In 1986, China began a captive breeding program. At that time, the Hengdaohezi feline breeding center in the suburbs of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, had only eight tigers, but today it is home to more than 1,000.

In the early years, no one in the center had experience in captive breeding.

“When I was a child, my mother was busy taking care of tiger cubs all day and so I used to go to the park after school and during holidays. I grew up with the cubs and it was my mother who taught me how to tend to them,” said Song Zhiyang, 31, a keeper at the park run by the center.

Some tiger mothers do not have enough milk or the skills to care for their offspring, so the keepers have to work in shifts, around the clock, to take care of the cubs. By trial and error, keepers found that warm goats’ milk with added vitamins and calcium was the best food.

“To keepers, tiger cubs are very much like their children and raising newborns is difficult,” said veterinarian Liu Lingguo at the park. “You have to change their diapers, wash them and collect real-time data of their weight and temperature for six months,” said Liu.

After 32 years, there is a fourth generation of captive-bred tigers and the center has strict measures to prevent inbreeding. Data bases include family trees for each tiger.

In 2011 and 2015, the park helped some breed in the wild and the park is now selecting suitable tigers to release in the near future.

“We need to make sure that the captive-bred stock can reproduce naturally and their offspring can survive,” said Liu Dan, deputy director of the center.

Previous wild training has helped the captive-bred tigers adapt to the wild as well as improved their running, hunting and mating skills, said Liu.

LIFE THROUGH A LENS

Launched in 1998, a forest protection project has greatly improved ecosystems in northeast China, providing more habitat for the tigers. Commercial logging has been banned in state forests in the northeast since 2015. As the environment has improved, more tigers have been seen.

In addition, a 14,600-square-km national park for Siberian tigers and Amur leopards opened in Heilongjiang and neighboring Jilin Province in July last year.

The park is scheduled to be complete in 2020 and a monitoring system will cover the entire area, with over 100,000 cameras collecting data on wildlife.

In February, China began monitoring the habitat of the tigers and Amur leopards. More than 100 monitoring devices have been installed in Hunchun, Jilin Province, covering a 500-square-km area where the two species are frequently seen.

“We have an emotional bond with the tigers,” said Huang Haitao, the leading veterinarian of the Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin.

“All of us will shed tears when the tigers finally return to the wild,” said Huang, with tears already welling up in his eyes. “But we all know that the tigers belong to nature and should be set free sooner rather than later.”

China’s largest power project in Russia put into operation

(L to R) Minister counsellor of the economic and commercial office of Chinese embassy in Russia Li Jingyuan, General manager of the China Huadian Corporation Wen Shugang, acting governor of the Yaroslavl Province Dmitry Mironov and Russian Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov attend the operating ceremony of a heat and power plant in Yaroslavl Province, Russia, on June 20, 2017. A 483-MW gas-steam combined heat and power (CHP) plant built by a China-Russia joint venture has been officially brought online, China’s Huadian Corporation announced here Tuesday. (Xinhua/Evgeny Sinitsyn)

A 483-MW gas-steam combined heat and power (CHP) plant built by a China-Russia joint venture has been officially brought online, China’s Huadian Corporation announced here Tuesday.

The CHP is the tangible result of the Huadian-Teninskaya joint project, which was launched by China Huadian Hong Kong Co., Ltd. and Russia’s second regional power company TGC-2 in 2011, with a total investment of 571 million U.S. dollars.

As China’s largest electricity project in Russia, the project was designed to generate 3.02 billion KWH of electric energy and 814,000 Giga of heating supply annually.

“The completion of the Huadian-Teninskaya project is of great significance to the Yaroslavl Province. It will improve the living quality of local citizens,” acting governor of the Yaroslavl Province Dmitry Mironov said during the operating ceremony held on the project site.

Listed as a priority project in 2014 by Yaroslavl authorities, the new CHP plant is expected to tackle the province’s chronic problem of power shortages. According to TGC staff, the operation of the Huadian-Teninskaya project will bring down Yaroslavl’s power deficit from 40-50 percent to 5-15 percent and fully cover its total power demand in warmer months.

The project is widely seen as a symbol of further deepening of cooperation between China and Russia in the field of electric power.

According to General manager of the China Huadian Corporation Wen Shugang, China Huadian Corporation will devote more efforts in exploring global energy markets in the future, including Russia.

Recent years have witnessed continuous achievements in energy cooperation between China and Russia under the strategic guidance of the two countries’ top leaders.

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov said on the ceremony that the Russian government welcomes the entrance of Chinese companies including Huadian into its local markets, and it will create more favorable conditions to facilitate energy cooperation between the two countries in the future.

Asian values needed in new context

Guanxi, compadrazgo and bapakism. Three words from China, the Philippines and Indonesia that encapsulate the same values of the vast continent through the ages-a shared belief in the importance of the family and the community over the individual.

These values, rooted on Asia’s culture and history and centered on consensus, social harmony, stability and discipline, are more important and relevant than ever in the face of challenges-such as protectionism and terrorism-confronting the world today.

Joefe Santarita, dean of the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines, said Asian values promote consensual approach and communitarianism rather than individualism, and they prioritize social order and harmony as well as respect for elders, discipline and a paternalistic state along with the primary role of government in economic development.

“Asian values are the salient ingredients on how to learn to work together through trust and consequently promote globalization,” Santarita told China Daily. He cited China’s guanxi, a cultural concept that stresses deep personal connections and maintaining relations.

“Guanxi is a clear manifestation of a success story of a cultural element that is aptly applied in the business sector. Trust is a fundamental element for Chinese businessmen who have engaged in commercial partnerships and international trading systems for centuries,” he said.

Santarita said a similar concept can also be found in other Asian countries, citing the Philippines’ compadrazgo and Indonesia’s bapakism as examples.

Compadrazgo, a Spanish word that literally translates to “co-fatherhood”, is based on a kinship ritual that is formed after a child gets baptized into the Roman Catholic faith.

For the predominantly Catholic and close-knit Philippine society, the godfather (known as the padrino) is part of one’s extended family and is expected to help and protect his godchild. The godchild is expected to respect and be loyal to the padrino.

Bapakism is derived from the Indonesian word for “father”. When used in Indonesian business, bapakism demands great respect and obedience to one’s superior. The manager in his role as the company’s bapak is expected to look after and care for his employees.

Although Asian values are steeped in an ancient culture and tradition, it was only in the 1990s that this concept drew global attention. This was partly due to Asian leaders like the late Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s and current Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s championing of Asian values as the ideal way to govern their countries.

Lee and Mahathir maintained that in Asia, social order and strong governance are keys to a stable and wealthy society.

This type of governance succeeded in fostering rapid growth in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and China. Santarita said strong Asian leaders are effective because they serve their constituents and value mutual respect and discipline.

Analysts said the Asian emphasis on community and harmony can help resolve some of the world’s most pressing international issues such as territorial disputes, climate change and sustainable economic development.

Santarita cited the current dispute over the South China Sea which sometimes strains relations between nations. He said the claimants can opt to work together to develop and share resources offered by the South China Sea’s blue economy.

“Learning to work together in an orderly, high trust level, and supported by diverse interest groups will prevent conflicts among stakeholders in the South China Sea,” Santarita said.

He said Asia’s emphasis on “respect for authority, respect for the environment and the discipline to control the use of resources” will also see Asian leaders pursuing a more eco-friendly development path and honor their commitments to the Paris climate agreement.

“If there is harmony, discipline, stability and the primacy of family and community over the individual, then any problem can be easily addressed,” Santarita said.

Defense minister vows to safeguard China’s sovereignty

China’s Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe speaks to ASEAN defence ministers during a meeting at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore, on Oct 19, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

State Councilor General Wei Fenghe, who is also China’s defense minister, said on Thursday that the country will never give up “one single piece” of its territory, warning that “repeated challenges” to its sovereignty over Taiwan are extremely dangerous and will result in relentless action from the Chinese military.

Wei told the opening ceremony of the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on Thursday morning that the Chinese armed forces are determined to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and will never abandon even one tiny piece of territory.

President Xi Jinping sent his congratulations to the forum, which more than 500 people from 67 countries and seven international organizations are attending. In his letter, read by Wei, Xi said China is willing to work with other countries to boost development and security and that the Chinese military will always remain a defender of world peace and stability.

Wei told the audience the Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is a core national interest.

“Repeatedly challenging our bottom line (on the Taiwan question) is extremely dangerous,” he said. “If someone attempts to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will take any necessary actions at any cost.”

Wei added that China’s construction of defense facilities on its islands in the South China Sea is lawful implementation of its sovereignty and nothing to do with “militarization”.

He noted that the situation in the South China Sea has been stable and is becoming better, proving that nations in the region are capable of properly handling related issues.

“China strongly stands against some out-of-the-region countries flexing their muscles and making provocations under the name of ‘freedom of navigation and flight’ that result in tensions,” Wei said.

He also criticized the United States for creating tensions and damaging bilateral relations.

“Who is going against the historic trends?” Wei asked. “Recently, a senior US leader slandered China in a speech, claiming China meddled in the US’ internal affairs and also casting groundless accusations on our domestic and foreign policies. Such acts have seriously jeopardized Sino-US ties and mutual trust and cooperation.”

He said China urges the US to correct its mistakes and stop damaging China’s interests and Sino-US ties. He said China does not believe in a confrontation-based security pattern and that the world should not return to the path of cold war.

Wei said China is sticking to a defensive military strategy and a peaceful development path, explaining that its building a moderate military power is intended to safeguard the Chinese people and protect world peace. China will never pursue hegemony or expansion and will not take part in any arms race, he said.

Prosecutors boost court supervision

[Photo/VCG]

Improvements to legal system designed to help prevent miscarriages of justice

Prosecuting departments will boost supervision of the courts and public security organs to prevent miscarriages of justice once reforms of internal institutions are complete, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Thursday.

“With judicial reforms, we will tighten oversight of police and judges to avoid misjudgments, and enable the public to enjoy fairness and justice in every case,” Zhang Jun, procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, said at a news conference.

“Any wrongly judged case not only harms the suspects-the defendants and their families-but also seriously damages the credibility of the judicial authorities,” he said.

Data released by the SPP show that in the past five years the number of complaints about court rulings in criminal cases has been increasing by 20 to 30 percent annually.

Last year, national prosecuting departments accepted 12,930 appeals of criminal cases in which court verdicts were not complied with.

Among them, prosecutors directly lodged protests in 155 cases in accordance with supervisory procedures and suggested the courts rehear another 550 cases. After retrial, most of the cases included new sentences by the courts.

A typical case occurred in June, when a 68-year-old from Jiangxi province was declared innocent in a retrial after serving 19 years in prison.

In October 1998, two children in Suichuan county in Jiangxi died after eating poisoned candy they picked up around their home. A man named Li was identified as the suspect, and a year later was convicted of intentional homicide and sentenced to death with a reprieve of two years by Ji’an Intermediate People’s Court.

In 2000, his appeal was rejected by the Jiangxi High People’s Court, which upheld the original ruling.

Li and his lawyer continued to appeal to the higher court, based on flaws in the evidence and the fact that torture was used.

In 2011, after a review, the Supreme People’s Court ordered the court in Jiangxi to rehear the case, but it upheld the original sentencing. Li’s family appealed to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, which then suggested the SPC rehear the case again.

In July 2017, the top court ordered another rehearing, and in June Li was set free by the Jiangxi court because of lack of evidence and unclear facts.

Zhang said the SPP established 10 prosecuting departments to handle criminal, civil, administrative and public interest litigation, as well as duty-related crimes and cases involving minors, effectively improving supervision, arrest procedures and prosecutorial functions.

“After integrating the departments, we will have adjusted to the new requirements of the work and will highlight professionalism and unification of standards,” he said.

Zhang said the SPP will prioritize the creation of a long-term mechanism to prevent miscarriages of justice.

According to the SPP, prosecuting departments have carried out a pilot program that encourages police to consult with prosecutors in complex criminal cases.

In addition, they have taken measures to protect the rights of suspects, defendants and their lawyers, it said.

“Justice is the lifeline of the rule of law,” Zhang said. “We will carefully review all complaints. Once any sign of misjudgment is discovered, we will launch further investigations.”