China leads in coronavirus vaccine clinicals to combat Covid-19


The first clinical trial of the novel coronavirus vaccine in China has kicked off as volunteers taking part in the project started to share
their experience on social media, a Chinese newspaper reported on Saturday. China Daily/ANN

The first clinical trial of the novel coronavirus vaccine in China has kicked off as volunteers taking part in the project started to share their experience on social media, a Chinese newspaper reported on Saturday.

On Thursday, a female volunteer posted two pictures of her taking the vaccine shot as a part of the phase 1 clinical trial for recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo, according to the Science and Technology Daily.

The clinical trial was filed in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry on March 17.

According to its registration information, the trial is jointly sponsored by the Institute of Biotechnology, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, People’s Liberation Army and CanSino Biologics Inc based in Tianjin.

The trial is being carried out on healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 60 in two medical facilities in Wuhan, Hubei province. The study is set to be completed by Dec 31, according to the registry.

All 108 volunteers are from Wuhan that was hit hard by the outbreak. They will receive a series of follow-up examinations within six months after injection to see if their bodies have generated antibodies to the virus, the registry said,

Wang Junzhi, a senior expert on drug and vaccine development, said earlier this month that China is simultaneously conducting nine vaccine development projects, and most of them are expected to complete preclinical trials and begin human tests in April.

In general, China’s vaccine development against Covid-19 is among the world’s front-runners, he added.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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The COVID-19 epidemic in the US is worsening sharply as the federal government approved major disaster declarations for New York, California and Washington states, and the situation in Washington DC worsened, with local police shutting down streets to stop mass gatherings   .

China’s image will not be dented by lies which will however ultimately hurt Americans. There are three main “China lies” promoted by the Trump administration.

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China achieved zero domestic infection of COVID-19, Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ backfires!


 

 

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 happening in China doesn’t mean it originated in China

 

 

BEIJING: China on Thursday marked a major milestone in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic as it recorded zero domestic infections for the first time since the outbreak emerged, but a spike in imported cases threatened its progress.

The stark reversal comes as nations across the world have shut down in a desperate effort to contain the pandemic, with more people now infected and having died abroad than in China.

There were no new cases in Wuhan, the central city where the virus first emerged in December for the first time since authorities started publishing figures in January, according to the National Health Commission.

Wuhan and its 11 million people were placed under strict quarantine on Jan 23, with more than 40 million other people in the rest of Hubei province entering lockdown in the following days.

The rest of China also enacted tough measures to limit public gatherings.

There were eight more deaths in China all in Hubei raising the nationwide total to 3,245, according to the commission.

There have been nearly 81,000 infections in China but only 7,263 people remain sick with the Covid-19 disease.

The global number has shot past 200,000, with more than 8,700 deaths.

On March 10, President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time since the outbreak began and declared that the spread of the disease was “basically curbed”.

On the same day, Hubei officials allowed people to travel within the province for the first time since January, excluding Wuhan.

On Wednesday, Hubei authorities announced they were partially opening its borders to allow healthy people from low-risk areas to leave the province if they have jobs or residences elsewhere. This also excludes Wuhan.

Life has slowly started to return to normal in the rest of the country, with people back at work, factories up and running, and schools in some regions resuming or preparing to go back to class.

Second wave

But there is concern about a second wave of infections due to an influx of cases from abroad, with an average of 20,000 people flying into China every day.

Beijing and other regions are now requiring most international arrivals to go into 14-day quarantine in designated hotels.

The National Health Commission said there were 34 more cases brought in from abroad, the biggest daily increase in two weeks, with 189 in total now.

“We should never allow the hard-won and continuous positive trend to be reversed,“ Xi said at a Communist Party leadership meeting on Wednesday.

The disease is believed to have jumped from an animal to humans at a market that illegally sold wild game in Wuhan late last year.

There have also been questions about China’s official figures, as authorities changed its methodology to count infections, and the government has endured rare public criticism of its handling of the health emergency.

Local officials initially attempted to cover up the outbreak, with police silencing doctors who had raised the alarm about the emergence of the new virus as early as December.

One of the whistleblowers, Wuhan ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, died from the virus himself in February, sparking an outpouring of grief and anger on social media.

The first case emerged in Wuhan on Dec 1, according to Chinese researchers, but it was not until Jan 9 the country confirmed a “new type of coronavirus”.

Between Jan 5 and 17, China reported no new cases of the virus, even as Japan and Thailand declared first infections a period that coincided with annual political meetings in Wuhan and Hubei province. – AFP

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Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ backfires!

US President Donald Trump makes a statement for the press after a meeting with nursing industry representatives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House about the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

 

 

 

US President Donald Trump has referred to the novel coronavirus as “Chinese virus” at least eight times in tweets and media briefings within just two days, fueling widespread xenophobia and racist sentiment and even physical and verbal attacks against Asian Americans and undermining global efforts to contain the deadly virus.Trump’s comment, which is completely against science and facts, could also further promote already-growing populism and racism around the world amid the global pandemic that could plunge countries and regions that have been hit severely by the disease into further disarray and dark abyss, observers warned.

After tweeting several times “Chinese virus” to shift the blame to China, Trump insisted on calling it a “Chinese virus” because “it comes from China,” in response to a question from an American journalist on Wednesday. Growing numbers of Asian Americans have been frustrated by the labels of “Chinese virus” or “kung flu,” which risk turning them into a target of hatred and retaliation as the pandemic unfolds quickly in the country.

Trump started to use the term “Chinese virus” on Monday in six of his tweets, despite Vice President Mike Pence, head of the country’s coronavirus task force, still called it “coronavirus” on Wednesday. Trump stressed it is a Chinese virus twice in his opening remarks at a White House meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. The White House even backed it up by tweeting that the “Spanish Flu, West Nile Virus, Zika and Ebola were named after places.”

The coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed 220,000 infections worldwide,

Apart from Trump, other US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, GOP lawmakers Tom Cotton, Paul Gosar and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have been using terms like Wuhan virus and Chinese virus in public, intentionally stigmatizing China and Wuhan.

Downplaying his racist rhetoric, Trump argued he wanted to be accurate as he believed the virus comes from China, totally ignoring the impact on the Asian community, according to observers, local residents and some influencers.

Photo: GT

 

Offensive and immoral

On Wednesday, Trump dubbed the coronavirus “Chinese virus” three times in an hour, according to media reports, which seriously infuriated not only Chinese people but also many Asian Americans. Given the rising crimes against Asian and Chinese communities, some urged Trump to resign as such blunt incitement of racism is so dangerous that it could tear the world apart.

Some even shared their personal stories on social media about being insulted or attacked because of their skin color, ethnic group or nationality since the outbreak, and some said they don’t feel safe and feel severely offended, because racist terms encourage xenophobia and discrimination, which could last longer than the pandemic itself.

Jordan Matsudaira, an Asian-looking professor in New York, said his “children are being called ‘coronavirus’ in school, and this is racist, vile and intentional,” in a tweet.

And Cenk Uygur, a Los Angeles-based online news show host, said as his wife is from Taiwan that his children’s classmates are already blaming them “for the virus” and some ask them if they eat bats, because of “racists and a**holes like Senator John Cornyn and Trump.”

A New York-based Chinese woman, who preferred not to be named, shared an anecdote with the Global Times on Thursday that when she drove and waited at a traffic light one day, an American originally from Mexico spat at her car window, shouting, “F**king virus Chinese,” which “made her really sick,” she said.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) said in a recent article that continuing calling COVID-19 Chinese virus could be used to denigrate a group and implicitly blame Chinese people for the outbreak, despite the World Health Organization’s stepped up efforts to push back against stigmatizing terms that needlessly divide COVID-19 rhetoric.

The WHO came up in 2015 with guidelines on naming diseases, claiming that geographic locations, people’s names, animal species or food, cultural, population, industry or occupational references and those inciting undue fear should be avoided in disease names, after the organization saw certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, according to its website.

Some American scientists and medical experts also showed their support for WHO’s naming of COVID-19, emphasizing that it should not spark any political debates.

Some prominent figures in Chinese science circles also joined in to fight the ‘Chinese virus’ slander. Rao Yi, president of Capital Medical University in Beijing, said in a WeChat article on Wednesday that according to the US government’s logic, the first AIDS case was reported in the US on June 5, 1981, so should AIDS be called an American venereal disease and HIV the “American venereal virus?”

And should the spirochete leading to syphilis, which is widely considered to have originated in North America and transmitted to Europe by the Spanish, be called “North American spirochete?” he asked.

“Those officials who called it ‘Chinese virus’ are among those who have the lowest moral standards,” Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Take at look at what US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on January 30 said about the deadly virus, that it would help accelerate the return of jobs to the US. That claim reflected their true intention and deeply-rooted wishes that the virus could only spread in China, from which they could take advantage of, Lü said.

However, observers warned that rising hatred toward certain ethnic groups, entangled in the rise of right-wing populism amid the outbreak, would accelerate divisions and confrontations across the globe, which would also be dangerous and harmful following racial animosity and deaths from despair amid the outbreak.

Shift the blame

Eduardo Bolsonaro, Brazilian congressman, said in a tweet that what’s happening now is HBO’s TV series “Chernobyl,” blaming China for the coronavirus outbreak, reflecting some countries’ relentless efforts to pass the buck to Beijing and hide their own incompetence in curbing the virus spread across local communities, analysts said.

On Wednesday, a Danish education studio was revealed to have published an insulting song to introduce the novel coronavirus to children that contained lyrics like, “I am a new virus, I come from China,” triggering a backlash on Chinese social media. The incident happened about two months after a major Danish newspaper published a cartoon with the five stars on China’s national flag replaced by five coronavirus images.

“It’s inevitable that populism would be prevalent in the future, and it has become a common practice that specific groups would be targeted by hostility and hatred, which would have severe consequences,” Zhang Yiwu, a cultural professor at Peking University, told the Global Times.

Still, some US politicians, including Democrats like Joe Biden, have publicly criticized such inflammatory coronavirus rhetoric, and Biden was quoted as saying in media reports that “labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace the accountability for the misjudgments that have taken place so far by the Trump administration.”

“This is also a tactic that these US politicians use to redirect public attention by shifting suspicions over their incompetence to hatred toward China, but it won’t work, and the collapse on Wall Street proves it,” Lü said.

Coronavirus: What’s behind Trump’s U-turn on China?

 

 

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China to firmly support its media to safeguard reputation, interests: Chinese FM

China supports its media in safeguarding their reputation and interests, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, adding that China is forced to take relevant countermeasures against American media reporters in China, based on the principle of reciprocity.

 


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What ails our Malaysian universities ?


 

Recent discourses about revamping our higher education system have included the following: critical thinking, empowerment, humanistic values, future proof graduates and improvising teaching methods.

Many Malaysians understand “critical thinking” as the ability to criticise something, and “future proof” as being immune from the future. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Politicians, civil servants, parents and civil society activists have uttered these concepts too often. They lament that our education system has failed.

Our leaders say we are a society devoid of critical thinkers. They swear blindly that Malaysians are left behind due to our inability to improvise in this age of rapid technological innovations.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that the developed world uses English to their advantage, but we have not.

Critics also claim that developed nations are more scientific and technologically minded, because they have the ability to think critically.

Innovation, improvisation and critical thinking have always been used in discourses of scientific, technological, technical and vocational education.

A “future proof” graduate with “humanistic values” would have acquired adequate and sustainable mental, spiritual and practical skills by now. Yet it seems the narrative we are familiar with does not tally with the reality, due to our misunderstanding of the fundamentals.

Malaysians can be globally competitive and widely respected if we decide to be consistent in the fundamentals. These fundamentals have not been mentioned as openly, but they are crucial to whether we surge ahead or fall further behind.

First, higher education should not be part of a political football game. Render quality education accessible to all. Do not confine it to a race-based quota system, with respect to student intake or hiring of lecturers and top university administrators.

Second, hire and retain academic staff in universities, based on their intellectual merit. Deans and senior university administrators must be constantly aware of any lecturer who publishes inane works, even though such nonsense may be in the form of 30 journal articles per annum.

For instance, how can research about whether the supernatural can be scientifically proven or not, be beneficial to solving our post-GE14 socio-political and religious problems?

The deans and deputy vice-chancellors must be tuned into the quality of their academic staff. They must have a basic knowledge of their contribution in their respective fields.

A dean in a social science faculty, for instance, must make it a point to have a general knowledge of all the social science fields under their charge. If not, he or she should not be a dean.

Third, heads of departments should have a collegial relationship with their fellow lecturers. There is no room for hierarchy, pulling rank or bullying.

Lecturers within a department must work as a team, within an atmosphere of mutual deference and respect. The head must provide motivation and encouragement, rather than react with jealousy and insecurity.

Academics must be encouraged to speak, deliver public lectures, engage in national and international debates, and be commended for it. Unfortunately, there is an unhealthy and counterproductive culture of egoism, selfishness, jealousy and arrogance in the corridors of our public universities.

Most, if not all, academics in a university have a doctorate. So why should there be a sense of insecurity or superiority?

Fourth, university lecturers must take pride in their teaching and writing. Whether they do so in English, Malay, Mandarin or Tamil is irrelevant.

While one must be practical, what is more important is the positive attitude these academics possess when they engage in honest research.

What they choose as a research agenda and how relevant it is in the Malaysian context should be the decisive factors in academic teaching, writing and research.

Fifth, a lot more effort must go into how syllabuses are devised for various courses. Individual lecturers must take pride in the uniqueness and relevance of their syllabus.

It is my experience that such an important exercise of creating one’s syllabus is actually considered the least important of activities leading up to every semester.

Sixth, publications and research projects must be based on quality, not quantity. In the social sciences, for example, it is ineffectual to expect a new research topic to emerge every year or two, for the sake of satisfying annual KPI requirements of the research universities.

Due to our obsession with chasing KPIs and benchmarking global ranking systems, lecturers have resorted to mass production of publications and research projects. The majority are useless, and reports merely collect dust on dingy shelves.

It seems our university leadership is unaware that academic publishing has become a lucrative global business, with annual revenues exceeding billions of dollars.

This business is closely associated with the world university ranking system. Unsuspecting academics in countries like Malaysia race to publish in journals produced by these publishers, without realising that they are held at economic ransom, regardless of quality or research relevance to individual countries or regions.

It is time that Malaysian universities decide for themselves what research and publications are relevant for our own society, based on the current problems and national unity complications we face.

The high rate of unemployed university graduates is proof that there is a disconnect between what they learn in the universities and what employers want. This is due to a skewed view of the objectives of our higher education, and the quality of our educators.

We also have to be more obsessed with merit and substance, rather than what is politically expedient. For example, the appointment of a non-Malay vice chancellor of any public university in Malaysia should no longer be questioned or considered a sensitive issue.

There should be no hesitation, provided one is qualified academically, and has the right attitude towards teaching, research and intellectual development for national progress.

There is one area of higher education that has never been discussed, even though we constantly address the lack of critical thinkers and intellectuals in Malaysia.

The “Socratic Method” is a method of educational instruction that should be employed in university classrooms, in all fields. It is a method of hypothesis elimination, in that better suppositions are found during a debate or discussion.

The process of discussion involves asking a series of questions formulated as tests of logic. Instead of answering questions directly, questions are answered in the form of another question, which prompts the person or group to discover their beliefs about a topic, on their own. In this situation, the active participation of the lecturer is paramount.

Therefore, the Socratic Method encourages constant dialogue in the classroom, and sharpens the mind in logic, reason and arguments. In the process, students develop self confidence and a desire to read widely so they can engage more in classroom discussion. A silent student would feel embarrassed in a class full of chatty, logical peers.

While it is good to incorporate audio-visual techniques and other forms of innovative technology into teaching, university lecturers should not neglect the power of dialogue.

The Socratic Method would generate a cohort of graduates who will perform well in a job interview, show confidence and display a wide range of knowledge in the field. It also keeps lecturers on their toes and forces them to be updated in their respective fields. This is genuine educational empowerment, not mere rhetoric, based on fancy global terminology.
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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

 

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WHO decision makes little effect in curbing China; New strategies needed for Malaysian tourism


US travel alert an overreaction, shows unilateralism: experts 

 A staff member, wearing a facemask, waits for customers near the Forbidden City in Beijing on Friday. The Chinese people have just experienced an unforgettable Spring Festival as the whole country has been forced to endure the spread of the novel coronavirus.Photo: AFP

 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Thursday (local time) in Geneva the novel coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), putting pressure on China amid the deadly virus battle, as more countries are likely to issue travel advisories and impose trade restrictions.

 

Chinese analysts said although there is no need to exaggerate the impact of the declaration, the country needs to focus on containing the spread of the pneumonia as its top priority, as countries would adjust travel and trade policies based on the changing situation, and a complete recovery also depends on progress made during China’s nationwide fight against the virus.

The WHO emphasized that the declaration was not a vote of no confidence on China. Over the past few weeks, the WHO has witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen, which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak, and which has been met by an unprecedented response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on Thursday.

After considering multiple factors, WHO designated the coronavirus as a PHEIC. However, WHO continues to have confidence in China’s ability to control the outbreak.

Following the PHEIC declaration, the US State Department warned Americans not to go to China, becoming the first country of issuing travel alert to its citizens, despite the WHO emphasized on Thursday that it did not suggest other countries impose travel and trade restrictions on China.

A US State Department notice said travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended flights to and from China.

Those currently in China should consider leaving using commercial means, it said, noting that the department has requested all non-essential US government personnel to defer travel to China because of the novel coronavirus. The travel warning is the highest Level 4 – Do Not Travel – in the US.

At least 98 novel coronavirus cases have been reported in 18 countries outside of China, including eight human-to-human transmissions in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the US. The majority of the cases outside of China involved people who had traveled to Wuhan, or were in contact with someone who had visited the city, according to the WHO.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. Photo: VCG

Damage to both sides

The US travel warning may cause other nations to follow, considering its geopolitical influence, some Chinese analysts forecast, reminding other countries to heed the WHO advise.

The US is overreacting and the warning would greatly hurt global tourism and hinder people-to-people exchanges, Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Ni predicted that other Western countries may follow the US in issuing travel restrictions to China.

Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that the US government’s move shows its unilateralism, which is unsurprising.

The WHO clarified that they did not suggest other countries impose travel and trade restrictions on China. The advise was made based on multidimensional considerations and global public health interests, which the US ignored, Zeng told the Global Times.

The US government had ordered the departure of all non-urgent US personnel and their family members from Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province, the coronavirus’ epicenter, on January 23.

Some foreign airlines have suspended flights to China including Air Canada, United Airlines, British Airlines and IndiGo.

Imposing restrictions on personal exchanges between the US and China would significantly weigh on US interests in China, considering the huge presence of American companies in China, said Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University.

“It may also trigger a humanitarian crisis, as American citizens have married Chinese people, and if they are forced to leave, many families would be separated,” Li said.

Many US companies are becoming increasingly entrenched in China, including major US-listed firms such as Tesla, Starbucks, Apple and Boeing, therefore restricting personnel exchanges between China and the US would also have an impact on the US stock market, according to analysts.

The US government had also issued travel alerts on previous public health incidents declared by the WHO, including the H1N1 virus that caused an influenza pandemic in 2009, Ebola outbreak in West Africa and polio in 2014, media reported. During the Ebola outbreak, the State Department alerted US citizens to follow screening procedures and travel restrictions, and reduce air travel to countries including Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali.

People make protective suits at a medical company in Hefei, east China’s Anhui Province, Thursday. To help fight the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, workers of some medical material companies rushed to work ahead of schedule to make protective equipment. Photo: Xinhua


Top priority

According to the International Health Regulations (IHR), if the WHO declares a PHEIC, the director-general shall issue temporary recommendations, including health measures regarding people, baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods and parcels to prevent or reduce the spread of the disease and avoid unnecessary interference to international traffic.

However, temporary recommendations are non-binding advisories issued by the WHO and are on a time-limited, risk-specific basis, according to IHR.

When WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a PHEIC, the organization emphasized it was essential to avoid the punitive economic consequences of travel and trade restrictions on affected communities, in a statement published on its website in July 2019.

Under the IHR, countries implementing additional health measures going beyond what WHO recommends will be required to provide a public health rationale and justification within 48 hours of implementation for WHO to review, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told the Global Times on Thursday.

The WHO is obliged to share information about measures and the justification received with other countries involved, Jasarevic said, noting that countries are asked to provide public health justification for any travel or trade measures that are not scientifically based, such as refusal of entry based on suspected cases or unaffected persons to affected areas.

Chinese analysts said it was not necessary to overreact or interpret the news as a hostile attitude toward China from the global community. The shared priority is to prevent the deadly virus from spreading across the globe.

“Indeed, it may place extra pressure to China, with both economic and political implications,” said Shen Yi, director at the Research Center for Cyberspace Governance of Fudan University.

“But it depends on how China continues fighting the epidemic in order to help its economy recover,” Shen said, noting that the WHO decision has little influence on how other countries handle economic ties with China amid the pneumonia outbreak.

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New strategies needed for Malaysian tourism


Cautious visitors: Tourists seen wearing face masks as they enter Malaysia through the Johor Baru Custom, Immigration and Quarantine Complex recently.

IT’S an unfortunate start to Visit Malaysia Year 2020 with the outbreak of the coronavirus putting a tumble to travelling, and it’s a tad more ominous that mainland China tourists have been our key market.

The Chinese government has already placed its faith in Malaysia by launching the Malaysia-China Year of Culture and Tourism 2020 to boost bilateral ties and friendship between the Asian nations.

However, the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a global health emergency has further dented the promotional efforts of Tourism Malaysia. To suggest minimal impact on Malaysia is a fallacy, to put it mildly.

Tourism revenue has always been regarded low hanging fruit, and with the improved performances of 2019, this year was supposed to kick off with more tourist arrivals.

Malaysia reported its half-year tourism results, until Aug 2019, declaring that tourist arrivals reached 13.35 million, up 4.9%, while tourist receipts improved 6.8% over the same period in 2018.

Tourism Malaysia’s data summary indicates the travel industry had contributed RM41.69bil in revenue to the country’s economy from January to June in 2019.

Apparently, the performance also saw growth in terms of per capita expenditure, rising by 1.9% to RM3,121.6, while the average length of stay climbed by 0.4 nights to 6.2 nights.

The top 10 source markets for arrivals were Singapore (5,381,566), Indonesia (1,857,864), China (1,558,782), Thailand (990,565), Brunei (627,112), India (354,486), South Korea (323,952), the Philippines (210,974), Vietnam (200,314) and Japan (196,561).

There are plenty of day trippers from Singapore and Indonesia, given our close proximity.

So, the numbers from China are significant. It’s glaring that East Asian and Asean arrivals continued to dominate the share of tourist arrivals to Malaysia with a 70% contribution.

The medium-haul market and long-haul market represented 20.8% and 9.2% share, respectively.

Tourism Malaysia reported that the top five countries with highest receipts were Singapore (RM11.56bil), China (RM7.09bil), Indonesia (RM5.71bil), Thailand (RM1.70bil) and Brunei (RM1.52bil).

The five countries with the highest average length of stay were those from Saudi Arabia (10.5 nights), France (8.7 nights), Germany (8.3 nights), Netherlands (8.1 nights) and Canada (7.7 nights).

In 2018, Malaysia registered 25.8 million tourist arrivals and RM84.1bil in tourist receipts. For 2019, tourist arrivals reached 28.1 million with tourist receipts of RM92.2bil.

While Malaysia, like most countries, has understandably become concerned with China’s continuing struggle with the virus, it’s crucial we maintain our renowned hospitality when interacting with Chinese tourists.

Chinese travellers have heeded caution by staying home, and for those travelling, the last thing they’d want is to feel unwelcome, or even discriminated.

News reports have already filtered in that Chinese tourists – and in some cases, even Singaporeans – have been asked to leave restaurants and tourist spots in some countries.

Our Prime Minister has made the right move by announcing that the decision to close mosques and tourist attractions to travellers, given the novel coronavirus outbreak, is not government policy.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad went so far as to describe such moves as irresponsible, saying the government never declared that mosques or museums were closed to tourists because they could be infected by the coronavirus.

“This is not a government policy and it is an irresponsible act, ” he told a press conference after chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting last week.

Among the mosques that have closed temporarily to tourists are the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque and the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, as well as the Federal Territory mosque in Kuala Lumpur. They have since been opened.

Dr Mahathir also warned the public against spreading fake news meant to stir ill feelings between races.

Closing mosques to non-Muslims also doesn’t make sense when there are many Chinese citizens who are Muslims. The fact is there are more Muslims in China than Malaysia. However, unlike people, this virus doesn’t discriminate and will make victims of any race or religion.

Thermal detectors

So, it will be more effective and sensible to install thermal detectors at these popular mosques, and place medical personnel there to monitor the situation.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi has rightly said that tourists, particularly Chinese nationals, should not be discriminated and said tourists coming into the country would have been screened at the entry points, including airports.

Recently, West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno drew flak from netizens after amateur video recordings of him welcoming Chinese visitors in a well-attended parade at the Minangkabau International Airport in Padang went viral on Twitter, amid concerns over a domestic coronavirus outbreak.

A video uploaded on Sunday by Twitter user @dedetsaugia, in which Irwan could be seen addressing the tourists, has been viewed over 2.1 million times and retweeted over 6,000 times at the time of writing. As reported by kompas.com, Irwan welcomed the foreign visitors after they were declared healthy in a medical examination conducted with thermal scanners installed at the airport.

“The arrival of these tourists is expected to increase the number of foreign tourists visiting West Sumatra in the future, ” Irwan was quoted by Antara news agency.

“We cannot reject foreign arrivals when they have prepared all the required documentation. We have taken anticipatory measures by conducting a detailed check-up.”

The reaction of these netizens is in bad taste, and reeks of xenophobia. Credit to the West Sumatra authorities for showing much greater grace.

Asean and East Asian tourists will continue to dominate our tourist arrivals.

Like SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which hit Hong Kong and southern parts of China in 2003, the coronavirus appears to be a winter phenomenon. Over 700 people died then. China is now still in a cold season, although it’s already spring.

But this time, unlike 2003, it has happened during the Lunar New Year festival when millions travel home, across China, to be with their families. The CNY season is also a time for many Chinese to holiday abroad.

According to Wuhan officials, there are still over 4,000 Wuhan tourists overseas as of Jan 27, and certainly, this can’t be comforting for many.

China has adopted a more transparent approach this time, unlike in 2003, when it didn’t reveal the health threat until five months after the SARS outbreak.

This time around, it has done things differently by updating the world on developments with the epidemic.

Last week, the Chinese Embassy here even started a Whatsapp group – with a long list of media people – where everyone is kept informed, and the channel is used to share information, verify reports and keep the local media in the loop.

While China is fighting against time to battle the virus, it isn’t likely that this will drag on until the summer season.

Although this is very much a Wuhan problem, many travellers have postponed plans to fly and even going as far as avoiding crowds.

Malaysia is a country with a hot climate and open spaces, but that hasn’t stopped many of us from wearing masks as a precaution. Never mind that our streets and MRT aren’t congested unlike how it is in Japan, China or Hong Kong.

My relatives from Singapore called to say they were no longer coming to Kuala Lumpur for a CNY reunion! Talk about over-reaction!

For sure our tourist numbers will be hit, but Malaysia can’t afford to wait.

It must work on the right markets for us to meet the numbers and ensure the success of Visit Malaysia Year.

Mohamaddin has downplayed the fear that tourism numbers will decline, saying the loss in tourism revenue from the ban will be minimal, and added that the ministry will not revise its campaign target of getting 30 million visitors this year.

“The travel ban will only cause a small impact as it is only for those from Wuhan. But people from other countries such as Australia and England are still able to visit Malaysia. So, the target remains as it is, ” he said.

Of course, Malaysia will be affected. Australians, Britons and Americans may stay longer when they visit Malaysia, but their numbers are negligible, and they are certainly not the biggest spenders.

In fact, for 2017, the East Asia market showed a 6.3% growth, while other markets saw a decline, i.e., Asean markets dropped by -3.9%, Europe (-1.7%), Americas (-4.3%), Oceania (-5.4%) Central Asia (-6.4%), Africa (-7%), West Asia (-12.3%) and South Asia (-13.3%).

Asean, or the short-haul market, dominated with a 75.1% share of total tourist arrivals and brought a total of 19,478,575 tourists to Malaysia. The medium-haul market share was 19.1%, with 4,948,123 tourists, while the long-haul market share was 5.9%, with a total of 1,520,389 tourists.

For 2017, the top 10 tourist source markets for Malaysia were Singapore with 12,441,713 tourist arrivals, Indonesia (2,796,570), China (2,281,666), Thailand (1,836,522), Brunei (1,660,506), India (552,739), South Korea (484,528), Japan (392,777), the Philippines (370,559), and Britain (358,818).

For China, the market surpassed the target for this region with an increase of 7.45% to 2.28 million arrivals, while an increase of flight frequency by AIRASIA X made Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu choice destinations for Koreans.

Arrivals from Indonesia and China, which made up Malaysia’s second and third largest respectively, have been increasing. In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia climbed by 29% year-on-year, while the number of tourists from Indonesia increased by 17%.

This is a good time to re-design our strategies and engage with stakeholders – including tour operators, food and beverage outlet owners, hoteliers, mall operators and media – to see how we can support Visit Malaysia Year 2020.

We should also seek the support of famous Malaysians like Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Datuk Jimmy Choo, Henry Golding and others to be our Tourism Ambassadors since they have millions of fans worldwide.

We are all rooting for a resounding success.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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Cutting-edge satellite launched by private Chinese company: GalaxySpace


Galaxy Space plans to establish a low Earth orbit 5G constellation. Credit: Galaxy Space.

China’s most powerful low-orbiting communication satellite, also the biggest spacecraft ever built by a private Chinese company, was launched in Northwest China.

The GalaxySpace 1, designed and built by the Beijing-based startup GalaxySpace and launched yesterday, is also widely considered the country’s first 5G-capable satellite.

The 200kg satellite was lifted at 11.02am atop a Kuaizhou 1A rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert, according to a statement by GalaxySpace.

It has a transmission capacity of 10 Gigabits per second and uses multiple bands such as Q/V and Ka, the company said.

China has been going all-out to boost and promote 5G communication technology, regarding it as one of the major driving forces for future social and economic development.

China lofts 4 satellites into orbit with its second launch of 2020 …

https://www.space.com/china-long-march-2d-satellites-january-2020-launch-success.html

 

China launches Yinhe-1 commercial low Earth orbit 5G satellite

 

Liftoff of the Kuaizhou-1A light solid rocket from Jiuquan at 10:02 p.m.
Eastern Jan. 15 carrying the Yinhe-1 5G satellite. Credit: CASIC

China sends six satellites into space with a single rocket

US gains limited from changed China policy


The year 2019 has been one in which US sought to reconstruct its relations with China.

First, the US reset the premise of its policies toward China. From former president Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, Washington used to consider living with a rising China conditionally as the precondition; but since Donald Trump took office, he has changed the relatively friendly premise into a hostile one. Trying to slow down China’s development and preventing the country from surpassing or even replacing the US have become the real intention of his China policy.

Second, the US reframed its relations with China, taking economic and trade ties as the turning point, as well as putting in more efforts in diplomacy, security, politics and culture. The key tools in its reconstruction of economic and trade ties were the war of tariffs, technology and finance.

During 2019, the trade war launched by the US against China saw many ups and downs. The number of products on which the two sides slapped duties reached an unprecedented scale. With the escalating tech war against China, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its “entity list.” Besides, China was listed as a currency manipulator by the US Department of Treasury.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration carried out a whole-of-government approach to compete with China and imposed all-round pressure on China.

The US has continued to meddle in Taiwan-related affairs. The Trump administration approved the sale of 66 F-16 fighters to Taiwan in August, the biggest military transaction between the US and Taiwan. Then US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s meeting with Taiwan’s National Security Council (NSC) head David Lee in the White House in May indicated the upgrade of US-Taiwan relations, which happened for the first time since 1950s.

Most seriously, the US was trying to promote Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state. In the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report issued by US Department of Defense, Taiwan was publicly listed as a country; and the Coordination Council for North American Affairs was changed into Taiwan Council for US Affairs.

In 2019, US so-called freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea were much more aggressive. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was also besieged and smeared by the US. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy is meant to counter China’s BRI.

Additionally, the US has stepped up competition with China politically and ideologically and kept attacking China’s political system.

In terms of the issues of Xinjiang and Hong Kong, US interference was way more blatant than before. The US even passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, in order to legalize its future interference in the Hong Kong issue. Moreover, the US attacked China’s governance in Xinjiang. Not only did the Ministry of Commerce impose export control over 28 Chinese business entities, but the US Department of State also announced visa restrictions against Chinese officials and their relatives. US Congress, furthermore, passed the so-called Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, keeping up the pressure on China even more.

The series of measures the Trump administration employed to restructure the China-US relationship framework are aggressive.

The Trump administration is trying to change the way China and US interact. It believes that Washington should abandon the engagement policy and cooperation should give way to strategic competition and that the US must pressure China to make concessions. That being the case, the Trump administration has changed the approach of engagement and hedging, reduced engagement and cooperation, and increased confrontation and conflicts with China.

When some hawks within the Trump government talk about China-US competition, what they really want are confrontation and conflict. Many working-level dialogue mechanisms established during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations are no longer in operation. Now Washington resorts to trade, technological and financial wars as well as sanctions. How far can the US go in this way?

First, it depends on how much price the US is willing to pay. Competition, decoupling, confrontation, and non-cooperation all come at a price. The US-launched trade war against China has impacted US agricultural and manufacturing industries and forced consumers to pay more, while the technological war has put the US high-tech industry under risk of losing the Chinese market. Escalating military competition with China means a significant increase in US military expenditure. Restricting China-US people-to-people exchanges will also cause losses to American universities and research institutions.

In fact, with the negative effects of the Trump administration’s China policy increasingly becoming apparent, doubts within the US have grown. Although the US elites have generally reached a consensus on a tougher stance against China, they have yet to agree on how much price the US can pay.

Second, China-US relations are the result of bilateral interactions and cannot be unilaterally decided by the US. Facing heightened US pressure, China is exploring more effective ways to respond. Beijing is not afraid of competition.

Finally, the attitudes of the international community and the US allies matter. The China policy and other foreign policies of the Trump administration not only aimed at maximizing US interests, but also have the features of protectionism and unilateralism. The trade war against China has damaged global industrial and value chains, undermining the interests of other countries including US allies.

To sum up, although the US has benefited from its China policy recalibration, its gains are limited. How far will the US move to restructure its relations with China go? It hinges on the changes in US domestic politics as well as China’s will and art in wrangling with the US.

By Wu Xinbo Source:Global Times – The author is dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University.
Read more:

China’s strategic willpower leads to progress

China is not the most powerful country. But it is strong enough to defend its philosophy of seeking truth from facts. Sometimes, justice and correctness need to be proven through games and tested by time. China has the ability to create conditions for that. This is perhaps what strategic willpower means.

How should China develop in the 2020s?

China has been moving forward. It is a bit tired, but China has been doing great.

Mobile coverage snag as uers in many areas face connectivity issue while Malaysia moves into 5G era!


Pix for representational purpose only.

While Malaysia strives to move into the 5G era, the current 4G mobile network connectivity is still found wanting in many areas in the country, including the Klang Valley.

Mobile users in areas such as Taman TAR in Ampang, Jalan Damai Jasa in Alam Damai, Cheras Hartamas and certain areas in Subang, Selangor, face connectivity issues.

Wong Sew Kin, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, Multimedia University, said there are areas within the Klang Valley that face a drop in network signals.

“Even places near my house in Bukit Beruntung, Rawang, have no signal at all let alone the internet,” he said, adding that more needs to be done for telecommunications infrastructure in Malaysia if it is to be on par with nations such as Singapore and China.

“We are venturing into 5G now but there are still problems with connectivity. We should address this to solidify our mobile network infrastructure so that we are able to make quick and steady advancement without having to worry about minor issues. It is important that we iron out the kinks.”

He added the lack of network signals can be attributed to the lack of base stations, or simply known as telco towers, in certain areas.

“As far as I know, the building of base stations has nothing to do with the government as it’s usually up to the telcos and they prioritise providing network connectivity in highly populated and commercial areas.

“However, the government can play its part by providing incentives for telcos to set up more base stations to ensure that we are fully connected,” he said.

Anusha Ravi, a resident of Alam Damai in Kuala Lumpur, told theSun she often has to direct her e-hailing drivers through the phone to her residence as the drivers are unable to use navigation apps due to the poor network signal.

A resident of Taman Billion in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, said he has faced poor network coverage for years despite being close to commercial areas.

“I have complained about this many times but nothing has been done,” he said, adding that he has to walk some distance away from his house just to make a call.

However, another expert who declined to be named, specialising in base station construction and installation, said the government is already doing all it can to ensure connectivity.

“The government, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s Universal Service Provision fund, provides contractors and telcos opportunities to develop network infrastructure and connectivity in under-served areas, especially rural places.

“To my knowledge, sometimes we face issues such as a drop in network signals due to lack of base stations within a certain range. Sometimes there is no land to build base stations in between.”

Telcos sometimes face problems when planning to build base stations due to protests by residents in the area.

For instance, residents in Taman Sri Puteri, Bayan Lepas in Penang, successfully lobbied for the removal of telco towers in their area recently.

Among their reasons was that the towers were too close to their homes and thus were a health hazard.

Tutela, an independent crowdsourced data company, noted in its “State of mobile Networks 2019: Southeast Asia” report last year that Thailand beat Malaysia in a test where a mobile connection was good enough for basic internet usage.

The Philippines and Indonesia came out third and fourth.

“All four countries in the report are relatively close when it comes to basic quality. Thailand takes first place, with users able to make a voice over internet protocol call – a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection or check emails at least 92.5% of the time when connected to one of the country’s networks.”

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Multiple bidders for 5G

 

MCMC: Final report on National Digital ID expected ready by June 30

 

MCMC to undertake tender process for 5G spectrums

Mixed views on 5G plan

MCMC: Action will be taken against telcos if they fail to comply .

https://www.thesundaily.my/local/mcmc-action-will-be-taken-against-telcos-if-they-fail-to-comply-with-standards-MK1862781

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Digitalisation and its impact 

Huawei developed own operating system Hongmeng OS; 5G商用 中国准备好了! China roll-out affordable 5G

The battle over 5G network suppliers is part of a broader push by the Trump administration to check China’s rise as a global technology powerhouse.PHOTO: REUTERS 

New decade, new Malaysian education: For the sake of our children and our future, Mazlee’s replacement should be a
qualified and capable

China sanctions US over Hong Kong


The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the first wave of countermeasures against the US on Monday since the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and continued its interference in China’s domestic affairs in the city.

The move includes suspending visits of US warships and aircraft to the city and sanctioning multiple US-headquartered non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Human Rights Watch. Chinese experts said that some US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao who have connections with the targeted NGOs could be expelled as these organizations’ activities in Hong Kong could be deemed illegal in the future.

From a logistic perspective, suspending visits of US warships and aircraft will force US military forces to find other ports in the region for resupply, which could cost more, experts noted.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the first wave of countermeasures against the US on Monday since the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and continued its interference in China’s domestic affairs in the city.

The move includes suspending visits of US warships and aircraft to the city and sanctioning multiple US-headquartered non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Human Rights Watch. Chinese experts said that some US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao who have connections with the targeted NGOs could be expelled as these organizations’ activities in Hong Kong could be deemed illegal in the future.

From a logistic perspective, suspending visits of US warships and aircraft will force US military forces to find other ports in the region for maintenance, which could cost more, experts noted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a routine press conference on Monday that China would suspend its reviews of applications made by US military aircraft and naval vessels to make port calls in Hong Kong after US President Donald Trump signed the so-called Hong Kong act, which allows Washington to impose sanctions on individuals over alleged human rights violation in Hong Kong.

Hua said China will also sanction NGOs including NED, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch for their “horrible activities in the months-long turmoil in the city.”

“A great amount of evidence proving that these NGOs have supported anti-China forces to create chaos in Hong Kong, and made utmost efforts to encourage these forces to engage in extreme violent criminal acts, and also hyped separatism activities in Hong Kong,” she said.

“They have a huge responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong, and deserve to be sanctioned and pay the price.”

“NED is a notorious organization that plays a major role in funding color revolutions and training political activists worldwide to create trouble for many non-Western states,” said Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

“The NDI and IRI are two organizations that mainly receive funding from NED, and the NDI follows political line of Democrats, while the IRI follows Republicans. Sanctioning these two NGOs sends the message that the two major parties are being targeted for initiating and passing the Hong Kong act,” said Diao Daming, a US studies expert at Renmin University of China.

A masked rioter is standing out among his group in a standoff with police outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, November 17, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Expulsion from HK

On questions as to what extent China can sanction these NGOs, Chinese experts said that due to the “one-country, two systems” policy, these organizations are allowed to operate in Hong Kong without restrictions, but since they are using this to harm China’s national interests, their activities and cash flow in Hong Kong could be frozen.

Diao said “These NGOs could be identified as illegal organizations, so not only their personnel, but US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao could be affected.”

Staff member of those NGOs will be restricted from entering Chinese territory, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and those NGOs’ operations in HKSAR will also likely be limited, said Fan Peng from the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

Fan said that imposing restrictions on those organizations’ operations hits external forces to the very core and helps to ward off their influence in Hong Kong, as those organizations support the rioters.

If the US government uses the authorization provided by the US Congress to conduct further interference in Hong Kong, China will surely raise its retaliation, Lü said.

China could investigate US diplomats connected to the listed NGOs, or even directly involved with their local funding targets and provided training and assistance, and these diplomats could be expelled if they don’t stop making trouble in the city, Diao noted.

Military ties harmed

China, in the past, allowed the US vessels and aircraft to visit and resupply in Hong Kong since the coastal city is a perfect port in the West Pacific region, and serves as a strategic hub. But now, due to US intervention in the Hong Kong situation, US military forces will lose their right to use this hub and need to spend more resources to get supplies in other ports in the region, Chinese experts said.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that whether China allows US warships to conduct port visits in Hong Kong has been a barometer of the two countries’ political and military relations.

Now that China has decided to suspend the port visits, it means China and the US have suffered a significant decline in political and military ties, which have been caused by US violations of China’s sovereignty and interference in China’s internal affairs, as it is challenging the one-China principle by publicly supporting Hong Kong secessionists, Song said.

A US warship port call to Hong Kong now will send a very wrong signal to Hong Kong rioters, and China is absolutely right to turn down visit requests, take resolute action and counter the US for its provocation, Song said.

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Blockchain: Internet of Value/ Currency of Trust; Private cryptocurrency a misallocation among blockchain technology, say research & economist


  • Blockchain embodies the internet of value. How will it revolutionize our lives and our pockets?

  •  And, we look at the qualities Blockchain needs to spark mass adoption.

Blockchain, one of the buzzwords in technology, is set to rise in China. Recently,
Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored the fledgling technology as the country increasingly views Blockchain as key to future innovation. Has a digital game changer arrived? How will a boom in Blockchain impact our lives? Today we delve into the world of the new technology and talk to Don Tapscott, co-founder and executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, to find out more.

Currency of Trust

Blockchain has the potential to be revolutionary. But, what hurdles must it overcome before it can hit the mainstream? In London, we invited Patrick McCorry, founder and CEO of PISA Research, a grant funded by a group of Blockchain companies, to decode this ever-changing world.

Private cryptocurrency a misallocation among blockchain technology, says economist

Cryptocurrency is digital-based cash among the internet world nowadays. Born from blockchain, this kind of “currency” is blooming in terms of high privacy. Acknowledging that, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Harvard professor Eric Maskin commented that private cryptocurrency is a misallocation.

“The most important application of blockchain so far has been cryptocurrency, and that is a terrible misallocation. In my view, cryptocurrency, at least private cryptocurrency like bitcoin is a mistake,” said Maskin.

“Because the public currency like RMB and U.S. dollar are much more useful than private currency. [Public currencies] they preserve the power of central banks to conduct monetary policy. If no one is using the dollar, then the U.S. monetary policy is useless. So I’m worried about cryptocurrency only to the extent that it reduces the use of currencies like RMB or dollar,” he added.

He also pointed out that cryptocurrencies could interfere with central banks’ monetary policies.

Meanwhile, Maskin supports the idea that blockchain is a technology. He noted that it is one of the exciting developments that have come along in recent years.

“Blockchain can make all sorts of transactions much easier and much more secure. It can also ensure that only the information that people need to have gets transmitted,” said Maskin.

“Blockchain is a way for me to guarantee that only what you need to about me gets told. And that’s valuable in a world where we’re beginning to worry about privacy issues,” the professor explained.

Besides, Maskin supports building the country’s own digital currencies. With the backdrop of e-payment booming around the world, Maskin said the digital currency can make transaction easier but it won’t have all of the unpleasant side effects of these private currencies.

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Read more:

Blockchain with Chinese characteristics

 

 

 

China successfully completes lander tests, preparing for Mars mission in 2020 as it pushes for inclusion in global space projects


China unveils its 2020 Mars probe

https://youtu.be/hdj8-XSOAg8

A lander for China’s Mars mission is seen before a hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test at a test facility in
Huailai, Hebei province, China November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

HUAILAI, China (Reuters) – China on Thursday successfully completed a lander test in northern Hebei province ahead of an unmanned exploration mission to Mars next year.

China is on track to launch its Mars mission in 2020, Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration, said on Thursday. Zhang was speaking ahead of the hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test for the lander.

The journey through space will take about seven months, while landing will take seven minutes, said Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars exploration programme.

The test was conducted at a sprawling landing test site in Huailai, northwest of Beijing.

China has developed the powerful Long March 5 rocket to transport the probe to Mars in 2020.

The same rocket is meant to deliver the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon by the end of 2019 or early next year to bring back samples of lunar rocks.

The Chang’e-4 probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon in January this year, a historic first and major achievement for China’s space programme.

China made its first lunar landing in 2013.

China expects to complete a modular space station around 2022, around the time when NASA is said to start building a new space station laboratory to orbit the moon, as a pit stop for missions to other parts of the solar system.

In 2003, China became the third nation to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Since then, it has been racing to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030.

(Reporting by Martin Pollard; Writing by Ryan Woo and Liangping Gao; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
China preparing for Mars mission in global space projects

It’s a success: A lander being lifted during a test at a facility in Hebei province. — AP

HUAILAI: China invited observers to a successful test of its Mars lander as the country pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.

The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.

China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail.

China’s burgeoning space programme achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon.

It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 and has sought cooperation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.

The US, however, has banned most space cooperation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.

Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power. It is gradually constructing its own larger, more permanent space station in which it has invited foreign participation.

The lander yesterday successfully avoided ground obstacles during a simulated low-gravity descent, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Chinese space programme’s main contractor.

The refrigerator-sized craft was lowered gently on 36 cables through the air for about a minute and used onboard jets spraying rust-coloured fumes to alter its downward course.

“After the probe is launched, it will take about seven months to reach Mars, and the final procedure of landing will only last about seven minutes, which is the most difficult and the most risky part of the whole mission, ” said the Mars mission’s chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao, standing before the 140m-tall testing facility.

Recent rover crashes on the moon by Israel and India highlight the difficulties of safe landings from space.

The remote Comprehensive Testing Ground for Landing on Extraterrestrial Bodies run by CASC lies an hour north of the Great Wall from Beijing.

Guests at yesterday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy. — AP

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SCI-TECH >> Air & Space

China sends 49th BDS satellite into space

China successfully sent its 49th satellite for its domestically developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, or BDS, into a planned orbit on Tuesday morning, navigation authorities told the Global Times.

Source: Globaltimes.cn | 2019/11/5 2:54:14

China launches new 3D mapping satellite

China on Sunday launched an advanced 3D mapping satellite that can clearly see small country lanes from orbit, and will play a vital role in supporting urban and agricultural development.

Source: Global Times | 2019/11/3 14:27:27

US military’s X-37B space plane lands after 780-day secret in-orbit mission

US military’s X-37B space plane lands after 780-day secret in-orbit mission

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/28 14:18:33

China to launch Chang’e-5 lunar probe in 2020

China plans to launch the Chang’e-5 probe in 2020 to bring moon samples back to Earth, according to Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/28 11:55:48

Chinese scientists’ pursuit of cosmic rays opens windows on universe

In the wilderness of Daocheng, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, 4,400 meters above sea level, Chinese scientists are constructing a cosmic ray observation station on an area equivalent to 200 soccer fields.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/24 10:07:14

Chinese scientists’ pursuit of cosmic rays opens windows on universe

In the wilderness of Daocheng, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, 4,400 meters above sea level, Chinese scientists are constructing a cosmic ray observation station on an area equivalent to 200 soccer fields.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/23 17:15:43

China’s private reusable rocket to be launched in 2021

A Chinese reusable carrier rocket that uses liquid oxygen-methane propellants made its first public appearance Friday at the ongoing 2019 Zhongguancun Forum in Beijing.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/22 10:07:33

China launches new communication technology experiment satellite

China sent a new communication technology experiment satellite into planned orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province late Thursday.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/18 10:52:19

2019 Yaocheng (Taiyuan) International General Aviation Show opens in Shanxi

Aircrafts stage a performance at the 2019 Yaocheng (Taiyuan) International General Aviation Show in Qingxu County, Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, Oct. 11, 2019.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/12 13:31:52

FAST closely monitoring unknown repetitive fast radio burst

Chinese scientists are paying close attention to a repeating fast radio burst by making follow-up observations during the country’s National Day holiday.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/7 8:49:48

China launches HD observation satellite

China sent its observation satellite into space from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China’s Shanxi Province at 2:51 a.m. Saturday (Beijing Time).

Source: Xinhua | 2019/10/5 11:25:16

China’s “Super Microscope” starts new experiments to explore microworld secrets

The China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS), located in Dongguan City, south China’s Guangdong Province, began a new round of user operation Thursday, with 57 experiments on new materials to be conducted in the next four months.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/9/28 13:10:40

China launches new satellite for environment detection

China sent a new satellite into planned orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert on Wednesday.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/9/25 15:38:52

China’s lunar rover discovers mysterious substance on moon’s far side

China’s lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, discovered an unidentified substance in an impact crater on the far side of the moon.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/9/24 13:41:53

First fast tornado-detecting radar installed in East China

Coastal Jiangsu Province has installed China’s first C-band phased array meteorological radar system, designed to quickly detect and monitor extreme weather including tornados, developers said on Wednesday.

Source: Global Times | 2019/9/18 19:38:40

Newly discovered comet likely “interstellar visitor”, says NASA

A newly discovered comet appears to have originated from outside the solar system, said NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in a release.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/9/14 8:44:08

China’s giant telescope picks up mysterious signals from deep space

Chinese astronomers have detected repeated fast radio bursts (FRB) – mysterious signals believed to be from a source about 3 billion light years from Earth – with the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built.

Source: Xinhua | 2019/9/9 10:53:42

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