It’s game on for e-sports at colleges

The 2018 King Pro League spring season kicks off in March. Live online broadcasts of the e-sports competition, which is based on Tencent’s homegrown hit King of Glory, have attracted billions of views each year since its launch in 2016, highlighting the dramatic development of China’s e-sports market. [Photo provided to China Daily]

More Chinese universities are embracing gaming as they see big job opportunities in the development of the sector, as Shi Futian reports.

E-sports and education have long been regarded as incompatible in China, with gaming considered the No 1 enemy of academic performance. But that is changing as the healthy development of e-sports gains more recognition.

The inaugural 2018 University Cyber League, co-organized by Tencent Sports, is one example. The only e-sports tournament approved by the Federation of University Sports of China, it is one of the biggest of its kind in China, boasting the most teams and the nation’s top university players.

The tournament wrapped up its north, south, east and west division competitions in late April. More than 8,000 spectators attended the divisional competitions, which also attracted over 50 million online viewers.

The divisional champions are now preparing for the league’s first national championship, in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Sunday.

The winners of the four divisions-20 teams representing 16 universities around China, including top ones like Renmin University of China and Fudan University-will compete in five different arenas: soccer game FIFA Online, basketball game Strongest NBA, first-person shooter CrossFire, multiplayer battle game League of Legends and homegrown hit King of Glory.

“University plays a vital role in facilitating the standardization and industrialization of a healthy e-sports industry in China,” said Ewell Zhao, general manager of Tencent Sports.

“Through tournament operation and promotion, Tencent will ensure UCL is a professional, university-level e-sports tournament, which will help facilitate e-sports’ development in China.”

Although the inaugural UCL is groundbreaking, the development of university-level e-sports remains in its infancy. “We started the e-sports society at our university three years ago, and it was organized by students with no help from teachers or the school,” said Li Jiyun, captain of the Renmin University team that was crowned north division League of Legends champion.

Li’s team, with members from various years and backing from what is now a university sanctioned e-sports club, is in better shape than the one at prestigious Peking University, whose captain, Ge Jiadi, said it was made up only of freshmen and had received no help from anyone. No Peking University team won through to the national championship.

Despite the fact that many university e-sports teams and clubs in China are managed by students themselves, gaming has earned a place in the academic world, with many universities starting e-sports classes.

Youths in China seek attention through short videos

An internet user watches two young women perform on a short video app, March 30, 2018. [Photo/IC]

If you want to know which social media platforms Chinese youths like now, you better not miss short videos.

“As for Douyin, a short video application, 85 percent of its users are aged under 24, and the main influencer users are born after 1995, and even 2000,” said a person in charge of the app, in an interview with China Youth Daily.

On popular short video apps, including Douyin and Kuaishou, users can upload short videos, the content of which ranges from cooking and physical exercise to dancing and gatherings, and share them with other users.

A 12-year-old user named Xiaoqianyu has up to 2.6 million followers on Douyin. The girl, who’s enjoyed dancing since she was in kindergarten, has uploaded videos showing her learning jazz dance and finger dance since last July. One of the videos won her about one million fans, and she has become famous as a result.

“Besides recording the movements, I can add relevant music to the video, so it is easy and fun to shoot the videos,” said Xiaoqianyu, who enjoys sharing happiness with strangers by shooting the short videos.

Another user, named Xiaozhou, is a 22-year-old undergraduate majoring in English. Xiaozhou prefers Kuaishou to Douyin.

“Most netizens think the rural life showcased on Kuaishou is low. Instead, I think those videos give rural people a voice,” said Xiaozhou, whose hometown is a village in Bozhou city, East China’s Anhui province.

“The short videos in different genres and content cater to different users’ tastes while undoubtedly bringing happiness to their daily routine life,” Xiaozhou said.

Some users rely on the short videos to get second-hand information.

“Because I can’t spend many hours watching a long video or a program, I prefer to get some information from the short videos that showcase the essence of a concert or the must-see parts of a TV drama,” said Wang Zhihao, a student at Anhui Medical University.

However, some young Chinese feel bored with some short videos.

“Killing time is the main reason for me to watch the short videos, but I really don’t like the videos whose content is weird and exaggerated,” said a 21-year-old student at Anhui Foreign Language University.

Wen Dandan, who studies at Fuzhou University, doesn’t understand her classmates who are obsessed with short videos.

“I don’t want to download an app just for watching short videos. Moreover, many dances in the videos are almost the same, which are boring,” Wen said.

Gong Lili, born in 1998, hasn’t downloaded a short video app, though her friends have several times suggested she do so.

“I think those videos are too entertaining to be real. People can smile and cry as they wish on those videos; as for me, it is too emotional to be real and it can only bring the viewers temporary pleasure,” said Gong, who also suspects that some videos are just made to attract viewers.

To be understood and acknowledged by others is the reason behind the fast development of short videos.

“Growing up in an era of material affluence, people born after 1995 pay more attention to pursuing individual interests and novel things. And short videos encourage users to show individuality and funny things. So the youths create short videos to share with others and invite them to understand and recognize what they think is funny and novel,” said Li Yazhang, a PhD student majoring in Science and Technology of Communication and Policy at the University of Science and Technology of China.

After watching the videos, some users buy the products suggested in the videos. But they should think twice.

“Buying the products introduced in the videos can easily make the users compare themselves to others unrealistically, and this needs our attention. Recently some short videos reportedly sold fake products, so the users have to think more before buying them,” said Wang Yunfei, associate professor at the School of Sociology and Political Science at Anhui University.

British journalist tells China’s story to the world

Andrew Moody, China Daily senior reporter [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Andrew Moody has spent nearly 10 years getting to know China, and he is now one of the most prolific writers in interpreting its stories for the world. The award winning British journalist, who is China Daily’s senior correspondent, has written more than 150 cover storiesfor the paper’s European Weekly and African Weekly, examining a wide range of issues including the Belt and Road Initiative.

The job has provided him with firsthand experience of how China is developing as well as the chance to record reactions from the outside world, especially in the West, toward the nation’s growth and changes.

He was at the Great Hall of the People to hear General Secretary Xi Jinping deliver a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, when the concept of a “new era” was first mentioned.

“The consensus of the various people I spoke to in the hours after the speech was that China’s entering a new era could be a momentous turning point in world history,” Moody said.

According to his interviews, he said, people believe that a more confident China is striding into a world that it also is helping to shape.

Moody has his own understanding of the new era. With 40 years of reform and opening-up, he said China has reached a point where it can move on in many ways, such as in foreign policy, global governance and domestic reforms. “China has reached a new junction and has to move forward.”

The British journalist has written many stories that explain China to the rest of the world, and these have brought him many honors, including being named a State High-End Project Foreign Expert.

“I like reporting on China because it’s perhaps the 21st century’s most fascinating story,” he said. “The real fun of reporting in China is the closeness to the actual story, the big fascinating story of China merging into the 21st century, the stories that maybe Western media don’t really have the chance to interview.”

Moody sees his task as communicating China to a global audience, and there are still a number of things that need to be done, he said.

“I go back to the UK quite a lot, and I still don’t think that people are aware of the impact of a much bigger Chinese economy and China’s being a more significant player in the world,” he said. “All I can do is to report and do stories one by one.”

Freezing fog disrupts flights in Xinjiang

A plane waits for takeoff at theDiwopu International Airport in Urumqi,capital of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Nov 12, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

URUMQI — Freezing fog has disrupted traffic in Urumqi, capital of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, stranding thousands of flight passengers on Monday.

More than 3,000 passengers are grounded at the Diwopu International Airport in Urumqi after heavy fog on Monday slashed visibility and affected flights.

According to the airport, a total of 49 inbound and outbound flights have been canceled, four flights returned and 31 flights diverted due to the fog as of 2 pm local time. Visibility at the airport has been less than 200 meters since Monday morning.

Authorities said rising temperatures caused the fog and they have alerted passengers to re-arrange their schedules.

Low-budget carrier 9Air starts direct flight from Guangzhou to Yangon

A low-budget airline, 9Air, based in Guangzhou, launched a direct flight between the capital city of Guangdong province and Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday, according to the carrier.

The new route follows the company’s first direct international flight between Guangzhou and Mandalay on Oct 2.

According to the company, the Guangzhou-Yangon flight will operate every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, offering some ticket fares as low as 9 yuan ($1.29).

“The new flight service will help boost social, cultural and economic ties between China and Myanmar, one of the important countries related to the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Ji Guangping, chairman of 9Air.

The carrier, founded in 2014, will diversify its services by opening more direct international flights between Guangzhou and cities in Southeast Asia and Japan, due to increased demand from domestic passengers for business and tourism, according to Ji.

8 arrested for illegal fund-raising of $9.5b

SHANGHAI – Eight people have been arrested in Shanghai for illegal fund-raising exceeding 60 billion yuan ($9.5 billion), police said Tuesday.

Zhou Boyun, actual controller of Shanlin Financial, and seven others, were arrested Tuesday, according to the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau.

According to Zhou, his company had been illegally raising funds from the public since 2013, and the company was unable to pay back the capital and interests of its investors.

Police investigation showed that Shanlin Financial had marketed itself in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online promotions to raise public funds. The company promised high returns for investors.

The suspects used new investors’ money to pay the capital and interests of older investors, which was a typical Ponzi scheme, according to the police.

Zhou turned himself in to police on April 9.

Further investigation continues.

Beijing newsstands to get a new image

A newsstand in downtown Beijing. [Photo/IC]

Beijing Municipal Commission of City Management has recently drafted a plan to upgrade the 1,000-plus newsstands in the capital, aiming to make them into innovative reading space and convenient service provider for the citizens.

The plan, which was co-drafted with the city’s commerce commission, has been submitted to the city government for approval.

At present, Beijing has 1,186 newsstands in the city, among which 306 sells drinks and food.

According to Beijing Youth Daily’s report earlier this month, the draft has cleared the multiple functions of the upgraded newsstands. In the future, the newsstands will be a carrier of culture like a “delicate furniture” of the city.

In the past a few years, due to shrinking demand for magazines and newspapers and rising digital reading among the public, many newsstands were torn down or removed from busy streets in Beijing.

Zhejiang reports outbreak of African swine fever

Piglets are held in pens at a modern pig farm in Beijing on April 30. [Photo by Wu Bo/For China Daily]

BEIJING — An outbreak of African swine fever has been discovered in the city of Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said Thursday.

On August 17, a suspected outbreak was reported by pig farmers in Yueqing of Wenzhou. The case was confirmed Wednesday, the ministry said in an online statement.

So far, 430 pigs have been affected, of which 340 were killed.

The ministry has sent teams to Zhejiang, where local authorities have initiated an emergency response mechanism to block, cull, and disinfect the affected pigs.

The situation is under control, said the ministry.

Earlier this month, an outbreak of African swine fever was discovered in a farm in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China’s Liaoning province. It was China’s first outbreak of the disease.

African swine fever is a highly contagious, viral disease that infects pigs. It does not affect humans or other animal species.

Digital media key to public awareness


China’s news release system must better adapt to the development of new media to further increase its efficiency and impact in getting its message across to domestic and international audiences on the key issues that concern them, spokespersons of different government organs and State-owned enterprises said on Sunday.

“China and the world are currently facing ever-changing, complicated situations, and communication technologies are also developing rapidly, so it is important to keep up with the changes by using new media and choosing the communication method preferred by the public to help them better understand China,” said Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and minister of the State Council Information Office.

Xu was speaking at the China Spokespersons Forum, jointly held by the State Council Information Office and Peking University’s National Institute of Strategic Development in Beijing.

The development of China’s news release system is closely linked with the country’s opening-up process. The system has now been institutionalized. Furthermore, timely release of information, especially in the event of emergencies, has become a general consensus, Xu added.

To better reach the public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson office opened an account on the popular Chinese social media app WeChat in January, said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the ministry.

The ministry has consistently sought to improve the quality of the information released at its news conferences since the first one was held in 1983. Nowadays, it organizes more than 200 news conferences and issues 3,000 statements in different languages annually, Geng said.

“Quality of information is the lifeline of news releases. We have been trying to combine what we want to say and what concerns the media, in addition to making diplomatic expression more down to earth for the audiences from home and abroad,” Geng said.

The Ministry of Defense clearly understands that using new media in letting the public hear the voice of the People’s Liberation Army is a must, and it is determined to use it more efficiently in the future, said Wu Qian, a spokesman for the ministry.

The Defense Ministry opened accounts on WeChat and China’s Twitter-equivalent Sina Weibo in 2015. The ministry also posts cartoons and videos on the accounts to attract the public’s attention to PLA, Wu said.

Chinese State-owned enterprises have begun to attach greater importance to establishing a news release system for their branches abroad as they expand their overseas businesses, said Lyu Dapeng, a spokesman for China Petroleum Chemical Corp or Sinopec. The company now has a team of 50 spokespersons for overseas markets and has launched Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Regardless of which media platforms or forms government organs choose to release news, the bottom line is that they should never try to cover up the facts or turn a blind eye to the public’s demand for truth, said Cheng Manli, director of Peking University’s National Institute of Strategic Communication.