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US to blame for its own unpopularity

The Chinese government on Tuesday issued a travel alert for Chinese tourists traveling to the US. The day before, authorities warned of the risks of applying to study in the US.

Travel and study are the most common reasons for ordinary Chinese to go to the US. The security warning and alert issued by the Chinese government on two consecutive days show the adverse changes around the security situation of Chinese nationals to the US.

In addition to security threats including mass shootings, US law enforcement agency personnel have also conducted exit and entry interrogations and other harassment against Chinese citizens. Such acts have greatly soured Chinese people’s desire to travel to the US. The Chinese government is behaving responsibly to its people by issuing the travel alerts.

US society has left the impression that it is becoming unfriendly to the Chinese people. The US views China as its biggest threat and believes all Chinese people going to the US are gathering intelligence for the government and stealing US technologies. Washington attaches no value to the advancements that the Chinese people bring to the different sectors of the US or the consumption promoted by Chinese. It just wants to decouple from China.

Whether Chinese travelers or students, they should be treated as guests and enjoy high-quality services. But Chinese people find it difficult to accept the fact that they are being taken as thieves.

The US boasts too much superiority and has been indulged by the world. Due to its short history, it lacks understanding of and respect for the rules of countries and laws of the market. The Americans of the early generations accumulated prosperity and prestige for the US, while the current US administration behaves like a wastrel generation by ruining the world’s respect for the US.

Since the West’s monopoly of modernization was broken, all good resources have had to be redistributed. Popularity is the lifeline of how each country and major cities retain their positions at the center of the world.

However, at this juncture, the US has adopted discriminatory approaches against the Chinese people and sees them as a collective threat to its national interests, which actually adds competitiveness to other Western countries and cities.

Of course, as a superpower, the US will not be much affected by losing one or two pillar industries. But undoubtedly, the so-called national security it pursues is far from offsetting the damage the US has done by losing the interest of Chinese tourists and students.

Since ancient times, it has been easier for open-minded countries to gather high-quality regional or global resources. While China fights against the hegemonic and bullying acts of the US, it should learn its lesson. The longer the trade war goes on, the more open China will be.

China will not act rashly by closing its doors to US travel and study. Opening-up is China’s persistent policy. The destination of Chinese travelers is decided by the market, and the government’s alerts do not contradict this rule.

It is expected that Western countries will sense some opportunities from China’s warnings and the US will feel the pressure. It is Washington’s own business if it chooses to face the pressure apathetically.

China-Russia relations transcend geopolitics

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia Wednesday for a state visit. China and Russia agreed to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. This is a major event in China-Russia relations. During Xi’s trip, the two countries are expected to reach achievements in expanding mutual cooperation.

China-Russia relations have long been a hot topic in Western public opinion. Certain Western media analyzed this visit in the context of the China-US trade war, claiming that Beijing and Moscow intend to join forces against the US.

However, not long ago when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Western media outlets were suggesting a marked improvement in US-Russia relations and the possibility of it driving a wedge between China and Russia.

Such perspectives on China-Russia relations are somewhat biased. The reality is that internal motivations for improving China-Russia relations are increasingly strong, and already far exceed any influences from the external situation.

Objectively, China-Russia ties have gone far beyond the impact of the triangle effect in the conventional sense. In other words, regardless of the state of China-US relations or US-Russia relations, China-Russia relations will continue to grow closer.

The improving strategic partnership between China and Russia has already brought comprehensive benefits to both countries and has become a common strategic asset. China and Russia are two huge neighboring nations. Close cooperation has replaced tensions over defense and is of essential importance to both countries, becoming a strategic benefit shared by both sides.

This relationship also strengthens their respective status on the international stage and provides basic support for the diplomacy of both countries. These are not short-term diplomatic conditions, but have already been normalized for the two countries.

With growing China-Russia economic cooperation and personnel exchanges, the chances of disputes at the grassroots level are increasing simultaneously. For example, there has been controversy over a Chinese-funded bottling plant near Lake Baikal, China’s agricultural companies renting land in Russia’s Far East, and Russia’s management of Chinese vendors.

However, due to the strong strategic relationship between China and Russia, these disputes were based on specific cases, and did not ignite fierce nationalist sentiment.

China and Russia have a similar strategic understanding of the world, share many common interests and are complementary to each other. Thus there is much room to expand cooperation. In 2018, China-Russia trade volume surpassed $100 billion. Crude oil and natural gas pipelines connect the two countries, and the cross-border China-Russia railway bridge across the Heilongjiang River, known as the Amur River in Russia, links them both. These provide new starting points for their expanded cooperation and exchanges.

Redefined soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China-Russia relations today are strong. The two large neighboring countries can resolve border disputes peacefully, consolidate strategic mutual trust, maintain the stable development of bilateral relations and forge a “partnership rather than alliance.” This is praiseworthy in the current world.

Western opinion should not always regard China-Russia relations geopolitically and ignore the most precious thing in their ties. Starting from the two leaders’ firm political will, the stable China-Russia strategic relationship today is deeply rooted in the two countries’ national interests.

China-US relations seek inspiration from the past

The year 2019 is special for China-US ties. On January 1, 1979, China and the US established formal diplomatic ties.

There is an old saying in China that “at 40, one should be no longer confused”. It means at 40, we can figure out many things. However, as US-China relations enter the 40th year, it seems far from being “no longer confused”. Over the past year, bilateral relations have seen crests and troughs. The trade war was like a raging fire. Voices like “decouple”, “new Cold War”, “Thucydides Trap” have become shriller. Both countries are facing a tough moment. Once again, Beijing and Washington need to determine the direction of their bilateral ties.

“Consider the past and you shall know the future” goes another saying in China. Reviewing the past helps us know the future. Looking back at the 40 years’ of China-US relationship, although bilateral ties have been choppy, there has been historic progress.

Forty years ago, the number of visits between the two states was only several thousand annually, but in 2017 it exceeded 5.3 million. Four decades ago, the bilateral trade volume stood at less than $2.5 billion. However, in 2017, it hit over $580 billion. Investment between the two nations increased from nearly zero in 1979 to over $230 billion in 2017. Over the 40 years, Beijing and Washington have cooperated bilaterally, regionally and internationally from solving regional issues to fighting terrorism, from dealing with international financial crisis to promoting global economic issues.

Over time, bilateral relations have also seen setbacks. There have been four incidents that have affected ties over decades. The first one took place between 1989 and 1991, when the US slapped sanctions on China, including the suspension of high-level contact and military communication between the two states. Afterwards, more than 20 nations followed the US to crack down on China. Hence, bilateral relations dropped to the lowest point since 1972. The crisis across the Taiwan Straits from 1995 to 1996 was the second one. In May 1995, the US government approved then Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui’s visit to Cornell University in the US. To counter Taiwan independence forces, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched military exercises and missile tests near Taiwan waters in July and August 1995 and March 1996. During the second exercise, Washington warships USS Independence and USS Nimitz sailed into Taiwan Straits. The third crisis was a missile attack on the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia by US-led NATO on May 7, 1999, triggering the Chinese people’s fury. China-US aircraft collision in 2001 was the fourth one in which a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane and a PLA Navy F-8 fighter collided killing Chinese pilot Wang Wei. The US plane landed at Lingshui airport on Hainan Island without China’s permission.

The four incidents had a huge impact on bilateral ties, bringing them to a tearing point. However, these crises prompted leaders of both countries to invest plenty of time and energy to address these issues by ramping up communication between the two governments and enhancing mutual understanding, restoring normalcy in ties.

Experience can offer lessons for fluctuating China-US relations.

First, both countries need to seek mutual interest. Positive China-US ties began with common geopolitical requirements. After the Cold War, both nations agreed to strengthen economic and trade cooperation as globalization dawned. Although the two countries are involved in a trade dispute, there is still room to expand economic and trade ties. There is much more to China-US ties than the trade dispute. Additionally, the two have consistently sought common interest in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, dealing with financial crises and climate change. These have contributed to the development of relations.

Second, as ties are complicated and so are domestic realities, the heads of the two states should play a leading role in dealing with relations.

Third, the two governments are supposed to explore institutional links. China and the US are two great powers with diverse social systems, ideologies, cultures and traditions. It is normal that conflicts and problems between the two exist. The key is how to manage them, so that they do not hurt relations. Effective communication between the two governments is one way of coping with it.

Finally, social communication between the countries should be expanded.

Crises lead to erosion of Washington-Beijing ties, while tackling them not only controls them, but also enables both sides to become more familiar with each other and more aware of the intentions of both sides. With competitive relations, crises and controlling them may be a common course bilateral ties take. Therefore, we need to prepare mentally for such eventualities.

Nanjing customs seize ‘smart pills’

Customs authorities of East China’s Jiangsu Province recently seized 1,000 state-controlled psychotropic pills from India, which were widely taken by examinees as “smart pills,” especially those who are going to take the national college entrance examination on Friday.

Customs officers in Jinling district, Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, recently seized 500 Ritalin and 500 Amodafinil pills in the mail from India, the General Administration of Customs announced on its WeChat account on Monday.

The pills are prescription drugs used for sleep disorders. They are widely considered as “smart pills” by examinees that can increase cognitive competence and attention and boost academic achievements in a short time.

The customs administration warned that healthy people will not actually become smarter after taking the pills. They will probably suffer from several side effects, including headache, nausea, insomnia and memory loss. Long-term use of the pills can even caused addiction.

“Do not trust rumors of ‘smart pills’ on the internet. And be sure not to illegally mail psychotropic pills in and out of the country,” said the administration, noting that patients whose pills have been seized can take the pills back by providing a prescription.

The announcement came amid reports on social media that many parents are buying “smart pills” for their children as the national college entrance examination approaches. Some illegal dealers even said there was a storage shortage, media reported.

A Global Times reporter previously reached a dealer surnamed Liu. Liu said the drugs he sold were smuggled from the US, Pakistan and Switzerland. US Ritalin is sold at 1,400 yuan ($209) for 50 pills; Pakistani Ritalin goes for 390 yuan for 30 and Swiss Ritalin 460 yuan for 20.

A growing number of overseas purchasing agencies have made it more difficult to crack down on smuggled drugs, Hua Zhendong, technical director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission’s national narcotics laboratory, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The main ingredient in the “smart pills” is methylphenidate, a central nervous system stimulant that is a strictly managed psychotropic medication both in China and abroad.

Methylphenidate is a mild central stimulant compared with methamphetamine, but is still addictive, Hua said while noting that long-term use of the drug can cause anxiety and manic depression.

In China, stimulants like Ritalin can only be prescribed by hospitals to children under 14 years old and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, media reported.

Chinese police bust drug factory inside abandoned petrol station

Police from North China’s Shanxi Province have busted a drug plant hidden inside an abandoned petrol station, seizing three suspects and 2.1 tonnes of raw materials for making drugs.

In January, police from Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi, got information about a drug gang and found a suspicious deserted gas station in Loufan County. They launched raids in late March.

Investigation showed that the three suspects illegally purchased large quantities of ephedra herbs, which is a major material for producing the methamphetamine, or “ice,” from north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and made drugs in Shanxi.

Many drug manufacturing equipment and around 278 grams of methamphetamines, 2.1 tonnes of solid raw materials, and 45 tonnes of residual solvents in the manufacture of drug substances were seized on the site.

China has taken a tough stance and stepped up efforts to crack down on drug crime.

Shanxi public security authorities said Tuesday that local police had seized more than 2.5 tonnes of drugs since a three-year anti-drug campaign was launched in May 2018.

China issues alert over studying in US

Amid recently tightened US visa policies for Chinese students and scholars on the grounds of a national security threat, China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) warned on Monday of the risk of applying to study in the US, which was widely seen as another countermeasure against the US following the entity list.

Analysts believe that the warning is also a necessary response to US discrimination against Chinese students since last year and will greatly affect US schools as Chinese students are one of their major revenue streams.

Xu Mei, the ministry’s spokeswoman, said at Monday’s press conference that for some time, visas of some Chinese students studying in the US have been restricted, and the visa review period has been extended. Meanwhile, the validity period has been shortened, and the visa rejection rate has increased, which has affected the studies of Chinese students in the US or the successful completion of their studies.

The ministry also reminded Chinese students and scholars to enhance risk assessment, strengthen awareness of prevention and make corresponding preparations before studying abroad, Xu said.

Xu Yongji, deputy head of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges under the ministry, said in 2018, the ministry planned to send 10,313 students to study in the US at public expense, and 331 students were denied visas, or 3.2 percent. From January to March this year, the ministry planned to send 1,353 students to study in the US at public expense, of whom 182 were refused visas, or 13.5 percent.

The US has revoked or re-examined the visas of Chinese nationals going to the US on the grounds of counterespionage. It also has canceled the 10-year visas for a number of scholars specializing in China-US relations, Xu said. He urged the US to correct as soon as possible and “do more things that are conducive to promoting bilateral educational exchanges.”

Chinese couple seek place in history by sending names to Red Planet

When the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offered the public an opportunity to send their names to the Red Planet with its Mars 2020 rover, more than 5.8 million people signed up in just one week.

Using an electron beam, the Microdevices Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California will stencil the submitted names onto a silicon chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair (75 nanometers). At that size, more than 1 million names can be written on a single dime-sized microchip. The chip will ride on the rover under a glass cover, according to the website of NASA.

With NASA’s Mars 2020 rover entering its final test phase before the spacecraft launch, a Chinese couple has participated in the drive to send their names to Mars.

Qi Binying, who is based in Sierra Madre, Southern California, had thought it was just a joke among her friends.

When she keyed in her name in the NASA registration system and generated the boarding pass for download, she felt that outer space was right in front of her, according to a report on Chinese language daily World Journal on Saturday.

Qi’s husband, Robert, an engineer with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has also registered his name in the system.

Robert said that he had received an official boarding commemorative card and will record approximately 504 million kilometers of flight miles, according to the report.

He also works on a research program for NASA searching for the original location of the Earth.

The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.

Besides this campaign, NASA also rolled out an activity to collect names for NASA’s InSight spacecraft on Mars. More than 2.4 million people signed up, of whom 260,000 were from China.

The InSight spacecraft touched down safely on Mars on November 26, 2018 kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.

China won’t wilt under US pressure

China on June 2 issued a white paper titled China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations, reverberating throughout international media and foreign entrepreneurs.

The paper has clarified the harm caused by the US-initiated trade war to the two countries and to the global economy as well, also revealed how the US poured cold water on attempts at consensus and went back on its commitments. More importantly, China has reiterated its solemn position. Many of my US friends also voiced support for China to obtain a fair and equitable consultation outcome in future trade negotiations.

The US has constantly imposed maximum pressure on China since it started the trade war. The paper listed three times when the US backtracked on trade deals, also a manifestation of US pressure. The US mistakenly anticipated that China would compromise under pressure, however, China has firmly adhered to the principle and bottom line, making such pressure in vain.

Drawing from recent statements made by organs of the Chinese government, including the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce, China’s export-oriented enterprises and service industries are well-prepared for the trade war with the US.

China is able to withstand US maximum pressure, due to the country’s economic resilience, and Chinese people’s resolute determination. Suffering from a century of humiliation, the Chinese nation has been accustomed to such pressure, as shown in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, as well as the Korean War or the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. The unity of Chinese people is a vital reason for the country’s fundamental victory in history.

Surpassing India in terms of GDP growth in the first quarter of 2019, China has regained the position of fastest-growing economy. China’s foreign trade volume reached 7.01 trillion yuan ($1.01 trillion), an increase of 3.7 percent year-on-year. Economic stabilization and the rapid advance of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative indicate that China has prepared well for its future development.

I have done some research in certain regions with developed export-oriented enterprises, including South China’s Guangdong Province, East China’s Zhejiang Province, Jiangsu Province, and Shanghai. People’s judgment of the trade situation inside these regions has cheered me up. They believe that the more pressure the US poses and the more backtracks it makes; the more moral initiative China will have. Facing the extraordinary resistance of the Chinese economy, all tricks of the US hardliners will be exhausted.

In response to future potential shocks, local entrepreneurs have prepared under government guidance. Take a Guangdong company which exports electric welding torches to the US. It is now cutting costs through internal reforms and broadening its markets to Europe and Africa. To partly reduce dependence on the US, other manufacturers including those that make clothing, suitcase and bicycles are all preparing to diversify their markets.

I noticed that young workers in these factories are upset about the US, many saying that China must fight under pressure. The US maximum pressure has made China more united.

Although China is not willing to further expand the trade war into fields of finance, technology and even geopolitics, we must be prepared. The US has repeatedly violated the multilateral mechanism based on WTO rules. Due to the influence of hard-line hawks, the US is very likely to continue the trade war.

However, after the publication of the white paper, I believe an increasing number of countries and their peoples will stand up for justice. Time, morality and victory will eventually belong to China.

Nepal not a pawn in US’ China strategy

The Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-16), which Nepal lost, resulted in large-scale land cessions in the south of Nepal to the British.

It was after occupying India that the UK gradually expanded its ambitions to Nepal, the mountainous kingdom in the Himalayas. The UK’s greater strategic goal was to pave a way to China’s Tibet and thus to grab the land ahead of Russia.

But the British army suffered strong resistance when invading Tibet. Thanks to support from the central government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the geographical barrier formed by the Himalayas – “the roof of the world,” – and the decline of the UK’s national power, the British failed in the end to occupy Tibet.

The UK was gradually surpassed by the US after World War I ended in 1918. Soon after, the Nepal-Britain Treaty of 1923 was signed and Nepal was recognized by the UK as an independent and sovereign nation.

Nepal’s strategic position can be clearly seen from history. Today, it is particularly important because China – Nepal’s near neighbor – has kept rising as the world’s second largest economy.

This might explain the US increased focus on Nepal in its Indo-Pacific Strategy, a US initiative to broaden and deepen strategic cooperation between countries in the Indo-Pacific region. David J Ranz, acting deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, said on May 14 in Kathmandu that “Nepal would benefit from the Indo-Pacific Strategy,” and that the strategy would “create an economic opportunity and ensure security to the benefit of both the United States and Nepal.”

To this day, the US has not described its Indo-Pacific Strategy as an initiative to target or contain China, but neither has the US stated specific plans to drive economic growth in this region, making the strategy seem unrealistic. The only outcome the strategy has achieved might be letting the US accelerate military cooperation with relevant countries.

Is this what Nepal wants? The US is aware of the urgent needs of Nepal, a country adjacent to two major powers – China and India. But the US will never base its strategy on Nepal’s needs.

In consideration of its geopolitical role, Nepal does require a relative balance between the great powers, the most favorable external political environment for the development of this mountain country. However, with limited strength, it is difficult for Nepal to promote such balance between major powers amid today’s rapid globalization. It can only choose what it needs most.

Nepal’s public opinion is generally positive about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the re-election. They hope Modi’s policies can be continued. These policies, including increasing economic investment in Nepal and further improving relations with China, are all beneficial to Nepal.

Most importantly, China’s development has made it impossible for any force to make Nepal a pawn in strategic arrangements to counterbalance China’s influence.

China’s development has provided Nepal with the potential of benefit sharing. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has brought the country unprecedented opportunities by linking it to its surrounding areas and the world. Nepal will no longer be closed and poor, but will be an essential hub to connect East, South and Central Asia.

Over 200 years ago, British colonists began to march into Nepal, with China’s Tibet their next target. But the era of Western expansion starting from 500 years ago is gone forever. China’s policy of creating an amicable and prosperous neighborhood will offer people of Nepal and other South Asian countries more opportunities to improve their living standards.

Hollow claims by US on caring about Chinese human rights

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an announcement on Monday in which he accused China of “abusing human rights” and smeared China’s resolute measures to maintain national stability in the late 1980s. He also criticized China’s anti-terrorism and crime fighting measures in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The US has stepped up its attacks on China on human rights issues simply because Washington’s trade war with China is proving to be invalid. Now, the US has decided to impose more pressure on China over human rights issues.

In fact, the US has no credibility to hold the moral high ground. Its accusations are nothing but empty talk from a high-pitched speaker. Pompeo’s statements will not be echoed in Chinese society. Instead, they will reaffirm the Chinese public’s belief that the Trump administration is hostile to China, and a friendly US government to China is probably just pie in the sky.

Chinese are convinced that the US government is trying to deprive China of its continued development and gains for its own benefit. In their opinion, it is supposed to be a zero-sum relationship between the two nations. It is well recognized that the rights of Chinese are mostly rooted in sustained national stability and development. The destruction of China’s stability and development is the ultimate deprivation of the rights of Chinese. The current US government is becoming the top hijacker of Chinese human rights.

Chinese are no longer so naive as to regard the US as a haven, or an impetus, for Chinese human rights. It’s not 30 years ago. The Trump administration always threatens to “replace the labor force in China with that in the US,” or in Southeast Asia. They celebrate every sign that could be interpreted as economic downturn in China. Is that sincere compassion for Chinese human rights?

When Washington announced the start of the trade war, it didn’t care about any negative impact a trade war may have on China’s stockmarket or potential losses it may cause for Chinese shareholders. The US would rather see bigger losses on China to bring the country to its knees. The trade war launched by the US put the welfare of Chinese people at risk. Meanwhile, the same group of US politicians put on another face and made accusations about China’s human rights, as if they really care about individual rights of Chinese people.

Under the campaign of “America First,” the Trump administration has utilized its policies to eliminate the opportunity for social and economic development in many countries that will lead to the improvement of human rights. China is facing perhaps the most vicious and most hypocritical US government since its reform and opening-up.

In examining cases of China’s so-called human rights violations raised by some US politicians, it is obvious that those cases often relate to Chinese dissidents. The purpose is to stir up political division within China in order to split the country. In other words, they are advocating specific rights so that they can disrupt China without taking any responsibility.

It is well recognized that the US vigorously pursues its self-defined human rights philosophy for vicious political purposes. Chinese are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of not accepting human rights issues raised by the US and not accepting US values for obvious political purposes. The improvement of Chinese human rights hinges on China’s continued economic and social development. Chinese know where to go and how to go, and do not need “teachers” that have vicious intentions.

Mr Pompeo, if you really care about Chinese human rights, please order the US State Department to lift the newly-added visa restrictions for Chinese students. Those students have made a lot of preparations for studying abroad, which signifies an important step in their lives. Refusing their visas tramples their individual rights. Secretary Pompeo, who has the power to set visa policies, would make great contributions to Chinese rights if he could lift those visa restrictions.

In other words, the US offers its commiserations for so-called human rights violations in China, yet in actions, it has been trampling on China’s human rights for years. It is time for Mr Pompeo and his colleagues to stop the self-contradictory moves.