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Category Archives

Now Amsterdam is Connected by Rail to China’s East Coast

Mar 8 – On March 7, a block train departed from the Port
of Amsterdam on its 11,000-kilometer journey to Yiwu on China’s
east coast. It will travel through through Germany, Poland,
Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, and will reach its destination on
March 23, Rail Freight.com reported today. Thanks to this new
train connection, the Netherlands is now connected to the One
Belt, One Road project.

“We are proud to add Amsterdam to our Chinese railway
network, in addition to our existing connections between China,
Russia and Germany. Amsterdam is the largest European port after
Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, which makes it an important hub.
The new connection will make it even easier for operators,
retailers and brand manufacturers in the Netherlands to do
business with and from China,” Erwin Cootjans, CEO of Nunner
Logistics told Rail Freight.com. The Belt and Road’s
international cross-border rail network has so far connected 35
Chinese cities with 34 European destinations over the past six
“The new train connection is an initiative of Nunner
Logistics. This logistics service provider noticed the increasing
demand for goods transportation from and to China. The need for
this new kind of transportation increases now that cargo ships
sail slower in order to save fuel. Transport by train is a faster
alternative compared to sea transportation, and the costs are
much lower compared to transport by airplane,” wrote Netherland’s
Hong Kong Business Association in its website.

China’s Success Throws Free Market Ideologues Into Crisis

Feb. 13 — In the Jan. 29 issue of {Bloomberg Businessweek} magazine, an article titled “What if China Really Is Exempt from the Laws of Economics?” very aptly captures the consternation/ constipation imposed on the intellectually impoverished proponents of standard academic economics by the astounding development of China. Author Michael Schulman gets far more points for candor than he does for historic insight. He seems thoroughly oblivious to the simple fact that the U.S. industrial base was built entirely by economic dirigism, never mentioning Alexander Hamilton. He devotes zero attention to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

However, what he does say would be hilarious, if the consequences of his outlook were not so dire: “But recently, my faith in the corpus of collective wisdom has been shattered. By China.” He elaborates: “The more I apply my rules of economics to China, the more they seem to go awry. China should be mired in meager growth, even gripped by financial crisis, according to my maxims. But obviously, it’s not. In fact, much of what’s going on right now in that country runs counter to what we know–or think we know–about economics. Simply, if Beijing’s policymakers are right, then a lot of basic economic thinking is wrong—especially our certainty in the power of free markets, our ingrained bias against state intervention, and our ideas about fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Schulman bemoans the fact that the role of the CPC in the Chinese economy is more central than ever, but, even worse (for his ilk), that no disaster, but only sustained real growth has resulted from that top-down intervention. He inserts some politically correct caveats and qualifiers, to the effect that maybe some catastrophe is lurking off stage, but pretty much admits that he can’t discern it.

So, it’s therefore time to overhaul your failed axioms, right? Sorry, like Linus, Schulman isn’t ready to ditch the security blanket just yet: “I’m clinging to my maxims…but thanks to China, I’m prepared to edit them.”

A more open admission of intellectual bankruptcy would be hard to imagine.

The whole article:  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-24/what-if-china-is-exempt-from-the-laws-of-economics


China’s Poverty Reduction Even More Impressive

Feb. 13 – Wan Guanghua, the principal economist at the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, said that more impressive than China’s remarkable economic growth is its successful campaign in reducing poverty. “It is reasonable that China’s success in poverty reduction is usually attributed to its rapid economic development in the past three decades, as without economic growth, Chinese people’s poverty situation cannot be alleviated,” said Wan, reported {People’s Daily Online} yesterday.

Economic growth alone, however, is not the main cause of the poverty alleviation, Wan said, since many countries that have a high rate of growth do not necessarily see poverty significantly reduced. China’s poor people benefit a lot from the country’s economic growth due to strong support from the Chinese government, active promotion of industrialization and urbanization, as well as great importance attached to infrastructure establishment in poor areas, Wan said. They had set up the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation, encouraged rural workers to come to the cities to find better paying jobs, and built infrastructure in poor areas, such as roads, communication, and electricity facilities, thus narrowing the gap between rich and poor.

The economist stated that China’s practices and experiences in poverty alleviation can be studied by other countries in order to help them do the same. He further said that with development of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation, China will continue to pass on its valuable experience in poverty reduction to other countries, help other developing countries to strengthen their infrastructure, advance industrialization, and contribute more to the international cause of poverty alleviation.

China Is Preparing for Manned Missions to the Moon

Jan. 27 -In 1971, the Apollo 15 crew left a retro-reflector on the Moon. It is a passive instrument, and just reflects laser pulses from Earth back to Earth. The time–very precisely measured–of he return pulse, indicates the distance between Earth and its nearest neighbor. In all, three reflectors were left on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions, and one by the Soviet Lunokhod 2 over. They are still used by scientists for research in astrodynamics, Earth-Moon system dynamics (the Moon is slowly moving away from the Earth), and lunar physics. The technique is called Lunar aser Ranging (LLR), and now Chinese scientists are using the Apollo 15 reflector for LLR experiments, in preparation for their future missions to land astronauts on the Moon.

On Jan. 22, Xinhua reported yesterday, an applied astronomy group at the Yunnan Observatories in Kunming carried out China’s first Lunar Laser Ranging experiment, to obtain precise measurments of he distance between the Earth and the Moon.

While it was an interesting scientific experiment, the technique also has important practical applications. Landing an unmanned vehicle on the Moon requires using detailed orbital photographs to define a safe and interesting general landing region, where the engineers aim the lander. For a robotic spacecraft, the landing ellipse can be a relatively wide area to aim for. But or a manned mission, a more precise targetting is preferable. China can now use the laser ranging technique for its manned lunar program.

Until now, only the U.S., France, and Italy have successfully deployed laser ranging technology. It is reported that on a future mission, China will place its own retro-reflector on the Moon.

Chinese scientists are also studying the human factor itself, and technology to support crew on the Moon. Chinese student volunteers have just completed 200 days in Beihang University’s “Lunar Palace.” The two men and two women are biomedicine students and are the second group to work in the simulated space lab. A main capability needed to live off Earth is regenerative life-support ystems, where waste is recycled, and in the advanced phase, virtaully no materials have to be suppplied from the outside. The “mission” also entailed study of the social interactions and sychological condtion of the crew.

Chief designer Liu Hong said that her team would apply to have a mini-life support system on a lunar or Martian probe, with another system as a ground control. NASA and its partners have used the International Space Station to test closed-cycle life support systems, and the station itself recycles various waste products to reduce the amount of material that has to be delivered from the ground.

Major Breakthrough in China-Japan-South Korea Relations

Jan. 28 -The two-day visit to Beijing by Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono has brought several major developments to the urgent task of uniting the three Asian powers around the concept of peace through development.

At the end of the visit Sunday evening, China and Japan jointly announced that the annual summits among the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean leaders would be revived “as soon as possible,” after having been cancelled since 2015, supposedly over terrritorial issues in the East China Sea. Premier Li Keqiang will represent China at the summit.

In addition, Norio Maruyama, a spokesman for the Japanese delegation, said the summit could set the stage for reciprocal visits by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping — a trip neither leader has made since coming to power in 2012, as Bloomberg pointed out. “What we are envisaging is a visit to China by Prime Minister Abe and after that a visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping,” Maruyama said.

Kono met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Premier Li Keqiang, and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. Xinhua reports that the talks were frank, with Li stating that Japan needed to “properly handle sensitive issues related to history and differences between the two sides,” while Wang Yi said: “At present, China-Japan relations are at a crucial stage. There is positive progress, but many disturbances and obstacles remain.”

Kono’s visit came on the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

China’s strained relations with South Korea were lessened with China’s agreement to allow their opposition to the THAAD missile issue to be put aside in order to work together on other issues. The Japan-China relationship has been greatly improved by Prime Minister Abe’s announcement last year that Japan will co-finance projects with China in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Kono said the government was ready to cement political trust and concrete cooperation with China, enhance high-level exchanges and contacts among various levels to promote the full improvement of ties.” Most importantly, the press release by Kono and Wang Yi addressed the East China Sea dispute:  “China and Japan should work together to build the East China Sea into the sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.”

Equally important, in light of the militarist statements coming from the U.S. institutions calling Russia and China “adversaries” and “threats,” Wang Yi asked both sides to build political trust, and urged Japan to treat China as a “partner” instead of “rival,” and view China’s development as an “opportunity rather than a threat.”

Egypt: Fresh Vegetables Grown in the Desert

Chinese company, Sinomach Heavy Industry Corp., is building what is described as the world’s largest greenhouse complex in the Egyptian desert. The site is within two hour’s drive from Cairo, CGTN reported yesterday. The complex, which when complete will consist of about 3,000 greenhouses, will grow vegetables and fruit, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and peppers. This was decided in consultation with Egyptian agricultural experts, Hou Huicong, the deputy project manager explained. The water for the crops will come from a sub-branch of the Nile River, and ditches will be built to divert water to the greenhouses.

Components for the greenhouses have been produced in 80 factories in China that have been working on the project since July. On this ambitious schedule, operation of the greenhouses is expected this year. This accelerated timetable can be met, said Sun Guiding, purchase manager for the project, because, “We mobilized almost all resources producing agricultural appliances in China. Many are working around the clock.”

The $400 million project is the product of an agreement signed with the Egyptian government last May.


Pakistan PM Abbasi — BRI More Than Infrastructure

Pakistani Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) Wednesday, praised the quality and scope of the BRI.

“We strongly recognize the vision of China and President Xi Jinping…. We believe the Belt and Road Initiative is perfectly in sync with the WEF theme of creating `shared future in a fractured world.’ It is much more than just a partnership on infrastructure and it will cause significant improvement in lives of people from different countries.” He said half of humanity lives in the region of the Silk Road. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has started to show results in Pakistan with a major increase in manufacturing and exports. “The key principles are financial stability and lessening of environmental impact and Pakistan being a more responsible global citizen,”

One-Third of Global GDP Growth Past Year Occurred in China, According to UN Report

The Chinese economy alone contributed about one-third of global growth in 2017, as measured in GDP monetary terms, according to the “World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018” released last month by the United Nations.

The UN report points to the transformation which the Chinese economy has undergone, from the former global leader in cheap mass-producted exports, to an increasing producer and exporter of
high-value goods:

The first half of 2017 witnessed a surge of 93.4% in exports of drones, for example. There was a rise of 32.5% in automobile exports, and a considerable increase in the export of other high value-added products such as mechanical and electronic equipment for manufacturing. By providing medium and high-end products of high quality at reasonable prices, China is delivering larger dividends to the world. In recent years, many foreign media have paid attention to China’s advances in science and technology. World-leading technologies, including the mobile internet, artificial intelligence and Big Data, are serving not only as new drivers of China’s growth, but also contributing to global scientific and technological progress. Meanwhile, China’s telecommunications, computer and information services are being exported, creating new miracles of economic development in other developing economies including those of Africa.

On the other hand, China’s vast market and economic vitality have created huge demand for the goods of other countries—which is important, the UN report states, because world economic growth remains “sluggish” (sic) and de-globalization keeps growing. The Belt and Road Initiative and other public goods, offered by China to the world, have greatly promoted international trade and investment and, at the same time, provided new guidance for economic globalization, the said United Nations report documents. In 2017, China announced an additional 100 billion yuan investment in the Silk Road Fund, and, in the first 11 months of the year, China invested more than $12 billion in countries along the Belt and Road, making an important contribution to world economic development.

The Central Economic Work Conference recently held in Beijing stressed high-quality development, sending a clear message that China continues to be a main driver powering world economic growth and stabilizing world economic development, sharing the dividends of China’s economic development with the rest of the world.

China Stresses Importance of Scientific-Technological R&D

Dec. 30 -Leading officials in China’s science sector have announced in the past days that now, after the 19th Party Congress, the country will focus even more on research and development in pioneer areas of science and technology. This will make the vitality of innovations in China even stronger than what was done in the previous five-year plan.

“Following more than 30 years of accumulation, China’s science and technology sectors have been transformed from quantity to quality, Prof. Huo Guoqing of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is quoted by Xinhua. “Now is the time for breakthroughs.” Also Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang stressed that his country is developing “a new understanding of innovation as the prime driver of development.”

China is proud of having achieved leading status internationally in five landmark innovations since 2015: the dark matter project carried out by the “Wukong” satellite; the quantum research satellite; the space laboratory Tiangong-2; the radio telescope FAST; the deep ocean submarine Jiaolong.

Ethiopia-Djibouti Railroad Officially Opens

Jan. 2 – The Ethiopia-Djibouti railroad officially began commercial operations yesterday. Built by the China Rail Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. (CCECC) with a $4 billion investment, the 750 km electrified rail line connects landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti and is seen as a crucial contribution to the development of both nations, promoting their economic integration as well, Xinhua reported.During yesterday’s inaugural ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s Transport Minister Ahmed Shide hailed the project as a milestone of China-Africa cooperation. It will have major positive impact on the efforts to build a new Ethiopia, he proudly stated.

China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian emphasized that the project would contribute to the industrialization and diversification of Ethiopia’s economy. “This is the first trans-border and longest electrified railway on the African continent,” he said. “We, the Chinese, see this an early beneficial product of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is regarded by many as a lifeline project … for Ethiopia and for Djibouti. And we see this as a railway of development; as a railway of cooperation, and as a railway of friendship.”

Djibouti’s Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah said that the rail line “is an important corridor … we are working for economic integration between our two countries.”

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