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U.S. trying very hard to cover up own COVID-19 response failure, says China media

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By By Zhong Sheng

By changing evaluation indicators, American media recently ranked the U.S. first among 53 economies in the world for its return to normal life amid the pandemic in its “COVID Resilience Ranking”. Ironically, core indicators of the COVID-19 situation in the country, such as the daily numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, rebounded seriously. Increase in the number of COVID-19 infections is rising in all of its 50 states, while growth in vaccination rates has all but stalled.

The contrast between the ridiculous COVID-19 resilience ranking and the harsh pandemic situation has revealed how anxious some people in the U.S. are to cover up the country’s failure in response to the pandemic, which is also the root cause of the attempt of some U.S. politicians to shift the blame for their own incompetence in fighting the pandemic to other countries by stigmatizing acts of other countries regarding the pandemic, attaching geographical labels to the virus, and politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing.

However, no matter how certain U.S. politicians indulge themselves in wishful thinking, they can’t rid themselves of the burden of social problems at home.

The deep-seated social problems in the U.S. are unavoidable pitfalls in the country’s response to the COVID-19. Issues like racial divide, the gap between rich and poor, and social division are profound and important reasons behind the country’s failure to control the pandemic.

The inaction and misconduct of some U.S. politicians, both in the past and today, have pandered to the country’s reality of social division and worsened the impacts of social division, dragging the country’s pandemic situation into a vicious cycle of “deterioration-alleviation-rebounding”.

In the U.S., where the society is deeply divided, fighting the COVID-19 through solidarity seems merely a slogan out of reach.

“Nations, like individuals, reveal themselves at times of crisis,” wrote BBC’s New York correspondent Nick Bryant in an article published on the website of BBC.

“Rather than a coming together, the crisis has demonstrated how for decades Americans have conducted a political version of social distancing,” the article said, going straight to the heart of the matter.

In a poll carried out by NBC News in April, 82 percent of the respondents said they believe the U.S. is divided and racial and political tensions are escalating in the country.

Well-known American political scientist Francis Fukuyama pointed out that in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, Americans should have put aside differences and fight the crisis in solidarity, but overall, the COVID-19 has exacerbated political polarization in the U.S.

COVID-19: Wuhan Virology Institute says scientific evidence already refutes “lab leak” conspiracy theory

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By Wan Yu, People’s Daily

It has become a general consensus among scientists and scholars that the novel coronavirus originated naturally, and scientific evidence has already disproven the “lab leak” theory, stressed a professor of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where it has been claimed that the virus might have escaped from.

Yuan Zhiming, also director of the National Biosafety Laboratory (NBL) at the WIV, made the remarks at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office of China on July 22, in response to a question on the COVID-19 origins asked by a reporter who cited an article published by some scientists on the peer-reviewed academic journal Science in May, in which they pointed out that it is necessary to consider the possibilities that the virus either arose naturally or escaped from a lab.

On July 5 this year, 24 world-renowned experts once again published a paper in The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, in which they stressed that there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that the novel coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab, Yuan noted.

Later on July 7, experts from the U.S., the U.K, and Australia published a preprint of their findings on Zenodo, a European platform for scientific data sharing, pointing out that there is no evidence that the virus came from a Wuhan lab, the early cases were connected to the WIV in any way, or that the WIV had or studied ancestors of the COVID-19 before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Just a few days ago, 22 Chinese and foreign scientists published an article in a Chinese academic journal Science China, in which they demonstrated convincingly why the virus could only have evolved naturally and couldn’t be man-made with classical evolutionary theory and methods and refuted the “lab leak” conspiracy theory with scientific evidence.

The NBL, a P4 or biosafety level-4 (the highest level) lab, is as good as any other P4 labs in operation in the world in terms of hardware facilities, management, team composition and working protocols, Yuan said.

Since it was officially put into operation in 2018, the NBL has not had any incident of leakage or staff infection, according to Yuan.

Designed, constructed and operated according to international requirements and the national standards of China, the NBL has not only been equipped with stable and reliable biosafety protection facilities, but established a complete biosafety management system and a professional team to support, manage and maintain its operation.

China, Africa to strengthen pact in protecting world heritage

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By Wan Yu, People’s Daily

A five-year plan was preliminarily formed to boost capacity building for China and Africa regarding world heritage conservation and management at a side event of the ongoing 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that kicked off on July 16 in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China’s Fujian province.

The plan is aimed at establishing platforms for more direct exchange of knowledge between Chinese and African experts and scholars in the field of world heritage as well as custodians of world heritage sites so that the two sides can intensify exchange and sharing of experience, jointly carry out capacity building activities, and elevate the level of world heritage protection and management together.

The side event, which took place on July 19 under the theme of “Capacity Building for World Heritage Conservation and Management–Towards Future Cooperation Between Africa and China”, was attended by more than 150 people, including officials from the UNESCO, representatives of international organizations, and Chinese and African experts and scholars.

Before formulating the five-year plan, participants in the event reviewed the fruits of cooperation between China and Africa in the field of world heritage since 2019, and discussed the current situation of capacity building concerning the conservation and management of world heritage in Africa and China.

As the home of the world-famous Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, the lofty Mount Kilimanjaro on savannas, and the amazing ancient stone towers of the Great Zimbabwe ruins shrouded in forests, Africa is a continent endowed with rich and colorful natural and cultural resources. However, due to multiple factors, including social and economic development, Africa has long lagged behind other regions of the world in applying for UNESCO World Heritage status, as well as the management and protection of its world heritage.

There are 12 countries in Africa that still don’t have any heritage recognized as world heritage by the UNESCO, and 22 of the 53 properties included on the List of World Heritage in danger by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO are located in Africa, according to Souayibou Varissou, executive director of the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).

At the side event, Varissou called for increasing financial support for the AWHF to improve Africa’s capability to protect world heritage.

The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee tries to give priority to Africa in policy formulation, capacity building, international aid, and upstream procedures, in a bid to enhance the representativeness and improve the balance of world heritage, said Tian Xuejun, director of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and also chairman of the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee.

Upholding the idea of the China-Africa community with a shared future, China attaches great importance to its cooperation with Africa in protecting world heritage, held the UNESCO-Africa-China Forum on World Heritage Capacity Building and Cooperation, and supports efforts to carry out training in risk management and protection of world heritage for custodians of world heritage sites in African countries including Uganda, Benin, and Tanzania, Tian said.

Xi Jinping makes history as first Chinese leader to visit Tibet

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President Xi in cusps of history on arrival in Tibet

President Xi Jinping of China on Wednesday paid a historic visit to Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

The three days event that ended last Friday was for the 70th anniversary of Tibet’s peaceful liberation, the first time in the history of the Party and the country, the Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
During the visit, Xi stressed fully implementing the guidelines of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for governing Tibet in a new era and writing a new chapter of lasting stability and high-quality development for the plateau region.

Xi with Tibetan Bhudist monks. Another history, a CPC leader with religious adherents

The president met with the representatives of the Tibet Military Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on Friday. He stressed that the local troops should fully strengthen the work of training soldiers and war preparation, and contribute positive strength to promote the long-term stability and prosperity of Tibet. 

“Promoting the high-quality development of Tibet should be based on the principle that all development is to facilitate ethnic unity and progress, to improve livelihood and unite people, and to elevate the sense of gain, safety and happiness of all ethnic groups,” Xi said. 

During the visit, Xi also inspected Nyingchi and the regional capital Lhasa, as well as a number of key local infrastructure projects, including the Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway project. 

On Thursday, Xi went to Nyingchi railway station, learning about the overall design of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway section, which started service in June, and then took the newly opened train to Lhasa. He inspected the construction along the railway during the ride. 

Nyingchi is an important and strategic transportation hub along the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, which extends more than 1,740 kilometers from Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, to Lhasa. A major and strategic section of the railway that connects Lhasa with Nyingchi started operating in June, where China’s most advanced Fuxing bullet train for the first time ran on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and passed through the Yarlung Zangbo River. The Lhasa-Nyingchi railway is also Tibet’s first electrified railway.

Analysts said Xi’s visit shows the central government’s emphasis on boosting the economic growth and stability of Tibet as well as improving local residents’ livelihood in the next round of development. 

“China has listed the development of border areas in the next five-year plan, and reducing the gap between western and eastern areas is also an important goal to be achieved, marching toward the second centenary goal,” Lou Chunhao, deputy director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Friday. 
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway, once completed, will reduce travel time from other regions to Tibet by 30 percent. It will also cut travel time from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours. 
Observers said that the rail line could further enhance Tibet’s status in the national railway network, greatly boost the region’s economic development and even generate an economic radiation effect to neighboring countries.

President Xi, third from right at the right row meets Tibetan leaders

“As infrastructure connectivity improves, Tibet could also be built into a frontier of opening-up in Southwest China. For example, Tibet could facilitate trade and economic cooperation with Nepal,” Lou said, also noting that Tibet’s deep integration into the national rail enables the efficient transportation of bulk goods and cargo in and out of the region. 

In November 2020, China State Railway Group Company started the construction of the Ya’an-Nyingchi section, another important section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s economic planner, has listed promoting the construction of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway as a key project in the nation’s railway development. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway is the second railway running to Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. 

Xi also made an inspection tour of Lhasa on Thursday. He visited the Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Street and the Potala Palace square in Lhasa to learn about the work on ethnic and religious affairs, the conservation of the ancient city, as well as the inheritance and protection of Tibetan culture.  
Xi arrived at the Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was warmly welcomed by local people and officials of various ethnic groups. He then visited the Nyang River Bridge to inspect the ecological preservation in the basin of the Yarlung Zangbo River and its tributary Nyang River. 

GLOBAL TIMES

CHINA FLOODS: Zhengzhou factories return to work amid worse death toll of 56

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Employees work inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in the southern Guangdong province May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Factories in Zhengzhou, the capital of Central China’s Henan Province, have gradually resumed operations as the impact of floods – caused by the city’s heaviest downpour in 60 years – eased. Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory and one of China’s largest auto manufacturing bases, is gradually shaking off disruptions as electricity and internet connection returned. Yet logistics continue to pose a threat to shipments, potentially affecting supply chains at home and abroad.

This came amid announced worse death toll that climbed to 56.

The Global Times learned that two major industrial parks of Foxconn in Zhengzhou have resumed operations on Friday. Another one in Zhongmu town, which manufactures personal computer connectors, has not resumed work as it suffered the most extensive damage. 

A Zhongmu-based Foxconn employee told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that “most workers trapped in factories and dormitories in the county have been rescued so far, but we were not informed on when we could return to work.”

At the peak of flooding, water levels in the Zhongmu industrial park reached neck-high, and about 1,000 employees were stranded in their dormitories. Water and electricity were cut off. And equipment and machines were flooded, news website jiemian.com reported.

Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory produces half of the iPhones in the world with 90 production lines, three plants and around 350,000 workers. And it has received the bulk of orders for Apple’s new iPhone 13, which is expected to be launched in September, according to media reports.

“The flood’s impact on the major manufacturing base for smartphones is limited, and there are only puddles outside the industrial park,” a source close to Foxconn told the Global Times on Friday. 

Zhengzhou’s 100 billion yuan ($15.4 billion) auto industrial cluster is also on track to recover, with about 90 percent of local public transportation restored as of Thursday night, industry insiders said. 

Yutong Group Co., a Zhengzhou-based large passenger carmaker which accounts for 10 percent of the city’s car production capacity, resumed work on Friday after halting for two days, an employee with the brand department of the company surnamed Chen told the Global Times.

During the heaviest rainfall, water seeped into the company’s plant, but has since been cleaned up, Chen said.

Another carmaker, Haima Motors, has also gradually resumed operations after electricity was cut off for two days, the Global Times learned. But the factory has not been able to run at 100 percent capacity due to unstable communication, a customer service staff of Haima Motors told the Global Times on Friday.

But industry observers pointed out that compared with catching up on production, shipping iPhones and auto parts could create the biggest headache for local firms, as major transportation routes throughout the city were still partly cut off and could take a long period to return to normal.

GLOBAL TIMES