Beijing’s new mega airport will challenge Air China’s dominance

Like ancient warlords, China’s three biggest airlines have dominated their regional cities: Air China Ltd. controlling Beijing, China Eastern Airlines Corp. holding sway in the financial center of Shanghai, and China Southern Airlines Co. ruling the roost down in export gateway Guangzhou. Until now.

Rising on a plain south of Beijing is a mega airport that is about to change the balance, bringing all three head to head in the capital as it becomes the world’s biggest aviation hub.

The new airport, due to open in 2019, has been designated by authorities as the hub for members of the SkyTeam alliance, a global group of airlines that includes China Eastern and China Southern. The two Chinese carriers will each be allowed to capture 40 percent of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the U.S. in Air China’s backyard.

“This is an absolute game-changer for China Eastern and China Southern,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Crucial Perspective in Singapore. “Having all the SkyTeam alliance members under one roof will enable seamless flight connections.”

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The invasion of Air China’s regional rivals has repercussions beyond China. As well as dominating their home bases, the big three Chinese players have each carved out a position abroad. Air China, through its Star Alliance ties with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and United Continental Holdings Inc., commands many of the routes to Europe and North America. China Eastern is the biggest carrier to Japan and South Korea. And China Southern is strong in Australia and Southeast Asia.

With access to more slots in Beijing, China Southern and China Eastern would potentially get more access to lucrative North American routes while their SkyTeam partners would get better access to the Chinese capital. In addition, China Southern, the nation’s biggest airline, would be able to draw traffic from its Southeast Asian links to fly via Beijing to the U.S.

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#Panama switches to #China, cuts ties with #Taiwan

BEIJING – Panama and China announced Tuesday they were establishing diplomatic relations, as the Central American nation became the latest to dump Taiwan for closer ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

The move prompted an angry response from Taiwan and will likely further strain ties between Taipei and Beijing, which considers the self-ruled island a renegade province awaiting reunification with the mainland.

Taiwan is recognized by around 20 countries worldwide and its status is one of the most politically sensitive issues for Chinese leaders who pressure trade partners to accept its “one China” principle.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said in a nationally televised message “to the country and the world” that “Panama and China establish diplomatic relations today”.

The two countries issued a joint statement saying: “In light of the interests and wishes of both peoples, the Republic of Panama and People’s Republic of China have decided to grant each other, from the date of this document’s signing, mutual recognition, establishment of diplomatic ties at the ambassadorial level.”

After decades of siding with Taiwan in the disagreement over its status, Panama now “recognises that there is only one China in the world” and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.

 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Panamanian counterpart Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado signed the communique in Beijing.

“This is a historic moment, China-Panama relations have opened a new chapter,” Wang said, adding that Panama’s decision was in “complete accordance” with its people’s interests and “in keeping with the times”.

Saint Malo said Panama and China had made an “important step” and started a “new page in our strategic relations”

The announcement comes after Beijing began construction last week of a container port, with natural gas facilities, in Panama’s northern province of Colon.

Panama had long stressed it had diplomatic ties with Taipei and commercial ones with Beijing.

Chinese ships, after those from the United States, are the number two users of the Panama Canal, the Central American country’s main source of budget revenue.

Taiwan’s anger 

Panama is the latest country to cut ties with Taiwan.

In December China signed an agreement to restore diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe after the African nation ditched the island.

Taiwan reacted furiously to the latest move.

“We strongly condemn Beijing for manipulating the so-called ‘one China’ policy to continue to suppress Taiwan’s international space through various means,” the presidential office said.

“This kind of action is not only an open threat to Taiwanese people’s survival and welfare but also an open provocation to peace and stability in the Taiwan strait and the region.”

Diplomatic tussles between Taiwan and Beijing eased under the island’s previous Beijing-friendly government.

But relations have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing-wen’s China-sceptic Democratic Progressive Party was swept to power in a landslide election victory last year.

Tsai has refused to acknowledge the concept that Taiwan is part of “one China”, unlike her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou.

Cross-strait tensions have been further exacerbated by a highly unusual call from Tsai to congratulate then US President-elect Donald Trump, who questioned Washington’s policy towards the island, including its decision to not formally recognize its government.

Source – TheNation

Top 10 most attractive Chinese cities for foreigners

Shanghai ranked as the “most attractive” city for foreign residents due to its international atmosphere and multicultural environment, according to an annual survey.

Beijing remained second, thanks to its advantages in healthcare and educational resources, while Hangzhou also held onto third place.

The rankings, released on April 15, are based on a survey of about 25,000 expatriates nationwide in December and January.

The criteria ranged from living environment and local culture to administrative services and favorable policies for foreign residents.

The China Society for Research on International Professional Personnel Exchange and Development launched the annual survey in partnership with International Talent magazine in 2010 as a way to promote the nation’s cities.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 cities for foreigners.

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  1. Shanghai
  2. Beijing
  3. Hangzhou
  4. Qingdao
  5. Tianjin
  6. Shenzhen
  7. Suzhou
  8. Guangzhou
  9. Nanjing
  10. Changchun

This article appeared on the China Daily newspaper

Max Verstappen on stage in China

Lewis Hamilton dominates Chinese Grand Prix ahead of recovering Sebastian Vettel and charging Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton scored his fifth Formula 1 career Chinese Grand Prix victory with a commanding performance in Shanghai to come home ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The British driver moved level with Vettel at the head of the drivers’ championship as a result, while Verstappen scored Red Bull’s first podium finish of the season.

After much of Friday’s practice running was lost when low cloud prevented the medical helicopter from operating as required, there was much speculation that the race could be disrupted as it took place in similar conditions.

That situation was avoided as the FIA arranged for the necessary neurosurgery staff to be transferred to a hospital closer to the circuit, but rain had fallen in the build up to the start and all the drivers – except Carlos Sainz – set off on intermediates.

Hamilton held his lead from pole position on the run to Turn 1 as Vettel, who had lined up strangely to the side of his grid box, defended hard from Valtteri Bottas through the long right-hander, while Daniel Ricciardo passed Kimi Raikkonen for fourth place.

Verstappen, who had started down in 17th after he suffered an engine problem in qualifying, had made it well into the top ten by the end of the first lap, which was disrupted by a collision between Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez at Turn 10 that ended the Canadian driver’s race.

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Action needed to lure 10 million Chinese tourists to Indonesia

Shì shí shèng yú xióng biàn (actions speak louder than words), according to the Chinese proverb and more action is what Indonesia needs to realize its ambitious goal to attract 10 million tourists from the world’s second-largest economy by 2019.

The latest data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) show that even though there was a 25 percent annual increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia in 2016, the increase only resulted in 1.43 million tourists, falling short of the original target of welcoming 1.7 million Chinese tourists last year.

In addition to the Chinese tourists, the total number of tourists also fell short of its 12 million goal, standing at 11.5 million only.

With the latest result, the tourist industry under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has until now attracted 3.6 million Chinese tourists, making the 10 million benchmark difficult to achieve.

Indonesia must carry out extra efforts to lure more than 2 million Chinese tourists every year for the next three years, while at the same time, neighboring countries are also eyeing a bigger slice of the pie of the outbound Chinese tourist figure, which stands at more than 120 million globally per year.

The Tourism Ministry’s AsiaPacific promotions director, Vinsensius Jemadu, said the problem was mostly related to a lack of flight access from China to Indonesian cities, beyond Denpasar in Bali and Jakarta, even though the visa requirement had been scrapped in 2015.

“Our competitor, Thailand, can welcome 8 to 9 million Chinese tourists per year. Imagine, there are airlines that can connect 15 cities in China and Thailand,” he said on Thursday.

Thailand is indeed a very attractive destination in Southeast Asia for Chinese tourists. Thailand welcomed 8.87 million Chinese tourists last year, an increase of 12 percent from 2015, dominating Thailand’s list of foreign tourists.

The Thai government expects to see 9 million Chinese visitors this year, boosting its tourist industry, which already accounts for 11 percent of Thailand’s US$395 billion gross domestic product (GDP).

Meanwhile, Singapore and Vietnam welcomed more than 2 million Chinese tourists last year.

In Indonesia, most of the airlines connecting Chinese cities and Indonesia are charter flights. The government plans to work with more airlines this year to provide wider access.

“We can increase promotion, but if they don’t know how to get here, it will be very hard. Even when we promote in the secondary and tertiary cities in China, they still need to go to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, which costs a lot. So they go to Thailand, Malaysia,” Vinsensius added.

With 80 percent of foreign tourists arriving in Indonesia by air transportation, the ministry is gearing up to roll out a stimulus for airlines to open routes to destinations other than Bali and Jakarta.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairman for tourism Kosmian Pudjiadi voiced a similar concern, stating that the number of direct flights from China needed to be increased, with connections to at least 25 Chinese cities.

The government expects to welcome 15 million tourists in 2017, with 2.1 million tourists expected from China. Jokowi has signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to attract 10 million tourists from China.

However, funding is also an issue for the ministry, as it faces a lower promotional budget as a result of state budget cuts, forcing it to cancel several sales missions and selling activities in China.

Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani attributed the failure to reach last year’s target to a lack of sales despite heavy promotional efforts.

“Our brand has improved, but to make more people visit, there needs to be actual selling,” he said

Source: TheJakartaPost

Asia’s first vertical forest to be built in China

One of Stefano Boeri’s vertical forest projects in Milan, Italy.

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has revolutionized green architecture through his design of two vegetation-filled towers, known as Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), in Milan, Italy.

Such a structure will be built in the Pukou district of Nanjing, China, and consist of “1100 trees from 23 local species, as well as 2500 cascading plants and shrubs that will cover a 6000-square-meter area” according to Lonely Planet

More than just an aesthetic marvel, the construction will serve as a means to curb air pollution, which is highly prevalent in the area, while reinjecting biodiversity into the environment. The greenery enveloping the towers will both absorb surrounding carbon dioxide and provide oxygen.

It has been predicted that the two buildings will convert 25 tons of CO2 annually and produce 60 kilograms of oxygen a day. 

The taller tower will carry a green lantern at its tip and shelter a museum, a rooftop bar, as well as an architecture school. The smaller tower will serve as accommodation for Hyatt hotel, housing around 247 rooms.

Unique to the Asian region, the towers will be inaugurated some time in 2018 and will even aim to open in other Chinese cities, such as Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing. (nik/kes)

Source: TheJakartaPost

Chinese New Year – Public Holiday in China and several other countries

Chinese New Year begins on 28 January 2017 and will be a public holiday in several countries in East Asia. To see when different countries have public holidays for Chines New Year, use our comprehensive list of Lunar New Year holidays by day.

Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. 2017 will be the “year of the Rooster”.

The Chinese New Year has a great history. In other traditions, by this time in the year, most resolutions have been forgotten or put back to the following year. However, all hope is not lost, as there’s a second chance to get it right with the celebration of Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated by almost a sixth of the world’s population and is very similar to the Western one, swathed in traditions and rituals.

The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself ancient and obscured by the amount of time. It is popularly recognized as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.

Preparations tend to begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red.

The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the event, as anticipation creeps in. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing.

Rituals include cleaning the house, putting up new posters of “door gods” on front doors, fireworks before the family union dinner, which should be at least 10 course meal with a whole fish entrée symbolizing the abundance of the coming year.

It’s usual to wear something red as this colour is meant to ward off evil spirits – but black and white are out, as these are associated with mourning. After dinner, the family sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching TV programmes dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks.

In China, many people will travel back from the cities to their home towns. This results in the world’s largest annual human migration.

On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbours. Like the Western saying “let bygones be bygones,” at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside.

Traditional foods eaten during the Spring festival are fish (the Chinese word for ‘fish’ sounds like the word for ‘surplus,’ so the eating of fish is supposed to bring a surplus of money and good luck); Chinese dumplings (as their shape is said to be like that of silver ingots, which were used as money in ancient Chinese); spring rolls; rice cakes and rice balls.

The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows.

China

In China, the rules governing what days are taken for Chinese New Year as public holidays changed in late 2013. From 2014, the festival will be a holiday on the first three days of the first lunar month of each year. Since 2008, the three-day holiday had started on the last day of the lunar year.

Indonesia

In 2001, President Abdurrahman Wahid made Chinese New Year an optional holiday. He also lifted a ban on the display of Chinese characters and the import of Chinese publications. In 2002, President Megawati Soekarnoputri declared Chinese New Year as a national holiday starting from 2003

In Indonesia, Chinese New Year is known as ‘Imlek’ and has become a popular holiday celebrated by all Indonesians, not just those of Chinese descent.

Carlos Tevez welcomed by thousands of singing Chinese

The Chinese adventure of Carlos Tevez has officially begun. The Argentine striker (32) goes receive tons of money at Shanghai Shenhua and already got a taste of what awaits him.

At Shanghai Pudong International Airport were thousands of Chinese people waiting on Tevez who was loudly sung.

Carlos Tevez is a former player of Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus, and Boca Juniors
At Shenhua, last season the number 4 of the Chinese league, he’s teammate of Demba Ba and Obafemi Martins.

Harbin, China – The city of Ice

Ice City Harbin of China

Located in the northeast of China, the shape of Heilongjiang Province of the map looks like a flying swan. Harbin , the capital city of Province of Heilongjiang, is a pearl under the neck of the swan. The city is famous both for its architectural style and natural beauty. The Songhua River, like a colorful belt, winds gently through the northern city with huge dams and flush trees on both sides. The Sun Island is like a sparkling jewel carved on the north bank. The Flood Control Monument standing like a giant is a symbol of the heroic spirit of Harbin people. The many buildings of foreign styles earn Harbin the name Moscow in the East.

Having a long, cold, and snowy winter, and a short, cool summer, Harbin is a famous summer resort on the plain and has got a beautiful name–City of Ice.

In the depth of winter, the Songhua River is frozen. The city becomes a sparkling world of ice and snow. People can see whirling snow and the scene of “a drop of water becomes ice before touching the ground.” The natural conditions make it possible to have various sport events and to enjoy wonderful scenery of ice and snow. On the frozen river, one can not only enjoy sledding, sailing on ice, swimming, skating, sleighing and other interesting games, but also can admire the beautiful natural scenery, in which unique ice flowers seem to be carved in jade and silver. In Zhaolin Park, people can enjoy the excellent workmanship of ice carving and wonderful ice lanterns.

Sled, also called “toboggan”, is a recreational tool of sports particular in North China. Some high platforms are erected near the bank, and skating runways are paved along natural slpes. Sitting or lying on a sled, people coast whooping down to the bottom, getting much excitement and fun out of the experience.

The sailing boat on ice can freely slide under the manipulation of the sailor. On the frozen surface of the river, when admiring the scenery of the North China by sailing on ice, you can have different feelings compared with sailing on water.

Because of the city’s special geological location, one unique natural scenery, rime fog, is seen here in winter. In winter morning, the 10-mile quiet causeway of the Songhua River is usually veiled by cloud of fog and submerged in the misty smoke. As the fog clings to the weeping willows on the bank, their braches glisten with rime fog, and become multi-colorful under the sun. the rime fog attracts many tourists to appreciate the magic of nature in the North.

In the city of Shangzhi, which lies 240 km away from the city proper, is Yabuli Skiing Square. Surrounded by mountains which are covered with trees and snow, the slide here is 1,300 m above sea level, 3,050 m long and 40 m wide. The average slope degree is 20 in this undulating area. Every year from November to the next April, the accumulated snow here is over 1 m in depth. The National Skiing Match is held here.

Diligent and wise people in Harbin take ice and snow as unique natural advantages, and create the well-known art of ice and snow. The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival originated in 1985. Later, the festival is held on January 5 every year. It is a regional festival, which has first taken the events concerning ice and snow as the main programs, with the characteristics of the northern cities. During this period of time, a variety of activities will be carried on, such as Ice Lantern Show, ice and snow sculpture competitions. The Ice Lantern Show stations in Zhaolin Park. People utilize natural ice and snow, with their wonderful workmanship of sculpture and gorgeous light modellings, to turn the whole park into a unique palace of ice and snow art. The ice sculpture is grand and magnificent, and the figures have all kinds of gestures, remarkable true to life. In the evening, ice lanterns radiate myriads of colorful rays, pure and noble, and the park is just like a dragon palace of ice and crystal. It is a really marvelous spectacle of North China.

 

Mysterious Buddha statue emerges after water bags China

Beijing, China (CNN)A 600-year-old Buddha statue has been discovered in a reservoir in east China’s Jiangxi Province after water levels fell during renovation work.

A local villager first spotted the head of the Buddha last month when the water level fell by more than 10 meters during work on a hydropower gate, official state news agency Xinhua reported.
The Buddha’s head sits against a cliff and gazes serenely over the body of water. It has attracted many tourists as well as locals, who see it as an auspicious sign.
Archaeologists said the statue could date back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
“A preliminary study of the statue suggests it was probably built during early Ming Dynasty, maybe even earlier as the Yuan Dynasty,” Xu Changqing, director of the Research Institute of Archaeology of Jiangxi province, told CNN in a phone interview.
The statue is potentially just the tip of an untapped archeological treasure trove. A base of a temple hall was also found under the water. Local records suggest the reservoir was located on the ruins of an ancient town called Xiaoshi.
Xu said an underwater archeology team is investigating both the ancient town and the statue and working on a preservation plan.