Russian FM's visit to China 'further strengthens strategic partnership'

As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in China on Monday for an official visit, many observers said the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership will be further strengthened despite US pressure.

At the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Russian top diplomat will pay an official visit to China from Monday to Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning announced on Sunday.

Mao said at a routine press conference on Monday that the two sides will exchange views and coordinate stances on the development of bilateral ties, cooperation in different fields and the international issues of shared common concern on the sidelines of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic relations. 

As Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced earlier, in Beijing Lavrov will hold talks with Wang. In particular, the ministers will discuss the situation in Ukraine and the Asia-Pacific region, issues of bilateral cooperation and interaction in the international arena, Zakharova said, TASS reported on Monday.

Cui Heng, a scholar from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Monday that "Lavrov could be paving the way for the first foreign visit of President Putin since his reelection, but the final confirmation would be a formal announcement released by the two sides."

Reuters reported in March that Putin will travel to China in May, in what could be the Kremlin chief's first overseas trip of his new presidential term, citing five sources familiar with the matter. The Kremlin, when asked about the Reuters report, said information on Putin's visits would be released closer to the date.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, said the Russian top diplomat could discuss with China about some urgent and hotspot issues like the Ukraine crisis and counterterrorism cooperation.

Russia just experienced a horrific terrorist attack in Moscow, and the attackers are from Central Asia. Chinese engineers in Pakistan have also been attacked by terrorists in the region, so both China and Russia share common concerns about terrorism, said analysts. 

China and Russia are two major powers in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and counterterrorism cooperation between them and other SCO members is significant for regional peace and stability, especially when the threat of terrorism has reemerged in some regions, experts said. Apart from the discussion on diplomatic level, the militaries, law-enforcement and intelligence agencies of the two countries will also promote the cooperation to target terrorism, experts said.     

China-Russia-US trilateral relations

US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen is also on her visit to China and she warned that Chinese companies could face "significant consequences" if they provided "material support for Russia's war on Ukraine," according to the release from US Department of Treasury. 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in response China's stance is very clear and has always paid constructive efforts for mediation to stop the conflict. The Chinese foreign ministry added that other countries should not attack and smear the normal relations between China and Russia, and should not harm the legitimate rights and interests of China and Chinese companies, noting China will take firm measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests. 

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday China has its own principles in developing ties with major powers like Russia and the US, as "we will never interference in other countries' internal affairs and will not meddle in the ties between other countries, so we hope the US could show the same respect to the China-Russia relations."

China is paying efforts to mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine since the very beginning of the crisis, and China never adds fuels to the flame, and if the US sanctions Chinese companies who do normal business with Russia in the name of "supporting Russia's war on Ukraine," that would be very unwise, as China will retaliate for sure, experts said. 

Cui said that the timing of Lavrov's visit to China is very interesting, as it's overlapping with the time of Yellen's visit, and takes place before the potential visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, "so this just shows the complexity of the interactions between China, Russia and the US, and in the trilateral relations, China is driven by its own national interests."

Li said in the China-Russia-US relations, "we are in a position with the most flexibility, while the US and Russia have very limited space to change the deadlock and hostility in their relations. The key for China to remain flexible is that we don't favor one take over another."

Xi, Biden hold phone talks

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden on the phone Tuesday at the request of the latter. The two presidents had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and issues of mutual interest.

President Xi noted that his San Francisco meeting with President Biden last November opened a future-oriented San Francisco vision. Over the past months, their officials have acted on the presidential understandings in earnest. The China-U.S. relationship is beginning to stabilize, and this is welcomed by both societies and the international community. On the other hand, the negative factors of the relationship have also been growing, and this requires attention from both sides.

President Xi stressed that the issue of strategic perception is always fundamental to the China-U.S. relationship, just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right. Two big countries like China and the United States should not cut off their ties or turn their back on each other, still less slide into conflict or confrontation. The two countries should respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation. The relationship should continue moving forward in a stable, sound and sustainable way, rather than going backward.

President Xi underlined three overarching principles that should guide China-U.S. relations in 2024. First, peace must be valued. The two sides should put a floor of no conflict and no confrontation under the relationship, and keep reinforcing the positive outlook of the relationship. Second, stability must be prioritized. The two sides should refrain from setting the relationship back, provoking incident or crossing the line, so as to maintain the overall stability of the relationship. Third, credibility must be upheld. The two sides should honor their commitments to each other with action, and turn the San Francisco vision into reality. They need to strengthen dialogue in a mutually respectful way, manage differences prudently, advance cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit, and step up coordination on international affairs in a responsible way.

President Xi stressed that the Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations. In the face of "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them, China is not going to sit on its hands.

He urged the U.S. side to translate President Biden's commitment of not supporting "Taiwan independence" into concrete actions. The U.S. side has adopted a string of measures to suppress China's trade and technology development, and is adding more and more Chinese entities to its sanctions lists. This is not "de-risking," but creating risks. If the U.S. side is willing to seek mutually beneficial cooperation and share in China's development dividends, it will always find China's door open; but if it is adamant on containing China's hi-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, China is not going to sit back and watch.

President Xi stated China's position on Hong Kong-related issues, human rights, the South China Sea, and other issues.

President Biden noted that the U.S.-China relationship is the most consequential relationship in the world. The progress in the relationship since the San Francisco meeting demonstrates that the two sides can advance cooperation while responsibly managing differences.

President Biden reiterated that the United States does not seek a new Cold War, its objective is not to change China's system, its alliances are not targeted against China, the U.S. does not support "Taiwan independence," and the U.S. does not seek conflict with China. The U.S. follows the one-China policy. It is in the interest of the world for China to succeed. The U.S. does not want to curtail China's development, and does not seek "decoupling" from China. The U.S. will send Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit China shortly to strengthen dialogue and communication, avoid miscalculation and promote cooperation, so as to advance the relationship on a stable path and jointly respond to global challenges.

The two presidents also exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and other issues.

The two presidents found the phone call to be candid and constructive. The two sides agreed to stay in communication, and tasked their teams to deliver on the San Francisco vision, including advancing the consultation mechanisms on diplomatic, economic, financial, commercial and other issues as well as mil-to-mil communication, carrying out dialogue and cooperation in such areas as counter-narcotics, artificial intelligence and climate response, taking further steps to expand people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing communication on international and regional issues. The Chinese side welcomed visits to China by Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of State Blinken in the near future.

Ministry of State Security releases bilingual report, urging Western forces to stop slandering and attacking China

The Ministry of State Security (MSS) released a bilingual report on Tuesday urging the US to stop slandering and cyberattacking China.

Recently, the US government conspired with the UK to slander China by saying that they are facing cyberattacks from groups of cyberintruders "affiliated to the Chinese government" and put in place unilateral and unreasonable sanctions against China.

According to US media outlets, US and British officials on March 26 filed charges, imposed sanctions, and accused China of a sweeping cyberespionage campaign that allegedly "hit millions of people including lawmakers, academics and journalists, and companies including defense contractors." Authorities on both sides nicknamed the hacking group Advanced Persistent Threat 31 or "APT31," calling it an arm of China's Ministry of State Security.

In response, the MSS released a report in both Chinese and English on Tuesday, saying that it is the West who has acted dishonestly, driven by a guilty conscience, poses as a judge to distort facts and urging relevant parties to stop immediately or face measures designed to defend China's legitimate rights and interests.

The US is the main power behind the Five Eyes Alliance, the biggest intelligence organization in the world, which is well known for making up and spreading disinformation from "Chinese cyberintruders," the ministry issued a statement on Tuesday. "What they are attempting at is the politicization of cybersecurity and infringement of the legal rights of China. We hereby express our strong protest and firm opposition. We further urge relevant parties to stop immediately and will take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests."

Experts believe that the West's such accusations reflect the formation of a societal consensus, led by Anglo-Saxon groups, of being anti-China and unfriendly toward China. These accusations are also seen as an inappropriate act of using their media resources in an extremely aggressive manner to spread negative information internationally, tarnishing and defaming China's image. This is a significant component of their information warfare, cognitive warfare, and political warfare against China, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The US has been the biggest source of cyberattacks and biggest threat to the security of global cyberspace over recent history, the MSS revealed. Countless cases of cyberattacks and espionage activities exposed by the global media in recent years have shown that those attacks, mainly conducted by the US and the UK, are characterized by a clear division of labor, advanced technology and rigorous organization.

For example, PRISM and the Upstream Project were designed for collection of network data; Skynet and Shotgiant, for wiretapping; Operation Olympic Games, for the infiltration of infrastructure; Auroragold and CamberDada, for continued access to targets.

The US has been behind attack systems such as Turbulence, attack platforms such as FoxAcid, Hive and Bvp47, and attack weapons such as Validator and United Rake, among other Trojan viruses and backdoor malware.

At the same time, the US and the UK are accelerating their militarization of networks by engaging in frequent cyber military operations and further substantiating their "preemptive" and "cyber deterrence" strategy, posing a severe threat to the global cybersecurity, the ministry said.

American and British governments are carrying out cyberattacks almost as a matter of common practice, and on the other hand, they are playing deaf and dumb to the condemnation of the global community. On occasions, driven by geopolitical considerations, they even pretend to be a neutral arbiter on these issues, while also spreading disinformation regarding the "threat of cyberintruders from China," who, in fact, is the biggest victim of the global cyberattacks.

According to recent reports from the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China, among all the attacks China has received from overseas, those originating from the US top the list.

In April, 2022, Northwestern Polytechnical University suffered a cyberattack from overseas. The NAS Office of Tailored Access Operation (TAO) had deployed over 40 cyber arsenals, carried out over 10, 000 extended and persistent malicious attacks against targets in Chinese territory and stole massive amounts of high value data.

According to the data of the ministry, in the first quarter of 2024, more than 2,000 cyberattacks were launched from the continental US and its military bases overseas against many countries, targeting China, focusing on a large number of Communist Party of China and government organs, critical information infrastructures, as well as important institutions of artificial intelligence, chip R&D, clean energy, advanced manufacturing and software development.

As part of their attempts to bolster their national strategy of development, consolidate their hegemony in cyberspace, and contain China's development, the US and British governments have been blatantly engaged in malicious cyberattacks on China which includes stealing data. These actions gravely jeopardize China's sovereignty, security and development interests.

China is committed to the constructive cooperation with the international community in its efforts to protect the peace in cyberspace on the basis of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit, to its respect for sovereignty and fight against hegemony in cyberspace, and to the construction of a shared future of peace, security, cooperation and order in cyberspace, the ministry said.

The bilingual response from the MSS this time is not only to let the Chinese public understand the truth that the US and UK have fabricated lies, but more importantly, to make the international community, including the people within the US and UK, realize the dark psychology and despicable behavior of the US and UK in doing so, experts pointed out. "This allows people from various countries to better understand the radical, distorted, and slanderous nature of the US and UK's policy toward China regardless of the bottom line," Li said.

MSS warns of foreign spy agencies stealing national secrets through 'consulting and investigation'

China's national security agency released a microfilm on Thursday adapted from a real case, revealing how a foreign intelligence agency used investigation and consulting activities as a cover to steal sensitive information from China's key sectors, thus posing a serious risk to national security and interests.

The microfilm depicted the case of a foreign investigation and consulting company, which, under the pretext of assisting a Chinese enterprise investing overseas, conducted a comprehensive investigation, luring company personnel to answer confidential questions, querying confidential information beyond the scope, and filming confidential files of core products.

Their true aim was to obtain core data and state secrets. If accumulated and analyzed comprehensively, this information can reflect important situations such as sensitive details around China's economy and national defense.

This makes it an important target for foreign espionage agencies. If leaked, this information will seriously harm our national security, Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) said on Thursday.

"Behind the lucrative rewards lie numerous traps, and beneath the sophisticated questions lurk hidden schemes," MSS noted.

"The overseas investigation and consulting company's seemingly normal activities were, in reality, on one hand, illegally acquiring our commercial secrets, acting as a 'black hand' for foreign containment and suppression of our advantageous industries. On the other hand, it was probing and stealing our core secrets, acting as an 'accomplice' for foreign intelligence theft and infiltration in important areas," the agency said.

The illegal investigative activities of the overseas consulting company had long been under China's surveillance.

At a critical moment, China's national security agency was able to decisively strike and promptly cut off the channel being used for leaking core data to the foreign theft, while obtaining strong evidence of the scheme conducted under the instruction of foreign espionage agencies, effectively safeguarding national security.

According to the regulations on the management of foreign-related surveys published by the National Bureau of Statistics, foreign-related market surveys must be reported to and approved by survey institutions before being conducted.

Foreign organizations and individuals are not allowed to conduct market surveys and social surveys directly in China, nor are they allowed to conduct market surveys and social surveys through institutions that have not obtained a foreign-related survey license.

In January, the MSS disclosed a case in which the British Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6) used a foreign consulting agency personnel from "a third country" to engage in espionage activities against China.

Chinese security analysts have warned of a potential "007-like" scenario in which countries such as the UK, as part of their broader strategy to counter China, have expanded their espionage efforts beyond traditionally targeted areas to include economic, military, scientific, technological, and financial domains.

Third wave of sandstorms sweep northern China, leading to suspension of outdoor sports activities, classes and production in Beijing, Inner Mongolia

Outdoor sports activities were stopped at schools in Beijing while classes, production and transportation were suspended in Xilin Gol League in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Wednesday as sandstorms brought about by a cold front that started affecting a vast area of northern China since Tuesday are expected to affect 13 provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region until Thursday evening. 

On Wednesday morning, China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) issued a yellow alert for sandstorms, warning of sand or dust weather in multiple places across China due to the impact of a cold front and strong winds. 

This is the third dust weather process that has affected China since the beginning of this year, as well as the first dust and sandstorm in this spring that spread into China through cross-border transmission, according to the Weather China website. 

The NMC issued another yellow alert for sandstorms on Wednesday evening, warning of the impact of the sandstorms could last till Thursday evening with some places in the middle part of Inner Mongolia expecting to suffer from strong sandstorms. 

The Beijing Meteorological Service also issued a blue alert for wind and sandstorms on Wednesday. In response to the windy and sandstorm weather, the local education authorities in the Chinese capital have required relevant departments to take actions to cope with extreme weather conditions. 

According to the announcement, outdoor gatherings and outdoor sports activities were suspended in Beijing and the local students and teachers were suggested to minimize outdoor activities as much as possible. The education authorities said that they would release security messages to popularize the knowledge of sandstorms. 

In Sonid Right Banner in Xilin Gol League, Innor Mongolia, a red alert – the highest level for sandstorms – was issued at 11:51 am by the local meteorological authority, who urged  local residents to take measures in response to the extreme weather. The local government also took emergency measures including suspending classes, production and transportation. 

As of Wednesday noon, the concentration of PM10 in Xilin Gol League had reached 1,099 micrograms per cubic meter and the minimum visibility was 88 meters. 

Due to the impact of the cold front, some places across the country including parts of Shandong, Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hubei will suffer from heavy fog from Wednesday evening till Thursday morning, with visibility dropping to below 200 meters in some places such as the southern part of Shandong and the northern parts of Anhui and Jiangsu provinces. 

China’s Commerce Minister meets Apple CEO, reflects appeal of Chinese market

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met in succession with global business executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and SK Hynix CEO Kwak Noh-Jung over the last two days. Analysts believe that these visits by prominent CEOs demonstrate the enduring attractiveness of the Chinese market for foreign investment, showcasing China's ongoing commitment to further opening up.

During Wang’s meeting with Apple CEO Cook on Friday, both sides exchanged views on Apple’s development in China and China-US economic and trade relations. Wang said that China’s economy has shown strong resilience, and its long-term positive fundamentals remain unchanged, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Saturday.

Wang noted that China has an enormous market size, a complete industrial system, high-quality human resources, as well as a stable and open business environment. China is accelerating the development of innovation-led new quality productive forces, with promising growth prospects in high tech fields such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing, which means huge opportunities for global businesses including Apple.

He also welcomed Apple to continue deepening cooperation in the Chinese market and achieve common development.

Wang also stressed that China-US economic and trade cooperation is a stabilizing force in bilateral relations. The business community is generally opposed to “decoupling” and “breaking chains” with China and to the generalization of the concept of national security. China is willing to work with the US to create a fair, stable, and predictable environment for business cooperation between the two countries.

Cook said that China is an important market and a key supply chain partner for Apple due to its rich talent pool and strong sense of innovation. Apple will remain committed over the long-term development in China and continue to invest in China’s supply chain, research and development, and sales.

Cook is also among a host of business executives that have arrived in China in recent days. They are expected to participate in a series of high-level meetings, such as the CDF, and the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2024, which will start in Boao, South China’s Hainan Province, in the coming week.

On Saturday, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao also met with SK Hynix CEO Kwak Noh-Jung. On Friday, Wang met with Visa Inc CEO Ryan McInerney and Broadcom President and CEO Hock E. Tan. A day earlier, Wang met with Mercedes-Benz chairman Ola Kallenius, HP Inc President and CEO Enrique Lores and Eli Lilly Chairman and CEO David Ricks, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Cook has been in China since earlier this week, drawing widespread attention in China and around the world. On Thursday evening, Cook attended the grand opening of a new flagship store, which is second only to its Fifth Avenue outlet in New York City, in downtown Shanghai. He is also expected to attend the China Development Forum (CDF), which is expected to kick off on Sunday in Beijing.

Cook’s visit highlights the importance of the Chinese market to Apple, especially at a time when the US tech giant is facing regulatory challenges in Western markets, a technology industry expert surnamed Liu told the Global Times on Saturday.

In early March, the EU hit Apple with an antitrust fine worth 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion). And it is likely to face EU probe into its compliance with the bloc’s Digital Law, according to media reports.

Domestically, the US Justice Department and more than a dozen states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, accusing the giant of illegally monopolizing the smartphone market.

“While it is true that Apple is facing fierce competition from domestic brands in the Chinese market, there is still sufficient room for Apple to grow in China, compared with its situation in the US and Europe,” Liu noted. “So whether it is centered around the Chinese market or the Chinese supply chain, it is worthwhile for Apple to make more effort and investment.”

"There's no supply chain in the world that's more critical to us than China," said Cook in a recent interview with media in Shanghai.

Despite Western voices attacking the Chinese economy, recent visits by global CEOs underscores the continued appeal of the Chinese market for foreign investment, Xi Junyang, a professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times.

“China’s ongoing efforts to open its door wider and expand market access for foreign investors while promoting technological innovation have provided huge opportunities for global businesses,” Xi noted. “Plus its strong supply chain support, for any multinationals, China has become an integral part of their global strategy.”

A diary documenting how an NPC deputy from Xinjiang acts as bridge between the people and the government

Editor's Note:

China's widely watched annual "two sessions" kicked off on Monday this year. The "two sessions" refers to the annual sessions of National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are known as the country's top legislature and national political advisory body respectively.

The two sessions is a grand occasion that gathers ideas and wisdom of people of all walks of life across the country. It is an important opportunity for the world to better understand China's whole-process people's democracy, in which the people engage in democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight according to the law. Such democracy is not only shown in the votes taking place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, but also embodied in a motion submitted by a NPC deputy coming from a remote area, or a consultative meeting held among some residents living in a city suburb. It can be felt in many details of Chinese people's daily lives.

During this year's two sessions, the Global Times is launching a series of stories to illustrate the whole-process people's democracy from some of such details. The third story is about the work diary of an NPC deputy from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. By following in her footsteps, we see how an NPC deputy truly brings the most grounded, warm, and vivid voices from the grassroots to the two sessions.
Over 60 years ago, Rukeyamu Maitisaidi's great-grandfather rode a donkey, wishing to see Beijing. Now, Rukeyamu takes a flight from her hometown to Beijing, serving as a deputy to the 14th NPC at the two sessions.

Departing from Yutian county in the Hotan prefecture of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, it takes less than a day to reach Beijing nowadays.

Once a servicewoman on China's first aircraft carrier, Rukeyamu became an interpreter at the Kurban Tulum Memorial Hall in Yutian county after her military service.

In 2018, she was elected as a deputy to the 13th NPC, and since then, she has frequently visited fields and farmers' homes to communicate with the ordinary people to hear about their needs and wishes.

A week before the two sessions, the Global Times reporters followed Rukeyamu's steps, documenting a diary of how she performed her duties as an NPC deputy.

She expresses that although being a large responsibility, serving as an NPC deputy is an honor. She strives to act as a bridge between the people and the government, helping to convey their demands and address their difficulties, and also to share the happy stories of Xinjiang residents with the whole nation.

A solemn and sacred day

On the morning of March 5, Rukeyamu meticulously adjusts her hat for the last minute.

Dressed in a colorful Uygur long dress and a black coat, she walks into the Great Hall of the People at the heart of Beijing, hand in hand with other NPC deputies from Xinjiang region. They are ready to listen to the Government Work Report of the past year.

After the meeting, she wrote to the reporters, "The Premier mentioned in the report: 'Acting on the people-centered development philosophy, we will fulfill our responsibilities to meet people's basic needs and provide a cushion for those most in need and take more steps to deliver real benefits to the people to their satisfaction. We will make solid progress toward prosperity for all and promote social harmony and stability. By doing so, we will give our people a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security.'"

"As a grass-roots NPC deputy," Rukeyamu told the Global Times, "I deeply resonate with the premier's words."

During the two sessions, the daily routine of NPC deputies is filled with frenetic work and responsibility.

"I will carefully listen to each deputy's report and sort out the beneficial policies to ensure that I can relay this information to the public at the earliest," Rukeyamu said. They adopt household visits or group meetings to ensure the spirit of the two sessions reach the people promptly.

Apart from regular meetings, NPC deputies also participate in discussions on motions and inter-provincial exchanges. "We are not only there to listen to others' speeches but also to prepare our own. It is part of our responsibility as NPC deputies," Rukeyamu emphasizes. She brings the hopes and needs of Hotan and Yutian residents to the two sessions, ensuring their voices are heard.

"In this process, our role as NPC deputies is crucial," she said. Through these actions, the deputies play an indispensable role in connecting the government with the people.

The Global Times learned that the Xinjiang delegation is composed of 60 deputies to the second session of the 14th NPC, representing 11 ethnic groups including Han, Uygur, Kazak, Hui, Tajik, Mongolian, Kirgiz , Xibe, Uzbek, Russian, and Tatar, from various sectors, embodying their region's broad representativeness.

To prepare for this session, the NPC deputies from Xinjiang engaged in intensive research on high-quality development, agricultural construction, rural revitalization, ecological protection, openness to the outside world, water resource utilization, and other important issues concerning economic and social development that the people care about before heading to Beijing.

As of March 4, the Xinjiang delegation had received six draft motions and 106 suggestions, mainly involving the formulation or amendment of laws such as the Employment Promotion Law and the Free Trade Pilot Zone Law. The suggestions mainly cover building a modern industrial system, strengthening green computing power construction, and forming a talent cultivation system, among other aspects.

Two sessions rush

On the eve of the two sessions, Rukeyamu Maitisaidi's workload became extraordinarily heavy. This was the final sprint before heading to Beijing.

With two days left before leaving Yutian, she was still discussing with local township-level representatives at 6 pm. This was the last of more than a dozen of discussions she had held over the past few days, covering residents from every township in Yutian.

The atmosphere in the meeting was fervent. Deputies raised issues they have noticed in their work, concerning livelihood, education, and healthcare, to which Rukeyamu thoughtfully responded.

Rukeyamu had discussions with other deputies in the Uygur language and took notes. Tonight, she would also discuss and study the opinions and feelings collected, refining the motions she would take to the two sessions.

When everything was concluded, everyone left the venue. But Rukeyamu's day was not over yet.

She immediately drove to Friendship village in Mugala town for household visits. Her father, Maitisaidi Aisa, a deputy to the people's congress of Yutian county, accompanied her.

Friendship village is located on the edge of Yutian county, with newly built houses lined up neatly, three-story buildings along the street, and single-story houses with courtyards elsewhere. On the straight village road, children snacking and singing walked home in pairs.
As an NPC deputy, Rukeyamu's household visits were unannounced. She walked straight into a resident's yard at the village head, telling them her purpose immediately.

Only the mistress Aminamu Wupur was at home that day. She was sweeping the yard and warmly invited her guests inside when she saw Rukeyamu.

Aminamu lived in a resettlement house in the village. Yutian, situated on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, is prone to sandstorms, yet industrious Aminamu kept her home spotless. Her son's wedding photo was displayed prominently at the household's entrance.

From 2011 to 2020, Xinjiang implemented the construction of more than 2.67 million rural resettlement houses, and over 10 million people of various ethnicity have moved into new homes equipped with utilities and designed to be earthquake-resistant.

Aminamu grasped Rukeyamu's hand, telling her that she was very happy with her life and cannot think of many good suggestions, but she hoped Rukeyamu can convey her happiness and gratitude to the national two sessions.

Next, Rukeyamu randomly selected a family in an apartment building to visit. The mistress of the house, Hairulinishahan Aizezi, 42 years old, happily told Rukeyamu that at the end of last year, she, her husband, and their three children moved into this three-bedroom apartment, while their elderly relatives live in another unit opposite their own.

"Most of the money was subsidized by the government; we only had to pay a small part," said Hairulinishahan. They previously lived in an earthen house in the village and never imagined they could live in such a beautiful, modern home.

What excited her even more was that over the past few years, through local training classes, she had learned carpentry and plastering skills and can now work outside as well. With the boom in construction development in Yutian, she has also had many job opportunities.

In today's Mugala town, women have long since shed the old tradition of staying at home to tend to their husbands and teach their children. They step out of their homes to learn skills and find work.

"As an ordinary resident in Yutian, I hope you can convey our greetings and voices to the national two sessions, letting the whole nation know about our happy and fulfilling lives," she told Rukeyamu.

Mission with significance

"My great-grandfather was a deputy to the 4th NPC, and after so many years, in 2018, I was also elected as a deputy to the 13th NPC. I was really excited," said Rukeyamu. "Becoming an NPC deputy is not only an honor but also a responsibility. I feel that my mission is even more significant, and my sense of duty has been strengthened."

Her great-grandfather Kurban Tulum is known as Uncle Kurban. In the 1950s, after the establishment of new China and receiving his own land, the grateful Kurban wanted to "ride a donkey to Beijing" to see Chairman Mao Zedong. His story became widely known across the country and influenced Rukeyamu's upbringing.

In 2012, Rukeyamu joined the navy and was assigned to the aircraft carrier Liaoning in 2013. Despite encountering many difficulties, such as seasickness and language barriers, it was these experiences that made her braver and stronger.

After her military service, she returned to her hometown in Yutian county, Xinjiang and worked at local publicity department. After the opening of the Kurban Tulum Memorial Hall, she took on the responsibility of telling the story of Uncle Kurban.

However, being an NPC deputy is an important identity she holds.

In understanding the opinions and suggestions of the people, Rukeyamu found that many, due to infrequent contact with the news, found it difficult to express themselves on some issues. Therefore, she realized the importance of face-to-face communication.

"We first listen to their opinions and suggestions, and answer immediately if we can; if not, we will discuss with the relevant departments," she said.

Delegate Rukeyamu is well aware that the difficulties and demands of the public need to be resolved through the correct channels. "Some issues can be resolved by the township government, some need to be reported to the county, region, or city level. For those that cannot be resolved, we will bring up at the national two sessions."

For example, during her household visit, Rukeyamu found that the people complained about the high price of tap water. She raised this issue at the county two sessions and it was resolved quickly. "Because this is a work that the county government level can complete," Rukeyamu said.

She particularly mentioned the construction of Yutian Wanfang Airport, which given the large geographical scope of the Hotan region, locals hoped there would be room to build another airport in the region for the convenience of the public. "We reflected this wish at the national two sessions in 2018, and it was soon met with a response from the central government, and the airport was quickly built," she said.

On December 26, 2020, Yutian Wanfang Airport commenced operations. Now, people can take a plane and reach Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, in one hour and 55 minutes.

Yutian county, located at the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, was once a national-level deeply impoverished county. It achieved poverty alleviation in 2020.

"With practical actions, I carry forward my family's oath of ethnic unity and the spirit of my great-grandfather 'to always follow the Party,'" Rukeyamu said.

Since 2017, her family has established a public welfare fund to reward and help students from families that have made outstanding contributions to maintaining social stability.

After the two sessions, Rukeyamu's work continues. "My wish is that the lives of Hotan residents get better day by day," she said.

Xi's Footsteps: Xi's 12 years of greetings and visits before Spring Festival touch hearts, demonstrate Party's emphasis on people's livelihoods

While China prepares for the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, President Xi Jinping extended messages of good wishes, support, and confidence for 2024 to all Chinese people during his inspection tour in North China's Tianjin Municipality on January 1 and 2.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, wished Chinese people of all ethnic groups, compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese good health and happiness in the Year of the Dragon, and the motherland prosperity, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Since assuming the Party's top post in November 2012, Xi has made it a tradition to spend time with members of the public ahead of the Spring Festival, especially those in disadvantaged groups, extending festive greetings to them.

During past visits, he has brought gifts of festive goods, joined local people making festive foods, and practiced Spring Festival customs.

This not only demonstrates the Party's people-oriented development philosophy and the strong emphasis of the nation's leadership on improving the people's well-being, but also tells of how China strived to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, also known as Xiaokang, and pursue rural revitalization, analysts pointed out.

People's livelihoods always top priority

The first stop on Xi's two-day Tianjin tour was the Diliufu village in Xinkou township, in Tianjin's Xiqing District, according to Xinhua.

From late July to early August last year, extreme rainfall hit northern China, causing anomalous floods in the Haihe River Basin, and a large area of land in the flood storage and detention basins in Tianjin was inundated.

Briefed about the impact of floods on the city and district, Xi walked into greenhouses to check the growth of vegetables. He asked the farmers in detail about the restoration of greenhouses and the reseeding and sales of vegetables.

Xi then visited the home of a villager named Du Honggang, where he chatted with four generations of the family. He inquired about the family's losses during the disaster, their post-disaster production and income, and carefully tallied the numbers during the talk.

Du told Xi that the floods had affected over 10 mu (0.67 hectares) of corn and vegetables in his home. With the help of the Party and the government, the family quickly overcame the difficulties, especially the fast repair of the vegetable greenhouses, which ensured a good harvest of seasonal vegetables, according to Xinhua.

As the Lunar New Year approaches, the family has stocked up on a lot of New Year goods and the village authorities have also organized some cultural activities, Du said.

During the chat with Du's family, Xi stressed the importance of ensuring the people's livelihoods. Xi said the issue is always on the mind of the CPC Central Committee as well as Party committees and governments at all levels.

"Only when the people are secure can the country prosper," Xi noted.

The message from Xi resonated strongly with the villagers of Diliufu.

Zhang Caiyun, a 64-year-old resident, told that the president's visit has "given the village a festive atmosphere before the arrival of Spring Festival," which falls on Saturday.

She said that for her, the visit was filled with touching moments, as Xi patiently inquired about the villagers' daily lives.

"I didn't expect that the president would visit and that he would pay such particular attention to our matters of concern," she said.

While expressing his delight at the progress of the village's post-disaster recovery, Xi also assured the villagers that the Party's central leadership has "made resolutions to improve the livelihoods of the people by striving to enhance the construction of water conservancy and flood control projects," which was encouraging to villagers like Zhang.

Zhang said the flooding in August 2023 hit the village extremely hard, as farmers saw their rice paddies and greenhouses damaged. Part of the flooded farmlands has now been planted with wheat and vegetables, with a majority of the greenhouses already repaired.

Du Zixi, an entrepreneur who has invested in a tourism program in Diliufu, said the president not only conveyed warmth to the residents, but also extended confidence to businesses. Du said her company will continue to invest in the village and create more jobs for local residents.

It was the third time that the president has visited the flood-hit households since September, as he highlighted the need to ensure that the families have a warm winter.

Xi's tradition of sending his best wishes to the public reflects the Party's people-oriented development philosophy, Xu Xing, a professor of politics at the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

On Thursday afternoon, Xi also went to an ancient cultural street and visited local distinctive shops, learning about their products, sales, and the development of traditional culture. The president also visited the Peking-Tianjin Campaign Memorial Museum on the next day, where he underscored the necessity of studying and frequently reviewing the history of China's revolutionary war.

The revolutionary traditions should be carried on and the fighting spirit should be strengthened, he stressed.
Strong confidence key to overcoming difficulties

On January 18, 2023, Xi extended festive greetings to all Chinese people when he held virtual talks in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing with the general public from across the country ahead of the Spring Festival.

Speaking with medical workers and an elderly patient at the First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Xi said that facing this latest wave of COVID-19 infections, medical workers have worked long hours under heavy pressure and with an excessive workload to treat patients. Acknowledging their great contributions to protecting people's lives and health, Xi extended festive greetings to medical workers across the country.

Between 2013 and 2022, Xi visited rural families in Gansu, Shaanxi, Jiangxi, Hebei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Shanxi provinces and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region before the festival, underscoring the Party's unwavering commitment to boosting rural development.

Looking back at the footprints of the president's visits on the eve of the Spring Festival over the decade, "post-disaster reconstruction" has been a major corner to be addressed head-on.

Back in February 2013, Xi visited the Bulenggou village, in the Dongxiang Autonomous County during his first visit to rural areas before Spring Festival. He inspected a reconstruction site in the county, which was the scene of a ground fissure and subsidence following a landslide in March 2011. At the reconstruction site, Xi required overall arrangements and safe construction to guarantee both the rate of progress and project quality.

Visiting disaster-hit families before Spring Festival showed a strong level of support from the top leadership when the families needed it the most. It boosted people's hope and confidence in overcoming difficulties in the New Year, according to Xu.

In 2018, he visited Yingxiu, a township in Wenchuan county, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, which was the epicenter of a major earthquake that killed tens of thousands in 2008.

In 2022, Xi visited the home of a family in North China's Shanxi that had been hit by floods and learned about their living conditions.

From Gansu, Sichuan, Shanxi to Tianjin, post-disaster reconstruction in each instance and place has demonstrated the institutional superiority of "concentrating resources to accomplish great things" and has left an imprint of the Party's original intention to "let the people live a good life," experts pointed out.

Road to innovation and prosperity

The footsteps of Xi's festive greetings and visits over the past 12 years not only highlight China's efforts to reconstruct disaster-hit areas, but, more importantly, put together China's journey to pursue development and prosperity.

At the Spring Festival in 2015, Xi returned to the village of Liangjiahe where he spent seven years and where his understanding of poverty took root.

"I will never forget Liangjiahe, never forget the villagers here, and never forget the people in the old revolutionary base," Xi said.

"Getting rid of poverty is just the first step toward a happy life, it is a starting point for a new life and new endeavor," Xi noted when he visited the house of pig farmer Li Fashun in Sanjia village in Yunnan Province in January 2020.

Wherever Xi goes, he consistently promotes the concept of ecological priority and green development, continuously painting a new picture of a beautiful China.

In February 2016, he visited East China's Jiangxi Province and called for efforts to manage mountains and water resources and showcase the beauty of mountains and rivers. He encouraged Jiangxi to strive to find a path to economic development that would also complement and be mutually beneficial alongside the improvement of ecological civilization.

Xi's footsteps also showcased China's resolution to pursue all-round rural vitalization, as it is the most effective means to secure the achievements of poverty alleviation.

In February 2021, Xi chose Southwest China's Guizhou Province as his festival visit destination. The once-deprived province with poor initial endowment has become a model of high-quality development by fully tapping its late-mover advantage and an implementor of the country's new development philosophy, with its economic growth rate remaining among the top of the ranks across the country over the last decade thanks to innovation-driven and green development.

The 12 years also witnessed China's focus on independent scientific and technological renovation.

In February 2015, Xi visited the Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Machines at the China Academy of Sciences. He required technology professionals to establish a strong sense of innovation responsibility and innovation confidence.

In February 2021, via video link, Xi inspected the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), also known as the China Sky Eye, in Guizhou. During the video chat with workers in the control room, Xi emphasized the need to adhere to the primacy of science and technology and harness the crucial and pivotal role of technological innovation.

This year in Tianjin, he also expressed the hope that Tianjin can become a national advanced manufacturing research and development base, and leverage its advantages in abundant scientific and educational resources to take the lead in developing new productive forces.

At the entry of the Yuangudui village in Gansu, a sentence Xi left during his visit in 2013 was still written there: Let's work together to make our life better and better.

On the eve of the Spring Festival, at a time when Chinese people look forward to national warmth and family unity the most, Xi's greetings and visits to those affected by disasters, inspections to reconstruction projects, and inquiries about replanting efforts, have not only warmed people's hearts, but also conveyed confidence to the public, as strong confidence is the key to overcoming difficulties and is also a must for the nation when it navigates through a complex global landscape to secure its second centenary goal.

Traditional Chinese medicine becomes health envoy in facilitating people exchanges between China and Latin America

Over 2,000 years ago, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) spread to the world along the ancient Silk Road. In the decade since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), TCM has continued to traverse the world, building "health bridges" and promoting exchanges and mutual learning among countries.

Over this bridge, experts from the Hebei University of Chinese Medicine (HEBCM) visited Brazil from October 28 to November 10, 2023. During the period, they organized seven popular science exhibitions, four academic lectures, and more than 10 free clinics in three Brazilian cities, further promoting the recognition of TCM by the Brazilian public.

Through these activities, TCM, an ancient treasure of Chinese wisdom, is serving as a health ambassador to help promote people-to-people exchanges and cultural integration between China and Latin American, as well as the whole world.

Unexpected popularity

"Via our activities, the Brazilians deeply experienced the advantages of 'simplicity, affordability, and effectiveness' in TCM diagnosis and treatment. Many people have expressed that TCM is truly amazing, and as a result, we have gained a group of fans, some of whom followed the delegation throughout the 14-day visit, while others expressed their intention to come to HEBCM to study TCM," Gao Weijuan, president of the HEBCM, told the Global Times.

When asked about her first impression during the visit, Gao said that she did not expect that TCM would enjoy such a high level of popularity among the Brazilian people.

From what I learned during the visit, there are nearly 200,000 TCM practitioners in various regions in Brazil. Acupuncture has also been incorporated into the Brazilian public healthcare system (SUS), Gao said.

Brazil is one of the Latin American countries that first incorporated TCM into its public healthcare system. In 2006, the Brazilian Ministry of Health implemented the National Policy on Integrative and Complementary Practices of the SUS, which included acupuncture and other TCM practices in the system, allowing more Brazilians to access services through Chinese medicine.
Mesa is a teacher at the University of Brasília and a student signed up for the online acupuncture class at the Confucius Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Federal University of Goiás (FUG).

After learning about the effectiveness of TCM in treating bone and joint diseases, rheumatic joint muscle pain, and neurasthenia, Mesa has been looking forward to personally experiencing the magic of acupuncture. Upon learning that the online class instructor, Zhang Xuanping, was coming to Brazil together with the delegation, she specially traveled from Brasília to Goiania to attend the acupuncture lecture and get insights into the effectiveness of the ancient form of treatment.

"This time I appreciated the benefits of TCM's involvement in Brazilian public health; I think it is truly good," Mesa said.

Douglas, a student from the Confucius Institute of TCM at FUG, not only followed the expert team throughout their activities in Goiania, but also drove 200 kilometers to Brasília with the team to follow their activities.

Douglas is a physical education teacher. He believes that TCM techniques such as acupuncture, massage, cupping, and bone setting are "extremely miraculous" and have extraordinary therapeutic effects on sports injuries.

The welcome and recognition of TCM by the Brazilian public were fully demonstrated during the HEBCM delegation's medical consultations.

On the first day, patients were mainly students from the Confucius Institute, but the effectiveness of the treatment spread by word of mouth, and on the second day, a large number of patients from the surrounding area attended. On the third day, the number of patients doubled, said Wang Xu, the Chinese director of the TCM Confucius Institute at FUG.

According to Gao, the delegation's clinics attracted a total of 1,800 patients over a period of 14 days.

A good reputation was built on solid technology and the effectiveness of the treatment.

Doctor Du Shuangqing from the HEBCM is famous for being good at using uses TCM bone-setting techniques to treat diseases such as lumbar disc herniation and neck and shoulder pain. After a few minutes of treatment, patients might experience significant pain relief and improvement in walking posture.

Du, at the lectures in Brazil, revealed that one of his patients, who had been unable to squat for three years and experienced mobility difficulties while climbing stairs, was initially advised to consider surgery by a Brazilian doctor. However, after receiving TCM bone setting treatment, the patient could not only squat down, but could also easily climb stairs without the need for surgery.

Du said that he used to prefer surgical solutions as well, but as his bone-setting techniques improved, the need for surgery decreased while the treatment outcomes improved.
In addition to Brazil, other Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile, Peru, Cuba, and Venezuela are also increasingly focusing on learning the concepts of TCM.

Some countries have already incorporated TCM into their medical schools' curriculums, while others are exploring the possibility of cooperation with Chinese medicine institutions.

A staffer at the International Education College, the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SHUTCM), surnamed Lu, told the Global Times that Latin American experts, and young students have been some of the most enthusiastic participants in the SHUTCM summer schools for foreigners.

Since 2012, 48 students from this region have attended SHUTCM's summer schools. Other workshops for senior health officials from countries associated with the BRI have seen 44 participants from Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

Upgraded cooperation

The HEBCM expert delegation also witnessed upgraded cooperation between HEBCM and FUG.
On October 30, 2023, a brand new TCM diagnosis and treatment center was officially unveiled at the TCM Confucius Institute, FUG, the only Confucius Institute of TCM in Latin America.

Camila Cardoso Caixeta, director of the School of Nursing, FUG, hailed the inauguration of the center, saying that it marks the beginning of a new chapter in history - the school is about to become a beacon of TCM in the state of Goiás and Brazil as a whole.

"The immersive and continuous training conducted by Chinese experts for our team signifies an important step toward providing high-quality and comprehensive care," she said.

Brazil has abundant plant resources and a tradition of using herbal medicine, but there is a lack of understanding and application of herbal medicine. Based on this, there is vast potential for cooperation between China and Brazil in the development and utilization of medicinal plant resources, according to Gao Weijuan.

Shortly after the HEBCM expert delegation's visit to Brazil, a senior delegation from the FUG consisting of the university's vice president Jesiel Freitas Carvalho, Caixeta, and Brazilian president of the FUG Confucius Institute of TCM Francisco Jose Quaresma de Figueiredo paid a visit to HEBCM on December 4.

The two universities conducted consultations on the details of jointly launching a professional nursing master's education program and co-establishing the International Joint Research Center for TCM acupuncture in Hebei, and have reached preliminary consensus on the content of the aforementioned project cooperation agreement.

Both parties expressed their hope to continue to work together to promote the high-quality development of the Confucius Institute of TCM, and at the same time, expedite the implementation of new projects and deepen cooperation in the teaching and research of TCM and nursing.
In order to further promote the development of TCM in Brazil, Reginaldo Filho, founder and director general of Faculdade EBRAMEC (which stands for Brazilian College of Chinese Medicine), also visited the SHUTCM in October 2023. During the visit, Filho showed great interest in the SHUTCM's self-invented instruments for the modern application of TCM, and had deep conversations with the university's staffers on topics including the theories and clinical practices of TCM, and possible further cooperation in this field, according to Lu.

Health ambassador

TCM is becoming a popular healthcare approach in Latin America, promoting exchanges and integration between China and the world with its unique charm. It also has become a unique channel for people in Latin American to learn about Chinese culture.

In Brazil, the channel was based on the function of the Confucius Institute of TCM, FUG. Founded in October 2019, the institute hosted a total of 41 classes as of the end of December 2023, including 27 levels of Chinese language classes, and 14 classes on the overview of TCM, acupuncture, massage, and Tai Chi, attracting a total of more than 700 students.

Nearly 100 cultural exchange activities related to Chinese culture have also been held. An online Chinese Bridge project with a TCM theme was hosted, attracting students from nine countries including Brazil, Canada, and Egypt to learn Chinese and TCM courses, promoting the global understanding of TCM.

TCM is a precious gem of ancient Chinese science and also a key to unlocking the treasure trove of the Chinese civilization. China has attached great importance to TCM, and the inheritance, innovation, and development of the ancient medical science have ushered in a favorable condition for the industry as a whole.

As a facilitator of cultural exchanges between China and other countries, TCM is not only a beautiful calling card, but can also showcase its inherent unique charm, attracting Brazilians to experience Chinese medicine and understand China, and promote people-to-people connectivity, Gao noted.

In the future, the Chinese TCM industry should increase the cultivation of high-level talent, especially cultivating students' international perspectives and building a first-class talent pool.

"We should closely integrate with the BRI, firmly go global, not only to Latin America but also to Southeast Asia and Europe, so that the therapeutic effects of TCM can benefit people in countries and regions around the world," Gao stressed.