Xi-Macron Pyrenees meeting adds momentum to relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrenees Department of France on Tuesday, as part of his state visit to the European country. Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at the airport. 

Nearly 300 overseas Chinese from southern French cities such as Toulouse, Lyon and Cannes, holding Chinese and French national flags, welcomed Xi at Tarbes airport.

The Pyrenees is the birthplace of Macron's maternal grandmother, who was from the Pyrenean town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre. In his childhood, the French president commonly visited the town to see his grandmother.  

Xi and Macron - together with their wives - visited a mountain restaurant. Before lunch, they watched a traditional folk dance performance  and took a picture together, media reported.  

"Arranging a meeting in the Pyrenees shows that President Macron attaches great importance to the effect of head-of-state diplomacy on elevating China-France relations. He also hopes that his personal relationship will allow the two sides to discuss global governance issues, bilateral issues and the regional situation in a more relaxing manner," Dong Yifan, a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. 

A new climax in high-level exchanges

The talks in the Pyrenees are reminiscent of the scenario in April 2023 when the Chinese and French top leaders met for informal talks in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province. The two leaders strolled through the Pine Garden close to Baiyun Mountain, chatting and stopping at times to enjoy the unique scenery of the southern Chinese garden. They had tea by the water, enjoying the view and discussing the past and present. Xi and Macron listened to the guqin (Chinese zither) melody "High Mountain and Flowing Water" at Baiyun Hall. Xi then invited Macron to dinner.

The similar interaction between the Chinese and French leaders can also date back to 2019 when in the French city of Nice in March, Macron received Xi at Villa Kerylos, a century-old house overlooking the Mediterranean and seen as a microcosm reflecting European civilization. 

Later that year, in November, President Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan met with Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron in the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai. The two couples walked in the garden and enjoyed the unique night scape. 

Song Luzheng, a Chinese scholar residing in France and a research fellow at the China Institute of Fudan University, believes that arranging a meeting in the Pyrenees intends to show that the two leaders have broad visions and mind-sets to see things from a global perspective, as there is a Chinese saying, "stand tall and see far."

"Mutual trust and mutual understanding between leaders can help the two countries to face up to common challenges and solve problems," Song told the Global Times, adding that he sees the Pyrenees meeting between Xi and Macron as a display of high-level mutual trust between the two countries.

Keeping momentum

Xi and Macron held talks at the Elysee Palace on Monday. President Xi said that the two sides should stay committed to the spirit that guided the establishment of their diplomatic ties, namely, independence, mutual understanding, long-term vision and mutual benefit, and enrich it with new features of the new era.

The two sides should continue to understand each other, jointly promote harmonious coexistence in a colorful world, stick to taking a long view and work together for an equal and orderly multipolar world, he said.

China is willing to maintain strategic communication with France, respect each other's core interests, consolidate the strategic stability of bilateral relations, tap the vast potential of mutually beneficial cooperation and facilitate growth and balance in bilateral trade, Xi said.

Macron said that France and China, through mutual respect, a long-term perspective and strengthened cooperation, will play an important and positive role in addressing global challenges and opposing any logic of bloc confrontation.

France would like to have closer economic ties and multilateral communication and collaboration with China, and work for more outcomes in the France-China strategic partnership, he said.

At the joint meeting with the press with Macron after their talks, President Xi said that the two sides have agreed on consolidating the strategic stability of bilateral relations, exploring the great potential for mutually beneficial cooperation, accelerating people-to-people exchanges and building greater consensus on global cooperation.

Pierre Picquart, an expert in geopolitics and human geography from the University of Paris-VIII, told the Global Times that despite certain differences between China and France, maintaining high-level dialogue between the two sides is of paramount importance. 

"Preserving this high-level dialogue is essential to promoting cooperation on critical issues, thereby contributing to regional and global stability," said Picquart.

Xi left France and headed for Serbia on Tuesday evening local time.

Travel boom in May Day holidays shows economic vitality, potential

From enthusiastic visitors sitting in malatang (spicy soup) restaurants in Tianshui, Northwest China's Gansu Province, to crowds flocking in droves to Shanghai's dazzling Bund area at night, and to the bustling camping sites on the outskirts of Beijing, China experienced a tourism frenzy during the five-day May Day holidays from Wednesday to Sunday. 

Consumption in China, the world's second-largest economy, has been firing on all cylinders during the May Day holidays, with box office and other retail spending witnessing a robust momentum. The spending spree points to a fast-lane recovery in the travel market.

As May Day holidays spending is deemed a barometer on Chinese consumer sentiment, observers said the momentum in the tourism market underscores the huge potential of the country's consumption and its consolidated role in boosting the economy throughout the year. It is projected that China's social retail sales will expand above 5 percent in 2024, buttressing the economy to navigate through rising uncertainties and head toward the GDP target of around 5 percent, experts noted.

The country saw a total of 1.36 billion passenger trips during the May Day holidays, according to data from the Ministry of Transport. Also, a record high of 280 million passenger trips were made on Wednesday, the first day of the May Day holidays. 

The country's railway network is expected to handle 144 million passenger trips during May Day holiday travel rush from April 29 to May 6, according to China Railway, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"We are seeing a full-fledged recovery in the tourism market [during the May Day holidays], whether from the supply side or the demand side. On the one hand, the domestic tourism market is further consolidating its rebound momentum since the second half of last year. On the other hand, the outbound tourism market also staged a fast recovery pace," Xu Xiaolei, a marketing manager at CYTS Tours Holding Co, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Data from travel platform Fliggy showed that bookings for domestic tours via the platform recorded double-digit growth compared with last year, both in the number of bookings made per person and average spending per person. 

As infrastructure improves and hospitality capabilities expand, travel to third-tier and fourth-tier cities as well as county-level travel destinations is popular, with bookings to most of those places increasing at a much higher rate than first- and second-tier cities, according to data of trip.com. The new trend, the company said, reflects "a broadside market boom under which the range of travelers expands, travel destinations diversify and the foundation of tourism recovery is further cemented."

While increasing bookings could presage a stable market, industry insiders are also putting great emphasis on consumer spending patterns, which they said is consequential in gauging the "sustainability of the tourism recovery." 

"Tourists are more willing to spend this year based on my observations, and we project revenue during the holidays will rebound to pre-COVID level, lending us confidence that this year is poised to be a banner year for all tourism practitioners," a manager surnamed Li at a homestay in Datong, North China's Shanxi Province, told the Global Times on Friday. All homestay rooms were fully booked ahead of the holidays. 

With regard to outbound tourism, data from qunar.com showed that international tickets and hotel reservations via the platform have set a record high for the May Day holidays period. The stepped-up recovery was fueled by multiple factors, including more visa exemption policies, a surge in international flight capacity and more convenient entry and exit measures, the platform said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday. 

"The China holidays have brought 'a peak season' for the global tourism market, and the waves of Chinese outbound travelers have also driven global consumption recovery," qunar.com noted.

"The travel rush could lead to a multiplier effect on tourism economic growth. In particular for smaller cities, the amplifying effect could even be twenty-fold. For example, while eating a spicy dish in Tianshui costs only about 30 yuan per person, it is estimated it could drive local consumption up to 650 yuan," said the report.

Observers said the upbeat data shows that China's services consumption has continued its recovery streak in the holidays, while goods consumption is also picking up. "There's a clear and robust momentum in the consumption recovery," Tian Yun, a veteran economist, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Despite a moderate growth in consumer spending in the first quarter, the potential for consumption will be further realized looking through the year, with "stable and progressive expansion" in the scale of consumption, according to Tian.

Mainland resumes Matsu tourism, approving imports from Taiwan island

The Chinese mainland will take the lead in resuming tourism for residents of East China's Fujian Province to visit Matsu, and will approve certain imports from the island of Taiwan, according to the authorities on Sunday. Experts believed that by upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," the mainland has sent "goodwill signals" to further promote cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation.

After the direct passenger sea routes between Pingtan, Fujian and the Taiwan island are resumed, the mainland will also resume group tours for Fujian residents to the island, according to Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Rao Quan, during a meeting with a visiting Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party delegation led by Fu Kun-chi, in Beijing, on Sunday.

 In August 2019, the mainland suspended issuing individual tourist travel permits for the island to residents in 47 mainland cities. 

 Also on Sunday, Zhao Zenglian, a deputy chief of the General Administration of Customs, met with Fu. Chinese mainland customs will approve the imports of agricultural and fishery products from the island of Taiwan - including pomelo - in accordance with mainland quarantine requirements and regulations,  Zhao announced. 

The 25-member KMT delegation arrived in Beijing on Friday evening and was scheduled to return to the island of Taiwan on Sunday.

These moves by the mainland including resuming tourism to Matsu are "goodwill signals," and more opening measures are expected to carry out in the future, to promote cross-Straits exchanges, cooperation and integrated development, by upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University in Fujian, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Administration of China both announced on Sunday that they have urged the Taiwan authorities to resume direct cross-Straits sea passenger routes and expand resumption of direct cross-Straits flight destinations.

We hope that the Taiwan authorities will fully consider the demands of people and shipping companies on both sides of the Straits, and promptly resume direct cross-Straits sea routes, and restore the opening of direct flights between the island and 30 mainland destinations, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Sunday.

Tang Yonghong, a professor from the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the regions such as Matsu have a relatively sound political foundation for fostering economic exchanges. Opening travel to Matus is also part of the efforts to building a demonstration zone in Fujian for the integrated development across the Taiwan Straits.

Tang said that it's important to uphold the 1992 Consensus and oppose "Taiwan independence." Taiwan compatriots will benefit from cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation. However, anyone who supports "Taiwan independence" has no room and will be firmly opposed, according to Tang. 

Fujian previously heightened convenience for Taiwan compatriots holding travel permits regarding travel, finance, telecommunications and other areas.


Since the beginning of 2024, a total of 90,000 five-year travel permits have been issued to Taiwan compatriots, an increase of 56.4 percent year on year; and 11,000 single-entry travel permits have been issued, an increase of 200 percent from the same period in 2023, according to Zhu on April 24.

A pilot program for online applications and issuance of entry and exit documents has been launched across 20 mainland cities, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, by China's National Immigration Administration, to further facilitate the exit-and-entry services. 

Starting from May 6, mainland residents above the age of 16 in these cities are allowed to apply for renewal and replacement of Taiwan travel permits through the national immigration administration's online platform, without the need to visit the immigration office in person, according to the immigration authorities on Sunday.

S.China's Guangdong faces continued heavy rainfall; flood relief efforts carried out effectively

The latest round of rainfall in southern China was forecast to peak on Thursday, with South China's Guangdong Province being the center of the heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, most regions in northern China are expected to see significant warming, with daytime temperatures reaching around 30 C in some places, according to China's National Meteorological Center.

The meteorological center continued to issue warnings for heavy rainfall and severe convective weather on Thursday. 

Multiple rounds of heavy rainfall have occurred in southern China in April, with above normal levels of accumulated precipitation during the same period. The precipitation in South China is more than twice the normal level for the same period recorded in previous years, making it the second-highest level since 1961, according to meteorological authorities.

Chinese authorities have strengthened flood relief efforts including dispatching relief supplies, relocating flood-affected residents, and enhancing monitoring, forecasting, and early warning systems in recent days to reduce risks and prevent secondary disasters.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force have assisted in emergency rescue and disaster relief in Guangdong. As of 8 pm on Wednesday, a total of 3,928 residents had been relocated, said Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, at Thursday's press briefing.

The Shaoguan detachment under the People's Armed Police deployed 300 soldiers to Jiangwan town, one of the most severely flood-affected areas in Guangdong. They marched for more than 30 hours to reach the town, as the region experienced heavy rainfall, and roads, communication lines, and electricity were cut off, leaving the town isolated, according to the Southern Theater Command of the PLA.

As of 7 pm on Wednesday, all the residents affected in Jiangwan town had all been transferred, as the region is expected to experience a new round of heavy rainfall to last until Friday, with a high risk of geological disasters, according to Guangdong authorities.

The Global Times has learned from the Shaoguan authorities that relevant local departments have been working around the clock in rescue and flood relief efforts.

Zheng Zhihai, chief forecaster at the National Climate Center said that the frequent rainfall in southern China is closely linked to the El Niño phenomenon. Since April, the strong subtropical high pressure in the western Pacific has been directing water vapor from the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal toward southern China, according to the meteorological authorities on Wednesday.

Experts also reminded farmers to regularly clean ditches and drains, remove excess water from fields, and avoid conducting spring sowing during the period of heavy rainfall. "The impact of the round of heavy rainfall on rice planting in Guangdong is limited," Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

After the heavy rain, it is important to promptly take measures such as replanting and other technical methods to reduce the impact. Also, the local farmers will strengthen pest and disease monitoring and adjust fertilization accordingly, said Li.

Record-high 500,000 runners participate in road races in one day, as ‘marathon frenzy’ sweeps China

On Sunday, the Chinese running community witnessed a near-crazy phenomenon with over 50 road marathon races and nearly 500,000 runners starting on the same day, which marked the highest number of marathon participants in Chinese history. 

Just a week prior on April 14, there were over 30 marathon races with nearly 300,000 runners, which set a new record. Just a week later, this record was surpassed.

What's more, the quality of these back-to-back "marathon weekends" did not seem to have been compromised. Alongside races like the Suzhou Marathon, Qingdao Marathon, and Nantong Marathon with 25,000 participants, there were also World Athletics Gold Label Road Races like the Shanghai Half Marathon. The enthusiasm of runners to participate in these events is a clear indication of the resurgence of marathon races.

According to The Paper, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Chinese Athletics Association Gao Shan stated that as of 2023, the number of certified races with over 800 participants has almost reached 90 percent of the number in 2019. The overall number of participants is also increasing, and their performance levels are improving.

The "2023 China Road Running Events Blue Book" published by the Chinese Athletics Association confirms that the average finish times for male and female marathon runners are 4:12:08 and 4:24:14, respectively, while the average finish time for a half marathon is 2:08:20.

Elite runners have been breaking records, with China’s top runner He Jie setting a new national men's marathon record of 2:06:57 at the Wuxi Marathon on March 24. This week, two elite runners also set new course records for the male and female categories at the Shanghai Half Marathon.

The breakthroughs of elite runners have led to an overall increase in speed, with 3423 runners breaking the three-hour mark at a recent race, ranking third globally in terms of the number of sub-three-hour finishers.

A seasoned runner Liu Juan described her participation in over a dozen races in 2024 as "crazy." She attributes her increased participation to the improved race environment and atmosphere, which has made her more willing to travel and participate in races across the country, as reported by The Paper.

Observers note that the frequent hosting of high-level marathons in China presents a "sweet dilemma" for runners and a competitive pressure for event organizers. It challenges them not only to attract runners but also to ensure the successful operation of the races. Many organizers have yet to meet top-tier standards, posing a test for the future development of marathons in China, said analysts.

In a recent scandal of a half marathon race on April 14, the winner He Jie and three African pace setters who appeared to finish as runners-up, have all been stripped of their trophies, medals and prize money, after public outrage was inflamed as footage showed that He won the race because the three African runners slowed down to let him cross the finish line first.

On Saturday, according to media reports, a trail running race in Zhaoqing, South China’s Guangdong Province, was hit by heavy rain and flash floods. Before the organizers called off the race, several participants were trapped and in danger. After the race, many participants questioned the organizers' decision-making and rescue capabilities.

American Gen-Zers embrace, promote friendship with Chinese counterparts

Editor's Note:

The youth are the vanguards of our time, showcasing boundless energy and vibrant personalities.

Gen-Zers not only represent the makers of the future but also serve as agents of change in the present. With an open mindset and an international outlook, they actively integrate into the currents of globalization, engaging in deep exchanges, and collaborating with youth from around the world to explore pathways and strategies to address global challenges.

The Global Times has launched the "Voice from Gen Z" series, which focuses on the proactive actions and innovative achievements of young people in areas such as global governance, cultural exchange, environmental protection, and technological innovation. Through this column, we aim to showcase the unique charm and future leadership of global Gen-Zers.
"I believe that by making the connections we made with youth around our age and around the world, we are going to be able to communicate better as the next generation, building the world up," Anna Colbaugh, an 11th-grade student at the Lincoln High School in Washington State, US, told the Global Times.

This 16-year-old student recently returned to the US with a firm belief in the betterment of China-US people-to-people friendship, after embarking on a trip to China as part of a cultural exchange program.

In March, Colbaugh, along with 23 other students from Lincoln High School and Steilacoom High School in Washington State, US, embarked on an 11-day visit to China. They were part of the group of Gen-Z "friendly ambassadors" invited by China under a program announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in November 2023. The program aims to invite 50,000 young Americans to China over a period of five years for exchanges and study.

Growing up in an era of rapid media development, young people, both in China and the US, face a flood of information at their fingertips. The opportunity to see the world with their own eyes is therefore even more precious.

Visiting a country with thousands of years of civilizational history was a valuable experience that changed the lives of these young Americans. They are eager to understand China, a country they may not have known much about or even held misconceptions about.

After gaining a more authentic, comprehensive, and multidimensional view of China, they appreciated, communicated, and built friendships with the young people of this country. They are also eager to inject the power of youth into the broad communication between the two peoples and the long-term development of the relationship between the two countries.

Desire to understand real China

"I chose to go on this trip to China because I wanted to learn more about the culture, and I knew that this trip would expand my knowledge of China," Colbaugh explained. Colbaugh said she did not know much about China before going on the trip other than the existing stereotypes.

Her trip to China gave her and other students a chance to learn about China's rich history and culture. They visited the Palace Museum and marveled at the beauty of the historic complex, climbing the Great Wall, and experiencing the grandeur of this world cultural heritage site.

"I visited a lot of places like Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, but one of the most memorable places I went to was the Wudang Mountains. I loved learning tai chi because I have always seen people do it and I was very interested and excited to learn it."

In the past, influenced by biased media coverage and politicians, many Americans saw a China that was not real. Now, young Americans who are actually coming to China are hoping to change that.

"Coming out of this trip I know a lot more about China and I now know that the things that people might say could be wrong. I can now share my experiences with people," Colbaugh said.

Similarly, Luke Kelly, a 17-year-old student from Steilacoom High School, shared his enthusiasm for the trip to China and the valuable lessons he learned from the experience. "Once I returned to the US, the first thing I did was tell all my family and friends; just called them, texted them, met up with them, and told them how great my trip was, how amazing China was, and how much I want to go back and bring them with me," he said.

For Kelly, who has never traveled outside of the US, he thought this tour "would be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'd be able to experience a culture and history of somewhere that I've only ever heard and read about for myself."

This group of young Americans wanted to come to China to see the world in a new way, and many of them came to China with a long wish list: Experiencing Chinese history and culture, and buying traditional Chinese clothing. And when they set foot on this magical land, there were many surprises they did not expect.

"The scenery in China is breathtaking. It is gorgeous. There, they found a way to incorporate nature into their largest cities. They have trees and bushes and flowers flourishing everywhere," Kelly said.

In Kelly's opinion, China is a very progressive and flourishing country. "It is a very welcoming, diverse place that is very economically stable and friendly to foreigners."

Currently, Kelly is taking a Chinese early civilization class at his school. "So I can learn more and gain more knowledge and education about the place that I have visited and love so much," he said.

Friendship lasts forever

On March 18, at the first stop of their tour in Beijing, Tsinghua University High School, the American high school students carefully prepared to sing a Chinese song "On the Field of Hope," in which Colbaugh also participated.

Back in September 2015, during President Xi's visit to the US, he appreciated the Chinese song "On the Fields of Hope" and the English song "What a Wonderful World" jointly performed by the choir at Lincoln High School and the students of Affiliated High School of Fuzhou College of Education.

Nearly a decade on, the students who once sang "On the Field of Hope" have grown up. However, for students at Lincoln High School, this song remains familiar. As the melody of this song continues to be passed on, new chapters in the story of China-US friendship are constantly being written.

During a school exchange activity in Shenzhen, South China's Guangzhou Province, Kelly learned to play softball for the first time and was full of praise for the Chinese students who taught him the skill. That afternoon, he added 6 Shenzhen students as friends on WeChat.

These American Gen-Zers told the Global Times that the biggest takeaway from the trip to China was friendship. Although they come from different countries and different cultural backgrounds, they share common interests, similar experiences, and similar emotions. As long as the young people of both countries have the opportunity to interact, they can find a common language, break down barriers, and jointly build a vision for the future.

"I went to China to learn about the culture and make friends that I am still in contact with on WeChat. The focus of my trip was to build relationships not to focus on conflict. The people I met were friendly and welcoming," Colbaugh said.

On March 25, students from both countries gathered in Shenzhen for the "Youth Friendship Forest" to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the US. The students planted 45 trees, symbolizing "happiness and tranquility."

Colbaugh noted her expectation is for the young people to continue exchanges between China and the US, and create lifelong friendships.

"I hope we can bring back the relations and… carry on and encourage other people to go and do the same," Kelly said. "I believe that it will only go up from here," Kelly said.

China raises public awareness about preventing invasive species

China is emphasizing biosecurity as a crucial component of its national security system during the celebration of National Security Education Day that fell on Monday. Customs in numerous cities have launched a series of events to raise public awareness about preventing the spread of invasive species.

Customs in Lanzhou, Northwest China's Gansu Province, has carried out an event on Monday to guide the public to enhance their awareness of preventing invasive alien species through interactive sessions, according to local media reports. Customs is also popularizing knowledge of prohibited animals, plants, and their products through videos, brochures and posters.

According to reports, Beijing Customs has intercepted a total of 933 batches of prohibited imported animals, plants and their products in the first quarter of 2024, of which 198 were considered exotic species, and all of which have been strictly disposed of in a safe manner in accordance with the law. Customs offices in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province, have seized 106 kinds of foreign pests from trade channels, 74 kinds of foreign species from travel and postal inspection and other channels in the first quarter of 2024.

Changsha Customs also found three batches of unapproved special items, 10 batches of imported vectorial organisms, and 11 kinds of live ants, totaling 151 pieces, seized from incoming mail on four consecutive occasions.

Those activities are in line with a one-year campaign to "punish the crime of illegally introducing invasive alien species" launched by the General Administration of Customs, together with the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, starting from September 2023.

Notably, China's General Administration of Customs on Saturday released the first public prosecution case regarding illegal introduction of an invasive alien species. It noted that the procuratorate in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province has filed an indictment against a man on suspicion of illegally bringing 2,015 Brazilian red-eared turtles into China.

Biological invasion is one of the major ecological problems facing the world. More than 660 invasive alien species have been recorded to have entered China, one of the severest levels globally, according to China Central Television.

The lack of awareness among the general public, academics and the government concerning invasive species has undermined evaluation of the national security risks they bring, Wei Sheng, a professor at the School of Public Health and Emergency Management from Southern University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

In recent years, some pet lovers in pursuit of the so-called novelty and curiosity have imported "exotic pets" from abroad through illegal means and channels. Invasive alien species that have been seized by Customs authorities include but not limited to lizards, spiders, snakes, and ants.

Customs in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, reminded the public that the popular exotic pets in the market may be highly toxic or carry potential virus, causing unpredictable damage to our ecological environment.

From the whole legislative system, China lacks the legislative idea of preventing biological invasion in the field of ecological law, and should strengthen the scientific thinking of preventing the invasion of wild life in a comprehensive way, Cao Mingde, a professor of Environmental Law at the China University of Political Science and Law, told Legal Daily.

On Tuesday, a 14-minute video released by the National Health Commission introducing biosecurity highlighted the close link between a potential pandemic, biosecurity and the prevention of alien species. It said that when biosecurity risks caused by alien species prevail, it will have an impact on one country's public health, economic operation as well as social order and national security.

Xu Jianchu from the Kunming Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences told the Global Times that we should highlight that safeguarding biosecurity is a comprehensive system, which involves academic studies, systematic surveillance and public awareness.

In light of COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization also established the "X" pathogen to draw the attention of countries around the world to the unknown, great harm and high probability of the potential outbreak of infectious diseases, Wei told the Global Times.

Agreeing with Xu in response to a future pandemic, Wei said that the prevention and control of invasive alien species is by no means a department or a local matter, and it is necessary to promote departmental cooperation and inter-provincial linkage from the height of national security so as to ensure the long-term prevention and control work.

China to promote closer strategic partnership with Suriname: Xi

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the visiting President of the Republic of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi in Beijing on Friday and expressed willingness to work with Suriname to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation and promote the building of a closer strategic partnership between the two countries for the greater benefit of both peoples.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the strategic cooperative partnership between China and Suriname. Santokhi's visit to China at this significant time is poised to enhance bilateral comprehensive cooperation and will inject fresh impetus into relations between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries, analysts said.

President Xi welcomed President Santokhi and said he is the first Latin American and Caribbean head of state to visit China this year, and this visit holds significant importance for deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries.

China highly appreciates Suriname's friendship and its firm support for China on issues concerning China's core interests and major concerns. China is willing to continue to understand and support each other with Suriname, maintain high-level exchanges, increase friendly exchanges between various departments, legislative bodies and political parties, and enhance the exchange of experience in governance, according to Xi.

President Santokhi said that the history of friendly exchanges between Suriname and China is long-standing. Cooperation between the two countries in agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, and other fields has yielded fruitful results, reflecting the high level of political mutual trust and deep brotherly friendship between the two nations.

This cooperation has greatly facilitated Suriname's economic development and improved people's livelihoods, serving as a model for South-South cooperation, said President Santokhi, noting that Suriname is committed to actively contributing to the development of relations between Caribbean countries and China.

Santokhi is making a state visit to China from Thursday to April 17. His visit coincides with a bustling period in China's diplomacy, as leaders and senior officials from Russia, the EU, the US, and neighboring countries make visits to China. As a country in South America, Suriname is also actively engaged in interactions with China, Wang Youming, director of the Institute of Developing Countries at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

Like many countries in South America, Suriname faces numerous challenges in economic development. President Santokhi has come to China seeking solutions through expanded cooperation, Wang noted.

Countries of the Global South, including Suriname, have confidence in China's development and also attach importance to cooperation with Beijing. The array of agreements signed during President Santokhi's visit is expected to bolster Suriname's exports to China and stimulate its economy and promote people-to-people exchanges, said Wang.

During the meeting with President Santokhi, President Xi also noted that China welcomes more high-quality and distinctive Surinamese products to enter the Chinese market, and stands ready to deepen cooperation with Suriname on joint Belt and Road construction.

After the meeting, the two heads of state jointly witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation agreements in various areas including economy and trade, green development, digital economy, and education.

In May 2018, Suriname signed a memorandum of understanding with China to jointly build the BRI. In an interview with the Xinhua News Agency on April 4, President Santokhi said the connectivity brought by the BRI has created bridges for regional economic development and cooperation, benefiting all participating countries.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the China- CELAC Forum. President Santokhi's visit will mark the beginning of a series of exchanges between China and other Latin American and Caribbean countries, said Wang, noting that these interactions will peak in the second half of the year during the China-CELAC summit.

Wang said that future cooperation under the BRI between China and Suriname and between China and other regional countries may include more "small and beautiful" projects, such as urban redevelopment, road upgrades, and market construction, aimed at improving the livelihoods of local residents.

While China and regional countries deepen their cooperation, the US, which has historically seen the region as its "backyard," remains watchful of China's presence and consistently amplifies the "debt trap" and other narratives, analysts said.

However, there is a growing sentiment in Latin American and Caribbean countries of no longer being considered the "front" or "backyard" of the US. As US hegemony declines, Washington's influence is waning, and these countries are increasingly seeking autonomy and development based on their own interests and tend to promote cooperation with China and other countries in the Global South, said analysts.

Chinese embassy slams Canadian PM’s accusation on Chinese interference in Canadian elections

The Chinese Embassy in Canada slammed the latest remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who accused China of trying to "meddle in Canadian elections," urging Canada to respect and face the facts, abandon ideological biases, stop hyping up the lie of "Chinese interference." 

In a statement issued by the embassy on Wednesday local time, it expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to those remarks. 

China has repeatedly emphasized its consistent principle of non-interference in internal affairs and has never had any interest in interfering in Canadian internal affairs. China has solemnly and clearly stated its position to Canada on numerous occasions during bilateral and multilateral engagements, the embassy said. 

Trudeau told an official inquiry testimony on Wednesday that "China tried to meddle in the past two Canadian elections but the results were not affected," claiming that it was "improbable" Beijing preferred any one party over another, Reuters reported. 

Trudeau set up the commission last year under pressure from opposition legislators unhappy about media reports on China's possible role in the elections.

Some politicians in Canada, driven by their own interests, are attempting to target China in the public inquiry, trying to label and cast aspersions on China. The testimonies have been characterized with terms like "highly likely," "probable," and "suspicious," but they fail to provide any substantial evidence, the Chinese embassy said. 

This once again fully illustrates that the so-called "foreign interference" public inquiry is nothing but a politically orchestrated farce, and some individuals in Canada have stooped to an inexplicable level of slander and attack against China, it noted. 

According to a Canadian Security Intelligence Service report, for example, Canada has accused the Chinese government officials of having "likely manipulated" a Liberal Party nomination race in a Toronto-area electoral district, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. 

Former democratic institutions minister Karina Gould was also quoted as saying in Canadian media reports that after the federal election in 2019, Canada's spy agency had observed "low-level foreign interference activities by China" but that the vote was not compromised. 

She also mentioned on Wednesday that "probably in every election that Canada has ever had, there have been attempts at foreign interference…" Radio Canada reported. 

Trudeau's personal approval ratings have plummeted in the last six months and he needs to use such accusations to offset the public's dissatisfaction with his handling issues such as the economy, housing, and climate change, Yao Peng, deputy secretary-general of the Canadian Studies Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

"It is also another move of his leading the Canadian public, who are unaware of the truth, and the 'deep state' being hostile toward China, to engage in double-standards politics. This is his personal political agenda," the Chinese expert said. 

Imitating the US' Cold War approach, the Canadian prime minister uses such aggressive accusations to counteract the rising popularity of the Conservative Party in Canada over the last six months, aiming to attract attention and divert public criticism from his party, Yao noted. 

The Chinese embassy emphasized that China is actually the target of "foreign interference" activities, including by Canada. 

For a long time, Canada has provoked China on major issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, such as Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Xizang, and has condoned and supported various anti-China separatist activities. Not only does Canada show no remorse, but it also turns around and falsely accuses China of interfering in Canadian internal affairs, the embassy noted. 

Canadian media openly reported that Canadian security intelligence agencies conducted surveillance targeting Chinese diplomatic missions and personnel in Canada. Relevant Canadian agencies openly admitted to interfering with the normal functions of Chinese diplomatic missions in Canada during the inquiry. 

The Canadian government keeps referring to two Canadian citizens' cases, yet it paid a hefty sum to settle with the individuals involved in the cases. "Isn't it obvious who is interfering in other countries' internal affairs? Who is engaging in espionage activities? The facts are clear for all to see," the embassy said. 

Canada's federal government has reached a million-dollar compensation settlement in March with Michael Spavor, one of "two Michaels," who were jailed by China for nearly three years on charges of espionage and illegal provision of China's state secrets to foreign entities. 

Some Chinese experts said the Canadian government's initial accusations against China for arbitrarily detaining "two Michaels" as "hostage diplomacy" now appear hypocritical, as reaching a settlement with Michael amounts to a self-inflicted blow to its own credibility.

China strongly urges Canada to respect and face the facts, abandon ideological biases, stop hyping up the lie of "Chinese interference," and stop poisoning the atmosphere of China-Canada relations, or else it will suffer the consequences of its actions.

Chinese experts also believed that Trudeau's long-standing accusations as prime minister have undoubtedly hindered the improvement of China-Canada relations. 

Firstly, regarding the so-called Chinese interference in the Canadian elections, which is baseless and has been proven to be "speculative," and Trudeau's use of "intentional" to blur the accusations is utterly irresponsible, Yao noted. 

For six years, the Trudeau government has continuously and deliberately held back China-Canada relations, harming economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, which has led to a mindset that has always failed to view China-Canada relations from an opportunity to improve the status quo, he said. 

The Canadian government is deliberately leading a misinformed public to negatively view China and Chinese companies, which will only reveal more of its backlash effect on Trudeau personally and his party over time, the expert added. 

"It is believed that more and more Canadian people will come to realize the truth, that there is no so-called Chinese intention to interfere in Canadian elections," Yao said.