Xinjiang short of bilingual teachers










>>  African experts refute the West’s defamation on China’s aid in Africa

By Yang Hui, Deng Yaomin and Liang Shanggang

African experts and scholars have acclaimed China’s aid to boost the development of the African continent as the West’s fantastic theories like “neocolonialism” and “China is exploiting Africa’s resources” are floating up.

“When the West labels Chinese aid and infrastructural projects in Africa as neocolonial it is a question of sour grapes,” Professor Munene Macharia, Lecturer of International Relations with Kenya-based United States International University, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

China has long been helping Africa with infrastructure development and has completed 1,046 projects, including railways with a total length of 2,233 km and highways with a total length of 3,530 km in Africa, making a significant impact on Africa’s economic development and tangible contributions to improve living and working conditions.

Macharia said the West has been in Africa for a long time but has never made development of Africa’s infrastructure as a priority, adding that the West is not happy that China is assisting Africa to overcome one of its biggest challenges that it faces today.

Experts agreed that Africa has a huge infrastructure deficit as a result of years of under investment in this sector, saying Africa’s rapidly growing population has outstripped government’s ability to provide infrastructure at the same pace.

Official statistics showed that two-way trade volume between China and Africa exceeded 200 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2013, and China has been Africa’s largest trade partner for the past five years in a row.

“China is cooperating with Africa, giving a prior attention to the continent’s infrastructural development, without which there cannot be a meaningful economic and social development,” said Fantahun Haile-Michael, African Union’s Project Coordinator.

Haile-Michael noted China’s cooperation with Africa is growing day by day with the focus on Africa’s priority areas of peace and security, infrastructure development, education and health sectors of social area among others.

A report from the International Monetary Fund showed that Sino- Africa cooperation has contributed more than 20 percent to Africa’s economic growth.

“China’s aid and infrastructural projects in Africa are made on the basis of mutual understanding between China and Africa. The projects are in line with Africa’s national priorities. The projects are not a form of Chinese domination of Africa as they based on win-win propositions,” said Gerishon Ikiara, Lecturer of International Economics with University of Nairobi.

Ikiara, who is also the ex-Permanent Secretary with Ministry of Transport and Communications, said the Western nations only develop infrastructure in Africa that helped to ship Africa’s resources to the West.

Denise Kodhe, Analyst and Director General of the Institute for Democracy and Leadership in Africa, said neocolonialism is a term used by the West in reference to the relation to China’s cooperation with Africa.

“The term is neither here nor there because nobody has a right to decide for Kenya or Africa who to cooperate with or who their friends should be as clearly stated sometimes back by the late president of South Africa Nelson Maadiba Mandela,” Kodhe added.

As the world’s second largest economy, China bears due responsibility by offering medical aiding to African countries.

In 2014, China provided its aid in the first time and so far has sent successively several medical teams and batches of emergency aid worth a total of 700 million yuan (around 112.2 million U.S. dollars) to the epidemic-hit countries, becoming one of the biggest donors to the infected areas and playing an important role in containing the epidemic.

However, experts also called for more people to people communication between the two countries.

“It is important for China to make itself understood by ordinary Kenyans and Africans,” Kodhe said, adding that China should not only focus its relation with Kenya and Africa based on government to government but also more on people to people basis to create a better understanding.







>>  Lithuanian PM bids warm farewell to outgoing Chinese ambassador

By Ruta

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius met with Liu Zengwen, the outgoing Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Lithuania, on Tuesday of February 24.

During the meeting, Butkevicius thanked Liu for his efforts in fostering cooperation and mutual understanding, as well as extending his well-wishes to the ambassador for the Chinese New Year.

“I am glad that the relations of our states present numerous new opportunities for businesses, agricultural producers, infrastructure projects and relations between the citizens of both countries,” Butkevicius was quoted as saying in a statement.

In the words of the head of government, China is Lithuania’s largest trading partner in the Asian region, and as such, Lithuania was willing to expand and deepen the political and economic cooperation with China.







>>  New Milan-Shanghai flight launches for Expo

By Shi Hao and Qian Chunxian

Italian air carrier Alitalia said on Tuesday of February 24 it will operate non-stop service between Milan and Shanghai from May 1 to Oct. 24.

Expo 2015 will be held from May to October in Milan. Flights will depart the Italian city in the morning on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and arrive in Shanghai at midnight. Return flights will leave the Chinese city early the next morning.

The new flight will use 250-seat Airbus A330 aircraft.

The route will promote bilateral exchanges between Italy and China and bring more Chinese visitors to the Expo, said Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano.







>>  Chinese woman dies of dengue in Singapore

By Bao Xuelin

A 53-year-old Chinese woman has died of the dengue fever at the National University Hospital (NUH), said Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday of February 24.

The Chinese patient was admitted to NUH on Monday and died on the same day, which is the first reported dengue death in Singapore in 2015, the MOH and NEA said in a statement.

The woman was staying within an active dengue cluster with seven cases. The NEA detected six counts of mosquito breeding since it started inspecting the area.

Vector control operations to get rid of adult mosquitoes and any potential breeding habitats are ongoing.

A large proportion of people is still susceptible to dengue infection due to the lack of immunity. Although there has been a dip in weekly dengue cases over the past three weeks, people also need to remain vigilant and continue to keep the mosquito-borne tropical disease in check, said the statement.

Dengue, which could be fatal, usually causes fever combined with symptoms such as headache, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands, vomiting and rash.







>>  Chinese tourist dies in New Zealand road crash

By John Macdonald

A young Chinese man has died in a road crash while on holiday in New Zealand’s South Island, the New Zealand police said on Tuesday of February 24.

The man, 29, was the driver and sole occupant of a car that was reported to have crossed the center line and collided with a stock truck going in the opposite direction near Greta Valley, north of Christchurch in the Canterbury region, said a police statement.

The accident happened on Feb. 18, said the statement, adding that the death had been referred to the coroner for a possible inquiry.

The statement had no details of where in Chinese was from, but it quoted a spokesperson for the victim’s family as saying, “We are extremely upset and appreciate the huge support from the local Chinese community, the Chinese Consulate and Canterbury Police during this extremely difficult time.”

The police investigation into the crash was continuing, it said.







>>  New Zealand parliament to mark China’s Lunar New Year

By John Macdonald

The New Zealand parliament will honor the Chinese community’s contribution to the country on Tuesday of February 24 with an official event to mark the Year of the Sheep.

Prime Minister John Key would join around 200 people at the evening function where they would be welcomed with a traditional lion dance, Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said in a statement.

“This evening’s event recognizes the contribution of the Chinese community in helping New Zealand become more diverse, prosperous and culturally richer,” said Lotu-Iiga.

The Chinese population made up around 170,000 or 4.3 percent of the total population.

“Chinese New Year gives us an opportunity to take stock, to celebrate our achievements and set goals. It is a time to lay the foundations for a brighter and more prosperous future,” said Lotu- Iiga.

“This is the Year of the Sheep. People born under this sign are creative, resilient and they persevere. These are traits that will help us build a stronger and more harmonious New Zealand,” he said.

“I encourage all New Zealanders to embrace festivities like Chinese New Year. We can all join with the New Zealand’s Chinese community to celebrate their heritage and showcase their culture’s vibrant color, energy and stories.”







>>  Vietnam’s travel companies harvest big earnings in Lunar New Year holiday

Tens of thousands of local and international visitors headed to beauty-spots and tourist destinations in Vietnam during the traditional Lunar New Year holiday (locally called Tet), which lasted from Feb. 15 to 23 this year, local media reported on Tuesday of February 24.

Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City travel firms served more than 58,000 tourists in the city during the nine-day Tet holiday, an increase of 39 percent year on year, with total earning jumped 50 percent to 540 billion VND (25.32 million U.S. dollars), according to the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Meanwhile, more than 30,000 tourists visited Sapa, a mountainous resort in northern Lao Cai province during Tet, with local hotel rooms fully booked. Travel has become easier since the opening of the new highway linking capital Hanoi to Lao Cai last year, said the provincial tourism department.

Thua Thien-Hue province in central Vietnam welcomed more than 75,000 tourists, including 40,000 foreigners, during the holiday, a rise of 15 percent.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, the Star Pride cruise operated by Destination Asia Vietnam Company, carrying 190 international visitors, arrived at Tien Sa Port in central Da Nang city. Another flight from Seoul of South Korea carrying 180 international tourists arrived at Da Nang International Airport on the same day.

The number of foreign visitors to Da Nang reached 66,000, out of 200,000 tourists to the city during Tet.

Khanh Hoa province, also in central Vietnam, received an estimated 150,000 tourists during the first six days of the Lunar New Year. Most tourists preferred sightseeing and island tours off Nha Trang Bay.

Most of the foreign tourists visiting Vietnam during Tet were from China, Russia, Japan, France and the United States, according to the Vietnam News daily.







>>  Spring Festival celebrations in Kobe’s Chinatown

By Yan Lei

As the Lunar New Year was ushered in, a series of celebrations were held in Kobe’s Nanjing town, the second largest Chinatown in Japan.

Since Feb. 19, the first day of the Chinese new year, Nanjing town has been filled with festive atmosphere, with spring festival couplets soliciting good luck pasted on the Chinese archways at the three entrances of the town, and red lanterns and triangular flags hung on the traditional Chinese-styled buildings along the streets.

A simple stage was set up at the center of Nanjing town, where Chinese artists performed during the first four days of the lunar new year, giving shows such as facechanging stunt of Sichuan opera, acrobatics and lion dances, attracting many viewers from both Kobe and neighboring districts.

Along the streets, restaurants and shops showed off their cuisine on display stands, hustling Chinese food such as dim sum, dumplings and Chinese pastries, provoking nostalgia from overseas Chinese.

About 15,000 people were estimated to visit Kobe Chinatown every day during the first four days of the new year.

The visitors included both overseas Chinese living in Japan as well as Japanese citizens who are fascinated by this spectacular festival of Chinese culture.

Mitsuaki, a Japanese woman coming to watch the shows from neighboring city Himeji, said she had read about the Spring Festival celebrations in Nanjing town on newspaper and she found the shows performed by Chinese artists at the center of Nanjing town fascinating.

With a history of over 120 years, Nanjing town is the second largest Chinatown in Japan after the Yokohama Chinatown, with over 100 Chinese restaurants, shops, and a Chinese temple in the area of about 110 meters from north to south and 200 meters from east to west.

Since 1987, Nanjing town has started to celebrate the coming of Chinese lunar new year almost every year. In 1997, the Spring Festival celebrations in Nanjing town were named district intangible folk cultural heritage of Kobe.

“Spring Festival celebrations at Nanjing town every year have become a tourist attraction. We hope there would be more tourists attracted by this cultural feast.” said Kizo Hisamoto, mayor of Kobe city.







>>  Hong Kong records 651 HIV cases in 2014

By Zhang Yashi

A total of 651 new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection were reported in Hong Kong in 2014, bringing the cumulative total of reported HIV infections since 1984 to 6,993, Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said on Tuesday of February 24.

Of the 651 cases, 378 acquired the infection through homosexual or bisexual exposure and 124 through heterosexual contact; five through drug injection; one through blood or blood-product transfusion outside Hong Kong. The routes of transmission of the remaining 143 cases have yet to be determined due to inadequate information.

The center’s consultant Wong Ka-hing said sexual transmission remained the major mode of HIV transmission in Hong Kong.






>>  Hong Kong stocks close 0.35 pct lower

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong stocks moved down 86.69 points, or 0.35 percent, to close on Tuesday of February 24 at 24,750.07 points.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 24,673.93 and 24, 808.30. Turnover totaled 57.96 billion HK dollars (about 7.47 billion U.S. dollars).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index ended up 4.71 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 12,046.20.

All of the four sub-indices lost ground. The Properties sub- index fell the most at 0.59 percent, followed by the Finance at 0. 56 percent, the Commerce & Industry at 0.08 percent, the Utilities at 0.01 percent.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, plunged 3.54 percent to 69.45 HK dollars. Bank of East Asia, another major bank in Hong Kong, fell 0.94 percent to 31.6 HK dollars.

Local bourse operator HKEX fell 0.06 percent to 177.5 HK dollars.

China Mobile, China’s dominant mobile carrier, rose 1.05 percent to 105.9 HK dollars. China Unicom, another Chinese telecom giant, lowered 0.76 percent at 13.04 HK dollars.

Local property shares closed mixed. Sun Hung Kai, one of Hong Kong’s largest property developer by market value, edged up 0.08 percent to 124 HK dollars. Cheung Kong properties, controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, lost 0.72 percent to 151.3 HK dollars. Hang Lung fell 0.45 percent to 22.05 HK dollars.

As for mainland-based financial stocks, Bank of China dropped 0. 23 percent at 4.4 HK dollars. Bank of Communications went down 1. 35 percent to 6.56 HK dollars. China Construction Bank closed flat at 6.45 HK dollars. ICBC ended flat at 5.7 HK dollars.

As for energy stocks, China’s top refiner Sinopec fell 0.46 percent to 6.42 HK dollars. PetroChina, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, lost 0.9 percent to 8.81 HK dollars. CNOOC fell 0.9 percent to 10.96 HK dollars (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.75 HK dollars)







>>  Gold price close lower in Hong Kong

By Zhang Yashi

The gold price in Hong Kong went down 18 HK dollars to close at 11,100 HK dollars per tael on Tuesday of February 24, according to the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society.

The price is equivalent to 1,200.72 U.S. dollars a troy ounce, down 1.95 U.S. dollars at the latest exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar against 7.76 HK dollars.







>>  Taiwan stocks end at 87-month high

By Chen Siwu and Li Hanfang

Taiwan’s equity markets had a robust start in the Year of the Sheep on Tuesday of February 24, closing at their highest in more than five years in the first trading session after the Chinese lunar new year.

The benchmark weighted index rallied 99.86 points, or 1.04 percent, to close at 9,629.37 Tuesday, the highest closing level in 87 months.

Turnover totaled 109.04 billion new Taiwan dollars (3.45 billion U.S.dollars) as investors bought into electronics, financial and industrial heavyweights.

Chang Sheng-ford, Taiwan’s top finance official, said on Tuesday he had faith that sound economic fundamentals will push the market higher and expressed optimism about the domestic stock market in the new lunar year.

The index rose 12.6 percent in the just-concluded Year of the Horse.







>>  Xinjiang short of bilingual teachers

By Fang Ning and Ayinuer

China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has a shortage of more than 30,000 teachers proficient in both Mandarin and one local language, according to the regional education authority on Tuesday of February 24.

Xinjiang is heavily populated by Uygur ethnic minority people. Bilingual education has been promoted by the regional government to help spread Mandarin, the official tongue, and minority languages, especially Uygur, which is written in an Arabic-based script.

According to Xinjiang’s education department, bilingual schools and kindergartens currently enroll 70,000 teachers with bilingual proficiency. Since 2010, some 450,000 children have received bilingual education from kindergartens.

Although education facilities in Xinjiang, even in rural areas, have been developing quickly to meet demand over the years, schools are still short of teachers who can speak both Mandarin and one of the local ethnic minority languages fluently.

The education department has listed 34,500 recruitment vacancies, including 3,500 kindergarten teachers in the next three years.

Deputy head of the Xinjiang education department Ma Wenhua said earlier last year that the regional government has approved a budget of 254 million yuan (41.48 million U.S. dollars) for a program from 2013 to 2018 to provide language training for ethnic minority teachers to make up for the shortage of bilingual teachers in the region.

Bilingual education in Xinjiang has been promoted to improve job opportunities for ethnic minorities while preserving local languages in Xinjiang, which boasts over a dozen ethnic minority groups including Uygurs, Kazaks, Hui and Russians.







>>  China’s real estate land use drops 25.5 pct in 2014

By Shi Hao and Wang Libin

Official data showed on Tuesday of February 24 that China’s land area used in real estate development fell sharply last year as the property sector hit a rough patch.

New home construction used 151,000 hectares of land in 2014, plummeting 25.5 percent year on year, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources said in a report.

A major contributor to China’s economic expansion, the property market has been affected by weak demand and an excess of unsold homes. The country’s GDP growth fell to a 24-year low of 7.4 percent in 2014.

The real estate market continued its downward trend with new home prices in January registering month-on-month declines in most cities surveyed.







>>  Mobile online games see rapid development in 2014

By Shi Hao and Gao Kang

China’s mobile-based online games grew rapidly last year, powering growth in the country’s game industry, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has said.

A CNNIC report showed China had 248 million mobile online game players by the end of 2014, surging 32.9 million from the previous year.

Thanks to the development of 4G network and smartphone hardwares,China’s online game players are turning from computers to mobile phones, a new powerhouse to drive the vibrant sector, according to the report.

The number of people accessing the Internet from mobiles totaled 557 million by the end of last year, up 56.7 million year on year and accounting for 85.8 percent of China’s total online population.







>>  3 dead, 6 poisoned in illegal mining operation in Henan

By Fang Ning and Li Lijing

Three people were confirmed dead and six others are sick from poisoning in an illegal gold mining operation in Henan Province, local authorities said on Tuesday of February 24.

The Songxian County government sent rescuers to a deserted mine on Saturday after receiving tips from the public about the mining operation.

According to a police investigation, the miners are all local farmers who tried to use chemicals containing sodium cyanide to recover gold from the deserted mine. They were poisoned by the gas emitted from the toxic chemical.

Three people have died and six others are still in the hospital.

The case is under further investigation.







>>  One missing, 20 injured in road tunnel blast

By Fang Ning and Ye Hanyong

One person went missing, and at least 20 others were injured after a blast occurred in a road tunnel under construction in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, on Tuesday afternoon of February 24.

The blast assumed to have been caused by gas explosion happened at 1:20 p.m. in the No. 1 Tunnel of Wuluo Road.

All of the injured have been rushed to hospital. Two of them are still in critical condition.

An investigation is under way.










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