AirAsia confirms flight QZ8501 lost contact




JAKARTA | 2014-12-28 13:21:01

AirAsia plane with 155 on board

loses contact in Indonesia


By Wang Bo


An AirAsia jetliner lost contact with ground control on Sunday of December 28 after takeoff from Indonesia on the way to Singapore, and authorities had launched a search and rescue operation.

The QZ8501 flight lost communication 42 minutes after taking off at 5:35 a.m. in Surabaya airport, staff at Indonesia’s National rescue agency told Xinhua in a phone interview. The plane is scheduled to land in Singapore at 8:30 a.m. local time.

A total of 155 people are onboard the plane, including 149 Indonesians,three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one British and one Malaysian, local media quoted Indonesian Transportation Ministry as saying.

However, other media reports put the number of people onboard at 161.

The missing plane was an Airbus A320-200, aviation officials said.

Indonesian military is deploying forces to search for the plane, after alleged report of plane crashing in the sea between Java and Kalimantan, military sources said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia said in a statement that the search and rescue operations were in progress and promised to “keep all parties informed as more information becomes available.”     ( *Source:  Xinhua )







KUALA LUMPUR | 2014-12-28 12:02:12


AirAsia confirms

flight QZ8501 lost contact


By Zhao Bochao


AirAsia said on Sunday of December 28 in a statement that it confirmed flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore had lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 this morning.

It said that there was no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board. The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC, it added.

It said that search and rescue operations were in progress at this time, and the airline was cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service.

AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Center for the family or friends of those who may have been on board the plane. The number is: +622129850801    ( *Source:  Xinhua )





KUALA LUMPUR |  2014-12-28 11:54:11

 AirAsia confirms flight QZ8501 lost contact

By Zhao Bochao

AirAsia said Sunday in a statement that it confirmed flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore had lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 this morning.     ( *Source:  Xinhua )





Oh, Christmas! Let’s have some fun!





Oh, Christmas!

Let’s have some fun!


By Liu Lu, Wang Jian, Wang Di, Yu Li, Cao Ting and Liu Mingyang


Although a majority of Chinese people do not have a Christmas break, the country’s youth have been increasingly getting into the holiday spirit.

Different from family reunions that often mark the celebration in the west, Chinese observe the day by getting together with friends, shopping, giving gifts and romance.




On Wednesday of December 24, 7-year-old Guo Xunyu’s primary school teacher is throwing a party to celebrate the western holiday. The children will sing songs, eat snacks and play games with her classmates at primary school.

“It is a wonderful time for our kids to sit around, as well as for us parents to communicate,” said Gao Yajie, one of the parents who helped arrange the activity. “After all, the children are too busy with their daily school work.”

In a community in north Beijing, 26 male volunteers will dress up as “Santa Claus” to deliver gifts to about 260 homes.

According to Meng Jin, an organizer of the activity, the 26 Santa Clauses plan to knock at the door to surprise kids with their presents.

“We aim to leave a wonderful childhood memory for children in our community and Christmas eve is just the right time when the festive atmosphere is everywhere,” she said.

“Many families have registered to get a present for their child, we are recruiting more Santa Clauses for the eve,” she added.




In a remote village at an altitude of 3,000 meters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China, a Tibetan woman, Tsering Amon, is busy rehearsing a dance performance for a show on Christmas eve.

Knowledge about the western holiday spread to the Tibetan village through children who learnt about it in school and people who work in big cities. Now, more people in the small village enjoy the jubilant atmosphere when the eve falls.

“Since Christmas celebrations began in 2009, people in the neighborhood have enjoyed it very much. This year, the celebration will last about two hours, including singing, dancing and mini-dramas,” said Tsering Amon.

“We have bought costumes, Christmas hats, masks and presents such as apples for the seniors and pencils and erasers for the children,” she said.

On Christmas, people will send blessings via cellphone, wishing friends and family “merry Christmas,” “good luck,” and “wish you health.”

Last month, construction began on a Santa Park in Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Scheduled to open in 2016, it is jointly built by both China and Finland and will become the first authentic Finnish Santa Park in Asia.

The park, covering about 10,000 square meters, will include scores of entertainment events related with Christmas with a total investment of nearly 200 million yuan (32.7 million U.S. dollars).

Paula Parvianien, deputy head of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, said that the Santa Park will be a platform for Sino-Finnish culture exchange, and help promote the cultural and economic cooperations between the two countries.

Across the Taiwan Strait, various activities will also be held on the island, including live-shows and carnivals, and local churches will be filled with people to sing anthems and exchange presents.




The commercial importance of Christmas in China is obviously increasing.

Walking into a restaurant or shopping mall during the holiday season, Christmas decorations are often be spotted and christmas carols heard. Many businesses have their staff dress up in Santa hats and put on a more chipper attitude.

Near Sanlitun and Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, a nightlife hotspot for both locals and foreigners, restaurants and night clubs host special events on Christmas Eve.

Zhang Hong, a staff in a law firm in Beijing, has scheduled to meet three friends to see a cross talk on Christmas Eve.

“We celebrate Christmas as it is a chance to hang out,” said Zhang. “We make reservations beforehand, as it will be people everywhere when the day comes.”





A French-Chinese or A Chinese French?




Photo taken in 2010 shows Joel Bellasan delivering a speech at the 10th International

Conference on Chinese Language Teaching held in Shenyang, northeast China’s Liaoning




A French-Chinese


A Chinese-French?





Bellassen takes a photo at the west gate of Peking University in 1974.


A pair of worn, black shoes has accompanied Joel Bellassen all over the world.

Sitting at the window in a hostel at Beijing International Studies University, the 64 year-old Frenchman said he doesn’t recognize where he is, although he has been to 24 provinces and autonomous regions during his 200-plus trips to China and speaks Mandarin like a native. “It’s easy to find skyscrapers in almost any large city in this country,” he said. “But it’s hard to distinguish one from another.”

Bellassen is General Inspector of Chinese Language at France’s Ministry of National Education. He traveled to Beijing this time on an academic tour and to give a speech on the theme “Current difficulties of teaching Chinese as a foreign language.”

He always has the Xinhua Dictionary and a Contemporary Chinese Dictionary in his bag. His favorite Chinese story is “Kong Yiji,” written by Lu Xun.

“I love the ending of the story. Kong Yiji may have been dead,” Bellassen said. He is obsessed with this kind of uncertainty.

Bellassen has been fascinated by Chinese for 45 years. In 1969, he chose Chinese as his major at the Universite Paris 8. “I was interested in Chinese ideographs and had a burning curiosity about this remote, mysterious, Eastern country.”

In 1973 the two countries restored cultural exchange programs, which had been halted by China’s Cultural Revolution. This gave him a chance to take his first China journey with 29 other college students.

“It was like going to the moon,” Bellassen recalled. “My grandmother tried to persuade me to stay in Paris because China was comparatively underdeveloped.”

“But I did not change my decision,” he said. “Who would give up an opportunity to go to the moon just because of the harsh conditions?”

Despite restored cultural exchanges, 1973 was still during China’s Cultural Revolution. “I visited all of my classmates after we finished our exchange program in China,” he said. Though many Chinese people at the time thought foreigners were coming to China for political reasons, Bellassen said neither he nor his classmates took part in political movements before, during, or after their China stay.

“We came to China in a politically sensitive period, but we studied here mainly out of curiosity,” he said.

Arriving in China after a 22-hour flight, Bellassen caught his first sight of Beijing. A few people were riding bicycles late at night, he recalled. A portrait of Chairman Mao hung on the airport’s terminal building.


Bellassen lives with local people at a People’s Commune on the outskirts of Beijing

in the 1970s. 


In the 1970s, Chinese people were still curious about foreigners. “One day I went to Wangfujing, Beijing’s commercial district, to buy a pair of shoes,” he said. He attracted hundreds of people’s attention in the street. “But even my close Chinese friends turned away from me, which really made me puzzled,” Bellassen said.

In order to understand China and the Cultural Revolution, Bellassen and his French classmates applied for permission to travel to rural communes and factories and work there, but they could not get permits because they were foreign.

When it came to his second academic year in 1974, he was given a chance to go to Sijiqing People’s commune in Beijing’s western suburbs and live with local farmers and workers.

“At first, I could not bear the breakfast of cornmeal porridge,” he said. “In the first few weeks, I only ate meat three times.” Eventually though, he changed. “The ordinary cornmeal porridge made me forget about baguettes and cheese and I came to know the authentic life in China.”

Even now living in Paris, he still prefers Chinese breakfast.

“My Chinese improved beyond my expectations when I was staying with those local people. After two years of study in China, Bellassen went back to France in 1975. He took part-time jobs teaching Chinese in primary schools, middle schools, and college in Paris.

Since finishing his Ph.D. dissertation on Chinese philosophical life, he has been involved in Chinese education and cultural diffusion.

Bellassen admires current foreign students studying Chinese. He said it is much more convenient for them to learn due to modern multi-media materials.

In spring of 2014, more than 37,000 senior high school students in France chose Chinese as one of their subjects for college entrance exams, he said. “Half of them have been studying Chinese since middle school.”

People from the two countries still have misunderstandings about each other, despite the fact that China and France have had diplomatic ties for 50 years. Many Chinese people cannot tell the different between French cuisine and Italian food. Bellassen said, “There are still a lot of French people who think that Japanese kimonos originate in China.”

“China and Europe may be geographically distant,” he said, “but globalization has shortened and will continue to shorten the distance between China and the Western world in cultural awareness.”

In the Chinese expert’s point of view, China and France share some similarities: centuries-old history, splendid culture, and their people’s yearning for a comfortable lifestyle.

Though he admits that living conditions and availability of foreign products have improved in China, Bellassen is not pleased by China’s fast pace of change.

“The heavier air pollution and newly built, strange buildings mean that my second hometown, Beijing, has lost its unique city character,” he said.

“Besides Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City, Beijing’s soul is the quadrangle of the Siheyuan, the city wall and gates,” he said.

Bellassen knows the government has applied practical measures to protect historical sites to restore their original appearance. “It is a remarkable step,” he said. “But I have no idea whether it’s a little bit late.”

“Foreigners started to learn about China in the days of Marco Polo,” he said, and throughout his career, Bellassen has helped people in France learn about China’s culture and history.



Bellassen takes time to be with a peasant’s child during his stay at a People’s Commune

on the outskirts of Beijing in 1975.



* Source  |






An App today can keep the doctor away?




An App today

can keep the doctor away?






Gong Xiaoming (龚晓明, an obstetrician at a public hospital in Shanghai, usually sees up to 30 outpatients a day, but when he writes an article about uterine fibroids it can easily draw tens of thousands clicks within a day on his microblog.

“I can’t believe that a doctor on Weibo can be so influential,” said Gong, 42.

By day he works at Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, but around the clock 520,000 people follow him on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog service.

Gong’s popularity started with an article he wrote in 2012, saying that many female patients were diagnosed or even prescribed treatments to deal with “cervical erosion”, which, he believes, is not a real medical condition.

Gong hoped the article could raise public awareness about overtreatment. He put it on his Weibo, and it was soon reposted 33,000 times, with over 4,000 comments. A microblogger replied, “Hail to the doctor with a conscience!”

A search for “doctor” on Sina Weibo can throw up more than 2,700 accounts, nearly half of them accredited to specific hospitals. There are also hundreds of “nutritionists” and “medical technicians”. Followers range from thousands to millions. The most popular doctor’s Weibo account has 3.61 million “fans”, 30,000 more than that of basketball star Stephon Marbury.

As well as popularizing medical science, these people are revealing the human face of their profession through social media. They speak the slang of the Internet, talk about their private lives and make fun of themselves.

Yu Ying (于莺, a former staff member at the prestigious Peking Union Medical College Hospital, is a pioneer doctor in social media. She named her Weibo account “Emergency Superwoman”, using a selfie photo as her icon. She gathered a following by sharing the joys and embarrassments of working in a major hospital. However, her posts often sparked controversy by revealing problems in China’s healthcare system.

Cui Yutao (崔玉涛, a pediatrician at a Beijing private hospital, runs a virtual clinic. All his posts are replies to questions about baby health. His patience and references to Western medicine have won nationwide acclaim. His fans call him “Super Hero”.

Dong Ning, a young pediatrician, has no time to run his own Weibo account, but he believes that the online consultations can help cut patients’ medical costs.

Dong cites the example of a pregnant woman who might have many questions during her nine-month pregnancy. In the West, she could ask her family doctor for help, but in China, she must register at various departments in a crowded hospital, sometimes choosing the wrong department in her ignorance.

“Doctors’social media accounts fill in the blanks,” said Dong.

The online clinic also helps doctors.

“Social media is a good platform offering for my observations, and lets me know the demands of my patients, as well of my staff,” said Duan Tao, president of Shanghai First Maternity & Infant Hospital. He began his Weibo and WeChat accounts, “Dr. Duan Tao”, in March, and has more than 70,000 followers in total.

But they also open themselves to direct criticism. “As a president, I used to be the last one to know patients’ complaints, but now I am the first,” said Duan.

But mostly, health professionals are treated with respect.

Gu Zhongyi (顾中一, now 27, an inexperienced nutritionist at Beijing Friendship Hospital, used to believe he had no future “as the nutrition department is usually on the hospital fringes”.

Since he began posting weight-loss and nutrition tips in 2010, he has become a celebrity with TV and online programs inviting him to give lectures.

“I seldom mention the hospital I work for as the outpatient registration would fill up for the whole week,” Gu said.

More than 2,000 healthcare apps are available to enable users to contact doctors either by instant message or phone. Their conversations are open to other users, who can assess a doctor’s services and skills at a glance, rather than from their qualifications.

The “Spring Rain” app, which has been downloaded 32 million times, allows users to ask a doctor for advice for free, but if someone wants advice from a particular doctor, they have to pay.

“For example, a consultation with one pediatrician started at 6 yuan, but due to her excellent service, she was very popular, and now her rate is 89 yuan, far more than doctors with higher qualifications,” said Spring Rain branding director Xu Yanni.

According to mobile Internet market research company IIMEDIA Consultation Group, China’s mobile medical market will be worth 12.53 billion yuan by 2017.

Gong said almost 90 percent of his patients come to him because of his online performance. “Patients give you trust, which a young doctor at a big public hospital rarely enjoys.”

China’s medical resources are extremely unbalanced, with 80 percent of patients in rural areas but most quality hospitals concentrated in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

The pressures on the health system and strained doctor-patient relations have resulted in increasing violence. Many patients are angry and frustrated at difficulties accessing treatment, high fees and, in some cases, doctors’ unfriendly attitudes.

Meanwhile, doctors complain about their workloads, and hospitals are often understaffed.

But the development of online services comes with a warning.

Gao Lei, a senior hematologist at a public hospital in Chongqing, says an online consultation comes with the risk of misdiagnosis. After all, observation, listening, questions and pulse-taking are fundamental diagnostic methods. “They are irreplaceable,” said Gao.

“If you want to get well, please go to a hospital,” said Duan Tao.

Sharing information online is also a risk. Duan has doubts about the security of information, because he once found someone using online data to cheat his patients.

Wang Ping, director of the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, points out that though online clinics can improve efficiency and relieve pressure, the process and privacy still require scrutiny and regulation – a task that China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission is now addressing.


* Source 





Let’s share Chinese version !!!


自媒体: 中国医生的“新欢” ?


作者:  袁全  申安妮  王智  |  中国特稿社



龚晓明 (                      于莺 (


崔玉涛 (                   顾中一 (



“没想到医生的微博有这么大影响力,” 42的岁龚大夫如此感叹社交媒体的威力。他同时也是一名有52万“粉丝”的微博达人。




医学科普无疑是医生获赞的最佳方式。为了让深奥的医学知识变得生动,医生们开始放下身段,改变形象: 摘下口罩,不再以正襟危坐的姿态示人, 微博头像大多露出“天使般”的笑脸。他们熟练地使用网络语言,时不时地还会和粉丝调侃、“卖萌”几句。




董宁说,以女性怀孕为例, 十月怀胎期间会遇到各种各样的问题。 在西方,人们往往选择向家庭医生咨询,但在中国,要想解决所有的病症,“只能到医院一个科室一个科室地去排队挂号,有时还不一定挂的合适。” 如果患者在就诊前就能获得一些咨询,可以省去很多麻烦。

“医生的自媒体正好填补了这个空白。” 董宁说, 如果有精力,他也会建一个类似的自媒体。


“对我来说,自媒体是个不错的平台。 自媒体的运作,让我平时的思考多了一个及时的输出通道,也能更加便捷地了解我的患者,我的员工的需求,使医院的工作可以更接地气。”上海第一妇婴保健院院长段涛说。他今年3月份开始运营“段涛医生”的微博和微信,累计已经有大约7万名粉丝。

网上不都是好评。段涛说他常常要在微博上直面批评。同事们戏称 院长过去是最后一个听到病人意见的,现在变成了第一个。“我也会根据粉丝关注的医疗保健问题,决定下一篇科普的题目。”

与此同时,大夫们还收获了极大的尊重。27岁的营养师顾中一曾一度认为自己“没有出路”,因为营养科是医院里的“边缘”科室, 而像他这样年纪轻、资历浅的营养科营养师更不会受到重视。





在网络问诊平台上,医生个人的声誉甚至超过了医院。龚晓明说,这时候,医生的好坏完全取决于医术和态度,而不是职称和资历。“病人甚至跳过了医院”。 龚晓明曾在微博上这样回答网友,“看病找老医生的真理未必都是正确的。”

移动医疗平台“春雨医生”品牌总监徐妍妮说,广州妇女儿童医疗中心的一位儿科主治医师,起初的图文问诊价格只有6元, 但是她良好的态度,让她获得了不少好评,向她咨询的病人越来越多,现在她的问诊价格已经涨到89元,远远高出比她职称高的医生们。



今年,阿里巴巴将支付宝系统引入医院,“春雨掌上医生” APP累计下载量超过3200万次,多家医院开通微信预约挂号。统计显示,中国移动医疗相关软件已达2000多款,覆盖寻医问诊、预约挂号、购买医药等领域。

然而,尽管网络技术已经很发达, 一些医生和病人对网络医疗的安全和效果还存有疑虑。很多医生表示,网上只能做科普,做咨询,“真的要看病,还是要来医院”。



中国医科大学附属第四医院院长王平认为, 在好医院、好医生紧缺的情况下,互联网医疗的发展,有利于优化医疗资源的配置和使用, 能提高医疗效率和患者就医感。但互联网医疗中如何保证医疗质量和安全、保护患者隐私以及误诊如何维权等, 还需进一步的监管和规范。



* 来源 |






China to advance agricultural modernization



Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the central rural work conference in Beijing.

The conference was held from December 22 to 23.   Photos by Xie Huanchi



China to advance

agricultural modernization


By Liu Xinyong, Shi Hao, Fang Dong, Yu Wenjing and Wang Yu


China concluded a rural work conference on Tuesday of December 23, vowing to push forward agricultural modernization through reform and innovation.

The country made great progress in rural development in 2014 with its 11th consecutive bumper harvest and an increase in farm income, according to a statement released after the two-day central conference, which sets the tone for next year.




“However, China is facing unprecedented challenges if it wants to achieve sustained and stable development in the agricultural sector,” said the statement, citing rising agricultural production costs, impaired cultivation and limited arable land and fresh water.

Li Guoxiang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China’s agricultural production is confronted with surging costs, pressure for the government to subsidize agriculture and the constraints of resources and environment.

“If it stays this way, a question mark should be placed after whether China can achieve sustainable development of agriculture,” Li said.

To solve the problems, China must accelerate agricultural modernization and raise quality and efficiency of agriculture, Zhu Lizhi, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told Xinhua.

The statement said that China will strive to transform the pattern of agricultural development, raise the output rate of the land, increase resource utilization rate to attain intensive and sustainable growth.




Under the economic “new normal”, agricultural modernization is of great significance to stabilizing economic growth, adjusting structure and improving people’s livelihood.

Agricultural modernization is the foundation and pillar for China’s modernization drive, but it is a prominent weak point at present, the statement said.

“Compared with fast-advancing urbanization, industrialization and informatization, our country’s agricultural modernization is lagging far behind, seriously impeding the synchronized development of the four aspects,” said Li.

Top policymakers at the meeting pledged to make more efforts to speed up agricultural modernization in order to unleash farmer consumption potential and spur investment in rural infrastructure.

A growing agricultural sector will also forge new engines to propel China’s economic expansion, according to the statement.




“Food security should be China’s top priority during the agricultural modernization process. China will keep cereal largely self-sufficient and staples absolutely safe,” the statement read.

Farmers are encouraged to form new agricultural entities in an innovative way to achieve economies of scale.

To facilitate associating farmers and their lands, China will guide orderly transfer of management rights of rural lands to new agricultural entities.

China will exploit agricultural resources in a more friendly and “greener” way to protect farm land and fresh water.

Policymakers decided to extend greater policy support and beef up financial support to underpin rural development.

China will actively push forward the construction of “new socialist countryside” and improve living environment for farmers.

The country will also wage a war against poverty and release more farmers from poverty. At the same time, rural residents are encouraged to take advantage of urbanization and start small businesses.

The Central Rural Work Conference is an annual event for Chinese policymakers to deliberate on and map out rural policies for next year.

The meeting discussed a guideline of deepening rural reform and advancing agricultural modernization.



Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (3rd from left) speaks at the central rural work conference

in Beijing.   Photo by Xie Huanchi


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (3rd from left of back row) speaks at the central rural work

conference in Beijing. The conference was held from December 22 to 23. Chinese Vice Premier

Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting.   Photo by Xie Huanchi





By wereadchina Posted in Economy

China, Egypt elevate bilateral ties to comprehensive strategic partnership



Chinese President Xi Jinping (left of front row) holds a welcoming ceremony for visiting

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right of front row) before their talks in Beijing

on December 23, 2014.   Photo by Liu Weibing



China, Egypt elevate bilateral ties

to comprehensive strategic partnership


By Liu Hua and Yang Yijun


Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Sisi in Beijing on Tuesday of December 23, deciding to elevate the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

“This is an important milestone,” Xi said during the talks.

The establishment of the partnership will strongly boost cooperation between the two countries in several areas.

In a joint statement signed by Xi and Sisi on establishing the partnership, the two presidents pledged to boost political, economic, military, cultural and technological cooperation along with cooperation on regional and international affairs.

China pays great attention to the situation in Egypt and firmly supports the Egyptians’ pursuit for a development path suitable for their own national conditions, Xi told the Egyptian leader.

Xi said he believes the Egyptian government and people are wise and able enough to handle all problems and achieve stability and development in the country.

Hailing the traditional friendship between the two countries, Sisi expressed his gratitude for China’s support and assistance, especially for understanding the Egyptian people’s request for change in recent years.

The two leaders also pledged to cooperate on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiatives.

China stands ready to combine the initiatives with Egypt’s plan for development and boost cooperation in infrastructure, nuclear power, new energy, aviation, finance and other sectors, said the Chinese president.

Sisi said the Belt and Road Initiatives proposed by Xi have provided an important opportunity for Egypt’s renewal and that the Egyptian side will participate in the initiatives in an active way.

Sisi looked forward to China’s participation in Suez Canal Corridor projects, pledging that Egypt will create favorable conditions to attract Chinese companies’ investment.

In August, President Sisi gave the go-ahead signal for digging a 72-km expansion of the original Suez Canal as a national project to boost the country’s ailing economy, ordering “the New Suez Canal” to be open for maritime navigation in early August 2015.

Sisi also hoped more Chinese tourists will visit Egypt as more Egyptian students study in China.

During the talks, Sisi briefed Xi on his view on the situation in North Africa and West Asia.

Xi said as the situation there is complicated, it is of vital importance to find a solution that reflects regional realities and cover the interests of all sides concerned in a political way and through inclusive dialogue.

In the joint statement signed on Tuesday, the two countries reiterated they will support each other on issues regarding core interests and care for each other’s special concerns.

Egypt emphasized its stance of sticking to the one-China policy and China stressed its position of respecting the Egyptian people’s rights to choose their political system and development policy on their own as well as opposing external forces’ attempt to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs in any name.

China attaches great importance to Egypt’s concern over water security, according to the statement.

In the statement, the two sides upheld that disputes between countries should be addressed through dialogue and negotiations, opposing interference into other countries’ internal affairs with military forces in any name and politicizing issues on human rights.

The two sides pledged to safeguard the United Nations’ key role in addressing international affairs and support reform of the United Nations and the UN Security Council.

The representation of developing countries, especially of African countries, should be strengthened first to rectify injustice that Africa has suffered in history, said the joint statement.

China supports Egypt’s crucial role in resolving the Palestine issue and other major issues in the region as well as the Egyptian initiative on rendering the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. Egypt appreciates China’s objective and impartial position and constructive role in the Palestine issue and other major issues in the region, according to the statement.

They pledged to increase coordination and cooperation to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region, according to the statement.

Sisi arrived in Beijing Monday afternoon for a four-day state visit to China at Xi’s invitation.





Egypt, China see huge

chances from enhancement of ties


By Mahmoud Fouly


As Egypt and China have decided to elevate their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Egyptian economists see the move is likely to amplify investment opportunities and mutual trade between the two countries.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is currently on a four-day official visit to Beijing, signed on Tuesday a joint statement with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to boost political, economic, military, cultural and technological cooperation along with that on regional and international affairs.

“Egypt provides great investment opportunities to China and it can be a portal for Chinese products into African markets due to the Egyptian strategic geographic location,” Amr Saleh, professor of political economy at Cairo-based Ain Shams University and former World Bank project officer, told Xinhua.

The professor said that relations between Egypt and China should not be restricted to mutual trade “but it is very important to be elevated to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries,” stressing that both Egyptian and Chinese leaders have the political will for the move.

The Egyptian government led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has recently established a special cabinet unit to study fields of cooperation with China, which shows the interest of the Egyptian leadership to boost partnership with the giant Asian country.

“Egypt needs a strategic partner not just a business partner, while China has a desire to create strategic economic alternatives in light of the slowing worldwide economy,” the professor added.

Saleh expects future military cooperation between Egypt and China as a key field of economic partnership between the two strategic partners.

“Cooperation in arms industries, which is worth billions of dollars, represents a good chance for both Egypt and China as it appears to be military while it is economic in the first place,” the professor told Xinhua, noting the industry is one of the main sources of national income for big countries.

Egypt’s economy has been ailing over the past four years due to political turmoil that resulted from the ouster of two heads of state. Sisi’s administration is currently struggling to put economy back on track.

Last August, Sisi gave the go-ahead signal for digging a 72-km expansion of the original Suez Canal as a national project to boost the country’s economy, ordering “the New Suez Canal” to be open for ship navigation in August 2015.

The Egyptian president said that the Chinese companies have great opportunities to invest in the Suez Canal Corridor projects, reassuring to facilitate procedures and provide an ideal atmosphere for foreign investors in Egypt.

“Chinese companies have vast opportunities to work in logistic projects related to the Suez Canal Corridor after the new waterway is completed, such as platform building, container making, ship maintenance and repair, fuel provision, etc,” said Hamdy Abdel-Azim, economics professor at Cairo-based Sadat Academy and member of Economy and Legislation Association.

He echoed Saleh’s view that there could also be future military cooperation between Egypt and China in weapon spare parts and development.

A few days before leaving Cairo, Sisi told Chinese official media including Xinhua that Egypt supports Xi’s initiative on building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Sisi said Egypt can be a key player in implementing this initiative due to its strategic location as portal for Africa and the Arab world.

“The Silk Road used to be a well-known historical trade route and if revived it will increase the trade volume passing through it,” the economic expert said, adding that Egypt needs to develop its basic infrastructure and services to attract foreign investors in general and Chinese ones in particular.

Abdel-Azim told Xinhua that the intended Silk Road symbolizes a key of future common trade between Egypt and China and a communication bridge between Asian and African countries.

Sisi has recently said that Egypt is establishing a huge road network of 3,400 km within one year as part of its efforts to facilitate investment environment to reassure foreign investors.

Trade volume between Egypt and China exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2013, more than 80 percent of which is represented in Chinese exports.

“Egypt needs to develop technologies and improve its products to be qualified for export and make up for the gap between its imports and exports,” the economist said.

He also expected the Chinese investments in Egypt, with maximum 10 percent foreign labors according to the regulations, to help reduce unemployment in the North African country.

Political turmoil over the past few years caused a sharp decline in the tourism industry in Egypt, which brought the country over 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2010 alone.

On Tuesday in Beijing, after signing a joint statement with Xi, Sisi hoped that more Chinese tourists will visit Egypt as more Egyptian students study in China.





Xi satisfied with breakthrough of China-Thailand railway cooperation



Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha

in Beijing on December 23, 2014.    Photo by Ding Lin



Xi satisfied with breakthrough of

China-Thailand railway cooperation


By Bai Jie


Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday of December 23, expressing his satisfaction on the breakthrough of China-Thailand railway cooperation and urging substantial progress.

In their meeting in the Great Hall of the People, Xi recalled his meeting with Prayuth last month during the APEC meeting in Beijing, saying bilateral cooperation has made new progress during the month, especially the breakthrough on railway cooperation.

“I am satisfied with all this progress,” Xi said.

China and Thailand signed two MoUs on railway cooperation and agricultural trade in Bangkok last Friday during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit.

The MoU on railway cooperation allows China to invest in two dual-track rail lines in Thailand that will span 734 km and 133 km, connecting northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.

The project is estimated to cost 10.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Xi said the frequent meetings and exchanges between leaders of the two countries showed that China and Thailand enjoyed “Jeen Thai Phee Nong Gan”, the Thai phrase for close friendship.

Stressing the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties in 2015, Xi called on both countries to hold corresponding celebrations to cement bilateral ties.

The two countries should continue to show mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests, Xi said, adding that China will continue to respect and support Thailand’s efforts to realize political stability and economic development, as well as improve people’s living.

Cooperation between China and Thailand always leads among ASEAN countries, Xi said, urging the two sides to earnestly push forward cooperation on areas including railway and agriculture so as to further promote regional connectivity.

He also called on both countries to expand cooperation on culture and people-to-people, education and science.

For his part, Prayuth said the agreement of railway cooperation with China is the best New Year gift to the Thai people.

He also thanked China for importing more Thai farm produce, saying it is conducive to promoting bilateral trade balance.

Prayuth said Thailand is in a period of reform and development and his country is willing to learn from China to develop better bilateral ties.

He also expressed willingness to participate China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative so as to deepen cooperation on areas including railway, telecommunication and tourism.

Prayuth arrived in Beijing on Monday for a two-day visit to China.



Zhang Dejiang (right), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

(NPC), meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Beijing on December 23, 2014.

Photo by Liu Weibing


Zhang Dejiang (right), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

(NPC), meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Beijing on December 23, 2014.  

Photo by Liu Weibing



Top Chinese legislator meets Thai PM

By Xiong Zhengyan


Top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang on Tuesday of December 23 met with visiting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on seeking stronger bilateral ties.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, called Thailand China’s close neighbor and said the two countries enjoy relations of “Jeen Thai Phee Nong Gan”(Chinese and Thais are brothers).

China sincerely expects Thailand to keep stability and seek development and the Thai people to live better lives, Zhang said.

As 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties, both countries should seize the opportunities, fully implement the agreements reached by leaders, deepen practical cooperation and benefit the two peoples, Zhang said.

On legislative front, Zhang underscored the importance of exchanges and cooperation between the NPC and the Thai National Legislative Assembly.

Zhang called for the two legislatures to maintain exchanges at all levels, increase mutual understanding, create a sound legal environment for pragmatic cooperation and expand the social and public foundation for bilateral friendship so as to boost China-Thailand all-round strategic partnership.

Prayuth reviewed the traditional and solid friendship between the two countries, called on both sides to learn more from each other, implement the cooperation deals and expand the depth and width of cooperation.

Later Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping also met with Prayuth.

Prayuth will conclude his two-day China visit on Tuesday night.






Joint Press Communique

between China and Thailand


By Liu Dongkai


Following is the full text of the Joint Press Communique between China and Thailand issued by the governments of the two countries on Tuesday:

Joint Press Communique Between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand

1. At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha of the Kingdom of Thailand paid an official visit to China from 22 to 23 December 2014. During the visit, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha paid a courtesy call on President Xi Jinping and held a bilateral meeting with Premier Li Keqiang as well as met with Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the Standing Committee of the National People’ s Congress.

2. The Chinese leaders kindly requested Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to convey their cordial greetings and best wishes to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Kingdom of Thailand. The Thai side expressed deep appreciation for China’ s display of warm sentiments.

3. The Chinese side expressed appreciation to the Royal Thai Government for hosting a successful meeting of the Fifth Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation Program (GMS) Summit on 19-20 December 2014 in Bangkok. The Thai side expressed appreciation to the Government of the People’ s Republic of China for the support and constructive role in ensuring the fruitful outcome of the meeting. Both sides reaffirmed their cooperation in achieving inclusive and sustainable development in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

4. The two sides shared the view that with the growing economic interdependence and evolving regional and international landscape, it serves the fundamental and mutual interests of both Thailand and China to work together to strengthen the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with a view to contributing to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and beyond as well as the improvement of the well-being of the peoples of both countries.

5. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the close and growing ties between the two countries. The Leaders of the two countries welcomed the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand in 2015. Both sides agreed to take the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to further strengthen their long-standing friendship, enhance strategic dialogue as well as deepen and expand the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership for the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples.

6. China reiterated its understanding of the political situation in Thailand. China expressed support for the efforts by the Royal Thai Government in implementing the Roadmap on national reform, in promoting economic growth and in improving the well-being of the people.

7. The Thai side reiterated its firm adherence to the One-China Policy, and rendered full support for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and China’s peaceful reunification.

8. The Leaders of the two countries applauded the outcome of the Third Meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation between the Government of China and Thailand. They reaffirmed their full support to the work of this important mechanism to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, infrastructure, finance, energy, tourism, rubber industry and information communication and aerospace technology. The two sides agreed to make continuous efforts to promote and facilitate trade and cooperation of agricultural products. The Thai side welcomed the increased Chinese investment in Thailand, especially in greater value-added industries. Both sides look forward to working together to achieve the target of a combined number of tourist arrivals of 5 million between the two countries in 2016.

9. The two sides supported the re-invigorating of the various working groups between Thailand and the local governments of China to promote trade and investment and tourism between both sides.

10. Both sides reaffirmed the common vision for regional growth, prosperity and connectivity. In this regard, both sides welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on the Thailand’ s Railways Infrastructure Development on The Strategic Framework for Development of Thailand’ s Transportation Infrastructure 2015-2022 and the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Agricultural Products Trade between the government of the People’ s Republic of China (PRC) and the government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Both sides shared the view that these two agreements will add a new momentum to the existing close China-Thailand relations and contribute to the long-term progress and development of the region as a whole. The two sides will work on the specific details of the project to bring about its early implementation.

11. The Thai side expressed her support to China’ s initiatives on Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century. Thailand supported the constructive role of China in promoting regional connectivity through infrastructure development, including the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both sides attached importance to stepping up efforts in facilitating cross-border transport of goods and passengers between China and Thailand and the region through the main road networks such as the R3, R8 and R12 with a view to promoting trade, investment, tourism and people to people cooperation.

12. Both sides agreed to deepen financial and banking cooperation and to intensify efforts to promote the use of local currency with a view to facilitating bilateral trade and investment by establishing the Renminbi Clearing Banks in Thailand and renewing the existing Bilateral Swap Agreements (BSA).

13. The two sides agreed to share technologies, experiences and best practices in the areas of water resource management, flood prevention and disaster relief, to actively carry out relevant projects, and to explore cooperation in other potential areas of mutual interest.

14. Both sides agreed to further promote scientific and technical cooperation, including enhancing space cooperation, promoting the application of remote sensing, global navigation and other satellite technologies, and engaging actively in negotiations on an inter-governmental space activities cooperation agreement between the two countries.

15. The two sides agreed to convene defense and security dialogue between the Ministries of Defence of both countries, expand cooperation in the fields of joint military exercises, personnel training,defense industry and enhance cooperation in the prevention and the eradication of illegal immigration, drug trafficking, terrorism and transnational crimes, and continue to promote law enforcement and security cooperation through existing mechanisms within the Mekong River framework.

16. The two sides agreed to continue enhancing cooperation in culture and education, particularly in vocational education. The two sides expressed their readiness to vigorously promote exchanges and cooperation between local governments, and enhance people-to-people exchanges, so as to raise public awareness and support on the relations between China and Thailand.

17. The Thai side viewed that China could significantly contribute to the development of the countries in the region through its contributions to such areas as health, anti- drug trafficking and human trafficking.

18. The Chinese side appreciated the active and constructive role of Thailand, as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to deepening cooperation in various fields and further enhance the ASEAN-China strategic partnership so that it continues to serve as an anchor of peace and stability in the region. Both sides also agreed to work closely on the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, promote practical cooperation and consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) , with a view to arriving at an early conclusion of the COC on the basis of consensus.

19. The Chinese side expressed support for ASEAN’ s centrality in the regional architecture and the two sides agreed to further strengthen coordination and cooperation under the multilateral frameworks such as China-ASEAN, ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), the Asia Pacific and Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the United Nations (UN).

20. The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the fruitful outcome of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’ s official visit to China, and recognised the significance of the visit in setting the future course of the two countries’ bilateral relations. On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked the Government and the people of the People’ s Republic of China for their warm hospitality.






Jenny Lang Ping leads China to surprising resurgence



Photo taken on May 17, 2013 shows Lang Ping, the new head coach of the Chinese women’s

volleyball team, training the players before the match against Porto Rico at the 2013 China

International Women’s Volleyball Tournament held in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Photo by Xu Yu



Jenny Lang Ping

leads China to surprising resurgence


By Wang Jingyu


About one year ago, coach and volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping and her Chinese national women’s volleyball team were struggling to recover from their disappointing fourth finish at the Asian Championships. At the same time this year, they can look back upon the wonderful moments they had at the World Championships with joy and smiles.

It had been 16 years since China last stepped foot on the podium at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, but their success at Italy 2014 offers much encouragement for Jenny and the young stars under her guidance.

Although they lost to the United States in the final – a team Jenny had coached to the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – coming away with second place has been deemed a great success for a side who recorded their worst ever result in the tournament when they finished 10th four years ago. This fact is not lost on the 53-year-old.

“The World Championship is the first ‘Big Three’ tournament in the new Olympic circle and the silver medal was a very good encouragement to our young team,” said Jenny, who took the helm early last year.

“The result was a bit surprising to us. We have fought very hard to make the final and get the silver medal. Generally speaking, we have played over the bar at this tournament. We have seen our improvement, our potential and the things we need to work on from the games we played in Italy.

“After the semifinals, we found that we had a chance to go for the gold medal. Maybe we were the underdogs in the final, but for sure we had a chance. Why didn’t we get it? It’s just because we were not good enough. We need to work harder.”

The Chinese women have now reached the final of the World Championship five times with only Russia and Italy ahead of them on nine and six appearances respectively. The current world No. 3 landed the title in 1982, 1986 and finished runners-up in 1990, 1998 and 2014 and it is a testament to Jenny’s talents as both a player and a coach that she was with the team on every occasion.

“Time flies! I have taken part in so many World Championships, more than Olympic Games and World Cups,” said Jenny.

The former ace spiker was nicknamed “Iron Hammer” when leading the Chinese team to consecutive titles at the 1982 World Championship, 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and 1981 and 1985 World Cups. She became coach after retiring and led the Chinese women to win silvers at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and 1998 World Championship and bronze at the 1995 World Cup in her first spell as national team coach which sadly came to an end in early 1999 due to health problems.

However, she was parachuted back in after the Asian powerhouse’s lackluster performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games where they finished fifth. And Jenny admits that she already has one eye on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in two years’ time.

“Every team is thinking about the Rio Games,” she revealed. “From this World Championship, it’s easy to find that the competition among women’s volleyball teams has become closer than ever. All the teams have brought their best players to Italy and displayed how well they could play. I think those teams who improve faster in the next two years will have a good chance in Rio. For us, if we don’t work harder, we will be surpassed.”

China’s improvement over the last few seasons – which include a silver at the 2013 World Grand Prix and gold at the 2014 Asian Cup – has not gone unnoticed by Jenny’s peers either. Chinese Volleyball Association vice president Pan Zhichen was one of many people who convinced Jenny to return to the national team after 14 years and he has praised her influence so far.

“Jenny has played the most important role in the coaching team,” he said. “She is a world class coach and has been doing a great job.”

Pan was especially impressed by the young players including teenager stars Zhu Ting and Yuan Xinyue. The 19-year-old Zhu was included in the World Championship Dream Team as outside spiker and Yuan was also one of the stars of the tournament as she made her debut as middle blocker.

“The young players have improved very quickly under Jenny’s guidance and I think they will help bring a brighter future to our team.”

The impressive performance of the Chinese team at the World Championship also helped remove the pressure Jenny faced after the team’s disappointing fourth place finish at the Asian Championship last autumn and she is now determined to stick to her way of coaching, adding youth and continuing to develop the side into world beaters.

“I will continue to recruit young talented players and give them opportunities to play for the national team,” she asserted. “Our second string players have done a good job at the Asian Games, winning the silver also. Quite a few players from that team have participated in our training camp early this year. The more players we can use, the better our future will be.”

The 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship have also witnessed many teams record their best ever performance.

USA, who were crowned the new world champions in Italy, had never won gold before in the tournament. Their amazing first place improved on their previous best of second – which the Americans had achieved twice, in 1967 and 2002. USA have now become one of only six countries to have claimed FIVB trophies with the others being Russia (including the Soviet Union), Japan, Cuba, China and Italy.

“We came here to make history and we made it,” said USA coach Karch Kiraly.

“It feels really good, it’s awesome. I am so proud of these people I work with in this program every day. The 50 athletes who wore a USA uniform this year at some point and all the contributions they made and make on a daily basis.”

The Dominican Republic have truly shattered all their historical records, rising high above any expectations and astonishing even their most optimistic of fans.

The “Queens of the Caribbean” came within one set of a semifinal berth when they led China 2-0 (and just needed to win by any score) in their last match of Round 3. They finished fifth, a huge leap from their previous best of 11th in 1998. They were 17th in the last two editions.

Third place for Brazil, though, was a disappointment for the Olympic champions. The South Americans were chasing the only major title that still eludes them. They lost to Russia twice in tie-breaks in their previous two attempts in 2006 and 2010 and riding on the momentum of their 2012 Olympic gold, they were tipped as favorites to win the World Championships this time around. The bronze medal they ended up with doesn’t improve on their previous bests.

The success of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2014 is proof that the sport is heading in the right direction according to President Dr. Ary S. Graca.

“The global spread of volleyball has been made evident by the Championships this year – which have been the most successful in FIVB history,” he said.

“The fact that world No. 10 the Dominican Republic got so far through the competition demonstrates how the sport is developing beyond the usual stars in Russia and Brazil. We are seeing new stars emerging all the time from every corner of the world and this assures me that we are heading in the right direction as a federation.”

He also said that volleyball is in fine health as the sport begins to turn its attention to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“After over 50 years, volleyball will be coming home to Rio in 2016, where fans will see the sport’s most spectacular show yet – both in our fully-packed stadiums and on Rio’s iconic Copacabana beach.”




A visitor poses for photos with a wax figure of volleyball legend Lang Ping at the Madame

Tussauds Wax Museum in Beijing on May 31, 2014.   Photo – Xinhua





China’s train ticket competition intensifies ahead of Spring Festival



Photo – Internet


China’s train ticket competition

intensifies ahead of Spring Festival


By Zhong Qun, Cao Ting, Liu Jingyang, Xiong Lin, Qi Zhongxi and Chen Guozhou


The Chinese Lunar New Year is almost two months away, but Mr Ji and his wife, who live in Shanghai, have already bought 21 train tickets to their hometown Harbin in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

They don’t plan on making 21 journeys to home and back. Rather, the couple have been hoarding train tickets, which went on sale on December 7, in order to choose the most ideal time for their journey home during the travel rush, or “chunyun”.

“We have no choice, because we do not know which day we could go home,” said the husband surnamed Ji. With all the tickets in store, Mr Ji said he could choose the best and return the rest “without any charges”.

“Chunyun”, often referred to as the world’s largest human migration, is the hectic travel period surrounding Chinese New Year. Last year, the period saw about 266 million rail trips made, up 12 percent from the previous year. This year, the annual 40-day travel period will begin on February 4 and last until March 16.

With the Spring Festival approaching, the train ticket rush is already heating up, with the public frantically purchasing tickets in the lead-up to the hectic travel period.

On Friday, China sold more than 9.56 million train tickets, a new high for daily sales, as tickets became available for Feb. 16, 2015, three days ahead of the Spring Festival.

A total of 5.64 million tickets, or 59 percent of the total, were sold online on the same day, also hitting a historic high. The official ticket-selling website,, saw a record high of 29.7 billion page views on Friday, the Institute of Computing Technology under the China Academy of Railway Sciences said Sunday.

In an effort to facilitate a smooth travel peak, railway authorities made train tickets available 60 days in advance this year instead of 30 days as in previous years. Tickets can also be refunded 15 days before the train departs without any service charges.

The extension of the purchasing period and the refund policy have led to “ticket hoarding”, with some residents like Mr Ji trying to snap up as many tickets as possible because they are unsure of their returning dates .

At Beijing South Railway Station, one of Beijing’s busiest, dozens of passengers can be seen queuing outside the refund office to return purchased tickets.

One of the travellers told Xinhua that she came early to get refunds for the tickets she had hoarded, but many came even earlier.

Hoarders are not only the ones stirring up the ticket battle. Scalpers are making the situation even more difficult, according

“Scalpers now use high-end software to snap up tickets, burdening,” a representative of the website told Xinhua.

Chinese rail police have launched a campaign targeting train ticket scalping by pledging to crack down on online scalping with a special squad of investigators.

Police have also increased patrols around railway stations. Meanwhile, they encourage the public to report scalpers to them.

But still, the problem remains rampant, as scalpers resort to new methods to reap huge benefits.

According to China’s state-broadcaster CCTV, some scalpers use software that can buy tickets within seconds of being posted on Software that can automatically produce ID numbers and fake names such as the Chinese translation of “Kobe Bryant” are also applied.

“Because the website is not connected with the country’s public security system, scalpers can easily get the tickets,” an engineer told CCTV.

Scalpers then sell the tickets to those in dire need at much higher prices, and put the rest back into the ticket system. After that, they repeat the whole process.

With more people choosing to buy tickets on the Internet or via mobile applications, obtaining a ticket is increasingly difficult for Chinese migrant workers, who make up the bulk of the Chunyun travellers but do not have proper resources to purchase tickets with computers or cellulars.

To ease the problem, volunteers in a number of localities have gone out of their way to help migrant workers purchase tickets online.

Li Long, a senior student with City College of Science and Technology under Chongqing University, recently started a campaign, calling on his fellow students to help migrant workers buy tickets online.

“My parents are migrant workers, so I know how difficult it is to buy a ticket to go home,” Li told Xinhua.

On microblog Sina Weibo, Li’s campaign has drawn much attention, with many students voicing support.

But such help is only a drop in a bucket, said Huang Shaohua, a professor with Philosophy and Sociology School of Lanzhou University.

Huang suggested railway authorities reserve a certain number of tickets for migrant workers to ease the problem.

“The government should also restrict the IDs that frequently purchase train tickets online to eradicate ticket hoarding and scalping,” Huang added.