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News from China
China's new carrier rocket Long March-8 makes maiden flight
22nd December 2020

 China's new medium-lift carrier rocket Long March-8 made its maiden flight on Tuesday, sending five satellites into planned orbit, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The rocket blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan at 12:37 pm (Beijing Time).
The Long March-8 rocket has a total length of 50.3 meters, with a takeoff mass of 356 tons. It can carry a payload of at least 4.5 tons to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
The rocket fills the gap in China's launch capability to the sun-synchronous orbit from 3 tons to 4.5 tons, and is of great significance for accelerating the upgrading of launch vehicles, according to the CNSA.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 22, 2020
China's central bank urges wider acceptance of cash as payments go digital
16th December 2020

 China’s central bank has called for wider acceptance of cash in economic activities and vowed to punish those who refuse to accept cash payments in the wake of a widening gap in access to digital services.

China’s online payments via barcodes and third-party payment apps such as Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ Tenpay have gained in popularity over the years on government policies to promote innovation.
Some merchants and institutions have become reluctant to accept cash due to reasons such as cost control or user experience, with the trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the People’s Bank of China said in a notice on Tuesday.
“Renminbi (yuan) cash is the most basic means of payment. Entities or individuals cannot refuse to accept it,” the PBOC said, adding that the central bank will investigate and punish firms or individuals that refuse to accept cash or adopt discriminatory measures against cash payments.
The central bank said payments of some basic public services such as medical treatment, water, electricity and gas fees have gradually migrated online, but the transition has left the elderly behind, as it is more difficult for some of them to adapt to the new digital technologies.
“The innovation of consumption and payment methods should be conducive to ... protecting people’s livelihood and enhancing the public’s sense of happiness,” the PBOC said. “Non-bank payment institutions must not promote the concept of cashless or discriminatory means of cash payment.”
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 16, 2020
China's 'snowbirds' seeking warmer climes
15th December 2020

 Over 70 percent of Chinese tourists are considering trips to the nearby rural locations and winter breaks in warmer places, Airbnb said in its report on the Chinese market released on Monday.

More than 76 percent of respondents are seeking an “escape to the country,” while 71 percent are “snowbirds,” wanting spend the winter in warmer places and southern coastal cities, according to the accommodation sharing platform's 2021 tourism trends report.
The report by Airbnb and Kantar surveyed 1,000 tourists in China.
More than half of respondents want to travel four to six days in 2021, especially during the Spring Festival vacation, according to the report.
The findings echoed those of Shanghai-based Trip (formerly Ctrip), which has seen a rebound in demand for domestic trips.
Short-term rental is the top accommodation choice for many trips in 2021, according to Airbnb.
The “snowbirds” prefer beach and coastal destinations such as Hainan or cities in south China such as Lijiang, Dali, Xiamen and Xishuangbanna, all in warmer climes. Winter activities are also popular with destinations including Harbin and the Changbai Mountains favored, according to the survey.
Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents are considering becoming “digital nomads,” working from anywhere or combine business trips with leisure trips after the pandemic boosted the “work at home" model, according to the report.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 15, 2020
Chang'e-5 completes first orbital correction en route to Earth
14th December 2020

 China's Chang'e-5 probe on Monday completed its first orbital correction en route to Earth, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The orbital correction was conducted at 11:13 am (Beijing Time) when the two 25N engines on the orbiter-returner combination were operational for about 28 seconds.
The CNSA said all systems on the orbiter-returner combination that carries lunar samples are currently in good condition.
The orbiter-returner combination entered the moon-Earth transfer orbit on Sunday.
When the time is right, the orbiter and returner will separate from one another, according to the CNSA. The probe's returner is expected to land at the Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in mid-December.
Chang'e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history. It is also the world's first moon-sample mission in more than 40 years.
The probe, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner, was launched on November 24, and its lander-ascender combination touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on December 1.
Source: SHanghai Daily, December 14, 2020

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