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News from China
China hits back at US with new sanctions
11th December 2020

 China said on Thursday it would revoke visa exemption treatment for US diplomatic passport holders who make temporary visits to Hong Kong and Macau after the United States imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on more than a dozen Chinese officials.

China will also implement reciprocal sanctions against some US administration officials, members of Congress, personnel at non-governmental organizations who have behaved badly and borne major responsibilities over Hong Kong-related issues, and their immediate family members, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
China urges the United States not to go further down this “dangerous and mistaken path,” Hua added.
The United States has imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 vice chairpersons of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee over their role in adopting a national security law for Hong Kong and over the disqualification last month of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong. Hua said the reciprocal sanctions were rolled out in view of the United States’ serious interference in China’s internal affairs and undermining China’s interests over using Hong Kong-related issues.
Earlier, Xinhua news agency said in an editorial that the Trump administration officials are “digging a hole” for the next US administration’s relationship with China through actions targeting the country and its officials. Steps such as restricting visas for the 92 million members of the Communist Party and their families have “again exposed the sinister intentions of extreme anti-China forces in Washington to hijack China-US relations for their own political gain,” Xinhua said.
The US State Department has cut the duration of such visas from up to 10 years to one month. In August, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other officials over what it said was their role in “curtailing freedoms” in the city.
At the Annual Gala of the US-China Business Council on Wednesday, Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai said the year 2021, which marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Henry Kissinger’s first visit to China and the “Ping-pong Diplomacy,” is essential for breaking new ground and sustaining a new momentum for China-US relations. “The year 2021 is essential as we greet the dawn of a post-pandemic era, where China-US cooperation cannot and should not be absent,” said Cui.
“We do have differences and disagreements, but our shared interests always come first, so much so that no difference justifies any conflict or confrontation,” he said. “China and the United States should have the wisdom and capability to overcome their differences and rebuild a strategic framework of relations featuring win-win cooperation and sustained and stable development.”
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 11, 2020
Shanghai in top 10 appealing cities list
10th December 2020

 Shanghai made the biggest jump in overall ratings to become the first city on China's mainland to enter the global top 10 appealing cities, according to the latest Global Power City Index.

Among its major achievements were the strong and effective measures it took to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and develop alternative ways of working, according to the study compiled by the Institute for Urban Strategies at Japan’s Mori Memorial Foundation.
“Experiencing the impact of COVID-19 earlier than many other cities, Shanghai took the opportunity to accelerate the development of new ways of working,” the survey said.
Shanghai improved its score in all functions aside from research and development, lifting its overall score and overtaking Sydney to be included in the top 10 for the first time.
The study, which dates back to 2008, evaluates the overall power of global cities based on their economy, accessibility, environment, research and development, cultural interaction and livability.
This year's survey, conducted in August, reflected the influence of the pandemic in a number of sectors such as workstyle flexibility and urban cleanliness.
Shanghai was in 11th place for its economy, moving up from 16th last year by increasing its score for workplace options, such as higher fixed broadband speeds amid working from home or remote working.
It achieved 4th place in satisfaction with urban cleanliness, while remaining top for total employment, and had top-class scores in nominal GDP and GDP growth rate.
The ranking of the top five cities remained the same as last year, namely London, New York, Tokyo, Paris and Singapore.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 10. 2020
Chinese mainland reports 15 new COVID-19 cases
9th December 2020

 China's National Health Commission said on Wednesday that it received reports of 15 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, four of which were locally transmitted in Sichuan Province.

Eleven cases were imported from outside the mainland, the commission said in its daily report.
Two new suspected cases arriving from outside the mainland were reported in Shanghai.
No new deaths related to the disease were reported.
A total of 11 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday.
By the end of Tuesday, a total of 3,969 imported cases had been reported on the mainland. Among them, 3,727 had been discharged from hospitals following recovery, and 242 remained hospitalized. No deaths had been reported among the imported cases.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 86,661 by Tuesday, including 284 patients still receiving treatment.
A total of 81,743 patients had been discharged from hospitals following recovery on the mainland, and 4,634 had died of the virus, according to the report.
There were three suspected COVID-19 cases on the mainland as of Tuesday, and 6,421 close contacts remained under medical observation.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 9, 2020
Tourists and shoppers flood virus-free Hainian
8th December 2020

 Millions of domestic tourists are descending on China’s southernmost island province of Hainan.

Known as the “Hawaii of China,” the island has been free of the coronavirus for six months, drawing eager shoppers to duty-free malls, couples seeking a sub-tropical backdrop for wedding pictures.
October arrivals of 9.6 million, according to official data, exceeded the year-earlier figure, before the pandemic struck, by 3.1 percent, although foreign visitors slumped 87 percent. That was a far cry from February, when arrivals had dropped almost 90 percent.
The rapid surge in tourism shows China’s consumer sector may be throwing off its virus-induced slumber as the closure of many international borders pushes travelers to destinations such as Hainan, traditionally costlier than most of Southeast Asia.
Tourism spending got a leg up after a new duty-free spending cap of 100,000 yuan (US$15,186) took effect in July, up from 30,000 yuan.
Hainan raked in 12 billion yuan in such sales in the following four months, to stand up 214.1 percent on the year, or almost on par with 2019 sales of 13.61 billion.
Tourists racing through the Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Center in the island’s city of Sanya were astonished at the queues outside the boutiques of luxury brands from Chanel to Gucci, with some likening the scene to a yard sale.
“This is crazy — we did not expect so many people,” said a visitor from the southwestern city of Chengdu, who gave her name only as Xie.
But she was willing to queue for more than 30 minutes in the 1.1 million-square-meter mall just to enter a Gucci store.
“Seriously, is Gucci that cheap? With this many people in line, I would’ve thought it’s free,” said the 32-year-old.
A 53-year-old woman surnamed Liu who used to visit Thailand or Malaysia at this time of year said Sanya had been a good substitute. She paid more than 14,000 yuan for a Gucci handbag.
“Such a steal!” said the native of Chongqing, another southwestern city. “We already bought cosmetics in Haikou and we’re here for the bags,” she added, referring to the island’s capital.
As the “stay-home” economy grew in China because of the global pandemic, Morgan Stanley estimates “reshored consumption” could reach up to US$165 billion this year.
Although the 46 million visitors Hainan received from January to October were well below the 2019 figure of 83 million domestic and foreign tourists, Chinese travelers are set to extend the tourism boom into the winter.
The average daily rate of bookings in Sanya soared 43 percent in November from a year earlier to US$151, and jumped 51 percent to US$190 for December.
The number of properties with at least one night booked rose 7 percent in November and the figure for December had already reached 85 percent of the year-earlier level.
On a beach stretch studded with five-star hotels along Yalong Bay, dozens of newly-weds prepared for elaborate wedding shoots.
The pandemic thwarted the plans of Xia Weini, 30, and her 28-year old husband Wang Yu, natives of far northwestern Xinjiang, to visit the Thai resort island of Phuket to pose for their photos.
“Xinjiang is probably the most landlocked place in China, so we’ve always wanted to get married near the sea,” said Xia.
They ended up spending more than 10,000 yuan in Sanya for the pictures instead.
Source: Shnaghai Daily, December 8, 2020

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