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News from China
China cracks down on trash smuggling, 137,000 tons seized
23rd May 2018

 China's customs authority seized 137,000 tons of illegal trash imports on Tuesday in what it called the largest campaign against trash smuggling in recent years.

The smuggled trash included scrap metal and waste mineral residue, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement, adding that it also found evidence of 606,500 tons of illegal solid waste imports, including scrap plastic.
Nearly 1,300 customs officers in 17 provincial regions, including Guangdong and Tianjin, detained 137 suspects and broke up 39 smuggling rings during the joint action.
It was the third crackdown on trash smuggling launched by the GAC this year. So far, 249 suspects from 81 smuggling rings have been detained, with 217,000 tons of waste seized.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s, and has for years been the world's largest importer, despite its weak capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally bring foreign garbage into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
Given rising public awareness and a green development drive, the government decided last year to phase out and completely halt such imports by end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 23, 2018
18 arrested for dumping hazardous waste in Hebei
22nd May 2018


Eighteen suspects have been arrested for dumping 1,000 tons of hazardous waste in north China's Hebei Province, local authorities said on Tuesday.
Police in Xingtai City said they received a report of unknown waste dumping in Liucun Township in December and found more than 200 oil drums of black grease with a pungent odor covering the land.
An investigation found the waste was transported from Zouping County in east China's Shandong Province at a cost of 1,100 to 1,200 yuan (US$170 to 190) per truck. The waste was dumped directly in Liucun and caused serious pollution.
Further investigation revealed that waste from Jiangsu's Lianyungang City and cities in neighboring Henan Province was also dumped in the township, as well as in Hebei's Cangzhou, and Bozhou in Anhui Province. Suspects confessed that they paid high freight charges for their waste to be dumped elsewhere.
The police are pursuing other suspects at large and their information has been published online.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 22, 2018
China launches relay satellite to explore Moon's far side
21st May 2018
China launched a relay satellite early Monday to set up a communication link between Earth and the planned Chang'e-4 lunar probe that will explore the Moon's mysterious far side.
The satellite was carried by a Long March-4C rocket that blasted off at 5:28am from southwest China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center, according to the China National Space Administration.
The satellite was named Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge. In a Chinese folktale, magpies form a bridge on the seventh night of the seventh month of the lunar calendar to enable Zhi Nyu, a weavergirl who is the seventh daughter of the Goddess of Heaven, to meet her beloved husband, cowherd Niu Lang, for one day. The couple were banished to opposite sides of the Milky Way as their love was not allowed.
"The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the Moon," said Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project.
About 25 minutes after lift-off, the satellite separated from the rocket and entered an Earth-Moon transfer orbit with the perigee at 200 km and the apogee at about 400,000 kilometers. Meanwhile, the solar panels and the communication antennas were unfolded.
Queqiao is expected to enter a halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, about 455,000km from the Earth. It will be the world's first communication satellite operating in that orbit.
But the mission must overcome many challenges, including multiple adjustments to its orbit and braking near the Moon and taking advantage of the lunar gravity, Zhang said.
Chinese scientists and engineers hope the Queqiao satellite will form a communication bridge between controllers on Earth and the far side of the Moon where the Chang'e-4 lunar probe is expected to touch down later this year.
Monday's launch was the 275th mission of the Long March rocket series.
Tidal forces of the Earth have slowed the Moon's rotation to the point where the same side always faces the Earth, a phenomenon called tidal locking. The other face, most of which is never visible from Earth, is the far side or dark side of the Moon, not because it's dark, but because most of it remains unknown.
With its special environment and complex geological history, the far side is a hot spot for scientific and space exploration. The Aitken Basin of the lunar south pole region on the far side has been chosen as the landing site for Chang'e-4. The region is believed to have great research potential.
However, landing and roving require a relay satellite to transmit signals. The Chang'e-4 mission will be more complicated than Chang'e-3, China's first soft landing on the Moon in 2013.
"We designed an orbit around the Earth-Moon L2 point where the relay satellite will be able to 'see' both the Earth and the far side of the Moon," said Bao Weimin, director of the Science and Technology Commission of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Establishing a communication link is essential for the success of the Chang'e-4 mission, said Bao.
The satellite, weighing about 400kg and with a designed life of three years, carries several antennas. One, shaped like an umbrella with a diameter of 5 meters, is the largest communication antenna ever used in deep space exploration, said Chen Lan, deputy chief engineer of the Xi'an Branch of the China Academy of Space Technology.
The satellite could stay in the halo orbit around the L2 point of the Earth-Moon system for a long time by using relatively little fuel, thanks to the gravitational equilibrium at that point.
Together with Queqiao, two microsatellites, Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2, were launched to orbit the Moon to conduct ultra-long-wave astronomical observation, which could help scientists study the cosmic dawn.
Astronomers yearn for a completely quiet electromagnetic environment to detect the weak signals emitted from remote celestial bodies in deep space.
The far side of the Moon is such a place, as the body of the Moon shields against radio interference from the Earth. From there, astronomers can study the origins and evolution of stars and galaxies, peering into the dawn of the universe.
"Exploring the cosmic dawn is our long-term goal, and Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2 are a preliminary experiment that could lay the foundation for future exploration," said Chen Xuelei, a cosmologist with the National Astronomical Observatories, who leads a team to analyze the data of the microsatellites.
The relay satellite is also equipped with a low-frequency radio spectrometer developed by Dutch scientists, which will help scientists "listen" to the deeper reaches of the cosmos.
A small lunar optical imaging detector developed by Saudi Arabia is installed on the satellite.
China's lunar exploration program will be a new research platform for scientists around the world. The lander and rover of Chang'e-4 will be equipped with instruments developed by Germany and Sweden, said Sun Zezhou, chief designer of the Chang'e-4 mission.
In addition, the satellite carries a reflector developed by the Sun Yat-sen University to conduct laser-ranging experiments between the relay satellite and an observatory on the ground at a maximum distance of 460,000 km. If successful, it will set a new record for this kind of experiment, said Zhang Lihua.
To raise interests of the public in space exploration, the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the CNSA has invited people to write down their hopes for lunar and space exploration, and the relay satellite is carrying the names of about 100,000 participants and their hopes into deep space.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 21, 2018
Chinese vice premier meets with Kissinger, key US lawmakers
17th May 2018

 Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy and Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday met with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and some key US lawmakers to discuss China-US ties.

Liu arrived in Washington on Tuesday afternoon for economic and trade consultations with the US side at the invitation of the US government.
Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, leads a delegation whose members come from major economic sectors of the Chinese government.
Among the US lawmakers Liu met with were Orrin Hatch, president pro tempore of the Senate and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
In his meeting with Kissinger, Liu congratulated the veteran diplomat on his upcoming 95th birthday, and hailed his long-time commitment to China-US friendship.
Guided by Xi and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, China-US ties have achieved important and positive progress, Liu said.
He noted that his ongoing US visit aims to, according to the consensus of the two presidents, continue in-depth communication with the US side on bilateral economic and trade issues.
The senior Chinese official noted that he will actively explore a proper settlement of the trade issues so as to secure a healthy development of the economic and trade ties between Beijing and Washington.
Kissinger said the handling of the US-China relationship demands strategic perspective and foresight as it concerns global peace and prosperity, and is of utmost importance.
He also said that the two nations need to enhance their strategic communication, expand common interests, properly manage and control differences, and exert leadership on major international and regional issues.
In his meeting with key lawmakers of both houses of the US Congress, Liu said the two nations' commitment to a long-standing, healthy and stable bilateral relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the shared expectations of the international community.
The two nations' shared interests far outweigh their differences, said Liu, adding that both countries will win if they work together, and lose if they are pitted against each other.
He added that China-US economic and trade ties are mutually beneficial in nature, thus the two sides need to view their trade issues in a comprehensive and objective manner, and properly deal with related problems based on mutual respect, equality and the win-win approach.
China attaches great importance to the role of the US Congress, and is ready to strengthen exchanges with the US legislature, Liu said.
The US lawmakers said that the United States is willing to maintain friendly relations with China and that the two nations should not fight a trade war despite having differences on some economic and trade issues.
They hoped that both sides can actively seek solutions that fit the interests of the two nations through consultations
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 17, 2018

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