LANZHOU – Infrared cameras in a nature reserve located in Northwest China’s Gansu province captured nearly 30 images of leopards from January to the end of April.

Researchers from Longdong University recently collected videos and photos caught by 30 infrared cameras they set up at the Ziwuling nature reserve.

“Based on the size, hair color and patterns of leopards in these images, we conclude that there are about 10 leopards roaming in an area of 120 kilometers in the reserve,” said Zhou Tianlin, head of the college of life science and technology of Longdong University.

Two adult leopards were caught walking together, which is quite rare as the big cat usually walks alone, he added.

Leopards are under China’s highest national-level protection and are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

“The images show that there might be a leopard population in the reserve that is on the rise thanks to an improving ecological environment after years of efforts,” Zhou said.

Trucks deliver impounded bikes to a storage facility in Shanghai after authorities had them removed from the city’s streets. [Gao Erqiang / China Daily]

Discarded share bikes were disposed of as scrap iron in accordance with government regulations, an official with bike-share company Ofo said as reported by West China Metropolis Daily in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

Netizens recently revealed thousands of discarded share bicycles in mangled piles were at rest in a deserted factory in the city, waiting to sell at a price of 15 yuan ($2.1) per vehicle.

Workers from waste disposal company said the bikes will sell as scrap iron, but they didn’t know the price and have transported the vehicles over several days.

Most of the scrapped bicycles are from Ofo, and are commonly known as small yellow bicycles. Some 3,000 Ofo bicycles are being removed because the local urban management department plans to clean up the factory, a worker with the waste disposal company said.

An official with Ofo told West China Metropolis Daily it is a regular move for the company to dispose of damaged or broken bicycles. The crushed bicycles account for only a small number of Ofo bicycles in the streets of Chengdu, he said.

As scrapped bicycles are ubiquitous in the street and an eyesore, residents near the factory are pleased with the disposal.

An aerial view of the butterfly-shaped Guirui Theater at the Beijing Expo. Provide to China Daily

The upcoming Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, also known as the Beijing Expo, will exhibit some of the world’s most advanced technologies and latest gadgets, according to local officials.

The leading-edge technologies employed at the expo will include 5G technology, artificial intelligence and ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, also known as ETFE, a type of high-strength industrial plastic that can be used for construction.

While not all visitors to the Beijing Expo are familiar with the term ETFE, the material has been used in many landmark buildings in Beijing, including the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center.

This lightweight fabric, which is less than 0.22 millimeters thick and with a light transmittance of 20 percent to 40 percent, gives building structures a translucent coat. It is also extremely flexible and can stretch up to 400 percent before losing its elasticity.

Now, ETFE plastic technology is employed in the Beijing Expo’s performing arts center Guirui Theater.

Spanning 4,500 square meters, the center will stage nearly 2,500 events during the expo, including opening and closing ceremonies.

The center looks like a butterfly when viewed from above and its curved wings are made out of ETFE in six colors – crimson, dark green, orange, blue, red and green.

Liu Changbao, director of the performing arts center construction program, said that unlike the previous cases, the bright-colored skin of the center will not fade in the sun, rain or wind over time.

When the exhibit opens, the fifth generation of cellular technology, or 5G, will be available throughout all exhibition halls and some areas nearby.

Guo Ziliang, deputy director of the information department of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition Coordination Bureau, said, “it is the first time for us to apply the latest technology and we want visitors to enjoy the convenience built on technologies.”

In the 5G exhibition hall, visitors will be able to watch 8,000-pixel high-definition videos and learn about progress in self-driving vehicle technology, telemedicine, drone logistics and transportation, and other 5G network applications.

Visitors will also be able to download entire films in less than a second and play games streamed with minimal delay on their smartphones, enabled by 5G terminals.

Robots will serve at major pavilions, offering visitors information about the event, make coffee and do the cleaning.

“A robot barista can make one cup of coffee in just two minutes so that customers don’t have to wait long,” Guo said.

There will also be a fabulous virtual reality show taking place during the exhibition. It is inspired by Shanhaijing, or The Classic of Mountains and Seas, a Chinese fable focusing on geography and myths.

As night falls, visitors will find themselves in a different world of fantasy and be able to interact with mythical flowers and animals in the fable, which appear to come to life and move around the exhibition halls, with the aid of the latest technologies, including augmented reality.

“One of the highlights of the exhibition, the show will immerse people in a virtual world,” Guo said. “It will be played automatically from 7 pm to 9 pm in the natural ecological exhibition area near Gate Five.”

“The Beijing Expo will show the world our nation’s latest achievements in technological innovation and key trends over the years,” Guo added.

A panoramic sunrise view of the Bund along the Huangpu River in Puxi and the Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area on Aug 20, 2018. [PhotoIC]

Tax cuts and fees reduction in Shanghai are expected to top 100 billion yuan ($14.9 billion) this year as the local government implements measures to relieve corporate burdens, Shanghai mayor Ying Yong said on Wednesday.

While this move would reduce municipal fiscal income by at least 10 percentage points, it would further spur economic growth and revitalize the private sector, Ying told a media briefing.

Enterprises in Shanghai have benefited from a value-added tax reform which has resulted in cost savings worth 324.8 billion yuan between 2012 to 2017.

The reduction in taxes and fees was worth over 50 billion yuan in last year alone.

These efforts are in line with the large-scale tax reduction decision made by the central government in March. Under the new policy, manufacturing enterprises stand to benefit from a tax cut from the current 16 percent to 13 percent. Rates for the transportation and construction sectors have also been lowered from 10 percent to 9 percent.

The national copyright watchdog will launch a special campaign to further regulate image copyrights after Visual China Group-the country’s leading stock image and media footage provider-came under fire over false copyright claims.

“The administration attaches great importance to the protection of image copyrights and safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of copyright owners,” the National Copyright Administration said in a statement on Friday.

“However, companies must improve the copyright management mechanism and handle copyrights according to law, not abusing them,” it said.

The statement addresses an incident in which Visual China Group was widely criticized for falsely watermarking images for commercial use, including the first image of a black hole and China’s national flag and national emblem.

Cyberspace administrators in Tianjin, where the company is based, have started an investigation and ordered the company to immediately halt any violations.

The scandal came to light when netizens discovered that the first image of a black hole, unveiled on Wednesday, was quickly added to Visual China’s stock with a copyright claim, meaning anyone using the image without paying Visual China would be infringing on the copyright.

The company issued an statement on Thursday afternoon in response to questions about the copyright claim. It said the image of the black hole belongs to the European Southern Observatory, and it had received authorization for use but not for commercial purposes. The observatory is an intergovernmental organization based in Germany.

The European Southern Observatory, responding to questions from the National Business Daily in an email, said Visual China never contacted it for any purpose regarding the image.

It said Visual China did not need to ask for authorization to reproduce the image provided the credit was clear and visible, but “the behavior of using the so-called authorization as a copyright to sell the image in China and profit from it is illegal”.

After that, the Communist Youth League of China questioned the company in a micro blog on Thursday as to why images of China’s national flag and national emblem were also watermarked with Visual China’s copyright, which sparked a public outcry.

The official accounts of many large companies, including Baidu, Phoenix News Media, major retailer Suning and Qihoo 360, an internet security company, also left comments about having found their logos on Visual China with a copyright claim.

On Thursday evening, Visual China responded again, saying that the images of national flags and national emblems were provided by contracted contributors, and conceding that the platform had failed to strictly perform its duties of review and management. The company said it had withdrawn the improperly posted images and would strengthen review of its practices in accordance with law.

On Thursday night, the cyberspace administration in Tianjin summoned senior executives of Visual China, and ordered the company to review all historical stock and take measures to eliminate improper listings.

“The company must enhance content review management, as well as educate its editorial staff to prevent similar problems from happening again,” the administration said in a release.

An investigation team was set up and began conducting a field inspection at Visual China on Friday in matters of stock information, log retention, information review, information security management, contingency plans and technical support.

Around 4 am on Friday, Visual China issued an apology for its weak management. “We have withdrawn all the inappropriate images and voluntarily suspended the website for further rectification according to law. We will further strengthen self-discipline and improve the quality of content review,” it said.

The shares of the company, founded in 2000 and listed on China’s A-share market in 2014, dropped by the maximum 10 percent allowed on Friday.

Another stock photo company, Quanjing Image, has also shut down its website after it was found to be selling portraits of former national political leaders as well as images of national flags and national emblems.

The copyright issue led to discussions on social media. Many people said it’s important to protect image copyrights. Some also said such protections should not be abused.

Pan Juanjuan, an intellectual property lawyer from DeHeng Law Offices in Shanghai, said the existence of stock image operators is good for authors and creators because they help reduce transaction costs and save the creators the trouble of authorizing and protecting their work.

She said she thinks profiting from selling authorizations and enforcing copyrights is a proper way to do business, though problems can arise if infringements lawsuits are wrongfully filed.

“Some platforms and companies file a lawsuit for each image improperly used by a violator. That remains controversial, and many think it is a waste of judicial resources,” she said.

Chen Jing, an intellectual property rights lawyer from the Commerce Finance Law Office in Beijing, said platforms for stock images should ensure that the images they obtain carry copyrights before requiring authorization for use.

“If the work is not protected by copyright laws, such as with publicly shared resources or if its creator willingly gives up the copyright, then it is illegal for image providers to claim a copyright of their own and sue others for infringement,” she said.

The six senior cyclists pose for a photo in Fangchenggang city, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Jan 15, the day before their departure. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Every time Han Qiming is asked about his bike journeys, he feels proud and can’t stop telling interesting stories.

Han, 71, a retired engineer from Harbin, capital city of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, finished an approximately 6,000-kilometer bicycling journey through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos together with five fellow travelers two weeks ago.

Starting from the Chinese-Vietnamese border port of Dongxing in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the six cyclists, aged from 55-71 and hailing from Harbin, finished their journey in 74 days.

Visitors gather around the booth of Sensor Technology during the first Digital China Summit. [photo/zgc.gov.cn]

BEIJING — China will hold the second summit on digital development from May 6 to 8 in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, according to a State Council Information Office press conference held Tuesday.

The second Digital China Summit aims to serve as a platform for issuing China’s policies on IT development, displaying the achievements of e-government and the digital economy and the exchange of theoretical and practical experiences in building a digital China, said Yang Xiaowei, deputy head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, at the press conference.

Themed “New Dynamics, New Development, New Achievements Empowered by Information,” the summit mainly consists of forums, an exhibition on digital China and an innovation contest, Yang said.

The event is co-organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Fujian provincial government.

Organizers plan to invite around 1,500 guests to the summit. “So far, over 40 academicians with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering and guests from leading companies in the digital field have confirmed to take part in the summit,” said Zhang Zhinan, executive vice governor of Fujian.

Zhang said intelligent technologies and equipment such as facial and voice recognition, facial payments, driverless cars and driverless vendor vehicles will be used at the event, with 5G signals fully covering the major venues.

Several ministries and commissions, including the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the National Health Commission, will launch a series of policies on industrial informatization and digital economic development at the event.

This year’s summit also aims to serve as a platform for people at home and abroad to cooperate and contribute to digital China, making the event more international.

Organizers will invite representatives of international organizations, multi-national companies, foreign-invested enterprises in China and think-tanks to the summit. Government officials from countries along the Belt and Road will also take part in the event.

Zhang also said around 400 projects on the digital economy were agreed upon during last year’s summit, with a total investment of around 300 billion yuan ($44.7 billion), and nearly 200 of them have begun construction.

By the end of 2018, the scale of China’s digital economy reached 31 trillion yuan, accounting for one-third of the national GDP. The country’s total length of optical cables reached 43.58 million km, and the number of users of 4G networks hit 1.17 billion.

A booming digital economy also significantly contributed to domestic consumption, employment, industrial transformation and upgrading, and streamlining of administration and delegating powers to the lower-level government, said Wu Hao from the NDRC at the press conference.

In Fujian Province, optical networks and 4G signals have fully covered urban and rural areas and all administrative villages on land have access to optical fibers, said Zhang.

In addition, the province has also established online platforms to streamline administrative approvals and facilitate public services. Currently, over 90 percent of administrative approvals at the provincial, municipal and county levels can be handled online.

Fuzhou, where the first summit was held, has witnessed bourgeoning development of the digital economy in the past year, attracting famous businesses such as Alibaba to invest in the city and nurturing a batch of high-quality digital companies, said Wang Ning, Party chief of Fuzhou, at the press conference.

Tourists visit “Singing Stones”, an artistic community combining homestay hotels, handicraft workshops and small restaurants, in Beigang village, Pingtan county, Fujian province, in December.ZHANG BIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

A tourism boom is raising living standards for residents of a granite outcrop off the coast of Southeast China. Zhang Yi reports from Pingtan, Fujian provinces.

“The island grows no grass, but stones. Sand is everywhere. Houses look like forts.”

This ancient folk saying from Pingtan, an island county in Fujian province, bears witness to the area’s desolate state in days gone by.

Haitan, the largest of the 126 islands that form the county, which lies off Fujian’s coast, is a granite outcrop. In the past, local fishermen used the stone to build sturdy homes that would keep the strong winds at bay, forming several unique stone house complexes in the process.

Now, the old saying that speaks of the island as a land of stone is being turned on its head as locals and newcomers inject fresh vitality into the ancient houses.

Beigang, or “North Harbor”, village lies in a bay in the northeast of Haitan, China’s fifth-largest island. Rows of gray stone houses stand on a small hill facing the sea, with their backs nestled against the slopes of a heavily forested mountain.

The two-story houses are made from large stones – some rectangular, others irregular – and have very small windows. Rocks have been placed on each of the red roof tiles to stop the wind from blowing them away.

The formerly abandoned buildings have been upgraded into homestay hotels, handicraft workshops and small restaurants that cater for visitors who come to experience the island’s history and lifestyle.

Visitors to a small artistic community called “Singing Stones” can hear the melodies created by people hitting different-sized stones with hammers, causing them to produce musical notes.

The stones are laid out on a wooden table in front of the homestay. Each stone is marked with a musical note and a score has been pinned to the back of the table so visitors can play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

GUANGZHOU — Zhuhai, a city in south China’s Guangdong province, will put into effect trailblazing regulations guiding the development of uninhabited islands.

The two regulations, hailed as the first local-level legislations on the Chinese mainland to stipulate basic procedures for developing an uninhabited island, will come into effect Wednesday.

Zhuhai is one of the first four special economic zones (SEZs) set up in 1980, with the mission to spearhead China’s reform and opening-up drive. The other three SEZs are Shenzhen, Xiamen, Shantou. The four SEZs were all granted with legislative power in 1990s, aiming at boosting the development.

The city’s natural resources bureau said the regulations were not meant to facilitate private purchase of islands, but focus on environmental conservation, tourism and other development for the public interest.

An official with the city’s legislature also told Xinhua the regulations will offer legal guidance to future island development by specifying supervisors and application procedures.

Known as “the city of a hundred islands,” Zhuhai has 262 islands and islets, only 10 of which have permanent residents.

Rescuers search for missing peopleafter a freight train derails in Gongyi, Central China’s Henan province on April 10. [Photo/screenshot of CCTV news]

At least four people were killed and two remained missing after a freight train owned by China’s largest State-owned aluminum producer flew off the rails in Gongyi, Central China’s Henan province, on Wednesday night, according to local authorities.

The train, which belongs to the Aluminum Corporation of China Limited, damaged a village house after it derailed and overturned. Four crew members died in the crash and two villagers living near the rail line went missing.

The search and rescue mission is still underway, according to the city’s publicity department on Thursday.

The 22-kilometer railway was constructed in the 1950s to transport aluminum ore. There are currently three trains setting off from Gongyi to the corporation on a daily basis, the department said.

The accident took place at a continuous downhill area where there is an approximately 22-meter decrease in altitude per kilometer. And the train weighs over 2,350 tons in total, with 25 cars each loaded with 60 tons of aluminum ore, it said.

The first 13 cars were distorted and piled up with a large amount of aluminum ore after colliding with a house, which left limited room and made it difficult for the rescue team to find people still unaccounted for, it said, adding that it now only allowed one truck crane to clean the debris.

The rescuers are still searching for the two missing people with the help of rescue dogs and life detectors. More than 200 people, including public security officers, emergency rescue workers and medical staff, have taken part in the rescue effort. The local government mobilized two truck cranes and six ambulances to join the mission.

The incident occurred at 10 pm on Wednesday. It was so far not clear what caused the train to leave its tracks. And the corporation suspended the operation of all trains on the line.