BEIJING — China will air a celebration gala to mark International Children’s Day as well as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Young Pioneers (CYP) on Saturday.

The gala, produced by China Central Television (CCTV,) will feature a variety of performances including songs, dances, traditional arts and magic shows.

A number of prominent figures from different fields, such as Sun Yang, ace swimmer and Olympic gold medalist, and Liu Yang, the first female astronaut in China, will be present.

According to Xu Beibei, the gala’s director, patriotism and traditional culture will be featured prominently in the gala. Some of the performances will also feature elements of the 2022 Winter Olympics that will take place in China.

First founded in 1949 and led by the Communist Party of China, the CYP is a national mass organization for Chinese children aged six to 14 years, mostly primary and secondary school students.

The gala will be aired on TV and be available for viewers online at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

QINGDAO — The coastal city of Qingdao in East China’s Shandong province on Tuesday launched a bus line fully covered by 5G signals and wifi to the awe of citizens and tourists.

The next-generation mobile network was switched on for use on Line 468, which links several popular tourist destinations, including the city’s main bathing beach and Zhongshan Park, along its 12-km route.

Passengers can either access the signals using 5G phones or log onto the 5G wifi via non-5G phones, according to the city’s main bus operator, which launched the service together with telecommunication operator China Mobile and tech giant Huawei.

Reporters attending the experience bus tour said there was barely any loading time when watching any section of a high-definition online video on the bus.

A spokesman with the bus operator said they plan to open more 5G-covered bus routes in the future and use the speedy network to upgrade their bus operation to eventually realize self-driving buses.

Earlier this year, Chinese cities like Jinan and Chongqing tested a self-driving bus assisted by the 5G network, offering a glimpse into the technology’s future application in the transportation sector.

Tourists pose for a photo in front of the Potala Palace on May 9. [Photo by Palden Nyima/China Daily]

Travelers keen on visiting Tibet can now choose to pay after traveling, thanks to the launch of an online tourism service on Thursday.

The Tibet autonomous region launched the tourism campaign Travel First, Pay Second together with Shanghai-based Lvmama, an online travel service provider, according to a news conference in Lhasa on Thursday.

Dan Yang, the general manager of the Tibet Tourism Investment Group, said, “The Tibet tourism industry has undergone steadily rapid growth in the last few years, and we hope such optimized tourism service will accelerate the steps of turning the region into a world tourism destination.”

Tibet is the fifth region introducing such services after Shanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Ma Lei, the vice-president of Lvmama Group, said Tibet is enriched with astonishing natural landscapes and cultural resources and the travel model is expected to boost the development of the region’s tourism industry.

Shi Yuhui, the deputy head of the region’s tourism department, said the upgraded online tourism service will help to promote the region’s standardization of the tourism market.

“The travel first and pay second model will speed up the all-around promotion of the region’s tourism and the goal of building a world tourism destination.”

Wu Zhen

Wu Zhen, former deputy director of the China Food and Drug Administration, pleaded guilty to taking bribes of more than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) and abuse of power during a trial on Thursday.

Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan province adjourned the case and decided to announce the ruling another day.

Prosecutors accused Wu of taking advantage of several positions from 1996 to 2018, including director of the Jiangxi provincial drug supervision and administration bureau and deputy head of the former China Food and Drug Administration, to assist some entities and individuals in matters of drug approval and employment.

The CFDA was merged with some other government agencies to form the current State Administration for Market Regulation in the latest round of government reform last year.

Wu had illegally taken gifts and properties, either directly or through relatives, that were worth over 21.7 million yuan, prosecutors said.

During the period he served as deputy director of CFDA, Wu showed favoritism to his friends and abused his power, causing great losses to the interests of the country and people, according to prosecutors. “The circumstances are particularly serious and thus should be investigated for crimes of accepting bribes and abusing power,” a court release said, quoting prosecutors.

Wu, born in 1958 in Jiangxi province, was expelled from the Communist Party of China in February over serious violation of Party discipline and laws, the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission said in an earlier release.

He was put under investigation in August, which found him meddling with drug regulations, showing up in private clubs, banquets and other trips that might have affected the fair execution of his work, as well as trading power with money, the release said.

According to CCDI, Wu, who holds a Master’s degree, also held the post of secretary-general of Chinese Pharmacopoeia Commission from 2007 to 2011.

Separately, Zhao Zhengyong, former Party chief of Shaanxi province, was disqualified as a deputy to the 13th People’s Congress of Shaanxi province on Thursday.

The 68-year-old kicked off his career in 1968. He was appointed secretary of the Anhui provincial Political and Legal Affairs Commission in 2000. One year later, Zhao started to work in the same position in Shaanxi province, and he became the Party chief of the province in 2012.

On Jan 15, Zhao was placed under investigation by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission for suspected serious violations of Party disciplinary rules and laws.

Tourists heading to Tarbagatay prefecture in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region pose for a photo at the Shenyang North Railway Station on May 23. [Photo/Chinanews.com]

URUMQI – The railways in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region transported 780,400 passengers during the recently ended Dragon Boat Festival holiday, up 18.6 percent from last year.

According to Urumqi Railway Bureau under China Railway, the holiday transport peak lasted from June 4 to 9 in the region. A total of 154 temporary passenger trains were added to the transport system during that period of time.

Meanwhile, some trains were installed with extra carriages to meet the greater demand.

Early summer is the peak tourist season for Xinjiang. Local tourist authorities said the region received 3.84 million tourists during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday that ended on Sunday, a growth of 43.5 percent year on year.

Workers begin laying rails on Monday for the expected railway line connecting Beijing and Hebei province’s Xiongan New Area. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor’s Note: As the People’s Republic of China celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding on Oct 1, China Daily will feature a series of stories about socioeconomic development across the country. The following is the first of the series.

Li Dalong, 30, was excited when he heard that an express rail will be built between Beijing’s new airport and Xiongan New Area in North China’s Hebei province, where he has worked for about two years.

“Going back to Beijing will be more convenient and it’s like the capital and Xiongan form one whole city,” he said.

Li used to work in Beijing before he went to Xiongan in May, 2017.

He had obtained a registered permanent residence, or hukou, in the capital, which is treasured by many as it is hard to get and comes with rights to various public services.

However, he left the hukou behind to work in Xiongan, expecting a modern new city.

Xiongan New Area, set up in April 2017 and spanning three counties in Hebei’s Baoding about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing, entered construction stage this year.

It will be built into a national model of high-quality development and a new engine for the modern economic system, according to a 2018-2035 master plan for guiding the area’s development.

The construction of infrastructure is one of the first projects the area has started, for which Li came to work at as a technician of prefabricated buildings with CRCC Xiongan Construction Co, a construction company in Xiongan.

“The express rail is in planning and is aimed to provide convenience for residents in the new area to take flights in the capital,” Wang Dongfeng, secretary of the Communist Party of China Hebei Provincial Committee, said on Tuesday.

Wang made the remarks at a news conference held at the State Council Information Office, for introducing the development of Hebei after the founding of New China in 1949.

“The province has seen a big change over the past 70 years,” Wang said. Covering 189,000 square kilometers, Hebei has a population of 75 million. Almost five million were poverty-stricken people in past, while the current number of poor is 400,000, of which 83 percent will get out of poverty this year, according to Wang.

The provincial gross domestic product reached 3.6 trillion yuan ($521 billion) last year, 889 times its GDP in 1952.

The results were achieved through a series of measures and policies, including industrial upgrading, strengthening reform and opening-up, and adhering to green and innovative development, Wang said.

He added that Xiongan is one of the province’s current two wings, which are seen as development engines. Except for the construction of Xiongan, Hebei has developed in an integrated manner with Beijing and Tianjin, two big neighboring metropolises, in the past five years. It will also co-host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games with Beijing.

“With the national key projects going on in Hebei, the province is becoming a hot spot for investment from home and abroad,” Wang said.

Photo taken on Feb. 19, 2019 shows the night scenery at the Palace Museum in Beijing, capital of China. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – When Reginald Johnston, a British scholar, first walked into the Forbidden City in the spring of 1919, the vast walled enclosure in the heart of Beijing was “in the strictest sense ‘forbidden’ to all the world except those who had the entree.”

Now it holds the world’s busiest museum, receiving more than 17 million visitors every year.

In his memoir “Twilight in the Forbidden City,” Johnston describes a world of turmoil, disruption, banditry, famine and civil war.

A century later when the People’s Republic of China is to celebrate its 70th founding anniversary in October, the 599-year-old palace complex flourishes in the world’s second-largest economy and one of the largest tourist markets.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) holds talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 13, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet agreed on Saturday to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Bachelet is in Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for May 14 to 15.

Chile was the first South American country to establish diplomatic ties with China, as well as the first Latin American country to sign a free trade agreement with China, Xi said.

Being good friends and partners, the two countries should strengthen cooperation to make a good start of the comprehensive strategic partnership, he noted.

By utilizing dialogue mechanisms at various levels, the two countries should implement the joint action plan to consolidate the foundation for future bilateral ties.

Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Chile should promote two-way investment and step up cooperation on key projects in areas such as infrastructure construction, regional connectivity, clean energy and communications.

China is willing to strengthen coordination with Chile under the framework of APEC, to promote the construction of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

As Chile has just joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China and Chile should work together to improve infrastructure and connectivity in the region.

Latin America is a rising power in the global system with huge development potential, Xi said. China is willing to work with Chile to achieve win-win results between China and Latin American countries in the pursuit of a community of shared future.

For her part, Bachelet said China and Chile have broad common interests although they are far away from each other. The comprehensive strategic partnership has seen a sound momentum of development.

Chile is willing to deepen cooperation with China in areas such as politics, economy, investment, agriculture, energy and mining, environment, culture and tourism, she said.

The negotiation of an upgraded free trade agreement should be completed as soon as possible, she noted.

Governments at all levels should step up efforts to cut red tape for companies by combining separate business licenses into one, according to Premier Li Keqiang.

Integrating business certifications and licenses into one consolidated business license should be accomplished on schedule to reduce costs and develop an international and accommodating business environment, Li said in a note to a meeting held on Friday.

China will continue to promote entrepreneurship and innovation to develop new growth engines for sustainable and healthy economic and social development, Li added.

Governments should speed up implementation of the reform to ensure it will be finished by Oct 1, so that it can provide streamlined approval, better service and stronger supervision, according to State Councilor Wang Yong, who addressed the meeting.

The State Council urged a quicker pace of reform earlier this month.

Wang urged governments to cut unnecessary approval procedures and avoid repetition caused by submitting identical registration information.

Meanwhile, supervision of registration procedures will be strengthened, and integration of the internet with government services will be boosted to improve efficiency, Wang added.

Former vice-premier Qian Qichen, who was China’s foreign minister for a decade, died on Tuesday night in Beijing, according to a statement from the central authority released on Wednesday. He was 90.

Qian was born in 1928 in Tianjin. In 1942, he joined the Communist Party of China as a middle school student in Shanghai.

After studying in the former Soviet Union, he began his diplomatic career by working in the Chinese embassy in Moscow in 1955.

Qian later served as ambassador to Guinea and director-general of the foreign ministry’s Information Department.

He had a close relationship with the press. Early in his career, Qian worked at Shanghai’s Ta Kung Pao, which is said to be the oldest Chinese language newspaper still in operation in China. While serving as head of the Information Department, he proposed establishing a spokesman system and even acted as de facto first spokesman of the ministry.

Qian was vice-foreign minister from 1982 to 1988 and minister from 1988 to 1998. He was vice-premier of the State Council from 1993 and retired in 2003.

Shi Yinhong, director of the Center of US Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said Qian “made great contributions to China’s relations with the US, Russia and neighboring countries”.

“He was a very experienced diplomat. With a calm character, he was good at handling crises and was trusted by generations of Chinese leaders.”

Qian was the first Chinese foreign minister to attend an ASEAN event, the 1991 ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Malaysia. It was the first time China formally recognized ASEAN as an institution and laid the groundwork for future ASEAN-China cooperation.

Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said Qian managed to improve China’s relations with Western countries in the 1990s.

“He was also the first Chinese diplomat to publish a book-Ten Episodes in China’s Diplomacy-to reveal stories behind the scenes in his own perspective,” Ruan said.

In 1996, Qian was appointed director of the Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.