This Week in China (June 16-22): News, Culture and What Went Viral

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As a huge country with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, the largest in the world, China is full of eye-catching news on a daily basis. And this week is no exception. The following are some of the highlights of what has happened about China.

News: Xi’s Visit Elevates China’s Relationship with Serbia, Poland and Uzbekistan

0e8f420c-3632-11e6-b997-a8e2995ff455_1280x720Image Source: South Morning China Post

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Serbia, Poland and Uzbekistan this week has strengthened China’s relationship with these nations, with their ties being lifted to comprehensive strategic partnership, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency

On June 18, Xi held talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic in Belgrade, with both leaders showing their shared commitment to further deepening bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit“China and Serbia are all-weather friends and important cooperation partners,” Xi was quoted as saying during the talks. “Our two countries enjoy a profound traditional friendship. Our relations have stood the test of time and history and grown even stronger,” Xi added.

With an eye to pushing the bilateral cooperation to a new height, the two presidents agreed to focus on key areas and major projects, prioritizing cooperation in infrastructure construction, industrial capacity and agriculture.

Two days later, during his visit to Poland, Xi and his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda attended an arrival ceremony of a China Railway Express freight train, which signaled increasing railway links between the two countries. The freight train carried dozens of containers pulled into a cargo terminal in Warsaw, the Polish capital, on Monday afternoon after traveling over 12 days from China.

It was the first China-Europe freight train under the family brand China Railway Express. The trans-continent train service began in 2011 before starting to use the family brand earlier this month. On the same day, Xi called on China and Poland to build their partnership into a paradigm of cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Then on Tuesday, June 21, the Chinese president arrived in the ancient city of Bukhara in central-southern Uzbekistan, starting his state visit to this Central Asian country. Uzbekistan was the third and final stop of Xi’s three-nation tour. In the Uzbek capital city of Tashkent on Wednesday, he called for building a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful Silk Road while addressing the Uzbek Parliament.

Just like its ties with Serbia and Poland, China also upgraded its relationship with Uzbekistan to a comprehensive strategic partnership after talks between Xi and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov. The two leaders hailed the inauguration of the Qamchiq Tunnel in Uzbekistan, saying it is a major achievement of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The 19.2-kilometer railway tunnel is part of the Angren-Pap railway line that connects Tashkent and Namangan. Built by the China Railway Tunnel Group, the tunnel goes through Qurama Mountains and is the longest of its kind in Central Asia.

Culture: Shanghai Disneyland Opens in Rain

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The Shanghai Disneyland officially opened on Thursday, June 16, attracting thousands of Chinese and overseas visitors despite raining.

The $5.5 billion theme park, the Walt Disney Co’s sixth resort, is the largest foreign investment to date for the California-based company. China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang joined Disney CEO Bob Iger in cutting the grand opening’s red ribbon as the light rain was falling. He quipped, In Chinese culture, water is wealth. So what’s falling now is not rain. It’s the U.S. dollars and renminbi (the Chinese currency) that are falling. It means a great blessing.”

Wang’s appearance at the opening ceremony showed the Chinese government’s support for Disney’s investment in promoting tourism at a time of slowing economic growth. Wang and Iger read letters of congratulations from the Chinese and U.S. presidents, Xi Jinping and Barack Obama. This is one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Co.,Iger said at the ceremony.

Shanghai Disneyland is expected to become the world’s most-visited theme park, attracting at least 15 million and as many as 50 million guests a year, according to ABC News. By contrast, Walt Disney World had 19.3 million visitors in 2014.

According to the Shanghai Disneyland’s official website, the theme park features a great number of attractions, which are categorized into different sections such as “Adventure Isle,” “Fantasyland” and “Gardens of Imagination.” 

Social Media: Dog Owner Bites Pregnant Woman

A famous aphorism in journalism goes like this: a dog biting a man is not news, but a man biting a dog is. Maybe another aphorism along these lines should also be added in journalism: dog owner bites a man.

A news video reporting an incident where an overprotective owner of pet dogs bit a pregnant woman went viral in China several days ago. It shows the victim recalling the horrible experience while being interviewed at her bed in a hospital in Wuhan, capital city of China’s central province Hubei. 

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The woman, who was only identified by her last name Xue, was threatened by several pet dogs when she returned from an errand to the compound where her residence is located. She tried to drive them away as they were barking at her.

Xue, four-month pregnant, asked the owner of the dogs to stop them from barking so that she would not feel threatened. But the dog owner, also a lady, ignored her request. Inherently having a fear of dogs and afraid that these pet dogs might attack her, Xue tried to scare them away by kicking at them.

To her great shock, Xue said, the dog owner slapped her on her face and told her that the dogs were very expensive.

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Afraid that the dog owner would assault her again, Xue held the lady by the arm. But the dog owner bit her on her arm and hand.

According to the video, which has received more than 8,000 comments, Xue was being treated in the hospital and the incident had been reported to the authorities, which said that they would investigate the case and hold the dog owner accountable based on the investigation result.

Something Fun: 150 Women Practice Yoga on Terrifying Glass-Bottom Platform

2841_703070_233612Image Source: Sina

About 150 women practiced yoga on a terrifying glass sightseeing platform in Beijing on June 20 as part of the International Yoga Day celebrations that were held throughout the globe.

The 400-meter-high is located at the Shilinxia scenic spot in Pinggu District of Beijing. The International Yoga Day fell on June 21, when people in different parts of the world held yoga classes and group performances to mark the occasion.

The inaugural International Yoga Day was celebrated on June 21 last year with yoga fans in such countries as Malaysia, Australia and Thailand holding performances and classes.

The breathtaking observation deck, 416 square meters in size, opened to the public on May 1 this year and has attracted a large number of daring tourists.

Chinese media have claimed that the attraction is the largest glass-bottom viewing platform in the world. It protrudes 32.8 meters over the edge of the cliff face it’s set against, while in comparison, the glass-bottom observation deck at the Grand Canyon in the U.S. is only a little bit over 21 meters long.

Looking Ahead: Putin’s Visit to Beijing Expected to Strengthen China-Russia Strategic Ties

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China this coming Saturday, June 25 to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang

Meanwhile, another Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, revealed that the two leaders will plan the development direction and priority cooperation areas of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and they will sign important political documents and witness the inkling of a series of documents of pragmatic cooperation. 

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and both sides will hold events to mark the occasion, Hua said.

According to sources from Russia, more than 30 documents are expected to be signed during Putin’s visit. The Kremlin has more than 30 projects on the table, and the documents are currently being prepared, according to Russian Ambassador to Beijing Andrey Denisov.

A multibillion-dollar high-speed rail deal between China and Russia is also expected to be signed during the visit to Beijing. China has recently confirmed plans to provide a 400 billion rouble ($6.2 billion) loan to build a high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan.

The visit comes as Russia seeks to further advance ties with China to combat the effect of Western sanctions, while China is looking for Russia’s military support to counter U.S. involvement in the Asia-Pacific region over disputes in the East and South China Seas, South China Morning Post reported.

The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system by the United States in the Korean Peninsula would further push the two nations to coordinate on the military front, analysts said.

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