Simandou iron ore project sees new progress with conditions for investment met

Conditions have now been satisfied for Rio Tinto to invest in the development of the Simandou high-grade ore deposit in Guinea, including the completion of the necessary regulatory approvals from both the Guinean and Chinese sides, the Anglo-Australian mining company said in a press release on Tuesday, marking another step toward production at the world's largest undeveloped iron ore mine. 

The project is seen as strategically crucial for industry players, particularly Chinese companies, as it will enable China to diversify its supply sources instead of overly depending on any single iron ore supplier. It will also help to enhance China's industrial bargaining power on the global stage, which currently remains weak despite its significant role as a key buyer in the global market.

Following the recent approval by the board of Simfer – with Aluminum Corp of China and Rio Tinto Group being the joint shareholders – Simfer can now invest in and fund its share of co-developed rail and port infrastructure in partnership with Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS), which is backed by Singaporean and Chinese companies, as well as with China Baowu Group (Baowu) and the Guinean government, according to the company.

More than 600 kilometers of new multi-use trans-Guinean railway together with port facilities will allow the export of up to 120 million tons per year of mined iron ore by Simfer and WCS from their respective Simandou mining concessions in the southeast of the country, Rio Tinto said, noting that together, “this will be the largest greenfield integrated mine and infrastructure investment in Africa.”

Simandou's subsoils contain the world's largest untapped reserves of high-grade iron ore, estimated at over 2 billion tons.

First production from the Simfer mine is expected in 2025, ramping up over 30 months to an annualized capacity of 60 million tons per year, according to Rio Tino.

Simfer's capital funding requirement for the Simandou project as a whole is estimated to be approximately $11.6 billion, of which Rio Tinto's share is approximately $6.2 billion.

The project was temporarily halted by the government of Guinea in July 2022 due to various factors, including infrastructure issues. However, through collaborative efforts from various parties, the Simandou iron ore project resumed in March 2023. 

Tuesday’s announcement by Rio Tinto came roughly a month after WCS and Baowu officially completed the equity transfer for the Simandou project, according to the official WeChat account of Winning International Group. 

On May 30, the Guinean government approved Baowu's investment in the Simandou iron ore project and issued a presidential decree to that effect. 

On June 19, WCS and Baowu completed the establishment of joint venture boards for the mining, railway, and port projects, along with appointing directors and executives and finalizing equity transfers. Baowu also made its initial investment, officially becoming a shareholder in the Simandou project.

Exclusive: More evidence points to connection between over 100 human skulls found in Tokyo and infamous Unit 731's wartime experiments

"If the discovery seemed like the opening scene of a murder mystery, it is one that Japan prefers to leave unsolved," the New York Times once commented on the startling and frightening discovery in Tokyo in 1989 of more than 100 human skull suspected of being linked to the Imperial Japanese Army's infamous Unit 731.

Thirty-five years have passed, but whence the skulls came from remains a mystery that Japanese authorities still appear reluctant to solve.

But more and more evidence is pointing to Unit 731, which is notorious for engaging in lethal human experimentation and biological weapons manufacturing during the Chinese people's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), a Japanese non-governmental organization established the year after the skulls were found revealed to the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

Dark history

The discovery of the remains can be traced back 35 years. On July 22, 1989, a large number of human bones were discovered at a construction site at the National Institute of Health and Infectious Diseases (now the National Institute of Infectious Diseases) in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. At thet time, the police identified that several of the remains had been buried for over 20 years.

The site where the bones were found was the former location of the Japanese army medical school. After the September 18 Incident that marked the start of Japan's invasion of China in 1931, army doctor Shiro Ishii established a research laboratory within the school's Epidemic Prevention Department. Soon after, the Epidemic Prevention and Water Supply Department of the Imperial Japanese Army, also known as Unit 731, was established and based in Harbin, Northeast China, which was then called Manchuria, for the development of biological weapons. The Japanese army medical school served as the headquarters of the unit.

As the burial site was located north of the original epidemic prevention laboratory, the Shinjuku district government said that the bones may belong to "the victims of live human experiments conducted by Unit 731 in Manchuria."

Residents of Shinjuku requested that Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirm the identities of the deceased, but their request was denied. The ministry then asked Shinjuku to cremate and bury the remains, but Shinjuku refused. Suspicions of medical crimes during wartime arose, prompting Shinjuku to promise an investigation.

In 1991, anthropologist Hajime Sakura, a retired director of the National Science Museum, agreed to examine the bones, revealing evidence of artificial processing and various injuries.

According to investigation and identification released in 1992, traces were discovered of artificial processing such as drilling, sawing, and cutting on multiple skulls, some of which resemble trepanation procedures for neurosurgery or mastoidectomy. Traces of incisions, puncture wounds, and gunshot wounds were also found. Additionally, there were severed limbs bones, some of which appear to have been fixed with formalin, and others that seem to have been dried specimens of exposed bones.

Sakura clearly stated in a press conference that "these bones are related to the war."

However, over the past few decades, Japanese authorities have obstructed all parties from uncovering the truth, or blatantly lied in an attempt to cover up the truth.

New evidence

Now by deciphering the records of recently disclosed military medical school personnel, the Japanese non-government organization - the Association Demanding Investigation of Human Bones Discovered from the Site of the Army Medical College - aims to reveal the connection between the human remains and Unit 731.

"The discovered human bones have long been suspected of being related to Unit 731, and with the disclosure of the new material, those suspicions have only grown stronger," Yasusi Torii, a member of the association, said in an e-email sent to the Global Times last week.

"The new material" Torii refereed to are the testimonies and survey responses of individuals associated with a former Japanese army medical school from 30 years ago but were disclosed by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare just recently.

According to the non-government organization, these records contain firsthand experiences that were not included in the ministry's previous report.

"By deciphering the disclosed records of those affiliated with the Japanese army medical school, we aim to shed light on the relationship between the human remains and Unit 731," the association said in a statement announcing an event on July 20 to mark the 35th anniversary of the discovery of the skulls.

According to the exclusive reply to the Global Times by Kazuyuki Kawamura, representative of the non-government organization, the investigation report from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, quotes one person affiliated with the school as saying, "In the summer of Showa 15 (1940), I remember receiving a formalin-preserved human head in a drum can from Harbin."

However, based on the disclosed material, the actual statement was "In the summer of Showa XX, a formalin-preserved human head in a drum can was delivered from Harbin, and we were forced to participate in the extraction. I remember I was vomiting."

It was revealed that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare had omitted the respondents' experiences. From this description, it is reasonable to assume that it was sent from Unit 731 in Harbin, Kawamura told the Global Times.

"We plan to present reports like this at the meeting scheduled for July 20," Kawamura noted.

Never give up

Since its founding, the Japanese association has steadfastly dedicated itself to uncovering the truth.

"We are determined to investigate the truth behind the human bones discovered in Shinjuku and, if possible, identify the remains and return them to the families of the deceased," Kawamura said.

In fact, evidence of Unit 731's bacteriological warfare and numerous victims and their families have been discovered in various locations such as the Heilongjiang, Zhejiang, and Hunan provinces in China. If the identities of the remains unearthed in Shinjuku are confirmed, they will serve as concrete evidence of war crimes committed by Japan.

Xi meets PMs of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu; visits deepen bilateral ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Jeremiah Manele and Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu Charlot Salwai in Beijing on Friday.

During the meeting with Manele, Xi said that China is ready to enhance strategic communication with the Solomon Islands to firmly support each other in safeguarding core interests and addressing major concerns, enhance the synergy between the Belt and Road cooperation and the development strategy of the Solomon Islands.

China's friendly cooperation with the Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island countries is a sincere effort to assist these island nations in achieving development, falls within the framework of South-South cooperation, and is part of the common development of the Global South, without targeting any third party or seeking any selfish gain, he said.
When meeting with Salwai, Xi said China will continue to provide economic and technical assistance to Vanuatu without attaching any political conditions, to help it achieve development and prosperity.

Xi emphasized that China is committed to equality among all countries, big or small, and adheres to the principle of combining justice with interests while prioritizing justice. China does not seek major-power competition or geopolitical spheres of influence. It does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries or force them to take sides.

The visits of the two leaders from the Pacific Island countries (PICs) not only deepened the relations between China and the two PICs, but also paved the way for enhanced cooperation that will benefit both sides in various aspects, as well as contributing to regional peace and stability. Unlike some Western countries, China's cooperation with the PICs is based on mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, without targeting any third party or attaching any political conditions, analysts said.

The visits of the leaders of the two PICs demonstrate that China's cooperation with them will be more comprehensive, with the goal of enhanced exchanges to promote mutual development and regional stability and prosperity, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday.

"China has been fostering strong and mutually beneficial cooperation relations with the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and China's assistance to the area, including infrastructure, has made a significant contribution to promoting the economic development of these nations," said Yu Lei, a professor at the Department of International Politics and Economics at Shandong University.

Yu noted that in the wake of the pandemic, the PICs are tasked with expediting economic recovery and growth, while also addressing local employment needs and fostering a conducive environment for economic progress by enhancing local infrastructure development, Yu told the Global Times on Friday.

China is a very important provider of infrastructure and public goods in the Pacific Island region, which has been recognized and praised by the PICs, as they hope to promote the development of local infrastructure through mutually beneficial cooperation with China, Yu said.

The relations between China and the PICs serve as a model for building more mutually beneficial relations among the Global South, and the deep-level cooperation and exchanges will be of great significance to safeguarding the sovereignty and development interests of respective countries and achieving more widespread regional prosperity, Li said.

However, some Western countries have been distorting China's relations and the win-win practical cooperation with the PICs. For example, VOA said on Monday that the two prime ministers' visits came as China is "increasingly competing for influence in the region" with Australia, the US and others. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation also reported on July 4 that some are "questioning the motivations behind China's large infrastructure aid projects in the Pacific region."

Chinese experts refuted such claims, emphasizing that China's support for the PICs is based on local needs, and that China consistently upholds the principles of mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

The cooperation between China and the PICs is focused on mutual benefit and not aimed at any third party, Yu said, adding that the PICs also believe in their right to make independent decisions. Given that they hope to learn from China's successful experiences in poverty alleviation, employment enhancement, and improving living standards, the PICs possess a strong desire and expectation to deepen economic cooperation and other areas with China, Yu noted.

Echoing his words, Zhou Fangyin, a professor at the Guangdong Research Institute for International Strategies, told the Global Times that cooperation between China and PICs in terms of economy and infrastructure is universal and comprehensive, and based on mutually beneficial relations. In stark contrast, the approaches of the US are driven by geopolitical competition, often leading to potential interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

China's approach to international cooperation stands out for its respect for the right of PICs to independently choose their partners for cooperation, whereas the US-led West will inevitably face resistance and opposition from the PICs for not respecting their sovereignty as well as their right to choose their own development path, analysts said.

US youth exchange delegation explores high-tech innovations, strengthens exchanges with students in Shanghai

The US youth exchange delegation started their journey in Shanghai after visiting other Chinese cities such as Beijing and Fuzhou. They are participating in various activities, including experiencing the unique culture of each city, to strengthen communication and friendship with locals.

The "Shared Journey of Friendship" US Youth Exchange Delegation consists of around 190 teachers and students from 14 schools in seven states across the US. They have visited Beijing, Shijiazhuang, North China’s Hebei Province, Fuzhou, East China’s Fujian Province, and Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, interacting with local Chinese students, and feeling the modern pulse of the country. They then continued their journey in Shanghai.

On Thursday, some of them visited a high-tech company called VeriSilicon in Pudong New Area of Shanghai to explore high-tech innovations such as VR. In the afternoon, they had interactive activities with Chinese students at the High School affiliated with Fudan University. The welcome ceremony began with a performance of Wind of Provence by the Chinese student brass band, followed by group activities to help everyone get acquainted.

The activities at the Chinese high school included technology experiments, Chinese sports, and fun games. Students from both countries worked together on robotics programs, constructing house models, creating calligraphy works, and making soy milk. They also experienced Chinese martial arts and participated in fun sports.

During an interactive session, some students from China and the US were grouped together to build a model house. They worked together to construct the model and learn from each other's different perspectives and ideas. Kayley Gallagher told the Global Times on Thursday that it was her first time building an architectural structure like this. “I think we really did a great job. I’m very happy with the product we produced. It’s pretty cool,” Gallagher said.

“We want to show our guests from the US the culture of China, and provide them with Chinese hospitality when they visit. We also hope to experience different cultures,” Ma Jingyu, a student from the High School affiliated with Fudan University and also one of the members in the group that built the house model, told the Global Times on Thursday. The theme of this program is building dreams together, and deepening friendship, said Ma.
Through the interactive activities, many participants have formed new friendships with each other and exchanged contact information, such as e-mail addresses, to stay in touch and continue building their relationships. Sakina Cotton from the US youth exchange delegation said that they had a lot of fun today and made new Chinese friends here.

After traveling to several cities in China, Cotton said that she has noticed the different cultures that are specific to each city, especially the dialects. "That was interesting, and the types of food that people eat, the pieces of history, and architecture that are still preserved are different. "

OpenAI's cut of China's access to its API service would 'push domestic developers to catch up vigorously'

US tech firm OpenAI has restricted access to its artificial intelligence (AI) models through its application programming interface (API) service in China since Tuesday.

The Global Times interviewed several Chinese AI developers and users, who generally agreed that the ban was not anticipated to have a significant impact on the domestic industry as OpenAI's products were not officially available in China anyway. In fact, some believed that this restriction will motivate Chinese developers to redouble their efforts to compete in the AI development and application sector.

What implications does this ban have for Chinese AI developers on a more granular level? And what is the actual gap between China and the US in terms of AI development? How should the two AI giants lead the world in AI developing and governance?

The other boot drops

API refers to interface that allows external access, which means that third-party developers can integrate ChatGPT's capabilities into their applications, building their own AI software. In March 2023, OpenAI announced the opening of the API, allowing third-party developers to integrate ChatGPT into their applications and services through an API.

The Global Times perused the OpenAI website on Tuesday and found that the company had published a list of 188 countries and regions where its API service is officially available, excluding the Chinese mainland, China's Hong Kong, or Macao regions.

"Accessing or offering access to our services outside of the countries and territories listed below may result in your account being blocked or suspended," OpenAI said on its website.

According to media reports, there were two main channels for developers to access OpenAI's products in China: By connecting to OpenAI's official API service or by connecting to Microsoft's Azure services.

Azure is reportedly the only legal way to access OpenAI products and services in China. In a report by US-based news portal on Monday, a Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying that Microsoft will maintain its Azure OpenAI Service offerings in China, and will continue to provide access to eligible customers in the country via models deployed in regions outside of China.

OpenAI's suspension may be a result of several factors, according to analysts.

First, legal compliance must have been taken into account as of June 21, as just a few days before OpenAI made the move, the US Department of the Treasury issued draft rules to ban or require notification of certain investments in AI and other technology sectors in China that could threaten US national security.

At the same time, China has also been enhancing the implementation of laws and regulations on cybersecurity and data security law. Requirements for cross-border data transmission and processing have been raised, making OpenAI faces more complex compliance procedures and high costs in the Chinese market.

In addition, the need to train GPT-5 and a shortage of computing power may also be part of the reason as some industry insiders told the media that they had been receiving shorter responses from ChatGPT recently.

Meanwhile, the move is also believed to help OpenAI to crack down on companies that "package" OpenAI technology as their own product, driving out companies without core technology and competitive strength from the market.

Chinese industry insiders pointed out that most Chinese companies will suffer little from this time's service suspension. They will either transfer to domestic large models, or purchase OpenAI's services via Microsoft or other providers outside China. In the long run, this move may be good to China's independent development of large models and self-reliance.

Chinese domestic large model developers have been ready to take customers from OpenAI. Companies like Moonshot, Zhipu AI, Baidu, Alibaba, Zero One Wanwu, and other large model manufacturers, took immediate action to release their "relocation plan" for OpenAI API users.

At the exhibition during the World AI Conference (WAIC) held between June 4 and June 7 in Shanghai, the Global Times noted that various large model manufacturers in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong are now providing relocation services

Chinese large model manufacturers are also ready to "go global." A fund manager in Beijing told that domestic large model developers are striving to catch up with the US. If these developers have plans to explore overseas markets, they can set up branches in countries and regions where OpenAI is legally available.
The true gap

But OpenAI's move did sound an alarm for Chinese large model developers to reflect on the gap between them and their US competitors.

Take generative AI, one of the most widely used and the most widely known field of today's AI development, as an example.

Both the US and China are leaders in the generative AI field. But the US does better in cutting-edge and underlying technology while China has certain advantages in industrial application and service design, Ni Kaomeng, initiator of the China AIGC (AI-generated content) Industrial Alliance, a nationwide civil group of China's AIGC industry insiders, told the Global Times.

Generative AI refers to AI systems that are capable of creating new content, such as images, text, or music, based on patterns and data they have been trained on.

At the just-concluded WAIC, the Global Times saw many Chinese enterprises showcasing their newly developed generative-AI tools, such as various interesting text-to-video applications.

Some leading domestic developers told the Global Times that their products have reached, if not exceeded, the level of Sora, currently the world's most famous cutting-edge text-to-video model by OpenAI.

Kling, for instance, is "the world's first text-to-video model with Sora-level abilities that has been made available to the public," its R&D team from Chinese tech company Kuaishou told the Global Times. "Sora, by contrast, remains inaccessible to ordinary users."

Text-to-video is a super sunrise industry globally. There will be a 100-fold increase in the number of AI-generated videos in two years, predicted Song Donghuan, founder of StoryStorm, one of China's earliest AI-generated video communities.

Song said that some of the AI-generated video software or mobile applications popular in overseas markets, such as PixVerse and NeverEnds, are actually products by Chinese companies, "although many people don't know it."

As for Chinese developers, it is no exaggeration to say that Chinese enterprises "account for half of the overseas AI-generated video market," Ni said.

But still, none of these Chinese products can be as epoch-making as Sora.

Sora allows global developers to see the potential of the diffusion transformers. As a product, it can generate stable long videos with good semantic consistency. Video generative products in China have made great progress this year, but few of them can be compared with Sora in terms of long and stable video generation and semantic understanding, Hong Wenyi, a doctoral student at the School of Software, Tsinghua University, told the Global Times during the WAIC.

Luckily, China's diverse application scenarios provide a good environment for the development of AI technology. AI self-driving technology is another typical example apart from generative AI, as mushrooming domestic automobile companies are cooperating with tech firms to constantly introduce new products to the booming market.

Many Chinese auto brands displayed their recently launched self-driving vehicles at this year's WAIC. Many vehicles are found to have been the results of technological collaboration between China and other countries, particularly the US.

One of the exhibited vehicles is equipped with a Chinese self-developed autonomous driving platform and US processor chips, said the exhibitor. "In today's globalized world, it is quite normal that different parts of tech products come from various countries," he told the Global Times.

Generally, China follows the path of the US in terms of the underlying technology of autonomous driving, but China has a vast market, diverse and complex road conditions, and Chinese developers and enterprises are enthusiastic about the field, an industry insider told the Global Times.

"I'm more optimistic with China's AI self-driving development in the long run," he concluded.

Catch up and cooperate

To catch up with the US, Chinese experts and entrepreneurs call for more investment in basic research and talent cultivation.

During the WAIC, iFLYTEK showcased the latest iFLYTEK Starfire V4.0 large model launched at the end of June. According to company, iFlytek Starfire V4.0 is fully benchmarked against GPT-4 Turbo. However, GPT-4 Turbo was released in November 2023, nearly 9 months ago, not to mention that OpenAI introduced GPT-4o in May, further enhancing the model's capabilities.

"We are confident in quickly benchmarking various sizes of large models in the market. But we must admit the gap while recognizing our own advantages. We need to establish a mechanism for continuous development for national computing power construction and data resource aggregation in order to develop further with a more scientific, rational, and long-term mindset," iFlytek chairman Liu Qingfeng told media during the WAIC.

China must have a universal benchmark large model comparable to the US, otherwise the long-term development potential and core competitiveness of China in the era of general AI will be hindered, Liu noted. "With the support of a universal base large model, vertical industry large models, and small models in various application scenarios can all flourish."

In April, Tsinghua University's School of Artificial Intelligence was officially established with Chinese Turing Award winner Andrew Chi-Chih Yao serving as the first dean.

According to Yao, the goal of the school is to train 100 doctoral students annually in the near future.

"China now lacks top talents in AI frontier innovation research. While there are many good universities in China that can cultivate excellent talents, few of the Chinese doctoral students can be compared with their counterparts in top US universities. This makes China have to import foreign-trained university teachers every year, which is not a sustainable situation. In the future, China must be able to cultivate such talents domestically," Yao noted during the WAIC.

Beyond the gap and competition between the US and China - two leading countries in the field of AI to cooperate - there are seemingly more urgent tasks for the two leaders to cooperate to promote AI governance while facing the risks brought about by booming AI technologies.

Xue Lan, dean of Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University, said during the conference that the problem lies in an infrastructure gap, with 2.5 billion people worldwide still lacking access to the internet. "These are challenges that require global cooperation to address, as they not only hinder global development but also have a significant impact on global governance," Xue said.

"The governance and development of AI have reached a critical 'crossroads,' especially with the unprecedented challenges brought about by generative AI," Xue said during the conference.

"It is quite challenging to balance competition and cooperation between China and the US. However, I believe it is important to at least consider how to create a safe space for technology professionals and experts to collaborate without fear, and freely discuss and solve technical issues. Without this, many of the things we talk about today would be impossible to achieve," Xue said.

China opens ten nuclear technology research facilities to the world to enhance international cooperation

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has opened ten of its nuclear technology research facilities and testing platforms, including China's new-generation "artificial sun" Huanliu-3 (HL-3) tokamak, to the world for the first time. The move will further enhance China's influence in nuclear science and technology globally, injecting strong "nuclear power" into promoting win-win cooperation worldwide, the Global Times learned from CNNC at a press conference on March 19 in Beijing during the 17th China International Nuclear Industry Exhibition.

This batch of facilities also include the world's highest-energy compact proton cyclotron accelerator the Beijing Radioactive Ion-beam Facility (BRIF), one of the "world's six major neutron sources" China Advanced Research Reactor, the Beishan Underground Research Laboratory (Beishan URL) located 560 meters underground, and the Minjiang Test Reactor for medical isotope research, among others. Many of these facilities have reached world-class level and even lead the industry globally, showcasing the hard work of Chinese researchers and demonstrating the "hardcore strength" of China's nuclear industry innovation.

The HL-3 tokamak, China's largest and most advanced tokamak, is designed to support the operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the development of future fusion reactors.

The Beishan URL in Northwest China's Gansu Province, China, is the country's first large underground research facility used for the safe disposal of high-level radioactive waste. It is an important research facility for the International Atomic Energy Agency and the China Atomic Energy Authority, playing a crucial role in China's nuclear fuel closed-loop technology innovation system.

The BRIF, the only operational online isotope separation radioactive ion beam facility in Asia, can produce over 60 stable nuclear beams and 55 radioactive nuclear beams. It fills the technological gap in China's medium-energy high-current proton cyclotron accelerator and high-resolution isotope separator, reaching an advanced level internationally. 

The BRIF conducts research in nuclear physics basics, nuclear physics applications, and nuclear data, promoting basic research and application transformation, achieving a number of high-level scientific achievements. Researchers from the facility have cooperated with teams from more than ten countries including Russia, the US, Germany, Japan, and Poland, attracting many top international scientists to come to China to conduct cutting-edge research.

The opening of these research facilities and testing platforms by China to the world is expected to promote the development of nuclear technology worldwide. Sumair N. Khan, Science and Technology Counselor at the Pakistani Embassy in China, told the Global Times that these open research facilities are crucial for developing countries, especially for countries like Pakistan. He highlighted the importance of facilities like China's advanced research reactor, micro-neutron source reactor, and nuclear environmental simulation facilities for Pakistan.

"Developing countries may not have the research conditions similar to China but are eager to utilize Chinese research facilities to train researchers and receive support for their research work," Zhang Libo, vice president of the China Institute of Atomic Energy, under CNNC, told the Global Times. He emphasized the importance of international cooperation in nuclear science and technology for mutual benefit and scientific progress.

Zhang also believes that CNNC's opening of nuclear technology-related research facilities and test platforms to the world will promote high-level international openness. He stated that by attracting international peers to utilize these facilities, China can understand the direction of international research, grasp the dynamics of global economic development, and integrate into the global research environment.

GT investigates: How some Western news agencies deceive Chinese people, distort truth while claiming not to have freedom

Editor's Note:

On April 8, 2024, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC), which has long attacked China and accused the country of "suppressing" the freedom of foreign journalists in China, released its 2023 annual "media freedoms report," once again accusing China of "restricting" the freedom of foreign journalists."

However, the qualifications and background of the FCCC itself are in question. On the one hand, Chinese authorities have never recognized the legitimacy of this organization or its role as a representative body for foreign journalists in China; on the other hand, the organization not only holds strong ideological biases against China, but also is deeply involved in providing cover for and whitewashing actions that harm China's national security, especially by anti-China forces in the US and the West.

Some foreign journalists who do not want to be associated with this organization have revealed that it is controlled by media organizations and individuals who uphold the Western discourse hegemony. Their focus is not on objectively reporting on China, but rather on smearing and demonizing the country.

Through investigation, the Global Times has found three solid examples that expose the real intention of the FCCC, which has nothing to do with "freedom."

I felt being used as 'pawn'

Mr Xu is a coach of an amateur women's soccer club in Beijing. In June 2023, he received a message on the Chinese lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu. The person who sent the message claimed to be from German TV station ZDF. Xu was told that ZDF wanted to interview the club in anticipation of the upcoming 2023 Women's World Cup and introduce the situation of women's soccer in China.

According to Xu, at the time, journalists from ZDF only mentioned that they were there to interview and report on his club and women's soccer in China. They said that they were also planning to do similar interviews in other countries to introduce the development of grassroots women's soccer around the world.

During the interview, ZDF reporters kept giving Xu the impression that they only wanted to report on grassroots women's soccer in China. Therefore, Xu, who was very willing to introduce China's grassroots women's soccer to the world, warmly welcomed the team of reporters to film interviews with the club's players, and he felt honored to represent China in the report.

However, when the program was officially broadcast on the official ZDF website, Xu was astonished to find that he had been deceived by the German media outlet, and felt as though he had been "used as a pawn."

The program broadcast by this German media outlet only used the interview with Xu's club and players as part of a larger project. The aired program contained a lot of politicized content, and used out-of-context quotes to smear China's women's rights issues, and by extension, attack China's epidemic prevention policies.

When viewed in its entirety, the report on Xu's women's soccer club does not seem to genuinely introduce China's women's soccer scene, but rather creates a "hell-like contrast" to suggest that the status of Chinese women is actually very low, Xu said.

Xu complained to the Global Times that he felt the complete program broadcast by the German media outlet looked "strange" and he couldn't understand whether they intended to report objectively or were set to deliberately vilify, because he felt that the portrayal of women's situation in Chinese society by this German media outlet was far from factual, and resembled the plight of women in far less developed countries.

Another reason why Xu feels he was deliberately misled is, before the program was aired, and upon request, Xu was shown a sample of the scheduled broadcast. However, after the complete program was aired, he found that the sample shown to him by the German media outlet was not the full version actually broadcast by the TV station. They also never informed Xu how the full version of the program would be edited and what other content would also be included.

Additionally, when the TV station first showed Xu the edited sample, he noticed that the Chinese map used by the TV station did not include the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea region, and there were also omissions in the Xizang Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Even after he raised this issue with the TV station, the final version still did not include the right map.

After the program was aired, Xu expressed his strong dissatisfaction at the actions of the German TV station, and protested against the map issue and the use of the club as a "pawn" in the program, demanding that the program be taken off the air. The person who initially contacted him from the TV station in China, however, passed the buck, arguing that this was a decision made by the German headquarters and that the China team could not decide on the matter.

Xu said that although this episode did not have a significant negative impact on him, the club, or the players who were interviewed, the irresponsible actions of this German media outlet have caused trouble for the club - especially for some of the players who appeared in the program, some of whom are university students, due to the misrepresentation of their opinions.

Xu's experience vividly illustrates an important reason why some Western media outlets are increasingly being rejected by the Chinese public: These media outlets do not respect their interview subjects, but instead deceive and exploit them to serve a predetermined narrative meant to demonize China.

No apology

Mr Luo is an economist from China. In July 2023, he was suddenly asked by a friend whether he had been interviewed by Bloomberg. This puzzled him because he had never been interviewed by the US-based media outlet. After a brief search, Luo found a Bloomberg article that had used a piece he had previously published on his WeChat account about the Chinese economy, in which Luo provided an analysis of the future of the Chinese economy. However, because they did not clarify that it was partly taken from the article, it gave the impression that Luo had been personally interviewed for the Bloomberg article.

But when Luo carefully examined the citation of his article by Bloomberg, he was surprised to find that Bloomberg had not accurately presented his views, but instead cherry-picked a few sentences that could easily be misinterpreted.

Luo believed that this would lead to his views being misunderstood and inadvertently mislead others, so he requested that Bloomberg correct the glaring errors. However, Bloomberg only added a note in the article stating that the views related to Luo were taken from his public WeChat account article and included a link, but did not address the accusation of using cherry-picked quotes made by Luo.

Frustrated, Luo engaged the services of a lawyer who sent a formal letter to Bloomberg's office in China and even went there in person to defend his rights, but he was turned away. In fact, a Bloomberg staffer, in a strongly-worded reply to the letter, stated that Bloomberg did not agree with Luo's accusation of selective quoting and therefore would not retract the article or issue an apology.

Bloomberg dismissed Luo's remonstrations despite giving the impression of respecting his views by quoting him, proving that Luo's opinions don't matter unless otherwise validated by the large media outlet.

Luo's situation is far from the only instance in which Bloomberg has stood accused of false reporting. On March 6, 2024, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government released a statement that strongly disapproved of and condemned Bloomberg's news headlines "HK says Telegram should be prohibited in Article 23 proposal," "HK says Signal should be prohibited in Article 23 proposal", and "HK Security Law Public Consultation Lists Facebook, YouTube Ban."

Those reports falsely reported that the HKSAR government would legislate to ban the operation of the mentioned platforms in Hong Kong, thereby generating misunderstanding and panic regarding the legislative proposals on Article 23 of the Basic Law, read the statement.

Freedom or discourse hegemony?

In October 2023, a Chinese woman surnamed Chen who had been living in Sweden for 20 years, was suddenly arrested by the Swedish security service in October and expelled by the government in Stockholm, after being accused of posing a national security threat, according to media reports.

The Global Times learned that Chen wrote several objective articles about China, especially regarding the situations in Xinjiang and Xizang, and organized some lectures to present the true situation in Xinjiang.

However, Chen's situation has become increasingly common in the recent past. From Canada to the US to Australia and other Western countries, media outlets constantly platform anti-China secessionists and widely publish distorted reports about China. Some Western media outlets even collaborate with their countries' intelligence agencies and other institutions in the private sector to weaken China's national security, analysts have pointed out.

What the FCCC really wants is not the freedom to report the news objectively, but the freedom to maintain this "distorted" discourse hegemony, experts warned.

Meanwhile, it is worth noting that trust in the media among Americans reached a historic low. According to a Gallup poll conducted in October 2023, only 32 percent of respondents expressed a high level of trust in the mass media. Another 29 percent indicated having "not very much" trust, while a record-high 39 percent stated they had "none at all."

Moreover, this situation is not unique to the US. A poll in November 2023 also showed that public trust in the mainstream news media in the UK ranked last among the 28 countries surveyed, with only 31 percent of UK respondents trusting the country's news media establishment.

Perhaps the FCCC should first consider the reasons behind this trend. They should think about why the citizens of their own countries are increasingly losing trust in them, experts warned.

New US tariffs on China seriously hurt global environmental protection: Global Times editorial

The recent increase in tariffs imposed by the US on imports from China, particularly on electric vehicles (EVs), lithium batteries, and semiconductors, has sparked criticism globally. Not only did the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesperson criticize the move, saying it "can distort trade and investment, and fragment supply chains," several US media, including The Washington Post, also slammed that the new tariffs raise costs for companies using green energy devices and make electric vehicles less affordable for US consumers. 

"Forcing consumers, via tariffs, to subsidize domestic clean energy companies that are far from the cutting edge of technology is an economic and environmental loser," The Washington Post article said. Colorado Governor Jared Polis also stated that the new tariffs are "a major setback for clean energy."

The concerns are far-sighted and realistic. The new tariffs represent another escalation of the US' policy to contain China in recent years, forcing its companies to restructure supply and industrial chains, and disrupting the normal global trade order. This restructuring will have a profound negative impact on the global industrial system centered around emission reduction goals, leading to serious environmental issues worldwide. 

It should be pointed out that the timing of the new US tariffs coincides with a critical moment in the global transition from traditional to new energy and the construction of a global green economy. On April 17, Dubai, a country located in a desert region, experienced a sudden downpour, with one day's rainfall equivalent to half the average annual rainfall. 

This most severe rainstorm in 75 years caused Dubai International Airport to close for three days. Extreme heat waves, severe cold, torrential rains, hurricanes, droughts and floods... the increasingly frequent extreme weather events highlight the urgency of global efforts to address climate change to a degree felt by everyone.

At the beginning of this year, the World Meteorological Organization released a report officially confirming 2023 as the warmest year on record. The report indicates that new record-high levels were set in 2023 for all three of the main greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide levels are 50 percent higher than in the pre-industrial era.

According to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme at the end of last year, predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions still must fall by 28 percent for the Paris Agreement 2 C pathway and 42 percent for the 1.5 C pathway.

Against this backdrop, it has become a widespread consensus in the international community to achieve effective emission reduction and build a new form of sustainable economic development for humanity by significantly adjusting the energy structure, especially by promoting the widespread use of new energy products to achieve low-carbon emissions. It is precisely for this reason that China's "new three" products have been widely welcomed in markets around the world. 

Data shows that in 2023, China contributed more than half of the global renewable energy installed capacity of 510 million kilowatts. In 2022, China's renewable energy generation contributed to a reduction of approximately 2.26 billion tons in domestic CO2 emissions, while exports of wind power and solar products aided other nations in decreasing CO2 emissions by an additional 573 million tons. 

The two figures add up to 2.83 billion tonnes of emissions reduction, or about 41 percent of the global total of carbon emissions reduction due to renewable energy. 

At the World Energy Congress held in April, Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, one of the world's largest oil companies, said that "China has made these green products so affordable, and they will help the West achieve its target of cutting carbon emissions to a net zero level by 2050." Imagine what the global energy transition would look like without China's green production capacity, and how it would impact humanity's ability to address climate change.

Especially for developing countries, it is China's progress in the field of new energy that allows them to purchase more cost-effective EVs, lithium batteries, and photovoltaic products. The report from the International Renewable Energy Agency pointed out that in the past 10 years, the average cost of wind and photovoltaic power generation projects globally has cumulatively decreased by over 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, with a large part of it attributed to Chinese innovation, manufacturing, and engineering. In this sense, the development and progress of China's new energy industry are not only accelerators of the global energy transition, but also the vanguard of humanity's response to climate change. This represents not only high-quality and advanced production capacity, but also widespread development justice.

There is only one Earth, and all countries share the same planet. Responding to global climate change and promoting energy transition in various countries is a task filled with both difficulties and hope. It requires a true spirit of "working together for the world" from all countries, as well as the joint maintenance of an open and fair international economic system. Nowadays, some people in the US, out of short-sighted and narrow political motives and fragile anxiety, are waving a big stick in the field of tariffs, undoubtedly weakening the cohesion of countries and their ability to respond to climate change, damaging the positive prospects of global green transformation. 

This will also be a "protectionist disaster" for humanity. It is hoped that they will wake up soon!

Chinese businesses optimistic about China-Russia cooperation, highlighting automotive and energy as 'hottest fields'

Around 4 am on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's plane arrived in Beijing, marking the beginning of his two-day state visit to China. According to a previous announcement from the Kremlin, Putin will visit Harbin and attend the opening ceremony of the 8th China-Russia Expo. Accompanying him is a "high-profile economic and trade delegation" that includes Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina, and Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation chief Dmitry Shugayev.

All indications suggest that economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia will be a key topic during Putin's visit.

Chen Gang, the Russian General Manager of Suifenhe Zhongsu Automobile Import and Export Co, Ltd, is one of the exhibitors at this year's expo.

He has been busy at the company's booth these past few days. "Compared to the years before the pandemic, there are visibly more companies attending this year," Chen, a Chinese businessman long focused on opportunities related to Russia, told the Global Times.

He noted that booths at this year's expo are in high demand, with some companies even offering high prices to rent space, hoping to break into the Russian market.

"There are also a lot of Russians and Russian companies in Harbin these days; they are everywhere. My impression is that various Russian industries are eagerly seeking Chinese products and partners," Chen said.

The popularity of the expo is a reflection of the rapid development of China-Russia economic and trade cooperation in recent years. According to data released by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in 2023, bilateral trade between China and Russia reached $240.1 billion, a 26.3 percent increase from the previous year, exceeding the target set by the leaders of both countries in 2019 to achieve $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2024. Of this, Russia imported $110.97 billion worth of goods from China, a significant year-on-year increase of 46.9 percent.

Chen's experience also confirms the aforementioned figures. Before the pandemic, Chen mainly engaged in exporting Russian agricultural products to China and in tourism between the two countries. However, in the past two years, as relations between China and Russia have grown closer, his business has entered a "new stage," expanding to the import and export of various products such as automotive equipment, asphalt, non-ferrous metals, engineering machinery, and liquefied natural gas.

"Especially in the fields of automotive and energy, these have been the hottest areas in China-Russia trade over the past two years, with great opportunities," Chen said excitedly when talking about his business development in recent years. "My revenue has increased by nearly 200 times compared to previous years."

Fan Yeliang is another Chinese businessman who has long been involved in the import and export of timber and furniture between China and Russia. These days, he is in Harbin negotiating with Russian businessmen visiting China.

He told the Global Times that last year his volume of furniture exports to Russia "increased by four to five times" compared to the period before the pandemic, and his timber import business "at least doubled."

Amid the booming market, many new "gold seekers" have also entered the trade with Russia. Fan told the Global Times that previously, most of the businesses involved in Russia-related trade were from Northeast China. Now, many companies from South China's Guangdong, East China's Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces are also participating.

There is a large market gap in Russia that needs to be filled, Chinese business representatives said. From the perspective of these Chinese businessmen, the rapid development of China-Russia economic and trade relations in the past two years is partly due to the withdrawal of countries such as the US, Europe, South Korea, and Japan from the Russian market, citing sanctions, leaving a lot of market space.

On the other hand, it is also because Chinese-made products are cost-effective and of good quality, making them very popular with overseas customers. Additionally, the strengthening of political trust between China and Russia has further increased Russian customers' trust in China.

Using his automotive business as an example, "sales of new and used Chinese cars have been very good in Russia in recent years. Brands like Changan, Geely, Haval, Great Wall, and Chery are particularly popular for their good quality and affordable prices," Chen said.

"Possibly influenced by political factors, Russians have become more inclined to cooperate with Chinese people in recent years. In daily interactions with them, one can clearly feel that various Russian sectors are eager to collaborate with China. Against this backdrop, the business environment in Russia's Far East has improved significantly, and local administrative efficiency in this regard has also increased," Chen said.

In the view of Chinese businessmen, there are several major challenges that need to be addressed for further development of China-Russia economic and trade relations. The first is the need for more convenient cross-border settlement.

Both Fan and Chen told the Global Times that in the past two to three months, due to increased US financial sanctions on Russia, banks have had to strengthen their review of cross-border trade settlements between China and Russia.

Many Chinese private enterprises with business dealings with Russia have encountered problems in receiving payments or settling accounts, sometimes facing rejection or delays of over two months. This increases the costs and cash flow pressure on small businesses.

They hope that China and Russia can expedite the integration of their respective payment settlement systems to meet the market demand for trade settlements between the two countries while avoiding secondary sanctions.

Also, the infrastructure level in Russia's Far East needs further improvement. Due to many European ports refusing to handle Russian cargo, the cargo throughput at St. Petersburg port in the Baltic Sea has significantly declined.

Additionally, as Russia's economic cooperation shifts toward the Asia-Pacific, ports in the Far East, including Vladivostok, are now handling a large volume of Russia's import and export maritime business.

Vladivostok port is currently operating at overcapacity, Chen said. "With the surge in China-Russia trade, there is a great need for more ports or the expansion of existing ports in the Far East. Therefore, we look forward to more cooperation between the two countries in infrastructure construction in the Far East."

Wang Xiaoquan, an expert with the Institute of Russian, Eastern European & Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the economies of China and Russia have unique complementarities, with China being the largest economy capable of comprehensive economic cooperation with Russia.

Given the significant reduction in Russia's economic relations, particularly energy relations, with the US and the West, and the need to advance the "Turn to the East" strategy, Russia will place greater emphasis on the strategic role of the Chinese market in exporting its oil and gas products.

Russia also views China as a source of funds and technology for implementing its import substitution policy and modernizing infrastructure, aiming for comprehensive integration in areas such as energy, defense, aerospace, agriculture, finance, and technology, Wang said.

"During President Putin's new term, China-Russia practical cooperation in all fields is likely to develop rapidly, with significant breakthroughs expected in areas such as energy, agriculture and manufacturing," the expert said.

The industrial and supply chains of the two countries are expected to achieve integrated development, he noted.

In recent years, Russia has shown an increasingly positive attitude toward the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), especially in terms of connectivity, capacity cooperation, finance and trade. China and Russia are expected to implement more multilateral economic cooperation projects under the framework of aligning the BRI with the Eurasian Economic Union. Russia is also expected to provide more support for the internationalization of the renminbi, the expert added.

Apple’s Vision Pro gains 3C certification in China, paving way for its entry to the huge market

US tech giant Apple's headset Vision Pro has achieved a significant milestone before entering the Chinese market, gaining official approval from China Compulsory Certification 3C certification, paving the way for its sale on the Chinese mainland market.

According to the website of the China Quality Certification Center, the certification for Apple's Vision Pro was issued on May 13, 2024, with validity extending until May 12, 2029.

Despite being priced at $3,499 in the US market, equivalent to 25,325 yuan, Apple has yet to disclose the official pricing and localized name for Vision Pro for the Chinese mainland market. 

Notably, the trademark for Vision Pro in China has been owned by Huawei.

Vision Pro, initially released in June 2023, was not available in other regions outside the US market until today, according to media reports.

Reuters reported on May 14 that Apple plans to unveil Vision Pro in international markets following the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) scheduled for June 10 -14 this year.

In addition, Apple is currently conducting training sessions for its employees in seven countries, including China, on effectively showcasing its Vision Pro products to customers in new markets. 

The introduction of Apple Vision Pro to the Chinese mainland market, coupled with potential local production, is expected to "facilitate a exchange of digital product-related technologies and research between Apple and local Chinese teams," Liang Zhenpeng, an independent tech analyst, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Apple's fiscal second-quarter earnings report this year said the company's overall sales fell 4 percent to $45.96 billion and iPhone sales fell 10 percent year on year, suggesting weak market demand for the current generation of its smartphones. 

Apple's Vision Pro entering the Chinese market could also help the company boost its global market share and brand influence in China, as the company fends off concerns over decreasing consumer confidence in this market, Liang noted.