Ancient Silk Road city Tianshui's iconic malatang dish sparks nationwide craze

Following Zibo and Harbin, Tianshui, an ancient Silk Road city in Northwest China's Gansu Province, became the latest place that has caused a nationwide craze thanks to its iconic dish malatang, a local street dish featuring a mix of fresh vegetables and meat boiled in a hot, spicy broth.

As the name malatang suggests - literally meaning "numbing, spicy, and hot" - this local delicacy is renowned for its distinctive, fiery taste.

In February, a netizen from Tianshui posted a selfie video of local malatang on popular social media platform Douyin. The attractive color of the food soon helped the video receive 1 million likes, sparking cravings among internet users and drawing food enthusiasts to the city to experience this tantalizing dish firsthand.

The total views of Tianshui malatang-related topics have exceeded 1.8 billion on Douyin, media reported Wednesday.

Citing data from Ctrip, a major Chinese online travel service platform, media reported on Wednesday that, in the past month, there has been a significant increase in content related to tourism in Tianshui. The overall number of travel orders to Tianshui, Gansu, has increased by over 20 percent compared to the same period last year, with hotel orders increasing by over 40 percent and ticket orders increasing by over four times. The search volume for Tianshui has more than doubled compared to the same period last year.

Outside Tianshui, restaurants are also trying every means to satisfy diners who have not the opportunity to go to Tianshui.

In Beijing, the University of Science and Technology Beijing started to provide authentic malatang cooked with Tianshui-produced chili and peppercorns since Tuesday. According to, the university established a designated assistance relationship with the Qin'an county in Tianshui, purchasing 400-450 kilograms of Qin'an-produced peppercorns every year.

The university added a new project this year to purchase Qin'an potato flour, and send the canteens' chefs to learn local cooking skills, making every effort to bring every student a better dining experience, said.

Tianshui, which means "water from the heaven," has little rainfall, sufficient sunlight, and large temperature differences, producing seasonings with good taste and high quality. Local-produced ingredients such as Gangu chili, Qin'an peppercorns, and Dingxi potatoes are the secrets to the unique flavor and attractive appearance of Tianshui malatang.

Gangu chili has a bright red color and a spicy fragrance with lingering sweetness. Potatoes produced in Dingxi, known as the "hometown of Chinese potatoes," have a high starch content and stickiness. Hand-pulled noodles made from these potatoes are with a chewy texture.

There are also many other local agricultural products such as Kangxian mushrooms. It is these authentic ingredients lay out the foundation for Tianshui malatang to stand out.

With the continued popularity of Tianshui malatang, the sales of these raw materials are also increasing. The staff of a business selling chili peppers in Gangu said that their store mainly sells Gangu chili powder, chili segments, and etc. Recently, the sales of Gangu chili peppers have increased significantly, reaching 1-2 times the previous level, The Beijing News reported Tuesday.

With the drive of the "malatang economy," the export orders of Gansu local agriculture products are also increasing, with an accelerating pace to open up foreign markets.

Following Zibo barbecue and Harbin frozen pear, here comes Tianshui malatang. Food has apparently become a new hot spot for Chinese small cities to catch spotlight on social media platforms.

The Tianshui government is also seizing every opportunity to promote Tianshui's development with a small bowl of malatang. On March 16, the Tianshui ancient city square held a foodie festival amid the malatang craze, which will last till March 23. On March 17, all government offices in Tianshui opened their doors to offer free parking for out-of-town visitors. On March 18, the first malatang street opened in Tianshui in Qinzhou district, attracting a large crowd.

Experts pointed out that with the development of the internet, more and more small cities will rely on food to generate widespread dissemination online, because food has a natural appeal that can trigger people to share and discuss. At the same time, some unique and creative foods are also more likely to attract attention and discussion online.

However, how to use temporary internet popularity to promote the long-term development of the local economy is the issue that local governments should pay more attention to.

GT survey: 31 percent of global respondents believe Palestine-Israel conflict could escalate into a larger Middle East war

A global survey conducted by the Global Times Institute at the end of 2023 showed that 31 percent of global respondents believed that the latest round of Palestine-Israel conflict that broke out on October 7 was very likely to escalate into a larger Middle East war, indicating growing concern across the world over the worsening situation as well as difficulties in successfully calling for a complete ceasefire.

According to the survey released on Thursday, among those who were aware of the Palestine-Israel conflict, 61 percent did not want to see the conflict happen. More than 60 percent of respondents in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt also affirmed that Chinese mediation would help resolve the Palestine-Israel issue, according to the survey.

The Palestine-Israel conflict is a humanitarian disaster no one would like to see. The survey results showed that China stands with most of the people in the world, wishing for an early and peaceful resolution to the conflict, Niu Xinchun, executive director of the China-Arab Research Institute of Ningxia University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

According to data released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as of Monday, more than 30,000 people (29,514 Palestinian and more than 1,200 Israeli) have been killed since October 7, 2023, with nearly 70,000 being injured and 1.7 million being replaced in Gaza.

Growing concern

The survey was conducted between November and December 2023, receiving nearly 17,000 responses from 20 countries across the world.

Among the respondents, 89 percent indicated awareness of the event, with the exception of Saudi Arabia at 71 percent; all other 19 countries had more than 85 percent of respondents reported awareness of the conflict.

Among those aware of the Palestine-Israel conflict, 61 percent stated they did not want to see the event happen or wished it had not occurred, and 25 percent held a neutral stance. Looking at the responses by country, except for the Philippines (41 percent) and India (34 percent), more than half of the respondents in the remaining 18 countries did not wish to see the conflict happen, with Japan having the highest proportion at 82 percent, and Russia, the UK, Argentina, and China also exceeding 70 percent. Approximately 40 percent of respondents in the Philippines and India held a neutral stance.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday that if the Israel-Palestine conflict does not end quickly, its spreading effect will become increasingly obvious, primarily affecting neighboring countries and the entire Middle East. The ongoing conflict is exacerbating existing crises and contradictions, leading to further deterioration of the situation rather than the generation of a resolution.

This situation could halt the reconciliation process between Israel and Saudi Arabia, accelerate the peace process between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and unite the Arab and Islamic worlds against Israel, thereby complicating the regional dynamics further, Li noted.

In the majority of Western countries, including Australia, the US, the UK, France, Germany, and in three African countries, not less than 30 percent of respondents believe the conflict will expand into a larger Middle East war, with Indonesia registering the highest responses in the affirmative at 44 percent, and Turkey, Kenya, and South Africa following close behind at 40 percent, the survey showed.

To alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible, China has and continues to actively engage in mediation along with the United Nations and the international community, aiming to de-escalate regional conflicts.

It is under China's presidency, that Resolution 2712, the first resolution since this round of Palestine-Israel conflict broke out on October 7, was adopted by the United Nations Security Council on November 15. It was also the first UNSC resolution on the Palestine-Israel issue since the end of 2016.

According to the Global Times survey, more than 60 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia and Egypt affirm that China's mediation is contributing to resolving the Israel-Palestine issue.

The data shows that over half (54 percent) of respondents from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, and the US affirmed China's positive role in mediation, 23 percent thought it has little effect (including "not very useful" and "completely useless"), and another 23 percent found it the question difficult to answer.

According to Li, survey results indicate a majority support in both the US and other countries for China's mediation in the Palestine-Israel conflict, reflecting China's position on the side of international justice.

US respondents affirmed China's positive role at 43 percent, while 34 percent denied the effectiveness of China's efforts, according to the survey.

"In the US, the close ratio of support to opposition highlights deep societal divisions, including political, social, and religious differences," he said, noting that this division suggests a significant split within the US, affecting its foreign policy and international image.

Irresponsible US

Another survey by the Global Times Research Institute at the end of 2023 in China showed that more than half of Chinese respondents thought the US' performance in the Palestine-Israel conflict is irresponsible. Over 40 percent (42 percent) view it as unethical, nearly 40 percent (39 percent) find it unjust, and 36 percent believe the US has hindered the resolution of the conflict.

Li points out that the US shows irresponsibility in the conflict through inconsistent actions and rhetoric, offering continuous military support to Israel despite advocating for a ceasefire, and exacerbating regional conflicts, especially with relation to Iran.

The US also engages in military actions in the Middle East, demonstrating a reliance on military force and contributing to regional instability. These actions highlight a disconnect between the US' stated objectives and its actual practices, leading to increased caution and resistance from the international community.

The US' stance is contrary to the global consensus by partially supporting Israel and prioritizing its own political aims over humanitarianism, Niu pointed out.

Such support has tarnished the US' international image and also sowed discord within the US government, experts noted.

Moreover, more than 40 percent of Chinese respondents believe the US cannot handle both the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Palestine-Israel conflict simultaneously. In Russia, 64 percent of respondents think the US cannot handle both conflicts, a proportion that exceeds half of respondents in Japan, Indonesia, South Africa, and nearly half of all respondents in China and Argentina.

Li criticizes the US strategy of engaging in multiple conflicts simultaneously as "foolish, often leading to failure." Li argues that US political elites hold "an inherent, delusional, arrogant, and prejudiced selfishness regarding America's capability to engage in conflicts," leading to the destructive use of resources and exacerbating conflicts.

The international behavior of the US is often criticized for creating conflict and turmoil rather than fostering peace, prosperity, and stability, Li emphasized, noting that the actual actions of the US have had a negative impact in the Middle East and globally, a practice that is unpopular within the international community.

Talks about a humanitarian cease-fire in the Israel-Palestine conflict made "significant progress" during a meeting with representatives from Israel, the US, Qatar, and Egypt in Paris on Saturday, Israeli media outlet Haaretz reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the details of the meeting.

Haaretz also cited an unnamed Israeli foreign diplomat who said that "the talks are progressing" and as "all parties are showing flexibility, a deal can be reached before [the holy month of] Ramadan," which starts on March 10.

Even if a hostage deal is reached, it would only "delay" an assault on the crowded city of Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera. Netanyahu stressed that the offensive "will happen."

"The Paris meeting is indeed significant progress. The progress was based on compromises and concessions from both the Hamas armed group and Israel. But it is still uncertain whether the negotiations can be concluded quickly as Hamas did not participate in the talks in Paris, so the next step is for Egypt and Qatar to report the results of the negotiations to Hamas, and then listen to Hamas' opinions," Niu said.

Niu warned that the possibility for a total ceasefire is still slim given Israel's determination to destroy the Hamas armed group, not to mention the US' irresponsible behavior regarding the issue, by using the Palestine-Israel conflict as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict as tools for its domestic partisan conflicts, by placing its own political aims above humanitarianism.

China takes firm action against ‘invisible overtime’ and wage arrears, advancing the rule of law

If an employee continues to reply to job-related messages in off-duty hours, can this be counted as overtime? should the employers offer extra payment to their staff for working during this period of time? It is not easy to answer this question given the fiercely competitive environment in the Chinese job market, not to mention the context of the 996 work culture, to which many employees at internet giants are accustomed.

Working via social media platforms after getting off duty, also called "invisible overtime," has become a heated discussion topic in China in recent years as the phenomenon is becoming commonplace due to the rapid economic development as well as widespread use of social media applications.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the omnipresence of the internet connects companies and employees, making online communication and collaboration convenient and greatly improving work efficiency.

In reality, it is hard for employees to seek overtime payment as, from a legal point of view, it is difficult to define what constitutes "invisible overtime" and where the boundary is.

However, in a case detailed in the yearly working report by the Beijing High People's Court, an employee successfully won her lawsuit against her employer and received compensation for working via social media applications during off-duty hours. The case caught great public attention and was hailed as a typical example of the country's judicial system showing initiative.

According to a report by the Beijing Daily, Li, working in a Beijing-based technology company, sued her employer for the overtime work she performed after work. She claimed that she kept communicating with her clients and colleagues through social media platforms such as WeChat or DingTalk after work and asked for extra payment for the services during this period of time. However, her company argued that this did not qualify as overtime work.

After reviewing the case, the Beijing No.3 Intermediate People's Court ruled that Li's work, which involved using social media for work purposes during off-duty hours, weekends and holidays, went beyond simple communication. The nature of this work was characterized by periodicity and regularity of using social media platforms, distinguishing it from occasional and incidental communication. It should be considered as overtime work. Based on this, the court ruled that the company should pay Li 30,000 yuan ($4,179) for overtime work.

The judgment also put forth the principles of "performing substantial work" and "obvious occupation of time" as criteria for determining the concept of "invisible overtime," which conforms to the changing trend of labor forms in the digital era and protects the legitimate rights and interests of workers.

Industry insiders and experts hailed the case as an active exploratory effort in trying to define and clarify the concept of "invisible overtime," giving a confidence boost to Chinese workers and serving as an example for the country to promote the rule of law in the new era.

'Invisible overtime' legally recognized

A similar case was also included in the 13 model wage arrears cases jointly unveiled by the Supreme People's Court, the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions on January 25.

In this case, an employee working in a cultural media company, also surnamed Li, sued the company for delaying overtime payment. Based on the proof provided by Li on his or her WeChat account, the local court determined that Li had worked on three rest days and ordered the company to pay Li 5,517.24 yuan for overtime wages.

The Supreme People's Court explained that the local court made this verdict based on the worker's engagement during their rest time, taking into account factors such as the frequency, duration, wage standards, and job responsibilities of the overtime work. The court's decision protects the legitimate rights and interests of the workers in accordance with the law.

Working online is still the labor performed under the supervision and instructions of employers. This case urges employers to clearly define the boundaries of overtime and understand its legal consequences, Wang Tianyu, a legal expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a commentary article published on Wednesday.

The current heated discussion over "invisible overtime" has also become a good opportunity to enhance Chinese workers' legal awareness, allowing more and more people to understand their legitimate interests, learn to preserve evidence for safeguarding their rights, legal experts said.

They said that they have handled many similar cases before in actual practice, and the reason why this case brought public attention is because it is the first time that a court has included the concept of "invisible overtime" in its decision.

Its significance lies in two parts. The first is that, in the judicial view, the existence of "invisible overtime" is acknowledged. Second, at the methodological level, it provides a reference for identifying "invisible overtime" relatively accurately. In the past, "invisible overtime" was more of a public opinion topic, but the verdict of this case has taken a big step forward in making it a legal concept.

Shen Binti, a lawyer from a Beijing-based law firm, shared one case with the Global Times, in which the court ruled that the employee performed overtime work through evidence from electronic devices, like instant messages.

Shen believes that putting the term "invisible overtime" in a court work report will have a very positive impact on law popularization and related education, particularly in the current digital era.

The case enables many employees to realize that, their work online at weekends can be defined as overtime, said Shen. "It encourages more people to better know about the law and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests."

But experts have also pointed out that there is still a long way to go before clarifying a concept in some individual case judgments to the clear legal provisions that the public expects.

New steps in building rule of law

Apart from dealing with the "invisible overtime" issue, Chinese judicial authorities have never stopped their efforts in solving some long-standing problems such as wage arrears of migrant workers, especially considering that the Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is approaching.

They have gained more experiences and explored interdepartmental mechanism that probably could be applied in more fields to effectively protect workers' interests.

In a case reported by the Workers' Daily recently, Fu Kexing, a 60-year-old migrant worker in Chencang district, Baoji city, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, finally received the 6,000 yuan owed to him after five years through the persistent efforts from multiple local authorities, including human resources and the social security bureau, procuratorate, court, and federation of trade union via the "123N" pre-litigation rights protection linkage model.

The model includes "one-window acceptance, two services, three-level network, and multi-party coordination."

"One-window acceptance" refers to using labor supervision and labor arbitration as the window to accept different types of labor disputes, combining judicial aid and trade union rights protection. The window will classify and divert different cases to corresponding institutions. "Two services" means adhering to the dual services of "popularizing legal knowledge and providing legal aid and assistance."

According to statistics reported by the Workers' Daily on January 24, in the last two years since the "123N" model was implemented, Chencang district has conducted 43 legal education activities for migrant workers, held more than 50 lectures, and provided legal aid in 245 cases.

They have received 4,288 phone calls and visits, handled 1,734 complaints and reports, and recovered 23.669 million yuan in wages for 2,005 workers.

Such mechanisms can guarantee that the migrant workers' demands are responded to directly by the responsible department. On the other hand, it also mobilizes all relevant departments and coordinates them to work together to ensure the true implementation of the law, which is, in fact, the most difficult part of the judicial process, Xu Xinming, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times.

In the next step, the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions will spare no effort in promoting the implementation and refinement of the work needed to eradicate wage arrears, smooth channels to protect the legitimate rights and interests of workers, and contribute to high-quality economic development and social harmony and stability, read the joint statement of the three departments released on January 25.

In the conclusion of the cases unveiled in the joint statement, the three departments emphasized interdepartmental coordination, fast-tracking, and making full use of online platforms and pre-litigation mediation to ensure the immediate and effective protection of migrant workers' interests as well as strict and effective enforcement of the law.

Exploring interdepartmental linkage mechanisms is a new step to promote effective law enforcement and, in the long run, will accelerate the country's building of the rule of law, said Xu.

Unrevealed moments behind forefront battles of national security officers in safeguarding China’s borders

"National security is the foundation of national rejuvenation. In adhering to the overall concept of national security, we resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, safety, and development interests." On August 1, 2023, the official WeChat account of China's Ministry of State Security made its debut with these powerful words, becoming an important window, through which the whole society could gain an understanding of the work conducted by national security agencies.

China's national security agencies are responsible for counter-espionage work, while also undertaking functions such as safeguarding political agency and overseas security. The national security agencies have always been shrouded in mystery, representing a covert front line with special status and missions. They have played an important role in defending the state power, maintaining social harmony and stability, and protecting people's lives and property.

To mark the fourth Chinese People's Police Day which falls on January 10, Global Times reporters went to two border towns in North and South China - Manzhouli in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, to conduct in-depth interviews with local national security officers, who faithfully practice the pledge of dedicated service to the people.

Head-to-head frontline battles

Manzhouli is covered in white snow amid the howling wind in December 2023. The city stands near the boundary marker of the China-Mongolia-Russia tri-border, and a borderline that stretches over 1,000 kilometers. Officers from the national security bureau of Manzhouli told the Global Times that this special geographical location has always made the city an important channel and springboard for hostile forces to infiltrate and sabotage the country. The continued sagas of silent struggles of infiltration and counter-infiltration, subversion and counter-subversion, and division and counter-division play out here on a regular basis.

During her first mission, Li Yue (pseudonym), a Generation-Z officer from the national security bureau in Manzhouli, experienced the acuteness and complexity of these struggles.

Similar to a plot straight out of a film, Li Yue had to disguise herself as a waitress in a restaurant to get closer to a suspect, in order to coordinate with her colleagues' next move.

"In the few steps that it took for me to come face to face with him, I tried to maintain my cool, not allowing myself to show any hint of nervousness. Trained professionals quickly notice such things, so I had to meet his gaze with a placid one," Li Yue recalled.

Like any ordinary waitress, she greeted the suspect with a smile, led him to his seat, offered him a glass of water, took his order, and also attended to the rest of the diners. "My colleagues and I did a lot of work beforehand, making contingency plans for various possible eventualities. The suspect would never know that a covert operation was fully underway."

Shortly after this mission, Li Yue changed her online handle to "actor." Exquisite "acting" skills were just some of the many skills and qualities possessed by the national security officers. The success of each operation relies on meticulous planning, creative thinking, strong psychological resilience, and unwavering courage.

Thousands of miles away on the Southwest China's border region, Xishuangbanna national security bureau officers guard the region with Laos and Myanmar, which stretches for nearly a thousand kilometers. Their main task is to prevent foreign spies and intelligence personnel from infiltrating or fleeing from China.

In 2015, the Xishuangbanna bureau successfully cracked down on an espionage case that was remotely plotted by a foreign intelligence agency. In August of that year, the bureau received a tip from higher-level authorities that a man surnamed Li, who used to work in an important governmental department, had been subverted and recruited as a spy by a foreign intelligence agency while studying abroad. Signs showed that Li was about to escape the country recently, very possibly via Xishuangbanna.

After receiving the arrest order, the officers of the Xishuangbanna bureau carefully analyzed Li's possible escape routes, mobilized all forces to set up checkpoints and surveillance, and finally tracked him down.

Song Bin (pseudonym), a Xishuangbanna bureau official who participated in the operation to arrest Li, told the Global Times that "during the operation, we found that Li was using various anti-surveillance methods to evade arrest. Various signs indicated that there were personnel from foreign spy intelligence agencies behind him [who had taught him how to evade police detection]."

On the sixth day of the arrest operation, Li arrived at an exit channel on the Xishuangbanna border. National security officials from the Xishuangbanna bureau, who were disguised as boat operators, waited at the exit channel and noticed that Li matched the photo in the arrest warrant and made their approach.

"We asked to see his identity (ID) card if he wanted to take our boat to go abroad. He provided us with a fake ID card, which showed his registered place of residence as Southwest China's Sichuan," Song said.

The Xishuangbanna bureau police would not be able to arrest Li if they could not confirm his identity, otherwise it would alert the target and the operation would fail. At this critical moment, one of the officials, who was familiar with various dialects in the southwest, had a brilliant idea: Now that Li had pretended to be a Sichuan native, why not converse with him in the Sichuan dialect?

This sudden "test" caught Li off-guard, and his expression changed drastically, revealing his guilt. The Xishuangbanna bureau officials then confirmed his identity as the fleeing suspect. The officers also immediately revealed their identities before taking Li into custody while he pleaded not to be arrested.
Silent, dangerous mission

In the process of safeguarding national security, national security officials have also demonstrated their great spirit of dedication and sacrifice.

"We often have to face unexpected dangers, and in some critical moments, we can only put our lives on the line," an official from the Xishuangbanna bureau surnamed Yan told the Global Times.

Yan recounted an instance in which a person suspected of engaging in activities that endangered national security fled to Xishuangbanna with the intention of leaving the country. During the arrest operation, while not sure of whether the suspect was armed, Yan and several other Xishuangbanna bureau officials decisively charged forward.

"Although he was alone, he had received relevant military training and had a mindset of fighting to the death. At that critical moment, we didn't have time to think; we could only rush forward and firmly restrain him. Fortunately, his luggage only contained cash and some forged documents," Yan said.

Being able to endure hard work and loneliness is how many national security officers evaluate their own work. Jiang Dingbian (pseudonym), an officer from the national security bureau in Manzhouli, has devoted himself to security operations for nearly 30 years. He told the Global Times that those officers have to make long-term contingency preparations for every case. "It may take three to five years, or even more than a decade, to track down just one lead."

The national security bureau in Manzhouli once arrested a target that had been under surveillance for years. Jiang spent three years in analyzing thousands of pieces of information before finally discovering evidence of the target's involvement in other illegal activities.

In order to promptly identify all possible risks, the national security bureau in Manzhouli has set up a room that is less than 20 square meters, where national security officers work in shifts around the clock. For a long time, this small space had no air conditioning and the water supply would occasionally be cut off. In the summer, the national security officers would often be drenched in sweat, while in the winter, they had to endure the freezing cold wind constantly seeping in through the cracks in the window at minus 30 C.

"Some cases have made no progress after years of effort, which made me wonder whether it was worth persisting. But we cannot overlook any potential national security risks and threats. This is our original intention and our duty," Li Yue said.

Whole-society defense line

National security is the common aspiration and fundamental interest of all ethnic groups in the country. Safeguarding national security is also the shared responsibility of all ethnic groups in the country.

Manzhouli national security bureau officer Li Bin (pseudonym) said that since the first National Security Education Day on April 15, 2016, the whole society has become more actively involved in various efforts to safeguard national security.

On one hand, the government, institutions, enterprises, and individuals actively cooperate with national security work and provide support. On the other hand, the whole society has formed an atmosphere of responsibility for national security and the public actively reports suspicious clues, providing strong support to the work of national security agencies.

Li Bin revealed that the national security bureau of Manzhouli once received a report from a retired person, who said to have found a telephone line of a classified unit that was tens of meters long pulled out in the courtyard, leading to a residential building across the street, on his way back home.

The veracity of the situation was confirmed shortly thereafter. It was a staff member of the unit who privately set up the telephone line for personal use, risking the leakage of classified information.

The national security bureau of Manzhouli quickly contacted the unit and requested immediate rectification of the situation to eradicate potential risks.

In 2015, the national security agencies officially launched the 12339 hotline for citizens. In 2018, China's Ministry of State Security launched the internet reporting platform website In April 2023, the national security agencies honored individuals who had made contributions in reporting activities that endangered national security for the fifth consecutive year. In August 2023, the official WeChat account of the Ministry of State Security opened a reporting platform.

Some officials from the Yunnan national security department reached by the Global Times said that they have witnessed a significant increase in awareness in the recent past, along with an understanding and participation of the public in safeguarding national security. This has been reflected in the increased number and quality of reports received through the 12339 hotline.

In recent years, with the help of public reports, the Yunnan national security department has successfully solved multiple cases related to ecological and military security, preventing valuable samples of flora and fauna and sensitive military equipment information from being transferred to foreign intelligence agencies.
Selfless, anonymous heroes

"Sorry but I can't disclose the specific details due to confidentiality regulations;" "Please do not mention my name and personal information;" "As a national security officer, I am willing to be an anonymous hero." These are phrases that Global Times reporters have heard repeatedly during interviews, highlighting the uniqueness of covert operations - selflessness, anonymity, and humility.

In the archives of the national security bureau in Manzhouli, two large cabinets occupy an entire wall, filled with files on the same case. This case has spanned over 20 years, involving several generations of national security officers. Behind each page of these files are all-night efforts, undercover operations in harsh weather conditions, and thrilling covert confrontations. However, once they leave the office, these experiences are never mentioned and may never be known.

In the battlefield of safeguarding national security, the invisible gunshots and unheard gun battles have never ceased. It is because of the silent dedication and perseverance of every national security officer that the sovereignty, security, and development interests of the country are protected, and the peaceful lives of the people are undisturbed.

Jiang said that many national security officers silently dedicate their entire lives to their work, without receiving applause and without the spotlight and dazzling stage. They quietly exit the stage after remarkable service, and the driving force that supports them is their firm belief in their hearts.

Currently, the meaning, purpose, and value of national security in our country are richer than at any time in history, and the internal and external factors affecting the same are more complex than at any time in history. The challenges faced in safeguarding national security are unprecedented. As national security officers have stated, "We always maintain a state of readiness, prepared to fight against any behavior that threatens national security."

Hidden in silence, the sword shines in invisibility. In this new era, Chinese national security agencies are embarking on a new journey to faithfully fulfill their duties, safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, be an integral part of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and compose a new anthem for nameless heroes.

HKSAR CE's Policy Unit acts as a 'think tank of think tanks': unit chief

Editor's Note:

At the end of 2022, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government announced the establishment of the Chief Executive's Policy Unit (CEPU), drawing significant global attention. This unit is also considered to be the "think tank" behind the SAR Chief Executive's policy-making. Nearly one year later, Global Times reporters Chen Qingqing and Bai Yunyi (GT) talked with Stephen Wong Yuen-shan (Wong), the head of the CEPU, at the top floor of the west wing of the HKSAR Government Headquarters.

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, Wong, who had just returned from research trips in Jiangmen and Zhongshan in South China's Guangdong Province, looked somewhat weary. He said that over the last year, he and his colleagues in the policy unit made frequent visits to the mainland for research and exchange purposes to better align the SAR's policies with the national strategies. They also delved into understanding Hong Kong's public sentiment, and political and social trends, seeking solutions to the city's deep-rooted issues. "Our position for the policy unit is to 'stand higher and look further ahead,'" Wong said, highlighting the important task of providing forward-looking, strategic, and long-term advice for the SAR's future development.
GT: Can you introduce the daily work carried out by you and your colleagues in the policy unit? How does the unit support decision-making for the chief executive and the SAR government?

Wong: The CEPU is an internal research institution serving the Chief Executive. Since its establishment at the end of 2022, our work can be summarized as focusing on "four directions" and fulfilling "one task." Currently, the policy unit consists of 47 members, divided into five teams based on these directions and the task.

The task involves coordinating the annual Policy Address of the Chief Executive. The Policy Address is an important task for the SAR government, and we are the main driving force behind it.

Our four research directions are: First, policy research on integrating Hong Kong into the national development framework. For example, the recent Central Financial Work Conference's emphasis on building a strong financial nation and enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international financial center are of great importance to us, and we explore how Hong Kong can align with these national strategies.

The second direction is international situation analysis. This is why we recently visited Beijing for exchanges with the Foreign Ministry's policy research institutions. As an international city, Hong Kong needs to maintain its unique position while serving the country's diplomatic objectives. We are currently conducting researches on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), focusing on relations with the ASEAN and the Middle East, which is crucial for Hong Kong's future international development.

The third direction is conducting forward-looking, strategic, and macroscopic policy research. Our division of labor with Hong Kong's 15 policy bureaus requires us to "stand higher and look further ahead."

We have exchanged with policy research offices of central government ministries, planning long-term strategies well into 2035, and we aim to do similar long-term planning, such as addressing Hong Kong's deep-rooted issues.

The fourth direction involves analyzing Hong Kong's public sentiment, opinions, political trends, and social movements. We use various channels such as surveys, social media analyses, and big data, including interviews with political figures and stakeholders, to grasp these aspects.
GT: How does the policy unit interact with the chief executive? To what extent do the unit's findings influence the chief executive's and SAR's policy measures?

Wong: We submit weekly research reports to the Chief Executive and report to him in person. He assigns us tasks directly and supervises our work closely. After receiving his directives on certain content, we continue conducting in-depth analyses with relevant policy bureaus, which ultimately reflects in the annual Policy Address.

GT: We noticed that the CEPU includes an expert group with many well-known professionals from Hong Kong and the mainland. How does this expert group contribute to the governance of the SAR, and to what extent are their opinions adopted?

Wong: The CEPU has an expert group consisting of 56 members, many of whom are renowned policy researchers. We have four major communication mechanisms with these experts to align with their key research findings.

For example, each member of the expert group is paired with a senior researcher from the policy unit, serving as the expert's personal research liaison, providing timely, appropriate, and targeted communication and assistance, including at least quarterly interactions.

The policy unit also listens to the research outcomes of the experts, enriching the perspectives and content of our own research. We also conduct in-depth group exchanges with expert group members on specific research topics.

Additionally, earlier this year, the SAR government established a 34-member Chief Executive advisory group, including influential figures from Hong Kong, the mainland and other countries and regions. The policy unit plays the role of the secretariat or office for the advisory group, incorporating the thoughts and opinions of the advisors into our research.

Moreover, I have previously served as a Legislative Council member, a National People's Congress deputy, and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and interacted with influential individuals in the business and industry sectors. Their opinions also form an important basis for our internal research.

To some extent, the policy unit acts as a "think tank of think tanks," absorbing opinions from various sources and transforming them into the governance philosophy of the SAR government.
GT: How frequent do you and your colleagues interact with institutions and enterprises in the mainland?

Wong: Since December 28, 2022, I have been to the mainland nearly 10 times for official purposes. Most of these visits and research objectives were related to the development of the Greater Bay Area, including cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, and Jiangmen, and I also attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

Earlier December, I, along with 19 colleagues, went to Beijing to attend a workshop on "enhancing strategic planning and policy research capabilities" held at Peking University. During our stay, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, met with our delegation. He talked with us for a long time and gave us many important instructions and advice.

In addition, in Beijing, we visited six [central government] ministries and their affiliated research institutions for exchanges, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Commerce, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, to ensure that Hong Kong's policies better align and serve the national development strategy.

I also encourage my colleagues to conduct more researches in the mainland and report back to me, which is very important for our work.

GT: How much attention does the policy unit pay to the national security work of the SAR?

Wong: The policy unit has three deputy heads, and one of whom comes from the Security Bureau [of the SAR government], reflecting the need for Hong Kong to balance "security and development." The Chief Executive is also very concerned about security affairs, so we do a lot of work in this area.

Thus, in the 2023 Policy Address, we mentioned the legislation of Article 23, the establishment of an office to promote Chinese culture under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, setting up two museums to introduce the country's history and the history of resistance against Japanese aggression, and the implementation of patriotic education in primary and secondary schools and in various sectors of Hong Kong society. All these are important aspects of building a national security system.

Chinese individuals, NGOs donate money, food to Gaza

Every day, the tragic situation of people in the war-torn Gaza Strip, particularly that of sick and wounded children, deeply touches the heart of Guo Yan, the owner of a company based in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Despite being thousands of miles away, Guo promptly made a donation of 23,800-yuan ($3,334) to support the people in Gaza, which is sufficient to purchase 15-day basic food parcels for 50 families.

"I'm lucky to live in a country where there is no war or famine. But there are still people who live in darkness," Guo told the Global Times on Tuesday. "I think we have the responsibility to light up that small piece of darkness and haze in the world."

Guo and her company are among several Chinese enterprises, individuals, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have voluntarily donated money and supplies to Gaza, besides the humanitarian aid offered by the Chinese government, as they try to lend a helping hand to those enduring the ravages of war.

On October 26, the Beijing One Heart Sphere Charity Foundation (BOHS) and several Chinese civil commonweal groups, such as the Federation of Wenzhou Blazing Youth (Blazing Youth) and the Zhejiang Eternal Love Foundation (ZELF), initiated a campaign to provide basic food parcels that mainly include rice, lentils, oil, canned beef and sugar to more than 1,000 families in Gaza.

Each parcel costs $60, according to Weng Xiaoyou, director of Blazing Youth and ZELF initiator.

The involved organizations purchased the food parcels with financial contributions from Chinese donors including Guo, and hired local volunteers in Gaza to help distribute the supplies, said Ma Bin, who is responsible for the BOHS in Pakistan.

Ma said that people on the front lines understand the challenges of acquiring goods and the risks associated with transporting donated supplies. "Many of the volunteers have previously conducted business in China and have witnessed its development and prosperity, and they experienced the kindness and warmth of the Chinese people. They transformed their gratitude into practical actions, contributing their efforts to the cause of peace," he told the Global Times.

In the war-torn Gaza Strip, children lose their lives every day due to the conflict, and hundreds of thousands of refugees have been forced to migrate from the north to the south of Gaza. Many are now struggling due to the lack of medical care, a shortage of fresh water, and food scarcity, said Ma.

"The donated parcels represent the caring support from ordinary Chinese people to the victims in Gaza and convey their appeal for peace," he said.

In Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, local NGOs Blazing Youth and ZELF have also been actively calling for and collecting donations. Their efforts went toward 200 out of the latest batch of 500 food parcels that the BOHS and local volunteers helped purchase for people in Gaza. According to Lin Weiwei, deputy director of Blazing Youth, who also personally donated 20,000 yuan ($2,796), they are now raising funds for the next batch.

"Fortunately, there was a short cease-fire when local volunteers were distributing the latest batch of parcels in Gaza," Lin recalled. She added that they are trying to raise more funds during the cease-fires, as it allows the frontline volunteers to distribute supplies more safely.

"The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is physically far away from us in China, but I have found that many people in China are paying great attention to it and are willing to help [the victims and their families in] Gaza," Lin told the Global Times. "We live in a global community of shared future, and we want to provide assistance within our capacity."

Though most Chinese donors are not able to send supplies to Gaza in person, their love and care can be felt there in various ways.

Weng shared that they are inviting some teenagers in Wenzhou to draw pictures of love and peace. "The frontline volunteers will then print the soft copies of these pictures and distribute them along with our next batch of donated parcels as a way to express the love and well wishes of the Chinese people," he said.

Prior to the conflict, the BOHS, Blazing Youth, and the ZELF had made joint efforts to donate money and supplies to people in need around the world, including victims of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria earlier this year.

"As citizens of a responsible major country, we are eager to give a helping hand when there are natural disasters or humanitarian crises," said Weng. "I believe that love and care have no borders, and they can bear all things."

GT investigates: US reports accusing China of ‘manipulating information’ spark criticism with de facto faults

Editor's Note:

"Cognitive Warfare" has become a new form of confrontation between states, and a new security threat. With new technological means, it sets agendas and spreads disinformation, so as to change people's perceptions and thus alter their self-identity. Launching cognitive warfare against China is an important means for Western anti-China forces to attack and discredit the country. Under the manipulation of the US-led West, the "China threat theory" has continued to foment.

Some politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China's image by propagating false narratives such as "China's economy collapse theory" and "China's virus threat theory," in an attempt to incite and provoke dissatisfaction with China among people in certain countries. These means all serve the seemingly peaceful evolution strategy of the US to contain China's rise and maintain its hegemony.

The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to systematically reveal the intrigues of the US-led West's cognitive warfare targeting China, and expose its lies and vicious intentions, in an attempt to show international readers a true, multi-dimensional, and panoramic view of China.

This is the fifth installment in the series.

The proverbial thief crying out "stop thief" seems to be a norm in the US' cognitive warfare against China. The US, as a veteran of public opinion attack and a major source of disinformation in today's world, has consistently attacked China for "manipulating information," an ironic and ridiculous indictment.

A recent report released by the US State Department is a typical example of the US' attempt to defame China in the information and public opinion fields. The report, which accused China of employing "a variety of deceptive and coercive methods as it attempts to influence the international information environment," is completely groundless and misleading, the Global Times found.

The "report" exposed the unprofessionalism and prejudice of the US government, which routinely launch smear campaigns against China. Through investigation and verification, the Global Times has found the US State Department report contains numerous loopholes and fabrications, a serious deviation from the facts.

Full of loopholes

In late September, the US State Department released multilingual versions of a report titled "How the People's Republic of China Seeks to Reshape the Global Information Environment." Some mainstream US media outlets including the VOA and The New York Times soon ran with the report and started a new round of smear campaigns against China.

Looking into the 64-page report, the Global Times found many factual errors in its drawn-out narrative.

The accusation against StarTimes is a typical example. The report claimed that the Chinese-owned digital pay television service provider offers its overseas customers packages that "include CGTN (China Global Television Network) and dubbed Chinese entertainment content but does not include Western news channels," implying that Beijing can "influence content in various delivery platforms at the local level."

Contrary to this groundless accusation, StarTimes has clarified on numerous occasions that it has never deliberately excluded media content from the West. According to its official website, StarTimes has more than 630 channels in 11 languages worldwide, including international channels such as the BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera.

In a previous interview with the Global Times, a StarTimes' regional manager in Africa said that their users are fairly free to choose any international channel. "The StarTimes device does not block any channels," noted Wang Fan, the then CEO of StarTimes branch in Uganda.

The report also denigrated the normal statements of some Chinese diplomats on X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook. It claimed that Chinese diplomats "promote pro-Beijing narratives and disinformation and attack." Without providing any persuasive evidence to support this claim, the report decried the increase in number of China's diplomatic and official media accounts in recent years, reaching 333 with a combined following of nearly 65 million as of August. Attacking Chinese diplomats and media for using X showed the serious double standard of the report authors, who may arrogantly believe that Chinese diplomats can't express opinions on social media as their US peers do.

Even ordinary internet influencers who share their lives or travel experiences in China, whether Chinese or expatriate, were targets of the report's attack. It accused China of "leveraging social media influencers to communicate directly with foreign audiences," saying that China "sponsors" some online influencers who, mainly post "innocuous content," "ostensibly to attract followers, and interspersing posts containing pro-Beijing propaganda."

Such malicious speculation is a slight at many online influencers and their followers who love China. In previous interviews, several overseas vloggers told the Global Times that they share their China-related experiences and thoughts freely. One vlogger noted that it is the anti-China propaganda campaign in the US-led West that has prevented international audiences from knowing more about a real China.

"The US' strategic pressure on China has evolved from its initial focus on economic and trade sectors to restrictions on high-tech standards, and has now been further upgraded to the cognitive field, trying to influence and shape the world's cognition on China, and trying to form of China containment with its hegemonic behavior," Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

"There is a growing trend in which the US has launched attacks on the 'battlefield' of social media," a Shanghai-based expert in international journalism and communication told the Global Times.

The expert pointed out that the US, through launching a public opinion war, positions China as a disruptor and challenger within the current globally dominated information order, and will continue to engage in activities that reinforce this narrative, an example being the criticism of Chinese diplomats and vloggers who share China's charm.

"This is a naked hegemonic act, further accelerating the breakdown of the international information order," he said.
Widespread criticism

Unsurprisingly, the report by the US State Department has sparked widespread criticism on social media platforms, with users in various countries mocking the US as "crying wolf."

Critical comments flooded a September 29 X post by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who shared the report as a "proof" of China seeking to "manipulate the global information environment."

"We must work to ensure people's access to free and open information everywhere," wrote Blinken.

"The US/EU doesn't [manipulate the information environment], Blinky?" an X user named "Luis F" commented under this post, along with an eye-roll emoji.

"This from an administration that tried to create a censorship department under the guise of 'disinformation'…what a joke…" commented another user named "Gregory Latham Jr." "You mean 'we must work to ensure people's access to the information we want them to have access to everywhere.'"

"How's the ongoing effort by the Biden administration to suppress social media discourse about Ukraine, COVID, and Hunter Biden coming along?" wrote a verified user by the name "Scott Ritter," a US author and international relations analyst. "Physician, heal thyself!"

"The US State Department shouts freedom of speech and information, but the 'freedom' has a precondition. That is, speech and information are led by the US," wrote a reader by the name "Jun Fan." "Any speech and information that is not directed by the US is false speech and false information that is harmful to the world…and must be strictly controlled."

In September, Microsoft, which accused China of using AI to influence US voters ahead of the country's 2024 presidential elections, also led to criticism from some US netizens. "Using AI to mess up the US elections is more like something that American politicians would do themselves," they said.

Indeed, some US politicians are making full use of AI in propaganda campaigns to serve their political activities, such as the elections. New York Mayor Eric Adams, for instance, has been using AI software to launch prerecorded calls to residents in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Urdu, and Yiddish. The voice in the messages mimics that of the mayor, reported The Washington Post (WP) on October 26.

"Of course, fibbing politicians are nothing new, but examples keep multiplying of how AI supercharges disinformation in ways we haven't seen before," noted the WP article titled "Candidates, take this AI election pledge. Or 2024 might break us."

'Empire of lies'

Aside from the claim of "reshaping global information environment," the US government, some think tanks, and enterprises have released many reports to attack China, attempting to portray China as an enemy of global audiences in its cognitive warfare against the country, said observers.

Apparently, authors of the "reshaping information environment" report "saw no irony in these maxims coming from the US, the greatest state propagator of disinformation, narrative manipulation, and deception in the world," commented political analyst Timur Fomenko in an opinion piece published by Russia Today on October 17.

The US has rarely hidden some of its cognitive warfare tactics against China. In February 2022, a bill that allocated $500 million to "combat Chinese disinformation" reportedly moved through the US Congress. The bill was actually earmarked "for media outlets to produce journalism for overseas audiences that is critical of China," said The American Prospect magazine.

"The Senate bill aims to produce more anti-China media," the magazine said in an article it published that month. "Critics of escalating tensions with Beijing expressed concerns over the push for anti-China coverage, saying it could potentially undermine the credibility of journalists involved in the reporting," it added.

From the devastation its politicians inflicted on Iraq 21 years ago by presenting a small tube of white powder at the United Nations headquarters as evidence of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, to the unfounded claim that the novel coronavirus came from a laboratory leak in China's Wuhan, analysts pointed out that the US has long been a serial perpetrator of false stories.

"Some in the US may think that they can prevail in the information war as long as they manufacture enough lies. But the people of the world are not blind," said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the US State Department report.

"No matter how the US tries to pin the label of 'disinformation' on other countries, more and more people in the world have already seen through the US' ugly attempt to perpetuate its supremacy by weaving lies into 'emperor's new clothes' and smearing others," the ministry noted.

Newly added undergraduate majors including national security studies better serve national strategy

China has approved the addition of 24 new majors for undergraduate programs, including national security studies and electronic information materials. Experts said on Tuesday that the adjustment was guided by the goal of supporting the high-quality development of the economy so as to better serve the country's national strategy.

The addition was released by China's Ministry of Education (MOE) on Tuesday, with the ministry saying that the newly approved majors will be open for undergraduate admission in 2024.

According to the MOE, the addition of majors such as national security studies and overseas interests security is based on serving the needs of national strategy, while the establishment of majors such as electronic information materials and intelligent marine equipment aims to cultivate talents in the fields of cutting-edge science and key technologies.

Other important new majors include Chinese classical studies, as well as soccer and sports health preservation, respectively aiming to promote the innovative development of traditional Chinese culture and to help establish China as a leading sporting nation.

The ministry also released the latest version of the undergraduate major catalog for regular higher education institutions, which includes 93 major categories and 816 majors.

The new majors were added in response to overarching development requirements at the national level, spurred by the evolving needs of emerging industries and formats, Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The addition also reflected the guidance and support for universities to establish new majors urgently needed for national strategies and regional development, with a focus on serving the high-quality economic and social development, analysts said.

Regarding the major of national security studies, observers pointed out that it aims to cultivate talents with a solid foundation in national security theory and technical skills, as the current international order is undergoing significant changes.

In addition to adjusting the disciplines and majors of universities according to changes in social demand, Xiong said that each college should also set up relevant majors based on its own situation and characteristics to ensure the quality of talent cultivation in their chosen majors.

In 2023, the MOE issued a reform plan for adjusting and optimizing majors in higher education, stating that by 2025, a new range of disciplines and majors that are in line with new technologies and industries will be established, while those that lag behind in economic and social development will be eliminated.

The optimization and adjustment of undergraduate majors is a long-term process, and it is essential to offer effective teaching and training programs to support the development of each student, so that the academic majors offered by universities are aligned with the evolving demands of the job market, Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Education Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The MOE will persist in advancing the dynamic adjustment of majors, tailored cultivation of national strategic and high-demand talents, so as to bolster the role and impact of education in fostering high-quality development.

Airlines from China, US on stable path to raise flights after agreement

Airlines from China and the US are on a stable path to increase flights between the two countries, recording the biggest jump since the outbreak of the pandemic, amid recent efforts by the Chinese and US governments to increase flights.

On Monday, US-based Delta Air Lines said that it would increase the frequency of nonstop services between Shanghai-Pudong and Detroit to daily flights, beginning on May 23.
Delta is currently operating daily flights from Shanghai-Pudong to Seattle and three-times-weekly services to Detroit.

After the change, Delta will operate two daily flights from Shanghai to its US gateways.

Delta is not alone.

United Airlines said earlier this month that it would add four weekly flights between Los Angeles and Shanghai starting on August 29. Further, in late October, the Shanghai-Los Angeles route will be increased to daily service. This service complements United's daily service between San Francisco-Shanghai and San Francisco-Beijing.

In addition, six Chinese airlines including Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, which serve routes between the two countries, all announced new flight schedules to the US.

Air China will add one flight per week between Beijing and Los Angeles and two flights per week between Beijing and New York from March 31, and China Eastern will add two weekly flights from Shanghai to Los Angeles and one weekly flight from Shanghai to San Francisco starting from March 31.

China Southern will add one new weekly flight from Guangzhou to Los Angeles on March 31, and two new weekly flights from Guangzhou to San Francisco on April 2.
The new flights between China and the US operated by Chinese airlines are still mostly concentrated in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the western US.

The announcements came after the agreement made by the Chinese and US governments recently. Starting on March 31, airlines from China and the US can operate a total of 100 scheduled round trips per week, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China on February 29.

China and the US have seen increasing flights in recent years, and this round of increases is the biggest jump since the outbreak of the pandemic. There were three rounds of increases in 2023, and the latest was up from 48 flights to 70 flights, starting from November.

However, the total number of flights linking China and the US is still lagging behind the level of 2019. Even after this increase in flights, the level of recovery still lagged behind those among other countries.

In 2019, daily passenger flights between China and the US averaged 165, with a daily peak of 181, data from information provider VariFlight showed.

Data from Fly Master showed that China's outbound passenger flights during the Spring Festival period recovered to 69.3 percent of the level in 2019.

The destinations were concentrated in East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Korea, Thailand and Japan ranking in the top three. In terms of the recovery rate, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the UK exceeded 100 percent.

China to make final review ruling regarding lifting tariffs on Australian wine: MOFCOM

China will make final review ruling in accordance with the investigation procedures regarding lifting tariffs on Australian wine, Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday. 
On Tuesday, the ministry had disclosed the basic facts on which the ruling was based to the relevant stakeholders in accordance with the investigation procedures, and gave all parties an opportunity to express their opinions. 
Next, MOFCOM will make a final review in accordance with the investigation procedures based on the comprehensive consideration of the opinions of all parties, said He Yadong, a spokesperson of MOFCOM , in response to a media inquiry on whether China is to lift tariffs on Australian wine imports or not. 
The reply of MOFCOM also comes on the heels of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit New Zealand and Australia from March 17-21, and hold the 7th round of China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue.
Wang Wenbin, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said on Wednesday that China and Australia are making efforts to address mutual concerns through dialogue and consultation, which will help improve the momentum in bilateral relations.
China stands ready to continue stepping up dialogue and cooperation with Australia under the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and seeking common ground while shelving differences, so as to promote the steady and sound growth of bilateral relations, Wang noted.
MOFCOM said earlier that it began reviewing the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Australian wine as of November 30, 2023. A five-year series of anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs on Australian wine was imposed on March 28, 2021.
While, Australian government officials and media outlets have frequently brought the issue up, indicating the great eagerness of Australian winemakers to return to the Chinese market.
At Thursday's press conference, the MOFCOM spokesperson has also mentioned the disputes such as wind towers from China.
China has serious concerns about Australia's trade remedy measures against China's wind tower and other measures, and hopes that Australia will respect WTO rules and properly address China's concerns, He said.