It was after his retirement that Li’s influence reached the

pinnacle. Since the end of the 1980s, he had made his voice heard constantly and had been labeled the “CPC veteran cadre + CPC critic.”

As a representative figure among veteran outspoken officials, he was hailed among Chinese liberals and Western public opin

ion. Among his propositions, the most famous was opposing the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.

Looking back on Li’s life, the prime of his life was embedded in the wave of the Chinese Revolu

tion and the country’s early development; he suffered a lot during that period of time.

In his later years, he participated in the creation of a special type of “veteran cadre + critic.” Stronger opinion was not at al

l unusual in those years, but the label of a retired official helped increase the gravity of Li’s voice and consolidated his stance.

Li’s later years were a success from another perspective as well. He had been enjoying a

generous pension and lavish benefits after retirement until he died in Beijing Hospital.

While benefiting from the privileges the state provided, he was also supported by China’s do

mestic anti-establishment forces and some Western powers. He was one of China’s least lonely old men and veteran cadres.

It should be noted that Li in his later years became a symbol of the diversificat

ion of Chinese society. Considering the meaning of this symbol, different conclusions can be drawn.

Supporters may hold that he had added a voice and more importantly a “scarce voice,” while

opponents would argue that he had become a tool for hostile and unfriendly forces to attack the Chinese system.

Li’s later years demonstrated a special way of boycotting China’s mainstream path. Such a role played by him may reflect various value judgments.

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Nevertheless, it should be made clear that despite the external

 pressures, it is actually a need for China’s economic development, at the current stage, to further open up markets. Thus, the c

ountry’s accelerated opening-up is not only the response to the external risks, but also a key step in transforming pressures into new growth momentum.

So far, the openness of China’s manufacturing sector is relatively high, especially compared to the degree of ope

nness in the service industry, with foreign ownership limits and license restrictions set in such sectors like m

edical care, education, express delivery and others. Since the overall manufacturing sector is now basically opening up,

there is a high possibility that China will expand the opening of the service industry in the near future. Specifically, finance, medical care, education

and elderly care are all potential sectors that could see greater market access, as the current Chinese society is also in need of these services.

In other words, China has already got the basic conditions for further opening up of its service industry. With the country’s

per capita GDP exceeding $9,000, the proportion of residents’ basic living consumption has declined, while the co

nsumption demand for information, culture, medical care, education, elderly care, entertainment and other services has increased.

Some observers, however, have been concerned about the impact of increased opening-up on the domestic services industry. It is

undeniable that such an impact is inevitable, but it should be viewed as the pressure to stimulate the innovation and

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In his opinion, the development was beyond ridiculous

More than 84 million Nigerians have been registered to vote in the postponed elections.

Ahead of the elections, enthusiasm had been high among citizens of the most populous African country. The election had also dra

wn the attention of the international community given the position and prospects of Nigeria in the global arena.

Many netizens of the country have continued to express disappointment at the postpo

nement of the elections, each one regarding it as a huge failure on the side of INEC.

Some social media commentators even called on the electoral chief to resign.

One Facebook user Olufunmilayo Odunaike said that i

f at all there was a reason for the postponement, that should have been done a few weeks earlier.

“You don’t want to be me. Woke up, dashed to the bathroom to have my bath, m

ade sandwiches, only to learn elections have been postponed,” Odunaike queried.

Temitope Adeboye, another Facebook user, called for a thorough probe of the postponement.

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Folorunsho Amsat, a journalist, told Xinhua one of the

 of the polls postponement is that it would cause many voters to be depressed and the country might record a low turnout of electorates when the election eventually holds.

“The momentum is dying. I hope it’s not dead in one week,” he said.

According to the electoral chief, shifting the polls was “a difficult decision for the Commission to take.”

For more than seven hours, the electoral chief and the 12 nation

al commissioners of the INEC were in a closed-door meeting on Friday night.

The elections were supposed to hold at 119,973 polling units across the country while collation of res

ults was to take place in 8,809 registration areas or wards, 774 local government areas in 36 states and the capital Abuja.

Sources had hinted a possible postponement of the election due to logistic challenges in some parts of the country.

The official News Agency of Nigeria, citing official sources in the north-central state of Niger

had reported that ballot papers for two of the state’s three senatorial districts were missing as of Friday evening.

www.sh419bb.com

Germany claims the crown for record gathering of smurfs

group of German friends claimed a world record on Saturday for the highest

number of smurfs gathered in one place.

Fans of the blue elf-like creatures created in a Belgian comic strip during

the 1950s, managed to gather

2,762 people dressed and painted blue in regulation smurf attire – curly hats and all.

The gathering took place at the town of Lauchringen, near the German border

with Switzerland, the organizers reported on Facebook.

Their record came three years after their first attempt failed to beat the record

held by Welsh students who managed to unite 2,510 regulation smurfs in Swansea back in 2009.

The German‘s first effort failed, with only 2,149 turning up.

The rules of the game are strict: The only people counted as the genuine article are

those with any bare skin painted blue and the rest of the body clothed in smurf attire.

The group of friends made their second, victorious attempt on Saturday with the

backing of the mayor of Lauchringen, they said.

The smurfs, small, impish creatures who live in a village, were created by the

Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford, known as Peyo.

They became so popular that the stories eventually spilled over into cartoons and

even live-action films.

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According to The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Repor

eased by the World Economic Forum, global tourism revenue contributed over 10 percent of the global GDP, but China’s domest

ic tourism revenue was around 5.5 percent of its GDP, which has been the world’s second highest since 2012. C

ompared with its economic volume, the Chinese tourism industry is not very well developed, which may have something to d

o with the overall low disposable income levels of Chinese residents. For example, in 2017, China’s gross national inc

ome (GNI) per capita ranked 69th in the world, while the US GNI per capita was 6.5 times that of China during the same time period.

In recent years, various local governments have been making great efforts to promote the increase of local tourism revenue

s by building traditional towns, exploring and developing local history, local culture and other tourist resources. It is certainly justified for au

thorities to develop tourism, to expand domestic demand, to increase “green” GDP and promote an economic transformation. However, it should be no

ted that the development of a tourism industry is closely related to the growth of residents’ disposable income. As the income level of residents rises, the to

urism industry will naturally see a rapid development. In the context of the declining growth of residents’ disposable i

ncome, it is completely unrealistic to achieve a rapid growth in tourism revenues. Furthermore, as various local gov

ernments are competing to develop tourism resources, this may lead to an “oversupply” within the tourism ind

ustry, and this will result in a low efficiency of fiscal expenditure and a waste of precious resources.

In short, it is of fundamental importance to find ways to improve the disposable income level of re

sidents as well as social security and welfare, which is the prerequisite for sustainable prosperity.

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The BJP has projected Gandhi as a “Chinese propagandist.

raving about China,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quoted as saying in The Times of India.

The BJP has also questioned the “request” of the Chinese ambassador to give a ceremonial send-off to Gandhi for his Mansarovar trip. “When Rahul Gan

dhi went for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a letter was sent by the Chinese ambassador to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) that he wanted to give Rah

ul Gandhi a ceremonial send-off. This protocol is limited to heads of state or government and leader of opposition. No

w it is clear why China wanted to extend this protocol to Rahul Gandhi. Yatra was just an excuse, he had to meet Chinese ministers and discuss so

mething. The cat is out of the bag today, and the Congress needs to clarify,” Patra told Hindustan Times. The BJP didn’t stop at that. It als

o dug into Gandhi’s earlier meeting with the Chinese envoy in India during the Doklam standoff.

If the developments are any indication, the BJP is desperate to raise any issue which could work in its favor in the elections with the mood of the general

masses not looking positive towards the party. It wants to eliminate the anti-incumbency factor and divert the at

ention of the masses from more pressing issues. The main opposition has alleged the BJP failed to keep its promise of

generating 20 million jobs in a year. The opposition is also repeatedly raising the Rafale fighter jet deal to counter M

odi’s take on corruption. Now the BJP strategists feel playing the China card, to a certain extent, could help the ruling party in this matter.

But experts say such issues are not going to impact the elections. “China card will prove to be of litt

le or just no help for the BJP,” says Ajay Jha, a prominent Delhi-based journalist who is an expert in Chinese affairs.

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ina’s icebreaker Xuelong leaves research base in Antar

China’s research icebreaker Xuelong, with 126 crew members aboard on the 35th Antarc

tic research mission, on Thursday local time left the Zhongshan Station on its way back to China.

Snow Eagle 601, China’s first fixed-wing aircraft for polar flight, on Th

ursday night also departed from the Antarctic after completing all assignments.

Xuelong arrived near Zhongshan on Feb 9. It supplied the station with fuel oil, then picked up summer exped

ition team members at the Kunlun, Taishan and Zhongshan stations, as well as members of the fixed-wing aircraft project.

Sixteen members of the Kunlun team previously completed all scientific expeditions at Dome Argus (Dome A), the So

uth Pole’s highest icecap. They, together with 21 members of the Taishan team, returned to Zhongshan on Feb. 8.

The Zhongshan team completed tasks including installation of and tests for LiDAR, drilling of ice bedrock, aa

tmospheric sounding observation, surveys of birds and aerial exploration carried out by the fixed-wing aircraft.

As the summer expedition team at Zhongshan left, 19 members stay for winter expeditions.

Also known as the Snow Dragon, the icebreaker carrying a research team set sail from Shanghai on Nov 2 last year, beg

inning the country’s 35th Antarctic expedition. It is expected to arrive in Shanghai in mid-March.

www.sh419pp.com

hina has become the biggest owner of AI patents, follo

wed closely by the US and Japan, the report revealed. The three countries own 74 percent of all issued AI patents globally.

The CISTP report noted that while China has the world’s secondlargest AI talent pool, it has a lower percentage of top talents.

By the end of 2017, China had amassed more than 18,000 AI specialists, behind only the US. But, Ch

ina had only 977 top-tier AI specialists, just one-fifth of the number in the US, ranking sixth globally.

“China’s strengths are mainly shown in AI applications and it is still weak on the front of core techn

ologies of AI, such as hardware and algorithm development,” the report noted. “China’s AI de

IJING – China’s new yuan-denominated loans stood at 3.23 trillion yuan ($477 billion) in

January 2019, up 328.4 billion yuan year-on-year, central bank data showed Friday.

velopment lacks top-tier talent and has a significant gap with developed countries, especially the US, in this regard.”

www.sh419qq.com

aidu signs comprehensive deal with Ctrip-depth partnersh

hinese internet search giant Baidu Inc inked an in-depth partnership with China’s largest online travel agency Ctrip, in its latest efforts to drive the development of intelligent tourism in China.

Under the agreement, Baidu will deploy its cloud services and artificial intelligence capabilities to provide Ctrip with solutions tailor

ed to tourism scenarios and businesses. Baidu Cloud, the cloud unit of Baidu will help Ctrip impr

ove operational efficiency and customer experience and reduce costs in marketing and sales, customer acquisition and online traffic conversion.

The two companies will also continue to explore a variety of smart services in more scenarios

based on Baidu’s AI capabilities, such as speech technology and autonomous driving.

“The tourism industry is growing rapidly and Ctrip is the industry leader. Baidu looks forward to working wi

th Ctrip to upgrade tourism services with ‘cloud plus AI’, enhance customer experience, and ex

plore a viable path to intelligent tourism for the entire industry,” said Zhang Dongchen, vice-president of Baidu.

“With the vigorous development of tourism, consumer needs are more and more diversified. To better serve our customers, Ctrip

needs to be enabled by advanced cloud computing and AI technologies,” said Xiong Xing, executive vi

ce-president of Ctrip and CEO of air ticketing business unit and international business unit of the company.

Xiong said they hoped to collaborate with Baidu to create smarter customer service and more value for users.

This partnership is not limited to IT infrastructure. With Baidu Cloud’s capabilities, big data

analytics can be conducted on users’ interests, habits and preferences. Different tourism products can

be packaged by Baidu’s AI and machine learning technologies to offer every user customized solutions.

Over the past three years, Baidu Cloud has collaborated with more than 2,000 partners in

over 30 industries, such as finance, security, transportation and education, and created over 100 solutions.

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GiottoPress by Enrique Chavez