What's China like through the lens of global vloggers pouring in?

"Welcome to the future!"

These are the first words Ansh Mishra says to the camera, in a vlog of his trip to China that he shared on YouTube in late April. With lively electronic background music, the vlog shows attractive scenes including a metro station dome with a futuristic design, the interactive screen of a service robot, and a metro train equipped with high-tech facilities.

Mishra, also known as "Indigo Trekker," is an Indian travel vlogger with some 118,000 YouTube subscribers. He is also among the recent visitors to China amid a surge in inbound tourists, including many travel vloggers who are inspired and passionate about exploring this somewhat "mysterious" country, and then share their travel experiences and observations with the world.

Data showed that China saw 1.78 million inbound trips in this past May Day holidays from May 1 to 5. Inbound travel bookings during the holidays increased by 130 percent year-on-year.

China's relaxed entry policies have resulted in an inbound tourism boom, and its continues high-level opening-up has impressed global visitors with all-time conveniences, openness, and friendliness.

The Global Times spoke to several travel vloggers, whose videos of their recent trips to China have all had numerous views on social media platforms. Their vivid experiences showed overseas audience a China that is different from what is depicted by Western narratives and stereotypes.

'Shockingly modern'
Having long planned to visit China, Mishra finally made the trip in February, amid the Chinese New Year this year.

One of the main reasons for his visit to China was to "experience its technological advancement." "It's the biggest country in Asia by its size and population, and of course, one of the hi-tech countries in the world. Hence, I really wanted to visit it," Mishra told the Global Times.

In the vlog he uploaded in late April titled "The world won't believe China's new infrastructure," Mishra explores the Gangxia North metro station in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, which he describes as "the craziest metro system design in China."

To the camera, Mishra charges his phone on a wireless charging facility on the metro train, and has his face scanned when getting out of the station. "You saw in the video that the transportation system is so modern and high-tech," he exclaimed at the end of the 24-minute vlog. "It is safe, convenient, cost-effective, efficient, fast, rapid, and environmentally friendly."

Modernization is one of the biggest impressions many travel vloggers have about China. In the vlogs they have shared online, they recommend a high-speed train ride as a must-have experience in China, pose in front of the screen showing real-time speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour on the train, and learn to adapt themselves to the cashless society.

Travel vloggers Dan and Lyn, a couple "born in Paris with Asian origins" as described on their websites, joked that a shock they encountered during their trip in Shanghai was that cash is almost entirely a thing of the past there. "What shocked us the most is the general advancement of the country," they told the Global Times.

Similar to Dan and Lyn, "Ken Abroad," the screen name of a German travel content creator with 320,000 YouTube subscribers, said he didn't encounter any real cultural shocks in his recent trip to China, but was surprised by the fact that almost everything in the country is cashless. "I spent, in total, over one month in China, and I did not see a single person paying cash," he said.

Having been to many major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, Ken Abroad found that China is overall more modern than he had expected, as many things are digital, and that often makes life more convenient. "I even took a driverless bus in Guangzhou. That was a cool experience!" he recalled. "I also got food delivered to my hotel room by a robot, which I had never seen before."

In addition to the modern technology itself, foreign tourists can also enjoy more considerate conveniences specifically provided to them, as China continues to pursue high-level opening-up with sincerity and hospitality.

Within months, points of sale (POS) machines across several major tourist cities have been updated to accept foreign bank cards. The People's Bank of China, China's central bank, has also unveiled multilingual payment service guides to facilitate foreign payment services.

And cities like Beijing and Shanghai are making further efforts to better serve both tourists and expats living there. In Beijing, local government officials said at a press release in March that foreigners can now do a lot of things with their passports online, such as booking scenic spot tickets and hospital registration.

'Lesser-known treasures'
To many overseas tourists, China is the very first station of their trip to Asia. With the increasing convenience of entering China, many visitors are no longer content to just walk around a few iconic metropolises like Shanghai or Beijing. Instead, they prefer to explore farther and lesser-known places, so as to take a closer look at a diverse China.

Travel content creators Flora and Note are a Canadian couple. After flying from Bangkok to Shanghai earlier this year, they started their beautiful journey across China. They took high-speed trains to Zhejiang, Jiangxi provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and then spent about 10 days exploring some fairyland-like destinations in Yunnan, such as Shangri-La.

The time in Yunnan left a lasting impression on them. "We immersed ourselves in ancient towns, learned about ethnic minorities and their food culture, and were marveled by the incredible nature," they told the Global Times.

Note mentioned a destination probably even unknown to many Chinese people: Wangxian Valley in East China's Jiangxi Province. He said the valley was a big highlight of their trip to China.

"Seeing the village's fairyland-like appearance, with houses clinging to cliffs, was breathtaking, especially when illuminated at night," he recalled. "Learning about the village's role in driving economic development in Jiangxi added depth to our visit, motivating us to raise awareness of this beautiful place among foreign visitors."

Alina Mcleod, a Canadian travel vlogger born in Ukraine, has recently been to the central and southwest parts of China. She tried on Hanfu (traditional clothing of Han ethnic group) in Chengdu, and the costume of people of the Miao ethnic group in Guilin, making her look like a beautiful local woman.

She told the Global Times that the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Central China's Hunan Province, also known as "The Avatar Mountains," was one of her favorite destinations in China. "It was a landscape that I had never seen before!"

Mishra also went to more places during his one-month trip in China. "Miao culture in Kaili, Lijiang River in Yangshuo, Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, Muslin's street food culture in Xi'an, and of course, ultra-modern high technology in almost every single city in China, made me speechless," said Mishra.

"I have shown [this] in all my vlogs, which the global world has to know in the right ways," he said.
Travel vloggers like Mishra are a window for overseas audiences to know about a real China.

Before traveling to China, international tourists might have some concerns about this seemingly remote Eastern country, usually portrayed negatively by the West. However, when they visit China and have in-person experiences, they find that the vast majority of their previous concerns about China are entirely unfounded.

Flora and Note said that initially they worried about filming in China, as they thought they would face some resistance from local people. But later they found that filming and taking photos is a common practice, and, "as long as we weren't disrupting others, there were no issues," said the couple.

In February, Ken Abroad uploaded a video on YouTube, which showed his trip to Urumqi, the capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a name constantly spotlighted by some Western media outlets and politicians.

"This region is all over Western media for not so good reasons. But as usual, I am curious to see things with my own eyes. So, I booked a flight to Urumqi," Ken Abroad wrote in the introduction page of the video. "According to some comments on my channel, I would not be allowed to enter, as the region is apparently closed to foreigners. Well, I was able to enter without any problems and soon after I found myself exploring the city center of Urumqi."

In this vlog, Ken Abroad walks on the snowy streets of Urumqi. He sees many mosques across the city, and asks local residents the opening time of the mosques, receiving friendly responses.

"[An] interesting fact about the mosques here, as I read before, is that Xinjiang, this region of China, has more mosques than the US or any Western countries in Europe do," he says to the camera while walking alone on the street.

"And, …do you have the impression so far that the majority of people that we spoke to today, we interacted with, we saw, were Muslims?" he asks. "Yet the Western media are trying to tell us that the Muslims are being oppressed here by the Chinese government; that they don't live a normal life. I don't want to judge now, but just asking you, what is your impression of the people that we have seen so far?"

"I am happy to see that so many people watched my China videos, and the responses I got were overall mostly positive," Ken Abroad said.

China, on Tuesday, announced the extension of the visa exemption entry for citizens from 12 countries, including France and Germany, on short-term visits to China until the end of 2025. That will offer many foreign tourists like Ken Abroad greater ease when visiting or revisiting this country.

"It's a huge country and there are so many more places that I would like to see," Ken Abroad said. "I will probably return at the end of this year."

Obviously, there will be more travel vlogs flooding social media in the near future, as we have seen visitors from different countries excitedly declaring into the camera, "China, we are coming!"

China’s green capacity brings opportunities for developing countries’ industrialization

China has emerged as a global leader in the production of green and new-energy products, marking a significant milestone in its economic transformation. With exports of new-energy vehicles (NEVs), solar cells and lithium-ion battery products surpassing the 1 trillion yuan (138 billion) mark in 2023, the country has positioned itself at the forefront of the green industry revolution. This growth in emerging industries not only reflects China's commitment to sustainability but also presents numerous opportunities for developing countries seeking to accelerate their industrialization and participate in the global energy transition.

The expansion of China's green industries exhibits the country's strategic vision and attention to innovation across all productive sectors. This growth is fueled by a combination of factors, including government support, technological advancements, regional and global trade, and a conducive domestic business environment. China's proactive investment in research and development, alongside its focus on scaling up production capacity, has enabled it to achieve economies of scale and drive down production costs. Additionally, the commitment to sustainable development goals has spurred investments in renewable energy infrastructure, further catalyzing the growth of green industries.

Key to China's success in forming competitiveness in these emerging industries is its integrated approach to technology, manufacturing and market development. By leveraging its vast manufacturing capabilities, skilled workforce and extensive supply chain networks, China has been able to rapidly scale up production and meet the growing demand for green products both domestically and internationally. Moreover, the proactive policies have stimulated market demand and encouraged innovation in green technologies.

The increasing demand for green industry and new-energy products during the energy transition presents potential for growth, both for China and the global economy. As countries worldwide seek to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources, the demand for clean energy technologies is expected to soar. This trend is being driven by a combination of environmental concerns, regulatory incentives and technological advancements. As such, there is a growing opportunity for countries to capitalize on the burgeoning green market and position themselves as leaders in sustainable development.

In this context, the prospects of cooperation between China and other countries, particularly its neighbor - Pakistan, in the green and new-energy industries are promising. Pakistan, like many developing countries, faces challenges in meeting its energy needs while addressing environmental concerns. By partnering with China, a global leader in green technology and manufacturing, Pakistan can access state-of-the-art solutions and expertise to accelerate its transition to clean energy. Collaboration in areas such as renewable energy infrastructure, electric vehicle deployment and battery storage systems can not only enhance Pakistan's energy security but also drive economic growth and job creation.

China's contribution to the global energy transition and sustainable development extends beyond its borders. By offering cost-effective green products to countries like Pakistan, China is playing a pivotal role in promoting access to clean energy technologies and facilitating the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide. Through initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the country is actively supporting infrastructure development and capacity-building efforts in partner countries, thereby promoting green growth and environmental sustainability on a global scale.

Despite China's commendable efforts to promote green industries and sustainable development, it faces increasing protectionism and accusations of "overcapacity" in the international arena. Critics argue that China's rapid expansion of green manufacturing capacity has led to oversupply in certain markets, undermining the competitiveness of domestic industries in other countries. However, such accusations overlook the broader benefits of China's green capacity, including job creation, technological innovation and environmental protection. Moreover, addressing global challenges such as climate change, requires collective action and cooperation among countries, rather than protectionist measures that stifle innovation and impede progress. This is where strengthening of multilateral trade regime holds immense importance.

Looking ahead, China's trade partners, particularly in the Global South, should position their industrial and trade policies in a manner which can utilize the benefits of China's green development, for example, by strengthening policy frameworks to incentivize investment in renewable energy, promoting public-private partnerships to drive innovation and investment, investing in education and training to build human capital in green technologies, facilitating technology transfer and knowledge sharing with China, addressing regulatory barriers to entry for green businesses, promoting green finance mechanisms to attract investment, and harnessing international cooperation initiatives such as the BRI to access funding, technology and expertise. Through these strategic actions, developing economies can accelerate their transition to a low-carbon milieu, achieve sustainable development objectives and pave the way for a more environmentally sustainable future.

Serbian blueberries to be imported to China, as strategic partnership gains pace

Serbia-produced blueberries that meet requirements will be allowed to be imported into China with immediate effect, China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced on Thursday.

The news comes as part of the achievements during the Chinese top leader's state visit to Serbia on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In a joint statement, the two countries announced a commitment to deepening and elevating the China-Serbia comprehensive strategic partnership. Serbia was the first Central and Eastern European country to become China's comprehensive strategic partner eight years ago.

As one of the milestones marking the partnership, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planning agency, signed cooperation documents with Serbian government in areas including Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation, green development and the digital economy.

The NDRC signed a memorandum of understanding with Serbia's Ministry of Internal and Foreign Trade on a medium-term action plan for BRI cooperation, with the two sides agreeing to establish a working mechanism to implement the action plan, according to a statement on the NDRC website.

In addition, the NDRC and the Serbian Ministry of Environmental Protection agreed to carry out pragmatic cooperation in handling global climate change, environmental protection, the recycling economy, energy conservation and enhancing energy efficiency in a bid to boost the two countries' green transition.

The two countries also agreed to strengthen policy coordination on digitalization and expand partnership in fields including big data, information and telecommunication technology and cloud computing, and ramp up the digitalization of traditional industries, according to the NDRC.

These new achievements mark the extension of China-Serbia cooperation from traditional sectors such as steel to new industries, as well as an improvement in cooperation quality, Zhang Hong, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

With this sound cooperation basis, Serbia has seen notable yields in the joint construction of the BRI, and it is expected to have a demonstration effect on cooperation between China and the region, Zhang said.

"More importantly, high-level exchanges between the two countries will inject greater confidence into the market and attract more enterprises to invest in Serbia," he said.

Serbia is China's first free trade partner in the Central and Eastern European region.

In 2023, China was the largest source of foreign direct investment for Serbia and the second-largest trade partner, official data showed. The two countries' cooperation in trade, industrial chains and infrastructure construction is on the rise, contributing to each other's modernization.

Standing at a new starting point, the joint construction of the BRI will boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation to a higher level and a larger scope, Wan Zhe, an economist and professor at the Belt and Road School of Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The free trade agreement between China and Serbia will take effect on July 1, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Wan said that China has industrial and technological advantages in the green economy and should give play to the driving role of the Green Silk Road to increase infrastructure investment in Serbia to contribute to the Central and Eastern European country's green transition. 

She said that the two sides should make cooperation in fields such as photovoltaic energy and new-energy vehicles a new growth point for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

GT investigates: How does US-led G7 wage cognitive warfare against China over South China Sea?

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 the "China economy collapse theory" and "China 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 eighth installment in the series. In this story, the Global Times looks into how the Group of Seven (G7) attempts to tarnish China's image and jeopardize the peace and tranquility in the region with various cognitive warfare tricks.
The Group of Seven (G7) has been hyping the South China Sea issue synchronously under the US leadership. In the latest statement released earlier this month, the G7 once again claimed to oppose China's militarization activities in the South China Sea, and, not surprisingly, mentioned the so-called South China Sea arbitration.

These cliché accusations, as well as G7's repeated hypes of the South China Sea issue, have become "a part of the group's carefully planned cognitive warfare against China," said some Chinese observers reached by the Global Times. They pointed out that, through consistently creating strife in the South China Sea, provoking conflict between China and related countries in the region, and even inciting the latter to initiate troubles against China, the G7 attempts to harm China's sovereignty, denigrates China's international image, and jeopardize the peace and tranquility in this region.

The media disinformation campaign is far from the only means used, the Global Times found. Within the framework of the G7, governments, legal professions, media outlets, and academic institutes have largely participated in this cognitive war targeting China in terms of the South China Sea issue.

Murky blue sea interference

The G7, as one of the most powerful and influential intergovernmental political and economic groups in the West, is very good at attacking China over the South China Sea issue in the form of a joint declaration or statement by government heads or top officials among its members, to delegitimize China's rights and interests in the South China Sea at superficially "official" and "formal" occasions.

Apart from the latest statement, the G7 has released several similar joint statements detailing its "concerns" over the South China Sea issue in 2023 alone.

On November 8, 2023, G7 foreign ministers released a statement in Tokyo, stating that they "remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas," and "strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion." Similar sentiments were also seen in another statement released after they met in New York in September.

Earlier in May, the G7 also hyped China-related issues in the G7 Hiroshima Leaders' Communiqué and other documents adopted at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, including irresponsible comments on the situation in the Taiwan Straits, and accusations regarding regions like the South China Sea.

Uniformly, these statements mentioned the South China Sea arbitration, saying the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal in 2016 "is legally binding upon the parties to those proceedings, and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties."

The fact is that the arbitration, without actual legal effect, has been widely considered a political farce under the cloak of law, said scholars of boundary and marine studies.

"The South China Sea arbitration was conducted by an arbitral tribunal without jurisdiction in violation of the procedures set out in Articles 283 and 298 of the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). There is no basis in international law, and it (the arbitration) has no legal binding force on China," said Wu Wei, an associated professor in China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University.

Wu said that in 2023 since the US and the Philippines released the "Joint Statement of the US-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue" in April, the US-led G7 has further meddled in the South China Sea issue.

"At the level of international law, it has violated the DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea), the UNCLOS, and the basic principles of non-intervention in domestic affairs," she told the Global Times.

Similarly, the "Limits in the Seas No.150" report that the US Department of State released in January 2022, which said it "examines the maritime claims of the People's Republic of China in the South China Sea" based on the UNCLOS, was also no more than a political tool of attack by the US against China under the guise of law, observers commented.

"The US itself has not ratified the UNCLOS," noted Wu. "Washington's interference in the South China Sea issue has hindered the normal implementation of the Convention."
Hypes from media, academy community

G7 members have continually added fuel to the fire in the South China Sea issue, with Western media outlets amplifying their incendiary talking points. This year, US media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Time magazine have extensively reported on the maritime conflicts between China and the Philippines.

Throughout 2023, when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) stirred up trouble in the South China Sea, it contrived the accompaniment of local and Western media entities on many occasions, with mainstream Western media outlets such as the New York Times, NBC, and AFP being invited to join Philippine journalists. The Foreign Correspondents Association, representing foreign media in the Philippines, has also been in contact with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Defense to coordinate journalists' boarding for interviews.

Presumably dissatisfied with journalists' inability to capture good photos on board, the US military has dispatched P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircrafts to assist the PCG in their resupply operations at Ren'ai Jiao (Ren'ai Reef). These aircrafts captured high-definition videos and photos, which were used for sensationalist purposes by Western countries and Philippine media outlets.

In an effort to assist the Philippines in its dispute with China, some third-party countries are seeking advice from their own think tanks. One notable case is that of Project Myoushu at Stanford University in the US, which focuses on South China Sea security issues.

In February, Project Myoushu claimed that "China harasses PCG vessel." Subsequently, the PCG asserted that a Chinese ship had directed laser at the PCG, and the US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, further fanned the flames by stating that the US stands with their ally in the face of alleged laser incidents.

In the context of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's clarification of the facts and emphasis on the Philippine side's baseless accusations, Raymond Powell, Project Myoushu team lead and a retired US Air Force colonel, claimed that the actions of Project Myoushu pushed the Philippine government to finally decide to expose the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines.

In addition, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is also a major project in the US that focuses on researching the South China Sea issue.

Over the years, this project has repeatedly accused China of "disrupting the status quo" and "threatening regional security" when releasing information about China's rights protection and law enforcement activities in the South China Sea.

However, it selectively ignores unilateral actions such as island construction and militarization by other claimant countries in the disputed waters.

In recent discussions between several US and the Philippine think tanks, various ideas regarding the US-Philippines cooperation in occupying Ren'ai Jiao were generated. In terms of logistical support, some have suggested that Western military forces should assist the PCG in delivering supplies to the grounded vessel, or even consider airdropping them using military aircrafts.

Currently, the Philippines is intensifying its propaganda campaign in the South China Sea in collaboration with foreign media sources and think tanks, using various tactics to overstate the severity of the conflicts between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Behind this is a mindset of sensationalism, deliberately portraying China as aggressively attacking and bullying a smaller country - the Philippines, Peng Nian, vice president of the Regional National Research Institute at the Hainan Normal University, told the Global Times.

"The more they exaggerate and amplify these negative incidents, the more it seems beneficial for the Philippines and the West. It not only maligns China, but also magnifies the South China Sea issue, continuously attracting international attention," Peng said. However, in reality, apart from escalating tensions in the South China Sea, these performers are only deceiving themselves with the illusion of enhanced influence, he noted.

A 'test site' to suppress China

The South China Sea is another "test site" for some Western countries, including the G7, to isolate and contain China, said observers.

By constantly hyping the South China Sea issue, they try to influence the international community and the Chinese public to force the Chinese government to change its foreign policy, Chen Xiangmiao, director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times in a previous interview.

To safeguard China's legal interests in the South China Sea, and to contribute more to the peaceful and stable development of the region, Wu from Wuhan University suggested that China should actively take countermeasures from multiple aspects, which include hosting summits for peaceful consultations between China and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries on the South China Sea situation, further encouraging fishermen to conduct fishing operations in the region with more guaranteed protection.

"It's also necessary to further promote international law studies on the South China Sea issue, to gain more say for China in today's global international law community on topics regarding this region," Wu told the Global Times.

Gone are the days when a handful of Western countries could willfully meddle in other countries' internal affairs and manipulate global affairs, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry on May 20, in response to the G7 Hiroshima Leaders' Communiqué released that same day.

"The international community does not and will not accept the G7-dominated Western rules that seek to divide the world based on ideologies and values. Even less will it succumb to the rules of exclusive small blocs designed to serve 'America-first' and the vested interests of the few," it noted. "G7 needs to reflect on its behavior and change course."

China announces discovery of major oilfield in Bohai Sea, with over 100 million tons of proven reserves

China has discovered a major oilfield in the central and northern parts of the Bohai Sea, with proven reserves of 104 million tons of oil, marking a monumental find in the region following a decade of search efforts, state-owned oil giant CNOOC announced on Monday.

The Qinhuangdao 27-3 oilfield, located 200 kilometers west of North China's Tianjin, is a 48.9-meter-thick oil layer in a 1,570-meter-deep well. With reserves exceeding 100 million tons of oil equivalent, testing has shown that the oilfield can produce about 110 tons of crude oil per day, showing promising exploration prospects.

With a regular extraction pace, the Qinhuangdao 27-3 oilfield could produce nearly 20 million tons of crude oil, enough to meet the daily transportation needs of a city with a population of a million people for over a decade. The refined asphalt could be used to build over 100,000 kilometers of four-lane highways, said Zhou Jiaxiong, a manager of CNOOC Tianjin branch.

The discovery of the Qinhuangdao 27-3 oilfield represents a successful practice of the company's new exploration strategy in the Bohai Sea. By changing the existing exploration approach, researchers identified the rich oilfield from a strike-slip fault zone in a complex structure area.

The Qinhuangdao 27-3 oilfield is the sixth 100 million-ton class oilfield discovered in the Bohai Sea since 2019 and the first in the central and northern parts of the sea in a decade, said Xu Changgui, deputy chief exploration engineer at CNOOC.

This discovery not only confirms the vast prospects for oil and gas exploration in the complex strike-slip fault zones of the Bohai Sea but also injects strong momentum into the development of China's offshore oilfields. It will play a significant role in securing China's energy supply and supporting the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Xu added.

The discovery of the Qinhuangdao 27-3 oilfield is part of China's ongoing progress in the oil and gas sector, with CNOOC having made significant discoveries in recent years, including the Bozhong 26-6 deep-reservoir oilfield in the Bohai Sea and the Baodao 21-1 gas field in the western South China Sea.

On March 8, CNOOC announced China's first deep-water, deep-reservoir oilfield in the South China Sea, the Kaipingnan oilfield, which has proven reserves of 102 million tons of oil equivalent.

US suppression of China's auto industry will backfire: experts

The US' escalating suppression of China's auto industry is a typical example of the politicization of trade and economic issues, experts said on Wednesday, warning that the US action will backfire and will hinder the development of the world's auto sector.

Republican US Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday proposed sharply boosting tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports to stop the country "from flooding US auto markets," as part of Washington's latest effort to protect American automakers and auto workers, according to Reuters.

The report said that Rubio is also proposing legislation to extend tariffs to vehicles produced by Chinese automakers in other countries like Mexico and to limit subsidies for electric vehicles to those that meet stringent North American free trade rules.

"This is a manifestation of the US politicization of auto trading. After the 5G industry represented by Huawei, the US has made new-energy vehicles the second target to restrict China's technological development," Zhang Xiang, director of the Digital Automotive Intliu ernational Cooperation Research Center of the World Digital Economy Forum, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Zhang noted that using so-called "information security," a completely trumped-up charge, the US has enhanced its suppression of Chinese automobiles, even though this is unilateral and violates international free trade norms.

"Blocking Chinese car imports will affect the progress of the US auto industry, as the US' new-energy technology is relatively backward compared with the level in China. If the Biden administration is determined to pursue this, raising tariffs will also have a big negative impact on the world's auto industry," Zhang warned.

Rubio's proposal is just a fresh move among an array of unreasonable US measures to suppress China's car industry. As the US elections in November approach, the administration of President Joe Biden and some leaders in Congress continue to speculate about restricting imports of Chinese electric vehicles.

On February 29, the White House said that the Biden administration is taking "unprecedented action" to protect Americans from the national security risks posed by internet-connected vehicles from countries of concern, including China.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also peddled the "threat" theory against China's vehicles. "Cars these days are like an iPhone on wheels… You connect your phone and you might receive the text message… Imagine a world with 3 million Chinese vehicles on the roads of America, and Beijing can turn them off at the same time."

In response, Mao Ning, spokesperson from China's Foreign Ministry, said that Chinese-made cars are popular globally not due to the use of "unfair practices," but by emerging from fierce market competition with technological innovation and high quality.

"China's door has been open to global auto companies, including US auto companies that fully shared in the dividends of China's big market. By contrast, the US has engaged in trade protectionism and set up obstacles including discriminatory subsidy policies to obstruct access to the US market by Chinese-made cars. Such acts of politicizing economic and trade issues will only hinder the development of the US auto industry itself," Mao noted.

Evidence of 5,000-year-old beer recipe found in China

Back in 2004, archaeologists excavated two pits in northern China that looked a lot like homebrewing operations. Constructed between 3400 and 2900 B.C. by the Yangshao culture, each pit contained the remnants of a stove and assorted funnels, pots and amphorae.

Now, Jiajing Wang of Stanford University and colleagues report that the pottery shards contain residue and other evidence of starches, chemicals and plant minerals from specific fermented grains. The ancient beer recipe included broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears and tubers — that probably gave the beer a sweet flavor, the team writes May 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings predate the earliest evidence of barley in China by around 1,000 years. Beer may have been consumed at social gatherings, and brewing, not agriculture, spurred the introduction of barley to China, the researchers argue.

Readers share climate change concerns

Climate commotion
In “Changing Climate: 10 years after An Inconvenient Truth” (SN: 4/16/16, p. 22), Thomas Sumner reported on the progress scientists have made revising forecasts of the far-reaching effects of climate change — from extreme temperatures and sea level rise to severe drought and human conflict — in the decade since the Oscar-winning film’s release.

Reader response to the article was overwhelming, with hundreds of online comments. Some people enjoyed the in-depth look at climate change science, while others expressed skepticism about humans’ contribution to climate change and a general distrust of climate scientists.

“One of my goals for this article was to highlight that climate change research has itself changed over the last decade,” Sumner says. Scientists are still working to understand how the consequences of atmospheric warming will play out in the coming centuries. But one big message from the last decade of research is that the fundamentals have held up: Natural variability exists, says Sumner, but human activities are largely responsible for the current warming trend.
“The question now is what impact will human contributions have down the line and what should we do to prevent and mitigate those effects,” he says.
Plastic feast
Sarah Schwartz wrote about the discovery of a microbe, Ideonella sakaiensis, that chows down on a hard-to-degrade polymer in “This microbe makes a meal of plastic” (SN: 4/16/16, p. 5).
Online commenters were amazed by this new plastic-gobbling organism. “This is great news,” Dan said. “Our world would be doomed if there wasn’t a microbe able to do this.” Chuckawobbly wondered how long it takes I. sakaiensis to digest the plastic. And Jean Harlow was concerned about the potential by-products of worldwide plastic digestion. “The waste product would be a significant amount … of what?” she asked.

Researchers observed that I. sakaiensis almost completely degraded a thin film of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, after six weeks in a laboratory. But when extracted from the bacterium, the proteins used to break down plastic begin working in about 18 hours.

I. sakaiensisappears to break PET into smaller molecules, like amino acids and carbon dioxide, says coauthor Kenji Miyamoto of Keio University in Yokohama, Japan. But it would probably be hard for the microbe to break down plastic in the outdoors because of its specific growth requirements, he says. Miyamoto envisions that it could be possible to use the specialized proteins in a closed environment to break PET down into molecules such as terephthalic acid— one of the plastic’s main building blocks, which seems benign in the environment.

Prairie dog predators
Herbivorous prairie dog mothers routinely kill baby ground squirrels that encroach on their territories, researchers found. Competition for resources may be a contributing factor to the killings, Susan Milius reported in “Killer prairie dogs make good moms” (SN: 4/16/16, p. 14).

One reader had other ideas. Audrey Boag wondered if prairie dog moms kill ground squirrels to protect their pups from predation or from diseases carried by the squirrels. “In either case, minimizing the number of ground squirrels would pay in lifetime biological fitness,” she wrote.

“We never observed a ground squirrel kill or injure an adult or juvenile prairie dog,” says study coauthor John Hoogland. “Perhaps such attacks sometimes occur underground.” Hoogland notes that the majority of ground squirrels killed by prairie dogs were juveniles, which are too small to be a threat.

One threat, however, is a species of disease-carrying flea that infests both animals. Hoogland found that prairie dog killers and their offspring had fewer fleas than nonkillers and their offspring, “but this trend was not significant,” he says.

Jupiter shows off its infrared colors

No, that’s not the sun. It’s Jupiter, ablaze with infrared light in new images taken in preparation for the Juno spacecraft’s July 4 arrival at the king of the planets. This image shows how heat welling up from deep within the planet gets absorbed by gas in the atmosphere, which can tell researchers how stuff moves around beneath Jupiter’s thick blanket of clouds. Juno won’t look for infrared light, but it will (among other things) measure how much microwave radiation is being blocked by water lurking within Jupiter’s atmosphere.

The map is pieced together from multiple images obtained at the Very Large Telescope in Chile over the past several months. Ground-based images such as these will help researchers understand what Juno is peering at each time it swoops in close to Jupiter’s clouds over the next 20 months.

IVF doesn’t up long-term breast cancer risk, study says

For women thinking about fertility treatments, there may be one less thing to worry about.

A long-term study shows that women who underwent in vitro fertilization are not significantly more likely to develop breast cancer than women in the general public or women who opted for other fertility treatments. The results are reported July 19 in JAMA.

The fertility treatment alters progesterone and estradiol levels in women trying to get pregnant. Yo-yoing hormones have been linked to an increase in a woman’s odds of developing breast cancer, but studies are divided on whether IVF itself actually ups cancer risk.

Alexandra van den Belt-Dusebout of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and her colleagues tracked 19,158 women who underwent in vitro fertilization treatment between 1983 and 1995 and 5,950 women who underwent other fertility treatments between 1980 and 1995.

Following up two decades later, the team found that 948 of the women had developed breast cancer. But breast cancer rates didn’t differ much between groups: 163.5 per 100,000 women for those who had IVF compared to 167.2 women on other fertility treatments and 163.3 women in the general public.