Visa-free policy boosts flights by more than 20%, says CAAC

The visa-free policy introduced by the Chinese government has boosted passenger flights by more than 20 percent, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Friday.

In the second quarter, the number of scheduled passenger flights to Malaysia, Spain, Hungary, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Kazakhstan and other countries that have implemented visa-free policies increased by more than 20 percent, Xu Qing, an official from the CAAC said at a press conference on Friday. 

In addition, since the second quarter, Chinese and foreign airlines have launched or resumed passenger routes from China to six countries - Bahrain, Cuba, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and Ireland - further broadening China's international route network, Xu added. 

Currently, 38 ports in 18 provincial-level regions throughout China offer visa-free transit policies for 72 or 144 hours to nationals from 54 different countries.

In the first six months of this year, China saw foreign arrivals increase to 14.64 million, according to the National Immigration Administration (NIA) on July 5.

The NIA said from January to June, the figure for visa-free entries by foreigners topped 8.54 million, accounting for 52 percent of the inbound trips and representing a year-on-year surge of 190.1 percent.

The CAAC said China's international air passenger transport market continues to recover, with flight numbers reaching roughly 80 percent of the level in 2019 for five consecutive months since February of this year. From July 1 to 7, Chinese and foreign airlines operated a total of 6,045 international passenger flights.

Currently, China operates flight services to a total of 72 overseas countries. The number of passenger flights from China to 30 countries including the UK and the United Arab Emirates has exceeded the 2019 level, and flights to seven countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia have more than doubled the level in 2019.

The CAAC said the industry is expecting international travel to remain strong over the summer, and the most popular routes will continue to be concentrated in surrounding traditional tourism markets such as Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries.

Chinese firms, products shine at major global sports events

China on Saturday officially announced its 716-member delegation to the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. As more than 400 Chinese athletes, including 42 Olympic champions, are headed for Paris for the competitions, Chinese companies are churning out equipment and other products that will be used at the biggest sports event in the world.

The presence of Chinese products and brands at major international sports event has been expanding rapidly in recent years. Before the Paris Olympic Games, Chinese brands became a highlight at the Euro Cup 2024. Such a growing presence underscored the rising competitiveness of Chinese businesses, not just in manufacturing but in other fields as well, experts said.

At the Paris Games, which are scheduled to open on July 26, Chinese companies Alibaba Group and Mengniu Group, one of the leading dairy product manufacturers in China, will be among the top partners of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As a global leading Cloud Services Partner, Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of the Alibaba Group, will provide world-class cloud infrastructure and services supporting the digitization of the Olympic operations to optimize, secure and enhance the experience for the athletes and fans from across the globe, according to the IOC.

With a joint partnership with Coca-Cola, Mengniu became the first Chinese fast-moving consumer goods company to become a top partner, the IOC's official website said.

In addition to Chinese firms' partnerships with the IOC, Chinese equipment and other products will be used at various venues and sports competitions at the Paris Games. TaiShan Sports, a leading sports equipment manufacturer, is among the main equipment suppliers of the Olympics. 

The company said that it has served five Olympic Games, three Youth Olympic Games, five Universiades, six Asian Games and more than 1,000 domestic and international sports events.

For the Paris Games, the company said it will provide equipment for wrestling, cycling, taekwondo, gymnastics, track and field, and other competitions, and it will provide pre-match training and indoor fitness equipment for the Chinese National Team training base, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

He Wenyi, a deputy director of the National Sports Industry Research Base at Peking University, said that the trend of Chinese firms' growing sponsorships at major international sports event is in line with the robust development of China's manufacturing industry, which continues to upgrade in all aspects.

"As China is a standard-setter in smart manufacturing, and made-in-China continues to become globalized, major sports events like the Olympics have become a big international stage for advanced Chinese companies to go global," He told the Global Times on Sunday.

China has been dominating the manufacturing industry for years, and its continuous upgrade toward smart manufacturing has further cemented the global leadership of made-in-China. More than just manufactured products, Chinese technologies and services, such as cloud and telecommunications, have become new bywords of Chinese manufacturing, experts said.

The growing visibility of Chinese companies at the Euro Cup 2024 made global headlines. According to media reports, among the tournament's 13 top-tier sponsors, five are Chinese companies, making China the largest source of sponsors for the event. The five Chinese companies are Hisense, a leading appliance and electronics manufacturer, Alipay, a payment services under Alibaba, Vivo, a smartphone maker, AliExpress and BYD, an electric vehicle maker. 

Vivo told the Global Times on Sunday that the company showcased its commitment to digital inclusivity by providing X100 series smartphones to visually impaired and elder fans, aiming to enhance their experience and promote social equity.

"Vivo captures legendary moments with exceptional imaging technology and enhances the event experience, showcasing the beauty of sports and the joy of humanity on the international stage by Chinese-made video equipment," the company said. "Vivo is committed to technology that serves people and to sustainable innovation, empowering greater products and sharing the beauty of technology with consumers worldwide."

The presence of the Chinese sponsors at the Euro Cup highlighted Chinese companies' competitiveness in not just manufacturing but also technologies. Hisense, for example, said that in addition to brand promotion at the Euro Cup, it also became a technological cooperation partner for the championship in terms of video assistant referees.

Bian Yongzu, a senior industry researcher, said that Chinese home appliance manufacturers have long been top sponsors of major international sports events, but recently more and more Chinese companies in other fields have become major sponsors, indicating the comprehensive rise of various Chinese industries.

"It shows that in addition to traditional industries, Chinese companies in various industries are also on the fast track of internationalization through active efforts to open up to the outside world," Bian told the Global Times on Sunday.  

Chinese cities call for energy-saving measures to cope with spike in electricity usage

To cope with the peak electricity consumption in summer, many regions in China have urged government agencies, businesses, and residents to join in efforts to conserve energy, such as reducing decorative lighting, suspending unnecessary light shows, and promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances.

We call for a united effort from all sectors of society to actively promote green and low-carbon production and lifestyle practices. Let’s work together in practicing off-peak power consumption and conserving energy, read a recent proposal released by the authorities in East China’s Jiangxi Province.

It is important to prioritize public safety during nighttime travel by ensuring that street lights all work efficiently and promoting the use of renewable energy-efficient lights. Unnecessary lighting displays, landscape projects, and commercial signs are encouraged to be suspended to conserve electricity, according to the proposal.

Meanwhile, industrial enterprises should scientifically and reasonably arrange production schedules, avoiding peak production through planned maintenance and shift adjustments, achieve energy saving and cost reduction, and alleviate power supply pressure during peak hours, said the authorities.

In regions of Southwest China’s Chongqing, from 12 am to 8 am the next day, electronic display advertisements should be turned off, while other types of outdoor advertising facilities should be turned off or kept at minimal brightness, according to local officials.

Public institutions must lead in energy conservation efforts by setting cooling temperatures no lower than 26 C. Residents are encouraged to choose off-peak time consumption, with lower rates for nighttime usage and slightly higher rates for other times, according to the authorities in East China’s Anhui Province.

Total electricity consumption across China increased by 6.7 percent year-on-year in 2023. The growth rate of electricity consumption in 2024 is forecast to be close to that of 2023, with new installations of renewable energy are expected to continue to increase at a rapid pace, according to the report of China’s electric power industry 2024 released by the China Electricity Council on July 10.

National electricity supply and demand are generally balanced, with peak consumption expected during summer and winter. Some regions may experience tight supply, leading to demand-side management measures being implemented at certain times, according to the report.

China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle reaches record depth in sea trials

China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle has completed sea trials at depths exceeding 4,000 meters, the Shanghai municipal government announced on Tuesday. The vehicle's explorations set six records in the field of deep-sea mining in China, with technological performance reaching the leading domestic and advanced international levels.

In the deep-sea experiment, the vehicle, "Kaituo 2" successfully completed five consecutive dives in the seabed polymetallic nodule and cobalt-rich crust mining area, including one dive to a depth of 4,000 meters and four dives to a depth of 2,000 meters.

The mining vehicle reached depths of 1,802.4 meters, 1,929.9 meters, 1,955.8 meters, 2,048.5 meters, and 4,102.8 meters respectively, marking the first time that domestic deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle has conducted deep-sea mineral resource trial mining at a depth of 4,000 meters.

The vehicle also demonstrated powerful underwater rock drilling and collection capabilities during its dives. It has efficiently extracted various types of deep-sea minerals, including multi-metal crusts tightly attached to hard rocks and multi-metal nodules buried in soft deep-sea sediments. Over 200 kilograms of multi-metal crusts, multi-metal nodules, and seabed rocks were successfully obtained.

According to the research team from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the vehicle has achieved six breakthroughs in similar research in China. For example, for the first time, it has achieved a water depth breakthrough of over 4,000 meters for deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle deployment operations. It pioneered high-mobility technology for complex deep-sea seabed terrain, and it also pioneered deep-sea multi-mineral composite drilling and mining technology, achieving efficient mining and collection of different types of ores such as polymetallic crusts and polymetallic nodules.

The mining vehicle is also equipped with an environmental monitoring system, which comprehensively monitors and evaluates the environmental impact of seabed plume generation and diffusion, underwater operation noise, etc., providing valuable first-hand materials and data for China's deep-sea mineral resource exploration and green environmental protection mining.

China-Solomon ties 'model of mutual support'

In the five years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the relationship between China and Solomon Islands has positioned at the forefront of China's ties with Pacific Island Countries (PICs), becoming a model of mutual support and joint development between countries of different sizes, Chinese Ambassador to Solomon Islands Cai Weiming recently told the Global Times ahead of a visit to Beijing by Solomon Islands' prime minister.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele is paying an official visit to China from July 9 to 15. 

In addition to Beijing, Manele will also visit East China's Fujian and Shandong provinces. Both provinces are economically strong coastal provinces and have played significant roles in cooperation with PICs.

"In September 2019, China and Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations, opening a new chapter of solidarity, cooperation and joint development," Cai said. "Under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, political mutual trust has been solidified, the results of mutually beneficial cooperation have been fruitful, and cultural exchanges have been vibrant. This has positioned our relationship at the forefront of China's ties with PICs, becoming a model of mutual support and joint development between countries of different sizes."

"Solomon Islands has firmly stood on the right side of history, adhering to the one-China principle and firmly supporting China's just stance on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Xizang, and human rights," Cai noted.

The two countries have maintained close exchanges at all levels, continuously upgrading their relationships and establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership for a new era, he said. 

According to Cai, over the past five years, China has remained Solomon Islands' largest trading partner and top export destination, with affordable and high-quality Chinese goods enriching the lives of Solomon Islands' residents.

Chinese aid has improved local living standards. For instance, Chinese-aid national sports stadiums and Solomon Islands National University dormitories have been constructed one after another, becoming new landmarks in Honiara. 

The National Referral Hospital Comprehensive Medical Center and the National Broadband Network construction projects are progressing steadily and will significantly improve healthcare and communication conditions in Solomon Islands once completed. China has carried out hundreds of small livelihood projects in Solomon Islands, improving local living conditions.

In terms of security cooperation, China Police Liaison Team have been dispatched to Solomon Islands, providing substantial professional equipment and skills training to local police, contributing positively to local stability.

Additionally, China has provided hundreds of opportunities for Solomon Islands people to study and train in China, helping many ambitious young people pursue their dreams and fostering a large number of talents for Solomon Islands' economic and social development.

China has sent medical teams to Solomon Islands and organized the Peace Ark hospital ship visit, treating over 30,000 patients in Solomon Islands, alleviating the suffering of the people with benevolence and medical skills. 

Fruitful local exchanges between the two countries have also taken place, with Guadalcanal Province, Malaita Province, Western Province, Isabel Province, Renbel Province and Honiara City steadily advancing friendly cooperation with Chinese provinces and cities, bringing more support to the people of Solomon Islands.

In April this year, Solomon Islands held a general election, attracting international attention. The O.U.R. Party won most seats, and former foreign minister Manele was elected as the Prime Minister. 

"The new Solomon Islands government has just been formed, and Prime Minister Manele is visiting China shortly after taking office. During his visit, the leaders of the two countries will exchange views on China-Solomon relations and important issues of common concern," Cai stated. 

"China stands ready to work with the new government of Solomon Islands, making Prime Minister Manele's visit as an opportunity to strengthen strategic communication, expand practical cooperation, and promote the continuous development of bilateral relations. I believe both sides should continue to consolidate the foundation of political mutual trust and continue on the path of mutual understanding, mutual trust, mutual support and mutual assistance," he said.

He quoted Manele's remarks in a media interview, stating that the establishment of diplomatic relations with China in 2019 was standing on the right side of history, and it was the most important decision made in the 46 years of Solomon Islands' independence. 

"I am fully confident that China and Solomon Islands, standing at this new historical starting point, will jointly write new stories of friendship, plan new cooperation blueprints, and jointly open up a better future for the people of both countries," Cai said.

China calls on parties involved in Ukraine conflict to exercise rationality and restraint: Chinese envoy to UN

China reiterated its call for all parties involved in the Ukraine conflict to exercise rationality and restraint, effectively comply with international humanitarian law, and avoid attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said on Tuesday.

Since the crisis in Ukraine escalated in February 2022, the ongoing conflict has led to a large number of casualties among innocent civilians and destruction of infrastructures, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis and generating a huge spillover effect, which is a source of deep concern for China, Geng said at the UN Security Council briefing on Ukraine, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

China remains deeply concerned that the war has not ceased, but rather intensified, and that vicious attacks have occurred from time to time, resulting in serious casualties, Geng added.

There are no winners in conflict and confrontation, and military means cannot bring lasting peace. Geng stressed that an early ceasefire and political settlement is in the interests of all parties, and the priority is to cool down the situation by observing the "three principles" of no expansion of the battlefield, no escalation of fighting and no fanning of the flame by any party.

On the Ukraine issue, China has always maintained that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be adhered to, the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis should be supported.

China calls on the parties to the conflict to demonstrate political will, meet each other halfway and start peace talks at an early date. Geng also urged the international community, based on an objective and impartial position, to create conditions conducive to putting an early end to the fighting and play an active role in this regard.

China will continue to actively promote peace and dialogue in its own way, and will make unremitting efforts and play a constructive role in promoting a political settlement of the Ukrainian issue, Geng said.

Russia on Tuesday rejected claims of the country's alleged attacks on a children's hospital in Kiev, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Peskov said Russian strikes are carried out against critical infrastructure and military targets related to Ukraine's military potential.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that "many eyewitnesses and other sources" have confirmed that the hospital had been hit by a Western-made surface-to-air missile from the Ukrainian air defense system that went off course.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday on Telegram that the Okhmatdyt children's hospital in Kiev was hit by a Russian missile on Monday, adding that the strikes had killed 38 people and injured 190, according to preliminary reports.

GT investigates: How anti-China forces launch a cognitive warfare against Hong Kong, demonize Article 23 legislation

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, 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.

Some politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China's image by propagating false narratives in an attempt to incite and provoke dissatisfaction with China among people in certain countries. These means all serve the seemingly peaceful evolution of the US strategy to contain China's rise and maintain its hegemony. The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to reveal the intrigues of the US-led West's China-targeted cognitive warfare, and expose its lies and vicious intentions.

In the 12th installment in the series, the Global Times looks into the tricks that some external forces and anti-China elements used to launch a cognitive warfare against Hong Kong and how the newly passed Safeguarding National Security Ordinance can punish and deter them.

The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, a piece of legislation of Hong Kong's Basic Law Article 23 that took effect recently after being unanimously passed by local lawmakers, is another solid legal basis for maintaining stability and prosperity in the city after the implementation of national security law for Hong Kong. The bill is expected to play an essential role in preventing the US-led West's subversion, infiltration, incitement, and espionage activities in Hong Kong.

Days before the bill was passed on March 19, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) strongly condemned a joint statement by anti-China group "Hong Kong Watch" and 16 signatories that smeared the Basic Law Article 23 legislation.

"Not only is 'Hong Kong Watch' an anti-China organization, but also many of its members are anti-China forces in the front line," said a spokesman for the regional government.

A main subversion target of foreign forces that attempt to undermine China's national security and social stability, Hong Kong has been plagued by Western-led cognitive warfare. Colluding with a few local secessionists, anti-China forces in the West have been hyping up false narratives to demonize the management of the central government and the HKSAR government.

Experts in Hong Kong affairs pointed out that from the "China collapse theory" to the "Hong Kong collapse theory," these clichés are nothing, but some "deluded clown scripts" with the aim of misleading Hong Kong residents and whitewashing the former British colony's rule.

Tumors to Hong Kong's stability

Anti-China organization "Hong Kong Watch," together with 16 co-signatories, released a statement last month, which deliberately smeared the requirement of "disclosure of commission by others of the offense of treason" in the Basic Law Article 23 legislation of targeting religions, in an attempt to provoke discontent among religious leaders and followers.

Responding to this statement full of loopholes, the HKSAR government expressed strong condemnation in a press release it published online on March 14.

The offenses of treason and misprision of treason, whether in Hong Kong or other common law jurisdictions, have existed for a long time; they do not target religious leaders or followers, and have nothing to do with freedom of religion, said a government spokesperson in the press release.

"'Hong Kong Watch' and the co-signatories have not mentioned the relevant provisions in the countries concerned before groundlessly attacking the HKSAR Government's legislative work on safeguarding national security under the guise of religious freedom. It is a blatant, shameless, and barbaric intervention, and is also a typical example of double standards," the spokesperson noted.

Based in London, "Hong Kong Watch" was founded by Benedict Rogers, deputy chairman of the British Conservative Party's human rights commission who had participated in drafting the so-called "Hong Kong Autonomy Act" and pressed the US to pass the bill.

In 2017, Rogers was denied entry by the HKSAR government when he planned to visit imprisoned separatists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, reported Hong Kong media outlet Ta Kung Pao.

"Hong Kong Watch" is an unmitigated "concentration camp" for overseas forces and anti-China elements disrupting Hong Kong. One of its sponsors, Britain's last governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, is an infamous anti-China politician who had attempted to disrupt the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, and had even tried to turn Hong Kong into a semi-independent political entity.

Along with other secessionist groups, "Hong Kong Watch" is a tumor that threatens Hong Kong's social stability. As early as March 2022, the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force issued a warning to the group, pointing out that it had violated Article 29 of the national security law for Hong Kong - "collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security" and demanded the removal of the group's website content within 72 hours.

Scanning the "Hong Kong Watch" statement, the 16 co-signatories displayed at the bottom are also notorious overseas anti-China organizations and individuals.

Co-signatory Freedom House, for instance, was initially created in the 1940s to oppose communism in Europe. It later worked as a think tank for the US Department of Defense. With a long-term habit of interfering in China's internal affairs, Freedom House was sanctioned by China in December 2019 for its role in that year's unrest in Hong Kong.

Another co-signatory ChinaAid is a so-called nonprofit group that tries to infiltrate China through smearing the country's religious policies. On its website, ChinaAid lists the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US government's main "white gloves" and the mastermind behind many separatist riots globally, as its major partner.
Major cognitive warfare tricks

Looking into the cognitive warfare tricks by external forces and anti-China elements disrupting Hong Kong, they attack the management of the central government and the HKSAR government mainly by using the excuse of "human rights, religious freedom violation" and badmouthing Hong Kong's economy, the Global Times found.

ChinaAid, as mentioned above, is a US-based group established in 2002 by anti-China pastor "Bob" Fu Xiqiu. The group has long supported underground Christian churches within China and their illegal activities, according to several Chinese scholars and government officials reached by the Global Times.

In previous years, ChinaAid has fostered and trained its Chinese members outside the Chinese mainland, said Zhou Shan (pseudonym), a former grassroots-level official in East China's Zhejiang Province who had been participating in religion management in rural areas in Zhejiang for years.

A usual trick employed by ChinaAid in interfering with and smearing China's religious policies is opening unregistered religious venues and organizing illegal activities. They would hype up "religious persecution" if the local government prohibits these activities in accordance with the law, Zhou told the Global Times.

In short, ChinaAid usually intentionally misrepresented China's ban on unlawful activities as a crackdown on religious freedom or human rights.

Badmouthing Hong Kong's economic performance is another main trick of their cognitive warfare against the city.

Hong Kong lawmaker Stanley Ng Chau-pei cited three examples. The first is the claim that Hong Kong's economic status would be "replaced" by another country or city, such as Shanghai, Macao, or its main "competitor" Singapore. The second is hyping up disinformation that "the central government 'mainlandized' Hong Kong," trying to create panic by spreading the rumor that Hong Kong will no longer enjoy SAR "special treatment" in trade and finance. The third is amplifying a pessimistic outlook with eye-grabbing claims, such as calling Hong Kong the "ruins of the international financial center."

"Behind these claims is their purposes to undermine Hong Kong's confidence in its own development, and the confidence of global investors and talents in Hong Kong," Ng noted.

And these claims are laughably ridiculous in the face of Hong Kong's robust economic performance.

A survey released by the HKSAR government in December 2023 showed that, the city saw the opening of 9,039 companies with parent companies outside Hong Kong in 2023, a recovery to pre-pandemic high levels.

Start-ups in Hong Kong also continued to flourish with the number of start-ups reaching a record high of 4,257, up 272 from 2023.

These data are undoubtedly a powerful counter-narrative against these stigmatization, and fully prove that Hong Kong's investment attractiveness remains, Ng said.
The will of the people in Hong Kong

There was a great round of applause at the Legislative Council of the HKSAR on March 19, when the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance was unanimously passed.

The day was a historic moment for Hong Kong, a proud moment when the HKSAR jointly wrote a glorious history, HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said after the vote.

The bill is the will of the people in Hong Kong. Public consultation results showed that, about 99 percent of the 13,147 submissions had spoken in support of the legislation, said local authorities in March.

Legal experts based in Hong Kong pointed out that the ordinance and the national security law for Hong Kong can, together, pose effective penalties, restrictions, and deterrence to the infiltration activities of anti-China forces and separatists, including their dirty cognitive warfare tricks.

The two are organically linked and complement each other. They can regulate criminals who engage in activities and acts that endanger national security outside the territory of Hong Kong, Willy Fu, a law professor who is also the director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times.

The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance came into force in Hong Kong on March 23. The law listed a series of offences and penalties including offences such as treason, insurrection, acts with seditious intention, external interference and theft of state secrets and espionage.

The heads of website platforms that published seditious content have legal and social responsibilities to immediately remove propaganda or illegal information that endangers national security, Fu said.

He explained that, if the Commissioner of Police has reasonable grounds to suspect that electronic information published on an electronic platform is likely to constitute an offense endangering national security, or is likely to lead to the occurrence of such an offense, they may, with the approval of the Secretary for Security, authorize designated police personnel to require the relevant publishers, platform service providers, hosting service providers, and (or) network service providers to remove the information that endangers national security; restrict or halt anyone from accessing that information; or restrict or halt anyone from accessing that platform or relevant parts thereof.

"Hong Kong is a society governed by the rule of law, where laws must be followed and violators will be prosecuted," Fu remarked.

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 vows ‘all necessary measures’ against additional US tariffs

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Tuesday urged the US to immediately cancel the additional tariffs on Chinese products and vowed to take resolute measures to defend its rights over US' announcement to increase tariffs on Chinese products including electric vehicles (EVs)

The plan to impose additional tariffs will mark another significant escalation in Washington's multi-year, ill-conceived campaign to crack down on emerging Chinese industries that are gaining global prominence, experts said, noting that the politically motivated move won't stop the rise of relevant Chinese industries, due to their small presence in the US market.

The Biden administration announced new tariff rates Tuesday on several Chinese products, including a major hike in levies on Chinese EVs. 

Starting this year, President Joe Biden will quadruple tariffs on imported Chinese electric vehicles, from 25 percent to 100 percent. The tariff rate on lithium-ion EV batteries will more than triple to 25 percent.

The announcement also added new tariffs on solar equipment and semiconductors.

The import tax on Chinese solar cells will double, from 25 percent to 50 percent in 2024. Starting in 2025, tariffs on imported Chinese semiconductors will jump from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Chinese medical supplies such as syringes and needles will also face additional tariffs of 50 percent.

The MOFCOM slammed the US move, saying that it is a politicization and weaponization of trade issues and a typical case of political manipulation that will seriously impact the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation.

The US decision to increase the tariffs goes against President Biden's commitment of not seeking to suppress China's development, and not seeking to decouple with China. It is also not in line with the spirit of consensus reached between the two heads of state, the MOFCOM said.

China's Foreign Ministry vowed earlier on Tuesday to take "all necessary measures" to safeguard the nation's legitimate rights and interests.

The move is part of the Biden administration's plan to revise the Trump era tariffs, known as "Section 301 tariffs," so as to target China's strategic industries. The Chinese EV industry, which has been rising rapidly to global prominence, has become a top target for the US crackdown, experts said.

"The development of China's new energy industry, including new-energy vehicles, photovoltaic and lithium battery products, is causing increasing anxiety for the US, so now they are suppressing our emerging industries," Wei Fulei, a research fellow with China Development Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The new plan comes after US officials have in recent weeks been hyping accusations of "overcapacity" in Chinese new-energy industries, which they say poses risks to US industries and jobs. Chinese officials have repeatedly slammed such accusations as an attempt to create a pretext for Washington to take protectionist, bullying actions against China's emerging industries. 

Commenting on the US tariff plan at a press briefing on Tuesday, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China has always opposed violating WTO rules and unilaterally imposing tariffs. "China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests," Wang said.

Wang also slammed US officials' "overcapacity" claims, saying that the US is engaging in protectionism, trampling on market economy principles and international economic and trade rules, and engaging in blatant bullying, and Wang warned the US against repeating the mistake of protectionism.


Chinese auto association on Monday blasts US plan to impose higher tariffs on Chinese EVs, calling it typical protectionism.

China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Monday slammed the US' imposing higher import tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, saying the industry's development needs global cooperation.

Experts said that any bullying actions by the US will be countered.

"China will firmly oppose such moves, because this is absurd and extraordinarily unreasonable," He Weiwen, a senior fellow from the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

He noted that China has different options to counter Washington's moves that won't necessarily involve US cars, but other areas. "How China responds specifically depends on what would be the most favorable opportunity and the most beneficial option for us." 

As China responded firmly to previous US bullying acts, including punitive tariffs, some US officials expect a firm response from China on the new tariffs. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week that the US could see a "significant" response from China, according to Reuters. 

Chinese officials and experts slammed the US move as politically motived amid toxic politics during an election cycle, since the US administration's accusation that relevant Chinese products pose threats to the US is baseless, given their minimal presence in the US market. Also for the same reason, additional US tariffs will not stop the rise of relevant Chinese industries, they said. 

"[The US move] will not have a major impact on relevant Chinese industries, because China exports a very small number of EVs to the US," He said, adding that the US plan is not based on economic considerations, but political optics that aim to show a tough stance on China. 

China exports very few EVs to the US, with Geely being the only Chinese EV maker that exported to the US in the first quarter, according to industry data. In terms of solar cells, exports to the US only accounted for less than 0.1 percent of China's total exports in 2023, according to media reports.

In terms of the solar industry, over the years, the export of solar panels from China to the US has significantly decreased due to US' protectionism, Wei said.

Moreover, the move could also backfire on the US, as it will not help build its domestic capacity, experts said.

"It seems that US politicians woke up from a hangover after decades of consumerism, during which they cared for consumption and not production. Now, they want to rebuild their manufacturing capacity, but the horse has already bolted. The solution would be exactly the opposite of what they are doing, that is, they should rebuild their capacity with the help of - and not against - Chinese industrial power," Claudio Celani, economic editor of news magazine Executive Intelligence Review, told the Global Times. 

Zhang Xiang, Director of the Digital Automotive International Cooperation Research Center of the World Digital Economy Forum, told the Global Times that as China has already taken the lead in the new-energy sector, with the largest industry chain globally, any attempt by the US to boycott Chinese products and components would also result in losses for the US.

"The automotive industry is now highly internationalized and interconnected, and it is not feasible for any country to produce vehicles in isolation," Zhang said.