Activation of M503’s connecting routes to benefit passengers across Straits

The M503 flight path's connecting routes of W122 and W123 from west to east have been activated starting Friday, a move that safeguards the rights and interests of passengers and is beneficial for people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council said on Friday.

The so-called security threat posed by the flight route alteration is, as always, a malicious hype by the Taiwan regional authorities to create an illusion that the mainland is "squeezing its space," which fundamentally serves the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s own selfish scheme at the cost of the interests of its people. 

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) made the announcement early Friday. It also said that the airspace for arrivals and departures at Fuzhou Changle Airport in East China's Fujian Province will be further optimized starting from May 16. 

The eastbound W122 and W123 link M503 with the mainland cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian, close to Taiwan's Kinmen and Matsu islands.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said the decision is aimed at relieving the pressure on the growth in flight numbers across the immediate regions, ensuring flight safety, reducing flight delays, and safeguarding the rights and interests of passengers, which benefits both sides of the Straits.

The M503 route is located within the Shanghai Flight Information Region, and the establishment and operation of this route is a routine task of the mainland's civil aviation airspace management, Zhu noted. 

Since the cancellation of the flight offset measure for the M503 route, overall operation safety has been stable, effectively improving cross-Straits flight operations, and further facilitating personnel exchanges between the two sides, the spokesperson added.

"The air route modification is fully compliant with international civil aviation regulations, aimed at alleviating airspace congestion. It is not only beneficial for personnel exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan, but also facilitates the smooth and safe passage of international flights," Ni Yongjie, director of the Shanghai Institute of Taiwan Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, added that the changes can significantly reduce travel time, while allowing airlines to save costs. 

However, the island's department for mainland affairs protested that such "unilateral activation" of the connecting routes would have a "great impact on the flight safety of Kinmen and Matsu," according to department spokesperson Chien Chih-hung.

Chien claimed that previous flights operated in a westward direction, and the eastbound flights would "affect Taiwan's existing air routes, raising great concerns about flight safety risks."

"It [The route] is not for fighter jets, so what kind of danger are we talking about? Civilian aircraft do not have attack capabilities, so where is the safety risk coming from?" Li Fei, a professor at the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University, shrugged off this "concern."

Li noted that as long as both sides act in good faith and remain in close communication, there is no need for concerns for flight safety.

DPP authorities have been hyping the move as "a deliberate attempt" by the mainland to use civil aviation as a cover for political, and possibly military intentions, aimed at altering the status quo in the Taiwan Straits, which poses a threat to Taiwan's airspace defense.

Ni rebutted the claim as "completely ungrounded," noting that the purpose of the hyping is to stir up cross-Straits relations, inciting hatred between the two sides, and further aligning with the US' strategy of containing China. 

"Even if there were security threats, it would be the DPP authorities digging their own graves by promoting 'Taiwan independence,'" Ni added. 

The analysts further added that this is the DPP's typical way to smear the normal and legitimate actions taken by the mainland, creating a narrative of the mainland "squeezing their space" in order to manipulate public opinion and gain sympathy and support from the West. 

"The fact is however, it is always for the benefit of the DPP's own selfish schemes, rather than considering the interests of compatriots on both sides of the Straits and the actual interests of Taiwan," Ni noted.

The CAAC said on Wednesday that this optimization of airspace in Fujian and the adjustment of the M503's connecting routes will facilitate the development of air transport between the Yangtze River Delta region and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as China's southeastern coastal regions.

It will improve operational conditions and ensure flight safety, while further enhance the capacity to cope with thunderstorm seasons, improve flight punctuality, and better serve passenger travel needs, according to the administration.  

China announced on January 30 that starting from February 1, the deviation of the M503 flight route from north to south will be canceled, a change which the Taiwan authorities interpreted would see southbound aircraft flight paths above the Taiwan Straits come closer to Taiwan's self-claimed "median line," "flight information region," and "air defense identification zone."

Supreme People's Court sentences four minors aged 12-14 to 10 to 15 years

China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) revealed on Tuesday that four minors aged between 12 and 14 had been sentenced to 10 to 15 years recently. It came after a brutal bullying and murder case involving three 13-year-old suspects that drew public attention toward juvenile crime. The SPC also revealed an increase in juvenile crimes in recent years, with nearly 100,000 such cases reported in the last three years. 

Recently, the debate about holding minors aged 12 to 14 criminally responsible for murder and serious crimes has attracted widespread attention. The SPC said that a total of four cases involving minors aged 12 to 14 have been concluded recently, with four individuals sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison in accordance with the law.

On March 10, three suspects aged 13 were detained for suspected bullying and murder in Handan, North China's Hebei Province. The three suspects are all left-behind children, and the case triggered wide public discussion of juvenile crimes. 

The Supreme People's Procuratorate has reviewed and approved the prosecution of the three juvenile suspects, media reports said on April 8.

As the prevention of juvenile crime has become a major concern among the general public following several high-profile cases, the SPC emphasized that dealing with juvenile crime should not only involve punitive measures, but also education and rehabilitation.

Besides investigating the problem of juvenile delinquency at its source, it is also important to provide proper protection and guidance to minors, and to provide integrated criminal, civil and administrative protection.

According to the statement issued by the SPC on Monday, the situation of juvenile delinquency remains severe, and the issue of campus violence cannot be ignored. In the past three years, the number of juvenile delinquency cases has been on the rise. From 2021 to 2023, the people's courts concluded a total of 73,178 juvenile crime cases and sentenced 98,426 juvenile offenders, accounting for 2 percent to 2.5 percent of all criminal offenders during the same period.

The SPC said that sexual assault, harmful information on the internet and lack of family supervision are key factors in the rise of juvenile delinquency. The SPC said judges should remind parents who get divorced of their legal obligations to their children and warn them of the consequences of violating related laws, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Chinese vlogger banned for fabricating story of student losing homework in Paris

Several Chinese social media platforms including Sina Weibo, WeChat and Douyin have banned an internet influencer's account for fabricating a false video claiming to have found a student's lost booklets of homework in Paris, which has seriously "damaged the online ecosystem and wasted public resources."

ThurmanMaoyibei, the 29-year-old female internet influencer surnamed Xu, is from Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, and has more than 10 million followers. On February 16, she posted videos related to "finding a first-grade student named Qin Lang's winter vacation homework in Paris" on social media platforms, quickly attracting widespread attention online.

The next day, a person surnamed Yang from Nantong, East China's Jiangsu Province, impersonated "Qin Lang's uncle" in the video's comment section to attract more attention and spread rumors, triggering a nationwide search for "Qin Lang." On February 19, Xu once again posted a video claiming to have "contacted Qin Lang's mother." 

Following an investigation, the police in Hangzhou found that Xu and her 30-year-old colleague, surnamed Xue, had fabricated a series of videos and purchased winter vacation homework books online, to attract viewers, which has caused bad impact. The Hangzhou public security authorities have imposed administrative penalties on the two individuals, and the company involved.

It was found that there were no primary school students at a similar age to "Qin Lang" had left China, which strengthened our confidence that the video in question was spreading false information, according to Zhao Zhichao, a police officer from Hangzhou, the China Central Television reported.

The Cyberspace Administration of China released a notice in July 2023 strengthening the regulation of "self-media," specifying 13 key tasks to address the main complaints of rumors, false information, and other items.

The notice rules that social media platforms should require content containing fictional plots or dramatic interpretations to be clearly "marked with a label indicating fiction or dramatization," Zhu Wei, a vice director of the Communication Law Research Center at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

When it came to the case of "Qin Lang," the public didn't  know the content was fictional. The blogger who obtained more viewers through illegal means, including not informing users about released videos containing fictional plots, which can result in account suspension, loss of followers and even a permanent ban. Social media platforms may also be held responsibilities for removing any additional fans gained through illegal means, Zhu said.

Xu later apologized via a video and expressed her regret for fabricating and uploading the videos due to her lack of legal awareness.

The topic also gained more than 290 million views via Weibo, with many netizens calling for cleaning up the internet space and the penalties should be given to those who violate the regulations and laws.

"Gaining more viewers online must have minimum standards, and the penalty [in this case] is reasonable," one netizen wrote.

"In addition to strict supervision, social platforms should take on the role of being the primary responsible party for managing internet influencer content," another netizen wrote.

The Ministry of Public Security on Friday disclosed 10 cases, including the case of "Qin Lang lost his winter vocation homework in Paris," which was handled by public security organs in East China's Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. 

The incident gained a significant amount of public attention and will continue to impact the internet influencer's reputation. She created drama to gain attention and failed to clarify that this content was fabricated, disrupting online public opinion. This incident greatly "disrupted the online public opinion ecosystem" and should be "severely punished," the All-China Journalists Association wrote in an article published on Saturday.

This is not the first time that false content went mainstream. Xu has apologized for her actions, but the association reminded in the article that others need to reflect as well, such as the public, including social media platforms and the media, to reflect on their management systems.

Fast reactor can increase utilization rate of uranium resources 60-fold: chief designer

The reactor shell of Russia's Brest-OD-300 lead-cooled fast reactor in Seversk is nearing completion, nuclear technical journal Nuclear Engineering International reported on Tuesday, citing general contractor Titan-2.

The Brest-OD-300 is under construction at the Siberian Chemical Plant (SCC part of the Rosatom fuel company TVEL) as part of the pilot demonstration power complex ODEK - Opitno Demonstratsionovo Energo-Kompleksa, which is part of the Breakthrough (Proryv) project intended to demonstrate closed fuel cycle technology, according to the report.

About two months before, the magazine also reported that the world's largest multi-purpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor, a 150-megawatt facility, MBIR (Mnogotselevoi Bistrii Issledovatelskii Reaktor), is also expected to start actual operation in 2027. The move will allow Russia to make a major leap in nuclear research.

Since their birth in 1960, fast reactors have been attracting increasing attention around the world because they can provide efficient, safe, and sustainable energy. The closed fuel cycle of fast reactors can support the long-term development of the nuclear power as part of the world's future energy structure and reduce the burden of nuclear waste. Thus, the fast reactor has become one of the development directions of global fourth-generation nuclear power.

As an intermediate link in China's "three-step" nuclear power technology roadmap of "thermal neutron reactor - fast reactor - controlled nuclear fusion reactor," the development of fast reactors has always attracted industry attention. China's first sodium-cooled fast neutron reactor, the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR), located at the Beijing-based China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE), under the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), is the cornerstone of China's fast reactor technology development.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, sodium-cooled fast reactors are the most mature fast reactor technology, with over 400 cumulative reactor-years of experience gained through the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of experimental, prototype, demonstration, and commercial reactors in multiple countries including China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US.

"The fourth-generation nuclear energy system demonstrates a new stage of nuclear energy development with its comprehensive advantages. By establishing a fast reactor nuclear energy system and implementing a closed fuel cycle, uranium resource recycling can be achieved, increasing the utilization rate of uranium resources from less than 1 percent to around 60 percent, and the development of nuclear fission energy is expected to extend from a hundred-year time scale to a thousand-year time scale," Zhou Peide, deputy chief engineer at the China Institute of Atomic Energy and chief designer of China's integrated fast reactor project, told the Global Times during a recent media group visit to the CIAE.

The "thermal neutron reactor - fast reactor - controlled nuclear fusion reactor" strategy was first proposed in 1983 in order to solve the problems associated with the sustainable development of nuclear energy and the long-term safe and effective supply of nuclear fuel in China.

After decades of development, China's thermal reactor technology is becoming increasingly mature, with thermal neutron reactors accounting for over 90 percent of nuclear power generation. Compared to thermal reactor technology, fast reactor nuclear energy systems have advantages such as a high uranium resource utilization rate, a high inherent safety of reactors, and the minimization of high-level waste.

According to Zhou, most third-generation nuclear power reactors are pressurized water reactors, which belong to the category of thermal neutron reactors. The main material used in these reactors is uranium-235, which accounts for only about 0.7 percent of natural uranium in nature. In comparison, fast reactors can fully utilize uranium-238, which accounts for as much as 99.3 percent of natural uranium, increasing the utilization rate of natural uranium to more than 60.

In terms of safety, the working pressure inside the fast reactor vessel is slightly higher than atmospheric pressure, belonging to a low-pressure system with the working temperature of the coolant being more than 300 degrees lower than the boiling point. At the same time, the inherent safety of the reactor is high, and non-energy systems can be used to remove the residual heat of the reactor during an accident.

A complete fast reactor nuclear energy system consists of fast reactor power plants, fast reactor fuel manufacturing plants, fast reactor spent fuel reprocessing facilities, and other parts.

By placing the fast reactor, fuel recycling items (including spent fuel reprocessing and new fuel manufacturing), and other supporting items at the same site, an integrated nuclear energy system with self-sustaining fuel circulation and rapid circulation within the plant will be formed.

According to calculations by the China Nuclear Energy Industry Association, by 2060, China's nuclear power installed capacity needs to reach 400 million kilowatts.

"Taking both safety and uranium supply into account, continuing to build pressurized water reactors at an installed capacity of 200 million kilowatts and then transitioning to integrated fast reactors will be a feasible technological approach to achieving the goal of nearly 400 million kilowatts of total installed nuclear fission energy by 2060," Zhou stressed.

However, the construction of integrated fast reactors still faces a long and arduous road. Integrated fast reactors still need to break through key technologies such as advanced reactors, advanced fuels, and advanced reprocessing, requiring significant innovation in engineering and technology, he noted.

Xi meets Lavrov, reaffirms China's emphasis on partnership with Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday in Beijing. Chinese analysts said the meeting sends a strong signal that China will firmly develop its strategic partnership with Russia, despite pressure from the West. The China-Russia partnership continues to be key for the global strategic balance and the hope for promoting a multipolar world in which countries of the Global South will have greater roles to play. 

Xi asked Lavrov to convey his sincere greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Xi said China and Russia have embarked on a new path of harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation between major countries and neighbors, which has benefited the two countries and their peoples and contributed wisdom and strength to international fairness and justice, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Lavrov in Beijing, and both sides expressed hope for strengthening practical cooperation in various fields, Xinhua reported.

Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said that China is willing to work with Russia, in accordance with the consensus reached by the two heads of state, to strengthen the synergy of the two countries' development plans and promote practical cooperation in various fields.

The top diplomats of the two countries held a joint press conference after their meeting. Wang mentioned "five always" at the press conference. For example, he said that the two countries should always follow the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, and should always adhere to the principle of no-alliance, no-confrontation and no-targeting at any third party.

China and Russia should always stay on the right course on major matters of principle. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and major emerging countries, China and Russia actively respond to the common aspirations and legitimate concerns of the people of all countries, advocate a new path of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue and partnership rather than confrontation and alliance, and actively promote the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, said Wang. 

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the remarks made by Xi and the "five always" raised by Wang provide a "framework and outline" for the future development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.

Yet many voices from the West, mainly from the US as well as some senior NATO officials, insist on depicting the China-Russia relationship as akin to an "anti-West alliance," which is completely wrong. By reaffirming the principles of "non-alignment, non-confrontation, and not targeting any third party," China and Russia are refuting those voices with a clear stance, experts said.

Multipolar world

China always attaches great importance to the development of China-Russia relations, and stands ready to strengthen bilateral communication with Russia and enhance multilateral strategic coordination in BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation  Organisation (SCO), Xi said when meeting with the visiting Russian top diplomat.

Xi said that the two countries will show more responsibility, unite countries in the Global South in the spirit of equality, openness, transparency and inclusiveness, promote the reform of the global governance system, and vigorously lead the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

China and Russia are trying to promote a multipolar world where developing countries and emerging economies of the Global South will play a greater role, which is the antithesis of the unipolar world dominated by the US, analysts said. 

"China and Russia will not target any third party, but if hegemonic forces threaten China and Russia, or threaten world peace, China and Russia will stand together and fight to protect their own interests and safeguard world peace together," said Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University. 

This is why China and Russia, as well as other members in the UN Security Council, are pushing an immediate cease-fire and the resumption of humanitarian aid to Gaza, even as the US vetoed these attempts time and again, before the Ramadan cease-fire resolution eventually passed on March 25, experts said.

Wang said at the joint press conference that Russia will hold the BRICS presidency this year, and China will take over the rotating presidency of SCO this year. The two sides will support each other's chairmanship and light up the "moment of South" global governance.

Richard Sakwa, professor of Russian and European politics at the School of Politics and International Relations of the UK's University of Kent, told the Global Times at a forum in Beijing on March 28 that China-Russia relations are "one of the key axes for international politics, and it's not only very important but also necessary" to maintain the global strategic balance.

Lavrov said at the meeting with Wang that Russia supports the China-initiated Global Security Initiative, and is willing to deepen cooperation with China on multilateral platforms to promote the establishment of a more just and democratic international order.

The two sides also had in-depth exchanges on the Ukraine issue, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and other international and regional issues of common concern.

Ukraine crisis and counterterrorism

Wang said at the joint press conference with Lavrov that on the Ukraine issue, China hopes to see a "cease-fire and an end to the war as soon as possible." China supports the timely convening of an international conference recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation by all parties, and a fair discussion of all peace options, whether it is track one or track two, Wang noted.

Cui Heng, a scholar from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday that "some Western countries have always blamed China for its 'pro-Russia' stance, but actually we are just asking for a mechanism that can be accepted by all parties and can treat everyone equally."

"China's stance is based on the desire to stop the bloodshed, but the US' stance is to use the [Russia-Ukraine] conflict to weaken Russia as much as possible. The development of the crisis to some extent depends on the US presidential election later this year," Cui noted "If Donald Trump is elected, there will be a chance to break the deadlock, but if Joe Biden gets reelected, we might also see some changes, as Washington and its allies might not be able to afford the war anymore."

Xi stressed at the meeting with Lavrov that China supports the Russian people in following a development path that suits their national conditions, and supports Russia in combating terrorism and maintaining social security and stability.

At the joint press conference with Lavrov on Tuesday, Wang stressed that China must also pay attention to the resolution of other global and regional hot spot issues, including continuing to counter terrorism. "China once again reiterated its condemnation of the terrorist attack in Moscow and its condolences and support for Russia," said Wang. 

"The Chinese people are also victims of terrorism, and terrorism has always been a common threat facing mankind. The international community should resolutely combat all forms of terrorism with a 'zero tolerance' attitude, firmly support the efforts of all parties to maintain national security and stability, strengthen international anti-terrorism cooperation, coordinate development and security, and eliminate the breeding grounds for terrorism," Wang remarked.

"I want to thank China for their condolences in connection with the terrorist attack in the Moscow Region on March 22, and for their support of Russia's fight against terrorism," Lavrov said during the meeting with Wang.

All those involved [in the terrorist attack] will be certainly punished, Russia's top diplomat stated. "Our [Russia-China] cooperation on counter-terrorism will continue, including within the framework of multilateral institutions."

China and Russia are two major powers in the SCO, and  counter-terrorism cooperation between them and other SCO members is significant for regional peace and stability, especially when the threat of terrorism has reemerged in relevant regions, experts said. Apart from the discussion on the diplomatic level, the militaries, law-enforcement and intelligence agencies of the two countries will promote cooperation on combating terrorism, experts said.

Ancient texts prove Diaoyu Islands not belong to Ryukyu: former Taiwan leader during visit in mainland

During a trip in the Chinese mainland, the former chairperson of the Kuomintang (KMT) party Ma Ying-jeou recommended ancient texts as "must read" when visiting a branch of China National Archives of Publications and Culture in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province as the ancient texts prove that the Diaoyu Islands do not belong to Ryukyu.

Xinhua reported that Ma led a group of Taiwan young people to visit the Xi'an branch of the China National Archives of Publications and Culture (CNAPC) located at the foot of the Guifeng Mountain in the northern foothills of the Qinling Mountains on Saturday. The CNAPC has its headquarters in Beijing, with three branches located in Xi'an, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. They each have their own unique characteristics while complementing each other, jointly undertaking the important task of permanently and safely preserving outstanding Chinese editions and continuing the historical context.

During the visit, Director of the CNAPC Liu Chengyong, explained the selected collections of the main and branch museums to Ma. This included the Song Dynasty's rubbings of Xi Lou Su Tie, the Ming Dynasty's manuscript of the Yongle Encyclopedia, the Ming Dynasty's manuscript of Records of Envoys to Ryukyu.

While visiting the manuscript of Records of Envoys to Ryukyu, Liu explained that the book was written by Chen Kan in the 13th year of Jiajing (1534 AD) after serving as an envoy to the Ryukyu Kingdom to confer the king and returning to East China's Fujian Province. The book stated, "On the tenth day, the south wind was very fast, the boat moved like it was being carried by the wind, but it was not very turbulent even when going downstream. Passing by Pingjia Mountain, passing by the Diaoyu Islet... On the evening of the eleventh day, seeing the Kume Mountain, which belongs to Ryukyu." 

Liu noted that the Diaoyu Islet is now known as the Diaoyu Islands, and the ancient texts clearly record the situation of the Diaoyu Islands outside of Ryukyu. This is an early version of the writing that proves that the Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands belong to China's territory.

After hearing this, Ma said, "This is something that researchers studying the Diaoyu Islands must read. It proves from ancient texts that the Diaoyu Islands do not belong to Ryukyu." He mentioned that he had seen related materials at Oxford University but not in full, and there should be more publicity about relevant historical materials.

The young people who were part of delegation were amazed by the rich and precious Chinese excellent classical editions preserved in the museum, calling it "very spectacular."

"The museum has preserved so many ancient texts intact, making an indelible contribution to the dissemination of Chinese civilization," Ma said after the visit. "I look forward to the wisdom of Chinese civilization's ancient texts, like a bright light in the river of history, continuing to illuminate the future of the Chinese nation."

Ma is leading a group of Taiwan youth to the Chinese mainland on an 11-day trip from April 1 with their first stop in South China's Guangdong Province and later arriving in Shaanxi on April 3. Upon China's Tomb-Sweeping Day, or Qingming Festival on April 4, the former KMT leader participated in a public worship ceremony of China's legendary ancestor Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, followed by visits to the Ma Yuan Temple, Ma Yuan's Tomb, Famen Temple, Xi'an City Wall, the Museum of the First Emperor of Qin, and the Xi'an branch of the CNAPC. 

Taiwan youths, inspired by Ma Ying-jeou's mainland trip, stress common roots and co-development

"On both sides of the Taiwan Straits, we share the same roots. It's important we don't forget about that amid distractions," Taiwan youths said on Saturday as former chairperson of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party Ma Ying-jeou is paying a visit to the Chinese mainland for a second consecutive year, which according to analysts, suggests an elevation from tracing personal roots to the collective ancestors.

On Saturday, Ma led a delegation of young people from Taiwan to visit the world-renowned iconic Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, where he expressed keen interest not only in the evolution of weapons, but also the shape of different arms. 

Discovered in 1974, the army of Terracotta Warriors was built by Emperor Qinshihuang of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-207 BC), who unified China for the first time. 

Upon China's Tomb-Sweeping Day, or Qingming Festival, the former KMT leader on Thursday participated in a public worship ceremony of China's legendary ancestor Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor. While on Friday, he paid tribute at the home of his ancestors, the Ma Yuan Temple, to commemorate the patriotic spirit of his ancestor Ma Yuan, who gave his life for the country.

Taiwan compatriots studying and working in the Chinese mainland, especially the younger generations, are paying close attention to Ma's destination choices for his mainland trip.

Lee Wei-kuo, chairman of the Taipei-based Chinese Youth Trade Development Association, told the Global Times on Saturday that by participating in the Qingming Festival traditions and worshiping the ancestors, Ma conveyed a clear message that people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits are all descendants of the same bloodline, and share the same roots and culture. 

KMT has had a tradition of honoring the Yellow Emperor during the early days. However, today, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities in the island stopped this tradition due to their promotion of ''Taiwan independence,'' Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University in Fujian, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Political figures within the KMT like Ma, who has a strong sense of Chinese nationalism, have always emphasized the inheritance of Chinese culture and the confidence of the Chinese nation, thus placing great importance on ancestral worship, Wang said.

Ma's participation in the activities of Qingming Festival this time holds significant meaning for Taiwan regional society, and the youth community, boosting the mutual understanding of history and traditions between the two sides, Wang noted.

From Ma's family ancestral worship visit to the mainland last year to this year's worship of the common ancestors of the Chinese people, there has been a transition and elevation from the personal to the collective, analysts stressed. 

If last year's visit was an ice-breaking trip, this year's visit is a peaceful journey made against the backdrop of tense cross-Straits relations, Wang said.

Besides the birthplaces of Chinese culture, Ma and the delegation also visited Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province, with a focus on witnessing mainland's technological advancement. This includes a number of high-tech enterprises, including Chinese leading drone manufacturer DJI, technology conglomerate Tencent and new energy vehicle giant BYD.

Lee, who is also head of Sichuan Welove Technology Development Co, believes that the Shenzhen leg of the trip will allow more Taiwan youths to witness the tremendous changes in mainland's development and the achievements of reform and opening-up, thus encouraging more people-to-people exchanges.

Ma's trip conveys these Taiwan youths' direct and emotional understanding of the mainland and their knowledge of Chinese history to more people in the island, Wang noted.

From Sunday, the delegation is scheduled to visit the political, economic and cultural center - Beijing. 

According to Wang, it is expected that Ma and his delegation will express their hopes for the development of cross-Straits relations and the openness of cooperation and exchanges between the two sides, which can play a positive role in easing the tension under the current complex and severe situation. 

However, Ma's visit to the mainland cannot fundamentally change the current difficulties in cross-Straits relations, analysts stressed. "We need to have an objective understanding of the development of cross-Straits relations. This requires long-term efforts from all sectors," Wang said. 

The timing of Ma's visit to the mainland coincided with Chair of the American Institute in Taiwan Laura Rosenberger's Taiwan visit, but the two trips are expected to have the opposite effect. Also, while Ma kicked off his trip to the mainland, the DPP engaged in provocative actions, including fire drills in Kinmen. 

6.7m people in China signed up for organ donations

China's annual national commemoration event for human organ donation was held in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province on Sunday. In recent years, significant progress has been made in China's body and organ donations, but there is still a large gap in medical supply and demand and there is still much work to be done in terms of social awareness for the cause.

Statistics show that there are more than 6.7 million registered organ donors nationwide. There have been more than 51,000 cases of posthumous organ donation and more than 158,000 organs donated, saving the lives of 150,000 people.

In order to carry forward organ donors' spirit of altruism throughout society, more than 220 memorial sites have been established nationwide.

This national annual event, which is also a publicity and promotional activity for organ donation, is guided by the Red Cross Society of China and the National Health Commission, and organized by the China Organ Donation Administrative Center (CODAC). It includes activities such as laying flowers at cemeteries, evening parties, academic lectures and work meetings.

On Saturday afternoon, a memorial event for organ donors was held at a cemetery in the outskirts of Hangzhou. After some donors were given eco-burials on site, attendees presented flower baskets to them and offered condolences to their families.

A ceremony was later held at the Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress Hall on Sunday. Through various forms such as storytelling, stage plays, recitations, and song and dance, the event focused on showcasing the touching stories and the spirit of great love of organ donors and their families, organ transplant recipients, organ donation coordinators, medical personnel and Red Cross workers and volunteers.

Members of the Expert Committee of the CODAC issued a collective call, urging organ donation and transplantation workers to contribute more to the high-quality development of the human organ donation cause, and calling on people from all walks of life to care about and support the cause, making a positive contribution to the promotion of socialist spiritual civilization.

In China, the Qingming Festival and the days before  the festival are a time for beneficiaries and people from all walks of life to remember organ donors. Over the past few days, various provinces such as Jiangsu in East China, Hainan in South China, Sichuan and Chongqing in Southwest China, and Hebei in North China, have organized local memorial ceremonies. 

Hou Fengzhong, head of the CODAC, told the Global Times that this reflects the deepening understanding and recognition of organ donations in Chinese society.

From only 34 cases of organ donation in 2010 to 6,454 cases in 2023, the total number of organ donations has exceeded 51,000. The number of registrants for organ donation reached 6.7 million today from 1,087 in 2010. The concept of donation is gradually gaining widespread recognition and support in society, Hou said, pointing out that a new social trend of participating in and supporting donation efforts is emerging.

In December 2023, the State Council, China's cabinet, issued the Regulation on Human Organ Donation and Transplantation, which will take effect on May 1 and was refined from regulations on human organ transplantation issued in 2007. The new rules highlight the publicity of organ donation to advance its further development and optimize the conditions and procedures for organ donation following the Civil Code.

Hou told the Global Times that the promulgation of this new regulation is significant in two aspects. First, the regulation includes provisions on organ donation, whereas previous regulations only focused on organ transplantation. Second, the regulation includes provisions on organ procurement and distribution, which are issues of great concern to society, making the entire process more transparent and fair.

According to public reports, China has ranked second in the world and first in Asia for the number of annual organ donations and transplants for the past seven consecutive years. However, there is still a significant gap between actual medical demand and the amount of organ donations in the country.

Based on current data, the ratio of actual organ donations to the number of people waiting for organs is approximately 1:6. However, the actual situation is even more severe, as many people on the waiting list are unable to receive organs, Hou told the Global Times. 

"Taking this into consideration, the ratio is closer to 1:30, meaning that for every 30 people in need of organs, only one person is able to successfully receive a transplant," Hou said.

The head of CODAC said that compared with developed countries, China is already at the forefront of organ transplant technology. For China's organ donation cause, what is most needed to change is the overall social concept, especially some traditional beliefs that "the body cannot be destroyed," Hou said, urging joint efforts from all sectors of society.

Peng Liyuan meets German students, teachers in Beijing

Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, met on Thursday with representatives of students and teachers from the Chinese Choir of the Burg Gymnasium, a German high school, at Beijing No.35 High School.

Peng congratulated the choir on its fruitful achievements over the past decade of conveying friendship through songs.

She said that through everybody's joint efforts, the choir has built a bridge of cultural exchanges between China and Germany and become a shining symbol of China-Germany friendship. It is hoped that the students can feel the charm of Chinese culture in the beautiful melody, and become a new generation of envoys of China-Germany friendship, she added.

Olaf Millmann, president of the choir association, thanked Peng for her care and support for the choir, and said that more and more German teenagers have come to know and love China by learning Chinese through singing, and they will continue to actively build a bridge of communication through music and Chinese, enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between German and Chinese teenagers.

The student representatives of the choir reported their learning situation and experience, as well as their love for China, to Peng in Chinese, and said that they would continue to work hard to learn Chinese well.

Peng had a cordial interaction with the teachers and students, praised the students for speaking Chinese better, and encouraged the students to share their experiences and feelings in China with their families and friends after returning home, and continue the stories of China-Germany friendship.

The Chinese choir is a non-profit public welfare organization. With the aim of promoting non-governmental exchanges between China and Germany, it is committed to enhancing the friendship between the two countries in the fields of language and culture.

China urges US to stop politicizing cybersecurity issues

The US, UK, New Zealand and Australia have expressed concerns over the so-called malicious cyber activities from China after releasing "evidence" of infiltration and hacking in recent days and then announcing sanctions, showing strong coordination.

Such groundless accusations have been rejected out of hand on Tuesday by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which urged the US, the instigator behind the smear campaign, to stop politicizing cybersecurity issues and act responsibly in cyberspace.

The Biden administration on Monday US local time announced a criminal indictment and sanctions against seven Chinese individuals for allegedly conducting hacks against US companies and government officials on behalf of China's civilian intelligence service, CNN reported on Monday.

The charges come as the British government accused China of being responsible for "malicious cyber campaigns" targeting the country's Electoral Commission and politicians.

Both the US and UK claimed the Chinese hacking group APT31 was behind the cyber activities. It was accused of targeting the US presidential election in 2020.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Li Jian said at Tuesday's routine press briefing that the Chinese side has made technical clarifications and responses to the so-called APT31-related information submitted by the British side, and made it clear that the evidence provided by the British side was inadequate and relevant conclusions lack professionalism. But unfortunately, there has been no further response from the British side.

China firmly opposes and combats all kinds of cyberattacks, and is committed to working with all countries, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to strengthen cooperation and jointly deal with the threats of cybersecurity through channels such as bilateral dialogue or judicial assistance, Lin said.

China's relevant cybersecurity institutions have released a series of reports on the US government's cyberattacks on China and other countries. Yet the US government has been silent about them. We urge the US to adopt a responsible approach in cyberspace and stop framing the innocent, the spokesperson noted.

New Zealand and Australia have also joined to condemn China over "hacking activities," according to media reports.

Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that China rejects outright the groundless and irresponsible accusations against China on cyberattacks or intrusions. "Accusing China of foreign interference is completely barking up the wrong tree. We hope the New Zealand side can practice the letter and spirit of its longstanding and proud independent foreign policy," Wang wrote.

Lin, in response to a question by the Global Times, said that for some time, driven by its own geopolitical agenda, the US has encouraged "Five Eyes Alliance," the world's largest intelligence organization led by the US itself, to compile and spread all kinds of disinformation about the threats posed by the so-called Chinese hackers. Now along with the UK, the US is hyping up the so-called Chinese cyberattacks and even launching groundless unilateral sanctions against China, he said.

The US and the UK once again hyped up the so-called cyberattacks from China and sanctioned China's individuals and entities. This is sheer political manipulation. China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this, Lin said.

"We have lodged serious representations to relevant parties. We urge the US and the UK to stop politicizing cybersecurity issues, stop smearing China and imposing unilateral sanctions on China, and stop cyberattacks against China. China will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its lawful rights and interests," the spokesperson said.

Chinese analysts believe this round of accusations was carefully plotted and conducted in close coordination among the Five Eyes countries - the US plays the boss and the UK is the secretary; the others, including Canada, which has not followed suit this time but has previously accused China of hacking and cyberattacks before, are more of a "yes man" in such a scenario.

Lü Xiang, an expert on US studies and a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the Biden administration has been committed to enhancing the Five Eyes' presence and internal coordination on cyber matters to target US rivals and competitors, and the strategy works to some extent.

To cooperate with the US in a smear campaign and a disinformation war is the easiest and costless task of being a US ally, noted Lü, who believes that when it comes to substantial benefits, the intelligence clique would break up due to varying interests.

Analysts attributed the US and UK's intensifying smear campaign against China on cybersecurity to their anxiety over waning dominance in cutting-edge information technology.

The US, in order to maintain its hegemonic status in the information and communication sector, has adopted two methods - slandering China and painting it as a threat, and cracking down on real entities and industry players, to poison the environment for China to develop high technologies, Lü said.

The upcoming elections in the US and UK also motivated the two countries to intensify their smear campaign, as they twisted the fabricated charges from "stealing AI technology" they used previously to "attacking democracy."

Blame shifting is an easy approach to divert public discontent over domestic policies amid election cycles, and accusing China of attacking Western democracy institutions caters to their long-term ideological bias, analysts said. But they warned such moves are also feeding a new cold war.