More than 80% respondents hope China, South Korea to maintain friendly ties, cooperation: GT survey

Editor's Note:

After the administration of Yoon Suk-yeol came to power in South Korea, the relationship between China and South Korea has continued to deteriorate.

From April 6 to 10, 2024, the Global Times Institute (GTI) conducted a survey in 17 administrative regions in South Korea.

The survey targeted ordinary people aged from 18 to 70, focusing on their perceptions of China, South Korea-China relations, South Korea-US relations, and domestic issues in South Korea. A total of 1,045 valid questionnaires were collected.
In terms of the perception of China, 72 percent of respondents in the survey conducted by the GTI expressed a desire to visit China in the future, with half of them hoping to do so within the next 3 years.

Among the 750 respondents who expressed a desire to visit China, tourism was the primary reason for their visit, with 93 percent of them stating that they wanted to visit China for tourism, far exceeding other reasons, and only 5 percent saying they want to work in China. When it comes to specific cities in China that respondents want to visit, Shanghai and Beijing were most favored, followed by Qingdao in Shandong Province and Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province.

Mu Yadi, a researcher at think tank Pangoal Institution, told the Global Times that the reason why so many respondents expressed a desire to visit China may be related to the "China craze" in the South Korean tourism industry.

"China's culture, cuisine, natural scenery, and convenient transportation systems are key factors that attract South Korean tourists. Data indicates that the majority of South Korean people have high expectations for China, and China is influential and attractive to South Korean people in terms of culture and tourism," Mu said.

However, at the same time, it should be noted that since President Yoon Suk-yeol took office, South Korea has diplomatically leaned more toward the US and Japan, distancing itself from China.

South Korean media has increased negative reports on China, leading to a more negative perception of China among young people, Chung Jae-hung, director of the Department of Security Strategy Studies & Center for Chinese Studies of the Sejong institute in Korea, told the Global Times.

Chung said that the reason for this is that since Yoon's administration presented a completely "one-sided" situation, emphasizing ideology, and strengthening cooperation with the US, Japan, and other Western countries. Their diplomacy has some "new Cold War" characteristics, which is an important reason for the change in South Korea-China relations. Previously, South Korea's foreign policy was relatively balanced, maintaining cooperation with both the US and Western countries, as well as seeking to maintain good relations with China, Russia, and even North Korea.

When asked to rate their level of understanding of China on a scale of 1-10, the average score given by the respondents was 5.3, indicating a "basic understanding" of China. Only 30 percent of respondents rated their understanding of China as "moderate" or "high" with a score no less than 7.

In terms of specific knowledge about China, the highest rate was related to the giant panda "Fubao," at 76 percent, followed by popular foods such as spicy hot pot and sugar-coated haws, with an awareness rate of 68 percent.

Lü Chao, a Korean Peninsula issues expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that his interactions with Koreans mirror the results of the above-mentioned survey. Korean people's understanding of China is indeed somewhat one-sided and limited. For example, their impressions of China mostly come from tourism.

Lü said that besides tourism, he welcomes more Korean friends to come to China to invest, work, study, and engage in more exchanges that will boost their understanding of China.

China-South Korea ties key to latter's development

Regarding the changes in South Korea-China relations in recent years, 57 percent of respondents said they believe that the relationship has become more distant or hostile, with 26 percent believing it has become more hostile, and 31 percent believing it has become more distant.

By contrast, only 11 percent of respondents believe the relationship has become closer and friendlier.

As to what kind of relationship should South Korea have with China, more than 80 percent of the respondents said they hope the two countries should remain friendly and cooperative ties. In specific, 52 percent think South Korea and China should remain cooperative but competitive ties; another think 10 percent prefer close and friendly ties while the other 20 percent choose cooperative ties.

"Currently, China-South Korea relations can be said to be not in a good stage, and there has even been some regression. The current South Korean administration has made many erroneous remarks on certain China-related issues, crossing the line as far as many Chinese people are concerned. Korean people do not understand China's principled position on these issues," Lü said.

Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that according to opinion polls, South Korean people generally believe that the relationship between South Korea and China is becoming increasingly tense, and in some aspects, it has even deteriorated further.

Da believes that South Koreans perceive a distancing in relations with China due to their own cognitive issues, friction between China and South Korea, and the influence of other countries outside the region.

In the survey, more than half of respondents said they believe that the US is or may be a major factor hindering the establishment of friendly relations between South Korea and China, with nearly 20 percent not expressing a clear stance.

Da told the Global Times that the results of the Korean National Assembly elections may further influence the future policies implemented by the Yoon administration, and an increase in seats for the opposition party may provide a balance at the parliamentary level to maintain the basic stability of China-South Korea relations.

In the survey, over 70 percent of respondents affirmed the importance of South Korea-China relations for South Korea's future development. Over 80 percent of respondents acknowledge that China has aspects worth learning from for South Korea, with China's experiences in public health and medicine, as well as high-tech industries and technology, receiving the highest recognition.

In 2023, South Korea's trade balance with China turned into a deficit for the first time in 31 years, causing 82 percent of respondents to feel worried, uneasy, shocked, or angry.

Lü pointed out that many South Koreans often bring up the issue of the trade deficit when discussing China-South Korea relations. The reason for the trade deficit is that South Korea blindly follows the US and adopted a policy of decoupling from China, including in areas such as semiconductors.

"Restrictions on China in the high-tech and semiconductor sectors have led to this problem. South Koreans should be more aware of this," he said.

US' shadow

In the last two years, the US has increased pressure on South Korea to ban the export of semiconductors and other chips to China. A majority or 80 percent of respondents said they believe that the pressure has had a negative impact on the South Korean economy.

Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times that the US does not allow South Korea to sell high-end semiconductor materials to China but allows some of its own companies to do so.

The US is taking advantage of the situation and is seizing South Korea's market share in China, and this has angered South Koreans, Zheng said.

The US also wants South Korea to transfer the core production chip technology to the US, which is crucial to South Korea's economy. It has also securitized various economic issues and set up trade barriers under the Indo-Pacific strategy, all with significant impacts on South Korea, Zheng noted.

Behind the scenes, the US has been instigating conflicts in industrial cooperation between China and South Korea, in a bid to create a narrative of negative competition between China and South Korea. The US has also deliberately stirred up issues related to North Korea, the island of Taiwan, and the South China Sea. In combination, these factors have affected trade between China and South Korea, and influenced public sentiment, according to Zheng.

"In the past, China-South Korea relations did not have structural problems. However, with the rise of extreme conservative forces following the entrance of the current administration, South Korea has actively participated in the US' Indo-Pacific strategy, leading to a significant decline in trade between China and South Korea. To address these issues, South Korea must first recognize the nature of the competition between China and the US, which is that the US is using all means to suppress China, and is using South Korea as a tool to contain China. If South Koreans understand this, they can leverage the competition between China and the US and utilize their strengths."

As for the recent South Korean parliamentary elections, where the ruling party suffered a major defeat, Zheng said that the South Korean government is likely to take action. "Whether they need to fix domestic political difficulties or address economic issues, they will need to improve relations with China," Zheng said.

When asked whether they were confident that the US-South Korea alliance would solve South Korea's security issues, nearly half of the respondents expressed doubt. Opinions on the role of the US in the Russia-Ukraine conflict were also divided, with many respondents stating they were unsure.

In terms of the perception of the US and the US-South Korea alliance among South Koreans, Zheng pointed out that while the US-South Korea alliance has existed for over 70 years, it cannot be compared to the US-Japan relationship. The risk of being abandoned by the US is higher for South Korea than Japan. Many South Koreans have a negative view of the US, especially regarding the imbalance in the US-Japan and US-South Korea alliances.
Policy not conducive to stability

Regarding South Korea's diplomatic actions in the last two years, 52 percent of respondents said they believe that they have had a negative impact on the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, with 18 percent among them believing the impact is "very negative."

The rising cost of living in South Korea has also led to dissatisfaction among the population. Looking ahead, half of the respondents have a pessimistic outlook on the South Korean economy for the next year.

The responsibility for the negative development of the policy toward North Korea lies with the current administration, Wang Junsheng, an East Asian studies research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

The Yoon administration has not shown any sincerity in dialogues regarding North Korean issues. Therefore, the poll results just reflected South Korean people's disappointment with the policy toward North Korea, Wang said.

Wang noted that the current economic situation in South Korea has led to widespread discontent among the population. The economic downturn, coupled with rising prices, has fueled criticism of the government.

Wang also predicted that the Yoon administration would adjust policies following the parliamentary elections. However, economic issues that have been developing over a long period cannot be immediately changed. While a complete transformation is desirable, it may simply be wishful thinking. The internal divisions in South Korea are likely to continue, he warned.

Australia should be bridge, rather than Western spear tip into Asia: historian

Editor’s Note:

In his recent visit to Australia, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China welcomes Australia, an ally of the US, also a partner of China, and more importantly, a sovereign nation, to make policies independently, based on its own fundamental interests. After Wang’s visit, the two countries saw positive signs in the healthy development of bilateral ties. Given the importance of the relations between China and Australia, Global Times reporters Xie Wenting and Bai Yunyi (GT) conducted an exclusive interview with John Queripel (Queripel), an Australian historian and author, on bilateral relations, Australia’s foreign policy, how Australia views its role in Asia, as well as its relations with the US.

GT: How do you assess the outcomes of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Australia?

Queripel: Wang Yi’s visit, the most senior Chinese official to visit Australia in seven years, for the seventh Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, was another important step in re-establishing China-Australia relations after a period in which, under the previous Australian government, they had sunk to great depths. 

The Albanese government has spoken of its desire to consolidate and normalize relations between the two countries, and this was a crucial step in achieving that.

Core to the visit was the economic relationship between the two countries. China makes up around one third of Australian exports and imports. The economic relationship ought to be complementary, as it has been in the past, but in recent years has stuttered. 

Both sides seem to have been pleased with the talks. Wang called for no hesitation, no yawing, and no backward steps in the bilateral relationship, stating that both sides should strive to make steady, good, and sustained progress as the course forward has been charted.

He expressed his hope that Australia would take measures to uphold the principles of the market economy and provide a non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises in Australia. Canberra screens foreign investment in key sectors for national security, including critical minerals, and has blocked some Chinese deals. He also highlighted the need for independence, likely a reference to China’s view that Australia’s foreign policy is dominated by its strategic alliance with the US.

His Australian counterpart, Penny Wong, stated that Australia desired a mature and productive relationship, though there is more to be done. Dialogue, she maintained, “enables us to manage our differences. We both know it does not eliminate them. Australia will always be Australia and China will always be China.”

GT: What’s the general response of the visit in Australian society?

Queripel: Australian societal attitudes toward China are strongly shaped by the attitudes displayed by the nation’s politicians and media, which are often negative, sometimes virulently so. Polls, however, indicate a gradual warming of attitudes toward Australia’s major trading partner. This visit is likely to continue that warming.

The Australian business community has often found itself at strong odds with the political and media establishment. They are the ones, along with their employees, who suffer from any breakdown in that relationship. It appears that the ever-deepening thaw in relations under the previous government has been reversed, while there also is an increased questioning of the depth of Australian subservience to the US, particularly as represented by AUKUS. 

As increased numbers of Australians are now visiting China, and the Chinese are traveling to Australia; understandings and interactions are likely to warm as they increase. 

GT: There has been continuous opposition within Australia toward collaboration with China, particularly due to concerns about the so-called “China threat.” How do you perceive this sentiment? In the last two years, is there any reflection now in Australia about the previous policy on China?

Queripel: The so-called “China threat” is played everywhere in Australia. Even previously respectable media, including public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, get caught up in it. It seems all pervasive. Its worst expression was the infamous “red alert” series, wherein it was argued, with all seriousness, that China was about to “invade” Australia any day now. Of course such inanity stands at total odds with the AUKUS idea of acquiring submarines 15-20 years down the track for the nation’s defense.
While the current government, though still intimately involved in US war planning, is hosing down the extremes of the “China threat” narrative, nearly all of the mainstream media is still enthralled by it. Members of the previous government, now in the opposition, remain rabidly anti-China. 
Sad to say, for many there has been little reflection on previous policy toward China. There are some hopeful signs though, with people in general seeing through the lies and duplicity, and gradually again warming toward China. Polls also indicate that the majority of Australians reject the government policy of total subservience to US foreign policy. 

GT: From your perspective, is there anything that the current Australian government can learn from former prime minister Paul Keating’s China policy?

Queripel: Under the then prime minister Gough Whitlam, Australia established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China half century ago. Relations deepened through each subsequent government change in Australia, due to both nations understanding their inter-dependence, and how that benefited both. Both sides of Australian politics understood this. Around 2015, feeling under threat due to China’s rise, US policy turned against China. That was associated with former US president Obama’s “pivot to the Indo-Pacific,” something which obviously drew in Australia. From around 2017 intense “Sinophobia” was unleashed in Australia. 

Former prime minister Paul Keating has been excoriating in his criticism of it. For that he has worn much opprobrium, but of course he is right. Of former prime ministers, Keating is the only one contributing in a clear-sighted, level-headed manner to the debate. 

Current Australian Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, believes the attitude of Australia needs to be one where “we seek to cooperate with China where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in our national interest…It’s Australia’s view that a stable bilateral relationship would enable both countries to pursue respective national interests, if we navigate our differences wisely.” Such an attitude sounds prescient.

GT: This year, 50 prominent figures in Australia released a joint statement, calling on the Albanian government to assume a “constructive middle-power” role in alleviating tensions between Australia’s largest trading partner, China, and its closest ally, the US. Do you believe Australia can effectively fulfill this role?

Queripel: Australia needs to play this role. Former Singaporean diplomat and now international relations scholar Kishore Mahbubani has cast the choices for Australia thus: “Australia’s strategic dilemma in the 21st century is simple: It can choose to be a bridge between East and West in the Asian Century — or the tip of the spear projecting Western power into Asia.” 

Too often Australia, hamstrung by its colonial history, has acted as a white outpost in Asia. AUKUS is the latest manifestation of this, and it has a bad look in Asia, being made without any consultation with Australia’s Asian neighbors.
If Australia can accept its geographical location as part of Asia, and bring with that its allied status for some 80 years with the US, it can play a very important part in alleviating tensions between the superpowers. 

GT: How do you think Australia should navigate its relationship with China while also balancing its alliances with other countries, such as the US?

Queripel: The world does not, indeed should not be seen in either or, us or them dualities. Indeed, faced with the common problem of climate change, which is presenting itself as an existential threat, it is imperative that nations of the world take a much more co-operative approach. 

It is the West which has thought of itself as being separate to others, “carrying the white man’s burden,” needing to bring its “values’ to the world.” That was its reason for building its colonial power, though in reality this provided a good cover for economic exploitation. This type of “exceptionalism” still informs US policy today. 

China, on the other hand doesn’t think in this manner. China is exhibiting a much more co-operative style in international relations. 

Australia ought to leverage its close relationship with the US to encourage them to move beyond an aggressive hegemonic world view, to one built on cooperation. That will call Australia first of all, to commit itself to such a path. Currently it is far too closely allied to the US, something from which it has gained nothing. 

It is time for Australia to step back from backing one side, and instead use its close connections with both China and the US to act as an honest broker. It can choose to be a “bridge” rather than a Western “spear tip” into Asia. That will be to Australia’s great advantage as Asia increasingly becomes the economic hub of the world. 

GT: What role do you see Australia playing in promoting regional stability and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in relation to China?

Queripel: Currently, far from playing a stabilizing role, Australia is playing a role of destabilizing the region. Australia needs to change its own practices as well as pressing the US to stop playing a game of brinkmanship in the Asia-Pacific region, with its warships sailing provocatively close to China. Brinkmanship is always dangerous, especially when nations are nuclear armed. 

Asia is committed to peace. The ASEAN is a great sign of cooperation between nations, with sometimes very different ideologies and forms of government. Marked by a special summit in Melbourne, Australia has just celebrated 50 years of dialogue partnership with the ASEAN. In that period Asia has been the great success story in dealing with conflict.

There is a role for Australia in promoting regional stability and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. For it to do that, however, will mean a radical reorientation of the current policy, and for it to advocate with its ally, the US to change its policy. 

Chinese economy maintains stable growth in April, with industry, exports indicators improving moderately

China's economy maintained stable growth in April, with key indexes on industry, exports, employment and price improving moderately from March, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Friday, underscoring that the world's second-largest economy has been sustaining the solid recovery momentum since the beginning of the year despite facing multiple global and domestic headwinds.

Analysts predicted that China's GDP could grow at a rate between 5.3 and 5.5 percent in the second quarter, slightly up from the 5.3-percent growth recorded in the first quarter. And the economy is set to unleash more potential in the second half, as a package of stimulus measures, including the issuance of ultra-long-term special treasury bonds and supports on property industry, take effect and as global demand continued to bounce back.

China's industrial production jumped 6.7 percent year-on-year in April, compared with a 4.5-percent growth in March, NBS data showed. In April, retail sales gained 2.3 percent year-on-year, down from the March reading of 3.1 percent.

Fixed-asset investment rose 4.2 percent year-on-year in the first four months, slowing down from the 4.5 percent growth in the first three months.
"China's economy remained stable in April. Although some indicators recorded a moderate growth rate as affected by factors such as staggered holiday arrangement and a relatively high base in the same period last year, major indicators of industry, exports, employment and prices improved, with new driving forces maintaining rapid growth," NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua said at a press briefing of the State Council Information Office on Friday.

"One of the economic highlights from the April data is the robust growth in high-end manufacturing, which beats market expectation," Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Friday.

He said that some of economic data in April has overall improved mildly compared with March reading, which bodes well for the growth in the second quarter. Cao projected that the GDP growth in the April-June period would speed up 0.1 percentage point to 0.2 percentage point from the first quarter.

"Considering China's prodigious economic scale, any growth between 4.5 and 5.5 percent should be sound and sustainable," Cao noted. Analysts exemplified that if China's GDP growth hit over 5 percent per year, the increase in China's economic volume could roughly equate to the economic output of Switzerland, which is now the world's 20th-largest economy.

China's robust economy in the first four months has proved that the US government's reckless suppression of Chinese industries, which it attempted to justify by labeling the "overcapacity" claim on Chinese exports, is futile and doomed to lose traction in global arena, analysts said.

Analysts expected that China's economic growth will contribute around 35 percent to the global economic development this year, further consolidating its role as both a stabilizer and key locomotive of the world economy.

China on Friday issued the first batch of 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) in ultra-long-term special treasury bonds, as the authorities seek more funding to shore up government spending and strategically important projects' investment for high-quality economic development.

"The bond issuance needs to be completed as early as possible, considering that there is still some softness in the economy," Tian Yun, a veteran economist based in Beijing, told the Global Times.

He expected more measures to be unveiled to shore up the property sector, which remains a drag on the economy in the first quarter.

Cao noted that it would take two to three months for the effects of ultra-long-term treasury bonds issuance to bear fruits, and that in turn would elevate the whole-year GDP growth by 0.1-0.3 percent.

China's trade in goods in the first four months of 2024 recorded an increase of 5.7 percent year-on-year to reach 13.81 trillion yuan, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed last Thursday.

McDonald‘s apologies to Chinese consumers for selling expired food

McDonald’s on Monday apologized after media reports said that two of its outlets in China sold food made of expired ingredients and the outlet moved to  change the labels, sparking heated discussion online. 

The company said in a statement that it is actively cooperating with local market regulator in conducting an investigation and will address any violation of operational standards.

"We apologize for the impact from the restaurants involved. We are duty-bound to further strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the restaurants' code of practice," the company said in a statement.

Two McDonald’s restaurants in Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province and Jinan, East China’s Shandong Province, were discovered to selling expired food, using expired ingredients, changing the food expiration labels and other issues, bjnews.com reported on Monday. 

The report soon sparked a heat discussion on Chinese social media. The hashtag “McDonald’s changing labels for expired food ingredient to extend the usage” reached 65.76 million views on Weibo, sparking more than 16,000 postings as of press time.

Many Chinese netizens have expressed their disappointment saying McDonald’s have let them down. 

Local market regulators in Zhengzhou and Jinan cities have launched investigations as health and food safety officials conduct onsite probes. 

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said during the company’s 2023 earnings call that he saw strong growth in the Chinese market and was pleased with McDonald's performance in the market. McDonald's plans to launch 1,000 new outlets in Chinese mainland this year.

China secures 76% of global shipbuilding orders in April: data

Chinese companies clinched 76 percent of all global shipbuilding orders in April, becoming the No 1 shipbuilder in the world, according to latest industry data, highlighting China's increasingly prominent role in the global shipbuilding industry. 

Industry analysts note that the US' protectionism cannot stop Chinese shipbuilders' rise. 

According to Clarkson Research, a provider of shipping and trade data released on Tuesday, global shipbuilding orders in April reached 4.71 million compensated gross tons (CGT) for 121 vessels, marking a 24-percent year-on-year increase. Chinese firms secured 3.58 million CGT (76 percent, 91 vessels), ranking the first; while the runner-up South Korea obtained 670,000 CGT (14 percent, 13 vessels).

Additionally, as of the end of April, unfinished orders decreased by 100,000 CGT compared to the previous month, amounting to 129.91 million CGT. China and South Korea accounted for 64.86 million CGT (50 percent) and 39.10 million CGT (30 percent) of those orders, respectively.

"China's leading position in shipbuilding has been set up since the 14th Five-Year Plan starts. While previously excelling in mid-to-low-tier market segment, China is now vigorously advancing into high-end shipbuilding domain such as making LNG vessels. Efforts by Chinese shipbuilders have garnered considerable acclaim in the world," Tian Yun, a veteran economist told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In addition to the gains in manufacturing capacity, China has also made significant breakthroughs in ship maintenance, garnering growing demand both domestically and abroad. Overall, the market now appears to be a showdown between China and South Korea, according to Tian.

Shipbuilding, known as the one of crown jewels of manufacturing, which spans over 50 sectors and boasts an extensive supply chain. 

Since 2019, China's ship completions have risen steadily. In January-September 2023, China accounted for 46 percent of global completed tonnage, 63.5 percent of the new orders, ranking first worldwide.

Market watchers said that China will continue to enjoy the dominant position in the global shipbuilding market within a decade, due to its strong supply chain capabilities and increasingly eco-friendly tech advancements.

As China makes steady gains in shipbuilding, the US is worrying about losing another key industrial sector. Seeking to stymie Chinese shipbuilders, the US government launched a so-called Section 301 investigation on April 17, citing alleged "unfair economic practices" by China in maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding domains.

China's Ministry of Commerce rebuffed the US accusation, calling it baseless and a distortion of normal trade and investment activities. China isn't responsible for the US shipbuilding industry's lagging behind, resulting from the US' excessive protectionism. China's industrial growth is fueled by technological innovation and free market competition, not the non-market practices as alleged by the US, the ministry said.

Xi says China's high-quality development, opening-up to offer more opportunities for Hungary

China is now advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization, and China's high-quality development and opening-up will provide more opportunities for Hungary, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

Xi made the remarks at a farewell event held here by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife.

Hubei Province's first robot police dog become online sensation during holidays

On May 3, Yichang Public Security Bureau in Central China's Hubei Province made history by deploying a "robot police dog" for the first time in the province for practical use. 

In order to alleviate the strain on police and enhance security in the area, Hubei's first robot police dog officially entered duty in Yichang city on May 3. 

Jointly operating with real police dogs, the robot dog was sent to patrol, identify suspects, and conduct anti-fraud campaigns in the Three Gorges Dam scenic area, The Paper reported on Monday.

As a newcomer to Yichang Public Security Bureau, the robot dog attracted a crowd of onlookers. With two large "eyes" on its back constantly monitoring the movements of people around it, any suspicious individuals were immediately detected by its monitoring team, according to local media reports.

Chen Peng, general manager of Wuba Intelligent Technology (Hangzhou) Company, explained, "It has the ability to autonomously patrol 24 hours every day, complementing traditional security monitoring devices. It can enter crowds and identify individuals at close range. When police officers or police dogs are tired, the robot dog can patrol continuously without interruption, and it can replace humans in bomb disposal and other dangerous settings."

Due to heavy rain, police officers were conducting indoor patrols on May 3, while the fearless robt police dog was responsible for outdoor patrols. When the children caught sight of the adorable mechanical police dog getting wet in the rain, they even came up to hold an umbrella for it. However, a little water is nothing to the robot dog, as it can work normally even in temperatures as high as 60 C or as low as minus 40 C.

When the robot police dog noticed a visitor had left their bag on a bench, it would alert, "Lost item found."

Visitors welcomed the patrols of the new robot dog. A visitor surnamed Zhang said, "Some elderly people and children may be afraid of large dogs. I hope we could see mechanical police dogs in various scenic spots in Hubei in the future."

Although the mechanical police dog is currently only responsible for basic tasks such as autonomous patrols and order guidance, it will soon unlock more capabilities. 

Jiang Weiwei, a police officer from Yichang Public Security Bureau, said, "Next, we will combine the application of big data in public security to give the robot dog the most powerful brain. Through the collaboration between the robot dog and police officers, we aim to enhance grassroots police capabilities in tracking, rescue, reconnaissance, identification, and other fields."

China International Communications Group attends 2024 Foire de Paris, showcasing Chinese culture

The China International Communications Group (CICG) has joined the 2024 Foire de Paris, which commenced on Wednesday, hosting a Chinese cultural exhibition as well as other exchange activities.  

More than 100 delegates from the cultural, translation, publishing and business sectors of both China and France participated in the event. 

The exhibition that CICG hosted features Chinese culture, including symbols of Central Plains, Harmony, Yellow River, Yangtze River, Greater Bay Area, ethnic minority cultures, and the iconic Chinese dragon.

The exhibition featured about 600 varieties and 2,000 unique exhibits including themed books, bronze and porcelain artifacts, arts and crafts, and cultural creative products. 

Notable book exhibits include multilingual series books like China's classical novels series and the Yangtze River culture series. Exhibited bronze and porcelain artifacts include the Four-goat Square Zun (which dates back more than 3,000 years), Jun porcelain from Henan and Ru porcelain.

Art exhibits include Chinese character art, Henan embroidery bird-and-flower paintings, and cultural creative products like Loong Dwen Dwen (the Chinese zodiac's Dragon version of Bing Dwen Dwen, a Beijing Winter Olympic Games mascot).

During the exhibition, various activities such as traditional Chinese music performances and tea culture experiences were also organized.

In addition to the exhibition, a series of thematic events such as "Beijing theme Day," "National Museum Theme Day," and "Shandong theme Day" were organized, alongside dialogues including a "Beijing meets Paris" event and Sino-French dialogues to promote cultural exchange between China and France.

Du Zhanyuan, the president of the CICG, said at the opening ceremony that 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, as well as the China-France Year of Cultural Tourism. This exhibition, through an innovative combination of cultural exhibits, literary and artistic performances, cultural and creative sales, and entertainment experiences helps enhance the understanding of audiences from various countries about contemporary China. 

Vincent Montagne, president of the French Publishers Association and chairman of the Paris Book Fair, said that at the important moment of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France, hosting a thematic exhibition on Chinese culture presents an excellent opportunity for both countries to deepen their friendship in literature, art, culture, and among their peoples. He also expressed optimism for enhanced cooperation between the publishing industries of China and France.

Shenzhou-17 crew return to Earth after completing 1st extravehicular repair task for damages caused by space debris impact

The return capsule of the Shenzhou-17 manned spaceship, carrying taikonauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin, touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Tuesday, following six months aboard the Tiangong space station.

The three astronauts are all in good health condition, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the Xinhua News Agency reported. China announced that the Shenzhou-17 mission was a complete success.

The Shenzhou-17 mission was launched on October 25, 2023, taking over control of Tiangong from the outgoing Shenzhou-16 crew days later. The crew departed the station at 8:43 am on Tuesday and landed at Dongfeng landing site at 17:46 pm.

Recovery crews were on the scene moments after the return capsule touched down. Mission commander Tang Hongbo was the first out of the capsule. In front of the camera of China Central Television, Tang expressed that he is very proud for the country. “I departed in autumn and came back in spring. My mood is just the like current days in April, the most beautiful season of a year,” Tang said.

Tang, who had first flown to space in the Shenzhou-12 mission in 2021 and then in the Shenzhou-17 mission, has not only become the taikonaut with the longest space flight time to date, but also the one with the shortest interval between two flight missions.

“Such an experience accumulated valuable lessons for us in the routine implementation of flight crew rotation and training,” CMSA spokesperson Lin Xiqiang said.

Shenzhou-17 is the second mission after Tiangong space station entered the application phase.

Prior to Shenzhou-17’s journey, research team had discovered damage on the solar wing cables of the station’s Tianhe core module due to space debris impact, resulting in partial power loss.

To fix the damage, the Shenzhou-17 crew brought repair tools with them to the space station, and through two extravehicular activities, they managed to complete China’s first extravehicular repair task, eliminating the impact on the core module's solar wings, the Global Times learned from the CMSA.

“This fully demonstrated the role of humans in space and showed that human care of spacecraft can better address unexpected issues in orbit,” Lin said.

Over the past few decades, especially in recent years, the rapid increase of human space activities has led to a growing concern over the issue of space debris. Up recently, the Chinese space station has actively implemented space debris avoidance measures on multiple occasions.

To cope with the challenge, China has improved its precise forecasting capabilities for the space station, optimizing space collision warning and reducing false alarm rates by 30 percent. China has also been conducting high-resolution inspection of the external status of Tiangong to analyze the probability and mechanics of small debris impacts.

The Shenzhou-18 crew who has just arrived at their space home on Friday will carry out reinforcement measures with protective devices to apply on the weak points on the exterior of the space station.

Lin noted that a space station impact leak monitoring and positioning system has also been deployed, improving emergency pressure response plans and increasing the time available for fault handling by five times.

The CMSA has been publishing OEM orbit parameters on their website, so as to establish a flight safety communication mechanism with other spacefaring countries, timely exchange and sharing of relevant information, with the aim of jointly maintaining the safety of spacecraft in orbit.

Apart from impact repair tasks, the Shenzhou-17 crew has conducted a total of 84 space application experiments, producing over 60 types of more than 200 samples in various fields such as space life sciences and biotechnology, aerospace medicine, and space materials science.

These samples will be brought back to Earth along with the Shenzhou-17 spacecraft for in-depth analysis and research. The samples are expected to achieve a number of important research results in areas such as high-performance multi-element alloys, functional crystal material preparation, and inhibiting bone loss through the differentiation of stem cells.

China reiterates willingness to strengthen high-level exchanges with France

China stands ready to strengthen high-level exchanges with France, give play to the leading role of head-of-state diplomacy, and add new connotations to the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, said China's top diplomat Wang Yi on Saturday, amid rising high-level contacts between China and France in the past few months. 

Wang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks in a telephone call with the French President's Diplomatic Counselor Emmanuel Bonne on Saturday, reiterating China's willingness to push bilateral cooperation with France in various fields to a new level, and give play to the important role of the two major countries in dealing with global challenges, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Noting that the current international situation is complex and volatile, with numerous challenges and hot spots emerging one after another, Wang said the international community expects China and France to form a common position and speak with the same voice on major issues bearing on world peace and stability, as well as the future and destiny of mankind.

It is hoped that the French side will push the EU to continue to pursue a positive and pragmatic policy toward China, Wang noted.

At a time when some European politicians are mistakenly advocating "decoupling" from China, the frequent interactions between China and France is a highlight and a stabilizer, Chinese experts noted. The connection between the two countries is also very important for advancing the resolution of international hot-button issues.

The year 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. In the past few months, it is evident that China and France have increased their interactions, exchanges and communication in various fields, Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of European Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Against a backdrop of rising uncertainties in China-Europe relations as some European politicians advocate "decoupling," the relationship between China and France is not only a highlight but also plays an important role in stabilizing China-Europe relations, he noted. 

France is willing to use the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries as an opportunity to intensify high-level exchanges, deepen mutual trust, strengthen practical cooperation and strive for mutual benefit and win-win results, Bonne told Wang in the phone call. 

The two sides should work together to cool down hot spot issues, cope with global challenges including climate change, make positive contributions to narrowing the North-South gap and rejecting bloc confrontation, and push for further development of France-China and Europe-China relations, he said.

Zhao noted that the China-France relationship has always been important for both countries throughout history, and it is crucial to make good use of the 60th anniversary celebrations as an opportunity to strengthen political interactions between the two countries. 

The French government has always advocated that Europe's strategic autonomy and independence in their relationship with China is important for them, analysts said. While some major Western countries opt to blindly follow the US in pressuring China, it is time that France can demonstrate its rational great power characteristics through its actions, they said.

In the past few months, the warming of China-France relations has not only been reflected in high-level official exchanges. In the military and commercial fields, news of cooperation between the two sides has been frequent.

On Thursday, the Chinese and French militaries signed a framework document on the establishment of a maritime and aerial cooperation and dialogue mechanism between the two militaries' theaters, to help further deepen mutual trust and cooperation between the two militaries and jointly safeguard regional security and stability.

In the meantime, France's Airbus is in talks with China over a potentially major aircraft order which could involve hundreds of jets, Reuters reported. 

During the Saturday call, the two sides also discussed business cooperation, having agreed to cooperate on the development of artificial intelligence, continue to strengthen coordination on tackling climate change, and further refine the successful practice of "from French farm to Chinese dinner table," so as to provide a good environment for enterprises of both sides to invest and do business in each other's countries, the Xinhua reported. 

Observers emphasized that maintaining a stable relationship between the two major powers is helpful in addressing international concerns in the current turbulent global situation, which was also part of the discussions on Saturday, when the two sides also coordinated on international and regional issues of common concern such as the Ukraine issue and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

After Brexit, the UK's influence in Europe has clearly declined, while Russia is currently being suppressed by the West, which makes China and France's communications more important in the international sphere, Zhao told the Global Times. 

"China and France always have a traditional and solid foundation for cooperation, and now it has a broader vision," he said. "The China-France relations can set an example for other European countries."