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The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it is a “high-probability event” that the country will see a bumper grain harvest in 2020 as ample reserves and stable agricultural production ensure self-sufficiency amid the novel coronavirus disease pandemic.“China has seen a pretty long streak of bumper years, with inventories and reserves abundant and grain price consistently stable,” said MOC official Wang Bin.China, the world’s top food producer and consumer saw its grain output reach a record high of 664 million tons last year, the 16th bumper year in a row, he said.“By the end of last year, the country had inventories of more than 280 million tons of wheat, corn and rice, which will enable complete self-sufficiency as the average annual consumption of grain hovers above 200 million tons,” he said. “The international market’s impact on the country’s grain supply is minimal.”The country’s grain imports are mainly fodder grains such as soybeans, with imported rice and wheat accounting for only 1 percent and 2 percent of the total domestic consumption, respectively, Wang said.‘No need to worry’“Even zero imports will not lead to a shortage of grain supply in China,” he said. “Consumers do not need to worry about the shortage or price spike of grains. They do not need to buy in bulk or hoard food at home.”China’s grain crops have three phases: early rice, summer grain and autumn production. Autumn grain crops, which include corn and middle- and late-season rice, account for the bulk of the grain production.An analysis by the country’s agriculture ministry points that greater early rice acreage and yield, a bumper summer grain harvest and well-planned purchases of autumn grain this year, all shows a generally sound trend of the country’s grain production this year, Wang said.“Wholesale and retail markets around the country have enough rice, flour and edible oil, and prices remain stable,” Wang said. “Grain production and processing enterprises are resuming production with sound progress, and the sector’s production is sufficient.”The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many countries to throttle the outflow of grains. Kyrgyzstan, for example, imposed a temporary ban on the export of certain types of food products and essential goods over COVID-19 concerns. The ban includes wheat, flour, vegetable oil and rice.“Export bans by some countries were imposed mainly to prioritize domestic food needs and we do not expect the majority of food exporters to follow suit,” Wang said.China has already taken multi-pronged measures to ensure stable spring farming. A special guideline on coordinating the virus control measures with spring farming preparation was issued in early March to ensure the agricultural production.All provincial-level regions should keep their sown areas and grain output stable, on par with that registered last year. And efforts will be made to fully implement support policies to motivate farmers to secure a bumper harvest, said the guideline issued by the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on the prevention and control of the outbreak.
a NIGERIAN who tested positive for the novel coronavirus allegedly attacked a nurse as he tried to force his way out of a hospital in Guangzhou has been put under police guard.The 47-year-old, Okonkwonwoye Chika Patrick, will be handled by police according to China’s immigration regulations and criminal law after his treatment is over and he is cleared of the virus, police in Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong Province said yesterday.Police received a report at 7:28am on Wednesday that the patient violently refused to take a blood test. He allegedly pushed a nurse to the ground, beat her and bit her face after she tried to stop him from walking out of the isolation ward where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the Guangzhou No. 8 Hospital.The nurse, surnamed Wang, suffered minor injuries to her face, neck and waist, police said.The Nigerian entered Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on March 20 and tested positive for the virus.Police have tightened security at the hospital.Separately, three foreigners yesterday apologized for their improper behavior after video of them cutting in a coronavirus testing line and shouting abuse in Qingdao, Shandong Province, sparked fury among Chinese netizens.The incident happened at a testing site in Qingdao’s Laoshan District on April 1 and as the footage circulated online showed, one of the foreigners even shouted “Chinese get out!” when locals tried to stop them queue-jumping.Public security officials in Laoshan quickly launched an investigation after the video sparked fury online. They criticized and educated the three foreigners involved yesterday, warning them to strictly abide by Chinese law and follow regulations on the prevention and control of the epidemic.The foreigners apologized to the public for their improper words and behavior and also wrote an apology letter.The local health authority had apologized on Weibo on Wednesday over the incident, and said it would strengthen its management and take measures to keep lines in order.The local information office also responded to the incident on Weibo yesterday, saying the relevant department was investigating the case.It said all Chinese and foreigners would be treated and dealt with equally.
China will aim to stabilize new car sales, loosen purchase restrictions in certain cities and invigorate the used-car market in a bid to unleash the consumption potential for cars, an official said yesterday.As a pillar of the national economy, the auto industry plays a crucial role in boosting domestic consumption and facilitating consumption upgrades, Wang Bin, deputy director of the Department of Market Operation and Consumption Promotion of the Ministry of Commerce told reporters.Car sales accounted for 9.6 percent of total retail sales in 2019.Tax revenue and employment in the auto and related industries made up 10 percent of the country’s total, he said.Due to multiple factors, China’s car sales have fallen for two consecutive years.Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, sales plunged 42 percent year on year during the first two months of this year.To prop up the market, the government recently announced a slew of measures to boost demand.A State Council executive meeting on Tuesday decided to extend subsidies and tax exemptions for new energy vehicle purchases by another two years, which were set to expire at the end of this year.Value-added tax on the sale of old vehicles by second-hand vehicle dealers will be cut to 0.5 percent from May 1 to the end of 2023. Liu Changyu, official with the Department of Foreign Trade of the MOC, said the pandemic overseas inevitably affected the country’s auto trade and supply chains.China will strengthen international cooperation to maintain the stability of the global automobile industrial chains and supply chains, Liu said.
China’s forest and grassland fire control command office dispatched six groups to inspect local fire prevention work, especially during the upcoming Qingming Festival.The inspection groups will travel to nine regions in the country, including Beijing, Guangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan and Shaanxi, the Ministry of Emergency Management said yesterday.They will check the fire prevention and control measures of local bureaus, the latest emergency plans, the staffing of firefighting teams and the preparation of firefighting materials.The ministry also stressed learning lessons from the heavy casualties in recent forest firefighting and improving forest and grassland fire safety.Nineteen people died in southwest China’s Sichuan Province while battling a forest fire earlier this week.Another forest fire broke out in southwestern Yunnan Province Tuesday and had been put out as of yesterday.Authorities demanded a focus on prominent risks of fires this season, while enhancing monitoring and early warning systems to prevent large forest fires.The traditional tomb-sweeping holiday, Qingming, which falls tomorrow this year, is a time for Chinese people to mourn the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. The tributes involve burning incense and joss paper.From 2010 to 2019, over 97 percent of fires were triggered by human activities, with a large share linked to sacrificial and agricultural activities, and mountain cover burning for afforestation, said the ministry.Experts said the dry conditions, large fuel load and flammable vegetation may also lead to more frequent fires this season.On Wednesday, China issued a red alert for forest fires, warning of “extremely high” fire risks for the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan, and an orange alert for Beijing and the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi.
Benefiting from environmental protection, Yucun Village in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province has found the secret to sustainable prosperity.About 15 years ago, it was hard to imagine that the village could now have a beautiful country road with flowers lining either side, become a national tourist attraction and attract hundreds of thousands of tourists.The village achieved rapid development by running a cement factory and mining industries but suffered from severe pollution.“We hesitated on whether or not to shut down the factory,” said Jiang Zhihua, a villager who worked at the plant. “Although it brought income to almost every household in the village, we all lived in a hostile environment where dust hovered in the air and some villagers even had pneumoconiosis.”The village decided to focus on environmental protection and choose a pace of sustainable development and has undergone unprecedented changes since then.It shut down mining and other industries that caused pollution and started to develop tourism. In 2018, it was listed as a 4A class tourist attraction, the second-best rating on the country’s five-level system.No garbage or trash cans can be seen from the road in the village. “The village has practiced garbage classification, and household garbage is collected and transported by designated personnel regularly,” said Hu Bin, a villager in Yucun.“More than 800,000 tourists visit our village each year,” said Jiang. “The beautiful environment has brought us wealth.” Tourism has become a pillar of the village, which has 280 households and 1,050 villagers.Pan Chunlin was a tractor driver working for a stone mine in the village. He opened the village’s first travel agency after the mine was closed. “People in cities love our vegetables such as bamboo shoots,” he said.From 2005 to 2019, the village’s collective economic income rose from 910,000 yuan (US$128,270) to 5.21 million yuan, and the per capita net income increased from 8,732 yuan to 49,598 yuan.“We respect nature. And nature will never mistreat us,” said a villager surnamed Gu.
Police in southwest China’s Yunnan Province have seized over 43 kilograms of methamphetamine, local authorities said yesterday.About 3am on March 28, police in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan saw a suspect escaping from a white van on a road. Police arrested the suspect and seized 43.975 kg of methamphetamine from eight carved wooden elephants in the van.The suspect, surnamed Yan, confessed that he became acquainted with a man in Laos who had promised to give him 300,000 baht (US$9,000) if he transported the wooden elephants to a designated place. Further investigation is underway.Yunnan is a major front in China’s battle against drug crime, as it borders the Golden Triangle covering parts of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, known for its rampant drug production and trafficking.
The Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in central China’s Hunan Province has introduced two intelligent robots to disinfect the outpatient hall amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.The use of the robots can greatly reduce the workload of the hospital staff and cut the risk of cross-infection, said Meng Sha, deputy director of the hospital’s logistics distribution center. The robots use three types of disinfection methods: ultraviolet rays, ultra-dry fog hydrogen peroxide and plasma air filtration. The auto-navigation robots can be remotely controlled.In the evening, after all medical staff and patients leave, the robots start patrolling according to a preset route, using nine ultraviolet lamps for disinfection.In the day, the robots use the other two methods that can be done while people are around.“The robots have relieved the pressure of our work. After completing the work, they find their ways to the charging pile to charge automatically,” said Huang Weiping, head nurse of the outpatient department.
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