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  • China urges faster Covid-19 testing amid latest outbreak
    on October 26, 2021 at 8:38 am

    BEIJING - China is demanding faster and more accessible Covid-19 testing services in its latest effort to reinforce a zero-tolerance policy against the virus, even when cities have already scrambled to test millions in just a few days amid outbreaks. Frequent testing, and sometimes mass testing, is standard practice in China's containment of domestically transmitted outbreaks in the past year, but health authorities say testing services remain unsatisfactory in parts of China amid flare-ups. "Small clusters and sporadic infections have occurred in some areas, exposing problems such as the unreasonable locations of nucleic acid testing agencies, inconvenient services and delays in the returning of results," state media reported on Tuesday, citing the National Health Commission (NHC). China is facing a new wave of infections involving nearly 200 locally transmitted symptomatic cases in 12 provincial areas since Oct 17. Many of the infected were from remote parts of northwest China without as much health resources as major cities. […]

  • Rise in human bird flu cases in China shows risk of fast-changing variants: Health experts
    on October 26, 2021 at 6:10 am

    BEIJING - A jump in the number of people in China infected with bird flu this year is raising concern among experts, who say a previously circulating strain appears to have changed and may be more infectious to people. China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza in 2021 to the World Health Organisation (WHO), compared with only five last year, it said. Though the numbers are much lower than the hundreds infected with H7N9 in 2017, the infections are serious, leaving many critically ill, and at least six dead. "The increase in human cases in China this year is of concern. It's a virus that causes high mortality," said Thijs Kuiken, professor of comparative pathology at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam. Most of the cases had come into contact with poultry, and there are no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission, said the WHO, which highlighted the rise in cases in a statement on Oct 4. It said further investigation was "urgently" required to understand the risk and the increase in spill over to people. […]

  • Amnesty to shut Hong Kong offices given national security law risks
    on October 26, 2021 at 3:24 am

    HONG KONG - International rights group Amnesty International said on Monday (Oct 25) it would close its Hong Kong offices because a China-imposed security law had now made it "effectively impossible" for rights groups to work freely without the risk of reprisals. Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, the chair of Amnesty's international board, said in a statement that the two offices would close by year-end, noting an intensification of a crackdown that has forced at least 35 groups to disband under the law this year. "This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organisations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals," said Singh Bais. "The environment of repression and perpetual uncertainty created by the national security law makes it impossible to know what activities might lead to criminal sanctions," she added. […]

  • Beijing Games competitors to face daily Covid-19 tests, remain in closed loop
    on October 26, 2021 at 3:11 am

    BEIJING - Competitors in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be subject to daily tests for Covid-19 and will be required to remain in a closed loop that includes transport between the various games venues, organisers said in guidelines released on Monday (Oct 25). China, where measures to tackle Covid-19 are among the world's strictest, has already said international spectators will not be allowed to enter the country for the Games which will run from Feb 4 to Feb 20. China has all-but shut its borders to international travellers, with the number of international flights drastically reduced from pre-Covid levels, and games organisers said on Monday that domestic and foreign airlines will be encouraged to operate temporary flights available only to participants. Games participants will need to be tested for Covid-19 before arrival, and athletes and team officials must be vaccinated to avoid 21 days in quarantine, with some exceptions for medical reasons granted on a case-by-case basis. […]

  • Blogger in China accused of inventing poor farm boy to build following
    by Alice Yan on October 26, 2021 at 2:09 am

    A man in China is being questioned by police over a video allegedly showing a young boy being forced to work for neighbours to earn money to take care of his siblings after their parents died. The video, uploaded by a man surnamed Lu over the weekend, shows the boy standing in front of a run-down shack and received more than 100,000 likes and 35,000 comments, the Sichuan Daily reported. At the end of the video, Lu says he donated some shoes, clothes and study items to the boy, saying “what uncle can do is just this”. The government of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, southwestern China, said the footage is groundless, accusing the man of making the video to win public sympathy and attract traffic to his video. Lu was told to delete the video immediately and make a public apology, the report said. […]

  • Why China's Covid-19 anti-vaxxers are happy to take their chances
    by Zhuang Pinghui on October 26, 2021 at 1:51 am

    Jessica Xu does not plan to take a Covid-19 vaccine and has advised her parents not to either, because she still has doubts about them. "It took about a year to develop the Covid-19 vaccines, when usually it takes years, and people have been taking them for less than a year," said 40-year-old Xu, a travel agent in Beijing who specialises in overseas medical trips. "I feel I need more time and evidence to show the vaccines are safe and effective for me to take it." After an initially unenthusiastic public response to the availability of jabs in China, the country's vaccine roll-out gathered pace significantly over the summer amid a major push from the authorities, increased production capacity and the urgency added by a handful of fresh outbreaks. As of Sunday (Oct 24), more than 75 per cent of the population were fully inoculated, according to official data. But the uptake has slowed from 24 million doses a day at its peak to less than two million. As booster shots are given to those who were inoculated at least six months previously, some vaccine doubters remain determined not to take the jabs at all. […]

  • President Xi Jinping marks China's 50th anniversary at UN
    on October 26, 2021 at 1:20 am

    Taiwan lost its seat at the UN after China gained membership in 1971. […]

  • Adventurous Italian pilot flying high
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    It was nearly midnight when Diego Benedetto, an Italian pilot working with China Eastern, flew back to Wuhan from Beijing at the end of a busy week. […]

  • Ban lauds China’s contributions to UN
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    “China has made substantial contributions to realizing the ideals of the United Nations,” former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “The restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s […]

  • Mapping path to carbon neutrality
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Chinese authorities have unveiled a guiding document to achieve carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals under the new development philosophy, laying out key specific targets and measures for the coming […]

  • Buildings of China star in HK show
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    An exhibition highlighting the long history of Chinese architecture and the great achievements of Chinese construction in the new era was unveiled yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition […]

  • Kids boost demand for sci-fi
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    China’s push for technological innovation has been accompanied by a widespread fascination with science fiction in recent years, and now the children’s sci-fi industry is booming. […]

  • Beijing steps up COVID curbs as Games nears
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    CHINA’S latest COVID-19 outbreak has forced Beijing to delay its annual marathon race and step up other curbs, as the sprawling city and neighboring Hebei Province go into high gear in their preparations […]

  • Xi: China will stay true to UN ideals
    on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Fifty years ago, on October 25, the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China was restored in the United Nations, marking a milestone event in the history of the international organization. […]

  • China will uphold world peace, Xi says on anniversary of return to UN
    on October 25, 2021 at 10:29 am

    BEIJING - President Xi Jinping vowed on Monday (Oct 25) that China would always uphold world peace and international rules, amid concerns expressed by the United States and other countries over its increasing assertiveness globally. The comments come after Taiwan said this month that military tension with China was at its worst in more than 40 years, amid mounting worries that the giant neighbour might try to take back by military force the self-ruled island it claims as its own. In a speech marking the 50th anniversary of China's return to the United Nations, Xi said it would always be the "builder of world peace" and a "protector of international order," state news agency Xinhua reported. "China resolutely opposes all forms of hegemony and power politics, unilateralism and protectionism," Xi said, calling for greater global co-operation on issues such as regional conflicts, terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity. […]

  • Hong Kong's zero-Covid policy undermining financial hub status: Industry group
    on October 25, 2021 at 10:15 am

    HONG KONG - A financial industry group warned on Monday (Oct 25) that Hong Kong's zero-Covid policy and strict quarantine requirements for international travellers threatens to undermine the city's status as a financial hub. The Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (Asifma) said a survey of members, including some of the world's largest banks and asset managers, showed 48 per cent were contemplating moving staff or functions away from Hong Kong due to operational challenges, which included uncertainty regarding when and how travel and quarantine restrictions will be lifted. Hong Kong has some of the most stringent travel restrictions in the world and is virtually Covid-19 free, however unlike regional rival Singapore, which is slowly re-opening its borders, the Chinese-ruled city has no public plan for opening up to international travellers. Local leaders say their focus is removing restrictions on travel from Hong Kong to mainland China, which also has strict entry restrictions. At present travellers from Hong Kong to the mainland must still undergo quarantine. […]

  • 1,300 years later, scientists paint the picture of a murder and a cover-up in China
    by Kevin McSpadden on October 25, 2021 at 5:50 am

    He will not get the justice he deserved, but, thanks to new research from a team of scientists, we can now piece together the story of a man who was probably murdered 1,300 years ago in northwest China. Furthermore, in investigating the case, scientists suggested the killer or killers tried to cover their tracks by “hiding a leaf in a forest”, or, to be more accurate, hiding the body in a graveyard to avoid detection. In a report published in October in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences the team of scientists detailed how they were able to ascertain a series of events from 1,300 years ago. The tomb The skeleton was discovered separated from the original inhabitants of the tomb. PHOTO: Wang QianThe final resting place of the victim was a tomb in Shiyanzi cemetery, in the northwest autonomous region of Ningxia, which contained 10 other tombs. […]

  • Hong Kong and Singapore still attractive to expats despite exodus
    by Kok Xinghui, Dewey Sim on October 25, 2021 at 5:23 am

    Even as an exodus of Hong Kong ’s expat community continues, driven in part by the harsh Covid-19 quarantine rules and also political concerns, French national Marc says he is staying put. The 21-day isolation period which he served in January after returning from France was a “burden”, he said, but Hong Kong remained attractive. He moved to the city three years ago as it was multicultural and hyper-connected with the world, he said, and that has not changed. “I love Hong Kong. I can see myself staying here for a few more years,” said Marc, who wished to be known only by his first name due to the sensitive nature of the topic. “My view is that the pandemic is not here to last, so I can live with it.” Marc, though, is taking the long-term view. In contrast, those involved in executive hiring say skilled workers have grown increasingly weary of continued, harsh Covid-19 restrictions in Hong Kong and Singapore , as compared to the West, where there are virtually no curbs. Paired with a perceived rise in xenophobia in the Asian hubs, these workers have left for what they see as greener pastures. […]

  • China postpones Beijing marathon due to Covid surge
    on October 25, 2021 at 3:31 am

    Around 30,000 people were expected to take part in the marathon on October 31. […]

  • How China’s past shapes Xi's thinking - and his view of the world
    on October 24, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Heightened tensions with Taiwan has the world wondering where President Xi Jinping sees China on the world stage. […]

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