Zhang began experimenting with elms to make his tables

and chairs. “The first time I chose elms, but in the end I failed.”

He began to use peach trees in 2007, knitting four peach branches t

ogether and putting iron molds on them. Depending on the growth of the br

anches, the trees were shaped each year until they grew into the shapes of a table and chair.

“It took almost 10 years to grow into finished products. Now there are about 800 tables and chairs,” Zhang said, add

ing that once the products are grown, they are then cut, peeled, dried, and polished to be ready for sale.

Zhang took his first set of four peach tree chairs and a round table to the China Impo

rt and Export Fair (Canton Fair) in 2016, catching the attention of several merchants who offered to buy the set.

Zhang was not willing to sell just yet as the set were just sam

ples. The fair strengthened his confidence however, which has continued to pay off.


While speaking to some national political advisers, many

told me that improving innovation capabilities to drive develop

ment and deepen institutional reform, and using science to help build a moderately pr

osperous society in all respects are expected to remain priorities during their discussions at the two sessions.

Last year, China began pilot programs that aim to streamline the administration of scientific aff

airs, promote innovation and efficiency, and grant more autonomy to science workers. The Ministry of Sc

ience and Technology said in January that China will revamp its state key laboratory system.

Zhao Jindong, a CPPCC National Committee membe

r and a CAS academician, said these institutional reforms will have a profound impact on Chin

a’s scientific landscape, but how they will be implemented is still being formulated, and their effects remain to be seen.


Research: Nation set to invest heavily in 5G networkns in a strin

hina is forecast to spend 900 billion yuan ($134 billion) to 1.5 trillion yuan on 5G network construction fro

m 2020 to 2025, as the nation strives to commercialize the superfast fifth-generation wireless tech

nology, a think tank affiliated with the country’s top industry regulator said on Monday.

At the same time, China’s telecom carriers ar2019/03/05/wwwash001cn-2/to generate 1.9 trillion yuan in

revenue from 5G-related business, according to an article released by the China Academy of Information an

d Communications Technology, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

At the initial stage of building 5G networks, telecom carriers will first cover the mo

st populated regions and the 5G network construction can coordinate well with existing 4G networks, the article added.

In comparison, Chinese telecom operators spent 720 billion

yuan on 4G network construction from 2014 to 2018, said Zhang Chunfei, one of the three au

thors of the article, adding that the cost of building 5G base stations is higher than that of 4G.


If it had been completed, it would probably have been the

first modern aquarium in China. But construction was unfinished when the Qing monarc

hy fell, leaving abandoned stone architecture and iron frames, which can be seen by visitors today.

Cultural relic warehouses were added in the courtyard after 1925, when the Forbidden City became a public museum.

In-depth studies will follow the donation to uncover mysteries, because no original blueprint of the aquarium has been found.

According to Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, the Yanxi Go

ng area will be turned into an exhibition space displaying foreign cultural relics among for

mal royal collections, because the place reflects Sino-foreign cultural exchanges. It is expected to open in 2020.

About 10,000 cultural relics out of the 1.86 million artifacts being housed in the Palace Museum are of foreign origin. The mo

st important collection is 1,500 antique European clocks that were given as gifts or bought by Qing emperors.


Space should be a realm of collaborative endeavor: China Daily e

hina may still have a long way to go before it has the space capabilities depicted in the sci-fi

blockbuster The Wandering Earth. Yet it has undoubtedly made remarkable progress over the past decades.

And it is China’s consistent policy to undertake its space program only for scient

ific and technological progress, and to exploit space resources for peaceful purposes, a posi

tion that was again accentuated by Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program.

A member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese P

eople’s Political Consultative Conference, Wu said prior to the opening of the country’s top

political advisory body’s second session that China will gradually open data collected by the Chang’e 4 lunar p

robe to the world. He also said the country plans to launch a probe to orbit Mars next year.

More ambitiously, there are also reports that China hopes to o

perate a commercially viable solar space station by 2050 that could beam energy back to Ea

rth via microwaves or lasers, which scientists consider an effective way to combat climate change.


Yet collaboration between the two countries over the past

 several decades has already proved that their differences need not stand in the way of cooperation.

There have been ups and downs in bilateral relations over the past several decades as a result of how US politicians loo

k at China and at the way they believe the relationship should be handled. It seems that an increasing number of them now

believe that China should be considered a strategic threat to the United States.

That may be the reality. But another reality is that the more publicity the US media has give

n to presenting China as a threat to the US in certain areas and more US politicians are talking about su

ch a threat, the more it fosters an anti-China political atmosphere in Washington.

Such a political atmosphere may then grow to eclipse the substan

ce of bilateral relations — their economic complementarity and their mutual respo

nsibility to address not just their problems but also the common problems the entire world faces.


Online album promoting traditional Chinese folk music released

  On Jan 24, an album, titled China Music House-Kung Hei Fat Choi, was released online as the result of the project.

  Six classic Chinese folk music pieces, including Bai Niao Chao Feng (Birds Paying Homage t

o the Phoenix), which features the traditional Chinese musical instrument, the suona, have been ada

pted and performed by Chinese musicians, including suona player Chen Baoli and erhu player Guo Gan.

  Meanwhile, Lu Zhongqiang, the founder of 13 Month Cu

ltural Communication, says that besides Chinese musicians, more than 30 mus

icians from about 10 countries, including Poland, France and Cuba, have worked on the album.

  In the past 10 days, the album has been listened to nearly 10 million times.

  According to Fan Guobin, the general manager of China Record Grou

p, the project will expand into outdoor music festivals and concerts in 2019.


What I didn’t know about China was enough to fill a festival

What did I know about Chinese culture or festivals

before moving to Beijing? Growing up in the United States, it was m

ostly stereotypical nonsense seen in reruns of old Charlie Chan movies on TV.

As an adult, I have really enjoyed watching Jackie Chan kick the living daylights out of the bad guys i

n the world, but there hasn’t been much exposure to genuine Chinese experiences, especially in my adopted hometown of Birmin

gham, Alabama. There, in the heart of the South, Chinese are few compared with the majority white and Af

rican-American population. The total Asian population was 2,152 last year, according to the US Census Bureau.

So when I heard that Birmingham was holding a Spring Festival party this year with Beijing’s Cha

oyang district, its sister city, I was beyond thrilled. Until now, I didn’t know that the “sisters” would kick off

the holiday in Alabama’s largest city with the annual Birmingham Chinese New Year Gala.


Schwab, a Taiwan native, had hosted similar events in other cities

in the US where she lived before moving to Birmingham 13 years ago. When she arrived, different groups of Asians were celebrating

the holiday on their own, and she thought it would be great to share New Year’s traditions with the wider community.

“We wanted to share with Americans,” Schwab said. “I feel our heritage is something we need to tell others about.”

At the first gala in 2006, “we Chinese came together” and organized it wi

th help from a primary corporate sponsor, Alabama Power Co, along with the Bir

mingham mayor’s office, the public library and other city departments, which pitched in and have been involved eve

r since, Schwab said. Her employer, Alabama Power, appointed Schwab as its community liaison to the gala.

Other corporate sponsors, such as Honda and Regions Bank (major business playe

rs in Alabama), and many small businesses and individuals have added their support over the years.


uring this time, the nonprofit Birmingham Chinese Festi

val Association was formed. Its main mission, Schwab said, is twofold: To foster amicable rela

tions within the Chinese community in the Birmingham area; and to foster good relations bet

ween the local ethnic Chinese population and the Birmingham community.

It also wants Chinese children growing up in Birmingham to learn more

about their heritage. In addition to the children of the Chinese community, this year’s gues

ts included a number of Alabama families that have adopted children from Chinese orphanages.

I think it would be wonderful if Chaoyang were to hold a reciprocal annual gala so th

at more Chinese could experience the very best Alabama has to offer, complete with

pork barbecue, cornbread and friendly Southern hospitality. I’ll bring the pecan pie.