China issues plan and preliminary results of anti-dumping probe into EU pork

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issued notice on Thursday, saying that investigating authorities will use a sampling method in anti-dumping probe into EU pork, while providing further details on the sampling plan and the preliminary sampling results for anti-dumping case involving pork and pig by-products from Europe.

Given the large number of EU exporters and Chinese domestic producers involved, a full investigation would overburden investigating authorities and prevent the timely completion of the investigation, according to a ministry notice. Therefore, in accordance with the relevant provisions of corresponding domestic rules and regulations, the investigative authority decided on the sampling approach.

Companies are selected for sampling based on their export quantities to China during the dumping investigation period, with the top three exporters in terms of export quantity selected, the notice read.

Based on initial sampling, the investigation identified the top three EU exporters by export volume during the investigation period. These exporters are Danish Crown A/S, VION Boxtel B.V., and LITERA MEAT S.L.U., have been instructed to complete a questionnaire within a specified timeframe.

The announcement came as the European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU, announced to impose additional tariffs of up to 38.1 percent on electric vehicles (EVs) imported from China starting in July, which prompted harsh criticism from Chinese officials as well as industry and business groups. Chinese officials have repeatedly vowed to take all necessary measures to defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

In a notice issued on June 17, MOFCOM said that the China Animal Agriculture Association on June 6, on behalf of the Chinese pork and pig by-products industry, submitted an application for an anti-dumping investigation into certain pork and pig by-products originating from the EU. After a review of the application, MOFCOM determined that it meets the requirements for launching an investigation in accordance with the relevant laws.

The probe will examine certain pork and pig by-products originating from the EU from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.

It will also investigate any damage done to domestic Chinese industry from between January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2023.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the investigation agency selected the top 20 enterprises in terms of pig slaughter volume in the country in 2023 as sampling enterprises.

The total slaughter volume of the 24 sampled enterprises in 2023 was approximately 44.78 million pigs, accounting for 6.16 percent of the national pig slaughter volume last year.

The probe is expected to end before June 17, 2025, but may be extended for half a year under special circumstances.

"Starting from 2023, the EU's exports of certain pork and pig by-products to China have increased significantly, making it necessary to investigate pricing factors in accordance with WTO rules," Cui Hongjian, a professor from the Academy of Regional and Global Governance under Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times in a previous interview.

Chinese analysts said that the MOFCOM probe was launched at the request of the domestic industry in line with WTO rules, in stark contrast to the actions of the European Commission’s investigation, which was launched without an application from relevant domestic industry groups in the EU, while the investigation process was unfair, non-objective and in potential violation of WTO rules.

20th CPC Central Committee starts third plenary session

The 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) started its third plenary session in Beijing on Monday morning.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a work report on behalf of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and expounded on a draft decision of the CPC Central Committee on further comprehensively deepening reform and advancing Chinese modernization.

Manila urged to stop abusing arbitration, disrupting South China Sea

Despite the fallacies of the illegal South China Sea Arbitration Award released on July 12, 2016 being exposed, the Philippines continues to ignore the truth and instead celebrated the so-called "8th anniversary"of the illegal arbitration award with Western allies on Friday. Analysts called it a "political show" that is simply a way to perpetuate the "China threat" rhetoric and manipulate international perception in order to constrain China on the South China Sea issue.

Local media reported that the Philippines hosted an alleged "biggest-ever West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) conference" in Manila on July 12, which was attended by key military leaders, ambassadors and experts from the US, Australia, Canada, France, and Japan. 

The US and the EU have issued statements to express support for the illegal arbitral award, which violates China's sovereignty. 

In response to the statements, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said on Friday that the US selfishly refuses to accede to UNCLOS, and yet often lectures other countries on their implementation of UNCLOS. This is hypocrisy, double standard and selective application of international law. 

The US has gone back on its public commitments of not taking a position on sovereignty issues in the South China Sea. It encouraged the Philippines to launch the arbitration on the South China Sea, and blatantly released a statement to endorse the award. This is political manipulation aimed at using allies to destabilize the South China Sea and the region and advance the nefarious agenda of going after China, Lin said. 

With the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN members, the South China Sea has been generally stable. China will work with ASEAN members to keep the South China Sea peaceful and stable, and contribute to regional prosperity and development, the spokesperson said.  

Lin urged countries outside the region led by the US to earnestly respect these efforts, refrain from statements and actions that disrupt regional peace and stability, and stop being a troublemaker in the South China Sea. 

Experts are urging the Philippines to abandon the illusion of being a "winner" in the ruling and to stop relying on it to handle disputes. 

Scholars also stressed the importance of remaining vigilant against the Philippines potentially inviting additional external forces to meddle with the South China Sea issue, as this could heighten the risk of military conflicts.

Arbitration is a manipulated trap

Chinese institutes released a report on Thursday thoroughly outlining the fallacies of the South China Sea Arbitration Award and the damage it does to the international rule of law. It explains why the Philippines' claims are illegal, and why the arbitration award cannot be accepted.

The report pointed out that Nanhai Zhudao (South China Sea islands) are China's inherent territory, and that the Philippines' territorial claim over part of Nansha Qundao is groundless from the perspectives of both history and international law. 

Neither the international treaties that established the territorial boundaries of the Philippines nor the Philippine Constitution prior to 1997 included the Nansha Islands or Huangyan Island in the Philippine territory. For many years after the end of World War II, the US, an ally of the Philippines, recognized China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands in diplomatic correspondence, applications for surveys, and notification of navigational overflight plans. Maps and books published by the US during the same period all recognized China's sovereignty over these islands in the South China Sea.

"With a well-recorded history and hard evidence, the Arbitration Award cannot give legitimacy to the Philippines' illegal claims in the South China Sea. Rather, it exposes the rogue logic of the Philippines as a thief shouting 'stop the thief'," Ding Duo, a deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Law and Policy at the China Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times. 

Backed by the Arbitration Award and a small number of non-regional countries, the Philippines calls white black and confuses right and wrong. The US has incited the Philippines and even showed it how to escalate tensions step by step with China. This is the main reason behind the growing tensions in the South China Sea, said the scholar. 

The Philippines and the US held a high-profile "commemoration" of the Arbitration Award, precisely demonstrating that the South China Sea arbitration case is a trap manipulated by the US, initiated by the Philippines, and carried out in collusion with the arbitral tribunal in the Hague, he argued.

Ding said that fallacies in the arbitration ruling regarding the interpretation of treaties, determination of facts, and acceptance of evidence have been widely questioned and criticized, and its political manipulation is truly obvious. 

Introducing external risks and chaos

As more extraterritorial countries have increased their military activities in the South China Sea and intensified unilateral actions to consolidate their vested interests, concerns are rising that the Philippines is introducing more external risks into the region.

Japan and the Philippines signed a defense agreement on Monday that allows the deployment of Japanese forces for joint drills in the Philippines, according to media reports. Furthermore, it is evident from the first ever US-Japan-Philippines trilateral summit held in Washington in April that a new military confrontation bloc is forming. 

The alliance and military cooperation between the three countries are strengthening, bringing risks into the entire South China Sea region in the Western Pacific, Wu Shicun, the chairman of the Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance, told the Global Times. 

Meanwhile, the US has continued to strengthen its military activities on China's doorstep in the South China Sea and surrounding areas. A think tank report released in March revealed that the US heightened deployment of aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and bombers, holding intensified close-in reconnaissance operations, and holding joint exercises in 2023, which posed growing risks to China-US relations.

Following the US, Japan will become a new challenge and risk factor in the South China Sea. This will lower the threshold for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to enter the South China Sea and Philippine military bases, providing great convenience for Japan to provide weapons, equipment, and training support to the Philippines. There is now a higher possibility of a new arms race and small-scale conflicts in the region, Wu warned.

In less than two years, the current Philippine government has nearly dismantled the good practices established over recent years for managing maritime differences and properly handling the South China Sea issue between China and the Philippines. The bilateral relationship, which had gradually emerged from the shadow of the illegal South China Sea arbitration ruling, now appears to have reset and is even regressing, Wu said.

In a previous exclusive interview with the Global Times, former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte expressed regret over the current Philippine government's approach and policies on the South China Sea issue. He said he felt "very sad" about the loss of the peace during his administration, and called for both countries to resolve disputes through peaceful dialogue.

China has a growing capability, with rock solid resolve, to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea, Ding stressed. "The countermeasures against the Philippines and the costs it has borne fully demonstrate that expecting China to accept a unilateral ruling under comprehensive pressure on the South China Sea issue is a fantasy. The Philippines will end up with swallowing the bitter consequences," said Ding.

China's state security authorities release case of using campus loans to force student to steal national secrets

China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) released on Friday a case involving a foreign spy intelligence agency using campus loans to pressure and threaten a student borrower through high-interest loans, violent debt collection, and intimidation in order to steal national secrets from China.

According to a microfilm released by MSS, An Yong, a photography student at a prestigious university, fell into financial distress after spending a large amount of money on high-end equipment.

An then applied for a 20,000 yuan ($2,753) campus loan with a high interest rate, which he failed to repay. As graduation approached, the lender, Li Ming, demanded An to work part-time to repay the debt, but An didn't realize that Li and his accomplices are agents of a foreign spy intelligence agency.

An's father is a staff member of a key scientific research unit in China, and has access to documents and subjects involving state secrets. The agents' goal was to use the campus loan to coerce An to go to his father's unit and take photos of sensitive documents, and by threatening their future and reputation, blackmailed An and his father into cooperating with them to steal state secrets.

However, the documents that An photographed did not involve confidential substance. An's father eventually chose to call the national security hotline to report the incident.

An's father took the initiative to report the situation and cooperated with An to assist the national security authorities in thwarting the illegal plot of foreign spies to steal state secrets, avoiding irreparable and significant losses. The national security authorities seriously criticized and educated An and his father, and did not pursue criminal liability against them.

According to MSS, a person who commits the crime of espionage and surrenders or shows meritorious conduct may be mitigated, alleviated or exempted from punishment, and shall be rewarded if he or she shows significant meritorious conduct.

Three new energy storage power stations in Nanjing incorporated into the state grid for the first time

The State Grid Corporation of China recently completed the grid connection of GCL-Xin, Banqiao, and Datang energy storage power stations in Nanjing, located in East China's Jiangsu Province. These three new energy storage power stations on the side of the power grid can increase the short-term emergency peak capacity by 200,000 kilowatts for the Nanjing power grid, meeting the daily electricity demand of 50,000 households. This will also improve the new energy consumption capacity, save 64,000 tons of standard coal consumption, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 200,000 tons per year, learned the Global Times.

"The energy storage station will charge during the low load period, discharge to the grid during the peak period, and participate in grid interaction through grid frequency modulation and providing emergency backup power supply. This will not only promote peak load shifting and valley filling of the power grid, relieving power tension in local areas during peak periods of winter and summer electricity consumption, but also ensure the safe, stable, and green operation of the power system," said Deng Xing, the development department director of State Grid Nanjing Power Supply Company.

Banqiao Energy Storage Power Station is crucial for ensuring peak summer power supply for the Nanjing West Ring Network in 2024. It can store 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a single charge, meeting the daily electricity demand of 25,000 households in the West Ring network during peak periods.

GCL Energy Storage Power Station, Banqiao Energy Storage Power Station, and Datang Energy Storage Power Station are the first power grid side energy storage power stations in Jiangning district, Yuhuatai district, and Lishui district of Nanjing, respectively. They utilize a lithium iron phosphate battery system, with one 110-kilovolt booster station and two 220-kilovolt booster stations built.

The State Grid Nanjing Power Supply Company has provided "one to one" guidance and "housekeeper" service for enterprises, conducting numerous field surveys to understand the construction progress. Additionally, they have collaborated with the Power Dispatch and Control Center of the State Grid Jiangsu Electric Power Co., Ltd. to study and optimize energy storage charging and discharging strategies to maximize the role of energy storage in peak load shifting and valley filling.

In the future, the State Grid Nanjing Power Supply Company plans to continue optimizing the service process of energy storage projects, improving efficiency in all aspects, creating more new demonstration projects for energy storage, and aiding in the promotion of green and low-carbon transformation and the construction of a new power system, the company said.

China reports 754 million domestic passenger trips made in the first 7 days of the 8-day National Day & Moon Festival holidays, up 78.9% year-on-year

A total of 754 million domestic passenger trips were made in China in the first seven days of the 8-day National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival  holidays, a year-on-year increase of 78.9%. Holiday tourism generated 668.1 billion yuan ($92.80 billion), up 132.6% year-on-year, official data showed on Friday.

China's reusable experimental spacecraft successfully lands after 276 days in orbit

After 276 days in orbit, China's reusable experimental spacecraft landed at its planned site at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu Province on Monday, and Chinese space watchers said it was a milestone in China's efforts to develop a fully reusable space transportation system.

The success is an important breakthrough in China's research on reusable spacecraft technologies, which will provide more convenient and affordable round trips for the peaceful use of space, the Xinhua News Agency said on Monday.

China launched a reusable experimental spacecraft using its Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on August 5, 2022, to test reusable technologies and in-orbit service technologies to support the peaceful use of space, Xinhua previously reported. 

China tested the reusable experimental spacecraft in September 2020, and the spacecraft returned to the planned landing site after two days in orbit. The spacecraft was also launched with a Long March-2F carrier rocket.

Chinese authorities have disclosed few details about the craft's technology. So far, no images of the spacecraft or footage of its launch or landing have been disclosed.

Many space lovers compared it to the US Air Force's X-37B, an autonomous Boeing space plane that can remain in orbit for long periods before returning to Earth on its own, saying that the technology used in the experiment is "too advanced to show" on social media. 

The reusable spacecraft's technology has evidently matured, considering how much longer it can stay in orbit, Chinese space watchers noted on Sunday. 

Song Zhongping, a space expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that the reusability of such spacecraft would drastically reduce costs. More importantly, the longer orbiting time means that the spacecraft can perform more complicated missions such as changing trajectory in near-Earth orbit and sending various payloads into orbit. 

Judging from the rocket used in the launch, the Long March-2F carrier rocket - which is one of China's most advanced and reliable rockets for manned space flights - the reusable spacecraft may be used in future manned missions, said another space observer, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Given the payload launching capability of the Long March-2F, the spacecraft could weigh around 8 tons, which is very similar to the launch mass for the X-37B at around 5 tons, so that speculation about their similarity is not groundless, the observer said.

The latest test of the reusable spacecraft was the longest, most complicated, and most challenging so far. The record of 276 days in orbit even beat the first mission of the US' X-37B in 2010, which remained in orbit for 224 days, Huang Zhicheng, a space industry expert, told the Global Times on Monday. 

At the China Space Conference opening event to mark the April 24 Space of China this year in Hefei, East China's Anhui Province, Wang Wei, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of the research and development department of the state-owned aerospace giant China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, listed the 10 major scientific and technology problems for the 2023 space development.

Among them is the health monitoring of the power system for the reusable vehicle and an assessment of its service life.

Huang said that one of the many advantages of the reusable spacecraft is that it can land horizontally, which is more comfortable and safer for the crew. Once it's mature, such technology could be applied to suborbital or space tourism, and even super fast point-to-point transportation for people or cargo on Earth.

The US often hypes and smears China's technology breakthroughs as militarization because it sees all breakthroughs by non-Western countries as a threat. This is meant to maintain a technology monopoly, which is unfair to other countries and serves US hegemony, Chinese experts said.

At an altitude of 4,526 meters, China’s first ‘zero-altitude astronomical observation station’ successfully handed over

The high-altitude pressurized liable building independently developed and built by China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co. Ltd, China's first "zero-altitude astronomical observation station," held a handover ceremony in the Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and was officially delivered for demonstration application, authorities confirmed recently.

"Zero-altitude building" refers to the use of pressurization and other technologies to adjust the indoor key human settlement environment indicators to the low altitude level in the plain area, so that the human body feels more comfortable. When used, the altitude inside the building can be set according to the needs of personnel and reduce the impact of altitude sickness.

The observatory is located near Muztagh Ata, the third highest peak of the West Kunlun Mountains in Akto county. It sits at an altitude of 4,526 meters, with a total construction area of approximately 150 square meters, capable of supporting scientific research, residential, and office functions.

The observation station is a scientific research pressurized building specially designed for plateau astronomical work in response to the needs of its cooperative organization, Beijing Normal University. It can increase the overall atmospheric pressure inside the building to one standard atmospheric pressure while solving the problems of low pressure and oxygen deficiency in the plateau.

The facility provides a comfortable and healthy environment for astronomers to work and live in high-altitude areas, lowering the risk of physiological damage caused by the plateau's extreme environment.

It is expected to support a new phase of rapid development in China's astronomical scientific research work, according to media reports.

China’s self-developed monkeypox vaccine to enter clinical trial stage soon: experts

China saw a fourfold surge of monkeypox cases in July compared to the previous month, but experts reached by the Global Times noted on Friday noted that China's home-developed vaccine will soon enter the clinical trial stage. 

They also said that although in most cases people heal on their own, newborns, children, pregnant women and people with immunodeficiency may have a higher risk of developing severe or even fatal conditions. 

Due to the mild symptoms caused by the monkeypox virus and the lack of large-scale global outbreaks, research into monkeypox vaccines has been relatively limited worldwide, the experts explained.

Meanwhile, as monkeypox and smallpox viruses have extensive serological cross-reactivity, the existing vaccines used for monkeypox prevention are all smallpox vaccines. 

Retrospective studies conducted by the World Health Organization have shown that smallpox vaccine administration has an efficacy of 85 percent in preventing monkeypox. Currently, there are three smallpox vaccines approved for monkeypox prevention in Europe, the US, and Japan, Su Jinfeng, a senior biomedical engineer, told the Global Times. 

Su called for accelerated development of new vaccines to protect those at greater risk and to prevent potential outbreaks. However, the expert admitted that the development of vaccines faces several challenges due to the limited number of monkeypox cases in the country and the dispersed population, which makes it difficult to conduct large-scale clinical trials to assess a vaccine's efficacy. 

"Currently, the US, Japan and European countries have considered this type of vaccine as a reserve drug. China should also accelerate the development of a new smallpox/monkeypox vaccine, not only to prevent the spread of monkeypox outbreaks but also to protect national security and public health from threats of smallpox virus being used as a bioweapon," a vaccine expert who preferred not to be named told the Global Times. 

Given the large genome and complex structure of the monkeypox virus, as well as limited understanding of protective antigens, the development of a protective antigen-based vaccine is challenging, the expert said. Therefore, a better strategy would be to use attenuated live vaccine technology, building upon the existing smallpox vaccine, to develop a safer vaccine in human cells.

As of April 2023, preclinical research on monkeypox vaccines has been conducted primarily by the US and China, said Su. Previous reports have indicated that a total of 14 clinical studies on monkeypox vaccines have been conducted globally.

Currently, three types of vaccine have been approved for the prevention of monkeypox, from Denmark, the US, and Japan. 

Research institutions in China have already started developing monkeypox vaccines, mainly focusing on replication-defective monkeypox attenuated live vaccines and monkeypox mRNA vaccines.

In July, the replication-deficient monkeypox vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm) has passed the clinical trial application with the National Medical Products Administration, making it the earliest domestically developed monkeypox vaccine to enter the clinical research stage in China.

The Chinese mainland has reported 491 new monkeypox cases across 23 provincial-level regions, the country's Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Wednesday, increasing over fourfold compared to last month. 

According to epidemiological reviews, all cases are male with 96.3 percent of them identified as men who had sex with other men, and the risk of transmission through other contact methods is low.

The majority of cases exhibited typical clinical symptoms including fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, with no severe or fatal cases.