All Eyes on Beijing, Applause and Awe
From August 29 to September 2, a series of events on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-africa Cooperation presented a panoramic picture of Beijing as both an ancient capital and a modern metropolis to domestic and overseas journalists.
The central axis is beautiful. Beijing is wonderful and I like China!”
“I have to come back to China with my parents and future other half to explore more places.”
“The cooperation between China and African countries has been going on for decades. The forum is a good exchange platform that summarises past experiences and seeks further cooperation.”
“Big changes are happening in China, which are admirable. I learned that the beauty of China lies not only in modern cities but also in great rural areas like what we have seen today.”
“Technology is developing fast in China. As the technological centre of China, Beijing has made great achievements in technological advancement and innovation. It is already in the same ranks with some advanced countries.”
“I saw so many products made with cutting-edge technology in Beijing. Other countries in the world, and especially African countries, can learn a lot from Beijing.”
From August 29 to September 2, the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Media Centre and the Information Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality jointly invited journalists that were registered with the media centre to engage in the City Interview series of events. A range of events were available, such as Beijing High-end Manufacturing, Getting to Know Charming Peking Opera, China High-speed Railway Construction, Beijing and Africa Hand in Hand, Enjoying Beijing Culture, Beijing Science and Technology Innovation, Beijing Cultural Innovation, Watching Chinese Acrobatics, Beautiful Villages in Beijing and Ancient Capital Townscapes.
These journalists learned about China's high-speed railway industry and its latest technological developments when they visited the Dispatching and Directing Centre of China Railway Corporation. In order to further understand traditional Chinese medicine culture and techniques, a visit was also made to the Tong Ren Tang museum. Tong Ren Tang is a time-honoured pharmacy in China. A trip to the Beijing New Airport construction site revealed how the Beijing Urban Construction Group actively participates in and supports local development in Africa. The journalists learned about new developments in science, cultural industry and high-end manufacturing at the demonstration centre at Zhongguancun Science Park, Beijing Startimes Group and the production lines of the Beijing BAIC Group. A joyful journey was taken to explore beautiful villages in Beijing as well. Cable cars brought people to an observation deck at the Mutianyu Great Wall section. People marveled at the stunning, endless mountains, lush forests and the beauty of the Great Wall. Beigou Village, at the foot of the Great Wall, is the first National Ecological Culture Village in Beijing. It has attracted many overseas investors that are involved with
real estate and business operations. The village is part of the International Culture Village of the Great Wall. Wachang, known as the Brickyard Retreat in English, is a hotel with some special features. It offers a view of the Great Wall from its rooms and courtyard. Reporters watched the film City of Immortality about the history of Beijing as the capital over the past 850 years at the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall's multimedia hall. Details about the Beijing Urban Master Plan (2016–2035) were explained, as was the city's strategic positioning involving functioning as four important centres. The journalists ascended Yongdingmen Tower and Jingshan Hill and got a good view of Beijing's Central Axis. They could feel the historical development of the capital city and witness its visionary development for the future. The journalists had a chance to go backstage at the Liyuan Theatre. They explored it with great interest. Actors and actresses were interviewed. They were asked how they prepare for Peking Opera performances. Laoshe Teahouse was visited. Beijing's unique big-bowl tea was served and local performances were enjoyed and an interesting China National Acrobatic Troupe show was savoured. Modern, cutting-edge agricultural methods were exhibited at Xiaotangshan's Agricultural Technology Demonstration Base.
The 2018 Beijing Summit of the FOCAC is a grand occasion helping a new era of China and various African countries cooperate and develop. FOCAC was held for the first time in 2000. It is now very mature after 18 years of development. China and various African countries have cooperated widely on the basis of inheriting a friendly cooperative spirit and follow principles of equality, mutual benefit, cooperation and winwin outcomes. Mutual political trust has been enhanced, economic and trade cooperation has deepened, and great achievements have been made in countries seeking independent development. The forum is at the fore of international cooperation with Africa. The 2018 Beijing Summit of the FOCAC is a critical meeting for China and a vast number of African countries. It allows them to exchange development ideas, explore ways to deepen cooperation, address challenges, achieve common development and create new methods of international relations.
The five-day series of events about Beijing presented a panoramic view of the capital city. In-depth interviews allowed journalists from the African countries to gain first-hand knowledge about China's development and the comprehensive development of Beijing. The journalists enjoyed what they saw, and they offered their praise. In China, and especially in Beijing, changes are happening every day, rural areas are being beautified and people's lives are becoming more harmonious and prosperous. The African journalists were impressed by the changes. They saw what the Chinese Dream is all about and how people are achieving it.
They looked forward to cooperating with China, seizing opportunities and realising their dreams.
Impressive High-end Manufacturing Industries
Three off-road vehicles roared through rugged roads, muddy waters and various obstacles. They ascended slopes, waded through water and emerged through stormy dust. These vehicles are the same models that appeared in the blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2. When these vehicles appeared, they were cheered by the journalists. “These off-road vehicles look great. I hope I can buy one in Sudan in the near future,” journalist Adim Abdalla Mohammed stated.
On the morning of Aug 29, the 2018 Beijing Summit of the FOCAC Media Centre and the Information Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality jointly hosted the first City Interview event. More than 60 journalists from over 30 countries and regions including the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria visited a factory that produces off-road vehicles owned by the BAIC Group in Shunyi District. The journalists were excited on the trip from the Jianguo Hotel to the plant. The plant is equipped with high-tech, highperformance and green technologies. The reporters boarded electric buses and visited the factory's two production lines. They observed the vehicles with great interest and witness welding and assembly processes. The reporters spoke with executives about the BAIC Group, overseas market operations and the company's operations involving Africa.
The journalists saw classic BAIC SUV models in an exhibition hall, including some used for military parades. They took a lot of pictures with their phones and cameras. Two new SUV models were especially interesting. One is a limited edition 2018 model consisting of only 2,018 total vehicles. Foreign media reporters took photos in the vehicles. Later, the reporters boarded electric vehicles and saw how the vehicles are produced and assembled. Around noon, the journalists saw a demonstration of the vehicles being driven and manoeuvring.
Adim Abdalla Mohammed enjoys offroad vehicles. He took a lot of pictures. He said that an increasing number of Chinese auto brands can be seen in Sudan. He said he was eager to explain BAIC'S manufacturing process to family, friends and readers. He hopes to see the vehicles in Sudan soon.
The African journalists showed great interest in the BAIC Group's high-end manufacturing abilities and its investment in Africa. According to Jiang Zili, who is a member of the standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and deputy general manager of the BAIC Group, in 2017, the group sold 2.51 million vehicles and had an operating income of 470.3 billion yuan, which achieved a rank of 124th on the Fortune Global 500 Enterprises list in 2018. Its electric vehicles have ranked number
one in China for five consecutive years in terms of sales. The “Beijing” line of off-road vehicles also rank first among domestic high-end, off-road vehicles. This off-road vehicle production base covers an area of about 540,000 square metres and has a production capacity of about 100,000 vehicles per year. It uses advanced automobile manufacturing equipment and technology. General assembly, welding and painting all occur here. The production base features a flexible production line and environmentally-friendly production methods. It features first-class national quality control. The group's headquarters are in Beijing. It has established nine autonomous passenger vehicle manufacturing bases, eight selfreliant commercial vehicle manufacturing bases, three new energy vehicle manufacturing bases, eight joint-venture branded passenger vehicle manufacturing bases and two general aviation industry bases. It has established research institutes in seven cities in five countries, built vehicle and KD (knock down) plants in more than 30 countries and regions, and exported products to more than 80 countries and regions.
One of the major automobile groups in China, the BAIC Group features a wide range of vehicles. The 2017 summer blockbuster Wolf Warriors 2 features offroad vehicles driven by the protagonist in Africa. They assist in the execution of heroic deeds. Some of the African journalists asked about the BAIC Group's investment in Africa. Joseph Sheku Margai, who works for the Concord Times in Sierra Leone, asked why the group chose to establish a plant in South Africa and what their strategy is.
Du Rong, deputy secretary of BAIC International's Party committee, explained that the automobile industry is currently a pillar industry in South Africa, accounting for 64 percent of all of the nation's industry. In 2016, BAIC South Africa Co. Ltd. was established. It features the BAIC Group's first overseas vehicle manufacturing plant, which is located in the Coega National Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), and has a total investment of approximately US$800 million. It is the biggest overseas greenfield investment project in South Africa in the past 40 years. There will be an annual production capacity of approximately 100,000 vehicles in the future. A strategic base for the BAIC Group covering the African and Oceanian markets, its comprehensive industrial base in South Africa will produce vehicles for countries that drive on both the left and the right sides of the road. The base will feature automotive R&D, manufacturing, leasing, finance and new energy. In the meantime, it will fully take advantage of preferential bilateral and multilateral agreements regarding international trade in South Africa, connect to the European and Oceanian markets, and become a regional operation management centre for the company's products, technology, management, talents and finance. Du mentioned: “The BAIC South Africa Plant is a model of our full-scale outreach to international markets and has laid a solid foundation for the highquality development of our international business. In July 2018, the first automobile produced by our South Africa Plant rolled off the assembly line. President Xi Jinping and President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed this great event. It is our gift dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa and also our practical contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative.”
There were also journalists from nonAfrican countries at the events, such as the United States, France and Brazil. Shelton Bandara from Sri Lanka very interested in Beijing's high-end manufacturing industry, stating: “I went to Tianjin yesterday, and I rushed back to Beijing today for this event. The off-road vehicles here look great. I will explain details in the newspaper I work for for our readers in my country.”
General Secretary Xi Jinping declared in the 19th CPC National Congress report: “We will work faster to make China a manufacturer of quality and develop advanced manufacturing and promote further integration of the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence with the real economy.” This statement has clearly defined the objective and direction of China's manufacturing industry. As one of the main industries of the national economy, the development of the manufacturing industry has a direct impact on that of other industries. It
strengthens the national economy and improves people's livelihoods and national defense. Many countries now value improvements in manufacturing industry, such as advanced manufacturing and high-end manufacturing.
Developing high-end manufacturing is an inherent requirement of Beijing's strategic positioning as the national centre for scientific and technological innovation. It is also part of Beijing's action plan as part of Made in China 2025. Developing the real economy and improving manufacturing ability is the “correct strategic choice,” as pointed out by General Secretary Xi Jinping. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is entering a new era, and so is Beijing's development. The high-end manufacturing industry has welcomed a period of strategic opportunities. In the meantime, it shall shoulder the responsibility of promoting reforms related to quality, efficiency and driving forces and comprehensive economic productivity in Beijing and China. There are overarching plans to develop and coordinate high-end manufacturing.
The BAIC Group is playing an important role in the high-end manufacturing industry in Beijing. It has established a complete industrial chain covering the R&D and manufacturing of passenger, commercial and new energy vehicles and parts; automotive service and trade; comprehensive travel service; finance and investment; and other sectors, growing its business to cover general aviation and other industries. It has become a major State-owned automotive group with the most complete range of products and most complete industrial chain in China's automotive industry and plays a leading role in the new energy vehicle market. It owns many well-known enterprises and R&D institutions, such as Beijing Automobile, Changhe Automobile, BAIC New Energy, BAIC Foton, Beijing Hyundai, Beijing Benz, Beijing General Aviation and the BAIC Research Institute.
Faced with the requirements of the new era and consumers' increasing demands for upgraded vehicles, the BAIC Group is a leader in industrial transformation. In light of the “innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared” development concept, the BAIC Group been deepening its strategic transformation. It is committed to developing high-end manufacturing and products and contributing to high-quality development. It values innovation, accelerating the full-scale use of new energy and is dedicated to the development and application of the new technologies of the Internet of Things (IOT) and Internet of Everything (IOE). It is also fulfilling its commitment to the country as the leading off-road vehicle producer.
The BAIC Group will adhere to sustainable development featuring scalable production, high-end products and manufacturing ability, a serviceoriented approach, international engagement and low carbon production. It will work harder to provide better service and become more innovative and to provide high-tech, high-quality, safe and environmentally-friendly travel solutions for society. It will strive to become a competitive automobile producer and service provider in the international market and be a leader in quality travel and transportation.
BAIC International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BAIC Group and is its main platform for the international market. Echoing the Belt and Road Initiative, BAIC International is executing the global business development of the BAIC Group and accelerating resource integration and its global layout. It focuses on regional industrial bases in South Africa, Mexico, Iran and Ruili, Yunnan Province, which is adjacent to Southeast Asia. Based on the export of parts and complete vehicles, it endeavours to realise an output covering the whole value chain. As of the end of 2017, its cumulative sales volume has exceeded 76,000 vehicles. It has established 169 sales networks in 46
countries, seven overseas companies and 22 KD projects. It has become the fastest growing export enterprise to emerge from China's self-reliant vehicle brands.
Guided by the quality development strategy for the BAIC Group 2.0, BAIC International is also beginning its transformation to its 2.0 version this year. It will adhere to the group's pace, emphasise the development of quality as a core value, promote export capacity and strive for a larger share in international markets. It emphasises the market, products, brands and efficiency. Through renovation in organisation, process and culture, it strives to realise growth in quality, efficiency and capability.
China’s Amazing Speed
On August 30, more than 50 Chinese and foreign journalists from more than 20 countries, such as the United States, Germany, France, Angola, Gambia and Ghana, explored the secrets of China Railway Corporation's Dispatching and Directing Centre and the Beijing Electric Multi Depot, learned about achievements related to the construction of China's high-speed railway and its research and development, and experienced the pulse of China's development and accelerated speed of Beijing's evolution in a real sense.
Exploring China’s High-speed Railway
Chinese and foreign journalists watched a video called China’s Railway at China Railway Corporation's Dispatching and Directing Centre. Deputy Director Zhang Caichun showed them around and explained the functions of the dispatching hall.
China Railway Corporation's Dispatching and Directing Centre is the brain of the railway network and can direct and schedule railway transportation in China in a comprehensive manner. It guarantees safe and punctual transportation. The centre covers an area of more than 2,500 square metres. It features a huge, electronic display covering an entire wall. This represents all of the railway lines and looks like a spider's web. The journalists thought it was interesting and took a lot of pictures.
A staff member instructed, “First, take a look at the real-time passenger train distribution map on the left." Everybody's attention fell upon this map and its dense green dots. The staff member continued: “The green dots represent the passenger trains running on time, and the yellow dots indicate those that are behind schedule. As you can see, almost all of them are green at the moment, which means we are approaching 100 percent punctuality.”
The screen changed and real-time monitoring images related to 20 or 30 different railway sections were presented, such as the world's first alpine high-speed railway, the Harbin–dalian Railway; the Lanzhou–urumqi High-speed Railway, which crosses a desert region and areas with heavy winds; the Island of Hainan Railway, the first island-looping highspeed railway in the world. Antonio Pereira Tchiloia, a journalist working for Angola National Television ( TPA), mentioned, “This place deserves to be the brain of China's railway dispatch and command!”
Later, Qian Zhengyu, Deputy Director of the Technological Information Department of China Railway, introduced China's high-speed railway system and the development of smart high-speed railway. In recent years, China's railway has developed rapidly. A series of significant achievements have gained the attention of the world. China now has the most modern railway network and the most advanced high-speed railway network in the world. Its railway leads the world with regard to possessing the most complete high-speed railway system, survey and design, equipment manufacturing, construction, traction power supply, operation and management, risk
prevention and control, and other key technologies, and remains a world leader in packaged technologies, including construction, equipment manufacturing, operation and management. The staff also explained: “As of the end of 2017, China's high-speed railway network consisting of "four north-south and four east-west” lines has been completed and put into operation ahead of schedule. The national high-speed railway runs 25,000 kilometres (km), accounting for 66.3 percent of that in the world. China has become a country with the most high-speed railway, the highest speeds, the most high-speed railway under construction, the most diverse operational scenarios and the railway that is the most adaptable to the natural environment in the world.”
Tchiloia exclaimed, “This railway system is amazing!” He mentioned that rail was important in the development of Angola, but there is no high-speed railway yet and that many rail lines and train stations were built by Chinese companies. He was excited to sign up for the event at the first opportunity to learn more about Chinese high-speed railway.
China's high-speed railway is characterised by smoothness and comfort, safety and reliability, powerful transport capacity, energy conservation and environment protection, convenience and efficiency. Staff members explained: “More than 3,000 China Railway High-speed (CRH) trains are put into operation every day, which is nearly 60 percent of railway passenger volume. Every day, more than 6 million passengers enjoy high-speed railway. Up to 70 percent of the tickets are now sold online. There have been more than 8 billion safe trips. Mobile payment, smart navigation, facial recognition, selfservice table reservation, Wi-fi at the stations and on the trains, bolt delivery services and service initiatives that continue to be launched help passengers have a sense of gain and happiness.”
Tchiloia stated: “In just a few years, the length of China's high-speed railway has exceeded half of that in the entire world. China's high-speed trains will also realise automated operation in no time.”
Benson Afful, a Ghanaian journalist who works for the Business and Financial Times, once took a high-speed train from Xi'an to Wuhan. He summarised his first experience of high-speed railway as “swift, convenient and comfortable.” He stated that it makes cities feel closer to each other. Umar Hayat Khan, a journalist working with Insaf Network Pakistan (INP), was eager to explore China's high-speed railway. He took photos of the real-time dynamic operations of the high-speed rail represented on the screen. He wondered, “When will the next generation of hightech, high-speed railway be available?”
Deputy Director of the China Railway Technological Information Department Qian Zhengyu explained that China Railway is carrying out integrated tests on key smart high-speed train technologies for automated operations of rail with speeds of 350 km per hour on the Beijing– Shenyang High-speed Railway. He stated that smart high-speed railway will be implemented from Beijing to Zhangjiakou and from Beijing to Xiong'an New District. These systems will be ready for operation by 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Visiting Beijing Electric Multiple Units Depot
On the same day, more than 50 Chinese and foreign journalists continued on to the Beijing Electric Multiple Units (EMU) Depot and crossed Fengtai and Daxing districts. They visited the High-speed Railway 4S repair shop and learned more about the maintenance process and standardised creation of CRH trains in detail.
At first, staff members introduced basic information about the Beijing EMU depot. It was established on November 21, 2011 and covers an area of 1,800 mu (one mu is approximately equal to 0.067 hectares). It mostly engages in maintenance and crew-related tasks related to the Beijing-Guangzhou, Beijing-shanghai, Zhengzhou-Xi'an, Nanjing-hangzhou-ningbo Highspeed Railways, which are operated by the China Railway Beijing Group Co., Ltd. There are currently more than 3,000 employees, with the Beijing South, Beijing West, Beijing and Shijiazhuang CRH Train Servicing stations under its command, as well as two advanced maintenance workshops. One of the workshops is for repairs and is where the naming ceremony for China's standard Fuxing Bullet Train was held on June 26, 2017. The other is a bogie workshop and is used for advanced maintenance of CRH bogies. The maintenance workshop seemingly runs as far as the eye can see. One CRH and one Fuxing bullet train were quietly waiting for maintenance. The workshop covers an area of more than 40,000 square metres (sq.m) and can accommodate eight trains at the same time.
“How often does a train need to be serviced?” Sally Jarju asked curiously. She works with Gambia Radio and Television Services. The person in charge of the maintenance workshop replied: "Level 1 maintenance will be conducted after 5,000 km of operation, level 2 maintenance after 100,000 km and level 3 after 1,200,000 km. Procedures are more complex and detailed at higher levels.”
Chinese and foreign journalists gained a clear understanding of the development of China's railway. China Railway has worked together with domestic colleges and universities, scientific research institutions and enterprises and incorporated years of scientific research, engineering practice and operation experience to engage in the R&D of China's standard CRH trains. Fully-independent intellectual property rights are possessed at the world's most advanced level. In June 2017, China's standard CRH train was officially named Fuxing. It began operations on the Beijing-shanghai High-speed Railway line in both directions. Fuxing bullet trains reached speeds of 350 km per hour on the Beijing-shanghai High-speed Railway on September 21, 2017 and set a new benchmark for the construction and operation of high-speed railway in the world, which meant that China went from being a follower to being a leader in this regard. On New Year's Day of 2018, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, stated during his address: “The Fuxing train is running on the vast land of our motherland. I would like to acclaim the powerful force that Chinese people have created!” Currently, Fuxing trains cover 23 prefectures where provincial capitals are located.
China will establish a highly-informational is ed, automated and smart high-speed railway system that features smart manufacturing, smart facilities and smart operations at its core. Cloud computing, the IOT, big data, artificial intelligence, Beidou navigation and positioning, the next generation of communication and other advanced technologies will be widely-used and allow for ubiquitous interconnection, fusion and processing; active learning and scientific decision-making for mobile railway facilities; fixed infrastructure; and related internal and external environmental information.
In the future, China will implement the eight north-south and eight east-west lines framework, linking regional lines. The lines will be supplemented by interurban railways. By 2020, China will establish an efficient and convenient modern high----
speed railway network with a good layout covering a wide range of area and complete functions. Its total length will be more than 30,000 km, covering more than 80 percent of the big cities in the country. By 2025, there will be about 38,000 km of high-speed railway in operation; by 2035, the modern railway network will cover the entire country. It is and will be the first of its kind to be created, developed and improved. Internal and external interconnection will be completed, multiple inter-regional channels will be smoothened, provincial high-speed railways will be connected. Quick access to prefectural and municipal cities will be possible. Adjacent large and medium cities will be able to be reached within one to four hours. Nearby megalopolises will be reachable between half an hour to two hours.
A Win-win Solution for China-africa Cooperation
On the afternoon of August 30, Chinese and foreign journalists visited the Beijing Tong Ren Tang Drugstore Museum. This pharmacy brand is full of tradition. They experienced traditional Chinese medicine ( TCM) culture and learned about traditional production methods. They also visited the solemn and magnificent construction site of the new airport, which is under construction. The Beijing Urban Construction Group Co., Ltd. is in charge of this project. The journalists learned about the construction technologies that are being used as well as the development and progress of projects that Beijing-area groups participated in in Africa.
Experiencing the Culture of Chinese Medicine
Beijing Tong Ren Tang is an old and wellknown drugstore brand in the traditional Chinese medicine industry. It was established in 1669 and has a history of 349 years. In 1723, Tong Ren Tang began to supply medicine to the royal pharmacy of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) for 8 emperors over a period of 188 years. The staff scrupulously adhere to an ancient maxim that states “never save manpower although it is complicated to prepare the medicine; never reduce material resources although the medicine materials are expensive.” Their products feature “exclusive prescriptions, materials that have great quality, exquisite workmanship and significant efficiency in treatment.” The company has been important for the traditional Chinese medicine industry and has set good standards.
At the Beijing Tong Ren Tang Museum, Chinese and foreign journalists saw precious cultural relics related to traditional Chinese medicine from different historical periods; ancient books, records, reproductions and documents about the historical context of Tong Ren Tang's entrepreneurship and development; learned about its special history regarding supplying medicine to royal families and the formation of its unique culture and style of Chinese medicine; obtained information about its careful material selection process and processing technology; and gained knowledge about achievements the company has made in the past 20 years.
The company began to enter international markets in 1993. Over the past 25 years, Tong Ren Tang has followed its “maintaining good health, sharing with the world” mission and brought authentic Chinese medicine products and services to five continents around the world. Millions of people outside China have learned about this company and have experience with it. Tong Ren Tang's products are currently sold in nearly 50 overseas countries and regions. It has established more than 140 retail outlets, created traditional Chinese medicine clinics and health centres in 27 overseas countries and regions, and established a production and R&D base in Hong Kong. The Tong Ren Tang trademark has been registered in 100 overseas countries and regions, and it is the first Chinese enterprise to apply for Madrid International Trademark Registration. It was therefore awarded the Special Award for Madrid International Trademark Registration.
In November 2016, Beijing Tong Ren Tang (Africa) Co., Limited was established in South Africa. Five drugstores opened in Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg. This was the start of a new journey for this old and well-known company in Africa. Beijing Tong Ren Tang (Africa) has already diagnosed and cured many patients.
It uses procedures like acupuncture, cupping therapy, and so on. It has held a number of health-related events on a volunteer basis and helped local people develop a healthy lifestyle. Since its inception, diagnosis and treatment
related to Beijing Tong Ren Tang (Africa)'s endeavours have grown rapidly. More than ten thousand South African people have now experienced Chinese medicine in this way.
Local staff make up 80 percent of the 28 Beijing Tong Ren Tang (Africa) employees. The company has also signed a cooperation agreement with Johannesburg University's Department of Alternative Medicine. It will help train people in TCM. They will be able to be involved with Tong Ren Tang in the future.
The South Africa-china Scientists High-level Dialogue recently concluded. Tong Ren Tang was presented as a major project from China that has now launched in South Africa. Various countries in the world witnessed this. Tong Ren Tang will continue to develop in foreign countries and regions in Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and Western Africa, and bring highquality traditional Chinese medicine and services to African people.
Decoding the New Airport in Beijing
As confirmed by an aerial view in the crisp, clear autumn, the Beijing New Airport new terminal that is under construction is shaped like a phoenix. nestled here. It lies 46 km to the south of Tian'anmen Square along the Central Axis of the city. It is expected to be completed by June 30, 2019. This airport terminal will be the largest single terminal in the world. It will be a new source of power for China's economic development radiating to the whole nation and connecting to the world like a “golden phoenix high up in the air.” Chinese and foreign journalists donned safety helmets, walked around at the construction site and listened to staff members that provided explanations and in-depth information.
The Beijing New Airport is positioned as a large-scale international aviation hub. Phase I of the project covers 3,031.9 hectares of land. It is designed to accommodate a flow of 45 million passengers in 2019 and of 72 million by 2025. The new airport consists of a terminal, transfer centre, integrated service building and parking complex. With a total floor area of 1.03 million sq.m, it will be the world's largest single airport terminal. It has been cited as one of the “Seven Wonders of the New World” in the British media. It will be the world's first airport terminal with “double entries and double exits.” It will also feature underground high-speed railway connections for the first time in the world.
The installation of 1,152 large-diameter isolating bearings and a steel structure covering an area of 180,000 sq.m will also set current world records.
The Beijing Urban Construction Group Co., Ltd. is in charge of the project and has been working on 600,000 sq.m worth of area. The group established special teams to take charge of technological innovations and based on the required characteristics of the new airport. It will be large in scale, features many new technologies and applications, and faces difficulties in construction. The group has had to facilitate the pouring of oversized and super-wide concrete, horizontal transportation of materials in an ultra-large area, construct and take charge of measures for seismic mitigation and absorption regarding railway layers, the installation and lifting of super-large curved steel trusses, the installation of irregular roofing and the implementation of many other challenging tasks. With world-leading smart construction technologies and technical expertise, the group has been getting the job done.
Experts working on the new airport have researched, developed and applied more than 100 new technologies, new processes and new inventions; obtained 10 patents for utility models and 2 software copyrights; and the “Construction Method for Pile Head Reinforcement and Pile Body Integration by Static Load Test” has become a standard construction method in Beijing. The airport became a demonstration project for innovation technology and application of the national construction industry in 2016. It has been a practice project for optimal application of information in China's construction industry, won first prize at the 6th Longtu Cup Building Information Modeling (BIM) competition and won first prize at the 3rd China Construction BIM competition in 2017.
Bim-based smart construction technology has been widely used in the construction of the new airport terminal. 3D modeling construction has been used for more than 1,000 km worth of cabling, 300 km worth of galvanised steel piping and 580,000 sq.m worth of air hosing. This has avoided complications and ensured that 247,000 sets of equipment were installed accurately.
Use of the smart construction system that was independently researched and developed by the Beijing Urban Construction Group Co., Ltd., Li Jianhua Team has allowed for the realization of many successes with “China Speed” efficiency. The main concrete structure of the terminal building was completed 12 days ahead of schedule on January 19, 2017; the steel structure of the main terminal building was completed on schedule on June 30, 2017; the enclosure of the main terminal building was completed 2 days in advance on December 29, 2017. Currently, mechanical and electrical systems are being worked on and interior decoration is underway. These tasks are expected to be completed by the end of June 2019.
Chinese and foreign journalists took photos of the Beijing New Airport and looked forward to its final completion.
Journalists from African countries visited the construction site for the New Airport terminal being undertaken by BUCG. During the visit, Li Daosong, manager of the International Department of BUCG, introduced the group's previous cooperation with African countries. The group has constructed many landmark structures and projects in Africa, including the Algiers Opera House in the capital of Algeria; agricultural parks in Mozambique; hospitals in Niger and a water treatment plant in the city of Bo, Sierra Leone. Chen Daihua, chairman of BUCG, explained, “Landmark structures are carriers of a region's local culture and history—they promote local economic development and reflect the deep friendship between China and Africa.”
From 2013–2016, BUCG built the Algiers Opera House in the capital of Algeria. This building demonstrates the superb skills and high quality of Chinese construction. It was awarded the Lu Ban Prize in 2017, the highest honour for Chinese-built construction projects. During the two years since its completion, artists from all over the world have performed at the venue. It integrates architecture and the art of opera and has witnessed the deep
friendship between China and Algeria.
In 2014, the Ebola virus spread across West Africa. When the Chinese Government sent medical teams to Sierra Leone to help, BUCG also flew in several dozen construction workers. These workers built a biological laboratory in just 70 days to prevent and control the Ebola virus, making an outstanding contribution to West Africa's fight against the disease.
In July 2018, BUCG completed construction of the Sierra Leone Tropical Diseases Prevention and Control Centre. President Maada Bio, praised its construction, saying: “This centre will greatly enhance Sierra Leone's ability to prevent and control epidemics and the spread of diseases.”
Since entering Mozambique in 2010, BUCG has built rice plants, cotton plants, maize plants, largescale freezers and agricultural parks. They are currently in operation. As such, the group has contributed to the construction of agricultural infrastructure and development of agriculture within the country.
Zhang Fenglin, project manager for Mozambique, said: “During construction of the agricultural processing plant in 2010, 31 management personnel, 80 Chinese workers and 600 locals worked on the project. Two years later, the number of management personnel and Chinese workers decreased to 8 and 16, respectively, and the number of local workers stood at 500. These projects create jobs for locals, accelerate cultural integration and promote win-win cooperation between Chinese enterprises and Africa.”
To support the Belt and Road Initiative and make use of opportunities in the new era for China-africa cooperation, BUCG has launched construction projects in over 10 African countries, in fields such as water utilities and management, highways, airports and housing. The group is actively cooperating with other African countries in building infrastructure and industrial parks as well as financing and investment.
In Sierra Leone, the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown was rebuilt and is being run by BUCG, offering high-quality conference facilities; in Burundi, BUCG aided the construction of a vocational school, which is making great contributions to the development of local vocational and technical education; in Niger, the group built a comprehensive hospital—the largest in West Africa—in three years, along with a full set of medical equipment installation and testing services. This has advanced the level of local medical services forward 30 years; in Benin, BUCG'S conference building maintenance project was highly praised by the government; and in Ethiopia, the group has begun construction on highway projects funded by the African Development Bank and the local government.
BUCG acts responsibly while expanding markets and launching construction projects no matter the country. The group forms communities of shared interest with locals and honours Chinese enterprises' commitment to peaceful development through aiding local construction, building roads and making donations.
On the morning of August 31, approximately 40 Chinese and foreign journalists from more than 20 countries including Germany, Japan, Angola, Ethiopia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda and Brazil, visited the Zhongguancun Science Park (Z-park) Exhibition Centre. A staff member from the Xiaomi Technology Company demonstrated how one of their vacuum cleaning robots can be controlled using an AI speaker. Joao Manuel Henriques, from Angola Press News Agency, was amazed by what he saw.
The “Beijing High-tech Innovation” themed activity was jointly hosted by the 2018 Forum on China-africa Cooperation's Media Center as part of its series of City Interviews. Journalists explored China's path in developing science and technology over the 40 years since China's reform and opening up in 1978 and got to see Beijing's vitality and potential for hightech innovation first-hand.
Z-park developed from a street selling electronic goods in Zhongguancun during the 1980s and is a product of China's reform and opening up. In 2009, China's State Council approved construction of the park, with the area exploring a new path combining high technology and the economy with Chinese characteristics. Z-park opened a new chapter for China in constructing high-tech zones as well as establishing high-tech parks and Statefunded innovation demonstration zones. Today, Zhongguancun has now formed a layout featuring Z-park combined with multiple parks, including Zhongguancun Haidian Science Park and Zhongguancun Changping Science Park. After 40 years of development, Z-park has become a worldrenowned “cradle of innovation.”
Today, Zhongguancun is the source for strategic emerging industries in China. In 2017, enterprises in the area generated a total of 5.3 trillion yuan in revenues and a total of 467.08 billion yuan in profits, with taxable income and fees amounting to 259.39 billion yuan, accounting for 34 percent of the municipality's economic growth. Zhongguancun is home to over 200 high-tech enterprise incubators, more than 1,490 venture and investment institutions and 500 associations and alliances, which are assisting the rapid development of high-tech enterprises. At present, there are a total of 20,000 hightech enterprises in Zhongguancun.
In this era dominated by globalisation, opening up and innovation are irreversible trends, and innovation and development cannot be separated from international exchange and cooperation. At present, Zhongguancun is home to 300 multinational companies' regional headquarters or research centres and 30,000 Chinese personnel who have studied abroad, as well as approximately 10,000 foreign staff working in the area. The Zhongguancun Administrative Committee has established 10 overseas liaison offices in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, and enterprises from Zhongguancun have set up around 1,000 R&D centres or branches overseas. Zhongguancun's international influence continues to rise and it has become an important hub in global innovation networks and an internationally renowned area for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Weng Qiwen, deputy director of the Zhongguancun Administrative Committee, introduced the development of Z-park. The journalists were amazed by Beijing's rapid development and achievements in science and technology. Wang explained: “Zhongguancun is a microcosm of China's 40 years of reforms. It has witnessed China and Beijing's hightech innovation and acts as a continuous source of vitality.”
At the Enterprise Innovation Exhibition Area, the journalists visited Internet technology giants, such as the Megvii Technology, Xiaomi and Sogou, and learned about their high-tech products. At the Xiaomi Smart Home Exhibition Area, they got to see smartecology, nicknamed “black tech” (an online term for “futuristic gadgetry”) which is operated using a smartphone and Xiaomi AI speaker, controlled by Xiaomi's own app. Inter-connectivity, smart interactions and personalisation across multiple environments and smart devices has now become a reality thanks to cloud computing, big data and AI. Many journalists took photos with Sogou 01, an intelligent question-and-answer robot developed by Sogou. The robot was able to answer many of the journalists' questions, capable as it is of listening, speaking, looking and thinking. After figuring out a user's question or request
for information, it then utilises its massive information network and knowledge database to provide an answer.
Soon, the journalists were also attracted by a surgical robot named Tianji that can assist in orthopedics operations. They watched as Tianji carried out a “surgical operation” and praised the robot's accuracy. The robot was developed by Beijing TINAVI Medical Company and is the only orthopedics surgical robotic system in the world that can carry out surgeries on limbs, the pelvis and spine.
At the Rechsand Science & Technology Group Exhibition Area, Ma Zhikun, assistant to the company's president, demonstrated “black tech” for use in developing desert regions. The group has already conducted experiments planting trees and growing rice in the Sahara Desert. After the testing is successful, the Sahara Desert may well be turned into an oasis suitable for growing rice. The African journalists gave a thumbs up to the technology and expressed their hope that it can be used in Africa in the near future.
The journalists also got to see the latest 3D and augmented reality (AR) technologies being offered by enterprises such as Beijing Xiantao Technology and Leyard, and were amazed by the speed at which Chinese technology is developing.
Sally Jarju, from the Gambia Radio and Television Service, said that she saw many high-tech products that she had never seen in her home country and was particularly impressed by the Sogou 01 robot and the Tianji surgical robot. She said, “These technologies are both advanced and practical and will make people's lives and manufacturing more convenient. Other countries, particularly in Africa, can learn a lot from them.”
The event allowed the world's media to look through a window into Chinese high-tech innovation and development. The journalists agreed that China had achieved rapid development in science and technology, and Beijing had made great steps forward in terms of scientific progress and innovation.
“International communication depends on close person-to-person interactions and is the foundation for Chinese and African people joining hands to achieve cooperation and common development.”
China's Startimes Group has been operating in the African radio and television industry for a decade. It acts as a bridge between the Chinese and African people and opens a window for exchanges between the two civilisations.
The “Beijing Cultural Innovation” activity, part of the City Interview programme, took place on the afternoon of August 31. Forty journalists from around 30 media organisations visited the headquarters of Startimes, which is the most influential and fastest developing digital television operator in Africa. The journalists learned about Beijing's efforts to develop international communications and its achievements in the cultural and media industry.
Startimes is a multinational media group that was founded in 1988, which specialises in investing and operating large radio and television systems, and developing core technologies for digital television and digital television networks. It also translates, produces and releases television programmes. After a decade in Africa, it has grown into an important system integrator, technology and content provider, and network operator in Africa's radio and television industry. Its signals cover the whole African continent and it has attracted around 20 million users. The group has become a representative of China's high-tech enterprises and a key national and cultural enterprise.
At present, Startimes has registered digital television operating companies in 30 African countries, including Rwanda, Guinea, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique and Senegal. It has established a huge network system that supports tens of millions of users and has over 480 television channels. Television programmes are broadcast in over 10 languages, including English, French, Portuguese, local African languages, Chinese and Hindi.
Startimes is also a developer of digital terminals particularly for African markets. These products cover various applications and include satellite, terrestrial digital, dual-mode, digital and Internet TV settop boxes; digital television projection televisions; and solar powered systems. To meet Africans' growing demand for online video services, Startimes launched an online video streaming services in Africa
before the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This allowed people across the continent to watch World Cup matches live and in HD using the Startimes video app, which now has around 8 million users.
Guo Ziqi, vice chairman of the Startimes Group, told the journalists: “Startimes brings Chinese films and television dramas to African audiences and has taken root across the continent. Chinese actors and actresses, such as Hu Ge, Zhao Liying and Yang Mi are now household names in Africa, which strengthens communications between people.”
Startimes narrows the distance between China and Africa and uses television to bring Africa closer to the world. China proposed its Ten Major China-africa Cooperation Plans at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-africa Cooperation in 2015, which included an “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages” programme. The project is currently under construction and progressing smoothly. By the end of 2018, satellite television installation and long-term operation services will have been established in 10,112 villages across 25 African countries, enriching the lives of the locals. As the developer of the programme, Startimes is promoting the digitalisation of Africa's radio and television industry and helping make digital television more affordable for African families.
Guo Ziqi led the journalists around the group's core departments, such as the Broadcasting Centre, Translating and Dubbing Centre and the Live Studio. He introduced the multi-language dubbing facilities for drama and films and the recording and broadcasting facilities for TV programmes to the assembled journalists. He also showed the technologies and products the group has developed.
At the Translating and Dubbing Centre, journalists met with several voice artists from Africa such as Hilder, who hails from Tanzania.
After winning first place in the First Startimes Cup Chinese Film and Television Drama Dubbing Contest in Tanzania in 2016, Hilder got the opportunity to work at the Startimes headquarters. She said: “I worked as a voice actor in my home country before working at Startimes. However, at the group's headquarters in Beijing, I not only get to continue doing my favourite job but can also learn production skills from training by professional teachers.” Now, Hilder is both an accomplished Swahili voice actress and a qualified translator. She is also able to operate the software and equipment and complete dubbing tasks independently.
Hilder is now more familiar with Chinese culture after several years working at the group. “Like me, many Africans are
interested in the lives of Chinese. We're eager to know about the family life of Chinese people, such as how they handle problems between a wife and a motherin-law. That's why Chinese dramas in this genre are popular.” She explained that Beautiful Daughter-in-law was her favourite drama. “The main character, Mao Doudou, is well-known amongst African audiences, and the drama offers insights into the life of a Chinese family.” More Africans have begun to understand China through these dramas broadcast by Startimes.
Francis Tchiegue (Chinese name Jie Gai) comes from Cameron and has been working at Startimes for four and half years. This young African man is active on Chinese television. He first came to China in 2003 to study the language and went on to obtain his second PHD in aeronautics and computer sciences at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Fascinated by Chinese culture, he studies crosstalk from renowned actor Ding Guangquan and can speak Mandarin, English, French, German and Russian. He is an accomplished host and proficient at crosstalk, Peking Opera and singing, and even appeared on the Spring Festival Gala staged by Hunan Satellite Television in 2012. His many experiences have enabled him to become more familiar with Chinese culture.
One of the visiting journalists guessed the meaning and spelling of his Chinese name. The journalist said: “Does jie mean ‘outstanding' and is written as 杰and gai mean ‘to cover' and is written as
盖?” Tchiegue corrected him, explaining: “‘ Jie' means ‘agile' and is written as捷 and ‘ gai' means unparalleled in the world.” Tchiegue has several posts at Startimes, working as the host for a programme he also produces. He added: “My programme is mainly related to culture. I teach Chinese language to people in my home country using tricks I developed and also record interviews to let my audiences understand the cultural differences between different countries. Cultural exchanges are an important field for China-africa cooperation. I believe that more African families will understand China through accessing its culture thanks to the international platform Startimes provides.”
After the visit, the Chinese and foreign journalists gave a thumbs up regarding Startimes' work and influence abroad. Journalist Jiao Feng from China International Publishing Group, said: “Startimes is a microcosm which shows the Chinese radio and television industry's communication ability in international markets and China's achievements in developing cultural media.”
On September 1, journalists from more than 50 countries and regions, including China, Botswana, Mauritius and South Africa, visited the International Culture Village of the Great Wall at Bohai Town in Huairou District and an Agricultural Technology Demonstration Base of the Beijing Agricultural Technology Promotion Station at Xiaotangshan in Changping District. They experienced Beijing's efforts in constructing a beautiful countryside and developing agricultural technologies. In the International Culture Village of the Great Wall, an abandoned brickyard in Beigou has been developed into a typically rural hotel, transforming the remote mountainous village into one of the most beautiful villages in Beijing. The Agricultural Science Technology Demonstration Base at Xiaotangshan contains a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, showcasing the concepts of “high-quality and sustainable development” in developing agriculture in the city.
Mutianyu Great Wall
September is considered one of the best times of the year to go hiking or visit the mountains in Beijing. On the morning of September 1, journalists covering the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-africa Cooperation gathered at Mutianyu Great Wall in Huairou District to explore this impressive Chinese landmark.
Mutianyu Great Wall was first built in 1368 by General Xu Da (1332–1385) during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) on the basis of ruins of the wall built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 550–577). This section borders Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou Pass in the east and was a major military defensive point safeguarding Beijing during ancient times. The section contains several famous watchtowers including Yingfeidaoyang (“Eagles Flies Facing Upward”) and Jiankou (“Arrow Nock”).
The Mutianyu section is surrounded by mountains and features numerous watchtowers and crenellations on both sides. Its green coverage rate is over 96 percent, making it a highlight of the Great
Wall constructed during the Ming Dynasty. It has a reputation for unique beauty. After reaching the viewing platform by cable cars, the journalists were amazed by the magnificent edifice that combined the wisdom and hard work of the ancient people and the forests and mountains stretching off into the distance.
Accompanied by tour guides, the journalists continued their trip along the Great Wall. Some were curious to find out more and asked about the history during their journey. Many set off at a quick pace, eager to see the magnificent views. Edir Dauneto Stephen Omunu, a journalist from South Sudan, said that this was his first time at the Mutianyu Great Wall. Having originally thought the buildings on top of the mountains were completed by machinery, he was shocked to discover they had all been built by hand. He said: “I'm wondering how much manpower and materials were needed to complete it.”
When talking about the Forum, Omunu smiled and said that with aid from the Chinese people, African countries now had railways and highways; after visiting Mutianyu, he had learned about China's capacity to carry out large engineering projects in ancient times and believed this capacity would continue to be applied to China's projects in Africa; and decades of cooperation between China and Africa meant that the Forum would act as an exchange platform to enable both sides to review past experiences and create a better future.
According to Zhou Jiushu, general manager of the Mutianyu Great Wall Travel Service Company, the Mutianyu Great Wall Scenic Area is rated as a 5A National Tourist Attraction and receives 1.4 million visitors per year, 45 percent of which are foreign tourists. In recent years, it has staged activities for major events including the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Week and 2017 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, showcasing Chinese culture and the beauty of Beijing.
International Village by the Great Wall
The Great Wall is of immense historical and cultural value to human civilisation. Revitalising villages along it will turn them into symbols of the Great Wall Cultural Belt. Located at the foot of Mutianyu Great Wall, Beigou Village in Bohai Town is developing rapidly in line with the trend of international development, utilising the cultural and historical resources of the Great Wall.
Beigou Village was Beijing's first “National Ecological Culture Village” and has been awarded numerous other titles including “China's Most Charming Leisure Village” and “Beijing's Most Beautiful Village.” On the afternoon of September 1, the journalists visited the Village Exhibition Hall, Cultural Long Corridor and Elderly Residents Centre in Beigou. One of the highlights in the village is the Brickyard Retreat founded by Jim Spear and his wife.
According to Secretary of the Beigou Committee of the Communist Party of China Wang Quan, “Jim Spear, the owner of the Brickyard Retreat, has lived in Beigou for many years and is the most famous villager. He greatly influenced other villagers with his work protecting and developing the traditional Chinese buildings here, which has played a major role in helping Beigou become a “Beautiful Village of Beijing.” At the country hotel, a colourful trail paved with pieces of glazed tiles, an organic vegetable patch and a fish pond attracted the journalists. At noon, the restaurant there was crowded with visitors experiencing its unique style. Wang Quan pointed to the hotel's glass walls and said: “The glass walls are a unique design feature. From any viewpoint, you can look out and see the Great Wall snaking through the mountains.”
According to Wang Quan, Jim Spear and his wife developed the Brickyard Retreat and restaurant and also renovated over 30 abandoned farmers' dwellings, bringing tremendous changes to the village by combining Western and Chinese styles. With the social and economic development of the village, local residents' awareness of sustainability was activated and they looked to develop agricultural tourism to promote the local economy.
Wang Quan explained: “Ten years ago, we only could earn 5,000 yuan a year renting out a courtyard. Now, it's 60,000 yuan a year. The value of land in the village is 12 times higher than a decade ago. To rent the best courtyard in the village would cost 27 million yuan with the lease expiring after 30 years, after which, the courtyard becomes the village's! The land resources here have been released, the villagers are richer and the environment is more beautiful. It's absolutely worth it.” Wang's remarks on helping the villagers become better-off were well appreciated by the foreign journalists.
International development methods have revitalised this small village. Besides the Brickyard Retreat, the village has developed many other restaurants and guesthouses with distinctive characteristics. Walking around, once can see traditional Chinese stories painted on the walls, including “Sima Guang Breaks the Vat to Save a Child” and “The Mother of Yue Fei Giving Him a Tattoo to Encourage Him.” A relief based on the book Dizigui (Standards for being a Good Pupil and Child) attracted the attention of Omphitlhetse Vivian Mooki from South Africa, who asked a Chinese journalist to explain it to her. After having her picture taken with it, she said: “You have to take photos of Chinese characters.”
The development of Beigou is a microcosm for the International Culture Village of the Great Wall. The community is comprised of Beigou, Mutianyu, Xinying and Tianxianyu villages and is another tourism area featuring the culture of the Great Wall. The International Culture Village combines Western and Chinese characteristics and has attracted over 30 families from abroad to invest and settle down there. International high- end clubs have also gathered around the community, forming a cultural and creative industry cluster promoting growth in the local tourism industry.
Growing Agricultural Technologies
After leaving Beigou, the journalists next visited the Agricultural Science Technology Demonstration Base of the Beijing Agricultural Technology Promotion Station at Xiaotangshan, Changping District. The base, also known as the “Park of Special Vegetables,” was founded in 1984. The 320- mu park is one of the origins of special vegetables in China, and contains a 70- mu multi-span greenhouse and 48 solar greenhouses. The park has introduced more than 60 species of special fruit and vegetables, and focuses on water conservation, biological pest control and the growing of organic food, which play a major role in promoting new technologies and training farmers. In recent years, agriculture in Beijing has emphasised the ideas of environmental protection and sustainable development centred on the city's economic and social needs and explored agricultural development based on the features of the city. The demonstration base is a representative of this kind of thinking.
Walking into the multi-span greenhouse, the wall-to-wall greenery is a refreshing sight. Operated using a smart control system, the multi-span greenhouse's temperature, humidity and lighting are maintained at 25.1 degrees Celsius, 89.6 percent and 2,100 lux, respectively, ideal growing conditions for lettuces, lemons, papayas and bananas. A staff member explained: “We have a team of professionals that determine the right nutrients and pest control. The greenhouse is equipped with temperature and humidity sensors as well as circulating fans to help the fruit and vegetables grow better. Our agricultural products are both green and organic, with short growing cycles and high yields.” Moreover, the park promotes over 30 different forms of agricultural water-saving technology for use in place of traditional irrigation methods for the cultivation and management of crops, all of which have made remarkable achievements.
Director of the park Wang Kewu explained their production processes for leafy vegetables and how they introduce species native to southern China into the park. After visiting the base, Edir Dauneto Stephen Omunu said: “My country is a big agricultural power in Africa, but today's visit made me to feel there's a huge difference between China and African countries in terms of agricultural cultivation. China's advanced agricultural technologies have greatly impressed me. There are many opportunities and prospects for cooperation between the two sides in agriculture.” Omphitlhetse Vivian Mooki stated: “The huge changes going on in China are enviable. I found China's beauty doesn't only exist in the cities, it's also in the beautiful countryside I saw today.”
September 2 was a cool and pleasant day in Beijing and the eve of the forum itself. This was also the day of the final
activity in the City Interview series— Ancient Capital Townscape of Beijing— before the official opening of the forum. More than 70 journalists from 30 media agencies of 19 countries, including Angola, Namibia, Egypt, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, visited the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall to learn more about the Beijing Urban Master Plan (2016 –2035) and “Four Centres” urban strategic functional positioning. They also visited Yongdingmen Tower and Jingshan Park overlooking Beijing's Central Axis to help them better appreciate Beijing's historical context and long-term planning.
At 9 a.m., the journalists arrived at the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall. Inside, they watched a short film that briefly introduced Beijing's 3,000-year history as a city and 850-year history as the capital. The film captivated the journalists, transporting them back to ancient times and helping them explore the history of Beijing's urban planning, its current situation and future.
Herve Mewenemesse from Togo recorded the film on his mobile phone. He explained: “I'm really interested in this documentary. I'm impressed by the ancient capital and happy to learn about Beijing's magnificent history.” After the film, the journalists gathered around a cast bronze model depicting the old city of Beijing. Staff at the Exhibition Hall introduced how the old city looked when the People's Republic of China was founded, including the city's Central Axis. Later, the journalists were treated to a bird's-eye view of the 1:750-scale model of Beijing from the third floor looking down to the floor below, then went downstairs and walked through the huge model of the city's layout. The two perspectives allowed them to feel as if they were actually in the city, observe the ancient city's charm and style, and fully understand the current situation regarding the city's Central Axis.
The city's 7.8-km Central Axis runs from Yongdingmen Tower in the south to the Bell Tower in the north and is one of the most outstanding features of urban design anywhere in the world. Chinese architect Liang Sicheng (1901–1972) once said: “The unique and magnificent layout of Beijing is created by the establishment of this Central Axis; the distribution of the city's shape and spaces to its left and right is based on the Central Axis; the north-south Central Axis showcases the city's magnificence.”
In terms of the history of Beijing's urban design, the Central Axis came before the city. The axis is a spiritual symbol of Chinese style, home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and denotes the political centre of Beijing, showcases its political, ethical and aesthetic values, and presents the past, present and future of Chinese civilisation. In order to get a good look at the Central Axis, the second stop was made at its southern end— Yongdingmen Tower.
Standing atop Yongdingmen Tower, the journalists could observe the layout of the city and the straight axis running due north. Looking down the axis, Herve Mewenemesse said happily: “The axis is very beautiful and Beijing is great. I really like China!” Some journalists switched to panorama mode on their mobile phones in order to capture all the green spaces, long and straight streets and endless flow of pedestrians.
Li Yan, director of the Office for the Protection of the Cultural Relics of the Yuan Chonghuan Temple, showed the journalists around a photo exhibition which details the story of the Central Axis, explaining its history and significance in traditional Chinese culture. The dragon is one of the original totems of the Chinese nation. As such, the Central Axis of Beijing is considered a “dragon vein,” Yongdingmen Tower is the “dragon's head” and ancient buildings along the Axis are the “dragon's backbone.” First built in 1553, Yongdingmen Tower was demolished in the 1950s and reconstructed in 2003. The restored structure features three layers of eaves, a saddle roof, and is seven rooms wide and three rooms deep. Its eaves and ridge are decorated with lions, horses and various mythical creatures, whilst its gates, doors and windows are located in the same position, size and style as in the original.
The journalists were drawn in by the traditional Chinese culture and happily took photos of Yongdingmen Tower and selfies when up on top of it. Gabonese journalist Bolabola Joelle Zita (Chinese name Zhou Aile) said: “I've lived in Beijing for ten years and passed by Yongdingmen Tower many times, but I've never stood on it to look out over the city before. This is the first time I'm learning about the significance of the Central Axis. In terms of the design of the city, the Central Axis has been the city's soul and lifeline. Yongdingmen Tower also has an ancient flavour. Beijing has such a long history and so many stories!”
The last stop was Jingshan Park, an imperial garden on the Central Axis. Inside the park, the top of Jingshan Hill is a perfect vantage point along the Axis for looking out over both the Forbidden City and the Axis itself. Located opposite the Forbidden City's Shenwumen (Gate of Divine Might) to its south and with Beihai Park to its west, Jingshan Park served as an imperial garden during the Yuan (1271–1368), Ming and Qing dynasties. Major buildings in the park include Qiwang (“Beautiful View”) Tower, Wanchun (“Ten Thousand Spring”) Pavilion and Shouhuang (“Sovereign Longevity”) Palace. The top of Jingshan Hill also features five pavilions, where visitors can look out over the city's Central Axis and enjoy its views.
Jingshan Park is an ancient landmark of Beijing and a popular park for Beijingers. It contains nearly 1,000 ancient trees, including white bark pines, cedars, junipers, Chinese red pines, Chinese scholar trees and ginkgos, as well as a sea of over 20,000 peonies, which the journalists delighted in taking photos of.
The journalists were impressed by the Central Axis which reflects Beijing's political, ethical and aesthetic values. They learned about the role the Axis played in ancient Chinese civilisation and its status as a symbol in modern times.
The forum's City Interviews, featuring 10 themed activities, attracted journalists from 278 media agencies from more than 50 countries and regions and provided them the opportunity to take a closer look at Beijing and learn more about this ancient city and the beauty of its development.
During the five-day City Interviews series of events, journalists learned about different aspects of Beijing and discovered the beauty of the city’s development.
A BAIC Group assembly line for off-road vehicles
A BAIC Group welding line for off-road vehicles
China’s high-speed trains have become a symbol of its rapid economic growth.
Capturing China’s high-speed trains on film
A China Railway High-speed train waits for maintenance.
An official (right) introduces the China Railway Corporation Dispatching and Directing Centre.
Tong Ren Tang is a time-honoured traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy. The front arch at one of its locations is pictured.
The main building of the Beijing New Airport under construction
Documenting the construction of the Beijing New Airport
Interacting with a robot
The Startimes Group Broadcasting Centre
Dubbing audio for a programme
Mutianyu Great Wall
Beigou Village at the foot of the Great Wall
Visiting an Agricultural Technology Demonstration Base at Xiaotangshan
A model showing the layout of Beijing at the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall
The Central Axis of Beijing
Taking a selfie at Wanchun Pavilion on top of Jingshan Hill