Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Six sailors remain missing after ship capsizal in E China

One body was found while five sailors remained missing after nine were saved from a vessel capsizal of a Panamanian-nationality vessel with 15 sailors in east China's Nanji Islands sea area on Monday, local authority said Tuesday.

The body was found at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday, said Li Hua, deputy director of the center.

The vessel named "Helios 3" reported its distress, saying they were "sinking", and called for help to the Municipal Maritime Rescue Center of Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province, at 2:09 p.m. Monday, Li said.

The tropical storm, caused by Jangmi, the 15th typhoon this year, had made two cabins of the vessel flooded, which lead to the sinking, Li said.

A rescue ship was sent to the reported site while warnings and rescue requires were sent to the nearby ships both in Chinese and English, he said.

Two of the sailors on the life raft were found and saved at 5:05 p.m. by a ship named "Cap Doukato" passing by, who received the signals from the official rescue center. Seven others were saved by rescuers on rescue vessel setting off at 2:44 p.m. from the neighboring Fujian Province.

The searching work was still undertaking, Li said.

The capsized vessel was a Korean ship registered in Panama, shipping 6,000 tons of woods from Burma to Jiaxing Port in Zhejiang, with sailors from Korea, Burma and Indonesia, Li said.

The Jangmi, which forced the evacuation of 500,000 people in Zhejiang and the neighboring Fujian and stranded 110 tourists on the Nanji Islands on Saturday, had been weakened to be tropical storm at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. The typhoon alarm had been lifted, according to Zhejiang provincial meteorological observatory.

Source: Xinhua

Chinese premier meets American guest

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met here Tuesday with Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of the Science Magazine of the United States.

Wen spoke highly of the important role of the Science Magazine in advancing global scientific and technological development. He expressed his wish to further strengthen cooperation with the magazine in order to make a greater contribution to the global development of science and technology and to human progress.

Wen said China has put the advance of science, technology and innovation at the core of its national development strategy. He said China focuses on developing an innovative nation so as to realize the goal of modernization.

Alberts highly values the importance that the Chinese leaders and government attached to science and technology. He said the Science Magazine will as always support development of science and technology in China.

The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues.

Source: Xinhua

European media highly praises China's progress in space technology

European news channel Euronews on Monday highly praised China's progress as a leap in space technology when reporting the successful landing of the reentry module of Shenzhou-7.

The three astronauts aboard carried out China's first-ever spacewalk which was "a small step for human but a leap for China." The successful spacewalk made China the third to master the extravehicular activity technology following the United States and Russia, Euronews said.

The three astronauts were welcomed as heroes after they landed, Euronews reported, saying the successful launch of Shenzhou-7 spaceship is a important step of China in the way of establishing a space station and it is a fantastic gift to the Chinese for the National Day which falls on Oct. 1.

Source: Xinhua

Olympics boosts Chinese language promotion (2)

But none of these Chinese cultural signs had left a more indelible impression than two simple characters "jia you," a chant that can be loosely translated as "Go! Go!"

The rally call of support and encouragement, easily pronounced than most other Chinese characters, was the most practical and widespread phrase during the Games.

But foreigners have found it hard to properly translate "jia you" as the phrase seems so omnipotent that it could be used in various cases such as "Wenchuan Jiayou" or "Sichuan Jiayou," referring to the Sichuan earthquake that struck the region on May 12, causing huge losses to life and the economy; the whole nation was motivated to conquer the hardship.

Online discussions of the topic became heated since many posters appeared on BBS, inviting ideas about how to best translate "Zhongguo jiayou."

It seems to have become the unifying cry of Chinese everywhere since the devastating earthquake and during the overseas leg of the Olympic torch relay.

Netizen "JSummers83" wrote on TravelChinaGuide.com that he did not consider the translation "Go China" really fitting, especially for the case of the quake.

"Lemoncactus" responded by saying that "Come on China," "Come on Sichuan" might well be a satisfactory translation, meaning support for continuously striving and succeeding despite being in a difficult spot. But its common link with sport made the translation seem odd to him when it had to be related to the earthquake.

Though lost in translation, spectators don't even bother to translate it. During the Games, foreign spectators, waving different national flags, simply chanted "jia you," or even painted the words on their face, to cheer for athletes.


The OCLCI's Zhao said Confucius Institutes worldwide had helped to offer Chinese lessons to athletes attending the Games. The Confucius Institute of the University of Auckland was commissioned by New Zealand's Olympic Committee to teach athletes and coaches some Chinese and culture.

The institute, a Chinese language and cultural teaching body, was named after the great ancient philosopher and educator who traveled across separated Chinese kingdoms about 2,500 years ago to spread knowledge and peace. They had been set up by the OCLCI through cooperation with colleges worldwide since 2004.

It is the Chinese version of Spain's Instituto Cervantes, Germany's Goethe-Institute, the British Council and Alliance Francaise.

By July, 262 Confucius Institutes, mostly a combination of local teaching facilities and teachers sent from China, had been established in 75 countries and regions, statistics showed.

Many elite universities such as the University of California in Los Angeles, the University of Melbourne in Australia and Waseda University in Tokyo had set up Confucius Institutes with the OCLCI.

Currently, there were 40 million non-Chinese learning the language worldwide. The figure was growing by at least 10 million a year and was expected to reach 100 million by 2010, the OCLCI claimed.

After their brief language training with the local Confucius Institute, foreign athletes usually took along small handbooks such as "Olympic Chinese 100 useful sentences" with some "survival Chinese" included.

"About 1 million books have been distributed to foreign athletes or tourists in the athletes' village or at the airport," Zhao said.

In another free service, the OCLCI paid China Mobile to send a text short message to all mobile phone users in the Olympic Green, the central area of the Games, which taught the recipients four short phrases in Chinese, English and the Chinese pronunciation system of Pinyin.

Source: Xinhua

Olympics boosts Chinese language promotion

Michael Phelps who claimed a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games said it was harder for him to learn Chinese than to win swimming races.

Before the American came to China for the 2008 Games he seriously took a few Chinese lessons. A popular online video shows how hard he tries to imitate the voice of a Chinese learning multimedia software in saying such basic words as "guo zhi" , "nan hai'er" and "nu hai'er" .

But still, the 23-year-old rated his Chinese language studies as the most difficult thing he had tried in his life. "Learning Mandarin is even harder than winning eight gold medals in the pool."

In primary school Phelps took French and German courses, but the swimming ace said, "all the words, characters and pronunciations in Mandarin are so different. All of them are hard to manage."

He was not the only star athlete trying to learn some Chinese language and culture. When gymnast Nastia Liukin arrived back home in Dallas, Texas, with five medals around her neck, the Russian-born blonde appeared in front of her reception wearing a black T-shirt with two big Chinese characters "Beijing" in the front.

"The Beijing Olympics have brought world attention to the Chinese civilization and further enhanced the utility of the Chinese language worldwide," said Zhao Guocheng, the Office of Chinese Language Council International deputy director general.

He called the Games an opportunity for the Chinese language to gain more popularity and for China to be better understood by foreigners.


As a direct way for foreigners to gain understanding of the nation's culture and history, Chinese characters are undoubtedly the most accessible signs of the nation.

Some foreign spectators who witnessed the Games' opening ceremony at Beijing's National Stadium were completely puzzled when artistic director Zhang Yimou presented a performance showcasing the country's ancient invention of movable-type printing. The show featured a formation of some 900 men imitating the operation of a printer and creating the image of the Chinese character "he," meaning "harmony," in different calligraphic styles.

Foreigners likely were even more puzzled after they saw the sequence of entry at the athletes' march-in, which was completely different from previous Games. The order of entry was decided by the number of strokes of the first character of a delegation's Chinese name, but not by the country's first English language letter.

Anxious to learn the secrets of the strokes that formed a Chinese character, many foreign athletes and reporters came to the "Chinese learning area" in a corner of the Olympic Village.

Since its July 27 opening, the area had received thousands of visitors from about 70 countries and regions, said an language promotion official in charge of the activity.

With a floor space of about 30 square meters, the area is brightly decorated with Chinese painting scrolls, Peking Opera masks and China knots, a traditional handicraft symbolizing good fortune.

The area, jointly established by the OCLCI and the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games , was designed for foreign athletes, coaches and officials living in the village to learn some Chinese and have a taste of Chinese culture for free.

Zhao said athletes usually learned some basic Chinese such as "ni hao" , "xie xie" and "zai jian" in less than 30 minutes or after a few hours.

"The Chinese they learned proved useful during their stay in China," he said.

In addition, Chinese tutors also taught the visitors how to congratulate fellow athletes or rivals in Chinese, such as "zhu heni" and "ni zhen bang" .

They could also try some traditional Chinese calligraphy and play the guzheng, a stringed instrument of the zither family, or Chinese chess.

Deng Yaping, the Olympic Village spokeswoman and four-time Olympic gold medal winning table tennis player, told the press on Aug. 15 the most popular activity at the area was to get a Chinese name for the athletes themselves or their friends. Tutors usually chose a Chinese name that suited the sound or meaning of the foreign visitor's original name.

The area features a large bookshelf loaded with Chinese-learning materials, and a wall to which more than a dozen brush-pen writings by the foreign learners, carrying either their Chinese names or their blessings to the host city and nation, are glued.

Deng said the area at the Beijing Olympics was something unique that previous Games didn't have.


Among the spectators at Olympic venues, a great deal of foreigners were holding large Chinese placards with characters such as "wanmei" , "li" , or "pinbo" while watching the Games.

England footballer David Beckham had his waist tattooed with a Chinese idiom meaning one's fate and fortune was decided by the God.

Chinese-character tattoos also appeared on NBA star players on the gold-medal winning U.S. men's basketball team and a Canadian woman beach volleyball player, who considered the skin art fashionable and auspicious.

Chinese cultural signs such as "blue and white porcelain," Olympic medals of gold inlaid with jade, China knots and jasmine flowers, also became representatives of Chinese culture that left great impressions on foreign visitors during the Games.

Phelps and his mother bought some Chinese character scrolls at Silk Street, a place popular among foreigners looking for cultural souvenirs, as gifts to bring back home and as decoration.

China's auto imports rise 35% in value in first 8 months

China's auto imports jumped 35 percent in value in the first eight months from the same period last year, while exports surged 28 percent, according to the latest figure released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on Monday.

The combined value in imports and exports rose 31 percent in the same period. The exact values and the sales volume in the imports and exports were not immediately available.

Germany surpassed Japan as the biggest motor vehicle supplier, contributing 33 percent of the total sales value. Japan took up 32percent.

Foreign-funded companies accounted for 37 percent of the country's total imports value, while joint-ventures imported 31 percent. That was followed by the state-owned enterprises with 20 percent share.

Beijing imported one third of the vehicles followed by Jilin with 18 percent. Guangdong took up 14 percent of the total imports value.

The CAAM data showed 19 percent of China's auto exports went to United States, while 10 and 7 percent were imported by Japan and Russia respectively.


Senior U.S. official lauds China's achievements

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on Monday congratulated the People's Republic of China over her 59th birthday and spoke highly of China's achievements.

"China is a magnificent country with many achievements," he said at a reception at the new chancery of the Chinese Embassy to the United States here to celebrate the 59th anniversary of the founding of the New China.

Negroponte said he was impressed by China's recent accomplishments, including the hosting of the Beijing Olympics and the Shenzhou-7 manned space mission, and he expects China to make new success continuously.

The senior official said the U.S.-China relationship has "come a long way" during the past three decades and two nations have broadened and deepened relations at all levels.

He noted that U.S. President George W. Bush met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao at several occasions during the past year, and enjoyed a very good time in Beijing when he attended Olympics there this summer.

"Now the two countries not only talk about major international issues, but also jointly solve many problems," said Negroponte.

The U.S. government is looking forward to more cooperation with China, he added.

U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor James Jeffrey also lauded China's achievements in his speech.

China's Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong said he is looking forward to the upcoming 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States.

He told U.S. guests that as long as both sides always bear in mind their strategic and long-term interests, abide by the three Joint Communiques, respect each other's central interests, increase exchanges, dialogues and cooperation, handle differences appropriately, "we have every reason to expect an even better China-U.S. relationship in the future."

Some 500 representatives from the U.S. government, the Congress, international organizations and foreign diplomatic missions attend the reception.

Source: Xinhua