Over 20 provinces across China expect to suffer freezing temps due to new cold front

A new strong cold front pushing north to south through China is expected to turn a vast area of the country’s territory into a huge “refrigerator” from Thursday till Saturday, leading to over 20 provinces, regions and municipalities bracing for below freezing temperatures. 

From north to south, many places across the country suffered blizzards, freezing rain, and other extremely weather conditions on Thursday. Meteorological experts explained that the recent frequent cold fronts were caused by global warming heating up the Arctic and bringing cold fronts southward. 

Temperatures in multiple places in Northeast China and North China will further plunge to record lows, as severe cold snaps and cold fronts have been making their way across the country from the north to the south since earlier this week, according to Weather China. 

The meteorological forecast website predicted on Thursday that temperatures in multiple places in the southern part of the country will drop to the lowest seen so far this season, with 0 C temperatures expected in the southern part of Southwest China’s Guizhou Province and the northern part of South China, making people from more than 20 provinces feel like they are living in a “refrigerator.”

The cold fronts that came in December, earlier than usual, have been particularly severe. Although temperatures are reaching levels rarely seen in the past, this does not mean that brass monkey weather, which usually occurs in January or February, will be colder this year, Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

When the rare cold front ends next week and highs rise back to 0 C or above, the average temperature will return to usual levels. 

China’s National Meteorological Center (NMC) continued to issue a yellow alert for low temperatures early Thursday morning, forecasting daily lows or daily average temperatures 5 C lower than usual in multiple regions from the middle and western part of North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the regions south of the Huanghuai region. The 0 C isotherm will stretch from the southern part of Guizhou to the northern part of the South China.

According to the weather forecast on Thursday by Weather China, from north to south, the highs in the majority of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province and the middle and eastern parts of Inner Mongolia will be lower than -18 C. Temperatures in most parts of Northwest China, North China, and the Huanghuai and Jianghuai regions will remain below freezing, making them the “freezer compartment” of this “refrigerator” wave. 

Whereas in the southern parts of China, such as the Jiangnan area, Sichuan Basin, Chongqing and Guizhou areas, highs will remain at 10 C or below, while highs in South China and Southwest China’s Yunnan Province will remain above 10 C. 

Since the beginning of December, the temperatures across the country have experienced roller-coaster-like temperature fluctuations. The national average temperature from December 1 to 13 was higher than usual, the highest of the same period in history. However, since December 14, affected by the large-scale cold wave, the temperatures have plummeted in most parts of the country, and the maximum daily temperature drop of some national weather stations has broken historical extremes.

Between December 14 and 17, a large-scale cold wave affected a vast area of the country with wide influence, long duration and large accumulative precipitation. The maximum temperature drop reached or exceeded 20 C in 95 national weather stations, among which the maximum temperature drop in Datong, North China’s Shanxi Province, reached 26.3 C.

While a warm winter was previously forecast this year, Ma explained that such extreme cold weather conditions will not necessarily overturn previous predictions. Before the impact of the recent cold waves, the southern part of the country, especially the Yangtze River basin, did experience warmer weather than usual. The overall average temperature in the next phase will decide whether this winter will be considered a warm winter, Ma said, noting that more attention should be paid to increasing extreme weather.

Since the strong cold wave gripped Northeast China’s Jilin Province on December 15, temperatures in the province have plunged to freezing. According to the Jilin Meteorological Service, the highest temperatures during daytime in Jilin on Thursday was between -20 C and -16 C and the lowest temperature was forecast to be between -30 C and -27 C, with temperatures in some mountainous areas in the southeastern part of the province dropping as low as -32 C. 

On Wednesday, the Jilin Meteorological Service forecast that temperatures in the middle and western parts of the province will rise starting Saturday while the eastern part of the province must wait to Sunday to see a rise. 

In East China’s Shandong Province, the coastal cities of Yantai and Weihai have suffered snowstorms since December 15, with a blizzard pouring 35.6 millimeters of snow on the Wendeng district in Weihai. 

The Shandong Meteorological Bureau has forecast snowstorms or blizzards in Yantai and Weihai from Wednesday to Friday with accumulated snowfall reaching 35 millimeters or above. 

Meanwhile, East China’s Shanghai recorded the chilliest day of December in four decades with temperatures expected to remain below zero all day throughout the city, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said, noting the city’s lowest temperatures will reach -4 to -6 C in the city’s suburbs. 

Local meteorological experts have forecast that the lowest temperatures will remain below 0 C in Shanghai between Thursday and Monday, possibly the coldest mid-December in the past four decades. 

The water in the West Lake in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, even froze over early Thursday morning as the temperature dropped to only -4 C, the NMC said in a post on Sina Weibo. 

Affected by the continuous low temperature, patients suffering from frostbite are also increasing, and some hospitals have set up frostbite clinics. 

A doctor from the dermatology department of Zhongda Hospital Southeast University told the Health Times – affiliated to People’s Daily – that the recent frostbite patients mainly suffer from frostbite on the hands, feet, ears, face and other parts. Most of them had stayed outdoors for a long time, such as riding electric bikes and doing outdoor work. Some children suffer from ear frostbite due to playing outdoors.

Protection efforts to restore stone tablets at 2,000-year-old Baidicheng site

A total of 56 stone tablets are set to undergo restoration at the 2,000-year-old Baidicheng site in Fengjie county, Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

There are over 70 stone tablets at Baidicheng, all carved from high-quality Three Gorges stone. Among them, the oldest is a 1,400-year-old Sui Dynasty (581-618) stone tablet.    

The inscriptions on the tablets have deteriorated due to human and environmental factors. To deal with this problem, restorers are looking to use desalination methods to remove harmful ions from the artifacts and effectively protect them, according to a report of China's state TV station CCTV. 

Lei Tingjun, curator of the Fengjie County Baidicheng Museum, said, "Desalinating and repairing some of the heavily weathered areas is sure to reveal some missing content on the tablets."

It is expected that the restoration will take six months, ending around May 2024.

In July, to better ensure the protection of ancient stone tablets, the National Cultural Heritage Administration released the first list of ancient famous stone tablets and carvings, which included a total of 1,658 prominent artifacts. Dating from the Warring States period (475BC-221BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the tablets were inscribed with 20 different types of scripts.

Baidicheng, which literally means White Emperor City, is known as the City of Poems due to the large number of poets. Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Li Bai also wrote about it in the poem Departing from Baidi in the Morning.

Another famous and talented poet, Du Fu, resided in Baidicheng for two or three years. Liu Bei, the first emperor of the Shu Han Kingdom (221-263) during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), is said to have died in Baidicheng.  However, according to Records of the Three Kingdoms, Liu died at the Yong An Gong palace. Yong An Gong was located in what is now the Normal School of Fengjie County, a few miles away from the current Baidicheng. 

In 2006, the Chinese government listed Baidicheng as a national heritage site.

Planned Philippines-Japan joint military drill raises alert, warning from Chinese experts

The Philippines and Japan hope to hold a joint exercise under a new bilateral security pact next year, which Chinese experts said on Wednesday is a dangerous plan that could pose several threats to regional peace and stability.

Gilberto Teodoro, Defense Secretary of the Philippines, said on Tuesday that a joint exercise by Philippine and Japanese troops under a proposed reciprocal access agreement (RAA) between the two countries could be held as early as next year, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.

The talks on the RAA will go "very smoothly" and be signed at "the soonest possible time," Kyodo News quoted Teodoro as saying.

The RAA will not only facilitate joint defense drills but also contain a data sharing mechanism, Teodoro said, with Kyodo News noting that Japan is supplying coastal surveillance radars to the Philippines, and that the Philippines has a similar security agreement with the US and Australia.

Teodoro then pointed to China, saying that the pact is significant in order to make the Philippines and Japan more secure, and thanked Japan for "condemning China" for an event on October 22 in which Philippine vessels trespassed into waters off China's Ren'ai Reef in the South China Sea and intentionally caused bumps amid countermeasures by the Chinese side.

China should stay on high alert over the recent military cooperation attempts between Japan and the Philippines, because they are not simple bilateral cooperation, but can cause serious consequences to regional peace and stability, analysts said.

The Philippines knows that its own military capabilities cannot support its scheme of snatching Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea, so it is colluding with countries from outside the region including the US and Japan, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"It's like inviting wolves into the house," the expert said.

Song Zhongping, another Chinese military expert, told the Global Times that Japan is breaking its military restrictions by changing its principles on arms transfers and exporting weapons to foreign countries like the Philippines.

Japan also aims to contain China's development in concert with the US' Indo-Pacific strategy, Song said.

Using the Philippines and Japan as pawns, the US is strengthening its strategic encirclement on China through allies and partners along the first and second island chains, experts said.

Countries in the South China Sea region should be cautious over this situation of external interference, which could harm the main theme of cooperation and development that benefit all, analysts said.

China’s growth needs to be discussed with a long-term view: renowned economist

Editor’s Note:
Whether the global economy can achieve recovery has become a hot topic of discussion in recent times. Along with this discussion, the growth prospects of the Chinese economy have become a global focus of attention. What potential does the Chinese economy hold for growth? Can it overcome short-term challenges and achieve long-term sustainable development? With these questions in mind, Global Times reporters Xie Wenting and Bai Yunyi (GT) recently interviewed Yukon Huang (Huang), a senior fellow with the Asia Program, formerly the World Bank’s China country director. 

GT: Recently there have been many discussions regarding China’s economy and its prospects. How do you view the prospects of China’s economic growth?
Huang: I think it’s not a short term issue. It’s not about this year. It’s about the next four to five years, because you’re talking about sustainable growth. You’re not talking about a short term economic cycle.
So the question is, can China grow at a reasonable rate for, let’s say, the next five years and beyond? I think the answer to this is it is possible. China still has significant growth potential. And if it actually addresses the right issues, it could grow a 5 or 6 percent on a sustainable basis. 

GT: You mentioned that the Chinese economy still has significant growth potential. What is the potential that you refer to?  How can this potential be realized? What are your suggestions for China’s economic transformation and development?
Huang: Sustainable development not only means environmental sustainability, but also financial sustainability. In recent years, housing construction has been one of the main drivers of China’s economic growth, but given China’s population growth, it is difficult for real estate to play this role in the future. Exports will also play a smaller role now that economic growth is slowing in both the United States and Europe, and so is their demand for Chinese manufactured goods. 

China does have several ways of increasing growth significantly on a sustainable basis without requiring more funding from the government. The critical question is not monetary expansion, or more expansionary policies, or lower interest rates, or more credit flows. It’s what can be done to increase growth without requiring more money. That’s the key question.

There are two issues that we need to be focused on. One has to do with consumption. The key question is, how do you increase consumption on a prudent basis, not just for 3 months, 6 months, or a year, and how do you increase consumption without requiring more money from the government? Now, in other countries, the answer is there isn’t any possibility to do this. But in China, you could actually increase consumption on a consistent, sustainable basis without requiring government support. It has to do with the household registration system, hukou.

So how can hukou reform provide a huge boost to consumption? The answer is, if you look at the major cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, about 30 to 40 percent of the population and workforce do not have a local hukou. These households consume about 30 percent or less of their income compared to residents with local hukou registration as they spent less in housing, cars, and education. If more big Chinese cities are able to relax their hukou policies to a certain extent, the consumption of these households will increase significantly. They would consume 30 percent more. This would increase GDP growth by 1.5 to 2 percent annually. Think about that:1  to 2 percent every year for the foreseeable future, without any cost to the government. You don’t have to provide tax breaks. You don’t have to provide any subsidies. It would basically be driven by household consumption.

GT: In China, household registration (hukou) is not only an economic issue but also involves social concerns. Do you think further relaxing the restrictions on obtaining household registration in major cities is feasible?
Huang: The government has signaled this even in the reform programs that were just launched, which talked about rapidly reforming the hukou policy. Hukou reform did not matter 10 years ago because people moved to the cities. When they moved to the cities, they made a lot more, they consume more, even though they didn’t have local hukou registration. When they had a higher income, people would spend more. So consumption increased rapidly in the past, even when you didn’t have hukou reform.

But now that urbanization has largely occurred, and it’s not increasing, rural migrants to big cities cannot be counted upon as much. You have to count on increasing the consumption of people who are already living in the cities. So that’s a completely different issue. Therefore, what needs to be done is the expansion of consumption among the population already living in cities.

GT: What other measures do you think can be taken to further unleash China’s growth potential?
Huang: First is the adjustment of government investment allocation. When I moved to China in 1997, approximately two-thirds of government investment was directed toward the coastal provinces, while one-third was allocated to the interior. However, around the year 2000, China initiated the development of the western regions, leading to increased investment in the interior, particularly in the far west. Presently, the situation has reversed, with two-thirds of state investment flowing into the interior, while only one-third is directed toward the coastal provinces.

This was rightly done because the government was trying to deal with the inequality of poverty, because most of the poor people were in the interior. So you want to provide them with more services. But today the situation is quite different. If we look at it from an economic perspective, investment in the interior is 40 percent less in returns than investment along the coastal and central provinces. If China were to achieve a balanced allocation, with 50 percent of resources directed toward the interior and 50 percent toward the coastal central areas, it could potentially result in a 1 percent annual increase in growth. Moreover, this approach would not impose any additional burden on the government as the expenditure would remain the same.

Besides, there needs to be an adjustment in funding support for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private enterprises. Currently, the return on assets for China’s SOEs is only about half that of private enterprises. Of course, a considerable portion of China’s SOEs fall within strategic sectors, and for these fields, continued financial support is necessary to foster their development. However, for a portion of areas that do not possess strategic value, a portion of the funds originally allocated to SOEs can be redirected to support more efficient private enterprises.

GT: Do you think that emerging economies, including China, can still become the engines of global economic development in the future?
Huang: If we examine the period from 2007 to 2020, developing economies and emerging market economies performed exceptionally well. A significant contributing factor to the higher growth rate of emerging market economies was the rapid expansion of China. China’s growth is closely intertwined with the growth and demand of emerging market economies, and one of the key drivers is the commodity market. When China experiences rapid growth, it stimulates the prices of commodities, minerals, and oil, which primarily benefits developing countries. China’s imports and exports have consistently increased over the last 15 years, even during the pandemic, unlike what occurred in the West. Consequently, China’s share of global exports reached record highs in 2022, despite the challenges faced by Western countries due to the pandemic, recession, and slowed growth. So when China’s trade is very strong, it drives up the trade prospects of emerging market economies. 

One thing that needs mentioning is, whether Europe can sell more consumption goods to China. That’s not the same issue for the EU depends much more on agricultural exports, service, and financial services. And that’s a different kind of issue. So, the emerging markets’ future is very much linked to China. Then the question is, well, Europe and United States recover fairly rapidly. Europe has a big problem because of its problems with Russia. So, one big issue in the future for Europe will be its economic future, which is actually dependent and is very much linked to China. Europe’s investment and Europe’s trade with China are much larger and much more closely linked than US trade investment with China.

It’s worth mentioning the role played by China-EU economic relations in this context. Europe is a producer of high-end consumer goods, whereas the US produces relatively fewer consumer goods. Such investment and trade relations between Europe and China are becoming even closer. If China’s economy thrives, Europe tends to exhibit a favorable economic performance as well. Thus, the outlook of the global economy and the strengthening of economic ties between China and Europe are closely interrelated. While some concerns arise due to political factors, my perspective is that ultimately, Europe will not take such a stance. Furthermore, given its diminishing economic connections with Russia, Europe needs to increase links with China.

COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 full of absurdities, condenses US’ hegemonic logic

The COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 was signed by President Biden on March 20 of this year. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has repeatedly hyped the "lab leak" theory, using intelligence instead of scientific evidence to manipulate the virus origin issue and fabricating illogical lies to attack China. This has not only been met with widespread opposition from the international community and the scientific community but it has also fully exposed the absurdity of the underlying logic of American hegemony.

First, the US distorts facts and creates chaos. In the law, members of Congress also included conspiracy theories that were clearly fabricated by Western media, claiming that some Chinese researchers had symptoms before the COVID-19 pandemic and demanding that the US intelligence agencies provide "specific evidence." Virus origin tracing is a serious and complex scientific issue that should be studied and explored by scientists and medical experts. Reliable evidence is necessary to draw conclusions. However, the US apparently believes that as long as it can confuse the public and rely on spreading a large amount of false information, they can condescendingly attack China without considering the scientific basis. In April 2022, former US President Obama openly stated in a speech at Stanford University that "you just have to flood a country's public square with enough raw sewage. You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, and plant enough conspiracy theorizing that citizens no longer know what to believe." 

This is the consistent cognition and practice of American hegemony, which means that wherever there is chaos, the US will profit from it. If there is no chaos, they will go to great lengths to create chaos. 

Second, the US shifts contradictions and evades responsibility. Shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, the US began to blame China, maliciously calling the novel coronavirus the "China virus" or "Panda virus," attributing the epidemic to China. Some members of the US Congress even threatened to "seek compensation" from China. However, the US has yet to provide reasonable and convincing explanations for the suspicious Fort Detrick biolab, the University of North Carolina biolab, and military biobases around the world.

Research has already confirmed that the novel coronavirus was present in the US in December 2019, but the US has been evasive and tight-lipped about it. The pandemic reflects and exacerbates the wealth gap and racial conflicts in American society. The US government repeatedly spreads rumors and creates trouble in the COVID-19 origin tracing issue, intending to divert the anger of the grassroots people towards foreign countries in order to cover up its government's mistakes and evade accountability. The US Congress members, who claim to be its representatives, not only fail to supervise and criticize the executive authorities but also collude with them, jointly smearing and attacking China using the virus origin tracing issue.

Thirdly, the US fabricates charges and exerts pressure. The COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 explicitly requires US intelligence agencies to disclose a list of "suspicious" Chinese researchers. Its intentions are more sinister than the previous US attempts to hype up the COVID-19 origin tracing issue, and its objectives are even more sinister. In the process of combating opponents and maintaining hegemony, the US repeatedly uses its power to retaliate against individuals. The most typical example is the "Meng Wanzhou case". The US not only tried to destroy Huawei but also made efforts to trap its senior executives, manipulating Canada to unreasonably detain Meng for more than a thousand days. When the US maintains its hegemony, they will fabricate various lies and despicable excuses and use the state apparatus to threaten and persecute individuals, their affiliated companies, and international organizations. The US side will use the state apparatus to persecute individuals and institutions, creating greater chaos. This will also become a "new focal point" for the US to hype up the origin tracing issue, sustain its momentum and lay the groundwork for its subsequent actions on this issue.

Of course, the underlying logic of American hegemony embodied in the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 is not limited to the above three points, but these three points are enough to outline the basic thinking and cognitive patterns of the US in maintaining hegemony. Although the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 is "full of absurdities", as a rare "sample", it highly condenses the underlying logic of American hegemony and reflects the increasingly irrational and impetuous state of the US against the background of the decline of its hegemonic power. This deserves high vigilance from the international community.

The author is assistant research fellow at Department for Developing Countries Studies, China Institute of International Studies.

US partisan politics: two ICU patients arguing over who should lead the country

"Who is McCarthy?" The New York Times quoted an American on Friday as proving US grassroots are so disconnected from politics. Why? The answer is in the headline - "How Do Americans Feel About Politics? Disgust Isn't a Strong Enough Word."

The article said "griping about politics is a time-honored American pastime but lately the country's political mood has plunged to some of the worst levels on record," thanks to the recent government shutdown crisis, chaotic Congress and the removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Many American voters interviewed said "they viewed the whole episode as evidence of broad dysfunction in Washington, and blamed political leaders for being consumed by workplace drama at the expense of the people they are meant to serve."

It also quoted a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in July, which pointed out that only 16 percent of American adults said they trusted the federal government, close to the lowest levels in seven decades of polling. 

If "disgust" isn't a strong enough word, which word would be strong enough? A more accurate adjective is hard to find to describe Americans' state of mind. It seems to be a complex emotion composed of tiredness, anger and despair. 

When Americans look at their own system, it feels as if they are watching two patients in an ICU arguing over who should lead the country, and what's worse is that they have no other options, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Since Joe Biden took office, political polarization and division in the US have not decreased, but intensified. The long-standing struggle between the Democratic and Republican parties for their own self-interest is nothing new. And now, the internal divisions within each party have become increasingly apparent, leading to a more complicated US political atmosphere.

US politicians have long caught impeachment fever. Former president Donald Trump's presidency has been an unusually busy season for impeachments. Efforts to impeach Joe Biden are also underway. McCarthy's impeachment, however, happened suddenly and unexpectedly. He was expelled from his role by a right-wing revolt in his own party over his compromise with Democrats to avert a government shutdown.

This shows that for some Republican hardliners, embracing a bipartisan deal is not tolerable, even if a deal could guarantee there would be no US government shutdown. The rules of the game are changing. Politics is no longer the art of compromise for the greater good in the US system. 

The two US political parties have long been divided from within. The Democratic Party, because of the potential threat they feel from Trump, still maintains unity and harmony on the fa?ade. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has not been so rational, as mirrored in the latest episode. Next, the House needs to elect a new speaker, but the process will turn out to be extremely difficult, Lü said. 

Having witnessed too many farces, the American people naturally develop fatigue toward the political infightings. And some start to realize the American democratic system is manipulated by a handful of elites with money, and common American people have no say in the politics, Xu Liang, an associate professor at the School of International Relations of Beijing International Studies University, told the Global Times.

The biggest problem in American politics lies with the elites. Political elites and the general public are from distinct planets — one from Mars and the other from Venus. Political elites rarely consider how to take care of their people, addressing people's concerns over livelihood, education and the economy. On the contrary, they focus on how to consolidate their political positions through creating opposition, confrontation and division. 

The New York Times writes that the Biden administration has made great efforts to combat climate change, among other things, "yet those accomplishments have not fully registered with voters." Why? Because each party tends to focus on their own traditional advantageous fields and policy positions, rather than the common interests of all Americans. Take climate change. Even if the Democratic Party yearns for a good score, the Republican Party has from time to time emphasized that climate change is a "hoax." It is difficult to guarantee whether the next administration will dismantle the achievement made by the current government. Ultimately, the US' own development of new energy technologies will be crippled and the response of the US and the world to climate change will be hampered. 

The two parties cannot even agree on the most basic issues, imagine how they can make any difference on major issues, Lü said. Lü also underlined when the Biden administration talks about economic data or boasts about its policies on some programs, they are running out of money, and borrowing money from the distant future to create some seemingly acceptable numbers. This is obscurantism, a way of deceiving people. But they cannot hide US political dysfunction forever. An economic crisis in the US will break out sooner or later, possibly in 2024, the expert warned. 

And what would the American people do? Apart from feeling tired, disappointed and hopeless, the public could choose to avoid talking about politics, pretend they are disconnected from politics, or one day express their disgust by voting out the current leaders. Unfortunately, even by then, there is still no guarantee that the next leaders will genuinely take their interests into careful consideration. 

Forget about "of the people, by the people, for the people." The current US system is one where the government is detached from the people. It presents to observers from other countries a superpower that continues to emit a decaying odor, corroding its own development vitality, disappointing its people, and causing astonishment and unease in the international community. How could such a system possibly be sustainable? 

China to study use of AI technology in avoiding space debris

China will study the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in avoiding space debris, a significant effort to use orbital resources more effectively and strengthen the control of super-large scale constellations, ensuring the safety of spacecraft in orbit and creating a new technology of rapid intelligent calculation capability for preventing large-scale space debris. 

The project on "intelligent modeling of the complex evolving principle of complex environments for space debris and autonomous monitoring" was launched by the State Key Laboratory of Astronautic Dynamics (ADL), affiliated with the Xi'an Satellite Control Center in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. 

It was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology as a "New Generation of Artificial Intelligence 2022 Major Program" in Science and Technology Innovation 2030, the Global Times learned from the satellite control center on Wednesday. 

Space debris generated by human activities has become a major obstacle and threat to space exploration. This situation urgently calls for joint efforts by the international community. 

According to researchers, there have been more than 640 events including explosions, disintegrations and collisions resulting in serious consequences during the history of astronautics.

There are more than 30,000 pieces of debris of more than 10 centimeters in space, more than 1 million with sizes ranging from 1-10 centimeters, and hundreds of millions that are just over 1 millimeter in size. 

Space debris research and monitoring face multiple challenges, including an extremely large number of pieces of passing debris at any one time. Difficulties in terms of fast computation and matching make it difficult to predict their speed, direction and fragmentation.

ADL has been engaged in researching space collision avoidance and space debris mitigation. Its new project aims to integrate AI model algorithms and domain knowledge.

"We will take the implementation of the project as an opportunity to actively align national strategic needs and cooperate with domestic competitive units to provide strong technical support for strengthening the nation's space traffic management and contributing to China's building of a space power," Li Hengnian, director of ADL, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"We will study the AI paradigm of online monitoring of space debris, the evolution of debris environment and space situational awareness," Jiang Yu, chief scientist of the project from ADL, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Nine found dead, two injured after inn fire in Guizhou’s scenic area

A fire broke out at a local inn in Liping county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, on Friday, killing nine people and injuring two others. The injured were sent to the hospital immediately, and an investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, Liping emergency management bureau said on Friday.

The fire broke out at 1:02 am Friday and was put out around 1:35 am. Preliminary investigation found that the building is a brick-concrete structure, covering an area of about 240 square meters, according to the local emergency management bureau.

The inn is close to a local tourist attraction, with the room prices ranging from around 270 yuan ($37.09) to 400 yuan each room, according to media reports. Currently, it's not available for booking.

A tourist in another hotel said she was sleeping in the hotel when the power suddenly went out. She went to the balcony and saw flames from another inn a few hundred meters away. Fire trucks and ambulances passed through the hotel she lived in, and the crowd was noisy, the tourist said, according to Sichuan-based media The Cover. After the fire broke out, there was power outage in some inns in the scenic area, said the report.

Several local firefight authorities on Friday issued the news to remind tourists to be cautious, as homestay has become popular during recent years.

Zhaoxing Dong village, known as the "first village of Dong township," has over 1,000 households and nearly 6,000 residents. And it's also well-known for its five beautiful drum towers.

Like birds of a feather, sperm flock together

BALTIMORE — When it comes to swimming sperm, it’s not every man for himself. Instead, sperm form groups that swim together, a bit like schools of fish or flocks of birds, physicists have observed.

Understanding the physics underlying such behavior in animals is difficult because their actions arise in part from cognitive processes — birds, for instance, can see what their neighbors are doing and adjust their flight path accordingly. But with sperm, group swimming emerges from the physics of the medium in which they swim, Chih-Kuan Tung of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro said in a news conference March 16 at a meeting of the American Physical Society. That makes sperm a simpler system for studying the physics behind a form of coordinated biological action. “They don’t think,” Tung said. “So whatever interaction is happening, we can quantitatively describe it.”

Sperm don’t form groups in ordinary water, Tung said, but they do in viscoelastic fluids such as the mucus of mammalian reproductive tracts. A viscoelastic fluid combines resistance to flow with the ability to restore its previous state when disturbed. Tung and colleagues created such elasticity by adding a polymer to the fluid used for testing the swimming ability of bulls’ sperm. Those experiments showed that it’s the elasticity, not the viscosity, that encourages collective swimming.

Further work will be needed, Tung said, to determine whether such group swimming confers an advantage to sperm seeking an egg. In any event, the new understanding of sperm dynamics could lead to improved methods for in vitro fertilization procedures, he said.