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French woman in high heels wins slackline challenge

Mimi Guesdon, 32, finishes in nine minutes and 24 seconds to win the 2018 Tianmen Mountain Female High-heeled Highline Challenge in Central China’s Hunan province, on May 21, 2018. [Photo by Peng Liping for chinadaily.com.cn]

A French woman has won a challenge in Central China’s Hunan province that required contestants to cross a slackline 1,300 meters above the ground while wearing heels.

Mimi Guesdon, 32, finished in just nine minutes and 24 seconds to win the 2018 Tianmen Mountain Female High-heeled Highline Challenge on Monday.

The contest, held close to Zhangjiajie’s Tianmen Cave, required entrants to wear 5-centimeter heels and walk at least 55 meters, without falling, as quickly as possible.

Canada’s Mia Noblet was the first to attempt the task, taking 22 minutes and 36 seconds. The only other competitor, Faith Dickey of the United States, failed to go the distance on three attempts.

Reform, opening-up exhibition receives over 520,000 visits

Visitors look at the model of locomotive during a major exhibition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up at the National Museum of China in Beijing, Nov 24, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — The exhibition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up has received more than 520,000 visits as of Nov 26, according to the exhibition office Monday.

Incorporating texts, photos, videos, new media technologies, and interactive activities, Xinhua News Agency, one of the organizers, has become one of the highlights of the exhibition during the past two weeks.

A camera-like machine attracted many visitors. People can select one of the 12 photos taken by Xinhua about the reform and opening-up, and the machine can combine the photo with visitors’ own pictures to produce and print a unique “postcard.”

“It is worth waiting for so long,” said a visitor named Sun Zhao.

The exhibition opened in the National Museum on Nov 13.

Craftsman wants to spread folk techniques of woodturning

A traditional rural handicraft that makes wooden bowls with tree roots has been passed down for generations in Shawo village, Handan city in North China’s Hebei province.

Named as Muxuan in Chinese or woodturning by locals, the folk craft has a history of more than five centuries and the tradition has been passed down for generations, according to local historical records.

During the craft’s golden age in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Shawo village had more than a hundred family workshops that made wooden bowls. About 400,000 pieces of the bowls were sold nationwide each year.

The woodturning craft was listed as a city-level intangible cultural heritage by Handan in 2017.

Photo taken on April 12, 2018 is a woodturning craft toy. [Photo/IC]

Li Xuemin, the 11th generation for inheriting the woodturning techniques, visited some senior craftsmen at Shawo village in recent years, learned skills from them and repaired some old woodturning lathes.

“Traditional craft should be preserved here, and my aim is to promote the woodturning techniques among young generations,” 42-year-old Li said.

Li has been invited to exhibitions on wooden culture in different countries including the US, Laos and Cambodia to live show the process of making wooden bowls with hands and feet operating a lathe.

“I hope more and more people will know about the traditional Chinese culture,” he said.

Belt and Road journalists tour sites in Hangzhou

Senior editors and reporters from 12 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative visited the Xiling Seal Engravers Society near the West Lake in Hangzhou on June 30. The group also visited China (Hangzhou) Cross-border E-commerce Comprehensive Pilot Area to know about the updated development of the zone. [Photos by Tang Yaochang and Lu Lei/chinadaily.com.cn]

Report: Chinese people have less leisure time

A woman exercises at a fitness center accessed by an app in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in February. TAO KE / FOR CHINA DAILY

The average leisure time of Chinese people has decreased to 2.27 hours per day in 2017 from 2.55 hours three years ago, according to a newly released joint report by the National Academy of Economic Strategy and Tourism Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Friday.

The 2018 Green Book of China’s Leisure is the sixth report since 2009 focused on Chinese people’s leisure lives, spanning vacations, healthcare and sports.

Residents in four first-tier cities have the least daily leisure time, with only 1.94 hours in Shenzhen, 2.04 hours in Guangzhou, 2.14 hours in Shanghai, and 2.25 hours in Beijing. These leisure times are nearly half those of the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, the report said.

Leisure time has become a vital element affecting residents’ satisfaction with the quality of life, even more important than income in recent years. Meanwhile there are still problems for the government to solve to help residents gain more time for leisure by reforming vocational and working systems, according to the report.

Civil Aviation Administration unveils guideline on sustainable development

A turboprop aircraft is seen at the Yantai International Airport in Yantai, Shandong province. [Photo by Lin Yizeng/for China Daily]

The Civil Aviation Administration on Friday unveiled the guideline on sustainable development of the industry, calling for energy saving and carbon reduction by aircraft, efficiency improvement of air traffic control and better service for passengers.

The industry has made progress in energy saving, emission reduction and bio-fuel, but there are still problems such as insufficient understanding of “green development” and a lack of unified industry standards, said Gu Xiaohong, deputy director of the administration’s general affairs department.

According to the guideline, related policies, standards and evaluation system of civil aviation’s sustainable development will be established by 2020. And further achievements are expected in resource conservation, environmental protection and the application of new technologies.

The industry should strive to lift the fuel efficiency of aircraft, improve operational management of air traffic control departments, and offer higher-quality airport service, the guideline said.

It also called for green service for passengers, with focus on improving the punctuality of fights, shortening the time for customs clearance and baggage collection, and better public transportation at airports.

Gu said that a sustainable development will bring more advanced technologies and managment to the industry, and help the country’s civil aviation sector gain more international influence.

Deadly fire brings review

Patients injured in the hotel fire receive treatment at Harbin First Hospital on Saturday. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Harbin hotel had failed four safety inspections

A deadly blaze in Northeast China that killed 20 people and injured 23, including firefighters, has triggered a nationwide inspection of densely populated areas, as the country enters its fire-prone period and tourism rush.

The blaze at the four-story Beilong Hot Spring Hotel in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, started at 4:36 am on Saturday.

More than 100 firefighters with 30 fire trucks extinguished the fire at 7:50 am after evacuating more than 80 people and rescuing 20 others who had been trapped. They found 19 bodies. One of the injured died in the hospital.

The fire started in a kitchen on the second floor and burned an area of around 400 square meters, according to the provincial fire department.

Police have detained the legal representative of the hotel, Zhang Weiping, 46. Officials are also looking into the cause of the fire and are yet to establish the identities of all the victims. Most of the injured are being treated at Harbin First Hospital.

“We launched an emergency response effort and opened a green channel to ensure the timely treatment of the injured after receiving the news,” said Liu Yuehong, deputy director of the hospital.

“Many of the 20 patients at our hospital were affected by gas poisoning. Some had external injuries. All are in stable condition and need further observation and treatment.”

Gao Renwen, 72, was the first to call the police. “When I saw the fire, my first thought was to dial 110,” he said, adding that he heard the leader of his tour group urgently shouting downstairs after the call.

Water plant gives Lizhuang cleaner future

People in Lizhuang, a town more than 1,400 years old in Sichuan province, are confident their lives will improve with the construction of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

The town of 48,700 used to witness the discharge of untreated water into its mother river – the Yangtze.

In January, a plant that can treat 5,000 metric tons of water a day went into operation.

With an investment of 80 million yuan ($1.2 million), the plant, with eight kilometers of pipelines, can ensure water discharged into the Yangtze River is up to standard, said Zeng Xiangli, head of the Lizhuang town government.

Last year, 3.8 million visitors came to Lizhuang.

Since our country started construction of the Yangtze Economic Belt two years ago, the local government has taken measures to improve the environment. That will bring more visitors and increase local people’s incomes, said Li Jun, a guide in the town.

Located on the southern bank of the river, Lizhuang started as a fishing village and developed into a thriving town. Its streets and lanes retain the layout and original construction styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

The streets and lanes have their old names, such as Scholar, Sheep, Well and Mat streets. With widths ranging from 2 to 6 meters, they are mainly paved with slab stones.

Lizhuang boasts many ancient temples and ancestral halls housing valuable cultural relics.

Forty-eight cranes decorate the window of the main hall of the Ancestral Hall of the Zhang Family. The cranes have different postures and there are no repetitions. They are either spreading their wings, flying or kissing.

In addition to its ancient buildings, Lizhuang is known for the influx of famous research institutions and institutions of higher learning during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) that were seeking shelter from the war.

The institutions, which included the National Central Museum and National Tongji University, did not leave Lizhuang until the war was over.

The town also attracted famous scholars, such as Liang Sicheng and his wife Lin Huiyin, experts in architecture.

During their six-year-stay in Lizhuang, the couple visited most of the ancient structures in Sichuan. With Lin’s help, Liang compiled the History of Chinese Architecture, the first book of its kind in China.

The couple’s former residence can still be found in the town.

Shaanxi to pay elite athletes performance bonuses

XI’AN – The Shaanxi government will pay its elite athletes bonuses for good performances in the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2017 Tianjin National Games and 2018 Asian Games.

According to the resolution, which was proposed by the Shaanxi provincial sports bureau, over 120 players (or teams) and coaches will be awarded over 38 million yuan (5.5 million US dollars).

“Each Olympic silver medal winner will receive 300,000 yuan. 200,000 yuan will go to every bronze medal winner, while each Asian Games champion in Jakarta will receive 100,000 yuan. Each National Games winner will receive 400 000 yuan,” an official at the Shaanxi provincial sports bureau told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Head coaches, assistant coaches and research personnel all receive bonuses. Some age group talent and amateurs who participated in the National Games last year, will also be rewarded this time.

In the three big events, Shaanxi athletes earned 19 gold medals, 21 silver medals and 20 bronze medals. Si Yajie, who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, two Chinese National Games medals and one Asian Games gold medal, will be paid more than one million yuan in bonuses.

Understanding grows through joint patrols

The first joint patrol of Chinese and Italian police officers in Rome, Italy, on May 2, 2016. Jin Yu / Xinhua

Deng Pan, a police officer in the Beijing Public Security Bureau’s exit-entry administration, was excited to talk about her 20-day joint patrol in Italy earlier this year. She considers the experience a life-enhancing treasure.

Deng and nine other Chinese police officers in four groups went to Rome, Milan, Venice and Prato from May 28 to June 17 to participate in patrols, with the aim of helping Italian police solve cases involving Chinese tourists or local Chinese residents.

The idea emerged in 2015, when China and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding about setting up joint patrols in tourism spots in both countries to face rapidly increasing travel between the countries in recent years. It was the first such agreement between China and another country.

“We opened a special hotline for Chinese tourists to make reports during the patrols in Italy, and all the reports were handled by the Chinese police because we had no language barriers and could also clearly explain Italian laws and judicial procedures to people,” Deng said.

Unlike the previous two patrols in Italy in 2016 and 2017, Deng and her fellow officers took on another task this year: helping Italian police connect with local Chinese enterprises and Chinese communities to educate them about security requirements.

“We were like a bridge between the Italian police and local Chinese,” Deng said.

Wang Shaofeng, an exit-entry officer from the public security bureau in Beijing’s Fengtai district, remembered a Chinese student he met during his patrol stint in Rome last year.

“The student looked at us for some time as we patrolled around the Colosseum. When she was sure we were Chinese police, she rushed to ask for help,” Wang said. “She was anxious because she had lost her passport and had difficulty explaining her suffering to the Italian police.”

After the Chinese police communicated with their Italian counterparts, the student contacted the Chinese embassy and the case was eventually solved.

Both Wang and Deng speak English, but Deng also speaks Italian. People with foreign language ability occupy an important place in international cooperation, the bureau said.

The patrol in Italy provides an opportunity for Chinese police to better understand how Italian police work, Wang added.

Deng concurred. “When I arrived in Italy and worked with the Italians to solve cases, I came to understand both their law enforcement and legal culture – information that was hard to grasp at home,” she said. “The better communications we have, the more cooperation we will have in the future.”