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Scientists believe that the lunar crust on the far side is much thicker than the near side. However, the reality is still a mystery, and only on site exploration will reveal the truth.

For astronomers, the far side of the moon is a place of ideal tranquility, as the body of the moon shields against radio interference from the earth. From there, they can study the origins and evolution of stars and galaxies, peering into the dawn of the universe.

Chang’e-4’s low-frequency radio astronomical observation on the moon’s far side will fill many gaps in astronomical observation.

The probe also took six live species — cotton, rapeseed, potato, arabidopsis, fruit fly and yeast — to the lifeless environment to form a mini biosphere, which is expected to produce the first flower on the moon.

Chinese space engineers also plan to measure temperatures on the surface of the moon from day to night to get first-hand data.

“Exploring the far side of the moon is one contribution China is making to the world. Although we still don’t know what we might find, this exploration might influence several generations,” said Shen Zhenrong, a designer of the lunar rover.

Wu Weiren said: “Exploring the unknown is human nature. The moon is a mysterious world to us. We have a responsibility to explore and to understand it. Exploration of the moon will also deepen our understanding of the earth and ourselves.”

A passion for stringed things that began with radio waves

Someone some time early last century seems to have decided that an instrument that for more than 2,000 years had been known as the qin needed some brand differentiation. Qin essentially refers to a stringed instrument, and for a long time that name was good enough for Chinese.

However, eventually to distinguish it from Western instruments such as the piano (in Chinese the gangqin), the harp (shuqin) and the violin (xiaotiqin), the qin became the guqin, that gu meaning old or traditional.

Now, you may think that the most important of the word quqin is qin, for ultimately it is the qin, along with the player, that has all the work to do in making music, but Ma Weiheng sees things a little differently.

For Ma it is that wonderful character gu that gives the qin all of its character. For him it embodies the centuries of all that is wonderful about the guqin and its music.

Ma has a reputation second to none in making guqin, and last year he was designated a national-level inheritor of China’s representative intangible cultural heritage projects, a tribute to a man whose love of the instrument goes back 35 years.

Ma’s introduction to the guqin came the way many of us first stumble on a piece of music or an artist we end up liking-the radio. He was 20 at the time and he says he was entranced by the euphonious notes flowing out of that little box. He learned that what he had heard was guqin music, and thereafter he began a quest not only to learn more about the instrument but to learn how to play it.

That of course required a tutor, and finding someone was a monumentally difficult task because at that time there were fewer than 100 qugin players in China.

However, Ma was literally well placed to succeed in such a task for his hometown, Yangzhou, is a center of guqin culture, and several years later he made contact with Hu Lan, a player of the Guangling school, who took him on as a student.

In Chinese tradition guqin playing is valued as one of the four arts-the others being Chinese board games (qi), calligraphy (shu) and painting (hua)-and players are required to have qualities that extend well beyond the instrument and its seven strings. So for the first three months of his studies, Ma did not even get to touch a guqin. Rather, he and Hu discussed poetry, prose, art, opera and scholars’ writing paraphernalia.

“Later my teacher told me that she had been teaching me from the very beginning,” Ma says. “Guqin is not simply a plucked instrument. Its culture contains more than musicality, but also history, literature and philosophy.”

China’s rapid development has revitalized the fate of more than 1.3 billion Chinese people

China’s rapid development has revitalized the fate of more than 1.3 billion Chinese people. In China, a migrant worker has more access to opportunities and facilities than those in other developing countries and even ordinary people in some developed countries. A person strives to seek more opportunities in big cities. Don’t underestimate the courier buddies in Chinese cities. They are a group that runs quite fast. China’s rise has prompted every Chinese to work hard and brought larger economic gains than people of other developing countries.

People hate inflation the most. A currency’s stable exchange rate is one of the conditions to reduce inflation. There are two reasons why China has not been affected by external forces: China’s large economy and strong system. As a result, China has a rarely seen anchoring power in the world and the Chinese yuan is quite stable.

Protecting the yuan is protecting the country’s fruits of labor. In many developing countries, people don’t dare to keep their own currency but instead use the dollar or euro.

Think about it. How horrible it will be if your deposit suddenly depreciates by half someday and your annuity vanishes due to a vicious financial crisis.

The Chinese yuan still has a unit of fen – 1 yuan equals 100 fen. The highest denomination of the currency is the 100-yuan bill, while many developing countries struggle to curtail large denomination notes because of a currency meltdown. It is a miracle that China’s political and economic strength helped sustain the stability of the yuan’s exchange rate.

There is no way for a big country like China to rely on others for development. The miracle of small economies will not work for China, just as you cannot drive a truck like a go-cart. Chinese people must cherish the power of their country, especially the stable development. It doesn’t matter if China encounters problems and slows down; what really matters is making steady pace and avoiding irreparable mistakes.

Living in China means people have the highest probability to improve their lives. No place can match China in relatively balanced development and comprehensively improving living standards.

Some people may ask why I compare China to developing countries. Indeed, China can as well be compared to developed nations. This is the result of China’s rapid growth; it can now compete with developed countries.

Like most Chinese people, I don’t have any overseas deposits. All my interests and opportunities lie here in China. My greatest wish is to make China better, like everyone else, I suppose. All of us are the most faithful participants and cheerleaders in China’s healthy development.

Is US really ‘in no rush’ to make a trade deal with China?

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was “in no rush” to make a trade deal with China, but we don’t believe it.

Trump’s tough stance comes in the wake of increased concerns expressed by US society over the trade row with China. It is understandable Trump doesn’t want China to know he is under pressure and what his bottom line is in the negotiations.

Trump will probably use this stance to maintain maximum pressure on China, forcing Beijing to make its biggest concession at the last moment of the trade talks. For a businessman like Trump, this negotiation strategy is typical. We believe Chinese officials can easily see through this.

Despite Trump’s tough stance, many in the US are in a rush to complete a trade pact with China in a bid to end the trade war. According to a survey released in December by The Wall Street Journal, nearly half of the economists surveyed cited the trade war as the top threat to the US economy in 2019, the highest percentage of any single threat. The US’ trade war with China has had many casualties, which are exerting invisible pressure on the bilateral trade talks.

In 2018, Chinese foreign direct investment in the US plummeted by 83 percent year-on-year, according to a report released by law firm Baker McKenzie. As Trump escalated the trade war with China, tighter scrutiny reduced the sources of investment for US companies, especially those in high-tech industries in Silicon Valley.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said recently in an interview with CNN that “If this US administration always treats other countries, companies or individuals in a ferocious way, then no one would dare invest in the US.”

Technologies and investments can be divided by the Trump administration into two different sets – the West and China – but US companies don’t want money to be labeled by nationality and ideology.

The trade war is making life harder for not only the country’s super-rich but also ordinary farmers. Any US official who listens to public opinion should have understood the urgency of completing a trade pact with China. We believe the Trump administration has a willingness to negotiate with Beijing and make a deal.

The Chinese side has shown its sincerity in negotiations. If Washington’s demands are in line with the direction of China’s efforts to further open up its economy, it will be easier for the two sides to make a deal. China and the US still have a chance to seek common ground in the trade talks to end the trade row.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Green Book’s simplicity wins Chinese hearts

Not a moviegoer, I was exposed to the overwhelming praise of the Oscar’s best picture Green Book both online and otherwise. Several of my friends’ undying acclaim forced me to walk into the overcrowded cinema in Beijing on a Saturday night.

It indeed didn’t let me down. The audience, including me, constantly burst into laughter through the entire movie. A girl in front kept telling her companion that she would watch it again.

I enjoyed the movie just as much as she did and it left me with an unsatiated curiosity about its surprising popularity in China.

Taking a glance at China’s box office ranking, the top three Chinese movies are Wolf Warrior 2, Wandering Earth and Operation Red Sea, while top Hollywood blockbusters are The Fate of the Furious and Avengers. It seems Chinese audience show special preference for local productions demonstrating the country’s strength. They also prefer Hollywood movies with celebrities, spectacular locales and high-end visual effects.

Green Book, however, has neither of these elements. In addition, the story’s historical context is far from familiar for Chinese people.

But those “limitations” have not at all affected the fact that the movie is a hit in China. The film has taken more than 448 million yuan ($66.7 million) at box office, and earned a score of 8.9/10 on an influential Chinese film discussion portal (better than 98 percent comedies and 97 percent dramas).

In contrast, I noticed that there is widespread criticism about the movie’s oversimplified portrait of racial conflicts inside the US. Then what on earth makes the American film so popular in a foreign land, China?

It is precisely because of most Chinese people’s scant knowledge about the storyline’s historical background, so that the audience can focus on the good story, lifelike character images and rich emotions.

Except the racial conflict and class segregation, puzzles brought about by prejudice, misunderstanding and stereotypes are universal in every nation.

Economic issues top agenda at upcoming two sessions

As thousands of Chinese lawmakers and political advisors start to arrive in Beijing for the annual legislative and political consultative sessions, the most important political event in the country, there will be major tasks to be fulfilled and abundant issues to be discussed.

Apart from standard orders of business – reviewing work reports from top government branches and setting the national budget for the year – they are expected to pass or introduce legislation and proposals covering topics such as environment policies and poverty alleviation efforts.

In the wake of profound challenges in the economy, however, economic topics will likely take center stage, with at least one key piece of legislation and numerous proposals expected, observers said.

The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top political advisory body, and the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislative body, are slated to kick off their annual meetings – collectively known as the two sessions – on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

At the two sessions, nearly 3,000 NPC deputies, consisting of government officials, ordinary workers and others, and more than 2,000 CPPCC National Committee members representing various fields will have their chance to weigh in on the government’s performance over the past year and policy directions for the new year.

“Economic topics are usually the hottest topics during the two sessions each year, but given the tremendous internal and external challenge we face, there will be even greater focus on economic policies this year,” Li Daxiao, chief economist at Shenzhen-based Yingda Securities, told the Global Times on Friday.

‘Green Book’, ‘Roma’ win big at 2019 Oscars

Peter Farrelly accepts the award for Best Picture for Green Book at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. [Photo/IC]
Green Book, a comedy drama film directed by Peter Farrelly, won the Best Picture Award at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, or the Oscars, held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in the western US city of Los Angeles on Sunday night.

The film defeated strong competition from Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favorite, Roma, A Star Is Born and Vice.

Britain’s Olivia Colman won a surprise best actress Oscar for her performance as an ailing, petulant monarch in historical film The Favorite.

Rami Malek won the Best Actor Award for music biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Malek was awarded for his incandescent performance as Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, making him the first Egyptian-American to win the Oscars’ top acting prize.

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron won the Best Director Award for the monochromatic drama film Roma.

Cuaron beat out fierce rivals, including Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War, Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favorite and Adam McKay for Vice.

Chinese-centric Bao claimed Best Animated Short at the ceremony.

The short is written and directed by Chinese-born Canadian director Domee Shi and produced by Pixar Animation Studios.

Bao explores the life of a Chinese immigrant mom living in Toronto with her inattentive husband and struggling to cope with loneliness after her beloved son flies the nest. Remarkably, the mom’s deep, empty-nester angst turns to joy when a cute, leftover dumpling (a bao) comes alive in true Pinocchio fashion.

Shi is the first woman and first Chinese writer and director of a Pixar short.

I TOWARD THE ETERNAL FIRES

I WAS BORN IN CONNECTICUT ABOUT THIRTY YEARS ago. My name is David Innes. My father was a wealthy mine owner. When I was nineteen he died. All his property was to be mine when I had attained my majority—provided that I had devoted the two years intervening in close application to the great business I was to inherit.

I did my best to fulfil the last wishes of my parent—not because of the inheritance, but because I loved and honored my father. For six months I toiled in the mines and in the counting-rooms, for I wished to know every minute detail of the business.

Then Perry interested me in his invention. He was an old fellow who had devoted the better part of a long life to the perfection of a mechanical subterranean prospector. As relaxation he studied paleontology. I looked over his plans, listened to his arguments, inspected his working model—and then, convinced, I advanced the funds necessary to construct a full-sized, practical prospector.

I shall not go into the details of its construction—it lies out there in the desert now—about two miles from here. Tomorrow you may care to ride out and see it. Roughly, it is a steel cylinder a hundred feet long, and jointed so that it may turn and twist through solid rock if need be. At one end is a mighty revolving drill operated by an engine which Perry said generated more power to the cubic inch than any other engine did to the cubic foot. I remember that he used to claim that that invention alone would make us fabulously wealthy—we were going to make the whole thing public after the successful issue of our first secret trial—but Perry never returned from that trial trip, and I only after ten years.

I recall as it were but yesterday the night of that momentous occasion upon which we were to test the practicality of that wondrous invention. It was near midnight when we repaired to the lofty tower in which Perry had constructed his “iron mole” as he was wont to call the thing. The great nose rested upon the bare earth of the floor. We passed through the doors into the outer jacket, secured them, and then passing on into the cabin, which contained the controlling mechanism within the inner tube, switched on the electric lights.

Perry looked to his generator; to the great tanks that held the life-giving chemicals with which he was to manufacture fresh air to replace that which we consumed in breathing; to his instruments for recording temperatures, speed, distance, and for examining the materials through which we were to pass.

Chinese entrepreneur wins Italian economic award

Chinese entrepreneur Tan Xuguang from Shandong province received the Leonardo International Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to economic exchanges between China and Italy at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome on March 20.

As a category of the Leonardo Award, the most influential award among Italian companies to recognize the economic person of the year, the Leonardo International Award is given to a foreigner in Italy who made great efforts to promote bilateral exchanges in areas such as the economy and technology.

Tan, chairman of Chinese heavy-truck and components developer and manufacturer Weichai Group and Italian yacht-maker Ferretti Group, is the only foreign entrepreneur to get the award of this kind, showing the influence and competiveness of Chinese companies on the international stage.

According to Tan, Weichai will facilitate Ferretti, the world’s largest luxury yacht manufacturer, to enter into China’s marine market through strategic restructuring and promote the high-quality transformation of Shandong’s marine economy.

In 2018, Weichai Group’s revenue exceeded 230 billion yuan ($34.42 billion), 40 percent of which came from overseas markets, making itself a well-known Chinese manufacturer in international markets.

Chinese entrepreneur Tan Xuguang from Shandong province receives the Leonardo International Award at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome on March 20. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn
The Leonardo International Award, given to Chinese entrepreneur Tan Xuguang this year. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

evidence of his resource. But he shook his head with a sort of suppressed smile, a faint blush, and an air of proud humility that was

natural to him: ‘I think,’ he said, ‘we have had enough of leaders; it is not in my way; I shall remain the last of the rank and file.’
So little desirous, originally, was Lord George Bentinck to interfere actively in that great controversy in which ultimately he took so leading a part, that before the meeting of Parliament in 1846 he begged a gentleman whom he greatly esteemed, a member of the legal profession, and since raised to its highest honours, to call upon him at Harcourt House, when he said that he had taken great pains to master the case of the protective system; that he was convinced its abrogation would ultimately be very injurious to this country; but although, both in point of argument and materials, he feared no opponent, he felt constitutionally so incapable of ever making a speech, that he wished to induce some eminent lawyer to enter the House of Commons, and avail himself of his views and materials, which he had, with that object, reduced to writing. He begged, therefore, that his friend, although a free-trader, would assist him, by suggesting a fitting person for this office.
Accordingly, the name of a distinguished member of the bar, who had already published a work of merit, impugning the principles of the new commercial system, was mentioned, and this learned gentleman was applied to, and was not indisposed to accept the task. A mere accident prevented this arrangement being accomplished. Lord George then requested his friend to make some other selection; but his adviser very sensibly replied, that although the House of Commons would have listened with respect to a gentleman who had given evidence of the sincerity of his convictions by the publication of a work which had no reference to Parliament, they would not endure the instance of a lawyer brought into the House merely to speak from his brief; and that the attempt would be utterly fruitless. He earnestly counselled Lord George himself to make the effort; but Lord George, with characteristic tenacity, clung for some time to his project, though his efforts to accomplish it were fortunately not successful.
Some of the friends of Lord George Bentinck, remembering his inexperience in debate, aware of the great length at which he must necessarily treat the theme, and mindful that he was not physically well-qualified for controlling popular assemblies, not having a strong voice, or, naturally, a very fluent manner, were anxious that he should not postpone his speech until an hour so late; that an audience, jaded by twelve nights’ discussion, would be ill-attuned to statistical arguments and economical details. But still clinging to the hope that some accident might yet again postpone the division, so that the Protectionists might gain the vote of Mr. Hildyard, who had been returned that day for South Notts, having defeated a cabinet minister, Lord George remained motionless until long past midnight. Mr. Cobden having spoken on the part of the confederation, the closing of the debate was felt to be inevitable. Even then, by inducing a Protectionist to solicit the Speaker’s eye, Lord George attempted to avert the division; but no supporter of the government measure, of any colour, advancing to reply to this volunteer, Bentinck was obliged to rise. He came out like a lion forced from his lair. And so it happened, that after all his labours of body and mind, after all his research and unwearied application and singular vigilance, after having been at his post for a month, never leaving the House, even for refreshment, he had to undertake the most difficult enterprise in which a man can well embark, with a concurrence of every disadvantage which could ensure failure and defeat. It would seem that the audience, the subject, and the orator, must be equally exhausted; for the assembly had listened for twelve nights to the controversy, and he who was about to address them had, according to his strange habit, taken no sustenance the whole day; it being his custom to dine after the House was up, which was very often long after midnight, and this, with the exception of a slender breakfast, rigidly restricted to dry toast, was his only meal in the four-and-twenty hours.