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“Come to think of it,” remarked California Ed, “it’s funny some ain’t drifted in. Town ain’t settled enough yet for to bring in the rubber- ring brigade, I reckon.”

“To top off this Christmas-tree splurge of Cherokee’s,” went on Baldy, “he’s goin’ to give an imitation of Santa Claus. He’s got a white wig and whiskers that disfigure him up exactly like the pictures of this William Cullen Longfellow in the books, and a red suit of fur-trimmed outside underwear, and eight-ounce gloves, and a stand-up, lay-down croshayed red cap. Ain’t it a shame that a outfit like that can’t get a chance to connect with a Annie and Willie’s prayer layout?”

“When does Cherokee allow to come over with his truck?” inquired Trinidad.

“Mornin’ before Christmas,” said Baldy. “And he wants you folks to have a room fixed up and a tree hauled and ready. And such ladies to assist as can stop breathin’ long enough to let it be a surprise for the kids.”

The unblessed condition of Yellowhammer had been truly described. The voice of childhood had never gladdened its flimsy structures; the patter of restless little feet had never consecrated the one rugged highway between the two rows of tents and rough buildings. Later they would come. But now Yellowhammer was but a mountain camp, and nowhere in it were the roguish, expectant eyes, opening wide at dawn of the enchanting day; the eager, small hands to reach for Santa’s bewildering hoard; the elated, childish voicings of the season’s joy, such as the coming good things of the warm-hearted Cherokee deserved.

Of women there were five in Yellowhammer. The assayer’s wife, the proprietress of the Lucky Strike Hotel, and a laundress whose washtub panned out an ounce of dust a day. These were the permanent feminines; the remaining two were the Spangler Sisters, Misses Fanchon and Erma, of the Transcontinental Comedy Company, then playing in repertoire at the (improvised) Empire Theatre. But of children there were none. Sometimes Miss Fanchon enacted with spirit and address the part of robustious childhood; but between her delineation and the visions of adolescence that the fancy offered as eligible recipients of Cherokee’s holiday stores there seemed to be fixed a gulf.

Christmas would come on Thursday. On Tuesday morning Trinidad, instead of going to work, sought the Judge at the Lucky Strike Hotel.

“It’ll be a disgrace to Yellowhammer,” said Trinidad, “if it throws Cherokee down on his Christmas tree blowout. You might say that that man made this town. For one, I’m goin’ to see what can be done to give Santa Claus a square deal.”

“My co-operation,” said the Judge, “would be gladly forthcoming. I am indebted to Cherokee for past favours. But, I do not see–I have heretofore regarded the absence of children rather as a luxury–but in this instance–still, I do not see–”

“Look at me,” said Trinidad, “and you’ll see old Ways and Means with the fur on. I’m goin’ to hitch up a team and rustle a load of kids for Cherokee’s Santa Claus act, if I have to rob an orphan asylum.”

Keeping score

By 2020, these two systems will be combined with the social credit system under a comprehensive nationwide plan launched by the Chinese government. The program will score citizens based on their social behavior.

Citizens who honor contracts and display good behavior, such as donating to charities or volunteering for community services, will be rewarded with lower utility bills and other similar benefits, while those with a poor social grade due to bad behavior, such as not paying loans on time, evading tax, selling counterfeit goods, spreading false information, forcibly occupying a seat on a train or even walking a dog without a leash, will have their privileges restricted.

The China Credit Research Center under Peking University is tasked with conducting research into credit theory and practice, and providing a decision-making basis for the government in the construction of its social credit system. Du Liqun, deputy director of the center, and her colleagues helped establish the system in 2002.

According to Du, the system is expected to be completed by 2020 in four fields – business, individual, politics and jurisdiction.

By then, the database, platforms, software and hardware at local and national levels should be in place, and each department should be ready to interact with the others and a reward and punishment mechanism will have been set up. Businesses will be given a unified social credit code and individuals will have an ID-linked code. A credit website will be set up to trace all credit records.

The system has already been implemented at the national level. Early this year, an annual report by the National Public Credit Information Center revealed that 17.5 million attempts at buying air tickets and 5.5 million attempts at buying domestic train tickets were blocked in 2018, and 128 citizens were prevented from leaving China due to unpaid taxes.

Some parts of China have also started testing the social credit system. At the provincial and city levels, websites have been set up to track the credit scores of enterprises and individuals.

The government of Yichun in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province started experimenting with the system as early as 2008. Yichun is one of the most active cities in the country in implementing the system. It has held conferences with the Credit Research Center led by Du to explore the best approaches, and is expected to have a complete set of rules and practices in place by 2020.

Chu Lidong, deputy director of the Yichun Administration for Industry and Commerce tasked with operating the system, told the Global Times that the city began with the sectors that matter most to people’s daily lives, such as transportation, education, medical care and employment. The work includes clarifying the rules for defining and publishing the credit red list and black list and improving the reward and punishment mechanism.

“But the sun, Perry!” I urged. “How in the world can the sun shine through five hundred miles of solid crust?”

“It is not the sun of the outer world that we see here. It is another sun—an entirely different sun—that casts its eternal noonday effulgence upon the face of the inner world. Look at it now, David—if you can see it from the doorway of this hut—and you will see that it is still in the exact center of the heavens. We have been here for many hours—yet it is still noon.

“And withal it is very simple, David. The earth was once a nebulous mass. It cooled, and as it cooled it shrank. At length a thin crust of solid matter formed upon its outer surface—a sort of shell; but within it was partially molten matter and highly expanded gases. As it continued to cool, what happened? Centrifugal force hurled the particles of the nebulous center toward the crust as rapidly as they approached a solid state. You have seen the same principle practically applied in the modern cream separator. Presently there was only a small super-heated core of gaseous matter remaining within a huge vacant interior left by the contraction of the cooling gases. The equal attraction of the solid crust from all directions maintained this luminous core in the exact center of the hollow globe. What remains of it is the sun you saw today—a relatively tiny thing at the exact center of the earth. Equally to every part of this inner world it diffuses its perpetual noonday light and torrid heat.

“This inner world must have cooled sufficiently to support animal life long ages after life appeared upon the outer crust, but that the same agencies were at work here is evident from the similar forms of both animal and vegetable creation which we have already seen. Take the great beast which attacked us, for example. Unquestionably a counterpart of the Megatherium of the post-Pliocene period of the outer crust, whose fossilized skeleton has been found in South America.”

“But the grotesque inhabitants of this forest?” I urged. “Surely they have no counterpart in the earth’s history.”

“Who can tell?” he rejoined. “They may constitute the link between ape and man, all traces of which have been swallowed by the countless convulsions which have racked the outer crust, or they may be merely the result of evolution along slightly different lines—either is quite possible.”

Further speculation was interrupted by the appearance of several of our captors before the entrance of the hut. Two of them entered and dragged us forth. The perilous pathways and the surrounding trees were filled with the black ape-men, their females, and their young. There was not an ornament, a weapon, or a garment among the lot.

Why Chinese drinkers are the greatest ‘contributors’ to China’s stock market

Can you imagine a major stock market with a liquor brand showing the strongest growth momentum? In China, this can and does happen. The rising share price of China’s leading liquor maker Kweichow Moutai is a reflection of the consumption transformation in the world’s second-largest economy, which is often ignored by Western observers.

In the morning trading session Monday, Moutai saw its stock price exceed 800 yuan ($119) per share, pushing its total market value above 1 trillion yuan.

With a population of about 1.4 billion and a growing army of middle-class consumers, the Chinese economy has its own characteristics. For many Western people who have never been to China, it’s hard to imagine that a liquor maker can become a first-class enterprise, standing shoulder to shoulder with some well-known US high-tech giants, but Chinese people really did it.

Amid the ongoing process of restructuring, China’s economic picture has become more complex and uneven. Some high-tech firms, such as telecoms giant Huawei, have become world leaders in developing cutting-edge technology, while other companies in traditional sectors have become pillars of the national economy, thanks to the country’s consumption transformation. These are achievements that Western media outlets all too often ignore.

Chinese scientists discover infrared stealth material

Chinese scientists have found a material that can hide a hot object from heat-sensing infrared cameras, according to Suzhou Institute of Nano-tech and Nano-bionics (SINANO).

Hiding an object from thermal cameras could be useful for military and technology applications as well as for research. The team led by Zhang Xuetong in SINANO with Chinese Academy of Sciences found a flexible, foldable and robust film that can achieve infrared stealth.

The researchers fabricated an aerogel film with good thermal insulation performance and enhanced it by coating its fibers with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and a protective waterproof layer.

PEG stores heat when it melts and releases heat when it solidifies. In simulated sunlight, the composite film covering an object soaked up heat from the sun while only slowly increasing in temperature, just like the surroundings, making the object invisible to a thermal camera.

When the light was turned off to simulate night, the coating gradually surrendered its stored heat energy to match the surroundings.

“The new material has a wide range of applications. It can not only be used for infrared stealth but also as a heat insulator for electronic components and battery separators,” Zhang said.

The findings have been published on the recent issue of the academic journal American Chemical Society.

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.