It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also

hroughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years. In 2006, the traditional festival was listed as part of China’s

national intangible cultural heritage. In 2008, it was recognized as a public holiday in the Chinese mainland.

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chu state

official and poet who lived during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) before the reu

nification of China under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). He was exiled after opposing his king’s decision to ally wit

h the neighboring state of Qin, and when Chu was finally conquered by Qin, he

committed suicide by drowning in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

The Chu people, who admired Qu Yuan for his loyalty and integrity, th

rew rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat the body of their po

et hero. People then started dragon boat racing to scare off the fish.

Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is cel

brated as the Dragon Boat Festival. The following are some customs for the festival.

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Xi calls for bolstering reform and developmentforts to p

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called

on Wednesday for further efforts to prevent and eliminate major problems in the nation’s reform and

development against the backdrop that uncertainties and instabilities are on the rise.

Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while presiding over a key meeting

of the Central Committee for Deepening Overall Reform. He is the director of the committee.

Saying China is facing profound changes in its reform and development against the backdro

p of increasing external uncertain and unstable factors, Xi said the country must maintain a strategic focus.

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Also, these new first-tier cities have preferential po

policies for residence permits and financial incentives to lure more talent.

For example, Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, promised bonuses of 150,000 and 200,000 yuan for house purchases to gradua

tes with master’s and doctoral degrees, respectively, after they work in the city for three years.

Haikou, capital of Hainan province, is attracting college students with a monthly rent s

ubsidy of 1,500 yuan, with an 18,000-yuan allowance to graduates who decide to buy an apartment there.

Employment, especially some groups such as college gradu

ates and demobilized military staff, remains a priority to the government.

Premier Li Keqiang said at a teleconference on May 13 that employme

nt pressure will be felt this year by a larger number of college graduates. However, promotin

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang urged the US gover

 government on Tuesday to consider the costs it would bear through raising tariffs.

He reiterated that China will never capitulate under any external pressure and hopes the US meets China halfway.

The US has no need to “worry about” China’s affairs, Geng said at a daily news conference. The country has made progress i

improving its foreign investment environment and has become a popular investment destination, he sa

id, citing the expansion of US-based Exxon Mobil Corp and Tesla Inc in the market last year.

Geng stressed that China welcomes foreign companies to increase investment in the market and will co

ntinue to establish a more stable, fair, transparent and predictable investment and business environment.

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In the past several months, China has announced and

started to implement a “negative list” program that allows foreign co

mpanies to have 100 percent ownership in investments in all areas of the economy, excep

t for a small number of areas, such as telecoms and defense, that are explicitly prohibited.

Also, foreign investment has been simplified by creating a one-stop regulatory shop and a single application process.

These new policies will lead to greater competition within China, forcing C

hina’s companies to become more efficient and to produce higher quality products.

The Chinese government has also recently announced tax cuts and financial regulations desi

gned to help private companies. This will hasten the ongoing transition to a market-driven economy.

Most Chinese State-owned enterprises are not relevant to trade negotiations. Many are in non-tradable sectors such as p

roperty development, infrastructure, or concrete. Others are basically public utilities in telecoms or power.

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The Organizing Committee on Friday also unveiled its

 plans for volunteer recruitment and training. International recruit

ment, which will be launched in December through an online system, aims to select 27,000

volunteers to directly serve the Games’ operation, while another 80,000 or so will work as city volunteers.

The Games’ official mascot will be unveiled in the second half of this year.

hina expects to participate in more international assessments of t

he impacts of climate change and human activities on Arctic ecosystems, a senior official said.

Protection of Arctic species and the natural restoration of ecosystems can be a key in such cooperation, said Wang Hong,

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China’s consumer inflation quickens tosumer price ind

China’s consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, gr

ew 2.5 percent year-on-year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday.

The reading, in line with market expectations, accelerated from the 2.3 percent gain in March and 1.5 percent in Febru

ary. On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent, compared with the 0.4 percent drop seen a month earlier.

NBS official Dong Yaxiu attributed the rise to higher prices of vegetables, pork and fruit, which ros

e 17.4 percent, 14.4 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively, from the same period last year due to tighter supplies.

Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of weighting in China’s CPI, went up 6.1 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, China’s producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation at the factory gates, rose

0.9 percent year-on-year last month, up from the 0.4 percent gain in March that showed improving market demand.

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All of this has inspired confidence that the Chinese eco

Chinese economy can reach its indicative growth target of 6-6.5 percent in 2019.

Lower growth rate may mean more room for adjustment

Most Chinese economists seem quite comfortable with this targeted range. One explanati

on is that China’s potential growth rate is 6-6.5 percent, and a target should be set accordingly. Another is that a

lower growth rate would give the economy more room for structural adjustment.

From 1978 to 2008, China averaged an impressive 9.5 percent annual g

rowth rate. Then the global financial crisis struck, causing growth to plummet from 9.7 p

ercent in the third quarter of 2008 to 6.6 percent in the second quarter of 2009. A 4-trillion-yuan ($640 billion) sti

mulus package, introduced in November 2008, soon brought about a powerful rebound, with GDP growth rea

ching 12.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010. But since then China’s economic growth has been declining, partly b

ecause the government withdrew its stimulus. Last year, China’s GDP grew by 6.6 percent.

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Using a variety of advanced technologies-augmente

 reality, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and human-computer interaction-scenes are create

d based on ancient Chinese classics, such as the Classic of Mountains and Seas, in which mythical an

imals appear in forests, lightning flashes, thunder rumbles, wind blows and rain pours.

Visitors can experience primeval nature in a part of the exhibition developed by the Beijing World Horticultural Expo Co

ordination Bureau and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Automation.

In addition, visitors can experience what it’s like to ride in an autonomous vehicle. Three driv

erless vehicles developed by Baidu-two with eight seats and one with four seats-offer rides in the park.

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President calls on think tanks to boost teamwork, Belt, Roa

President Xi Jinping called on Wednesday for exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign think

tanks for more high-quality research results to push Belt and Road construction to a higher level.

Xi made the remark in a congratulatory letter to the i

naugural meeting of the Belt and Road Studies Network held in Beijing on Wednesday.

The launch of the think tank network took place ahead of the Second Belt and Road Fo

rum for International Cooperation being held from Thursday to Saturday in the capital.

Xi said in the letter that the development of history, the prosper

ity of civilizations and the progress of mankind are closely connected with the guidance of advanced thought.

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