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2018年9月12日 (水)

Chinese research institute partners Aussie university

  China's Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute (JITRI) has signed an agreement with Australia's University of New South Wales on Thursday, to collaborate on 10 major technology projects.

  As part of the deal, an 8-million-Australian dollar (5.8-million-U.S. dollar) investment fund was set up to drive innovation in advanced materials, biotechnology, energy and environmental engineering.

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  With the research projects set to take place at UNSW's Torch Innovation precinct, the latest collaboration at the facility is yet another milestone for China-Australia ties.

  Launched in 2016 to promote greater cooperation between the two countries' scientific networks, the 100-million-Australian dollar (73-million-U.S. dollar) tech hub has amassed a wide range of vital research partnerships.

  "The announcement highlights the importance of Australian-Chinese collaborations and national innovation planning and Australia's bilateral relationship with China, our largest trading partner," president and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Sydney Ian Jacobs said.

  The investment will provide a further boost to collaboration between UNSW and China that will drive innovation, he added.

  "One of the major projects under the new collaboration will offer new opportunities to scale up UNSW's new Center for Transformational Environmental Technology, the University's first research base outside Australia that will translate environmental research into industrial application in China."

  Although China's Torch program has been driving global technology innovation since 1988, the JITRI was only recently established in 2013 to promote and support the economic development of China's eastern Jiangsu province through industrial research and the commercialization of advanced technologies.

  The institute focuses on bridging the gap between fundamental research and commercialization, that's why Dean of engineering at UNSW professor Mark Hoffman believes the partnership will be such a positive for Australian scientists.

  "This translation of research into the development of technology -- whether in renewable, water or biomedical devices -- connects closely with JITRI's aims," he said.

  "We don't sit in two countries, large parts of our population sit in both countries."

  "Employers of engineering graduates are very diverse and at UNSW we are driven to have social and economic impact."

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2018年9月11日 (火)

China can learn from Mexico to fight trade war


  Mexico, together with Canada and the EU, announced retaliatory measures on June 1 in response to US trade protectionism. The Mexican tariffs target products such as iron, lamps, pork, processed meat, apples, grapes, blueberries and cheese. Mexico's highly calibrated tariff strike offers some lessons for China, which is in the middle of its own trade frictions with the US.

  The measures meticulously plan to attack the traditional Republican districts in this year's mid-term election and the home states of Republican big shots.

  Mexico is the largest export market for US pork, including variety meat, representing nearly 33 percent of all US pork shipments last year, according to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

  The hog and processed meat industries are scattered around the central US. Iowa, North Carolina and Minnesota are the top three states by pig inventory. Large processed meat producers can be found in states such as Kansas, Arkansas and Colorado.

  Almost all of these states currently have Republican incumbents in the House. With all of the 435 seats in the House open to contest, those central US states, suffering the damage from a trade conflict initiated by a Republican president, will struggle not to swing to the other party.

  Mexico has been the second largest importer of US apples and grapes for years, most of which are produced by farmers in California, Florida and Washington. House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, who is a Republican, serves California's 23rd congressional district, and young political star Marco Rubio is a Republican senator for Florida.

  Though Mexico's counterattack is right on the mark, the amount affected is limited compared to the $560 billion in bilateral import and export volume. It is more of a gesture than a fatal blow. Mexico, which relies on the US economically, is facing a dilemma. It does not have enough bargaining chips, nor does it have space to back out.

  China and Mexico both have a trade surplus with the US, but China and the US are more or less on equal footing. Mexico, on the other hand, is a much smaller economic entity and depends greatly on the US. Since NAFTA was signed in 1992, Mexico-US trade volume has grown 8-fold, and 60-80 percent of Mexican products make their way to the country's northern neighbor. Mexico does not have enough fuel to fire the boat.

  NAFTA renegotiation has entered its eighth round, but the future is still uncertain. With the presidential election on July 1 approaching, current Mexican president Enrique pena Nieto would like to settle the NAFTA agreement before stepping down. The compromise he is willing to make is unlikely to meet Trump's demands.

  Aside from NAFTA, president pena Nieto already carries enough baggage, including a corruption scandal and worse public security. With his approval rating dropping to new lows, and anti-American sentiments high in Mexico, he does not have much leeway on trade matters.

  Therefore, president pena Nieto is forced to react, but not too hard. Mexico is hardly leaving a massive wound on the US with its tariff increases. But the highly anticipated counterattack is indeed accurate. China, which is also a victim of US protectionism, can learn from Mexico's tactics.

  Mexico knows and understands the US. As a neighbor of the US, it has close trade ties and high population mobility across the border. China needs to study the US trade system and politics closely, and more experts are needed with knowledge of US interest groups.

  Also, China can learn how the Mexican government, local media as well as media from across Latin America and Spain put pressure on the US. China will need to cooperate with third party media to let different voices be heard and win international support.

  The last lesson is to team up with other countries. The EU and Canada took Mexico's side. Central and South American countries gave their support because Mexico is fighting for them. What happened to NAFTA today could be used as an example to deal with other free trade agreements with other Latin American countries. China will have to work with other countries targeted by the US under different multilateral organizations.

2018年9月10日 (月)

pre-midlife cry-sis: Chinese in their 30s despair over life

  Midlife crisis, generally troubling people between 40 and 60, has come to hit many Chinese in their 30s. Many living in first-tier cities and on the wrong side of 30 feel anxious and complain of identity crisis and other psychological perils.

  My friend Cilin, who is turning 30 this year, began to feel anxious last year. She has been working in Beijing for over six years, occupied by a decent job. For her friends, she earns a good income and lives an enviable life in the capital city.

  However, Cilin thinks she fell short of expectations from life. She worked very hard and got promoted soon, but found her career stagnating after some time. This made her change jobs a few times. Once jobless for about six months, she began to despair. Cilin lost her fighting spirit and was beset by anxiety and a foul temperament. She also sought the help of a psychologist to find solace.

  Although now well-paid, she has limited savings after paying rent and all the other expenses every month. Her parents call her from time to time to remind her to find a boyfriend and get married soon.

  "Sometimes I feel quite at a loss. There is a huge gap between my expectations and reality. Being 30 means you should have a career, a family and foothold in society. But I haven't achieved anything. Besides, I become more anxious when comparing myself with my successful peers who have stable jobs and happy marriages in my hometown and Beijing. When I go back to my hometown to celebrate the Spring Festival every year, I pretend in front of my parents and friends that I enjoy a good life in Beijing."

  Her life is an epitome of what many young Chinese in their 30s, especially if they live in first-tier cities, are going through.

  One's 30s may be a decade packed with adventure, excitement and new beginnings, but that milestone birthday can also inspire fear and anxiety.

  The multiple life decisions including career and marriage, rising younger colleagues at work and the rapid development of knowledge cause Chinese 30-somethings to experience a midlife crisis.

  Statistics from JSBR Consulting Center, a Beijing-based psychological consultation organization, show that people in their 30s constitute more than 41 percent of the population that experienced anxiety in 2016, the highest proportion compared with other age groups.

  perhaps the deep dread among people in their 30s is born out of the old Chinese saying - "San Shi Er Li," which literally translates into "one should be independent and steadfast at the age of 30." But many have misunderstood it. For many who just graduated from schools and embarked on their career path, it is hard to establish themselves by 30.

  The Confucian saying encourages people to gain spiritual independence and forge their own value systems by 30. But the current version deviates from its original meaning.

  The anxiety that many people in their 30s suffer is normal as they are in a transitional phase. But they need to make an objective self-evaluation and should stop being too harsh on themselves. They should adjust expectations in line with reality, enrich their inner world by continuing to learn, develop their own lifestyle, and give themselves more say over their life.