Chinese mainland issues sweeping plan to boost integrated development with Taiwan region

Chinese mainland authorities have released sweeping guidelines to support East China's Fujian Province in exploring new paths for cross-Straits integrated development, outlining a flurry of specific measures to boost economic and trade cooperation between Fujian and Taiwan region in a wide range of areas from services trade and small businesses to high-tech industrial clusters. 

Many Taiwan entrepreneurs on Tuesday hailed the new measures as concrete steps to help businesses from the island to further explore and expand in the mainland, stressing the cross-Straits integrated development is an irreversible trend. Some Taiwan entrepreneurs also expressed doubt about the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) willingness and ability to develop the regional economy. 

Analysts also said that the move fully demonstrated the mainland's goodwill in supporting Taiwan's regional economy and Taiwan compatriots' livelihoods, in stark contrast to the DPP authorities' secessionist rhetoric and actions, which run counter to the development interests of the region. More importantly, if the DPP authorities continue to pursue secessionist actions and jeopardize cross-Straits cooperation, the mainland will take firm actions in response, analysts noted.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that after the mainland suspended preferential tariffs on 12 chemicals from Taiwan under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), in response to the DPP authorities' restrictions on mainland exports, the DPP has not taken any effective measures to lift those restrictions and has instead tried political manipulation. 

Currently, relevant departments are studying to further suspend preferential tariffs and take other measures on fishery, machinery, auto parts, textile and other products in line with the ECFA, the MOFCOM said.

In a circular made public on Monday, the Ministry of Commerce, the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology outlined 14 measures in five economic and trade areas, including supporting Fujian's opening-up and cooperation with Taiwan, high-quality trade and integrated industrial development. 

Specifically, the circular said that Fujian will explore and establish an institutional system and regulatory model that is conducive to advancing cross-Straits integrated development. Efforts will be made to attract Taiwan petrochemical, textile, machinery, cosmetics and other industry projects to Fujian, and help them explore international markets under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation, or RCEP, a regional trade agreement among 15 Asia Pacific countries includes the ASEAN members, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

According to the guidelines, measures will be taken to support micro and small businesses from Taiwan to explore the mainland market. Efforts will also be made to support Taiwan businesses' in participating in the new industrialization process and guiding them to invest in advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries. Fujian will also leverage its advantages in the digital economy, integrated circuit (IC), new energy, lithium battery, petrochemical, textile and other sectors to build a Fujian-Taiwan industrial clusters with global competitiveness. Notably, Fujian will build a cross-Straits IC industrial cooperation pilot zone.

The guidelines come after the CPC Central Committee and the State Council announced in September 2023 that Fujian will be built into a demonstration zone for the integrated development across the Taiwan Straits, in a move aimed at deepening integrated development in all fields and advancing the peaceful reunification of the country. 

Coming as the DPP authorities on the island continue to hype secessionist rhetoric ahead of the election of regional leader, the concrete measures offered much-needed assurance for Taiwan businesses and boosted their confidence in future cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation despite noise from the DPP authorities and some in the West. 

Boosting confidence

"This new circular will be of great boost to [Taiwan's] future exchanges and development with Fujian and will support more Taiwan businesses to invest in Fujian," Lai Cheng-i, chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Taiwan island, told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that industrial cooperation in areas such as services and semiconductors will be boosted. 

Lai said that all businesses from around the world, including those from Taiwan region, seek to enter the mainland market given its massive size. "I think Taiwan's business community is looking forward to continued positive development across the Taiwan Straits. This is the general trend." 

Teng Tai-Hsien, secretary general of Straits Economic & Cultural Interchange Association, also said that Fujian has offered Taiwan compatriots equal treatment in both living and investing, which is "very attractive" to Taiwan compatriots. 

"I think the industrial integration and cooperation between Taiwan and Fujian will likely surpass other regions in the future, and the future prospects are promising," Teng told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Following the announcement of the establishment of Fujian as a demonstration zone for the integrated development across the Taiwan Straits, mainland authorities have taken a slew of measures to support that. In November, the Ministry of Public Security's exit and entry administration announced new entry-exit policies for Taiwan compatriots, including streamlining the application process for travel passes.

"With support from so many mainland government departments, these measures also demonstrate the mainland's unswerving efforts to promote the integrated development of cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation and its goodwill toward Taiwan compatriots," Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University in Fujian, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Wang said that in stark contrast to the mainland's goodwill, the DPP authorities have only been interfering, disrupting and undermining cross-Straits economic and trade cooperation, which will only squeeze the space for cross-Straits cooperation and directly harm the vital interests of Taiwan compatriots.

In addition to its secessionist words and deeds, the DPP authorities have been trying to cut cross-Straits economic and trade ties, while disregarding provisions in the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between the mainland and the island. DPP authorities have imposed restrictions on more than 2,500 mainland products. In a firm response, the mainland suspended preferential tariffs under the ECFA on a dozen chemical products from Taiwan starting on January 1.

Analysts said the mainland has made it clear that it would firmly counter the DPP's actions that undermine cross-Straits cooperation and hurt the vital interests of Taiwan compatriots, while at the same time taken favorable policies to boost cross-Straits integrated development and support Taiwan compatriots.

"I think the mainland's policies fully reflect its goodwill toward Taiwan. They are not what some in Taiwan claim to be 'trade barriers' aimed at sanctioning Taiwan," Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "The mainland has always maintained goodwill toward Taiwan compatriots and also hopes that Taiwan compatriots would treat Fujian as their home."

BYD overtakes Tesla in quarterly EV sales, reflecting China’s rapid industrial upgrade

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) producer BYD Co overtook US-based Tesla Inc to become the world's biggest EV maker in the fourth quarter of 2023 for the first time, according to latest data from the companies. This had added another milestone to a historical year for China's auto industry as it's poised to propel China to become the world's biggest auto exporter. 

BYD's success, which also include an impressive growth rate throughout 2023 that outpaced Tesla and other EV makers, is a microcosm of the achievement in China's upgrade of its vast manufacturing industry, export sector and the domestic market - all crucial to China's high-quality development, experts said. 

On Tuesday US time, Tesla said that it delivered 484,500 EVs in the final quarter of 2023, which also marked a new record for the company. However, that means BYD, which said on Monday that it had sold about 526,400 EVs during the same period, overtook Tesla to become the world's biggest EV maker in the fourth quarter of the year for the first time.

For the whole year of 2023, Tesla retained its spot as the biggest EV maker, as it delivered a total of 1.8 million EVs, larger than BYD's total sales of about 1.57 million units. Still, BYD's recorded a year-on-year sales growth rate of 73 percent for 2023, far outpacing Tesla's sales growth of 38 percent. Such sales growth rate has also led many to speculate that BYD will surpass Tesla to become the world's biggest EV maker in 2024. 

This is also significant considering that BYD's market capitalization, at 573.17 billion yuan ($80.21 billion) as of Wednesday, represents only a fraction of Tesla's $778.42 billion. Over the past six months, BYD's shares dropped by 28.85 percent, while Tesla's shares fell by 11.22 percent. 

Despite such a huge gap in the financial market, analysts expect that BYD is well positioned to maintain its lead in EV sales in 2024 over Tesla. 

Hu Qimu, a deputy secretary-general of the digital-real economies integration Forum 50, said BYD's success is due to a slew of factors, including its own technological innovation, major policy support for industrial upgrading, a complete and stable domestic supply chain - which all helped BYD to make high-quality but affordable EVs. 

"Given all these factors, it is no wonder that BYD surpasses Tesla," Hu told the Global Times on Wednesday.  

In a statement it sent to the Global Times, BYD noted that it has grown to be the world's biggest EV company, and since its passenger car export strategy in May 2021, it has exported to 58 countries and regions around the world.

"Going forward, BYD will continue to promote the overseas expansion of passenger cars and continue to accelerate the global expansion of new-energy passenger cars," the company said. 

BYD's milestone also came as China's whole EV sector saw a bumper year in 2023. According to the latest data from the China Association of Automobile Manufactures, in the first 11 months of 2023, China's exports of new-energy vehicles jumped 83.5 percent year-on-year to 1.09 million units. Thanks to such rapid growth, China's total auto exports reached 4.41 units, up 58 percent year-on-year and outnumbering Japan's 3.99 million units during the same period. 

This also represents a landmark event for China's auto industry as it becomes the world's biggest auto exporter after surpassing Japan in 2023 and Germany in 2022 - two countries that had been dominating the world's auto market for decades. 

Industrial upgrading

The success of BYD as well as the whole Chinese EV sector directly reflect solid progress China has made in relentlessly pushing for industrial upgrade and high-quality development, experts said.

Cui Dongshu, secretary general of China Passenger Car Association, said BYD and other Chinese EV makers have benefited greatly from China's vast domestic market as well as the country's efforts to boost industrial transformation and upgrade. 

"The biggest factor behind Chinese EV's success is the technological transformation. In addition, the Chinese market also offered a huge advantage for them to grow," Cui told the Global Times on Wednesday, noting that China's auto industry, especially the EV sector, has seen relatively better growth than other countries around the world thanks to China's policy supports. 

For its success, BYD also pointed to various policies, including China's continued reform and opening-up, support for private businesses and the building of a new development model. 

"Looking back, we feel more and more strongly that it was the reform and opening-up that gave birth to BYD, and it was the new development concept that created huge opportunities that strengthened BYD," the company said in the statement.

Policy support for the EV sector is just part of China's broader effort to transform and upgrade its industrial system, which has become a top priority in the pursuit of high-quality development. The Central Economic Work Conference held in December, which set priorities for economic work for 2024, listed the development of a modern industrial system led by innovation as a top priority.

Hu said that China's industrial transformation and upgrade has made great strides. "Through industrial transformation and upgrade, our international competitiveness is also strengthening and in terms of the macroeconomic situation, all three main drivers have been revitalized," he said. 

One example of industrial upgrade revitalizing China's main economic drivers is the exports of EVs. Lithium batteries and solar panels became a highlight of China's exports in 2023, and they have been described as "the new three items" of China's exports sector, a drastic shift from the previous "three items" of China's exports - clothes, furniture and electronics. 

In the first three quarters of 2023, total exports of "the three new items" jumped by 41.7 percent year-on-year, compared to a mere 0.6 percent in China's total exports during the period due to weak external demand. 

Airports in Xinjiang and Xizang see record transport volume last year

Major Chinese airports saw record transport resulting from rising demand in 2023, with airports in Xinjiang and Xizang in particular welcoming record volumes of passenger throughput.

Xinjiang Airport Group Co reported record high of passenger throughput of 40.61 million as of December 31, 2023, facilitating 490,000 takeoffs and landings. Annual passenger throughput and takeoffs and landings have returned to 108.2 percent and 113.2 percent of 2019 levels, respectively, the group said. 

Among the airports in Xinjiang, passenger throughput across nine airports in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region including Urumqi, Kashi, Korla and Aksu all exceeded that of 2019. Annual passenger throughput at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport exceeds the 25 million mark for the first time, reaching 25.08 million passengers.

In 2023, Xinjiang Airport Group launched a total of 451 domestic routes and 20 international routes.

Xizang Autonomous Region Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) also reported a record high of 6.897 million passenger trips in 2023, representing growth of 106.1 percent over 2022, also marking a record high. Among the airports in Xizang, annual passenger throughput at Lhasa Gonggar International Airport reached 5.47 million, a year-on-year increase of 111.8 percent. Annual passenger throughput of Qamdo Bangda Airport reached 424,000, a year-on-year increase of 60 percent, the bureau said. 

Currently, there are 12 airlines operating in Xizang, with the flying footprint covering 169 routes across 74 cities.

The rapid recovery of aviation industry has provided a solid foundation greater airport activity, market watchers said. 

CAAC data showed that the scale of domestic route passenger traffic in 2023  exceeded  pre-epidemic levels, with an increase of 1.5 percent compared to 2019, and the fastest recovery among all types of transportation modes in China. 

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport reported a passenger turnover of 65 million in 2023, ranking first for domestic airports. In July alone, the airport handled 6.05 million passenger trips, becoming the first domestic airport to handle more than six million passengers in a single month since 2020.

In 2024, China's domestic passenger transport will continue to grow steadily, passenger volume on domestic routes is expected to reach 630 million throughout the year, exceeding 2019 levels by 7.7 percentage points, the CAAC said.

The CAAC predicted that China's international passenger traffic will continue to rebound, with the number of flights expected to reach 6,000 flights per week at the end of 2024, recovering to the 80 percent of levels seen before the epidemic. 

China's civil aviation will enter a new cycle of sustained, rapid and healthy development, as the country's transport sector returns to a period of natural growth, the CAAC said.

SW China’s Sichuan man under criminal detention for killing and eating national first-class protected black-necked crane

Police in Meigu county in Liangshan, Sichuan, recently received a report from the School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, which said that a black-necked crane with a tracker for scientific research had remained in a static status for an extended period. The institute asked for an investigation into the condition of the migratory bird. 

The police immediately formed a task force to investigate into the incident in the outskirts of a sparsely populated hamlet. 

After extensive investigations and visits, the police finally tracked down the suspect surnamed Jike. 

Jike confessed under interrogation that he illegally captured and killed the rare species of the endangered wildlife animal black-necked crane. 

According to Jike, he happened to see the big bird resting on the river bank on his way home and the idea of catching and eating the bid just occurred to him. A thought that he soon followed up on.  

According to the judicial appraisal results by a forestry judicial appraisal center in Sichuan, the bird killed by the suspect was a black-necked crane, which is one of China’s national first-class key protected animals. The tracking device tied to the bird’s foot and the serial number show that the black-necked crane was exactly the one that was used for ecological study of migration of the crane by the college institute. 

Jike has been placed under criminal detention by the police for the suspicion of the crime of endangering precious and endangered wildlife animal. The case is currently under further investigation. 

According to media reports, the black-necked crane is the only species of crane endemic to China and is among the 15 crane species that currently exist in the world. It is also the only crane species in the world that grows and breeds on plateaus, earning it the titles of “plateau fairy” and “plateau divine bird.”

China’s top legislature passed regulation on February 24, 2020 to strictly ban the illegal wildlife trade and eliminate bad habits of eating wild animals in China to safeguard people’s health and livelihoods. 

According to China’s Criminal Law, anyone who illegally captures, kills, transports, purchases or sells national protected, precious, endangered wildlife and their products, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years or faced with criminal detention, along with a fine. 

In cases of serious circumstances, the punishment may be extended to 5-10 years of imprisonment, along with a fine. In particularly severe cases, the sentence may be more than 10 years of imprisonment, along with a fine or confiscation of property and assets. 

Beijing subway carriages’ separation caused by rear-end collision due to snowy weather: transportation authority

Preliminary investigation shows the separation of carriages accident along the Changping Line of Beijing subway on Thursday evening was due to the snowy weather, which affected the train's braking system, resulting in a rear-end collision with the front train, Beijing transportation authorities said on Friday.

Around 11:00 pm on Thursday, the personnel transfer was completed, and the on-site disposal work basically finished. A total of 515 people were sent to the hospital for examination, and 102 people were found to have suffered fractures, with no fatalities, the authorities said on Friday.

According to the authorities' announcement, the accident occurred as a result of the slippery tracks caused by the snowy weather. The preceding train had to make an emergency brake to stop. Unfortunately, the following train was situated in a downhill section, making it difficult to effectively brake due to the snowy conditions.

Beijing transportation authority apologized for the inconvenience, fright, and injuries caused to the passengers in this accident, and vowed to do a good job in carrying out post-accident work and conduct a comprehensive investigation to improve extreme weather operation and emergency response to ensure the safety of operations.

It was at 6:57 pm on Thursday, when a rear-end collision occurred in the section between Xi’erqi to Life Science Park stations of the Changping Line. The municipal government officials immediately went to the scene and set up a working group for on-site accident disposal. The relevant departments including transportation, firefighting, health, public security and emergency response responded quickly and made efforts for rescue, according to the authorities.

As of 6 am on Friday, 423 people have been discharged from hospital, 25 people are under observation, and 67 people are receiving hospital treatment, the authorities said.

On Friday, Beijing Subway apologized again over the incident, while putting in place measures to reduce inconvenience for passengers.

Currently, the Beijing municipal government has established an investigation team for the Changping Line accident, which will further investigate the cause of the accident, evaluate the emergency response, and learn lessons from the accident, effectively carrying out rectification measures.

China allocates 200 million yuan in disaster relief funds after earthquake in northwest China's Gansu

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management on Tuesday have urgently allocated 200 million yuan ($28 million) in disaster relief funds to northwest China’s Gansu and Qinghai provinces. This funding will support local earthquake relief efforts and ensure the safety of people's lives and property, minimizing the impact and losses caused by the disaster, China Media Group (CMG) reported.

China is stepping up rescue and relief efforts to ensure the safety of people's lives and property after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake shook Jishishan County in northwest China's Gansu Province at midnight Monday.

The State Council has sent a working group to the stricken regions to help guide relief work. Gansu and Qinghai provinces have organized relief support with immediate allocation of relief supplies such as camps and folding beds to impacted areas.

Relief supplies were immediately redeployed from nearby areas, with supplies gradually arriving to impacted communities, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told a press conference on Tuesday.

The NDRC has activated emergency response mechanism to ensure energy, electricity, and essential supplies. Efforts are being made to repair damaged power facilities and provide emergency power supply. Food and material reserves are being allocated for disaster relief, a spokesperson from the NDRC said.

The first shipment of 46,100 emergency relief supplies from central and provincial level have been dispatched to the disaster-stricken areas, including cotton tents, quilts, mattresses, folding beds, cotton shoes, and stoves, according to Gansu provincial grain and material reserve bureau. The bureau has also obtained 15 tons of flour for emergency supply in Jishishan.

The State Council's earthquake relief headquarters and the Ministry of Emergency Management have upgraded the national earthquake emergency response to Level II.

At present, the earthquake has led 105 deaths in Gansu and 11 deaths in Qinghai, with damaging basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, transportation, and communications, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rescue and relief efforts are progressing in an orderly manner, including hazard inspections, evacuation and resettlement of residents, and repair of damaged facilities, China Media Group reported.

Ice & snow world

A 512.6-meter-long ice slide makes its debut in the Changchun Ice and Snow New World in Changchun, Northeast China's Jilin Province, on December 12, 2023. The Changchun Ice and Snow New World opened its doors to visitors on December 12. Photo: VCG

Guangdong aim for ice hockey gold medal at National Games

Ice hockey competitions for the 2024 Chinese National Winter Games kicked off on Thursday in Hulun Buir in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with Team Guangdong, debutants at the National Winter Games, aiming for the gold medal. 

The team, representing South China's Guangdong Province where ice and snow is rarely seen, have been labeled hot favorites for the title as the 23-player squad boasts 11 players from the national team. 

Riding on these players' rich experience, they saw off Shanghai 4-2 in their National Winter Games starter on Thursday. 

"Our goal is to win the championship for sure," Yu Baiwei, captain of Guangdong and China's national team, told the Global Times after the win, before noting the team is taking every game with a down to earth attitude.

"We take each game as it comes, aiming to win the next one and perform well in every period and minute. We focus on the process and pay attention to details."

The 34-year-old defender, who scored a goal in the six-goal thriller, also gave credit to the young Shanghai team, whose oldest player Lu Shuang is only 27. Shanghai won the national women's ice hockey championship in 2020.

"They showed great determination and aggression, demonstrating speed and skills with the puck," Yu told the Global Times. "It's great to see more young talent stepping up, as it strengthens the depth of the sport." 

Yu said she hoped to entice more new blood into the sport.

"As an older player, it's not about passing on the legacy, it's about leading and facilitating the rapid growth of young players," Yu told the Global Times. "If I can use my energy and enthusiasm to benefit others, I think it's enough."

The women's ice hockey competition, featuring seven teams, will be played in a round-robin way that runs until July 22. The gold medal for women's ice hockey will be the first gold medal at the 2024 National Winter Games.

It is rare for ice hockey events at the National Winter Games to be held in the summer.

"It allows more people to witness the charm of ice and snow during the summer. It's our first experience participating in such an event during this season," Yu said. "I hope more people can watch our games, fall in love with ice hockey, and even engage in the sport."

Team Guangdong will face tough challenges from rival teams such as China's winter sports powerhouses Heilongjiang and Beijing, led by Chinese national team members Zhang Mengying and Guan Yingying.

Other games on Thursday saw Heilongjiang beat Hebei 3-0 and Shaanxi defeat Sichuan 3-1.

The National Winter Games were originally scheduled to be held in 2020 in Hulun Buir but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be held from February 17 to 27 in 2024.

Chengdu Universiade wraps up with more open dialogue, truer China image among global youth

The Chengdu FISU World University Games concluded on Tuesday as the hosts, the Chinese delegation, finished with 103 gold, 40 silver and 35 bronze medals to sit at the top of the medal table, setting a new record for the best results for China at a FISU Games.

The world-leading Chinese university swimming team has been the biggest contributor for China's medal haul at the Games, as the Chinese swimmers totaled 18 gold and two bronze medals.

Besides the big stars such as multiple-time gold medalists Qin Haiyang, Zhang Yufei and Li Bingjie, names such as five-time National Para Games gold medalist Peng Huidi, who faces a lasting hearing issue, also took the stage.

The Central South University student, who had to rely on a visual confirmation at the start of the race, compared to her opponents who dive into the pool after hearing the starting horn, is a slow starter in every race. 

However, she had successfully improved her result in the 1,500 meters freestyle by a stunning 32.3 seconds. 

Beyond the outstanding performances delivered by the Chinese delegation, which consisted of a total of 411 athletes participating in all 18 events, the tournament has a lot of memorable moments. 

Communication, understanding

FISU Acting President Leonz Eder said Tuesday that Chengdu has really made all dreams come true as he reviews the Games. 

"What we have witnessed here in Chengdu is state of the art. It's the best we can have. It's really fantastic for the athletes, for the spectators, for everybody," he told reporters. "There's nothing to complain about."

FISU Secretary-General Eric Saintrond believes that hosting the Chengdu Universiade has helped foster China's global image as many young people come to visit the city.

"What you see and hear is different from what people tell you," Saintrond said. "Many people have never been to Chengdu and to China."

As for the impact of the FISU Games on the youth, Acting President Eder affirmed that the Games showcased the importance of communication, understanding, and learning from different cultures. 

He asserted that fostering open dialogue and embracing diverse viewpoints is key to creating a better world.

"In some parts of the world, people stopped talking to each other, but the young generation, they don't know these borders, these frontiers," Eder told the Global Times.

"They talk to each other, they learn their own stories, they tell their own stories, they start to communicate, and these are the students, because the students, they speak different languages, and they have no shy to meet other people, and this is really what we believe is needed to make a better world," Eder said of the young people of the world.

"Don't think that your opinion is the only one in the world. We have so many different opinions, different cultures, based on different histories, not one is better than the other, but go and talk to each other, learn from each other, and this is the basic for creating a better world."

Showcasing Chinese culture

The Chengdu FISU Games, the first international multi-sport tournament held in West China, have also become a platform for athletes worldwide to learn about the diverse Chinese culture.

The cultural fair is among the most popular destinations for athletes every night after their competitions. 

"One of the pillars of FISU is education, culture, and sport. We do not just organize sport event. For us it is important to show the young people to give the opportunity to discover the culture, the richness of every place where we are going," Eder said. 

Saintrond highlighted that after the two postponements of the originally scheduled 2021 event, the Universiade was able to provide more opportunities to students to learn about China. 

Saintrond said China hosting an open Universiade, rather than in a closed loop like Tokyo Olympics and Beijing 2022 due to COVID-19, is of much significance.

"It was not only to open the [Games] Village and allow the people to go out of the Village. It is to open the door to the Chinese culture. That has been extremely important for students," he said. "The sports competition is one thing, but the people have to meet each other, have to make friends to get to learn the culture and the history of other nations." 

As Chengdu moves forward to host future sports events, such as the 2025 World Games, venues and facilities as well as the volunteers and staff for the FISU Games are likely to be involved again.

"These facilities will be used not only for university students, but also for the citizens of Chengdu and the province," Eder said. 

"With these fantastic facilities, you can host future games, whether it's world championships or the World Games .... It's important to use all these venues."

Traditional Chinese adage boosts Zhang’s title defense

China's mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete Zhang Weili has once again proven that she's the best women's MMA strawweight fighter in the world with a unanimous decision win over Amanda Lemos in the co-main event at the UFC 292 on August 20.

Currently in Beijing after the fight, in which she defended her title for the first time since her second championship win, Zhang is now focused on blending Chinese culture into her future tactics. 

Zhang applauded her opponent's tenacity, noting that credit is due to Lemos' persistence.

"There were a few times when I would see her eyes close when I was punching her, but later her eyes would open up again. I thought that her willpower was great," Zhang told the Global Times in an interview.

In Zhang's view, Lemos, known for her jiu-jitsu skills, is one of the most tenacious opponents she has encountered in recent years, and if the roles were reversed, she doubts she would have withstood such an onslaught of heavy punches. 

"Nearly everyone thinks that I'm poor at ground skills, but I actually won the first 10 matches of my career on the ground," Zhang noted as her win came thanks to her overpowering ground-fighting skills, which involves hand-to-hand combat, against Lemos.

As far as the moniker "hexagon warrior" bestowed upon her by fans for her well-rounded skill set, Zhang considers as a humbling gesture.

"I'm yet to be a hexagon warrior but I'm trying my best to be one," Zhang said. "I think my skills, either ground skills or stand-up combat skills or agility, still need to be honed."

Tactic without tactics

She said the tactic employed against Lemos was to wrap around her "like water" and not give her too much space in any aspect. Using the "tactic without tactics" formula allows her better control of the situation.

The 34-year-old, who has dominated in nearly all of her matches outside of her two losses to Rose Namajunas of the US, has woven the tapestry of Chinese culture into her fighting approach beyond the octagon.

"Now I fight by using a tactic which does not involve any specific tactics," Zhang told the Global Times. 

While on the face of it, Zhang's approach may appear strange, it is credited to the concept "Be water, my friend," famously coined by martial artist Bruce Lee, noting this philosophy guides her movements, emphasizing fluidity and adaptability in the face of adversity.

"I learned this concept at a very young age but it wasn't until recent years that I have developed a deeper understanding of what 'be water' means, which I can blend it into my tactics rather than previously trying to stick to one planned tactic," Zhang said. 

She describes her fighting style as possessing both fluid and solid qualities, allowing her to be agile and efficient. Her use of traditional Chinese martial arts principles, such as the balance of yin, which means something of darkness, and yang, which means life and brightness, has given her a unique edge in the ring. 

"I have benefited a lot from Chinese culture. I hope more people can learn from it and then improve themselves. It's more about studying and learning how to comprehend," she told the Global Times. 

"It's important to learn from what the ancestors have left us, such as sincerity and modesty, and know how to be respectful and grateful," said Zhang. 

Rose to fame

Born in Handan, a city in North China's Hebei Province, Zhang's formative years were characterized by discipline and dedication. 

Zhang was introduced to martial arts at the age of 12. Little did they know that this early influence of modesty and discipline would set the stage for a remarkable athletic journey.

It was not common for girls to seriously pursue martial arts in China, but Zhang's passion burned brighter than the obstacles in her path. She trained diligently, determined to become a skilled fighter.

But it was her entry into the Ultimate Fighting Championship that truly catapulted her into the MMA spotlight. 

Zhang's rise to prominence has not only made her a symbol of hope and empowerment for aspiring fighters in China but also a trailblazer in women's MMA globally. Her influence extends far beyond the ring, as she continues to inspire the next generation of fighters, both in China and around the world. 

Zhang spent some time in 2022 learning tai chi from a master in her hometown.

"When I would use force while wrestling, it would always feel especially hard, but now with the idea of tai chi, everything is curved - there is rigidity and flexibility," Zhang said, noting that when incorporating Tai Chi into her training routine made her realize that wrestling also had soft qualities.

Zhang's winning form has also triggered an increasing number of young people participating in MMA in China. 

It also gives pause to those who claim that championships are only built on the failures of many, which is antithetical to traditional Chinese culture's advocacy for securing victories through subduing opponents without fighting rather than an emphasis on the eventual victory.

"I don't think it is accurate to say that championships are based on the failures of many," Zhang told the Global Times. 

"As long as you practice, at the very least, you will learn a lot from it," she said.