Hu Shuangqian at work.

For Hu Shuangqian, a skilled senior aircraft parts fitter for nearly four decades, a minor oversight in his work can have drastic consequences.

The 58-year-old heads a team working on computerized controls at Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Commercial Aircraft Corp of China. Hu won the National Labor Medal in 2009 and was named a national model worker in 2015.

Although most aeronautical engineering work is now performed by computer-controlled machines, some parts of Hu’s job still haven’t been programmed and rely instead on his delicate touch.

“The work is ideal for me, as I have been interested in planes since my childhood,” said Hu, who was born in Shanghai in 1960.

He said he liked to look at aircraft photos as a youngster and often walked long distances from home to see planes landing and taking off.

For him, aircraft manufacturing is a respectable job as well as a labor of love.

After graduating from a Shanghai technical school with a major in riveting, Hu was fortunate enough to find a job as a fitter at Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing in 1980.

“I was excited to have an opportunity to grow with the country’s civil aviation industry,” he said.

Hu then joined the manufacturing team of the Y-10, a four-engine narrow-body jetliner developed from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.

The plane, which was designed for 149 passengers, made a successful test flight in September 1980 and eventually connected a number of Chinese cities to Shanghai.

“Unfortunately, the project was canceled in 1985 due to viability and budgetary issues, and business at the factory slowed down,” said Hu. Many workers accepted job offers from other booming private industries.

“A boss from a private enterprise even offered me a monthly salary of 4,000 yuan ($633), three times higher than my income at that time,” Hu said. But he refused.

“I believed that Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing, the only place in China producing civil aircraft at that time, would never close, and that it had a bright future,” he said.

His choice to stay, however, initially brought him and others like him many hardships, and they had to make a living by manufacturing more ordinary items like vehicles and electric fans.

Although China and the United States later cooperated in manufacturing McDonnell Douglas aircraft at the factory, that project was also canceled. Then the workers started to produce aircraft parts for Boeing and Airbus on contract beginning in 1996.

“I cherished that period as a nice break to polish my basic skills so that even the simplest and smallest product was absolutely guaranteed to be top quality,” Hu said.

His efforts eventually paid off when he joined to team to build China’s first domestically developed regional jetliner-the ARJ21-700-in 2003, one year after the project was launched.

Hu’s craftsmanship also contributes to the assembly and maintenance of the C919-China’s homegrown narrow-body jet-a project launched in 2008.

“Participation in production made me so proud and emotional, especially when I saw the plane’s first successful flight from Shanghai in 2017, which marked a great improvement in China’s innovative capability and high technology in aviation,” he said.

“In this era of advanced technology, I’m sure safer, more comfortable and environmentally friendly aircraft will be built in China.”

Despite soon reaching China’s retirement age of 60, Hu said he still hopes to work for another 20 years.

[Photo/VCG]

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing company, unveiled a slate of measures on Wednesday that it will take to boost security after a passenger was killed by a driver while using the “hitch” service on its platform.

The Beijing-based company said the “hitch” service, which allows a passenger to connect with a private car heading in the same direction, “will be suspended between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am every night.”

A function which allows drivers and passengers to post comments about each other will also be taken down to avoid possible vulgar descriptions of women. Personal information and profile pictures of passengers and car-owners will be visible only to the individuals, Didi said in a statement.

Also, driver facial recognition will be made compulsory for every “hitch” trip to minimize the risk of unauthorized account use.

The move to strengthen security came after a flight attendant was killed by her “hitch” service driver on May 5. The suspected killer committed suicide afterward by jumping off a bridge.

The incident triggered a public outcry demanding that ride-sharing companies should be responsible for protecting users and also take down irrelevant social interaction functions on their apps. It also highlights a broader concern that Chinese internet companies fail to safeguard user privacy while they are pursuing rapid growth.

A report released in July last year by the Data Center of China Internet showed that nearly 97 percent of Android mobile apps had invaded the privacy of users. Around one-fourth of Android apps even violate user privacy.

And almost 70 percent of third-party iOS apps have access to private information and personal features on iPhones.

Chen Yinjiang, deputy secretary-general of the China Consumer Protection Law Society, said many mobile phone apps have been fraught with issues such as seeking more permissions than required or collecting more information than they really need, posing a significant new risk for users.

“It is so pressing that if these problems not properly solved, catastrophic results will happen again. Internet companies must do more,” Chen said.

As part of its broader efforts to boost security, Didi said a “zero tolerance policy” will be implemented to ensure a proper driver-vehicle match for all of Didi’s services. The company will ask every driver on Didi’s platform to pass a facial recognition test every day when they start service.

Also, a separate report and reward program will be created to encourage all users to report mismatch cases.

Its Emergency Help function will be redesigned and be more prominently displayed in Didi’s app interface. Users can choose to connect directly from the emergency button to police, ambulances, traffic emergency hotlines as well as the 24/7 emergency help line.

Currently, the company offers protection of up to 1.2 million yuan that covers insurance, prepayment for medical expenses and humanitarian aid in case of accidents. On top of these, a new support fund will be established to offer help and care to persons affected and their families.

“The above measures will be fully implemented by May 31, 2018. At the same time, we will expedite the full implementation of real-name registration across all mobile services,” Didi added.

A photo of patchwork door coverings in Shibo village, Yicheng county in North China’s Shanxi province. [Photo by Hu Bo/For chinadaily.com.cn]

North China’s Shanxi province is bitterly cold in winter, so locals often cover their doors with patchwork coverings to help stay warm indoors.

Rural residents mostly live in traditional loess cave dwellings, and the coverings, sewed with pieces of cloth in different colors and patterns, are bright decorations for their homes.

The latest photos reveal how pretty the coverings look in the province’s Shibo village in Yicheng county.

Photo taken on Nov 3, 2018 shows the site of a traffic accident at Lanzhou south toll station of Lanzhou-Haikou expressway in Northwest China’s Gansu province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Local police found the cause of a major car accident in Lanzhou, Northwest China’s Gansu province that killed 15 people and injured 45 was a brake failure in the vehicle, according to a statement released from the official account of the local municipal government on Friday.

The accident happened on the night of Nov 3. A tower-crane truck crashed into a heavy box truck then crashed into a line of 31 minibuses on the Lanzhou-Haikou expressway, leaving 33 vehicles damaged 50 meters from the Lanzhou South Toll Station.

After investigation, the police found Li Feng, the truck driver, had discovered the vehicle had a braking problem on Oct 21 and already told Li Jialin, the owner, to examine the brake system. But when the accident happened, the vehicle owner hadn’t fixed the problem, the statement said.

The vehicle’s brakes didn’t meet motor vehicles safety requirements issued by the Ministry of Public Security, causing the truck driver to consistently use the braking. This heated the tow hitch and trailer of the car, thus weakening its braking efficiency.

The police also found when the truck’s brake was out of control, the accident driver didn’t adopt any emergency measures during a 8-minute route of up to 10 kilometers.

The accident truck was also found to be illegally carrying an oversized, loose load, which increased potential safety risks, the statement added.

The driver, Li Feng, and the owner, Li Jialin were detained by the local police.

The case is still under investigation.

Christopher St. Cavish, writer and editor

When Christopher St. Cavish sets out to do something, he goes all out to accomplish it. But it is never because of fame or fortune. He simply loves learning new things.

That was why he, despite having a job at a renowned restaurant, decided to leave the comforts of his hometown of Miami, Florida, in 2005 to learn more about the culinary arts in Hong Kong.

“My method for learning is to always work at the best restaurants or hotels. To me, the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong was the best at that time,” said St. Cavish.

“I didn’t care what restaurant I got to work in — I just wanted to work at that hotel. I’m quite stubborn when I set my mind on something.”

Although he didn’t manage to find work in Hong Kong, the American soon landed himself the role of junior sous chef on the Chinese mainland instead, joining Jade on 36, a restaurant in the new tower of the Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. The opportunity was impossible to pass on — he would get to learn from Frenchman Paul Pairet, who today runs Ultraviolet in Shanghai, the only dining establishment in the Chinese mainland to have three Michelin stars.

“I had never been to the Chinese mainland before so I thought I’d just try it out for a year and see what it was like,” he said.

“If it didn’t work out, I’d quit and just go somewhere else.”

The American did end up leaving the job after a year. He just didn’t see a point in moving halfway around the world to spend all his time using English to teach junior chefs how to cook molecular food. He wanted to learn more about China.

“I didn’t want to be the teacher. I wanted to be a student. I’m a curious person. There’s one job that’s suited for people like me, and that’s writing. If you’re curious, being a writer allows you to ask people lots of questions without them thinking you’re weird,” he said.

His departure from Jade on 36, however, marked the start of his love affair with China.

After hanging up his chef whites, a restless St. Cavish aspired to learn more about his adopted country. True to his nature, he didn’t just settle for a guided tour or a short backpacking trip — he set out on a month-long, 4,500-kilometer road trip in a sidecar motorcycle which took him to the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai.

He even managed to raise some money along the way for Hands on Shanghai, an organization which has programs to help address the needs of migrant school children and elderly people in the city.

Stunning scenery aside, the daily breakdowns his vintage Chang Jiang motorcycle had also contributed to his list of memorable events. In fact, one particular breakdown even resulted in him having to face a near-death situation as he had to manoeuvre his bike down a mountain, past 50 hairpins — with no brakes.

Looking back, St. Cavish laughed at how the only motivation behind this epic trip was down to hubris and ignorance, but there was nevertheless a valuable lesson at the end.

“Before, my impression of China was limited to Shanghai. After that trip, I got to learn that there’s a very different world out there. There’s also a lot of beauty, especially in places like Anhui. That’s one part of China I return to every few years,” he said.

“Before coming to China, my impression of the country was it being a strange and exotic place that was locked down. I had the same stereotypes that I’m sure a lot of people in the US still have today.”

Following the trip, St. Cavish cut his teeth in writing by working for various lifestyle magazines. In 2013, he came up with the idea of documenting Shanghai’s famous delicacy of soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, in a book.

Released in 2015, The Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index analyzes the xiaolongbao sold at 52 restaurants in the city by measuring the weight of the fillings and soup, as well as the thickness of the skin, before grading them on a scale of A to C.

But what most people don’t know is that this book was initially just another example of St. Cavish’s trademark approach of going all out to do something. In this case, it was creating a resume that would capture the attention of magazines he was interested in writing for.

“Editors get story pitches all the time via email and they delete most of them. I wanted to create something that would require them to take one minute of their time to look at and think: ‘What is this stupid project that some idiot in Shanghai did?’” he quipped.

“But after I invested so much time and money into it, I thought that I needed to make some of my money back. That’s why I printed more copies later.”

As it turned out, he didn’t just recoup some of his initial costs. The Shanghai Soup Dumpling Index went viral the year it was printed, and St. Cavish went from being the writer of stories to the subject of them. He has since sold thousands of copies of the book.

Today, as the managing editor of lifestyle portal SmartShanghai, St. Cavish continues to write about food, often in the form of restaurant reviews. He is also frequently quoted as a food expert in other publications.

Despite having lived in Shanghai for the past 13 years, he believes there is still much to learn about the city, especially since it changes so significantly every few years.

“The demand for novelty by Shanghainese fosters a lot of innovation. This is almost what it means to be Shanghainese — you expect something new all the time. That’s why Shanghainese will wait in line for five hours when a new popular store opens. This demand drives the restaurant scene. This drives innovation,” he said.

“Shanghai becomes a different, better place every few years, and I’m addicted to this change. I feel like I’m part of the city now. You know, I keep telling myself every year that I’ll leave next year. Well, it’s been 13 years and I’m still here.”

Time-honored art faces threat from mobile phones, computers

Writing Chinese characters is sometimes like drawing a picture, recalling a period of history or telling a story.

Almost all calligraphy lovers agree that writing characters with a brush and ink on straw paper offers a way to communicate with not only history and culture, but also oneself. It is a combination of both the artistic and spiritual.

But now the time-honored art of Chinese calligraphy is under threat from computers and mobile phones. It has become an art of the minority.

Worse, writing Chinese characters has become a headache for many.

A college graduate looking for a job in Chongqing was reportedly turned down by a company because he wrote 24 characters incorrectly in a 400-character handwritten resume.

A survey by Horizonkey, a data research company, covering people from 12 major cities in China, found that nearly one-third of those sampled often experience “character amnesia”, with 94 percent saying this is a problem for them.

The main reason is overreliance on the pinyin-based Chinese language input method, which is replacing the tradition of writing characters stroke by stroke.

However, only 5 percent think the issue needs to be resolved urgently. Most believe computers and mobile phones are sufficient to help them deal with the problem.

An injured person is transferred to safety area in Tonghai County, Southwest China’s Yunnan province, Aug 13, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

KUNMING – A total of 24 people have been injured in two 5.0-magnitude earthquakes that jolted southwest China’s Yunnan Province in the early hours of Monday and Tuesday seperately, local authorities said.

The epicenter of the latest quake, with a depth of 6 km, was monitored in Sijie Township, Tonghai County, at 3:50 a.m. Tuesday, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. The previous earthquake hit the township at 1:44 a.m. on Monday.

As of 11:30 a.m., nearly 70,000 residents were affected by the two earthquakes, according to the provincial civil affairs department. More than 33,000 residents have been evacuated to safe places. The quakes also caused damages to over 8,000 houses in the areas.

CHANGSHA – Local authorities in central China’s Hunan province have arrested six people on suspicion of printing and selling over 30.9 million volumes of pirated children’s books worth over 350 million yuan (50.5 million US dollars).

This sees the largest amount of money involved in any case related to e-commerce sales of pirated children’s books uncovered by the police so far, said the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications on Monday.

In January, local law enforcement authorities in Hunan’s Yiyang city spotted an online store seemingly selling pirated children’s books.

Upon further investigation, local authorities traced the books back to the city of Yiwu in east China’s Zhejiang Province. Afterward, a national network for the publishing, printing, distribution and selling of illegal children’s publications, spanning Beijing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Guangdong, was uncovered and brought to justice.

Chinese authorities launched a campaign earlier this year to foster a healthy cultural environment for children.

Participants attend a training for dragon boat race on the Wuyang River in Zhenyuan County, Southwest China’s Guizhou province, June 16, 2018. Dragon boat race is a traditional event for the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or June 18 this year. [Photo/Xinhua]

People made nearly 90 million tourist trips during the Dragon Boat Festival break, 7.9 percent higher than 2017, according to a report by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism released on Monday.

Revenue generated during the holiday hit nearly 40 billion yuan ($6.2 billion), a year-on-year increase of 7.3 percent, the report said.

The three-day break from Saturday to Monday is a traditional Chinese festival highlighting folk activities and traditional delicacies — for example, zongzi, a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves.

Coastal cities, including Sanya in Hainan province, Qingdao in Shandong province and Dalian in Liaoning province, were also popular choices for travelers in the holiday period, according to the report.

Russia, thanks to the 2018 World Cup, has become one of the most popular travel destinations for Chinese tourists in the outbound travel market during the break.

Contingents of firefighters are joined on Thursday by hundreds of people at a memorial ceremony in Xichang, Sichuan province, honoring the 27 firefighters and three locals

who died while battling a forest fire. ZHONGYUAN/FORCHINADAILY

3,000 gather at memorial service in Sichuan; top leaders send wreaths

National flags flew at half-staff in Xichang, capital of the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, on Thursday, a day of mourning for the 30 lives lost battling a raging forest fire.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, declared Thursday a day to honor the 30 people who were confirmed on Monday to have died in the blaze — 27 members of the Xichang fire department, a local forestry official, a forestry staff member and a villager. They ranged in age from 19 to 49 years old.

A 50-year-old forestry official, who was missing in the wildfire, was reported on Thursday afternoon to have been killed.

President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Vice-Premier Han Zheng and other leaders sent wreaths to express their condolence.

The fire broke out on Saturday in Muli county, Xichang, and was brought under control on Tuesday. The cause is as of yet unknown.

Grief–stricken people attend the memorial service. LIJIEYI/CHINANEWSSERVICE

In Muli, national flags also flew at half-staff on Thursday.

The bodies of 29 of the victims have been transported from the scene of the disaster to the city of Xichang. The relatives of one victim requested that he be buried where he died.

More than 3,000 people, among them government officials, victims’ family members and students, attended the memorial and observed a moment of silence in honor of the dead.

Scores of people with flowers and mourning banners gathered outside the site of the ceremony in Xichang.

A memorial was held at the same time in the Ministry of Emergency Management in Beijing, and many local fire departments and people across the nation honored the victims in spontaneous memorial ceremonies.

The Liangshan government issued a statement suspending public entertainment and activities across the autonomous prefecture on Thursday.

Monday was the deadliest day for emergency workers in China since the Ministry of Emergency Management was formed last year.

Xu Erfeng, director of the ministry’s political department, said at the Xichang ceremony that the 27 firefighters have been officially recognized as martyrs and were awarded first-class merit citations by the ministry and the Sichuan provincial government. Eleven of the firefighters were also approved as members of the Communist Party of China.

Sichuan Vice-Governor Peng Yu-xing said the other three victims were also officially recognized as martyrs.

Huang Ming, Party secretary of the ministry, said that over the past 70 years, 719 firefighters have sacrificed their lives to protect public safety. The ministry will strengthen the regularization, specialization and professionalization of the China’s firefighters and enhance their emergency management capabilities.