The Olympics express, Xi'an lockdown and tiger stamps: China this week
Simon Ormiston


Onboard China's 5G Olympics express

With just one month to go to the Winter Olympics China has launched its new high-speed train service between Beijing and co-host city Zhangjiakou. The train, which reaches speeds of up to 340 kilometers per hour, is fully equipped with 5G technology, allowing passengers to stream in 8k. 

China Media Group, with the help of China Railway, China Unicom and China Mobile, has set up a studio onboard as part of its commitment to open a new chapter in the promotion of the Olympic movement, culture and Chinese sportsmanship during Beijing 2022.


China's Space Station completes successful trial of robotic arm

The robotic arm attached to China's Space Station successfully grabbed and transferred the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship in a test on Thursday. It was the first such maneuver of the 10-meter-long robotic arm, which can lift objects weighing up to 20 tonnes. 

The operation tested the feasibility and effectiveness of using the mechanical arm to transfer a section of the space station while in orbit and verified the arm's capability of handling heavy loads.



Grocery deliveries to your door in Xi'an

As Xi'an entered its 15th day of close management, where residents are not allowed to leave their homes other than to take a COVID-19 test, concerns over grocery deliveries have increased. The city, home to 13 million people, is still having trouble getting groceries delivered to residents, often because the last 100 meters of distribution to residents' doorsteps is proving a challenge. Local authorities are working to improve the situation.

The new measures were imposed after the COVID-19 situation showed an increase of 150 cases per day for two consecutive days.


WeChat apps used 450m times a day in December

China's dominant messaging app WeChat confirmed the average daily active users for its mini programs hit 450 million in 2021. That represents a 13 percent increase from 2020 but is much slower than the 33 percent growth in 2020, according to previous figures released by Tencent.

The mini programs, which look and operate much like apps on Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems but are less data intensive, are key to Tencent's efforts to build its e-commerce operations. 


President Xi visits Olympics site 

President Xi Jinping called for "green, inclusive, open and clean" Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games while inspecting the preparations for the facilities recently. Xi visited the National Speed Skating Oval, the Athletes' Village and an ice and snow sports training base on Tuesday, which marked the 30-day countdown to the Games. 

The National Speed Skating Oval, known as the "Ice Ribbon," not only boasts world-class facilities but also leads the world in ice-making technology with zero carbon emissions, he said. Xi also called for efforts to promote the technology and contribute to the green transformation of China's economic and social development.


President Xi has conducted regular visits to the site of the Winter Olympics to check on progress as China prepares to host the 2022 Games. /Xinhua

President Xi has conducted regular visits to the site of the Winter Olympics to check on progress as China prepares to host the 2022 Games. /Xinhua


Online poll selects name for Olympics theme tune

CGTN's Music Voyage Winter Olympics-themed music production Embrace was released on Thursday after a month-long collaboration among four musicians in a relay format.

Musicians Asr and Mico Liu Wei from China, Doctor Victor from Iceland and Carlo Facchini from Italy were each given seven days to compose a one-minute piece that reflected their musical taste and understanding about winter sports and the Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin on February 4. The four musical tracks were then masterfully fused to form Embrace – a title decided by an online poll.


World Health Organization backs COVID-19 plans for Beijing 2022

The World Health Organization is confident in the preparatory work of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee to ensure the safety and wellbeing of athletes and essential workers amid rising concern over the spread of the coronavirus variant Omicron. 

"The measures that are in place for the Games are very strict and very strong and we don't, at this point, see any increased risk of disease transmission in that context," Emergencies Director Michael Ryan told a news conference on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the U.S. set a global record of more than 1 million new COVID-19 infections on a single day, while Italy, France and several other countries reported record daily new cases. But the WHO remains optimistic ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which run from February 4 to 20, and the Winter Paralympics, which run from March 4 to 13. 


Year of the Tiger stamps on sale

China Post issued a set of special stamps for the Year of the Tiger on Wednesday, marking the 42nd consecutive year since it issued the first zodiac stamps in 1980.

Unlike last year, when there was only one stamp, this time there are two, each depicting a different scene. The set costs 2.40 yuan ($0.38).


The first stamp is named 'Guoyun Changlong,' and the second showing a mother with her cubs is called 'Huyun Jixiang.' /CFP

The first stamp is named 'Guoyun Changlong,' and the second showing a mother with her cubs is called 'Huyun Jixiang.' /CFP


Facial recognition tech used to protect pandas

While facial recognition technology continues to impact many aspects of human life, it is now also being applied to aid the protection of giant pandas.

A nature reserve in northwest China's Gansu Province has built an AI-enabled video monitoring system to help protect giant pandas in the wild. Installed with 300 infrared cameras, the system is helping ensure the health and safety of all 110 wild giant pandas in the reserve.


China bars companies from expanding HFC production

China has stopped the expansion of the production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the potent greenhouse gases­ responsible for depleting the Earth's ozone layer and contributing significantly to global warming.

The Ministry of Environment and Ecology barred companies from expanding HFC production capacity from January 1. "Companies shall not build or expand the HFC chemical production facilities. Enterprises that violate the new regulations will be liable to punishment," said a notification issued by the ministry.

HFCs are used in cooling systems such as air conditioners and refrigerators. Under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Convention, which came into effect in 2019, countries decided to phase down production and use of HFCs by 80 percent in the next 30 years.

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