China news 12th July 2021

China news 12th July 2021

In a longer than usual news this week, we cover four interesting stories, the rivers of China, Hong Kong’s National Security Law, an international survey of compensation and living cost and how one Chinese auto-company plans to reduce the weight of electric vehicles.

As we have written a lot about the Yangtse and its exploration by early travellers, it seems appropriate to summarise this comparison between China’s two great rivers.

Comparison between China’s two great rivers

The Chinese nation has two mother rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River.  The Yellow River is a large river in northern China, with a total length of 5,464 kilometres. It is one of the longest rivers in the world. The reason why the Yellow River has such a name is because the upper reaches of the Yellow River flows through the Loess Plateau. When the river rolls down, it will take away a lot of mud deposits, so the colour of the water is yellow. The Yellow River is currently the river with the highest sand content in the world, and it is also one of China’s mother rivers and the birthplace of the Chinese nation.

Yiming Li / Getty Images
Yiming Li / Getty Images

The Yangtze River is a large river in southern China, with a total length of 6,300 kilometres, more than 800 kilometres longer than the Yellow River.  Compared with the Yellow River, China learned about the Yangtze River much later. This is due to economic development. In the early stages of human society, the north was more suitable for human survival; the humid and hot south, although it would have advantages in crop yields, was extremely troublesome to develop. Most of development occurred in the north.

The Yangtze River has little difference in flow throughout the year, and there is no fixed flood season, so it can be navigable throughout the year.  The Yellow River has a sufficient flow during periods of high water, but during periods of low water, it may dry out.

In general, there is no essential division between the two rivers.  They are the rivers that have nurtured our ancestors for generations. We should be grateful for them and protect these rivers as much as possible. Over the years, with the development of industry, many rivers have been polluted, or because of industrial and agricultural water use, many rivers have taken water seriously and have shown signs of drying up. The land under our feet is the most precious wealth. We should concentrate our efforts to protect them and leave this wealth to future generations.


Criticism of Hong Kong’s national security law

Hong Kong’s national security law, that came into force last year, has received widespread criticism in the west from those who do not understand it or the background.  Here is an interesting piece of commentary from a pro-Beijing publication in Hong Kong.

The “National Security Law” was formally implemented on June 30 last year, and it has been one year since. The surface of the society calmed down, and street protests ceased. Chief Executive Carrie Lam even described the “Hong Kong National Security Law” as an acupuncture needle in Hong Kong. But on the other side of the event, in the departure area of the airport, there were continuous tears of people saying goodbye to relatives and friends. What is going on in Hong Kong now?


Needless to say, the National Security Law, which originally stated that it only targeted a small group of people, has already deterred many members of society. It is not only the participants in the primary elections of the Legislative Council or the management of newspapers.  Citizens who fly a flag must be cautious in their words and deeds, lest they are accused of violating the act and thus lose their personal freedom. 

The Law had its effect on quelling the protests, but some citizens are worried that they mght be guilty of crimes with their words and fear that they would easily fall into the law. Therefore, the implementation and execution of the policy must also allow society to understand that its guidelines are clear. Clearness and predictability are not only elements of the rule of law in the common law tradition, but also in the tradition where the law is regarded as a tool of governance.  The law must also be clearly visible in order to guide social behaviour and allow people to follow the law.  Whether this can be achieved will undoubtedly test the abilities of the SAR’s national security department and even other government officials.

Recently, the airport witnessed scene after scene of separation of relatives and friends, which may include study abroad; but many people have also emigrated and left their hometowns. This uneasiness may be partly due to political views and political prejudice. It is an emotional dislike of Hong Kong’s changes in the past two years. But in addition to this, the frenetic life in Hong Kong has always been a well-known driving factor. It not only makes people want to emigrate, but also makes parents want to send their children abroad and live a lighter life. 

When life in Hong Kong is breathless and the hearts of the people are not stable, are officials and civil servants not responsible?

It would not be fair to accuse the majority of civil servants based on the inaction of individual officials.   The Director of Broadcasting, for example, has caused a lot of controversy about programme censorship of Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Yet no-one can deny his unconventional and unbureaucratic style.  Civil servants are not necessarily bureaucratic and lazy. From this perspective, if society is to be stable and to become a city where Hong Kong people love it as their home, the government must not only rely on severe penalties, but also reform governance. The latter is not impossible, it just depends on whether the officials do it.


Hong Kong loves to draw comparisons between the results of compensation surveys made by international consultants for expatriate terms and conditions and its own position as a city.

Mercer Human Resources Consulting (Mercer) announced the results of this year’s “Cost of Living Survey” for global cities on June 22. After occupying the top spot for three consecutive years, Hong Kong was finally replaced by Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan in Central Asia this year. However, it still ranks second among 209 locations with the highest cost of living – Beirut, Lebanon, Tokyo, Japan, Zurich, Switzerland and Singapore.

Mercer’s “Living Cost Survey” ranking is designed to help multinational companies or government agencies determine the salary levels for expatriates. It has conducted 27 annual surveys. The survey compares the living expenses of different cities in terms of housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. The latest data is from a survey conducted in March this year, and the exchange rate difference at the time was considered as the basic measurement standard. 

However, this time Hong Kong was able to get out of this ranking, not because of the improvement in its own cost of living, but because of the rapid deterioration of the environment in other places. Take Ashgabat, the number one this time, as an example. In recent years, the area has been affected by the plunge in natural gas prices and food shortages. As a result, there have been serious inflation and inequality between the rich and the poor. Among the bustling marble buildings, many residents have to line up. One of the reasons for waiting for food rescue is that the local government only pays attention to the development of the upper-class economy but does not pay attention to the basic people’s livelihood.

In addition to Ashgabat, Beirut was also affected by the local economic crisis, which made its ranking jump from 45th last year to 3rd. Mercer pointed out that Beirut’s rapid rise in the rankings was the result of political turmoil in the past few years, while the 2019 pandemic and the explosion at the port factory in August last year have further deteriorated the economy and caused the inflation rate to hit a record high. But even so, its cost of living is still not as high as the second-place Hong Kong.

More importantly, Mercer has always emphasized that its “Living Cost Survey” ranking is not suitable for independent review but should be combined with the company’s other “Quality of Life Survey” to make parallel analysis. The results of the “Quality of Life Survey” are generally announced in November each year. However, Mercer believes that the epidemic will continue to affect production levels around the world. Therefore, it decided to suspend the detailed ranking last year. According to the 2019 ranking, Hong Kong’s quality of life ranked only among the 231 cities in the world. In 71st place.

Looking at other top cities in the “Cost of Living Survey”, Ashgabat and Beirut only ranked 211 and 184 in the “Quality of Life Survey” in 2019, but they shouldn’t have followed them because of the economic deterioration. Hong Kong is a reference. On the other hand, Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore, which belong to the developed regions, ranked 49th, 2nd and 25th respectively in the 2019 Quality of Life Survey. The results are much better than those of Hong Kong.

Although Mercer’s survey is aimed at expatriates with overseas companies, its findings on cost of living and quality are undoubtedly applicable to local residents. Hong Kong ranks disproportionately in the “Cost of Living Survey” and “Quality of Life Survey” respectively. This is precisely indicating that the Hong Kong government must reduce the local cost of living and increase the quality of life of the citizens. Otherwise, it will directly damage the living standards of the general public and hinder the progress of attracting foreign talents that many officials often claim.


Electric vehicles are in the news everywhere.  Our blog is no exception.   Charging themcan be a concern to many.  Changan Automobile, like many other manufacturers, is addressing how to improve the range of vehicles by improving their design.

Studies have shown that for every 10 kg reduction in the weight of a pure electric vehicle, the cruising range can increase by 2.5 kilometres.  Our goal is to reduce the body weight by more than 30% through research, while ensuring that the safety performance of the vehicle reaches the five-star standard.Weight loss is not only needed by people who love beauty, but also by cars. In the “13th Five-Year” national key research and development plan, “New Energy Vehicles” special projects, the integrated development of lightweight pure electric cars has been a key research project.

Recently, the reporter learned from Chongqing Changan Automobile that the company has jointly developed with 13 domestic research institutes and suppliers, including Ningbo Institute of Materials of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It has made breakthroughs in six aspects, including analysis, design, manufacturing, vehicle integration, and test verification. It has broken through a number of technical bottlenecks and developed a pure electric car with a carbon fibre body with world-class technology.

The aim is to reduce the curb weight of the car as much as possible while ensuring the strength and safety performance of the car, thereby improving the overall car. Experiments have proved that the fuel consumption will be reduced by nearly half.  Due to the needs of environmental protection and energy saving, lightweight automobiles have become the trend of the world’s automobile development.

Zhao Hui, chief expert of Changan Automobile and project director of lightweight pure electric cars.  He said that compared with fuel vehicles, new energy vehicles are often 10% heavier. Batteries account for one-third to one-half of the vehicle’s weight. Before the contradiction between the energy density and safety of the lithium-powered battery is resolved, weight reduction is one of the powerful ways to increase the cruising range.

by Michael Fousert
by Michael Fousert

For new energy vehicles, weight reduction is mainly carried out from three aspects: lightweight materials, lightweight structures, and lightweight manufacturing processes.  In this regard, the lightweight pure electric car integrated development project aims to break through the technical bottlenecks of a carbon fibre body, load distribution and structural optimization.  

Zhao Hui said that the automobile industry is undergoing major changes, bringing unprecedented challenges to the development of the industry, and also bringing a golden opportunity for development. It is a good time for Chinese brand cars to overtake foreign brands If they can overcome weight.  

To achieve a light weight, the first difficulty to break through is the material.  Generally, steel and iron materials are used for the frames of vehicles. Expensive models may use an all-aluminium body or a carbon fibre body, which can reduce weight while ensuring strength and performance. However, a major difficulty facing the use of carbon fibre composite materials and aluminium alloys is the cost.

With light weight and high strength, carbon fibre composite materials can be said to have “no shortcomings apart from being expensive.” This “king of materials”, which is mainly used in the aerospace field, is only used by luxury cars. It is expensive not only in the high cost of raw materials, but also in the difficulty of its production and manufacturing processes.  Magnesium alloy also is lighter than aluminium alloy and can also save up to 30% of the weight.

How to connect so many materials together is also a challenge. For example, the upper body uses a glue and glue riveting connection. The aluminium frame uses welding, riveting and other connection methods to realize the organic unity of connection strength and toughness.

Zhao Hui said that through the organic combination of basic technology research and innovative application research, a number of key lightweight technologies have been implemented in Changan and other models in the industry.  He said that next, they will continue to study the mass production of lightweight new energy vehicles, so that lighter and safer new energy vehicles will enter the market.


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