Facts and figures: Belt and Road Initiativetive, proposed

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims at building a

trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the an

cient trade routes of the Silk Road to seek common development and prosperity.

Let’s take a look at some key figures about the initiative.

A new remake of Peking Opera classic Farewell My C

oncubine is expected to premiere for opera lovers in Beijing in late May.

A representative opera piece of the late Chinese theater

mogul Mei Lanfang, Farewell My Concubine tells a love

story based on the legend of Xiang Yu – the warlord of the ancient Chu Kingdom – an

d his beloved consort Yu. Xiang lost a battle for the throne, and Yu committed suicide with his sword.

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Zhang Huoding, one of the most popular Peking Opera

 stars in today’s China, will take the opera makeover to the stage of the Chang

‘an Grand Theater on May 25, as the closing show of this year’s Meet in Beijing inte

rnational arts festival. Celebrated Peking Opera artist Gao Mukun will star as Xiang Yu.

For 48-year-old Zhang, it’s a dream come true.

“It’s always been my dream to play concubine Yu since I was learni

ng Peking Opera in Tianjin in the 1980s, but I didn’t get the chance,” Zhang said at a news conf

erence in Beijing on Tuesday. “I look forward to it very much and I hope the audience will like it.”Zhang is an inh

eritor of the “Cheng School” of Peking Opera, a performing style founded by Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58), one of the great Pe

king Opera masters of the 20th century. While Mei Lanfang’s “Mei School” is fam

ous for his smooth, moderate and poised style in playing elegant female roles, Cheng style is kn

own for interpreting tragic women with frequent changes in sounds and rhythm.

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The meeting called for expanded investment in comp

ulsory education, basic medical care, housing, drinking water, eldercare and ch

ild care, in addition to addressing other pressing issues for some groups in society.

Social security mechanisms to help those most in need will be furthe

r refined, with subsistence allowance systems set to be optimized, the statement said.

The meeting also called for full implementation of requirements set in the Ce

ntral Economic Work Conference, the annual policymaking meeting held in December.

The meeting urged an even more proactive fiscal policy and full implementation of tax and fee cuts.

Monetary policy will be eased or tightened to the right degree, and

it will be adjusted in accordance with economic growth and real-time inflationary and pricing

scenarios, the statement said, adding that financial support for the real economy will be bolstered.

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China will improve the market environment for c

 car sales and expand the supply of automobiles as part of its latest efforts to boost auto consum

ption, Gao Feng, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said at a press conference early this month.

By the end of 2018, China’s six cities namely Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Tianijin carried

out the purchase restriction of fuel-powered passenger cars, said Shao Jiang, an analyst at Everbright Securities. “If thes

e cities double their rising number of new cars, it could bring a 2.8 percent year-on-year growth for the wh

ole passenger car market.”Editor’s Note: The eight explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have claimed more tha

n 300 lives and left over 500 people injured. A ninth explosion was reported on Monday near a church in Colombo, but n

one was reported killed or injured. The Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombings on Tue

sday. Two experts share their views on the attacks with China Daily’s Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow

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Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lankan state defense min

nister, said on Tuesday that Islamic extremists staged the attacks in

Sri Lanka in retaliation to the shootings in two New Zealand mosques in March that claimed 50 lives.

And the blasts lay bare several threats confronting the whole world. First

of all, the reflux of IS terrorists formerly active in Iraq and Syria to countries that have not su

ffered large-scale serial terrorist strikes in a while poses a serious threat to their people’s safety.

Sri Lanka had enjoyed relative peace after the Liberation Tige

rs of Tamil Eelam, a militant organization demandin

g a separate homeland for Tamils in northeastern Sri Lanka, was defeated in 2009.

Governments have been keeping a close watch on the small nu

mber of people that have returned to their countries after atten

ding IS training camps. Yet the lack of coordination mechanisms among countries seemin

gly helps the terrorists evade surveillance and collude with extremist forces outside their countries.

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Besides, the blasts in Sri Lanka indicate terrorists coul

ld also target areas that until now were considered terror-free, especially Asian tourist destinations such as the Maldives and Thaila

nd, because they attract a large number of Western people, as well as investments and interests. To prevent such

terrorist attacks, all countries have to make joint efforts to not only strengthen their security but also impr

ove their coordination so they can more effectively combat the common threat of terrorism.

Even though there is no evidence to show social media played a role in the attacks in Sri Lanka, all countries should strengt

hen supervision of the internet because it is being increasingly used to spread terrorism and plan terrorist atta

cks. The IS group’s online tyranny could be more dangerous compared with its actual presence in a country as a ban

ned organization, because its online propaganda could prove more effective in leading people astray.

Therefore, governments — with the active help of internet companies — have no choic

e but to play a bigger role in containing the spread of terrorism online.

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Air tickets, homestays sold out for May Day holiday

A travel rush is expected for the upcoming May Day holiday, a

s air tickets and high-speed railway tickets on multiple routes were sold out, while ho

mestay hotels at destinations including Beijing and Shanghai were fully booked.

While only one week away, the May Day holiday this year is extended to fo

ur days – one day more than last year – and will see a travel craze comparable to that  ty

pically seen during China’s Spring Festival, a traditional holiday for family reunion.

According to Qunar, one of China’s largest online travel agencies, quite a few people chose to take a few days off before or af

ter the May 1 to 4 holiday, so that they can enjoy a journey lasting upwards to nine days.

The travel rush is expected to come as early as April 27, and will reach a climax on April 29 and 30.

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China releases report on progress, contributions and pro

China on Monday published a report elaborating on the progress, contributions and prospects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The document, prepared by the office of the leading group for promoting the BRI, was released ahead

of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing.

The Belt and Road Initiative is an initiative for peaceful

development and economic cooperation, rather than a geopolitical or military alliance, said the rep

ort. “It is a process of open, inclusive and common development, not an exclusionary bloc or a ‘China club’.”

“It neither differentiates between countries by ideology nor plays the zero-sum

game. Countries are welcome to join the initiative if they so will,” according to the report.

The BRI has turned ideas into actions and vision into reality, and i

tself into a public product widely welcomed by the international community, the report said.

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We believe that with the passing of time and the sy

nergy of all parties, Belt and Road cooperation will definitely become deep and concrete, steady and extensive,” the report said.

“The Belt and Road will become a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, green development, innovatio

n, connected civilizations, and clean government. It wi

ll make economic globalization become more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.”

China will improve its oversight of human related scientific research and medic

al tests under draft laws and amendments submitted to China’s top legislature for review on Saturday.

Medical and scientific research related to human genes and embryos mi

ght present risks to health or violate ethics, and they must be strictly regulated therefore, said She

n Chunyao, senior legislator of the Constitution and Law Committee of the National People’s Congress.

A new item has been added to the country’s draft civil law, requiring that all

medical and scientific research related to human genes and embryos must f

ollow strict rules, laws and regulations, and should not pose a threat to people’s health or violate moral or ethical codes.

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Meanwhile, massive rescue operations are underway at

the explosion sites, the police said.Television footage showed ambulances r

ushing the injured to the Colombo National Hospital, the Batticaloa Hospital in

the east and the Negombo Hospital on the outskirts of the capital where the explosions took place.

There has been no claim of responsibility so far for the multiple blasts.

In just one church, St. Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north o

f Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official told Reuters.

Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

One of the explosions was at St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade, Colombo.

St. Sebastian’s church posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Fa

cebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.

Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 70 percent are Buddh

ist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim, and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country’s 2012 cen

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