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Bohunt School, deep in rural Hampshire, southern England, was pretty much unknown in China before August last year.
Now, its head teacher, Neil Strowger, is invited to conferences in China, while its students have had to get used to Chinese visitors peeking through their classroom windows.
Despite its large appeal, Strowger says the BBC series was a sitcom more than a serious documentary, arguing that it "was produced as entertainment rather than educational research". In the three-part program, five Chinese teachers taught 50 students for four weeks at Bohunt School.
Strowger says genuine educational exchanges did occur between the Chinese and English teachers during filming but were deleted in the editing process.
As a result of the exchanges, teachers at Bohunt have adopted a wider range of methods, including those used widely in China. The school has also readjusted the structure of its science department, with heads of department now overseeing the three disciplines - biology, chemistry and physics - rather than overseeing groups of students divided by age. Aside from the final examinations in the program, which the BBC presented as a competition, the school has continued to track the progress of those students who took part. The findings suggest better progress was made in biology under the Chinese method of teaching, while chemistry and physics were better in the traditional Bohunt style.
Like most schools in Britain, Bohunt uses the inquiry method, where the onus is on the student to acquire information through asking questions.
The Chinese approach on the show was for teachers to take control of lessons and explain more in a focused way, which gets the information across quicker, he says. The collaboration went both ways, too: The Chinese teachers went away with wider strategies, while Bohunt took on board things such as the importance of "teacher talk" in lessons.
Juan Cole, the school's head of Chinese, adds: "It was a really interesting experiment for us to see what works and what doesn't.
Of the Chinese math lessons, she says: "The way the teacher explained it was very detailed. Scarlett Stevens, also 15, was less fond of the Chinese methods, however, especially the classroom competitiveness. Stevens says she prefers the English way of discovery learning and finding out things for yourself rather than being told what the right answer is or what the right formula is. The Bohunt experiment came after Shanghai students had consistently ranked best in math in the Program for International Student Assessment, which is issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Over the past 18 months, 127 math teachers from Shanghai have shared their experiences and skills in English primary schools.
China, which concentrates on establishing the basics, understands much better that young people are exposed to a number of opportunities both inside and outside school to think mathematically or to solve real-life problems in other ways, he adds.
Tim Ayres, head of biology at Bohunt School, is thinking hard about a good mix of different teaching methods. The school's trust has signed a deal with Wenzhou Xinzhi Education Co to set up Wenzhou Bohunt International School, which is scheduled to open in 2018 and teach a Bohunt-style curriculum as well as offer GCSE and A-level examinations.
The exchanges between Bohunt and China also benefit its 1,500 students, one-fourth of whom are now learning Mandarin.
Everybody was shouting out "yuanchang jiuqiu" (home run), as a year 9 student passed the fourth base line on the Bohunt school playground during a physical education lesson involving a game of rounders, a softer version of baseball played in British schools. This PE lesson was jointly run by a Bohunt school physical education instructor and a Chinese language teacher, allowing students to play the sport and learn Mandarin at the same time. Mandarin is taught to more than 400 students, with many using an immersion method at Bohunt School.
This innovative pedagogy, known as immersion language teaching, was introduced by Bohunt School in 2010. Immersion teaching means a group of students in Key Stage 3, normally known as Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, are taught a third of their curriculum in the target language, which can be French, Spanish or Mandarin. As in each core subject, there is a lot of content to get through, so the immersion technique lends itself more to practical subjects with less heavy content, such as art, physical education, and personal, social and religious subjects, as well as information and communications technology, says Philip Avery, director of learning and strategy for Bohunt Trust, which runs the school.
Those in the immersion group have a more positive attitude toward learning than those outside it, Avery says. Tania Horak, a language lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, says immersion teaching is an interesting concept and she believes it has many advantages, among them that "the main concept behind this approach is that language is being used for real-life goals of actual communication, which is often missing from other types of language classrooms". Horak's viewpoint was vividly illustrated when one of the Bohunt students realized halfway through delivering a technology workshop that her audience was primarily French-speaking and thus, because of her increased confidence through Bohunt's French immersion program, switched languages and presented the rest of the workshop in French. Juan Cole, head of Chinese at Bohunt School, says the immersion program creates an authentic environment for students to learn the language and, for example in the physical education lessons, "you learn by doing, which is exactly the same as when you learn your first language". The proof can also be found in the results of Cole's GCSE class who are taking the exam, which is aimed at 16 year-olds, three years early, with 90 percent of them predicted to get an A or A-star, well above the national average.
The program, especially the inclusion of Mandarin, has received widespread acclaim through the British Council and HSBC's National Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition, in which students from Bohunt reached the national final three years in a row. This year, Lila Marshman, 13, a Mandarin immersion program student at Bohunt, impressed the judges with her language skills and won the first prize of the beginner level section of the contest. However, even with the immersion program's recognizable successes it is nowhere close to becoming widespread around Britain.
The main problem, Horak suggests, is that the effectiveness of the approach relies on the quality and commitment of the teachers.
Xia Qing, a math teacher with almost a decade of experience, has been invited to the UK three times for education exchanges.
The 30-year-old, who works at Shanghai Jincai Experimental Primary School, has shared her methods with fellow educators at Manchester Chorlton Park Primary, Hawksmoor Primary, Windrush Primary and the Bristol Metropolitan Academy. Xia Qing, Chinese math teacher, says specialization is the prime difference in how the countries teach children math. She says the prime difference in how the countries teach children math boils down to one word: specialization. Shanghai students ranked top for math in the Program for International Student Assessment in 2012. Xia says she found during exchanges that textbooks are another major difference between the two education systems. Chinese primary schools have a unified set of textbooks and teachers' reference books, which include clear goals for each subject and methods of implementation, but in the UK this is not the case, she says. Nick Gibb, the UK schools minister, has made similar observations and has called for standardized textbooks to be introduced in classrooms, in response to evidence that British students are lagging behind those in other nations.
Xia believes the exchanges she has been involved in were beneficial in two ways, as she took away useful lessons, too. She says the study tools in British schools caught her eye due to their design and being multifunctional, but more importantly because they help students construct math knowledge in a more visual manner. A strong voice has been rising in China in recent times, one that criticizes test-oriented education and says the Chinese system kills children's creativity. It seems the entire education circle is worried, as more look to introduce elements from Western education systems. It's incredible that, at the same time, a reverse trend is happening in the West, where schools are looking to China. The documentary film Waiting for Superman attacks the poor-quality education in public schools in the United States. However, this system blocks the development of top students, who are usually creative and hate repetitive tasks. The Western system pays more attention to the process rather than results; it encourages individual development, and promotes curiosity and creativity, giving space and freedom to those top students. In that environment, young people have freedom under guidance (something that is lacking in Chinese education), so that they can develop good study habits as well as morality.
Some of China's elite schools have been carrying out reforms, combining the advantages of both a Chinese and Western education.
Although the traditional Chinese education methods still dominate, many are taking on the practices of Western schools, and the voice is getting louder.
I hope that, one day, we will have a Chinese education system that is diversified yet still in touch with its traditional values. The author is a history teacher at Beijing National Day School and author of Light Up the Class with Thoughts. The experiment at Bohunt School illustrated what those engaged in the study of comparative education have long believed: that it is not possible, or even desirable, to transplant into one's own educational system the features of another system rooted strongly in its own cultural context. Michael Sadler, the head of the Office of Special Inquiries and Reports in London from 1895 to 1903, made an early and acute observation. Sadler argued that a national system of education is a living thing that embodies "the outcome of forgotten struggles and difficulties and of battles long ago", and has in it "the secret of workings of national life". This observation is as true for China, which has for decades flirted with the British educational model, as it is for Britain today as it looks to find solutions to what some may call an educational decline. In these globally comparative and competitive times, in which a direct relationship between educational achievement and economic success is assumed, it is not unusual for those who shape educational policy to seek to model their own systems on those of countries that perform academically better on international comparative assessments, and who show good prospects for sustained economic growth. While it was natural in the past for England to export ways of knowing and doing, perhaps buoyed by the dictums of 19th century educational explorers such as former US president John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), who advised "the travelers" to "remember that he is called not to import the principles or habits of foreign nations into his own, but to export to those less-favored countries the principles and practices he has learned at home".
Perhaps in a more quiet way then, but now more knowledgeable and confident about the strengths of its own educational DNA, it is more purposeful in what it seeks to absorb. I participated in the 10th International Forum for School Principals in November 2014 in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province.
The real challenge, it seems, is not what and how much we can learn from each other to improve our own educational systems; it is how we learn together to face a world that is increasingly interconnected and at the same time more diverse and plural, and how we learn to face collectively the unknown challenges of tomorrow - food security and poverty, climate change, and global terrorism.
It is not about learning from others to improve our own, but learning together in an open-minded way to forge a new way of knowing and doing.
The challenge then is to learn not only from different worldviews, but to learn at the confluence of where worldviews meet. Beijing has accused Tsai Ing-wen, who took office on Friday as Taiwan's new leader, of taking an ambiguous stand on the one-China principle in a speech after she was sworn in, thereby bringing uncertainty to cross-Straits relations. Tsai, Taiwan's first female leader, did not explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus, which says that both sides are part of one China, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement after Tsai took office. She also failed to put forward concrete ways to ensure the peaceful and stable development of cross-Straits relations, it said, adding that her remarks were an "incomplete answer sheet". Tsai, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, defeated Kuomintang candidate Eric Chu and People First Party Chairman James Soong in January to become the island's top leader. In her 25-minute speech, Tsai mentioned the talks between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the island's Straits Exchange Foundation in 1992, and conceded that those talks reached a common understanding.
She said the new leadership on the island will continue pushing forward the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and maintain existing cross-Straits exchanges and communication. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said the Taiwan leader has to choose between upholding the one China principle and pursuing "Taiwan independence", which will lead to a different future.
The Taiwan authorities must make the choice with concrete actions and face the test of history and the people, according to the statement. Li said the mainland won't tolerate any vagueness regarding the consensus, without which the peaceful development of the relations would be off course and would founder.
Ni Yongjie, deputy director of Shanghai's Taiwan Research Institute, said, "As Tsai mentioned in her speech, Taiwan has many problems. Zhang Guanhua, deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said cross-Straits relations might enter a "cold" stage after Tsai's taking office, with cooperation and communication likely to be suspended. The mainland's top legislature issues a statement asking for an end to military confrontation across the Straits.
Taiwan allows its residents to visit their families on the mainland for the first time since 1949. The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation meet in Hong Kong and agree on the 1992 Consensus. Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, meets with Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan in Beijing. A delegation headed by Taiwan-based SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung visits Beijing for talks with Chen Yunlin, head of ARATS, marking the resumption of cross-Straits institutional consultations after a nine-year suspension. Chen Yunlin leads a delegation to Taiwan to discuss issues including increasing direct flights, opening direct cargo shipping routes and fully opening postal services.
The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a preferential trade agreement, is signed to reduce tariffs and commercial barriers. Another 37 people involved in the case were being investigated on suspicion of duty-related crimes such as bribery, abuse of power and dereliction of duty, it said.
The vaccines involved in the case had allegedly been sold since 2011 in more than 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities by a mother and daughter in Shandong province. The vaccines allegedly were not properly stored in cold conditions, which might have reduced their effectiveness.
After the case was reported in February, the central government set up a special investigation team in March of officials from various ministries and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Of the 125 arrested, two had been convicted by the court as of Thursday, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Most of those suspected of abuse of power are medical staff at township or community health centers who allegedly bought vaccines from sellers, despite knowing that the sellers were not certified to sell vaccines, according to the procuratorate. Most of those suspected of dereliction of duty are chiefs of township health centers who allegedly turned a blind eye to the medical staff in the centers buying the problematic vaccines through illegal channels, the procuratorate said. The management of such vaccines was not as strict as for Category One vaccines, such as those for hepatitis B and the polio virus, that are mandatory and provided by the government for free. Following the incident, the State Council, which is China's Cabinet, released a revised regulation in April to tighten the management of all vaccines. Pepper the robot interacts with Kazutaka Hasumi, director of the product division at SoftBank, at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday. The Japanese developers of a robot are asking the public to make suggestions on what their waist-high humanoid should be able to do, and they are offering a software development kit for programmers to get creative. The fast-selling robot, known as Pepper, can already laugh and serve coffee and is being used as a waiter, salesman and customer service representative in about 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle, Mizuho Bank and Nissan. Now its creators, SoftBank Corp, have started offering a kit, Pepper SDK for Android Studio, that will allow programmers to develop new tasks.
The first six batches of the robot, each averaging 1,000 units, sold out in less than a minute.
SoftBank Corp describes Pepper on its website as the first humanoid robot capable of recognizing principal human emotions and adapting its behavior to the mood of those with whom it interacts. The call comes amid a series of cases that have occurred nationwide and involve allegations of abuse of police power. A meeting on Friday of the Leading Group for Overall Reform, presided over by President Xi Jinping, required the establishment of a professional police force with standardized law enforcement practices.
The management of law enforcement should be "systematic" and procedures should be documented or recorded, to ensure that police power is used properly, according to a statement released after the meeting. The recent case of Lei Yang, 29, who died in police custody after a vice raid on May 7 in Beijing, has prompted questions by the public about whether the police used excessive force. Prosecutors in Beijing are investigating the case to see if there was any police misconduct involved. Yang Weidong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the latest requirement from the top leadership is very timely, since police abuse and brutality do exist. Zhao Li, a criminal lawyer in Beijing, said that many law enforcement officers, especially police, do not follow standardized practices.
The lawyer said the message sent by Friday's meeting is very encouraging, but further measures are needed. Yang suggested that every law enforcement procedure be recorded so that police behavior can be put under public supervision.
At Friday's meeting, leaders also called for speeding up supply-side economic reform, which aims to trim excess capacity and use resources more efficiently. In the Hangzhou City Social Welfare Center in East China's Zhejiang province, five robots remind 1,300 seniors when to take their medicines. The robots are programmed to "remember" medication schedules for the seniors and nursing home workers. The robots were developed by Woosiyuan Telecom Technology Co Ltd and are currently undergoing trials. The "A-Tie" robots, whose name means "iron" in Chinese, are 0.8 meters tall and weigh 15 kilograms.
The robots are controlled by a mobile phone app or touch screens, and they can do much more than remind patients to take their medicines. Chen Wei, a marketing manager with Woosiyuan, says that the company spent three years developing the robots. The company also plans to upgrade the robots to perform new functions, such as inspections and holding conversations with people. China had 222 million people over 60 as of the end of last year, accounting for 16.1 percent of the country's population, says Civil Affairs Vice-Minister Gao Xiaobing. Meanwhile, China hopes to sell more than 30 billion yuan ($4.60 billion) worth of robots by 2020 amid surging demand in the healthcare, scientific research and domestic service sectors, according to a guideline posted on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Earlier this month, news got around that an artificial intelligence device could compete in the national college entrance exam in math in 2017.
The AI device, part of a project by the Ministry of Science and Technology, is being designed by Chengdu Zhun Xing Yun Xue Technology Co Ltd. According to the plan, the AI device will take next year's math test, usually held on June 7 every year, along with millions of Chinese students. Like its human peers, it will have to complete a 150 marks math test in two hours in a room without internet access. China reiterated its rejection of any UN arbitration panel's decision on territorial claims made by the Philippines in the South China Sea, but it will keep the door open for negotiations to solve the disputes. Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming made the remarks in London on Friday in his speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a leading international think-tank.
He said by refusing to accept and participate in the arbitral tribunal, Chinese is exerting its rights according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. China has said it will keep the door open for negotiations to resolve the dispute with the Philippines over its territorial claims in the South China Sea. China is within its rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to refuse to accept and participate in the arbitration, he said. Noting the election of a new Philippine president, however, he added, "We hope the new Philippine government will work with China on a proper settlement of differences and bring the situation in the South China Sea back on track, following the principles established by UNCLOS and international law". Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently told Al-Jazeera that "there should be no double standards," a reference to Washington criticizing Chinese construction work on South China Sea islands and leveling accusations of militarization, while the US builds up its military presence there.
Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said in a speech on Thursday in Washington that the US military's so-called freedom of navigation operations were originally conceived as a countermeasure against freedom of navigation as defined by UNCLOS because the US believed that the convention's provisions would restrict its Navy's freedom of movement.
Ambassador Liu noted in London that China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the waters around it is built on strong evidence, which the international community has long recognized.
Chinese people discovered the islands in the South China Sea as early as 200 BC, and China was also the first to operate administratively in the region, dating back to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 to 907).
He cited evidence that The China Sea Pilot, published by the British Navy in 1868, recounted that only Chinese lived on the Nansha islands.
He rejected that China has refused to abide by international law by not accepting the UN arbitration case initiated by the Philippines in 2013.
Tullio Treves, a Senior International Consultant in the International Arbitration group based in The Hague, says "negotiations remain the best avenue to settle the dispute on the South China Sea between the two states. The Beautiful China, Beautiful South Korea photo show - organized by State Council Information Office and South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism - features the landscape and cultures of the two countries. State Council Information Office Deputy Director Guo Weimin said at the opening ceremony at Jeju's International Peace Center that the media has played a vital role in strengthening China-South Korea relations since the two countries established diplomatic relations 24 years ago. China-South Korean relations have made great stride and historic breakthroughs in a comparatively short time, mainly due to the countries' political trust, economic and trade cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Guo said both countries' media have focused more on each other recently and deepened their communication, which advanced the bilateral relations and improved the friendship between the two peoples. Guo said he hoped the two countries would seize the opportunity during the 2016 South Korean Tourism Year to reinforce communication and dialogue, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, further deepen understanding and foster a more solid social basis for the further development of bilateral relations.
Jeong Changsoo, president of the South Korean Tourism Organization, said at the ceremony that the exchanges between China and South Korea are more frequent than with other countries. Chinese and South Korean leaders decided in 2014 to launch complementary tourism years during their summit in South Korea in 2014 to build on their cultural ties, promote tourism and reinforce the foundation of goodwill between the two peoples. The 2015 Chinese Tourism Year in South Korea began on Jan 23, 2015, followed this year by the South Korean Tourism Year in China. Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong and Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing province Won Hee-ryoung attended the exhibition.
Zhang said the SOE cleanup effort is in line with the national strategy and will optimize resources in key industries.
Addressing concerns that a consolidation into a single entity could yield a monopoly, Zhang said that would be unlikely. The consolidation efforts fit in with government measures to improve SOEs' competitiveness, a major task outlined in this year's Government Work Report, delivered in March by Premier Li Keqiang. Earlier this week, Li said at an executive meeting that SOEs need to "lose weight and get fit". In all, zombie enterprises will be reorganized or closed within three years, and the country's coal and steel capacity will be reduced by 10 percent within two years, according to Zhang.
Coal, iron and steel are among the key target sectors in the effort to reduce excess capacity.


Amid a slowing economic growth, SOEs, which are vital to the country's social and economic development, must rid themselves of inefficient and declining businesses, experts said. Li Daokui, an economic adviser and a Tsinghua University economics professor, said that this is the key year in national restructuring, and if all SOE and urbanization reforms are put in place this year, the economy's downward trend is expected to hit bottom at the earliest by the second half of the year.
CCB International is doing very well in Hong Kong and will actively look for business opportunities from emerging industries and companies on the Chinese mainland, said Hu Zhanghong, chairman and chief executive of the investment institution.
Hong Kong-headquartered CCB International is wholly owned by China Construction Bank Corp, and its services include sponsoring and underwriting, financial advisory services, corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&As), as well as restructuring, asset management, direct investment securities brokerage and investment consultancy, Hu told China Daily. CCB International's corporate mergers and acquisitions drive is also doing well, thanks to the "going overseas" strategy of Chinese enterprises, Hu pointed out.
CCB International has a competitive edge over its Chinese and foreign peers alike, as it is more familiar with the local market, Hu noted.
During the past decade, most of the companies that came to Hong Kong looking for services from investment banks have been from the Chinese mainland. CCB International is among the few mainland investment managers that can boast international networks, which is quite an advantage, Hu said.
Hu said that the mainland economy is obviously undergoing restructuring, on a scale that has never been seen by the world before. He pointed out that healthcare, logistics, high-tech and high-end manufacturing are among the sectors that have stood out during the Chinese economic restructuring.
He explained that in terms of seizing business opportunities, CCB International will undertake the role of financial consultant for these companies, helping them solve developmental problems.
There are also great business opportunities related to the latest round of Chinese companies' overseas M&A, he noted, adding that here too CCB International undertakes the role of financial advisor.
Hu said that during overseas M&A, CCB International usually advises Chinese companies to pay special attention to valuation of the assets or company they are acquiring. It would also remind the companies to consider whether the technology they want to buy could be applied on the Chinese mainland. Hu said CCB International's target is to continue to enhance its value as an investment service provider by improving related core products.
But while Hu is upbeat about prospects, he is also cautious, as any industry and business has its risks, he noted. In the early 2000s, China Construction Bank Corp was preparing to set up CCB International and Hu participated in the process. Hu said he officially joined CCB International when it was set up in early 2004 and is glad to have watched it grow into a great investment institution.
US President Barack Obama will leave on May 21 for his first trip to Vietnam and his 10th trip to Asia as president, a trip that his aides said "demonstrates Obama's focus on the Asia-Pacific region".
Obama will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, a place that serves to commemorate the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of the Japanese city on Aug 6, 1945, which hastened the end of World War II. Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, said the visit is not about issuing an apology.
Michael Green, senior vice-president for Asia, and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a majority of Americans and a large majority of historians in the US believe that the atomic bombing was necessary to shorten the war and forestall an invasion of Kyushu, which would have led to many more casualties. Rhodes emphasized that the visit is to pay tribute to the enormous suffering and loss of innocents and also to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, a proposal by Obama in 2009 that won him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Obama has been criticized in the past year for his efforts to spend $1 trillion in the next 30 years to upgrade the US' nuclear weaponry.
China's demand for medical services is being met by some American healthcare companies that are starting operations overseas. Of more than 100 projects presented to Chinese investors, more than half were healthcare-related, according to Lu Jun, executive director of the US China Innovation Alliance, one of the major organizers of the US China Innovation and Investment Summit, which took place in Houston earlier this week.
Technology company 2nd.MD began to offer medical consultation from top American specialists via video teleconferencing about five years ago, and it has been in the Chinese market for more than a year. For 2nd.MD, it was easy to access the China market - the company was eagerly sought out by the Chinese.
Lu said his firm helped 2nd.MD pick strategic partners, including Neusoft Xikang, China's largest distant medical treatment company. China urged the United States on Thursday to "immediately stop close-in reconnaissance actions" after confirming that a US Navy EP-3 spy plane had conducted such flights near Hainan Island on Tuesday. The spy flights have led to serious clashes and hurt bilateral ties before, including a collision in 2001 between a PLA Navy J-8 fighter jet and a US Navy EP-3 spy plane off Hainan Island that caused the death of Chinese pilot Wang Wei. The Pentagon said in a statement on Wednesday that two Chinese fighter jets conducted an "unsafe" intercept of a US military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Thursday that the US side is reviewing the incident to see if there needs to be an appropriate response. As the US plane began close-in reconnaissance on Tuesday, two Chinese military airplanes "followed and monitored it in accordance with laws and regulations" and "maintained a safe distance" from it, Hong said. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday that the incident occurred in international airspace during a routine US patrol in the South China Sea. Both Cook and Earnest emphasized that the confidence-building measures between the Chinese and Americans have helped reduce such incidents recently.
He said these are established diplomatic and military channels that allow the two sides to communicate clearly and raise concerns about these kinds of issues when they arise. China and the US are expected to meet at the next military maritime consultative agreement talks in Hawaii from May 24-25, according to Earnest. Zhao Xiaozhuo, a researcher at the Center on China-America Defense Relations at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said it is not likely that security issues involving the two countries can be tackled quickly.
The business philosophy of Hu Zhanghong is centered on a focus on the market, focus on the clients, and also on being flexible in terms of dealing with different market situations. CCB International has formulated a strategy which can be summarized thus: Stay connected to the Chinese mainland, stay connected to growing industries and stay connected to the capital market, Hu added.
Hu said the major fluctuations in the Hong Kong capital market during the past two decades, including the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003 and the financial crisis of 2008, have taught him that CCB International needs to pay close attention to economic cycles and patterns, and its business operation needs to follow the economic cycle. CCB International attaches great importance to cultivating young employees, and has set up a "creative fund" to encourage and reward young employees who come up with good business ideas, Hu revealed.
Aside from that, the management team of CCB International also spends time in communicating with its young employees to understand their demands, as youngsters these days are outspoken, and they have their own ideas and aspirations which should not be ignored, he said. CCB International also spares no efforts in creating an environment that encourages youngsters to be outstanding at their work, Hu said. He explained that CCB International is focused on employee performance and ethics, rewards outperformers and provides a transparent promotion system for staff. For those keen on joining CCB International or any investment institution, the first quality they must have is professional integrity, said Hu. Hu admitted that working in the financial industry is very stressful, as he needs to cope with ever-changing market situations. Hu said recently he has been reading a very interesting book by Japanese professor Takashi Saito, the English title of which reads as "Rules of Conversation", and he has recommended the book to young employees of CCB International. Hu said that it is a book about communication, and he believes communicating with other people is very important, not only in the work place, but also in daily life. Wildlife photographer Geng Dong has braved perilous terrain and freezing temperatures across the Tibetan Plateau in search of his subject - the beautiful, yet elusive, snow leopard. Mostly active after dark, these big cats have great eyesight and choose to seek shelter among rocks or caves during daylight. Geng, on the other hand, has braved the frigid cold for hours, days, and sometimes weeks at a time, poised to capture a photograph of these beautiful animals. Although it is a "game of luck", as he is first to admit, Geng has been rewarded for his patience and endurance with pictures of both lone snow leopards and cubs in the shadow of their watchful mothers - an enviable experience for any wildlife photographer. This new documentary is the result of four years of hard work, with Geng traveling to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau dozens of times, developing strong relationships with wildlife conservation groups and scientists engaged in tracking, studying and photographing the snow leopard. His crew have had to camp out in the bleak terrain for weeks at a time, enduring icy winds, altitude sickness and snow blindness as they covered more than 40,000 km in Qinghai province alone during the film period, from 2011 to 2015. Along the way, Geng has acted as director, photographer and producer, dealing with the project's many headaches and money woes. Yet despite the hardships he never gave up, inspired by the area's residents who "have much harder lives than ours". Geng said the documentary also profiles wildlife conservation and the relationship between snow leopards and the local community, which he described as "the core of the story". Though the snow leopard was in his sights, Sori did not squeeze the trigger because he saw a cub nearby, which reminded him of his own children. Geng was moved by this relationship between the people and wild animals on "the roof of the world", as the plateau is known, which he said can be partly attributed to the influence of Tibetan Buddhism. Another story that left an impression on Geng concerned the Buddhist monk Drukgyab, who chooses to live in the wilderness rather than at a temple. Known for his pioneering environmental protection work, the monk persuades locals not to hunt animals and is often one of the first to spot snow leopards in the wild.
Mainly found in Central Asia, it is estimated that there are only about 2,000 left in the wild in China. Climate change, poaching, urbanization and pasture expansion are the animal's biggest threats, according to He.
For Geng, he just hopes that his footage will raise awareness of the snow leopard's plight.
Changchub Lhamo lives on a Riwoche county pasture called the Nadenthang that is home to Tibetan red deer, an endangered species in China. Every winter, the deer trod down the mountains for food, knowing they will find Changchub Lhamo and a meal.
The bond forged between Changchub Lhamo and red deer dates back to the 1970s, when as a 16-year-old, she adopted three fawns and treated them like her own children. The deer grew up healthy, thanks to her care, and another 10 deer eventually join the herd. The red deer habitat established by the government 40 years ago, the Riwoche Tramoling Tibetan Red Deer Reserve, has been expanded over the years to its current size of 64,000 hectares. She said she intends to continue to feed the deer as she grows old, even though the subsidies she receives from the local ranger station are not nearly enough to pay for the food the deer herd consumes.
Changchub Lhamo keeps an eye on the flock of Tibetan red deer on the grassland last winter. China urged the United States on Thursday to "immediately stop close-in reconnaissance actions" after confirming that a US Navy EP-3 spy plane had conducted close-in flights near China's Hainan Island on Tuesday.
Such spy flights have led to serious clashes and hurt bilateral ties before, including the collision in 2001 of a Chinese PLA Navy J-8 fighter jet and a US Navy EP-3 spy plane off China's Hainan Island that caused the death of Chinese pilot Wang Wei. Observers said it is likely that Washington will continue its high-profile military presence in the South China Sea in the near future to maintain political pressure on China and bolster its overall regional strategy. Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the latest incident is part of US efforts to sustain tension in the region, and it is only natural for Chinese forces to verify and identify US planes and warships that are approaching. Signs of possible wreckage were found on Thursday off the Greek island of Crete, a Greek military spokesman said. Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi told a news conference in Cairo that he did not want to prematurely draw conclusions, but that indications suggest a terror attack as a possible cause of the crash. Earlier, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also said a terror attack could not be ruled out. Airline officials and the Egyptian Civil Aviation Department said they believed the plane had crashed in the Mediterranean between Greece and Egypt.
In Athens, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane made sudden swerves in midair before disappearing.
A Greek Defense Ministry source said authorities were also investigating an account from the captain of a merchant ship who reported a "flame in the sky" about 130 nautical miles south of the island of Karpathos. According to Greece's civil aviation chief, attempts by Greek air traffic controllers to contact the jet went unanswered just before it left the country's airspace, and the plane disappeared from radar screens soon afterward. The aircraft was carrying 56 passengers - including one child and two infants - and a crew of 10, EgyptAir said. With its archaeological sites and Red Sea resorts, Egypt is traditionally a popular destination for Western tourists.
Chinese interest in international-level soccer has surged with the sale of English club Aston Villa to a Chinese businessman and reports that Jack Ma's Alibaba was in talks to become a major sponsor of FIFA, the sport's world governing body. Tony Jiantong Xia, a wealthy Chinese entrepreneur who owns the Recon Group of companies and describes himself as a lifelong Villa fan, acquired Aston Villa from US businessman Randy Lerner, the club announced on Wednesday. Xia's acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, is the first instance of 100 percent Chinese ownership of a European club. No price tag was given by the club, but Sky News reported that Xia may have paid as much as 70 million pounds ($102.5 million), a price that reflects the fact that Villa, which won only three games in the season that just ended, has been relegated from the top-flight English Premier League to the lower Championship. Xia's immediate aim was to get the club back into the Premiership within a season, he told the club's website. As the sale was being announced, Bloomberg reported that Ma of internet giant Alibaba was in talks with Swiss-based FIFA to become one of the governing body's top sponsors. In March, billionaire businessman Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda signed a FIFA sponsorship deal.
In Italy, a Chinese consortium is in exclusive talks to acquire AC Milan, a Serie A club owned by Fininvest, which is controlled by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's family. Chinese School, which generated a heated debate in Britain and China about contrasts in the nations' teaching methods. The finale ended with tests in which the students studying the Chinese method achieved marks about 10 percent higher in math and science compared with the rest of their year group, who were taught by their regular teachers in the English manner.
Math was fairly even, with students on both sides feeling happier with the different methods. She says she found the Chinese teaching style enjoyable, especially when the class work became more challenging. Britain increased exchanges with Chinese teachers and schools to find out how to improve the quality of its schools. British educators say their techniques, such as spending more time on subjects and teacher-led explanation, have already had a positive effect.
To date, more than 40 British private schools have established campuses in Asia and the Middle East, as demand for a British-style education continues to rise.
As the first secondary school in Britain to introduce this approach, its students were invited to teach Prime Minister David Cameron some Mandarin before he visited China a few years ago.
Although she prepared her lessons with a local teacher at each school, she says it was still hard as math has a lot of jargon. For example, she says, in teaching that 8 divided by 4 equals 2, in China, a teacher will clearly explain that 8 is the dividend, 4 is the divisor and 2 is the quotient.
Since then, Britain (whose students ranked 26th that year) has welcomed over 120 teachers from the eastern Chinese city to share the secrets of their success. Beijing National Day School, for example, allows students to choose their courses and has introduced layered teaching systems, in which students receive an education according to what they like and need. There, some states have opened Chinese-style schools, which have been well-received by parents. Chinese School also saw Chinese teachers take classes at Bohunt School, a state secondary in rural Liphook, Hampshire, which aimed to draw people's attention to problems in the education and potential Chinese solutions. This method improves the efficiency of teaching in basic subjects and encourages students who perform so-so in class to study hard.
Teachers must sacrifice these top students to cater to the majority when preparing courses and in evaluation, so it's their creativity and curiosity that suffers under the current Chinese education system.
Because they don't emphasize test scores, Western schools are far behind Chinese ones at delivering basic knowledge. They attach more importance to the independent management of their schools and give more freedom to students, allowing them to manage their own schedules for class work and other activities. Each middle school student has his or her unique timetable as they can choose courses and club activities according to their interests and learning levels. It's already being tested in a few schools, although there is a long way to go before it is large scale. As we have seen in the Bohunt experiment, lengthening the school day or changing the culture of pedagogy from exploration and enquiry to memorizing and applying are policy options not likely to transplant well. For China, it is less about seeking to copy uncritically what is done elsewhere, rather to learn from and understand it. While there was a great deal of interest in theories and techniques of school management in Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States, China was also keen to demonstrate its own cultural forms of school leadership. In addition to further opening-up, efforts will particularly target sectors like State-owned enterprises, taxation and finance and the pricing system. That the Philippines sought the arbitration is "clearly unreasonable, unfair and illegal," said Liu on Friday.
Successive Chinese governments since then have maintained administration over the Nansha Islands and the surrounding waters, Liu said. These are disputes, as China holds, which concern sovereignty and the delimitation and they are not covered by the arbitration". Their combined number of visits surpassed 10 million in 2014 and 2015 and are expected to reach a new height this year.
In 2015, the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved mergers of 12 State-owned companies in such industries as shipping, railway and telecommunications.
The commission is putting regulations and procedures in place to protect other companies' from unfair business practices.
As outlined in the Government Work Report, their overhaul through innovation, restructuring and personnel management reform would help revitalize the economy. CCB International understands Chinese mainland companies, and its ability to provide comprehensive financial services is envied by foreign investment banks, Hu claimed.
We believe there will be many national and even world-class enterprises emerging from these sectors," Hu said.
Mainland companies used to acquire resources when they participated in overseas M&A, but recently, aside from acquired resources, we've seen that Chinese companies are interested in bringing back advanced technologies," he explained. Meanwhile, we will also focus on exploring opportunities that arise along with the internationalization of the renminbi and the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.
Currently, the mainland economy is continuing to slow down and CCB International needs to avoid any wild fluctuations in the business, it needs to communicate well with clients to carry out risk management together, and also needs to be cautious about compliance, said Hu, who was one of the major founders of CCB International.
On May 25, Obama will depart for Japan to attend the G7 summit and end his trip with a visit to Hiroshima.
Daniel Kristenbrink, senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, said on Wednesday that all of the sales since the US enacted a partial lifting in 2014 on maritime-related articles are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, a lot of Chinese companies are seeking to acquire US innovative companies or technologies to meet medical demand in China," said Lu, who also serves as the vice-president and partner at Vesalius Ventures, a firm connecting Chinese and US healthcare companies. Vesalius Ventures helped us to determine who the best potential partners are," said Jason Melton, co-CEO of 2nd.MD. It counsels 30 to 40 Chinese clients per month, but the number is expected to rise to 400 to 500 a month in the next 12 to 18 months, Melton said. This behavior has earned them the nickname "mountain hermits" among scientists, who can only study them with the help of sensitive infrared cameras. Once, when he was photographing a mother and her two cubs, he realized something was wrong.
He has struggled to protect his animals from snow leopards that stalk the plateau and once, almost at tipping point after losing a number of animals, took aim at one of these "hated cats" with his firearm, Geng explained. If big animals are protected then so too are thousands of other species, and by association water resources, said He Bing, a project officer of leading wildlife conservation NGO Shanshui.
I just hope my work can make people aware of the animal and its fight for survival," he said.
Also known as sha in the Tibetan language, red deer are native to the southern Tibetan highlands. She has been sharing her love for the small herd over the past 40 years by feeding them turnips and salt.
But the industry has been badly hit by the downing of a Russian Metrojet flight in October, killing all 224 on board, an Islamist insurgency and a string of bomb attacks. He also hopes to make Aston Villa the most famous soccer club in China with a huge fan base.
It was the first such commercial agreement since FIFA was rocked by allegations of corruption that led to several major sponsors withdrawing and President Sepp Blatter stepping down. By learning each component of the formula, students should be able to solve similar puzzles. As a result, students with bad behavior will gradually get worse, which leads to a huge gap between good and bad students.
It seeks to carve out and cement its place as a global leader, politically, economically and culturally. Spooked by his presence, the cubs had fled from their mother - and the longer he stayed, the more dangerous it became for the cubs, as the mountains were full of predators. So the country looks to maximize what it can learn from elsewhere, but it is perhaps a more skilful, more careful educational policy surgeon, better able to graft the cells of how others know and do into parts, but not the whole, of its own system.



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