CGTN: Father’s Day: Three ‘treasures’ Xi Jinping gets from his father

BEIJING, July 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Falling on the third Sunday of June, Father’s Day will be celebrated on June 20 this year.

Fathers always have a great influence on their children – the same applies to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

There are at least three characteristics that Xi has inherited from his father Xi Zhongxun (1913-2002), a leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the state.

People-oriented philosophy

Many Chinese leaders started their careers from the grassroots, going through the difficulties ordinary people face and understanding the people’s needs, which lays a solid foundation for their practical and people-oriented approach in formulating national policies.

The people-oriented philosophy is one of the most important treasures Xi Jinping got from his father, who believed that officials and the masses are equal and they must always live among the people.

The father once told his boy: “No matter what your job title is, serve the people diligently, consider the interests of the people with all your heart, maintain close ties with the people, and always stay approachable to the people.”

Adhering to the path of “serving the people,” Xi Jinping visited China’s 14 contiguous areas of extreme poverty after becoming general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in November 2012. He went to villages and households, and told communities that he is just “a servant of the people.”

During his domestic inspection tours, Xi Jinping always chatted with the locals, cared about their daily life and stressed the responsibilities of serving the people with other officials.

The Party has won the people’s wholehearted support because it has always served the people with heart and soul and striven for the well-being of all ethnic groups, Xi has said on many occasions.

Down-to-earth approach

Inheriting his father’s down-to-earth approach, Xi Jinping visited all the villages in Zhengding, Hebei Province during his tenure of county Party chief in the 1980s. Then in Ningde, Fujian, he visited nine counties within the first three months as secretary of the CPC Ningde Prefectural Committee, and traveled to most townships later on.

After he was transferred to east China’s Zhejiang Province in 2002, he visited all 90 counties in over a year. During his brief tenure in Shanghai in 2007, he visited all its 19 districts and counties in seven months.

The formulation of the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for Economic and Social Development and future targets for 2035 also reflected Xi Jinping’s adherence to investigation and research.

By convening and presiding over a number of symposiums, he listened to opinions and advices on the country’s economic and social development in the plan period from all walks of life.

Living a simple life

The Xi’s has a tradition of being strict with children and living a simple life. Xi Zhongxun believed if a senior Party official wanted to discipline others, he should begin first with himself and his family.

Xi Jinping and his younger brother used to wear clothes and shoes from their elder sisters. After Xi Jinping became a leading official, his mother called a family meeting to ban the siblings from engaging in business where Xi Jinping worked.

Xi Jinping has carried on his family’s tradition and been strict with his family members. Wherever he worked, he told them not to do business there or do anything in his name, or else he “would be ruthless.” Whether in Fujian, Zhejiang or Shanghai, he pledged at official meetings that no one was allowed to seek personal benefit using his name and welcomed supervision in this regard.

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UN Agency Says Cameroon Home to Half a Million Refugees

Marking World Refugee Day, June 20, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, is calling on host communities to show more sympathy and love for those fleeing crises in their home country and who are now threatened by COVID-19. The UNHCR says Cameroon is home to close to half a million refugees, mostly from Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

Portraits of famous refugees adorn the walls of the annex building of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. Among the most famous is Somali-American supermodel Iman, who became a refugee in 1972, Jamaican singer Bob Marley and Hong Kong-born film actor Jackie Chan.

UNHCR says the exhibition is designed to encourage refugees who have given up hope. The U.N. agency says people displaced from their countries by conflict can succeed in life if they work hard.

The refugee agency says Cameroon, with a population of around 25 million, is now home for close to 2 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced Cameroonians seeking refuge.

Among the 2 million are about half a million refugees, 322,000 of whom are fleeing violence in the neighboring Central African Republic and 117,000 are Nigerians escaping Boko Haram terrorism. Others are from Niger and Chad.

Olivier Guillaume Beer is the UNHCR representative in Cameroon. He said his agency is encouraging Cameroon and the refugees to live in peace.

“This is a day where we would like to have people understand that behind these figures, you have women, you have children. Each of them with his or her own story of violence, of persecution. People lost everything. Children lost their school, they lost their friends, parents lost their jobs and they need to restart a new life in a very difficult context. On World Refugee Day, we show empathy, solidarity to these people,” said Beer.

Beer said when Cameroon reported its first cases of COVID-19 in March of last year, the UNHCR made protecting refugees a priority. He spoke on Cameroon state radio, CRTV, on World Refugee Day.

“In remote centers where they [refugees] are, we did not have isolation centers, we did not have tents, we did not have masks. So, the first thing that the UNHCR did was to support the government, support the regional health directorate to make sure that if refugees and host communities are tested positive, they can find a way to be treated,” he said.

Cameroon said it deployed mobile health workers to test the refugees for COVID-19 in remote areas.

Lawrence Diyen Jam is the highest-ranking Cameroonian government official in Garoua Boulay, an administrative unit on Cameroon’s border with the C.A.R. He said his office receives many reports of confrontations between host communities and refugees.

He said last week, many people were wounded in conflicts between Cameroonian farmers and ranchers who fled the C.A.R. with their cattle. He said Cameroonians are not happy when cattle from the C.A.R. destroy their crops, causing hunger in local communities. He said there is regular fighting between refugees and their host communities over water resources.

Twenty-seven-year-old Yussuf Abdoulaye is a C.A.R. refugee. He said in spite of the challenges, Cameroon is still more peaceful than his country. He said he is not thinking of returning to the C.A.R. soon.

Abdoulaye said he and 16 other civilians fleeing post-election violence in the C.A.R. were warmly received by Cameroonian authorities and the UNHCR in Cameroon’s eastern town of Garoua Boulay. He said the community freely offered farmland to grow corn and beans. He said he is very happy because there is peace in Cameroon. He said he is encouraging refugees to respect the country’s laws.

Ten years ago, Cameroon had fewer than 250,000 refugees.

This year, Cameroon said it offered food and mattresses to C.A.R. refugees on its eastern border and Nigerian refugees in the Minawao camp on its northern border.

UNHCR Cameroon says it has received only 23% of the $100 million it needs to take care of the growing needs of refugees in the central African state. This year’s Refugee Day theme is together we heal, learn and shine.

Source: Voice of America

Violators to Come Under Scrutiny at UN Human Rights Council

Countries accused of abusing their peoples’ human rights will come under the lens of the U.N. Human Rights Council over the next three weeks. Dozens of thematic issues and country reports on topics including the COVID-19 pandemic will be addressed during the session, which begins Monday.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, will present an oral update on the human rights crisis unfolding in Myanmar since the military coup there on February 1. Her report is likely to reflect condemnation of the military leaders’ violent crackdown on the civilian population and, what she sees as a looming threat of civil war in the country.

The council also will hear updates on the human rights situation in other countries, including Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, South Sudan, and Syria. Separately, observers view events in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region as one of the most serious human rights issues around.

The executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, says reports of imminent famine, summary executions, rape and other atrocities perpetrated in Tigray warrant action by the Human Rights Council. He is calling for the adoption of a resolution condemning these practices at this session.

“A resolution should clearly name the governments,” he said. “We know that Ethiopian government forces have been major perpetrators of these crimes along with, as you mentioned, the Eritrean forces. It is important to recognize the Eritrean forces did not invade Tigray. They were invited in by the Ethiopian government.”

Violence erupted in Tigray in November when forces of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation front attacked federal military bases in the region. The Ethiopian government responded with the use of military force.

High Commissioner Bachelet also will present a report on police violence and systemic racism against people of African descent. The death of African American George Floyd while in police custody in the United States last year triggered a special council session one year ago.

Roth says he believes the report should have a strong focus on the United States. He adds, however, that systemic racism is a global problem and should be treated as such.

“Our concern is really that the council creates some kind of mechanism to continue this. It is not just a one-off report, but there is a more systematic effort to address root causes and to push for accountability…I do not say that at all to try to minimize the situation in the U.S. The U.S. should be a critical focus of those efforts,” he said.

The council’s last session in February focused on efforts to combat COVID-19-related violations. Bachelet will present a report on how states are responding to the pandemic. COVID-19 also will feature as a sub-theme into reports and panel discussions this session.

Source: Voice of America

Tigray Families Displaced by War, Economic and Social Crisis

Hundreds of displaced families trampled down the stairs carrying stained mattresses, logs and kindling for cooking and sacks of clothing and food.

The families, more than 5,000 people in all, had fled battles in the northern Tigray region to Shire, a historical commercial center. Now they were being forced to move again.

When they arrived in Shire after the war broke out last November, schools and universities were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic so it made sense to use the buildings as temporary shelters. But now, the government wants students back in school, and one week ago, Axum University was evacuated.

“Authorities told us a month ago we had to leave,” said Kidan Weldemariam, a 47-year-old mother of eight on the day of the evacuation. “Since then, they have come every few days. The only difference is — now they are using force.”

As families packed, officials from the United Nations also briefly visited the camp. Scores of people crowded around as one official spoke to a soldier in uniform. She said that the new camp is not ready and the move is unjust. But when reminded her office helped coordinate this move, the official quickly conceded and told people to follow the soldiers’ orders.

Outside the building, three-wheeled vehicles known as “Bejajes” in Ethiopia lined up to transport the families to a location where the new camp was being set up. It is the cheapest way to travel in this part of Tigray and young men tied mattresses to the roofs of the blue cabs.

As droves of people continued to hustle up and down the stairs, Haben Tariq, 12, watched the action. “What do I do?” he asked.

Families were leaving as units, but he was alone. Like thousands of other children, he and his parents were separated as they fled the war last year.

“How can I find my mother?” he said. “Maybe if I tell my story she will find me?”

Refugee day

Worldwide, more than 80 million people are living outside their homes, forced to flee war or persecution, according to United Nations statistics. Nearly 60% remain in their home countries, sometimes forced to flee the same conflict over and over.

On June 20, the U.N. recognizes World Refugee Day, but there is not much to celebrate. In the past 10 years, the global population of forcibly displaced people has more than doubled.

In Tigray, many displaced families were split up in the chaos, with about 2 million people fleeing within Ethiopia and more than 60,000 others crossing the border to take refuge in Sudan.

At another camp in Shire, families crowd into tents propped up in the dirt surrounding classrooms, where as many as 35 people sleep in a room. With a newborn baby strapped to her back, Alem Belay, 26, said she hadn’t spoken to many of her family members since the war began last November.

Her family fled to Sudan, but she was pregnant at the time, so she couldn’t go with them. Alem fled to the nearest “safe” town, where her farm animals were confiscated and her husband was arrested.

“They said to him, ‘We know you are a fighter; where is your gun?’” Alem said. “He didn’t have a gun, but they took him, and our cattle.”

Long crisis

War in Tigray first broke out last November after months of heightened tensions.

Then, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front attacked northern federal bases and the Ethiopian National Defense Force swept through the region. Eritrean forces are now fighting alongside the federal government and both the Eritrean and Ethiopian sides have associated militias.

Civilians in Tigray have reported widespread looting, beatings and mass killings. Hundreds of women and girls have reported being raped by soldiers and many more assaults are believed to have gone unreported. The U.N. warns famine is occurring in some places.

And on top of these horrors, the economy has been crushed. Cities are packed with displaced families, while farms go untended and food is not grown.

“I was a farmer with good lands and I grew sorghum,” said Belay Abera, 67, as he packed his few things to move out of an Axum University dorm room. “But I was displaced just before the harvest and arrived here with nothing.”

Source: Voice of America

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi Boosts Tourism Recovery with Sojern’s Co-Op Marketing Solution

DCT Abu Dhabi has successfully navigated the challenges of COVID-19 to help hotels in the emirate drive direct domestic bookings

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, June 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Sojern, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for travel, today announced an extension of their partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) to drive further traveller demand into the Emirate using its Co-Op Marketing Programme. Following a successful pilot of the joint marketing programme, which has reached more than 3 million people so far, Abu Dhabi hotels have been able to increase direct bookings through a highly targeted, digital display and social media advertising campaign.

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The hospitality industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic but DCT Abu Dhabi has worked closely with the UAE government to launch a series of stimulus initiatives to support the recovery of the tourism industry.

“We were looking for ways to support the hospitality industry and navigate the economic challenges presented by the pandemic, and the partnership with Sojern helps us do just that, by supporting hotels in Abu Dhabi to drive direct bookings and improve room profitability,” said HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “DCT Abu Dhabi is committed to collaborative efforts between the private and public sectors within the local tourism industry to continuously support and drive tourism growth to the capital. Our efforts are aligned with the overall strategic objectives and vision — to support the evolution of Abu Dhabi into a world-class destination, while also reinforcing the capital’s position as a forward-thinking tourism destination.”

Sojern’s Co-Op Marketing Programme is designed to help Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) and their partners increase the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives through collaboration, and drive revenue for the travel industry, at scale.

“Hotels in Abu Dhabi were looking to improve their direct booking volumes and reduce commission from Online Travel Agencies through these challenging times,” said Stewart Smith, MD of MEA at Sojern. “As such, we are delighted to have worked with DCT Abu Dhabi, hotel partners, and Spark Foundry to design, build and deliver successful campaigns.”

The Q1 pilot program with DCT Abu Dhabi is a prime example of DMOs and their partner organisations combining resources to directly reach customers with multichannel digital advertising strategies across video, display, native, Facebook and Instagram.

Because of its success, DCT Abu Dhabi has expanded the partnership with Sojern through to the end of 2021 including rolling out the initiative to all eligible hotels in the city. This second phase will further support properties across Abu Dhabi and aims to attract incremental direct bookings from both domestic and international tourists for the rest of 2021.

About Sojern
Sojern is a leading digital marketing platform built for travel marketers. Powered by artificial intelligence and traveler intent data, Sojern provides multi-channel marketing solutions to drive direct demand. 10,000 hotels, attractions, tourism boards and travel marketers rely on Sojern annually to engage and convert travelers around the world.

About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi:
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the Emirate’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the Emirate’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture and tourism industries.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the Emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought. 

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CGTN: Shenzhou-12 astronauts become first Chinese to enter a space station

BEIJING, June 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Three Chinese astronauts entered their country’s space station during the Shenzhou-12 mission, ending the history of no Chinese in space stations.

The trio, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, entered the space station’s core module “Tianhe” from the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft launched on Thursday, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office.

This came more than 20 years after the International Space Station (ISS) was launched, which does not allow Chinese astronauts to be onboard because of a U.S. law banning the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from working with their Chinese counterparts.

As the ISS is retiring and Russia has decided to pull from the project, China has stood out to build a new space station and is inviting global cooperation.

The China space station, orbiting the Earth at a height of about 400 kilometers, is still under construction, as eight more missions including three manned ones are still being prepared.

Currently the station is composed of a core module named Tianhe, a supply ship Tianzhou-2 and the Shenzhou-12, which docked with the space station less than three hours before the entering.

Astronaut, cosmonaut or taikonaut?

Some Chinese are so proud of the latest achievements that they revived the topic of how to name people in space.

The naming problem emerged in the Cold War, when Soviet Union named their space heroes “cosmonauts” while the U.S. called theirs “astronaut.”

Later, the word “taikonaut” was coined using the Mandarin equivalent of the word space – taikong – and the common suffix “-naut”.

Oxford and Longman dictionaries listed the word taikonaut and said it means a Chinese astronaut.

The next steps

Now the three astronauts are unpacking the supplies on Tianzhou-2, setting up Wi-Fi connections and other equipment on the space station.

They will live in the station for at least three months and conduct various technology test and science experiments, during which spacewalks involving robot arms will also be performed.

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