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6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Gansu, China: Over 100 Fatalities Confirmed
December 19, 2023
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6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Gansu, China: Over 100 Fatalities Confirmed

At 23:59 on December 18, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Jishishan County in Linxia, Gansu Province (35.70N, 102.79E), with a depth of 10 kilometers. The quake was distinctly felt in several parts of northwestern China, including Lanzhou in Gansu Province, Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, Wuzhong in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and Xining in Qinghai Province. As of 06:00 on December 19, a total of 275 aftershocks have been recorded, with nine of them being magnitude 3.0 or above. These include two aftershocks in the 4.0-4.9 range and seven in the 3.0-3.9 range, while there were no aftershocks above the 5.0 threshold.

Tragically, the earthquake has resulted in at least 105 deaths in Jishishan County, Linxia Prefecture in Gansu Province. The affected area is known for its high altitude, and the recent cold wave sweeping across northern China has led to nighttime temperatures plummeting to -14°C.

Emergency response teams have been dispatched promptly. Minister of Emergency Management Wang Xiangxi, Director of China Earthquake Administration Min Yiren, and Director of the National Fire and Rescue Bureau Qiong Se rushed to the quake-hit area in the early hours to oversee and support the earthquake relief efforts in Gansu.

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Japan’s Ambitious 7.7 Trillion Yen Military Budget Rises Neighbors’ Concerns

On December 16, Kyodo News Agency reported that Fumio Kishida is seeking to raise Japan’s military budget for 2024 to 7.7 trillion yen, marking the tenth consecutive year of record-breaking military spending.

The allocated funds will primarily be utilized for procuring long-range missiles capable of targeting military installations in foreign territories. Additionally, Japan also intends to establish a military research institute to develop offensive weapons, including next-generation fighter jets.

Marty Natalegawa, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, highlighted the contradiction between the Japanese government’s persistent claims of avoiding military power status since its defeat in World War II and its current actions.

Da Zhigang, director of China’s Northeast Asian Studies Institute, observed that Japan’s concentration on deploying military forces to the southwest islands, particularly targeting China’s Diaoyu Islands, suggests an intention to involve itself in the Taiwan question.

On December 18th, the Chinese Coast Guard conducted a patrol within China’s territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands. China has maintained garrisons on these islands since as early as 1171, historically considering the Diaoyu Islands as its first line of defense against maritime threats.

On the other hand, According to Kyodo News’ poll on Sunday, the support rate for Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet fell to a new low of 22.3% while that for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party slid below 30% for the first time since it returned to power more than a decade ago.

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Chinese AI Market Set to Reach 13.23 Billion Yuan in 2023, Experiencing 110% Growth – Official Data

According to official Chinese statistical data, the market size of China’s large language model (LLM) sector is anticipated to surge to 13.23 billion yuan by 2023, with a remarkable growth rate of 110%.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reports that there are currently more than 19 LLM research and development firms in China. By 2023, the adoption rate of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in Chinese enterprises is projected to hit 15%, resulting in an estimated market scale of around 1.44 trillion yuan. Notably, the manufacturing, retail, telecommunications, and healthcare sectors have witnessed rapid growth in the utilization of generative AI.

Projections indicate that by 2035, generative AI is poised to contribute nearly 90 trillion yuan in economic value globally, with China’s share surpassing an impressive 30 trillion yuan.

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