China Urges U.S. to Stop Harassing Chinese Students After Reports of Interrogations and Visa Revocations
Chinese officials have expressed strong dissatisfaction after multiple incidents of Chinese students being subjected to lengthy interrogations, device searches, and visa revocations upon entering the U.S. recently.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. said these egregious events severely infringe upon the rights of Chinese citizens and damage normal cultural and educational exchanges. They contradict the U.S.’s self-proclaimed values of openness and go against the tide of global talent circulation.
According to reports, students have been detained for hours, grilled about ties to the Chinese government and military, and had electronics searched without explanation before being denied entry and told they cannot return for five years. Yet the visa cancelation reasons remain unclear.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated that the U.S. has long suppressed and persecuted Chinese students for political aims despite their valid documents. He strongly opposed such discriminatory, selective law enforcement.
Wang urged the U.S. to immediately stop abusing national security, cease harassing Chinese students, and protect their legal rights – translating welcoming rhetoric into real action. China will take necessary measures to safeguard its citizens’ interests and warn them of related risks, he added.
The intimidating measures have been enabled by an executive order allowing visa restrictions on Chinese graduates or researchers deemed security threats. But academics argue branding routine research as security-sensitive deters beneficial exchanges.
With Chinese student numbers in the U.S. dropping for three consecutive years, analysts warn confrontation will only exacerbate misunderstanding. China calls on the U.S. to reverse discriminatory policies and foster healthy people-to-people ties.
Harbin Emerges as China’s First Viral Destination of 2024
The northeastern city of Harbin has become an overnight sensation in China, cementing its status as the country’s first viral travel hotspot of 2024.
As crowds of tourists flock to Harbin for its renowned ice and snow sculptures in the winter season, the city’s tourism market and local culture are gaining immense popularity online. Nicknames like “Southern Little Potato（南方小土豆）” and memes about the “Potato Princess（马铃薯公主）” have taken Chinese social media by storm in recent weeks.
Harbin airport surpassed 20 million passengers in 2023, becoming the first in northeast China to hit that traffic milestone this year. According to a travel platform, Harbin’s searches spiked 300%, while another showed it topping the most popular homestay destination with 2024 New Year’s bookings up 27 times.
The buzz contrasts Harbin’s former image as an old industrial hub that long struggled to reinvent itself. In 2021, its GDP ranked last among 15 sub-provincial cities at just 352 billion RMB, less than one-third of Wuhan’s. Population declined over the past decade as people left for opportunities.
But with winter sports surging after the Beijing Olympics, the ice festival scaling new highs, and locals embracing creative tourism services, Harbin seized the moment to charm droves of travelers seeking trendy destinations. From musical flash mobs welcoming visitors at the airport to free subway rides, enthusiastic hospitality reminiscent of Zibo’s 2023 viral fame helped captivate the public.
Analysts say the makeover underscores “user thinking” – adapting to shifting tourist expectations, not just expecting people to accept what’s offered. In the social media era, experiential details like photographic spots and amenity considerations spread online, turning good impressions into influencing power.
Maintaining quality with sudden popularity is challenging, and upgrades cannot happen overnight. But Harbin’s example shows cities can amplify strengths when receptive to reinventing tourism offerings to match consumer demand. For now, China’s “Northern Capital” is relishing its hard-won time in the spotlight.
The Middle-income Population in China Exceeded 400 Million
Yesterday, Wang Yiming, Vice Chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, stated that the middle-income population in China has exceeded 400 million. The majority of them have just crossed the threshold into the middle-income category. This segment of the population is relatively vulnerable. Once they encounter external shocks, they are the most directly affected, including the impact on their income and even on employment for some individuals. Therefore, the middle class often feels more fragile.
Despite having surpassed the threshold for middle-income, they still need to consider expenses such as education, healthcare, retirement, and increasing savings, which makes them hesitant to spend. In this situation, the focus of work should be on effectively increasing the income of more individuals who have recently crossed the threshold into the middle-income population, enhancing their sense of achievement, and making them feel more secure. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the monthly income range for China’s middle class is 2,777.78 yuan to 13,888.89 yuan.