GT investigates: US State Department's support for Manila full of contradictions, serves to further militarize South China Sea

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to head to the Philippines on Tuesday to reinforce the American-Philippine alliance through cooperation and security matters, following a recent trade mission there by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. This is seen as the latest move in US intervention in the South China Sea issue.

But is the US support for the Philippines really as well-meaning and valuable as it appears? The answer may disappoint many Filipino politicians.

The US' cliché statements act more as a "betrayal of its ally," as it hyperbolizes the Philippines' illegally grounded military vessel at Ren'ai Jiao (also known as the Ren'ai Reef) in South China Sea as a "longstanding outpost," leading to further militarization of the South China Sea and adding fuel to the already tense situation in the region.

Nevertheless, many Filipino officials still see the US' empty promises as a lifeline, exposing their political naivety, analysts said.

This investigative piece will expose the logical flaws, contradictions, danger signals, and perfunctory attitudes replete in the US' statements. Some have even been described by Chinese analysts as "stupid and counterproductive" in relation to Philippine interests and will be an indelible and ugly historical record in US maritime legal practice.
Unprecedentedly malevolence

In its recent statements issued in October and December 2023, and March this year, the US State Department employed a surprising characterization - a "longstanding outpost" - to describe a military vessel that the Philippines illegally "grounded" at Ren'ai Jiao 25 years ago.

"Such a description is extremely symbolic because this is equivalent to making a dangerous characterization of the nature of this territory," said Yang Xiao, deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Strategy Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. "It has explicitly exposed the US' malevolence in its attempt to undermine peace in the South China Sea region."

The first time that the term "longstanding outpost" appeared was in an October 2023 statement, which said: "Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippine maritime operations undermines regional stability." The whole sentence reappeared in another statement in December 2023. The latest statement in March reads: "We condemn the PRC's repeated obstruction of [the] Philippine vessels' exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and its disruption of supply lines to this longstanding outpost."

"Outpost" is a military term that typically refers to a small military base or settlement located in a remote or strategic location. ChatGPT gave some examples of how US media sources have used the word in their news stories, such as "US Military Outpost in Syria Attacked by Pro-Assad Forces (The New York Times)," "US Troops Evacuate Outpost in Iraq amid Rising Tensions (Washington Post)," and "Al Qaeda Fighters Launch Attack on US Outpost in Yemen (Fox News)."

The US has used the word "outpost" only in "anti-terrorism wars" in recent years. "Obviously, building an 'outpost' at Ren'ai Jiao, viewing from the country's state department statement, implies a military action," Yang said.

Therefore, calling the Philippine vessel at Ren'ai Jiao a "longstanding outpost" in defiance of historical facts implies that the US has made clear its support for the Philippines' actions to promote militarization of the South China Sea, Yang told the Global Times.

"I don't know if the US government is aware of the significant implications of their words, or if it was released without careful review. We are truly concerned about the professionalism of US government officials and the standards of their work processes," Yang noted.

The extreme and irresponsible attitude of the US will undermine the current situation of the South China Sea as a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. It presents a clear opposition to China and ASEAN members' efforts to promote the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, betrays the principles and positions of navigation safety as well as the demilitarization in the South China Sea. It completely exposes who is the true troublemaker in the South China Sea region, according to the expert.
Embarrassingly self-contradictory

Ironically, the description of "longstanding outpost" appears to have put the Philippines in an awkward position.

In the statements, the US has repeatedly claimed its support for "the 2016 arbitration" and called Ren'ai Jiao a "low-tide elevation."

According to the so-called arbitration, some islands and reefs in the South China Sea, including Ren'ai Jiao (known as the Second Thomas Shoal in the West), are low-tide elevations or high tide features that "cannot be appropriated or subjected to sovereignty claims."

Not to mention that the Philippine government has not officially claimed Ren'ai Jiao as its sovereign territory. In a recent story by the Philippine News Agency, Raphael Hermoso, deputy assistant secretary of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, called Ren'ai Jiao (Ayungin in the Philippines) "a low-tide elevation within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone and continental shelf." That to some extent reflected the country's "official definition" of Ren'ai Jiao.

Therefore, we can see that US State Department's statements are contradictory in the country's stance over Ren'ai Jiao's sovereignty, Yang said, noting that building military installations out of one's sovereignty is an obvious act of war, which has clearly exposed the Philippines' evil attempts to militarize the South China Sea region.

Observers said that the US statements are apparently putting the Philippines in an embarrassing situation. This also makes the international community see more clearly the US' conspiracy to incite and escalate tensions in the region.

Perfunctory lip service

The US' stance on the Philippines is also extremely perfunctory.

Since the new government of the Philippines took office in May 2022, the US State Department spokesperson has issued nine statements on South China Sea disputes. Eight of them conspicuously bear the same title that reads "US support for the Philippines in the South China Sea."

These statements are repetitive and obsolete, basically focusing on three ungrounded points: Accusing China of not accepting the illegal international arbitration decision issued in July 2016, accusing China of "infringing on the Philippines' freedoms of navigation," and mentioning the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

Experts say that these statements are very limited in scope. "The US State Department has almost no substantive power in the security cooperation mechanisms with other countries which involves military actions, information assistance, material support, and many other aspects. In the long-term operation of US politics, the actual role of the State Department in foreign affairs is very limited," Yang told the Global Times.

The recently deceased Henry Kissinger, while serving as Nixon's national security advisor, skillfully bypassed the State Department and completed the most shocking diplomatic action since the Cold War - the normalization of US-China relations.

The more crucial support for foreign entities is generally provided by the US National Security Council and the US Department of Defense, including the US Department of Homeland Security. All substantive measures taken by the US must also come from the White House, explained Yang.

"Take the recent example of the statement from US President Joe Biden on Coalition Strikes in Houthi-Controlled Areas in Yemen issued on January 11 as an example. Such actions require long-term international coordination and preparation, multiple rounds of shuttle diplomacy by the Secretary of State, the use of the president's special powers, and subsequent approval from Congress. What's more, even for non-governmental organizations like the Houthi armed forces in Yemen, the US has rallied together with the UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, and went through a complicated process, not to mention in the South China Sea," Yang said.

In light of this, it is truly ridiculous for a few Filipino politicians to be jubilant, grateful, and verbose to rely on perfunctory verbal support from the US State Department, Yang said.

The contradictory, rough, and provocative statements from the US obviously stand in stark contrast to China's rational and restrained attitude in the South China Sea.

On March 7, 2024, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi once again elaborated on China's position on the issue of the South China Sea when he met the press during the just concluded two sessions.

Wang said that on maritime disputes, China has been exercising a high degree of restraint. China maintains that parties should find solutions that are acceptable to one and all by working in the spirit of good neighborliness and friendship, and on the basis of respecting historical and legal facts. But abusing such good faith should not be allowed. Distorting maritime laws cannot be accepted.

In the face of deliberate infringements, China will take justified actions to defend its rights in accordance with the law. In the face of unwarranted provocation, China will respond with prompt and legitimate countermeasures, said Wang.

China also urges certain countries outside this region not to make provocations, take sides, or stir up trouble in the South China Sea, Wang stressed.

Chinese scientists find diffusion-induced lithium isotopic heterogeneity in an oceanized mantle lithosphere in Xizang

Chinese scientists have reported diffusion-induced lithium isotopic heterogeneity in olivines from peridotites of an oceanized mantle lithosphere the Tibetan Yunzhug ophiolite (central Xizang). The study supports that seawater lithium diffusion is one of the important factors for the heterogeneity of mantle lithiumi isotopes in ophiolites, the Global Times learned from the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP), Chinese Academy of Sciences on Thursday.

The findings were published on Monday in the journal Scientific Reports under Nature, providing new insights into the interactions between different layers of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau during geological history and serving the national strategic needs for mineral resources, according to a statement from the institute.

The study was conducted by a team led by researcher Shi Rendeng from the ITP. Using in-situ lithium isotope analysis of minerals, the team systematically analyzed lithium concentrations and isotopic compositions of olivines in the oceanized subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) peridotites and they suggest that the behavior of lithiumi in the oceanized SCLM peridotites may be controlled by lithium diffusion from seawater, aslithiumi activity in the liquid state is higher than the solid state in transporting lithium through the olivines in the peridotites.

Shi told the Global Times that in recent years, lithium isotope systems have been widely used in the study of mantle peridotites. Previous studies showed that the heterogeneity of mantle lithium isotope composition is mainly controlled by deep geological processes. The research team selected mantle peridotites from the vanished Tethys Ocean residue in the Tibetan Plateau as the research object, according to Shi.
The lithium isotopic composition (δ7Li) in the mantle is about 0.2 percent, while δ7Li in seawater is heavier, with a value of about 3.1 percent. In the study, Shi's team found that the closer to the edge of the olivine grains, the more distinct the seawater lithium isotope characteristics; while the closer to the center of the olivine grains, the more distinct the mantle lithium isotope characteristics, revealing that lithium element from seawater enter olivine through diffusion.

The majority of data points is distributed along the binary mixing curve of seawater and continental mantle, indicating that the lithium isotope characteristics in the samples are controlled by both seawater and continental mantle, according to the study.

The study also found that lithium isotopes undergo strong fractionation at temperatures lower than 350 ℃ and quickly reach homogeneity at high temperatures, indicating that high-temperature geological processes are not the ultimate factor causing changes in lithium isotopic composition. During the continental rifting process, mantle peridotites gradually rise and are exposed on the seafloor. Seawater infiltrates into the still relatively hot mantle peridotites. At this stage, mantle peridotites have enough energy to support lithium element from seawater to diffuse into olivine, with very low lithium isotope fractionation, preserving the seawater lithium isotope characteristics in olivine, according to the study.

Flourishing marine mangrove forest sets a remarkable ecological restoration precedent in Xiamen Bay

From a high altitude overlooking Tong'an Bay in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province, patches of greenery are embedded like emeralds in the azure sea on both sides of the bay's top bridge. Walking on the plank road in the Xiatanwei Mangrove Park, the largest artificially reconstructed mangrove-themed ecological park in Fujian, with the tide rising wave after wave, the mangrove forest gently sways, showcasing a successful example of ecological restoration in Xiamen Bay.

Lin Yongsheng, 55, grew up in Qiongtou village by Tong'an Bay. In his childhood memories, the bay area was just a muddy wasteland, with oysters hidden in rock cracks. Villagers would fish and dig for oysters, and later, aquaculture gradually developed. "Wastewater was discharged into the sea, and the wild mangroves became fewer," he told the Global Times.
Mangroves are a general term for woody plant communities that grow in the intertidal zone of tropical and subtropical coastlines. They are named after their red bark, which is rich in tannic acid. Mangroves can not only prevent wind and waves, but also purify seawater, providing habitats for fish, shrimp, and birds. They are known as the "coastal guardians" and "oceanic green lungs."

In recent years, the mangrove ecosystem has been facing a global decline in both its area and function. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme released in April 2023, the global mangrove coverage has decreased by 3.4 percent since 1996, resulting in a net loss of 5,245 square kilometers. Furthermore, the risk of the extinction of 44 percent of mangrove-related species is increasing.

The rapid degradation of the mangrove ecosystem, coupled with the invasion of marine disasters such as typhoons and storm surges, has severely impacted the ecological environment in the Xiatanwei sea area and the coastal economic development. Data show that from 2001 to 2010, an average of 2.5 red tides occurred each year in the Tong'an Bay area.

In 2005, Xiamen made a determination to carry out mangrove ecological restoration. A research team from Xiamen University came to cultivate and plant a 100-acre experimental forest.

Yu Yanfeng, the project construction leader of the Xiamen Ocean Development Bureau, told the Global Times that since 2010, Xiamen has implemented mangrove ecological restoration in stages. In the first phase, measures such as retiring and clearing beaches, dredging waterways, building embankments, and planting mangroves were taken to restore 44 hectares of mangroves. The main tree species include Avicennia marina, Bruguiera gymnorhiza, and Excoecaria agallocha. In the second phase, an additional 36 hectares of mangroves were planted, including Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Avicennia marina, Excoecaria agallocha, and Kandelia candel. By 2020, the total area of mangrove ecological restoration in Xiatanwei had reached 404 hectares, including 180 hectares of retired and cleared beaches, 85 hectares of planted mangroves, 4.5 kilometers of shoreline improvement, and 7 kilometers of dredged waterways.
As the mangroves thrive, the Tongan bay's ecosystem is reshaped. According to the latest research data from Xiamen University and Jimei University, the number and biomass of fish, shellfish, and crustacean species in the mangrove restoration area have increased compared to before the restoration. The total number of species has increased by 2.4 times, and the biomass has increased by 2.99 times, 4.76 times, and 1.19 times respectively. The "forest-mudflat-ocean" community and the ecological barrier of mangroves are becoming more stable, and the ecological vitality and resilience of the coastal zone continue to strengthen.

Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for the ocean has visited the park twice and cited it as a model for mangrove restoration in speeches around the world.

Since its opening, Xiatanwei Mangrove Park has attracted up to 50,000 visitors in a single day. Lin found employment as a security guard in the park, fulfilling his duty right at his doorstep.

Today, the Xiatanwei Mangrove Park has been developed into an urban park that combines environmental protection, scientific research, popular science education, and recreational sightseeing. It has become a new calling card for Xiamen, a high-quality, international, and modern garden city.

Amazing moments of China’s ‘great power’ in 2023

In 2023, China witnessed remarkable achievements in scientific and technology area despite of comprehensive competition pressure and unreasonable containment from the US-led West. China's first domestically made passenger plane C919 takes maiden commercial flight; China's first domestic large cruise ship sets sail; China launches Shenzhou-17 manned spaceship for new challenging works; China's gigantic telescope builds world's largest neutral hydrogen catalog; and world's largest single capacity offshore wind turbine gets successfully installed… In the past year, China's technological innovation has achieved new breakthroughs, with each blockbuster project stunningly appearing.

In 2023, China's comprehensive ranking of innovation capability has risen to the 10th place, up three places from 2022 - the only developing country to enter the top 15, according to the National Innovation Index Report 2022-2023, released by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development (CASTED) on November 21, 2023.

The wonders of the sky are coming thick and fast in 2023. In 2023, China Space Station (CSS) entered a new phase of application and development, which will span more than 10 years, with the Tianzhou-6 cargo spacecraft, Shenzhou-16 manned spacecraft, and Shenzhou-17 manned spacecraft successively launched.

The launch of the Shenzhou-17 manned spacecraft coincides with the 20th anniversary of China's first successful manned spaceflight mission. Over the past 20 years, China's manned space launch missions have witnessed 30 victories, from short-term stays to medium and long-term residencies, from in-cabin experiments to spacewalks. China's aerospace industry continues to take new strides in high-level technology.

The good news in aviation is also coming in. On May 28, 2023, C919, China's self-developed large passenger aircraft, completed its first commercial flight. It creates a milestone in China's aviation industry, which aims to compete with global players such as Boeing.

It is important proof of China's strength in self-innovation in the high-end manufacturing industry, and its solid market performance will foster further confidence in future orders and among customers, Chinese experts said.

Moreover, in December 2023, using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), or the "China Sky Eye," a team of Chinese astronomers built the largest-ever high-quality catalog of neutral hydrogen (HI) sources beyond our Galaxy.

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is a key component of galaxies. Within disk galaxies, the HI is a significant component of the interstellar medium.

The measurement of its abundance and kinematics via the 21-centimeter emission line could potentially address a number of astrophysical issues, such as the possible properties of dark matter, faint unknown galaxies, as well as the cosmic structure and evolution, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Miracles and breakthroughs are also happening at sea level across the year.

China's first domestically made large cruise ship, named Adora Magic City, left a port in Shanghai on January 1, 2024, for its commercial maiden voyage, a development that experts said marks a breakthrough for China's high-end manufacturing and international cooperation.

It enhances the international status of China's shipbuilding industry, injecting new vitality into China's cruise sector, and shows Chinese industry's open attitude in international cooperation, experts said.

It's the world's most complex single electromechanical vessel with more than 25 million parts, about five times the number of individual parts used in China's first domestic aircraft, the C919.

In more than three years of construction, the project team made three crucial tech breakthroughs, on weight control, vibration and noise reduction, and the vessel's safe return to port.

Also, China's first sea-spanning high-speed railway capable of a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour started service in East China's Fujian Province in late September. The line shortens the travel time between Fuzhou and Xiamen to at most 55 minutes in a bid to enhance the connectivity between the two major cities in the province.

The railway was designed using the latest modeling technology based on digital information, which realized the integrated management of high-speed railway's design, construction and operation.

The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, intelligent robots and environmentally friendly materials were adopted to facilitate the construction of cross-sea bridges. An intelligent command and dispatch system is used to ensure trains stay on schedule and operate efficiently. A big data analysts system can monitor and report all potential weather disasters, ensuring the safe operation of each train on the route.

Last but not least, the experimental advanced superconducting tokamak (EAST), or the Chinese "artificial sun," achieved a steady-state high confinement plasma operation for 403 seconds on April 12, 2023, a key step toward the development of a fusion reactor.

The breakthrough, achieved after more than 120,000 attempts, greatly improved the original world record of 101 seconds, which was set by EAST in 2017.

The ultimate goal of EAST, located at the Institute of Plasma Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, is to create nuclear fusion like the sun, using substances abundant in the sea to provide a steady stream of clean energy.

Looking back at 2023, the breakthroughs in the field of science and technology forged new drivers and advantages for future development. It represents the Chinese wisdom that China contributes to the future development of humanity. China is also proving to the world that it is capable and confident in bringing more discoveries and breakthroughs to the world in 2024.

How reincarnation system in Tibetan Buddhism is often misunderstood in the West?

"Cognitive Warfare" has become a new form of confrontation between states, and a new security threat. With new technological means, issues are planted and disinformation spread so as to change people's perceptions and thus alter their self-identity. Launching cognitive warfare against China is an important means through which Western anti-China forces attack and discredit the country. Under the manipulation of the US-led West, the "China threat theory" has continued to foment.

Certain politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China's image by propagating false claims in an attempt to incite and provoke anti-China reprisals among people in certain countries. These means all serve the evolution of the US' covert China containment strategy in a bid to maintain its hegemony.

The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to systematically reveal the intrigues of the US-led West's cognitive warfare targeting China, and expose its lies and vicious intentions, in an attempt to show international readers a true, multi-dimensional, and panoramic view of China.

Reincarnation system, a concept deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, has long fascinated the Western world. However, this profound belief has often been misunderstood and misrepresented by some Western politicians and media outlets. Besides, the Western portrayal of reincarnation system in Tibetan Buddhism often fixates on the Dalai Lama and the concept of reincarnation was often misused for political motives in the West, further distorting the truth.

This is the sixth installment in the series. In this installment, we invite Yang Yongchun, a chief expert in the Tibetan legal practice from relevant government agency, who holds doctorates in both Buddhist Studies and Law, to delve into this concept and give detailed explanation as to why so many people in the West are misled.
I have been engaged in legal practice on affairs related to the Xizang Autonomous Region for a long time, and have noticed a viewpoint held by many Westerns during negotiations and exchanges with Western political entity representatives at the international level. They believe that the Chinese government, at all levels, should not "dominate" or "interfere in" the reincarnation of important sect leaders in Tibetan Buddhism. Their reasoning is that this is a religious autonomous act based on religious doctrine and tradition.

Due to the complexity of Buddhist doctrines, linguistic barriers, unique Tibetan Buddhism rituals, and the general political inclination of the modern international society toward religious matters, this viewpoint has gained popularity in the West. This issue is related to whether the Chinese government's involvement in the reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist sect leaders respects Buddhist doctrine and adheres to religious ethics. In simple terms, the viewpoint questions whether the secular laws of the worldly realm can be applied to the designated successors of Tibetan Buddhist sect leaders.

It is evident that the key to understanding this issue lies in understanding how religions approach reincarnation, as well as how the fundamental teachings of Tibetan Buddhism determine reincarnation and people who are reincarnated. Only by doing so can we determine whether the individuals recognized by the reincarnation system in the doctrines and rituals of Tibetan Buddhism are ordinary people in the secular world or mysterious entities that are difficult to substantiate legally. This determines the ethical foundation of Chinese legal regulation regarding the lineage of reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism, which has lasted for over 680 years.
Solid legal foundation

Looking at the various doctrines of Buddhism, the concept of reincarnation is described as a transformation of social status from the original South Asian caste society, to the expression of individuals' cultivation and realization of truth. There are no particularly mysterious records regarding this.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the inheritance of the Dharma lineage mainly takes the form of family lineage inheritance, master-disciple inheritance of precepts, and the inheritance of the position of temple abbot. The reincarnation inheritance is just one of the common inheritance methods. The Chinese central governments or local governments therefore regulate religious inheritance affairs based on the rule of law and public welfare. This is done in deference to Buddhist doctrines and in full compliance with religious ethics. It is also a management system based on Chinese law, and is not an intervention in any identity or matter with any mysterious implications. This is also the institutional purpose of Chinese laws concerning reincarnation inheritance.

Today, some rhetoric in the West claiming the so-called "Chinese government's intervention in the reincarnation inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism" is based on a fundamental assumption that the Chinese government has no basis or authority to intervene in the reincarnation inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism.

In fact, the Central Government of China's participation in the affairs of the reincarnation inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in the reincarnation of influential living Buddhas, is based on the "imperial commendation" of the Chinese Central Government.

There is no denying that the issue of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is of great concern to Western political entities. Their logic is that the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of various sects within Tibetan Buddhism, and after the passing of the previous leader, the religious community needs to decide on the future leader and what qualities they should possess. Western political entities view this as a matter of religious autonomy, similar to the process of selecting a Pope in the Catholic Church. However, this interpretation has led to many misunderstandings.

Due to the complexities of religious doctrine, multiple languages, historical knowledge, and legal interpretations, it is quite difficult to clarify these issues. In fact, the process of the reincarnation or succession of high-ranking living Buddhas in China is fundamentally different from the selection of a Pope in the Catholic Church.

As opposed to how the title of the Pope is indeed defined by the Catholic Church itself, the titles of the majority of high-ranking living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism are not similarly prescribed. This is because, aside from the Dalai Lama, most high-ranking living Buddhas of the reincarnation lineage use titles conferred by the Central Government of China. These titles are understood in traditional Chinese law as "imperial commendations," that is, "honorary titles" granted by the Central Government of China to the leaders of religious sects.

Second, imperial commendation must be legally recognized by the Central Government of China. Taking the title "Dalai Lama" as an example, before the Third Dalai Lama, the great living Buddhas of this reincarnation lineage were actually named after their Dharma names, namely the "Gendun" series of living Buddhas.

The Dharma name of the Third Gendun living Buddha, Sonam Gyatso, was given a hybrid title in Sanskrit, Mongolian, and Tibetan through his exchanges with Altan Khan, the Shunyi King of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in present-day Qinghai, Northwest China. This title was not approved by the central government of China at that time, so the reincarnation lineage was still known by its Dharma name, which was the "Gyatso reincarnation lineage." The Fourth living Buddha in this lineage was Yonten Gyatso.

It was not until February 1653, when the Fifth Gyatso Lama (also referred to in official Chinese documents as "Fuhai Lama") was returning to Xizang after presenting himself before the emperor in Beijing and arriving in Taikha in today's North China's Inner Mongolia, that the central government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), following the rituals of the Ming Dynasty, granted the Lama the imperial commendation in the Han language, the official language of the country, along with a golden book and seal in Han, Manchu, and Tibetan as symbols of the commendation.

Thereafter, the central government of China began to use the legal abbreviations "Dalai Lama" in official documents.

Clearly, before the Central Government of China granted the imperial commendation, the Gyatso reincarnation lineage of living Buddhas had never had the commendation of "Dalai Lama," nor the translated titles present in English today. References to the "Dalai Lama" in the legislation or legal documents of some countries are even more baseless.

The case of the Dalai Lama illustrates that the Chinese government possesses ownership of imperial commendation, and starting from the significance of the commendation as an object, it inevitably leads to the formation of rights and powers in terms of the "possession of the object" and "use of the object."

From a legal practice perspective, the ownership of imperial commendation has been held by the Central Government of China on behalf of the state at different times, and is granted to the inheritors of Tibetan Buddhism for use. Any reincarnation lineage that accepts the imperial commendation necessarily has the duty to maintain historical customs and stability. Historical central governments of China have maintained their legal involvement in the Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation tradition by relying on imperial commendation.

If Western political individuals examine the historical and legal facts of the successive Chinese central governments' lawful participation in the reincarnation traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in a truly responsible way, it is evident that "participation according to law and historical precedents" has been a consistent approach by the Chinese central governments. If, under the guise of human rights, one distorts or attacks the centuries-long legal and institutional facts of a country, they will not gain the understanding and respect of rational people who have good intentions for the world.

Chinese elements showcased at Pacific Games 2023 in Solomon Islands

As the largest sports event in the South Pacific, the Pacific Games which is set to open on Sunday have abundant Chinese elements, including the sports venues built with Chinese assistance, athletes who have trained in China, and the Chinese police and medical team that ensure the safety of the athletes during the games.

The 17th Pacific Games will be held from November 19 to December 2 in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, and will see the participation of over 5,000 athletes from 24 countries and regions in the South Pacific. This is also the first large-scale sports event held by the Solomon Islands since its independence in 1978.

The islanders are eagerly looking forward to sharing with the world their newly constructed sports center, which was a project aided by China.

The 2023 Pacific Games Stadium Project consisted of seven separate project components, with the main venue being a 10,000-seat National Stadium complex with a full-size football and rugby field and running tracks that comply with international standards. The project also has a swimming pool, a six-court tennis center, a five-a-side hockey field and a multi-purpose hall.

Paul Dere has worked on the project with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation since it began two years ago, and now he serves as a local manager. Inside the azure sports complex, he told the Global Times, "I feel immensely proud, and everyone around me is excited about this stadium."

Meanwhile, an additional 10-member Chinese police force dispatched for the Games arrived in Honiara on November 12. They will assist with the installation and commissioning of security equipment and will maintain the safety of the event alongside local police during the Games, the Global Times learned.

Previously, on October 30, a handover ceremony for the security equipment provided by China to the Solomon Islands for the Pacific Games took place at the Solomon Islands police headquarters.

Months beforehand, at the request of the Solomon Islands government, China arranged for 80 Solomon Islands athletes and coaches to undergo three months of training in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. And at the end of October, nine Chinese coaches went to the Solomon Islands for 40 days of intensive pre-game training and competition guidance.

The Global Times learned from the Chinese medical team assisting the Solomon Islands that doctors from the acupuncture department will take turns on duty at the multi-functional clinic for the Games, providing athletes and other staff with traditional Chinese medical care such as acupuncture, cupping, and massage for health and recovery.

Ding Yonghua, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Solomon Islands, told the Global Times that China's support for the Solomon Islands in hosting the 17th Pacific Games includes both hardware and technical aspects, moral guidance, and practical support. This is part of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, a true reflection of being good friends and brothers, and a vivid practice of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

"China believes that the Solomon Islands will fulfill the dream of generations by hosting a splendid, green, and safe Pacific sports event, leaving a valuable legacy for the development, revitalization, and national unity of the Solomon Islands," he said.

China and the Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations in September 2019, and their relationship has developed rapidly since then.

Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, told the Global Times in a previous interview in August that in the past four years, significant developments have occurred in the country. "Notably, a case in point is the infrastructure for the upcoming Pacific Games, with the investment totaling over $1 billion," he said.

Yu Lei, a researcher at the Pacific Island Countries Research Center of Liaocheng University, told the Global Times that China's economic aid, infrastructure assistance and technical support to the Solomon Islands have played an important role in helping the Solomon Islands develop its economy, improve people's livelihoods, increase employment, and raise living standards.

Britain: British Council showcases education cooperation at CACIE 2023

From October 26 to 28, the British Council participated in the 24th China Annual Conference for International Education and Expo (CACIE 2023) as a CACIE Honorary Partner, and hosted two sub-forums on higher education: "From Study to Work: Global Talent Mobility and Development" and "English Teaching and Assessment to Enhance International Understanding Education in Secondary Schools." 

The former focused on the current trends and challenges of talent cultivation and mobility in the context of international education, while the latter addressed the hot topic of international understanding education in the K12 sector. 

"Through the two forums, we shared our insights on the mobility and development of Chinese students abroad, and introduced our comprehensive assessment solutions and ecosystem value chain from study to work, represented by the British Council's IELTS test. We were also honored to invite our partners, top universities and enterprises from home and abroad, to share their best practices and explore how to better support the lifelong growth and development of international education in China," said You Zhuoran, director of examinations at the British Council China. 

China urges US not to instigate trouble in the South China Sea or take sides: Chinese Embassy in the Philippines

China urges the US not to instigate trouble in the South China Sea or take sides on the South China Sea issue, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement released on Wednesday in regards to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on South China Sea issue during his visit to Manila, claiming that the US and the Philippines have a shared concern about China’s “provocative actions.”

In response to Blinken’s comments, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in the statement that China is not the one that provoked the recent tense situation in the South China Sea, and thus the responsibility for the recent situation at sea does not lie with China. China was made to take necessary steps to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in face of infringement of our rights and interests and provocation.

We firmly oppose the groundless accusations made by Blinken regarding China’s legitimate and lawful actions in the South China Sea and his thinly veiled threat to invoke the so-called Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) obligations between the Philippines and the US, the spokesperson said.

Liu Jinsong, the Director-General of the Asian Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Ambassador of the Philippines to China Jaime A. FlorCruz on Tuesday, to exchange views on the fundamental principles and strategic direction of China-Philippines relations.

Liu expressed serious concerns and strong dissatisfaction with the Philippine side’s recent negative statements regarding China, as well as issues related to Taiwan and the South China Sea, and conveyed China's firm stance. The Philippine envoy expressed a willingness to manage differences and promote the stabilization and improvement of bilateral relations, according to a readout on the website of China’s Foreign Ministry.

According to the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been an issue. Under its pretext of safeguarding freedom of navigation, the US is actually seeking freedom of rampage of its warships in the region. By going out of their way and encroaching on the doorstep of China to bluff and stir up tension, US warships and military aircraft are demonstrating true hegemon. It is the US and not anyone else that’s threatening peace and stability in the South China Sea, the spokesperson added.

The US is not a party to the South China Sea issue and has no right to interfere in the maritime issues between China and the Philippines, the spokesperson stressed, noting that the recent tension in the South China Sea would not have occurred without the US pushing the Philippines.

Indeed, the US admits to banding together a small number of countries to offer verbal support to the Philippines. The US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty is a vestige of the Cold War. The military cooperation between the US and the Philippines should not undermine China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the spokesperson said.

China urges the US not to instigate trouble in the South China Sea or take sides on the South China Sea issue. China remains committed to all necessary measures in firmly safeguarding our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, the spokesperson added.

During his visit to the Philippines for a trilateral cooperation mechanism of the US, Japan and the Philippines which Chinese experts believe to be a move by Washington to create an AUKUS-style clique in Asia aimed at China in the South China Sea, Blinken said that the US stands by the Philippines and stands by the ironclad defense commitments including the Mutual Defense Treaty, adding that Article IV of the treaty extends to armed attacks on the Filipino armed forces, public vessels, aircrafts, including those of its coast guard anywhere in the South China Sea. What the US is doing is to engage in intensive diplomacy so that a number of other countries have made clear statements in support of the Philippines.

China, five Mekong River countries launch ‘Lancang-Mekong Week’, agreeing to deepen cooperation: FM

China has announced plans to deepen engagement with the Mekong River countries through a series of activities to celebrate the "Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Week" scheduled from Monday to Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry revealed on Monday.

The events, aimed at commemorating the 8th anniversary of the LMC's inception, is expected to involve more than 20 ministries and provincial and municipal governments from China. They will work with the five countries along the Mekong River to host more than 80 events, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said on Monday.

The activities include discussions and field visits focused on water resource cooperation, round-table dialogue on green and low-carbon policies, exhibitions showcasing achievements in aquatic biodiversity conservation and fisheries cooperation, as well as seminars on wetland conservation management, Lin added.

The LMC is a regional cooperation mechanism co-constructed by China and the five countries along the Lancang-Mekong River -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The mechanism aims to build a community of shared future in the region, Lin explained.

Supported by Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, the involved countries have implemented projects to benefit local residents by ensuring food, vegetable, and fruit supply. Emerging collaborations in digital economy, new energy and aerospace, alongside the acceleration of the Lancang-Mekong Innovation Corridor, are expanding, with cooperation in the fields of cultural tourism and media continuing to deepen, Lin said.

The spokesperson reaffirmed China's commitment in ensuring downstream flow from the Lancang River, sharing hydrological information throughout the year. The country strongly supports Mekong River countries in coping with floods and droughts. Countries of the LMC have made joint efforts in combating transnational crimes, including online gambling and telecom fraud, to help maintain peace in the region.

At the 4th LMC Leaders' Meeting and the 8th LMC Foreign Ministers' Meeting last year, significant areas of consensus were reached among the six countries on deepening cooperation in connectivity, green development, and non-traditional security issues, said the spokesperson, and the adoption of the Five-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation has charted the course for further collaboration. 

Amid the changing world, building a united, stable, and prosperous Lancang-Mekong zone remains a shared aspiration of LMC countries. China pledges to adhere to its diplomatic principles of mutual benefit and inclusiveness, aiming to deepen the construction of a community of shared future for Lancang-Mekong countries, Lin said.

Brain-computer interface technology rapidly evolves in China, expected to form a new quality productive force

Giving prosthetics real feeling and controllable with mind, or treating epilepsy, Alzheimer's, depression, Parkinson's and other neurological disorders, can be realized through the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, evolving with deep cross-fertilization of life sciences and information technology.

BCI refers to the establishment of communication and control channels for direct interaction between human brain and external devices. That is to say, through BCI, the fantasy of human beings controlling external objects with their minds may become a reality.

A research team at Tsinghua University recently published the details of cases in which two paralyzed patients regained a degree of movement through wireless, minimally invasive BCIs. At the end of January, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that his brain-chip startup Neuralink implanted brain chip in a sick man.

All these seem to indicate that the concepts that once existed in science fictions are moving from academic exploration to practical use. As the future industry is on the way, how is China's progress in this cutting-edge technology? How will BCI change people's lives?

The concept of the BCI has been around for more than 50 years, and research in China has been underway for more than 20 years.

Evolving technology

During a meeting held by China's Brain-Computer Interface Industrial Alliance on Monday, a number of experts and industry insiders discussed the country's BCI technology results as well as development prospects.

According to the way of neural signal acquisition, BCI can be divided into two categories: invasive and non-invasive. The former implant the electrodes directly into the patient's cerebral cortex through surgery, and the latter can be done without surgery by directly attaching the electrodes to the scalp.

"The country strongly supports the future technologies including meta-universe, humanoid robots, BCI and quantum computing. In terms of the noninvasive BCI, I am confident to say that China has achieved self-resilience, ranging from the concept to technology including electrode chip and algorithm," Gao Xiaorong, a professor of Tsinghua University engaging in the BCI for 20 years, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the meeting.

China and the US run different technology routes in BCI, but the final application scenarios are the same, Gao said, adding that China and some European countries mostly research non-invasive BCI while the US focuses on invasive BCI.

"Our team has always been guided by the principle of altruistic sharing, so we are completely open to international cooperation for mutual benefit," Gao said.

Lü Baoliang, a professor from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told the Global Times that China now plays a leading role in some researches on non-invasive BCI for emotional treatment such as depression.

According to an article published by an Italian university in 2022, two subsets of the emotional electroencephalogram dataset "SEED," made public by the university in 2015, are being used more than 50 percent worldwide; while the DEAP dataset, published by the EU in 2012, is used 27 percent of the time worldwide, Lü noted.

"At present, the research and development in BCI has continued to explore a variety of fields, including bionics, medical diagnostics and intervention, consumer electronics and virtual reality," Wu Xia, a professor from Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

Wu noted that non-invasive BCI technology is well suited for industrial safety monitoring and is expected to improve industrial productivity. "In addition, the technology has the potential to improve machine efficiency through brain-controlled machinery, and to improve human efficiency through skills training such as instrument operation and equipment driving."

New growth driver

During the meeting, Liu Bochao, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said that the BCI is an important track to cultivate new engine for economic development, create a new driver for economic growth and develop new quality productive forces in China.

The MIIT has laid out a batch of future industries represented by the BCI, in order to seize the opportunity of the development of new-generation information technology.

"Some basic researches of BCI industry like basic electrodes, core storage and high-grade algorithms have to be carried out by the so-called 'national team,' including national scientific research institutions, national medical centers, and large state-owned technology enterprises," Wang Changming, an associate researcher at the Beijing-based Xuanwu Hospital, told the Global Times during the conference.

However, relying on the "national team" does not mean that private enterprises only play a small role. It is clinical to define clear functional requirements for BCI products as well as standards, Wang said, expecting that there will be a lot of BCI products to emerge in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Government Work Report delivered by the State Council, the cabinet, noted that China will strive to modernize its industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace. The report listed a series of tasks, including industrial and supply chain improvement and upgrade, and the cultivation of emerging industries and future-oriented industries such as hydrogen power, new materials, bio-manufacturing, commercial spaceflight, quantum computing and life sciences.

China accounted for 35 percent of global patent applications for non-implantable acquisition and sensing technology, the Xinhua News Agency reported. By 2040, the comprehensive market size of China's BCI industry is expected to exceed 120 billion yuan ($16.68 billion), according to a report by QbitAI, an industry services platform focusing on artificial intelligence and the BCI technology.

To further boost the healthy development of the BCI industry, Chinese experts noted that the country ought to improve relevant laws and regulations and provide more support to the private enterprises, which will help promote the coordinated development of the industry.