As a prominent expert on China-US studies for decade

 Zhu also was twice denied single-entry visas to the US.

“This shows how the US is trying to block normal social exchanges bet

ween the two countries, an important channel for mutual understanding and trust,” Zhu said.

Besides scholars in social sciences, the US also began last year to make it harder for Chinese graduate students to get visas if they stud

y in “sensitive research fields”. It warned biomedical researchers at US universities to beware of “Chinese spies

trying to steal information from their laboratories”, according to The New York Times report.

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science of the University o

f St. Thomas in Houston, said the decision is “both absurd and exceedingly shortsighted”.

“These scholars and researchers are social scientists with a long history of interactin

g with their American counterparts as well policymakers in both countries,” he said.

“They are scholars teaching and researching what I teach and research. What are they going to steal?”

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Taylor said the US will ultimately “pay the price for

this”, in the form of an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of China by barring scholars wh

o have great familiarity with US politics and policymaking and have the ear of Chinese officials.

Douglas H. Paal, vice-president of the Asia Program at the Carn

egie Endowment for International Peace, said it appears that the scholars who best unders

tand the US and communicate well with China’s leaders are being denied visas or threatened with denial.

“I don’t see how this is in America’s interest,” Paal said.

Some US media have mentioned that China also denies visas to

US academics, but Taylor and Paal said that has not been

their experience when applying for Chinese visas to visit China for academic exchanges.

In a news conference on Thursday, when asked if China rejected a visa application fr

om an adviser to US President Donald Trump, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang

said Chinese embassies and consulates overseas always handle visa applications according to law.

China welcomes cultural exchanges between China and the US an

d will actively promote mutual understanding between the two countries, Lu said.

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The economy has stayed on the track of steady gro

owth. We have the confidence, conditions and capability to mee

t the projected targets for economic and social deve

lopment this year,” Yuan told an NDRC news conference on Thursday in Beijing.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed China’s economy grew at a faster-than-e

xpected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, remaining at the to

p end of the government’s projected growth range of 6 to 6.5 percent for this year.

The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Zhang Chenghui, former director at the finan

cial research institute of Development Research Center of the State Cou

ncil, said despite the downward growth pressure, China will see many positive factors in the economy this year.

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Kim Jong-un supervises test of new tactical guided weapon

Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) supervised the

test-fire of a new tactical guided weapon, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.

Kim “supervised and guided a test-fire of a new-type tactical guided weapon cond

ucted by the Academy of Defense Science on Wednesday,” the KCNA reported.

The design indexes of the weapon, with advantages of “the p

eculiar mode of guiding flight and the load of a powerful warhead,” were “perfectly verified at the test-fire con

ducted in various modes of firing at different targets,” the report said, giving no details of the weapon.

“Tactical” implies a short distance weapon instead of a long-range ballistic missile in military battles.

According to the report, Kim described the development as “an event of v

ery weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army,” sayi

ng that the scientists and workers have done a great work in increasing the country’s capabilities of

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The lawsuit accused Liu and JD on six counts of false im

prisonment, civil assault and battery, as well as sexual assault or batter

y, seeking damages in excess of $50,000, according to a report from Reuters.

The court filing said JD is “vicariously liable” for Liu’s behavior as his alleged actions happened while

he was “seemingly” at work-related activities, and the assault and battery began in the presence of two other JD employees.

“We have not yet reviewed the complaint and are not going to comment on pending litigation, but based on the Hennepin County A

ttorney’s declination to charge a case against our client and our belief in his innocence, we feel strongly that this suit

is without merit and will vigorously defend against it,” Liu’s attorney Jill Brisbois said in a written statement.

Peter Walsh, an attorney for JD, said in a statement while it was not prepared to com

ment at this time, the company would vigorously fight against these “meritless claims”.

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Abe to send envoy to Belt and Road ForumAbe will

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send his special envoy Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the rulin

g Liberal Democratic Party, to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

In a news conference held by the Japanese embassy in China on Monday, Takeshi Osuga, J

apanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Nikai will visit China from April 24 to 29 to attend the forum and give a speech.

In a previous conference at LDP’s headquarters in Tokyo, N

ikai said his party called for increased exchange between Japan and China.

As the Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono just ended a three-day visit to China, Osuga

said the visit was “very positive” and further strengthened bilateral ties between Beijing and Tokyo.

“In the fifth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue, China and J

apan achieved agreement to cooperate in such areas as energy conservation and environ

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mental protection, science and technology innovation,

end manufacturing, finance, sharing economy, medical care and elderly care indust

ries,” Osuga said, adding Japan and China will push forward cooperation in more areas this year.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the dialogue on Sunday that Ch

ina hopes the two sides can make steady headway in promoting bilateral investments and trade coope

ration, and actively explore third-party market cooperation as well as local cooperation.

Osuga said the Japanese government’s position on the Belt and Road Initiative remains unchan

ged, as it expects to conduct cooperation with China in a third market, promote trade and invest

ment liberalization and facilitation and uphold a business environment of fairness, justice and non-discrimination.

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In early April, the US increased military interactions

with the island by officially acknowledging that military personnel have been posted in the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan since 2005.

US weapons manufacturer Raytheon was also granted a $9 million contract to upgrade Taiwan’s Patriot missile defense system.

Senior Colonel Liang Fang, a professor at PLA National Defense Universit

y, said the recent drill will test and enhance the PLA’s joint operating capabilities.

“It will increase the PLA’s ability to protect national sovereignty, and warn thos

e who are trying to undermine it to abandon their illusions,” she said. “Similar drills

will be more common in the future, with increasingly sophisticated equipment and training methods.”

Xiu Chunping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social

Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies, said the recent drill serves to warn the US and separati

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Customs makes its biggest tusk bustuangpu Customs Distri

China’s customs officers have seized 2,748 ivory tusks weighing a combined 7.48 metric tons after cracking a major smuggling case.

It was the biggest haul of tusks ever recorded in an anti-smuggling bust conducted in

dependently by customs officers, the General Administration of Customs said on Monday.

The case was solved in March after a combined operation of differ

ent customs offices lasting three months. A total of 238 custo

ms officers took part from cities around the country, including Hefei, Nanjing, Beijing, Fuzhou and Qingdao.

Twenty suspects were detained for further investigation, accor

ding to Sun Zhijie, director of the administration’s anti-smuggling bureau.

Sun said the tusks, illegally shipped from African countries, were imported into China labeled as wood.

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Most of the ivory was hidden in an abandoned factory

by the smugglers, Sun said. Busts were made in several locations, which were not disclosed. The case is still under investigation.

Since early this year, 182 smuggling cases involving endangered species have been investigated, the administration said on Monday.

More than 500 tons of endangered animals and animal products were seized, 8.48 t

ons of which was ivory tusks or products made of ivory. In those cases, 171 suspects were detained.

The Chinese government suspended imports of ivory and all ivor

y products in 2015 and ended commercial processing and sale of ivory at the end of 2017.

The ban has had significant positive effects, with fewer people purchasing ivory, according to a report j

ointly released last year by the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, an NGO that tracks the global trade in wild animals.

“We will strengthen our anti-smuggling efforts, continuing to work with international organizations and depart

ments and allowing no tolerance of those illegal activities,” said Hu Wei, deputy director of the administration.

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