China to improve pediatric clinical research capacity building

Pediatrician Yang Yang checks a child at Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center in Guangdong province in January. [Photo by Zhang Ziwang/chinadaily.com.cn]

BEIJING — China has launched a platform for pediatric population medication clinical trial coordination in a bid to advance research in this field.

The platform aims to explore the formulation of regulations on China’s pediatric population clinical trial capacity building and on ethical review and standardization such clinical research.

Led by the Chinese Hospital Association (CHA), the platform was jointly established by five hospitals and 18 members.

Data showed that only 110 of the country’s 732 drug clinical trial institutions have the qualifications to conduct clinical trials for the pediatric population. Of the 7,802 drug clinical trial projects, only 4 percent are related to medication for children, according to a statement released on the CHA website.

Information society raises anxiety levels, report suggests

One-to-one therapy takes place between a teenager and an internet addiction psychologist in Beijing on Sept 24, 2012. [Photo/VCG]

Counseling and psychological support are in short supply nationwide, according to the country’s first blue book report on mental health in 2017-18, released by the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Feb 22.

The report said more than 10 percent of Chinese have mental health problems, and 74 percent of those surveyed complained about difficulty accessing support services.

Many young people said that from age 12, when they entered middle school, their mental health became more fragile as they approached 18, the age most go to university or college.

The problem is exacerbated by China’s regimented education system, which leaves children little time for leisure activities as they are constantly moving between their homes and school, and, for many, extracurricular classes. For the majority, that process only ends when they enter college, obtain a degree and join the workforce.

“That means youngsters hardly get time to explore the different aspects of life or the real world. Therefore, when they are suddenly exposed to the outside world at college, many experience heightened anxiety,” said Gao Wenbin, a researcher at the CAS Institute of Psychology, adding that many people who seek praise on kuakua groups may fall into that category.

“Kuakua groups can be seen as support units, whose members help each other. It’s good to see they are prepared to take embarrassment, even anguish, in a lighter vein.”

To ease the issues affecting children, mental health services should be introduced at middle schools, and youngsters should be taught to seek help voluntarily, Gao said.

Fu Xiaolan, head of the institute and chief editor of the blue book, said mental health issues have been rising across various demographic groups for the past three decades.

Physical and psychological pressures have been intensified by the accelerating pace of life and work in the information society, resulting in more social problems and a heavier burden on healthcare services, the report said.

Mental health is attracting greater attention, with 88 percent of respondents saying psychological health services are important.

In November, 10 ministries and other official bodies introduced a pilot program to explore ways of establishing a national system of mental health support services.

Chongqing develops hot pot-flavored toothpaste

A hot pot-flavored toothpaste developed by a Chongqing dental care company has attracted huge public interest. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A special toothpaste flavored like spicy hot pot recently attracted sizable public interest, and the first batch of online orders sold out in minutes.

The new product was developed by a dental care company in Chongqing and a hot pot restaurant chain. It has three flavors according to the degree of heat, from mild to extremely hot.

Chongqing, a municipality in Southwest China, is known as the country’s “hot pot city”, boasting what are considered the best hotpot restaurants in the country, as well as the largest number of establishments. Chongqing hotpot has a strong flavor, with beef tallow, large quantities of chili and Sichuan pepper.

Established in 1956, Dencare (Chongqing) Oral Care Co Ltd is one of the biggest oral care manufacturers in China. The company said it wanted to attract more young customers with the new flavor and let more people experience the local specialty in a fun new way.

But the company also warned this toothpaste is not for everyone, and people with allergies to spiciness or a history of dental disease should avoid the product.

Worried tourists can cancel Sri Lanka trips

Police officers work at St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday. It was among churches and upscale hotels hit by bombings on Easter Sunday.Athit Perawongmetha/reuters

Major travel agencies and airlines in China are allowing clients with travel plans to Sri Lanka to postpone or cancel their trips in the wake of a series of blasts on Sunday that killed at least 290 people and injured more than 500.

Xinhua reported on Monday that one Chinese had been killed, five were missing and another five injured, citing the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka.

China-based travel agencies have reported no casualties among their clients visiting Sri Lanka at the time of the explosions, and they have taken measures to keep Chinese visitors safe and are allowing others to change their itineraries.

Domestic tour operator Tuniu said customers with existing hotel bookings in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, on or before April 27 can cancel their bookings free of charge.

Colombo was hit hardest by the bombs, as seven explosions shattered hotels and churches in the city on Sunday and Monday. Two explosions occurred in neighboring Negombo and the eastern city of Batticaloa, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Other Chinese travel agencies, including Ctrip, Lvmama and Aoyou, have also rolled out similar policies to accommodate clients’ needs to defer or cancel their booked trips due to the ongoing volatility of the situation in the island country.

Flights between the Chinese mainland and Sri Lanka operated by Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines have not seen widespread delays or cancellations, according to Variflight, an aviation data provider.

The three largest air carriers in China are offering full waivers on cancellations and rescheduling requests for passengers who booked flights to or from Colombo before or on Sunday.

Sri Lanka Airlines confirmed that international flights were operating as scheduled at the Colombo airport. It also advised passengers to arrive at the airport at least four hours in advance with passports and valid tickets.

Tourism in Sri Lanka has seen a boom in recent years, with the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country more than doubling in the past four years, reaching about 270,000 last year, China News Service reported in February.

Second minor earthquake in a week detected in Beijing

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake at a depth of 19 kilometers was detected at 12:47pm on Sunday in Beijing’s Huairou district, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

It is the second earthquake in a week that occurred in the capital, following a 2.9-magnitude earthquake in Beijing’s Haidian district last Sunday.

Earthquake experts said minor quakes are normal in the area, as Beijing is located in the earth’s rift zone. There is no need for worry.

Since Beijing is at the junction of the earthquake zone of Shanxi province, the North China Plain and Yanshan Mountain, it’s normal for the capital to experience small quakes at a magnitude of two to three, said Sun Shihong, a researcher at the China Earthquake Networks Center, as quoted by Beijing News.

There will be no major impact on those living or working in the capital, he said.

Seven rift belts are scattered through the plains in Beijing, mostly lying from the northeast to the southwest. Among those rift belts, active ones are more likely to trigger quakes.

Sun Jinzhong, a professor at the China University of Geosciences, said the rift zones are widely scattered through the country. In addition to Beijing, many other cities sit on large rift belts.

Even the capital experienced some great quakes in history; only under certain circumstances will a large earthquake happen, he said, adding that when the internal energy of rift zones is stuck and cannot be released, a large quake will occur when those energies reach a certain limit.

Intrepid hunters soar across the sky

Two Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) were found hovering high in the sky above the Hulunbuir grassland in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Known as one of the best birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere, golden eagles are extremely swift, and can dive upon their quarry at speeds of more than 241 kilometers per hour.

Click to see how fast they fly while hunting. [Video by Bao Wenrui]

National maritime museum to begin trial operation on May 1

Photo taken on April 25, 2019 shows fossil models at an exhibition hall themed “the age of the dragon” in the national maritime museum in Binhai New Area, north China’s Tianjin. [Photo/Xinhua]

TIANJIN – China’s first national maritime museum has scheduled trial operation for May 1, local authorities said Thursday.

The museum is in Binhai New Area of north China’s Tianjin Municipality.

Four exhibition halls, which focus on the themes of “the ancient ocean,” “ocean today,” “journey of discovery” and “the age of the dragon” respectively, will open during the trial.

Visitors will learn about the relationship between ocean and life evolution, discoveries in navigation, marine life, the environment and sustainable development.

During the trial, the museum allows 3,000 visitors per day. Visitors need to book tickets in advance through its official website or WeChat account, which will open April 28.

Huang Keli, a museum official, said it would fully open in June.

The three-story museum, which covers 150,000 square meters, has six display areas and 15 exhibition halls.

Crackdown on illegal villas continues

A cluster of illegal constructions is demolished in the Huyi district of Xi’an, Shaanxi province on Sept 13, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

The central government has taken tough action in several provinces to investigate illegally constructed villas and suspending approval for new villa projects.

Housing and urban-rural development departments in Fujian, Heilongjiang and Guizhou provinces recently released notices which asked local housing sectors to review all villa projects within the region.

Projects already being constructed, under construction, and waiting for construction permits will all be reviewed. Those projects will be the major targets.

The permit approval and release processes in these provinces have been all suspended.

In late March the State Forestry and Grassland Administration released a notice to all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, asking local forestry departments to conduct investigations on illegally constructed villas in natural protected areas.

Villas without construction permits or structures that changed their purpose without approval are under investigation.

Local forestry departments were also required to find problems and possible loopholes in the construction approval procedure and report typical cases in illegal villa construction to the administration after investigation.

Last year, several provinces were reported to have illegally constructed villas built in natural protected areas and posed threats to the local environment. Some of those villas were removed, while other projects still under construction were suspended.

The Ministry of Natural Resources, formerly the Ministry of Land and Resources, has stopped approving land for villas in 2003. In 2016, the approval of land for low-intensity townhouses was also tightened.

Over 26 kg of drugs seized in border province

KUNMING – Police in Southwest China’s Yunnan province have captured one suspect for drug trafficking and seized 26.2 kg of methamphetamine, local authorities said on the weekend.

On June 2, police in the border city of Pu’er captured the driver of an off-road vehicle during a public inspection and found 140 packages of the drug from the modified doors on both sides of the vehicle.

Further investigation is underway.

Since the beginning of this year, local authorities in Pu’er have set up a 24-hour drug inspection network on the city’s main traffic trunks, which has effectively curbed the inbound trafficking of drugs and prevented the smuggling of drug-making materials out of China.

Yunnan is a major front in China’s battle against drug crime, as it borders the Golden Triangle known for its rampant drug production and trafficking.