As President Xi has said, the initiative originated from

China, but it belongs to the world. China has put forward the idea of boosting global development vi

a infrastructure connectivity, and is working zealously to translate it into reality. This is based on wha

t the country learned from its own rags-to-riches story, its own experience of the benefits of free trade and inte

rnational cooperation, and on its understanding of the role a responsible major country must play.

The forum’s growing list of distinguished guests is credible testimo

ny that more and more countries appreciate the initiative‘s win-win nature and long-term pote

ntial. With 126 countries and 29 international organizations signing cooperation agreements with China und

er the Belt and Road framework, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank now boasting 97 members, it is m

ore appropriate to call the initiative a global development mechanism than a Chinese one.

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Zhang Huoding, one of the most popular Peking Opera

 stars in today’s China, will take the opera makeover to the stage of the Chang

‘an Grand Theater on May 25, as the closing show of this year’s Meet in Beijing inte

rnational arts festival. Celebrated Peking Opera artist Gao Mukun will star as Xiang Yu.

For 48-year-old Zhang, it’s a dream come true.

“It’s always been my dream to play concubine Yu since I was learni

ng Peking Opera in Tianjin in the 1980s, but I didn’t get the chance,” Zhang said at a news conf

erence in Beijing on Tuesday. “I look forward to it very much and I hope the audience will like it.”Zhang is an inh

eritor of the “Cheng School” of Peking Opera, a performing style founded by Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58), one of the great Pe

king Opera masters of the 20th century. While Mei Lanfang’s “Mei School” is fam

ous for his smooth, moderate and poised style in playing elegant female roles, Cheng style is kn

own for interpreting tragic women with frequent changes in sounds and rhythm.

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Though Farewell My Concubine has long been a master

piece of the Mei School, Wan Ruixing, renowned Peking Opera composer and player of the jingh

u (a high-pitched two-stringed fiddle used in Peking Opera), said the Cheng School’s sorrowful tunes a

nd slow rhythm also could be a decent interpretation of concubine Yu’s tragic fate.

“There are more tragedies in the Cheng School’s plays and the characte

r of Yu and her deep sorrow in the legendary story meet very well with the featu

res of the Cheng School,” said Wan, who is also responsible for the new play’s method of singi

ng tunes.A former actress from the China National Peking Opera Company, Zhang has performed in sellout shows acros

s China, including a solo show at the Great Hall of the People in 2007. In 2015, Zhang made her US debut at Lincoln Ce

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Investment spurs BRI countries’ growthTwo-way investment

tween China and economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative ex

ceeded $130 billion between 2013 and 2018, injecting new growth momentum into BRI-rela

ted countries and contributing to recovery of the global economy, senior Chinese officials said on Monday.

China’s direct investment in BRI-related countries grew by 5.2 percent a

nnually on average to surpass $90 billion between 2013 and 2018, Song Lihong, an officia

l in the Ministry of Commerce’s Comprehensive Department, said at a news conference.

Song said that in the same period, China had received a total of

$40 billion in inbound investment from BRI countries as two-way investment deepened.

Within the five years, the value of the projects completed

by Chinese companies in BRI economies amounted to $400 billion, Song said.

The value of trade in goods between China and BRI-related economies exceeded $6 trillion in the same period, an av

rage annual growth of 4 percent, higher than the overall growth of China’s foreign trade, he added.

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Air tickets, homestays sold out for May Day holiday

A travel rush is expected for the upcoming May Day holiday, a

s air tickets and high-speed railway tickets on multiple routes were sold out, while ho

mestay hotels at destinations including Beijing and Shanghai were fully booked.

While only one week away, the May Day holiday this year is extended to fo

ur days – one day more than last year – and will see a travel craze comparable to that  ty

pically seen during China’s Spring Festival, a traditional holiday for family reunion.

According to Qunar, one of China’s largest online travel agencies, quite a few people chose to take a few days off before or af

ter the May 1 to 4 holiday, so that they can enjoy a journey lasting upwards to nine days.

The travel rush is expected to come as early as April 27, and will reach a climax on April 29 and 30.

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President hails US high school students’ roles

Mandarin learners encouraged to play parts in fostering bilateral friendship

President Xi Jinping encouraged a group of United States high-school students to boost

friendship between China and the US as he replied to their letter written to him in Chinese.

“I hope you will make the best of your time, study hard and contribute y

our part to a deeper friendship between the people of our two countries,” Xi wrote in th

e letter, saying the young generations represent the future of the Sino-US friendship.

Over 40 students from Niles North High School in the state of Illinois who are studyi

ng Mandarin Chinese recently wrote to Xi, asking about his work, life and hobbies.

They told the Chinese leader in the letter that they are studying Mandarin, and they love the Chinese language, music and cuisine.

In his written response, Xi expressed gratitude to the students for their letter, and said he

can feel from the letter their love of the Chinese language as well as their interest in Chinese culture.

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Xi shared some of his personal life. He said he has a dee

 interest in philosophy, history, literature, culture, music and sports, and that he first cul

tivated many of these interests back in middle school and they have stayed with him ever since.

His job is serving the people, and he works hard with a busy schedule, but takes great pleasure in his work, Xi wrote.

The Niles North students also inquired whether Xi likes the US.

Xi answered in the letter that he has visited their country many times and is impressed with the “beautiful landscape, hos

pitable people and diverse culture”, and he made a lot of friends, including some young people.

He said the students are “wonderful” and expressed hope that they will make greater progress in studying Chinese.

Learning Chinese will help them better understand China, a

d get acquainted with more Chinese friends and Chinese-speaking friends across the world, Xi said.

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The meeting highlighted the importance of implementi

ting the spirit of December’s Central Economic Work Conference.

Macro policies should be stable, micro policies should be flexible and social policies should guarantee the basic needs of the grassroots

people, the statement said. Macro policies should focus on promoting high-quality growth and stimulating market vitality.

The importance of manufacturing’s high-quality development in stabilizing economic growt

h was stressed. Traditional industries should be guided to upgrade, and new industries should grow stronger.

The development of small and medium-sized companies and private businesses should be supported through measures like s

peeding up the supply-side structural reform of finance and providing better loan services, the stat

ement said. It also reaffirmed that houses should be used for living rather than for profit.

Reform should be further deepened and opening-up boosted, and forei

gn capital should have bigger access to the Chinese market. Poverty reduction is a key meas

ure of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which must be achieved by the end of next y

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Shanghai purrs over new Hello Kitty theme park

The world’s only Hello Kitty-themed pavilion brings a fantasy world with a retro decor for fans in Shanghai.

Hello Kitty Shanghai Times was launched by propert

y developer Shimao Group and Japanese animation powerhouse Sanrio on March 29.

By creating an immersive experience of Shanghai during three symbolic periods of the city’s history – the 1930s, 1980s and today – the

indoor theme park provides a unique experience for visitors with Sanrio’s best-known characters, incl

uding Hello Kitty, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Pompompurin, Keroppi and Cinnamoroll.

The time travel-themed attraction is located at Shimao Festiva

l City on bustling East Nanjing Road, and is expected to attract 2 million visitors a year. S

preading across three floors, the play area takes up a total gross floor area of about 6,000 square meters.

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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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