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Two major Chinese conferences on Global Health

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Report by Dr. Rohan H Wickramasinghe

Two important conferences relating to global health matters were held in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China, on Wednesday 9th June 2021. They were the 2nd Global Health Industry Cooperation Conference (GHICC2021) and the China-CEEC Summit for Healthcare Industry Cooperation (n.b. CEEC denotes ‘Central and Eastern European Countries’). The present account relates principally to the first-named conference.

The writer was invited as a ‘VIP participant’ but was unable to attend on-site due to personal reasons. This was a huge disappointment in view of the importance of the topics set out in the Agenda as being scheduled to be discussed and the renowned persons due to participate and speak. Over 500 persons were participants, either on-site or on-line. The writer followed the proceedings of the Conference on-line and is most grateful to Zheng Xiongwei of APCEO and his Assistant, Fiona Qi, for sending him material relating to the conference. (The writer, however, takes responsibility for any errors or misunderstandings in this report. These are largely attributable to problems in taking notes while following on-line presentations.)

APCEO

The present account is perhaps best introduced by a few words regarding the organization APCEO or Asia Pacific CEO Worldwide, which was launched in the early 1990s by leading Asia-Pacific economists to further economic cooperation.

APCEO was the prime mover in the organization of the two conferences referred to earlier. It is headed by the internationally renowned economist, Zheng Xiongwei and, while it is primarily based in Beijing, presently has co-headquarters or executive offices in the United States, China, Australia, Canada and France. It has the goodwill and support of leading politicians and other renowned persons around the world. (Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers and members of business and academic communities of leading countries are among the many persons of standing who have at various times expressed their interest in and support for the work and projects undertaken by APCEO.)

It is impractical (for reasons of space, among others) to do justice in this discussion of the many activities of APCEO. One activity is the organization and holding of Summit Conferences in various important and diverse areas of human activity. While it is not necessary to list all the Summit Conferences APCEO has organized (or been a major partner in organizing or supporting), mention of a few of them will be of interest to readers:

1) The World Emerging Industries Summit (WEIS) programme was launched in 2009 by APCEO. The first Summit was held in China in 2010. WEIS has, to date, gone through four seasons.

2) The first International Culture Industry Summit (ICIS) was held in September 2012. Zheng Xiongwei delivered the Jiayuguan Declaration of the ICIS on that occasion.

3) The 6th Global Outsourcing Summit (GOS) on ‘Economic Globalization – Outsourcing or Insourcing?’ was held in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province from the 14th to 16th June 2013.

4) The 5th Global Economic Leaders Summit (GELS2017) Belt and Road Forum for Economic Cooperation and Trade was held in Changchun City, Jilin Province from 30th August to 2nd September 2017. APCEO Worldwide was one of the two International Co-sponsors while the sponsor in China was the Jilin Provincial Government.

5) The 1st Global High-End Manufacturing Summit (GHMS2019) was co-sponsored by APCEO on 13th to 16th May 2019 at Changsha City, Hunan Province.

 

Global Healthcare Industry Cooperation Conferences (GHICC)

There have, to date, been two GHICC. The first in 2020 and the other in 2021.

a) 2020 GHICC – Leaders on-line video summit was held in Hang Zhou, Zhejiang Province on the 8th June 2020. The Conference was hosted by the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province and organized by APCEO, the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province and the Health Commission of Zhejiang Province.

The event saw the participation of approximately 300 people of more than 61 countries and regions from the Fortune Global 500, Forbes Global 2000, Global Health Industry Top 100, Global top 100 industrial investors, National Academies of Science, world famous universities, emerging enterprises in the health industry, state-owned enterprises in China, China’s top 500 enterprises and other well-known enterprises in China’s health industry. National health departments of Switzerland, Germany and other countries sent letters of congratulation.

 

b) GHICC 2021 (or 2nd Global Health Industry Cooperation Conference) and the China-CEEC Summit for Healthcare Industry Cooperation were held in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province on Wednesday 9th June 2021 under the theme ‘Health driving to connect the world’. (n.b. The latter conference follows a proposal by President Xi Jinping on Friday 9th February 2021 at the China-CEEC Summit.)

The sponsors of this Conference were the National Medical Products Administration of the PRC and the People’s Government of the PRC. The organizers were the Department of Commerce of Zhejiang Province, Health Commission of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang Medical Products Administration, China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE) and APCEO.

Prior to the opening ceremony a video was presented of Zhejiang Province

Part One of the Conference was the Opening Ceremony with remarks by representatives of 1) Government of Zhejiang Province, 2) National Medical Products Administration of the PRC, 3) Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, 4) Ambassadors of Central and Eastern European Countries and 5) Suzanne Kurz, Global Vice Chairperson of APCEO and former President of the Federal Council of Austria. This was followed by the launching ceremony of China-CEEC Cooperation for Public Health Industry.

Part Two of the Conference consisted of Theme Speeches which included ‘Progress on Chinese Drug Regulation and its Internationalization and Technicalization’.

 

 

Speakers included 1) Qin Xiaoling, Director-General of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation, National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of the PRC, ‘Details on Procedures and Regulations’, 2) Su Tie, Deputy Commissioner and Member of CPC Party Committee of Ningbo Customs District, ‘Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity for in-depth international cooperation’, and 3) Shi Shengyi, Vice-President of China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation, ‘Promoting International Cooperation against the Pandemic and building a Global Community of Health for All’.

Part Three of the Conference concerned Industrial Cooperation. It commenced with the presentation by Mr. Zheng Xiongwei of APCEO of ‘Release of 2021 Global Healthcare Industry Cooperation Information’. This Part was organized under two topics:

Topic One: ‘Accelerating International Cooperation to Promote the Development of the Health Industry’

Presentations were made by 1) Annette Nijs, Global Vice-Chairperson of APCEO, Recipient of the Friendship Award of the Chinese Government, Former State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, 2) Professor Atta-ur-Rahman, University of Karachi, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3) Helen Zhu, Vice-President of Sanofi China, 4) Wang Qian, Global Vice-President and Managing Director of SAP China and 5) Elina Yu Jia, Head, Life Sciences and Health Care, Business Vertical Head, APAC, Tata Consultancy Svcs.

Topic Two: ‘Cooperation Dialogue on Health Industry Chain’

The Panelists in this discussion were 1) John Aquilina, Ambassador of Malta to the PRC, 2) Helen Zhu, 3) Elina Yu Jia, 4) Wang Qian, 5) Rocky Zhang, Vice-President of Textron China and 6) Jack Yuan, CEO of General China Insurance Co. Ltd.

Topic Two was followed by a Panel Discussion moderated by Guan Yunpeng, Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation of CCCMHPIE. The Panelists in this discussion were 1) Dong Geng, Assistant Director-General on Drug Safety of the Zhejiang Medical Products Administration, 2) Ingus Rozenblats, Commercial Counselor of the Embassy of Latvia in the PRC, 3) Sandia Savic, President of the Association for Pharmacy and Medical Activity, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, 4) Liang Bin, President of Gedeon Richter, China, 5) Chen Xiaojing, Vice-President of Novartis China, 6) Yao Chengzhi, Chairman of Ningbo Menovo Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and 7) Li Ning, Vice-President of BGI Group and Executive President of BGI Global Development.

A thematic cooperation dialogue followed. It was observed that the Healthcare Industry will be the key industry of Zhejiang Province in the future. Its development environment, policy support, high-quality medical foundation, industrial R+D talents take the leading position in China. Zhejiang is becoming the leading player in the healthcare industry in the world.

The closing moments of the Conference saw matchmaking and signing of key cooperation projects.

The Conference concluded with leaders of Zhejiang Province and State Ministries meeting with important guests.



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Amusement ride brought to life on big screen Jungle Cruise

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By Tharishi Hewavithanagamage

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from screenplay written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, and Michael Green, ‘Jungle Cruise’ is loosely based on Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name. After success of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise, it comes as no surprise that Disney wanted to create another ride-based movie, this time featuring one of its first rides. The riverboat amusement ride was the only attraction to exist in the Adventureland themed section on Disneyland’s opening day in 1955. The live-action riverboat adventure stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.

The film is set in 1916, and follows Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) in a fervent search for a mystical tree whose petals known as Tears of the Moon, are said to have healing properties. Her strong belief that she could bring about medical breakthroughs and save numerous lives, prompts her to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, deep into the Amazon rainforest.

With a map in hand, Lily along with her brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall) enlist the help of skipper and swindler Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to help navigate the vast waters of the rainforest. Coveting the mystical petals for their own goals are Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) and a team of 400-year old cursed conquistadors led by Aguirre (Edgar Ramírez). In a race against time, the bad guys and the jungle, Lily must place her trust in Frank if she is to ever reach the tree, but it’s easier said than done.

The latest Disney movie is definitely fun to watch. It’s a classic, and far too predictable, adventure, where a small group of protagonists venture into the unknown. The movie obviously borrows heavily from big screen hits like ‘Indiana Jones’, ‘The Mummy’ franchise, ‘Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid’ and even the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise. This film is a patch-work of tropes.

The two-hour movie also packs a lot, which is precisely why the plot gets murkier as the audiences and protagonists cruise through. The big picture is brimming with smaller side stories which include characters that aren’t essential to the plot and in the end remain forgettable, like Paul Giamatti’s crusty harbormaster Nilo, who unfortunately falls into the margins of the movie. And scenes such as Prince Joachim talking to bees, makes the film utterly nonsensical. However, the strongest points of the movie are seen in the strengthening relationships and character development, which receive just about enough screen time to hold the story together. And while there is no overarching theme for this tale, it handles themes like women empowerment and exoticism.

‘Jungle Cruise’ offers audiences an imaginative look at deeper areas of the Amazon. The titular jungle, Frank’s beloved boat and adorable pet Jaguar Proxima are CGI highlights, whereas most other effects, notably the ragtag supernatural conquistadors, who look like they hung out with Davy Jones for too long, fall flat.

The film also delivers meticulously choreographed action sequences that showcase each individual character’s physical prowess. Everyone gets a chance to throw a punch with good form, not just The Rock. The film also draws in ideas and references from the actual ride. The humor, a courtesy of Frank’s pun-laden jokes is an actual reference to the theme-park attraction. The ride is known for its corny jokes, all delivered by skippers who narrate the adventure to visitors. Everything comes together to make the film a fun-filled experience. It falls short of a strong plot but is driven forward by the performance of the two leads.

An unlikely pair, both Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt showcase their stellar acting skills. Blunt brings a strong charisma as an intrepid scholar and adventurer, breaking barriers in ‘a man’s world’ through her role as Dr. Lily Houghton. Blunt expertly navigates the character’s inner nerd and heroine in doing amazing stunts and even takes on Johnson’s muscular self. Johnson pours his heart and soul into his character Frank. At first glance Frank comes across as a rogue character with no depth and mainly supplies humor to the tale, but as the story unfolds Johnson taps into deeper aspects of the character. The Blunt-Johnson pairing oddly makes their banter fun, but the sense of awkwardness can be overwhelmingly uncomfortable in some scenes.

Jack Whitehall’s role as Lily’s not-so-adventurous brother McGregor, is Disney’s latest attempt to introduce a gay character, but fails to leave a deep impression. It also seems like it’s never a good adventure without the nefarious Germans trying to kill everyone, but Jesse Plemons brings more comedic relief than menace to his role as Prince Joachim. The conquistador villain Aguirre played by Edgar Ramírez, remains sidelined and underused.

At the end of the day, ‘Jungle Cruise’ is a fun summer adventure that everyone can enjoy. Although the film doesn’t meet the standards set by their cooler counterpart ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Jungle Cruise’ brings its own unique quirkiness that saves it from drowning completely.

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Astrologers suggested he be ordained

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Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera

Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera was an eminent scholar monk in the nineteenth century. He was the founder of the Vidyodaya Pirivena.

He was born in the village of Hettigoda in Hikkaduwa on 20-01-1827.

As was the Sinhala custom, his horoscope was cast by an eminent astrologer who predicted that the child was under the evil influence of the planets and that he will have a life of misfortune, with a suggestion that he be ordained. The parents then consulted several other eminent astrologers who too, made similar predictions.

(As later events proved, the predictions happened to be from those who had not properly mastered the science of astrology, or due to the inaccurate time of birth recorded).

As per the predictions, his parents then decided to ordain him. With that in view, he was given only a temple-oriented education, with no formal schooling.

When he was about 14 years old, preparations were made to ordain him at an auspicious time. But, as the auspicious time was fast approaching, he was found missing.

After he was found, he told his father not to ordain him and bring the Buddha Sasana into disrepute, as his astrological predictions were adverse.

However, he was ordained later as Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, of his own volition.

Nobody ever thought, at the time, that he would one day be a scholar of great repute.

The following year, he sojourned at the Mapalagama Temple, in the Galle District during the Vas Season (rainy season) with his preceptor Mobotuwana Revatha Thera and several other monks.

This young Sumangala Samanera (novice) endeared himself to the devotees, with his disciplined demeanour and with his sermons, based on the Jathaka stories (stories of the former lives of the Buddha). One such devotee – John Cornelis Abeywardena, an English scholar (an ancestor of the present day Galle politician Vajira Abeywardena) volunteered to teach English to this young inspiring preacher.

It was a time when some bhikkhus were engaged in native medical treatment. And Sumangala Thera, then still a novice, was to answer this question as to whether the bhikkhus could engage in such a practice.

He construed that it was harmless to treat the hapless, destitute patients, friends or relations, provided it was not for any material gain and that it was not a serious violation of the Vinaya rules.

While travelling by train, one day, this Samanera met a group of pilgrims from Siam (now Thailand), coming down south, after a pilgrimage to Anuradhapura.

The pilgrims knew only their Siam language and the Pali language, resulting in they being cut off from the local populace.

One of them, half-heartedly spoke to this Samanera in the Pali lanugage. It was then that he realised that he was spaking to a Pali scholar. This resulted in exchange of views between the two of them.

Later he continued with his higher learning under several reputed venerable preceptors and also authored several valuable books.

During the Vas Season, in that year 1858, he sojourned at the Bogahawatta Temple, in Galle, and commenced publishing a newspaper for Buddhists named “Lanka Loka”.

He was a close friend of Col. Henry Steele Olcott, who arrived in Ceylon in the year 1880.

During those colonial days, the first class compartments in trains were more or less reserved for the white masters. Quite often, these compartments were seen going empty, except for one or two of them, while the second and third classes were crammed. Though some Sri Lankans had the means to travel first class, they didn’t have the courage to do so. There were others who did not care a damn for the white skins and unhestatingly travelled first class.

One day Sumangala Nayaka Thera was travelling to Kandy and entered a first class compartment, occupied by two high- spirited Englishmen.

With characteristic arrogance they subjected the Nayaka Thera to a barrage of vulger comments and rude insults.

“This old fellow has, by mistake, got into this compartment” one of them said.

“No, this is not a mistake. He is purposely, fraudulently, travelling first class with a third class ticket.”

“Shall we hand him over to the Railway Authorities?” asked the other.

The Thera gazed at them silently with a benign smile on his face.

At Polgahawela, the train was shunted into a siding, for the train carrying Sir Arthur Gordon, Governor of Ceylon, who was returning to Colombo, after a holiday, was due at any moment.

The train arrived and the Governor’s special compartment drew up right alongside the one occupied by the venerable monk. Glancing out of the window, the Governor saw Sumangala Thera and a smile of pure pleasure shone on the Governor’s face. For he and the learned monk were close friends. Scholars both, they visited each other quite often and spent many hours in erudite discussion.

“My dear High Priest! Fancy meeting you like this!” said Sir Gordon, opening the door of his compartment and walking into the one occupied by the Thera. They were engaged in a lively conversation, in English, and the train was 11 minutes late.

With the Governor’s departure, the two louts now crestfallen and repentant at their boorish behaviour, profusely apologised to the Thera.

With a smile on his face, the Thera, accepted their apologies with a brief exhortation. Thereafter they were engaged in a lovely conservation till the journey’s end.

Once there was a clash between some Buddhists who went in a procession and some Catholics at Maggona, resulting in the death of a Catholic.

As a sequel, a Buddhist named Seeman Fernando was sentenced to death. On representations made by the Nayaka Thera to the Governor, Seeman Fernando was released.

One day, a group of pilgrims that also included some members of the Cambodian Royal Family, went to Kandy with the Nayaka Thera for an exposition of the Tooth Relic.

It was a non-event as no prior intimation had been made to the Dalada Maligawa authorities in time.

The next morning, the Thera was walking leisurely along the Nuwara Wewa, when Governor Gordon, who was going in a horse drawn chariot saw the Nayaka Thera and after greeting him indulged in a lively conversation. When he told him about the non-event of the exposition of the tooth relic the previous day, the Governor took immediate steps for a special exposition, directing the Government Agent to make the necessary arrangements.

In the year 1873, he founded the Vidyodaya Pirivena – a seat of Buddhist higher learning. It was his greatest service to Buddhism.

When the permit to have a perahera was first introduced at the turn of this centry, the Nayaka Thera, as Head of Vidyodaya, sought permission to hold the annual perahera of the Pirivena. Permission was at first refused, but mysteriously granted a few days later.

Despite the refusal, the Nayaka Thera had gone ahead with the arrangements to hold the perahera, and when a senior police officer on horseback brought the permit personally to the High Priest, he contemptuously rejected it and sent the officer away.

This incident was reported to the I.G.P. who, in turn, reported it to the Governor of the colony of Ceylon.

The Governor, a close friend and admirer of Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, sent his Maha Mudliyar, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, as his personal emissary, to respectfully request the learned scholar monk to come to Queen’s House to discuss the matter, as His Excellency feared that the act of the Nayaka Thera would be an undersirable precedent.

“I refused to accept the police permit for this reason,” the Nayaka Thera, told the Governor. “When I first asked for permission to hold the perahera, permission was refused. A few days later, permission was granted. This indicates that permits are given, not according to any law, but at the whims and fancies of police personnel, which is all wrong. That is why I refused the permit that was given on second thoughts. The freedom to practise the Buddhist religion and its rites have been guaranteed in the Kandyan Convention, and I shall be grateful if you and your minions will kindly remember that.”

The chastened Governor was profuse in his apologies to the outspoken scholar monk.

The Nayaka Thera was taken ill on the 21st April 1911 and passed away on the 29th (about 110 years ago).

Perhaps he would never have envisaged, that his much cherished Vidyodaya Pirivena would be no more on a tidal wave, in the years to come.

 

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Talented and versatile

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Shareefa Thahir is not only popular, as a radio personality, but she also has a big following on social media. Each time she uploads a new photo, or an event where she is in the spotlight, the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ keep soaring. Shareefa does the scene at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Sri Lanka – 97.4 and 97.6) as an English announcer, and news reader, and she is also a freelance TV presenter, and news anchor, on Rupavahini.

Had a chat with this talented, and versatile, young lady, and this is how it all went…

1. How would you describe yourself?

In just a few words, I would say a simple, easy-going person. And, my friends would certainly endorse that.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I love myself, and I accept whatever laws I may have. So, obviously, there’s nothing that I would want to change in myself.

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Absolutely nothing because they are amazing…just the way they are (and that hit by Bruno Mars ‘Just The way You Are’ came to mind when you asked me this question!)

4. School?

Melbourne International, and Gateway College. I was the captain of my house and participated in athletics – track events, etc.

5. Happiest moment?

Oh, I will never forget the day I won the Raigam Award for my work on television.

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Accept yourself and enjoy the tiny things in life.

7. Are you religious?

I believe in God, but I don’t think you should go about announcing it. I stay true to my heart.

8. Are you superstitious?

A little …..stitious! Hahaha! Just kidding – not at all!

9. Your ideal guy?

Someone who accepts me for who I am, and who is supportive in my journey…like I would be in his.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

I would say Jennifer Lopez, for the simple reason that she is still very energetic, and active, for her age (52), keeps herself in good shape, and still has a huge fan base.

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

Yes, I would say my talent.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

My best friend as I would certainly need someone to chat with! Hahaha!

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

Saying ‘good morning’ to viewers on an evening live show!

14. Done anything daring?

Not yet. I wonder when I would get that opportunity to do something…real daring, like, let’s say, climbing Mount Everest!

15. Your ideal vacation?

A life without social media, in Greece, enjoying the beauty of nature.

16. What kind of music are you into?

Oh, I can go on and on about this; it depends on my mood. I love alternate rock, mostly, but I enjoy reggae, and pop, too.

17. Favourite radio station?

SLBC’s Radio Sri Lanka.

18. Favourite TV station?

Channel Eye (for obvious reasons).

19 What would you like to be born as in your next life?

Myself…again.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m hoping to start a new venture. However, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, as right now the scene is pretty dicey, with this virus being so unpredictable.

 

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