>> China continues Diaoyu Islands patrol
By Liu Tong
Vessels of the China Coast Guard (CCG) conducted a patrol mission in China’s territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands on Friday f December 19, according to a statement by State Oceanic Administration.
The vessels are CCG 2401 and 2166. China has been conducting the patrols on a regular basis.
>> China opposes U.S. arms sale to Taiwan
By Bai Jie
China on Friday of December 19 expressed resolute opposition after U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law legislation authorizing the sale of four Perry-class guided missile frigates to Taiwan.
“This seriously violates the three China-U.S. joint communiques, particularly the U.S. commitments specified in the August 17 Communique,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a daily press briefing.
“It brutally interferes with China’s internal affairs, sabotages China’s sovereignty and security interests, and runs counter to the trend of peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait,” Qin said.
Qin said the Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interests and has always been the most important and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations.
China’s firm opposition to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan is resolute, clear and consistent, he said.
“China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this and has lodged solemn representations with the United States both in Beijing and Washington. We reserve the right to take further action,” he said.
The United States agreed to gradually reduce arms sales to Taiwan under the August 17 Communique signed in 1982.
Qin urged the U.S. government to abide by the one-China policy and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, stop official and military exchanges with Taiwan, stop arms sales to Taiwan and do more to contribute to China-U.S. relations and the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties.
Also on Friday, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng issued a statement, expressing strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the arms sale.
“China firmly opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan,” said Geng, adding China resolutely safeguards its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,”
He said the state-to-state and military-to-military relations between China and the United States are facing important opportunities.
The United States should work together with China to advance healthy and steady development of bilateral ties, Geng said.
“China strongly urges the United States to respect China’s core interests and major concerns, abide by its promises to China on the Taiwan issue, stop arms sales to Taiwan and U.S.-Taiwan military ties, stop destroying the overall situation of China-U.S. ties,” he said.
China will closely follow the situation and may further respond to this depending on developments of the situation, Geng added.
>> China opposes politicizing human rights issues
By Wang Huihui
China has underscored its disapproval of using human rights issues to pressure other countries, following a UN General Assembly resolution proposing that the human rights issue of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
China has always advocated the resolution of differences in the field of human rights through dialogue and cooperation and opposed the politicizing of human rights issues, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Friday of December 19.
The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted in favor of referring the DPRK to the ICC in a resolution initiated by the European Union and Japan.
China was among the countries that voted against the resolution.
“The UN Security Council is not the right place to discuss human rights issues, and the referral of human rights issues to the ICC is not conducive to their resolution,” Qin said.
>> China’s top political advisor urges Japan to pursue positive policy towards China
By Tan Jingjing
China’s top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng on Friday of December 19 urged the Japanese government to make more effort in the mending of bilateral ties.
Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks while meeting with Yohei Kono, former Speaker of the Japanese House of Representatives and president of the Japanese Association for the Promotion of International Trade.
Recently relations between China and Japan have experienced developments after a two-year stalemate, Yu said.
The two sides should seriously maintain and implement their newly reached four-point agreement, and properly handle major sensitive issues including those regarding history and the Diaoyu Islands, and gradually promote bilateral cooperation in various areas, he said.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent remarks on the ceremony for China’s first National Memorial Day to recognize Nanjing Massacre victims, was a brilliant exposition of how we should draw lessons from history and face up to the future under the new circumstances,” he said.
Yu called on Japan to have a comprehensive and correct understanding of Xi’s remarks.
Yohei Kono, for his part, said the two countries should cherish the current sound momentum and promote the continued improvement of ties on the basis of acknowledging history.
>> Senior PLA officer mourns victims of Pakistan school attack
By Bai Jie
Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, on Friday of December 19 went to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing to mourn the victims of Tuesday’s terror attack on an army-run public school in Pakistan.
Wang strongly condemned the attack against students and teachers, extending deep condolences to the victims and sympathy to the families of victims.
He said China and Pakistan are good brothers, and the Chinese armed forces will always stand by the Pakistani people and military, and would like more anti-terrorism cooperation with the Pakistani armed forces.
Pakistani Ambassador to China Masood Khalid appreciated Wang’s act on behalf of Chinese military as well as the condolences and support by Chinese leaders, government, military and people.
Condemning the terrorists, he said the attack united the Pakistani government and people, making their will to fight terrorist ever more resolute.
Pakistan will work closely with China to combat terrorist, separatism and extremism, he said.
An army-run public school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar was attacked by militants on Tuesday, and a total of 141 people, including 132 students, were killed and 133 injured.
>> Guinea Bissau hails China for leading anti-Ebola war
Guinea Bissau’s Health Minister Valentina Mendes on Thursday of December 18 said China was at the forefront of supporting the country’s efforts against the Ebola virus.
The minister was speaking in Bissau during the signing of an agreement with the Chinese ambassador to the country Wang Hua, for a visit by a Chinese medical mission to sensitize the public on the Ebola virus.
The Chinese diplomat reiterated his country’s commitment to help Guinea Bissau in the fight against Ebola, especially through awareness campaigns.
“The fight against Ebola virus is not yet over. You need to train and prepare health professionals to respond to any eventual outbreak,” he said.
The health minister recalled that in April this year, China was the first country to send to Guinea Bissau health materials worth 200,000 U.S. dollars for prevention against Ebola.
Still in October, she added, the Chinese government sent to Bissau other medical materials and equipments worth a million dollars for prevention against Ebola virus.
A Chinese mission comprised of three experts is expected to arrive this Friday in Guinea Bissau where there’s another Chinese medical mission.
Mendes said the team will train local experts on treatment of endemic diseases in the country such as diarrhoea and cholera.
The Chinese experts are expected to stay in the country for a period of one month, but their stay could be extended to three months if the situation demands.
According to the terms of the agreement, the Chinese government will pay for all the expenses of the experts.
>> Interview: Serbia benefits from China-CEE meeting: professor
By Namanja Cabric, Hou Lijun, Gui Tao and Wang Hui
A Serbian professor said on Friday of December 18 the outcome of the recently finished meeting between leaders of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries exceeded expectations.
Ljubodrag Savic, professor at the Faculty of Economy in Belgrade University told Xinhua in an interview that he sees three important results for Serbia at the meeting.
Serbia gets a chance to become a center of transport between the regional countries and China, to build its first energy facility in 25 years as well as to complete infrastructure projects that it did not manage to complete in the past several decades, said the professor.
“I have to say that the outcome of the summit exceeded my expectations,” Savic told Xinhua, explaining that Serbia and its citizens can be fully satisfied with agreements, memoranda and protocols that were signed.
“The construction of the high speed railway (between Belgrade and Budapest, Hungary) has been precisely agreed, as well as the deadline for construction works, and there is a general agreement that the railway will be extended further south towards Macedonia and Greece. This would really put Serbia in the spotlight. This is important for the arrival of Chinese goods, but also for export Serbian products,” he explained.
Savic estimated that Serbia also made a favorable deal for the second phase of the construction of the thermo power plant in the town of Kostolac.
Savic said it is important for Serbia that protocols and other documents that were signed concerning the highway E-763 in Serbia, as this will remove a great obstacle to the development of Serbia’s capital city, as well as the whole country.
Asked if the infrastructure deals agreed during the China-CEE leaders’ meeting can be stopped by the European Union similarly to the Russian South Stream project, Savic said in his opinion that is not possible because China is a desirable partner to all countries of the world.
“We should not expect any kind of pressures similar to those that surrounded the South Stream project. I think that the agreed projects will be realized,” Savic concluded.
The third meeting of the leaders of China and CEE countries took place in Belgrade from Dec. 16 to 17 with the presence of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
>> News Analysis: Announced investments from China spark hope in Macedonia
By Biljana Arsovska and Wang Siwei
The Chinese initiatives for increased infrastructure investment in the Balkans, announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the meeting between China and Central and Eastern European countries in Belgrade this week, will have huge influence on the development of the whole region, estimate analysts here on Friday of December 19.
“It is a sign that China is taking steps to diversify its foreign policy and it should be viewed with outmost respect, especially from the 16 European countries involved in this process. The announced projects have great infrastructural importance and will include the region in the 21st century. They will help the economic growth of the region that is going through some serious challenges in the last years,” former diplomat Risto Nikovski told Xinhua in Skopje.
China, Serbia, Hungary and Macedonia on Wednesday agreed to build a land-sea express passage linking a Greek port and the landlocked Hungary, stringing the Macedonian capital of Skopje and Serbian Belgrade. The Chinese Premier with his European counterparts also discussed projects in the fields of energy, tourism and industrial development.
Nikovski believes that this initiative is a sign of a permanent Chinese policy that will only spread and increase in funds in the years to come. He points out several main areas where Macedonia specifically can benefit with the support of China.
“It is extremely important that China enters our railway in any way possible and to help with its needed modernization. This fully corresponds with the Chinese ambitions, because they have already bought the ports in Greece, so having a fast railway connection through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia will open a fastest road for them towards whole Europe. Also, it will have a historic importance if we could interest China in energy projects in areas like “Vardar Valley,” which are multidimensional and can bring great benefits for our country,” Nikovski adds.
Macedonian authorities are satisfied with the results achieved at the Belgrade meeting that offered prospects of an increased economic cooperation between Macedonia and China as well. Two Chinese companies have expressed their interests at the meeting to invest in Macedonia, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced.
They have showed interest to open a major meat packing plant and a cement factory, but also have discussed the possibility to be included in energy projects, such as the construction of the primary gas network through Macedonia. The names of the companies are yet not disclosed.
“A major Chinese company already made three visits to Macedonia to examine possibilities for opening a large meat packaging plant. They are working on their due diligence, and there is a positive impression, but the final decision remains to be seen. And, both last year, and particularly at this year’s meeting, a Chinese company expressed interest in opening a cement factory,” Gruevski said.
China is already present with its investment in infrastructure in Macedonia. Two of the main new highways in the country are being built with a loan from China worth nearly 580 million euros (713 million U.S. dollars). The highways financed through the Chinese Exim Bank are built by the Sinohydro Corporation from China in cooperation with the major Macedonian construction companies.
Macedonian businessmen are especially interested in the signed agreement for cooperation and liberalization of customs procedures with Beijing. The document is expected to boost the regional and the international trade.
“China is an extremely important market for us. I think that every businessman’s dream now is to enter Chinese market because of its great potential and size. Sadly, because of the high costs, not many of the Macedonian entrepreneurs can allow themselves to export as far as China. Still, products such as wine, marble, meat, show that they have potential for success on the Chinese market,” Vlado Markovski, businessman from Skopje told Xinhua on Friday.
>> Interview: China looks to Canadian province in fight against HIV/AIDS
By Evan Duggan and Jiang Yaping
China is looking to Canada’s Pacific coast province of British Columbia (B.C.) for cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as the latter has become successful and experienced in dealing with spread of the deadly virus and disease.
When Chinese authorities said they were looking for new strategies and new ideas around the world to curb the spread of HIV infections and to improve treatment for those who have the illness, St. Paul’s Hospital — a leading research and treatment center in Vancouver in British Colombia — is where they came, according to Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Colombia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
St. Paul’s Hospital has taken major strides in defeating HIV/AIDS, and has emerged as a model for success and a partner for China and many other nations in stemming the spread of the virus, Montaner said in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday of December 18.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed last month to do more to prevent and treat HIV in China, and said he was willing to cooperate with experts in other countries to do that. He said efforts should be made in China to improve HIV screening, focus on high-risk groups, and seek breakthroughs in the development of new drugs to treat the virus.
Vancouver in the late 1980s and 90s had become ground zero for the virus in Canada, said Montaner.
He said it made sense that the center would become the world’s leader in the battle against the virus.
In the lengthy interview taken in St. Paul’s hospital, Montaner said that Vancouver was facing a rising tide of HIV infections — especially among the city’s large gay community, and intravenous drug users. Poverty and mental illness in the city’s Downtown Eastside were also helping the virus to spread. Montaner said the center emerged as a matter of survival.
“St. Paul’s was inundated by HIV. We were very few people dealing with it. We needed to put our resources all together and we needed to get organized because we were overwhelmed,” he said.
They soon started treating the rising number of HIV-positive patients with a variety of new drugs. In 1996, they implemented the use of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy, or HAART, which quickly set the global standard for HIV treatment.
He said the epidemic was out of control in the 1980s and 90s. And research that they were involved with, for the first time in 1995, showed that when they combined three anti-retroviral therapy drugs, they give them together to someone who has not been previously treated, they were able to suppress the replication of the virus so that the amount of virus circulating in the blood became undetectable. When that happens the immunity comes back and therefore HIV/AIDS does not progress.
The treatment started to drive down new HIV cases despite a steady rise in the syphilis rate — showing that infections were decreasing even though people were still taking part in risky behavior. HAART rapidly makes HIV undetectable in blood and sexual fluids in most patients, while it also prevents AIDS-related diseases and death.
But having the proper treatments was only half the battle. Within a few years, the center transitioned into what Montaner calls Treatment as Prevention – a systematic campaign to increase diagnoses and treatment throughout the population by making free and rapid HIV tests more accessible.
Elements of the program soon caught the attention of the Chinese Center for Disease Control, which sent representatives to the center at St. Paul’s hospital.
“China was very intrigued early on by the work that we were doing. They approached it in a very skeptical kind of way. They basically met with us a number of times. They asked all the difficult and appropriate questions and it wasn’t until they were really convinced that we had a real program and a real opportunity here that they decided to move forward and embrace our treatment operation strategy,” he recalled.
He stressed that partnership is now benefiting both British Colombia and China.
“They were the first country that embraced the treatment as prevention strategy in the world, and they since then, have been producing a lot of new information that has helped us to understand how to guide the work that others are doing in this sense,” he added.
The results of Montaner’s Treatment as Prevention program in Vancouver and B.C. have been dramatic. According to Montaner, number of AIDS cases in British Columbia have decreased by more than 90 percent overall. Death from HIV/AIDS has decreased by more than 95 percent, all thanks to the cocktail – the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy.
Also, new infections have decreased by greater than 66 percent. Among injection drug users, new infections have decreased by greater than 95 percent, and particularly the transmission from mother to child, what we call vertical transmission, has been virtually eliminated.
Montaner said the center has been so effective that they virtually closed their HIV/AIDS ward this year and repurposed it support people who are living with HIV. Nowadays, they rarely discover new cases of AIDS.
The doctor says the United Nations has also called on them to develop a blueprint that can be applied to healthcare systems around the world, and has set a so-called 90-90-90 goal to boost detection, treatment and survival.
“If we meet the 90-90-90 by 2020, or by 2030, the burden of the disease globally will have decreased by 90 percent. Ninety percent less morbidity, 90 percent less mortality and 90 percent less transmission, transforming what used to be a raging pandemic into a sporadic disease that would really have relatively modest impact in the world as we know it,” he said.
>> China’s high-speed rail traffic to grow within 20 years: World Bank
By Jiang Xufeng and Han Jie
By focusing on passenger needs, and efficient operations, China’s high-speed rail (HSR) traffic is expected to continue rapid growth over the coming two decades, said a World Bank paper.
China has the world’s largest HSR network, but passenger numbers have been the subject of debate.
A World Bank paper released Friday finds initial traffic volumes are promising, with traffic growing from 128 million trips in 2008 to 672 million trips in 2013. In 2013, China’s high-speed rail lines carried more passenger-kilometers (214 billion) than the rest of the world combined, about 2.5 times the volume in Japan and four times the volume in France.
China is a very large country with a high population density, widely spaced large cities, and economic rebalancing strategies go for the long-term success of HSR.
A survey by the World Bank, China Railway Corporation and the Third Railway Survey and Design Institute indicates that a large proportion of high-speed train passengers are between the ages of 25 and 55, with many using the HSR for business travel.
The survey shows the average income of high-speed train passengers was 35 to 50 percent higher than that of conventional train passengers.
“Understanding and addressing passenger needs are critical to achieving the full impact of the HSR network. While initial results are encouraging, HSR remains a major investment that requires high traffic density to be justified economically and financially,” said Gerald Ollivier, a World Bank senior transport specialist and co-author of the paper.
“This can be achieved by working closely with cities to develop areas around stations in a way that leverages the gain in accessibility that HSR provides,” Ollivier said.
It is important to optimize train frequencies and city pairing, introduce flexible ticket prices reflecting peak and off-peak periods, and introduce convenient e-ticketing services. “By focusing on these aspects, and on the efficient and effective operation of the network, HSR in China can continue to experience substantial growth for many years to come,” he added.
The World Bank has provided loans to support six railway projects in China.
>> Tajik, Chinese bank officials discuss loan agreement
By Wang Feng
Deputy Chairman Sirojiddin Ikromov of Amonatbonk — Tajikistan’s savings bank — and a delegation from China Development Bank (CDB) met here on Thursday to discuss a 10 million U.S. dollar loan agreement, the Amonatbonk press service said on Friday of December 19.
According to the five-year loan agreement, the CDB will provide financial support for the Central Asian country’s agriculture as well as small and medium-sized enterprises.
The agreement will be signed by Amonatbonk Chairman Jamshed Nurmahmadzoda.
Amonatbonk has worked closely with a number of international institutions and foreign banks, aiming to alleviate poverty and boost economic development in Tajikistan.
Amonatbonk and the CDB have been in cooperation since 2008.
Established in 1925, Amonatbonk is the only state-owned bank and one of the oldest bank in Tajikistan.
RIO DE JANEIRO
>> Brazil striker Tardelli on Chinese radar
Brazil international striker Diego Tardelli has received a lucrative offer to join a leading Chinese Super League club, according to local media reports on Friday of December 19.
The unnamed club is said to have offered Atletico Mineiro six million euros for the 29-year-old and a monthly salary of 400,000 US dollars.
Tardelli’s chances of leaving Atletico have been heightened by the Brazilian outfit’s mounting debt concerns, according to local news portal Lancenet.
“Atletico rejected the first offer from the Chinese club but have not ruled out a sale if the price is right,” the news portal said.
Tardelli scored 10 goals from 23 Brazilian Serie A matches in 2014 and was recalled to Brazil’s squad by national coach Dunga in September.
>> Chinese envoy calls for unified standards for counter-terrorism
By Shi Xiaomeng
The international community should adhere to unified standards in order to effectively deter terrorism, a Chinese envoy to the United Nations said on Friday of December 19.
“Double standards and selectivity should not be used in fighting terrorism, let alone linking terrorism with a specific ethnic group or religion,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations.
Counter-terrorism activities should abide by the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, and respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, Liu said at a Security Council meeting on terrorism and cross-border crimes.
“All countries should, in accordance with global counter-terrorism strategy and relevant Security Council resolutions, adopt effective measures to cut terrorist organizations’ access to people, funds, and equipment as well as their incitement and propaganda channels while adopting integrated measures to eradicate their breeding ground for terrorism,” he added.
Noting that in some regions, especially in Africa, terrorism and cross-border crime organizations are closely linked, Liu said the counter-terrorism work should be well targeted.
“The international community should assist relevant countries and African countries in particular to strengthen their capacity-building in border control, customs and counter-narcotics,” he added.
In addition, he said the international community should pay attention to cross-border crimes of terrorism organizations by using information and communication technology, such as the Internet.
As a victim of terrorism, China supports African countries in independently choosing their own way of development, and will continue to conduct bilateral and multilateral exchanges and cooperation on counter-terrorism and cross-border crimes with the international community, especially African countries, he said.
“China will do what it can to provide assistance in material and capacity-building to relevant countries, with a view to advancing our effort in fighting international terrorism and maintaining regional and world peace and stability,” he added.
>> Morocco’s largest private bank starts trading in Chinese yuan
By Cai Shihao
One of Morocco’s biggest lenders Attijariwafa Bank announced on Friday it has begun trading in the Chinese yuan to help local and African businesses in their growing commercial partnership with China.
The bank launched the trading in yuan, also known as renminbi, for the Moroccan societies to develop its business with China as well as with African societies, Mohamed Kettani, president of the bank, said in a press conference in Morocco’s economic hub Casablanca.
Attijariwafa Bank is the largest private bank in Morocco and has subsidiaries in many African, European and Middle East countries catering mainly for Moroccans living there.
It has the largest branch network in Morocco and Africa with 3,265 branches, up from 3,197 in 2013.
“China is a large economic power and its commerce with Morocco and Africa is developing very fast, so our bank decided to introduce the yuan facility aiming in the near future that all transactions with China will be solely with yuan,” Kettani said.
China is Morocco’s third largest trading partner.
>> Chinese calligraphy exhibition opens at UN headquarters
By Shi Xiaomeng
A Chinese calligraphy exhibition themed “Dream of Harmony” opened at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday of December 18, attracting crowds of people to the scene.
The exhibition presents dozens of calligraphy pieces which write popular traditional Chinese concepts such as “Kindheartedness,” “Tai Chi,” “Man is an integral part of nature,” delivering the message of harmony and peace advocated by Confucianism.
The presented calligraphy works are “a perfect combination of artistic charm and philosophical messages,” which help to spread the spirit of traditional Chinese wisdom, said Wen Xuejun, president of Chinese Book Club of United Nations Staff Recreation Council, one of the sponsors of the event.
People also lined up to get copies of “Confucius Philosophy,” a book introducing China’s original culture, provided by the organizer.
The exhibition will last five days to December 22.
>> Brazil beat China to book showdown with US
By Michael Place
Brazil advanced to the final of the international women’s soccer tournament of Brasilia with a 4-1 victory over China here on Thursday of December 18.
The competition hosts will play for the title on Sunday against the United States, who earlier routed Argentina 7-0.
Brazil rested their five-time world player of the year Marta, but it seemed to make little difference as they took control early at the Mane Garrincha stadium.
Beatriz capitalized on a Chinese defensive error to score the opener after 14 minutes and Andressinha doubled the lead from a set piece shortly after.
Debinha’s angled effort early in the second half made it 3-0 before Andressa Alves converted from the penalty spot.
Ren Guixin gave some respectability to the scoreline for the Asian outfit with an injury-time header.
China, who needed only a draw to progress to the final, will play off for third place against Argentina before Sunday’s title decider.
The tournament is considered a warmup event for the World Cup in Canada next June and July.
>> Guangzhou Evergrande ranked 4th in Asia
By Fu Min and Kang Miao
Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande was ranked 4th among Asian clubs, according to the Asian Football Confederation rankings released on Thursday of December 18.
Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal topped the rankings, followed by FC Seoul of South Korea and Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad.
According to AFC, the rankings were based on the performances of clubs in 4 years between 2011 and 2014.
>> Xi’s speeches on reform published in foreign languages
By Cheng Zhuo
The book on selected remarks by President Xi Jinping on deepening Chinese reforms has been published in six foreign languages.
The book is now available in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and Arabic languages, according to an announcement by publisher Foreign Languages Press on Thursday of December 18.
The book, divided into 12 sections, collects Xi’s comments from more than 70 speeches, written instructions and comments between Nov. 15, 2012 and April 1, 2014.
The Chinese version was published in May.
Another book gathering Xi’s important remarks organized by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee has sold more than 15 million copies to date.
The publishers announced total sales have reached 15.11 million, including 95,000 copies in ethnic minority languages.
>> China offers interpretation on its “key words”
By Hu Longjiang
China on Friday of December 19 launched an online column to elaborate some key political and cultural phrases such as “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and “comprehensively deepening reform.”
The website China.org.cn has published official interpretations of such phrases in six foreign languages — English, French, Russian, Arabic,Spanish and Japanese, as well as in Chinese.
The interpretations are made by combining China’s actual situation, historical and political backgrounds.
For example: core socialist values. It was proposed at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November 2012 and, composed of 12 key words and phrases including “prosperity,” “democracy,” “freedom,” “patriotism” and “rule of law,” according to the interpretation.
According to the website, these phrases contain China’s core ideas, and the interpretations will help foreigners understand these words and China’s development concept and road, and domestic and foreign policies.
>> Senior CPC leader urges to build Party with strict rules
By Liu Lu
A senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Friday of December 19 called for firm Party rule, in order to deepen reform and promote the rule of law.
Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made his remarks at a meeting attended by officials from CPC organization departments nationwide.
“Strict selection of CPC cadres is key to running the Party,” said Liu.
Supervision over Party officials should be strengthened and punishment should be imposed on those who engage in illegal or immoral behavior, he went on.
Liu said the CPC should always root out undesirable work practices, remain down to earth, adhere to its regulations, and reflect on the corruption cases of some of its former leading officials, such as Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai and Xu Caihou.
Liu reiterated that the assessment and accountability system should be improved to expose violations.
At the meeting, Zhao Leji, head of the CPC Central Committee Organization Department, urged the attendees to carry forward the Party spirit and continue to improve their professional skills.
>> China investigates executive of Nissan joint venture
By Liu Tong
China’s corruption watchdog on Friday of December 19 opened an investigation into an executive of state-owned Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DMC).
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China said in a statement that Ren Yong, assistant general manager of Dongfeng, is suspected of “serious law and discipline violations.”
Ren is also vice president of Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Dongfeng and Japanese carmaker Nissan. Nissan formed a new joint venture with Dongfeng in September to produce Infiniti cars in China.
Ren is among the first heads to roll since the CCDI launched a third round of inspections into state-owned enterprises in November. Other targets include China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), China Southern Airlines and China Unicom.
>> Top judge urges better handling of administrative abuse cases
By Liu Tong and Luo Sha
China’s top judge Zhou Qiang on Friday of December 19 told courts to deal with administrative abuse cases better in line with a November amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law.
Courts at all levels should devise measures to guarantee smooth implementation of the amended Administrative Procedure Law, said Zhou, but should first try to defuse administrative disputes.
Courts should protect the people’s legal rights and interests while enforcing their supervision on government agencies, he said.
Courts should also streamline filing procedures and uphold judicial justice, said Zhou.
>> China forces 63,000 officials to quit company directorships
By Liu Tong and Hua Chunyu
China has forced some 63,000 government officials, including 229 at provincial and ministerial-level, to quit company directorships they hold, according to figures released on Friday of December 19.
The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee said in a statement that 226 of the ministerial-level officials have completed their resignations procedures and the remaining three are expected to quit by next February.
The statement said follow-up work, including rigid supervision and regular inspection will be carried out to prevent a resurgence of government officials doing parttime jobs at companies.
The department set a ban on incumbent officials’ employment in private companies in Oct., 2013 to reduce the chances for corruption.
The ban reportedly brought about a mass exodus of independent directors from listed Chinese companies.
>> China’s e-commerce contributes to strike against counterfeits
By Fang Ning and Wei Donghua
Taobao.com, China’s largest business-to-consumer platform backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba worked with police to bust more than 200 counterfeit manufacturers this year.
Police traced clues reported by taobao.com to find the manufacturing sites of counterfeits sold by online shops, leading to several production chains being dismantled and more than 400 suspects arrested.
The counterfeits include sports wears, suitcases, textiles, cosmetics and drug.
Taobao’s data suggested that most of the counterfeits were produced in southeast China regions, where the sales of knock-offs in physical stores and marketplaces are also rampant.
Jack Ma, the founder and board chairman of Alibaba, said in November at the First Internet Conference in east China’s rivertown of Wuzhen that e-commerce keeps records of every transaction. Compared to off-line transactions, e-commerce is more helpful in the fight against counterfeits.
>> Foreign firms dominate China’s robotics market
By Cheng Lu and Lü Qingfu
Foreign robotics firms dominate China’s domestic market, according to the International Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Alliance.
China’s domestic manufacturers account for less than 20 percent of the market share, Luo Jun, executive chairman of the alliance, said on Friday of December 19 at a press conference related to the upcoming robotics conference, which will be held in Sichuan Province.
Luo said as one of the top robotics markets in the world, China would witness positive market growth in next three decades.
But he admitted that the costs associated with the industry was a stumbling block for homegrown talent. An industrial robot can complete the work of 3.6 people, but it costs five to ten times more.
The government aims to introduce more robotic-friendly policies next year that will encourage investment and develop the robotics and intelligent equipment industry, he added.
The 2014 World Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Conference & Exhibition is slated for December in Chengdu City.
>> China to keep property market “stable and healthy”: official
By Shi Hao and Du Yu
Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) vowed on Friday of December 19 to keep the country’s real estate market “stable and healthy” in 2015.
MOHURD minister Chen Zhenggao said at a national conference on housing and urban-rural development that the ministry will actively deal with new situations and problems in the property market since the sector still plays a significant role in China’s economy.
“On one hand, macroeconomic performance influences the property market. On the other hand, changes in the market, to some extent, affect the Chinese economy,” said Chen.
He said the market potential is great as many new city dwellers do not own homes and many urbanites long for better housing.
The minister announced at the meeting that China will begin construction of seven million apartments under the affordable housing program in 2015.
Chen said the country will also push forward its shanty town renovation program as “it will not only improve people’s livelihood, but also spur economic growth.”
China’s property market cooled down in 2014 partly due to tight government control. But authorities loosened their grip to avoid a sharp slowdown in the sector by cutting restrictions on home purchases, easing mortgage rules and lowering benchmark interest rates.
>> China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015
By Shi Hao and Du Yu
China will begin construction of seven million apartments under the affordable housing program in 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) announced on Friday of December 19.
MOHURD minister Chen Zhenggao revealed the target at a national conference on housing and urban-rural development. He said 4.8 million such homes should be completed next year.
The affordable housing program is aimed at providing cheap homes for eligible low-income earners. China began the construction of over seven million homes and completed 4.8 million in 2014.
Chen said China will also continue to push forward the shanty town renovation program extensively as “it can not only improve people’s livelihood but also spur economic growth”.
>> China revises size of 2013 GDP up by 3.4 pct
By Wang Yaguang, Wang Xi and He Zongyu
China revised its 2013 economic data, adding 3.4 percent for a final total of 58.8019 trillion yuan (about 9.61 trillion U.S. dollars).
The upward revision, based on more comprehensive data on the manufacturing and service sectors following China’s twice-a-decade economic census, will not affect economic growth this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement on its website.
This marks an increase of 1.92 trillion yuan from the previous count.
“The revision of 2013 GDP will affect the size of 2014 GDP, but basically will not affect GDP growth for 2014,” NBS said, adding that it was still revising GDP figures for previous years but the work had not been completed.
Despite impressive growth over the past few decades, China’s economy was still 56.5 percent the size of the United States after the revision, based on average exchange rates in 2013, according to the NBS.
Its per-capita GDP in 2013 was raised to 6,995 U.S. dollars from 6,767 dollars, but this was only about two thirds of the world’s average level, the bureau said.
The tertiary industry, or the service sector, accounted for 46.9 percent of China’s 2013 GDP, up from an initial estimate of 46.1 percent, while the secondary industry, which included industrial and construction sectors, took up 43.7 percent, down from previous count of 43.9 percent. The proportion of primary industry in the GDP was also revised down to 9.4 percent from 10 percent.
A cooling manufacturing sector and property downturn dragged China’s economic growth to 7.3 percent in the third quarter this year, down from 7.5 percent in the second quarter and the government has unveiled a slew of measures to boost growth.
>> China revises down Q3 capital account deficits
By Fang Dong and Li Yanxia
China’s capital- and financial-account deficits narrowed to 55.6 billion yuan (9.08 billion U.S. dollars), in the third quarter of the year, down from 99.8 billion yuan seen in the April-June period, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) on Friday of December 19.
The figure was revised substantially from the preliminary sum of 502 billion yuan released by SAFE in October.
However, China continued to see current account surplus in the July-September period, although edging down slightly to 444.4 billion yuan.
A senior SAFE official said China wanted to achieve a state whereby it recorded a current account surplus and capital account deficit.
China’s international reserves fell 400 million yuan in the third quarter, with its foreign exchange (forex) reserve down by 2.6 billion yuan.
As of the first nine months, there was capital and financial surplus of 419.5 billion yuan, current account surplus of 939.7 billion yuan and healthy forex reserves, which were up by 907.3 billion yuan.
>> China jet captain jailed 3 yrs for crash killing 44
By Liang Shubin and Li Baojie
The captain of a passenger plane which crashed in northeast China four years ago was sentenced to three years in prison for misoperation.
The flight VD8387, which flied from Harbin to Yichun in Heilongjiang Province, crashed while attempting to land at the airport in Yichun on August 24, 2010. The disaster killed 44 people, including the co-pilot, and injured 52 others.
Captain Qi Quanjun, on his maiden flight to Yichun, violated operational rules by attempting to land the plane when visibility at the airport was below safety standards, causing the deadly disaster, said the Yichun district people’s court in the city of Yichun.
Qi also failed to properly evacuate the passengers and rescue the injured after the accident, as he left the plane without authorization, it added.
Qi has yet to decide whether he will appeal against the verdict.
>> China sentences 3 to death for drug dealing
By Han Xiaojing and Chen Wenguang
A court in central China’s Hunan Province has sentenced three people to death and two others to death with a reprieve on charges of drug trafficking, the court announced on Friday of December 19.
Another nine suspects received sentences ranging from four years in prison to life imprisonment, the Higher People’s Court of Hunan Province said.
The Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on Thursday convicted 14 members of the gang on charges related to drug trafficking cases involving almost 300,000 “magu” pills, a stimulant containing methamphetamine and caffeine, according to the court’s announcement.
The gang bought 180,000 magu pills in Xishuangbanna Prefecture in southwest Yunnan Province and transported the drugs to Hunan’s Changsha City to sell between July 2012 and March 2013.
In May 2013, gang members bought another batch of magu and were busted on their way back to Hunan Province, with about 114,000 magu pills seized at the scene, according to the court.
The three gang leaders were sentenced to death for organizing the drug gang, dealing drugs and allocating illicit drug money.
>> Eight car crashes in SW China kills at least 4
By Sun Xiaozheng, Huang Yi and Yu Li
At least four people were killed in eight separate road accidents on Friday morning of December 19 on a highway in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, local authorities said.
At around 9 a.m., a five-car pile-up resulted in a fire on the Cangshan section of the highway that links Chengdu and Nanchong. At least one person was killed in the accident.
Seven crashes followed the first incident, killing at least three people, the provincial work safety bureau said.
>> Two killed in construction site collapse
By Sun Xiaozheng and Li Junde
Two people were killed when a building under construction collapsed on Friday of December 19 in central China’s Henan Province, local authorities said.
The collapse happened at around 5 p.m. in Guangshan County. Eight people were rescued from the rubble, two of whom died later in hospital, according to the county government.
Further rescue work is underway.
>> 3 dead, 14 missing as boat capsizes off east China coast
By Teng Junwei and Li Baojie
Three people were killed and 14 remained missing after a sampan boat capsized off the coast of east China’s Shandong Province in a suspected human smuggling case on Thursday night, local police said on Friday of December 19.
The boat sank at about 20:30 on Thursday in the sea near a port in the city of Rongcheng and all 22 people on board fell into the water, the county public security bureau said in a statement.
Five were saved and three have been confirmed dead. The rest 14 missing are yet to be located.
An initial investigation alleged that the boat was being used for human smuggling.