China’s deep-sea sub Jiaolong dives in Indian Ocean






>>  China opposes putting DPRK situation on Security Council agenda

By Pei Lei

China opposes putting the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) by the Security Council on its provisional agenda citing human rights reasons, a Chinese envoy said on Monday of December 22.

Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, made the remarks at a Security Council meeting on the DPRK situation.

“The UN Charter stipulates explicitly that the primary responsibility of the Security Council is to maintain international peace and security,” he said.

“Various UN organs have their respective functions and the division of labor. The Security Council is not the right place to get involved in human rights issues,” Liu said, stressing that the human rights issues should not be politicized.

Currently, the envoy said, the international peace and security are faced with numerous daunting challenges. “The Security Council should strictly abide by its responsibilities and concentrate on addressing issues which really concern international peace and security,” he noted.

Warning that the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains complex and sensitive, Liu said that, “Upholding the goal of denuclearization of the Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula, and insisting on dialogue and consultations as a way to solve issues, these are in the common interests of all parties concerned and should be the direction towards which all parties work together.”

He pointed out that the Security Council should work more to facilitate dialogue and ease tensions, and refrain from doing anything that might cause the escalation of tension.

“The Council’s involvement in the DPRK human rights issues will go against the above goals and can only bring harm instead of benefits,” Liu said.

“China is a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “We will never allow any turbulence or war taking place on the Peninsula.”

The ambassador added that China will continue to work for the realization of a denuclearized peninsula, maintain its peace and stability, and address issues through dialogue and consultations.

“China hopes that the relevant parties will make concerted effort to take practical actions to create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks with a view to jointly maintaining the overall situation of peace and stability of the Peninsula,” he said.





>>  China on track to meet human rights plan goals

By Guo Likun, Tian ying and Luo Yufan

China has been working effectively toward goals set by the National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015), with most quantitative targets at least half fulfilled in the past two years, a senior official said on Tuesday of December 23.

“China has made considerable progress in human rights protection,” said Cai Mingzhao, director of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) at an interim review meeting on the action plan.

Last year, disposable income of urban residents grew 7 percent while per capita net income of rural residents rose 9.3 percent, and the poor rural population fell by 16.5 million compared to 2012, according to Cai.

In 2013, the ratio of elected deputies to represented population in the National People’s Congress, the national legislature, was the same for rural and urban areas for the first time ever.

Grass-roots self-governance improved, as over 98 percent of village level party committees are now directly elected, Cai said, citing another example of greater democratic rights.

Meanwhile, the interests and rights of ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly and disabled have been better protected, and international exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights have also progressed.

For instance, Cai said, 280,000 poverty-stricken households with disabled members had seen their homes installed with facilities for their convenience, and more than 15 million physically impaired had received rehabilitation therapy.

Also, the central government channelled 46.4 billion yuan (7.58 billion U.S. dollars) to ethnic minority regions in 2013, an increase of 10.5 percent year on year.

Nevertheless, Cai warned, a sober mind was still needed when implementing the action plan.

China is still a developing country, both socially and economically, and it has considerable development gaps among regions and across urban and rural areas, therefore, unbalanced and unsustainable development patterns still exist, which hamper efforts to advance human rights, Cai said.

In addition, as China’s reform efforts sail into an unchartered territory, emergencies that threaten public health or security will occur, and social problems that endanger public interests still exist, Cai said, adding that there were still huge challenges ahead to achieve all the targets within the timetable.

The Chinese government publicized the National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015) in June 2012, promising to address challenges and work for the happiness and dignity of every citizen.

The plan is China’s second national plan for human rights protection and serves as a policy document for advancing human rights.

All targets and tasks set by the previous action plan, which covered the 2009-2010 period, were fulfilled as scheduled.





>>  Chinese paintings exhibit at UN HQ calls for peace, harmony

By Shi Xiaomeng

“It is good that this is the first time you can see Chinese paintings on the wall inside the UN headquarters. So it is a welcoming sign,” said a guest at the inauguration ceremony of the “China Lounge” here on Monday of December 23.

J. Tuyet Nguyen told Xinhua about his appreciation toward Chinese art at the “China Lounge,” the east foyer of the General Assembly Building of the UN of which the renovation work was funded by the Chinese government.

Two paintings created by Chinese painter Wang Linxu, entitled “Interactive World” and “Home of Us All” are hanging on the walls of the lounge as its interior decoration, showing respectively the image of bamboo and fusion of colors in a detached manner.

“The monumental installation on the west wall is entitled ‘The Interactive World,’ which should remind the member states and all those who enter the United Nations, to seek harmony and promote cooperation in this modern world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message to the ceremony.

“The painting on the east wall, entitled ‘Home of Us All,’ reminds each of us to work for a more sustainable future for our one and only planet,” he said.

On the scene, people walked around and talked to each other, just under the two large paintings. Among them is Torres-Torija Fernando, one of the UN staff, who said the paintings are “very nice,” “very modern” and with “universal values.”

The Chinese government, in its effort to combine the charm and richness of Chinese culture with international aesthetics and the values of the United Nations, invited the painter who possesses innovated techniques on oriental and western painting to articulate messages from China to the viewers, said Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN, when he addressed the ceremony.

Speaking of the messages delivered by the paintings, Kairat K. Abdrakhmanov, Kazakh permanent representative to the UN, said “this is exactly what we need at this very moment of global development when the international community is facing many challenges, and that is the very moment to learn from the Chinese civilization the deepest roots of harmony and peace.”





>>  Chinese premier, German chancellor hold phone talks on ties

By Sun Ruijun

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday of December 23 held a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on bilateral relations.

After exchanging New Year’s greetings with Merkel, Li said China-Germany relations have developed well and the two countries will launch a China-Germany Year of Innovative Cooperation in 2015.

The two sides are also expected to hold a number of important events next year, including a high-level fiscal and financial dialogue and a dialogue on diplomatic and security strategies, he said.

He expressed the hope that China and Germany will take those events as an opportunity to push for new development in bilateral ties.

On the CeBIT 2015 to be held in the German city of Hanover, Li said China, attaching importance to the international IT expo, will actively participate in and lend support to Germany for hosting the annual event.

The Chinese premier also said German leaders are welcome to visit China next year.

On the third leaders’ meeting of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries in the Serbian capital of Belgrade last week, he said China-CEE cooperation is an indivisible component for relations between his country and the EU and has benefited the two peoples.

Related cooperation will be conducted in accordance with the EU criteria and within the framework of the bloc’s laws and regulations, which is conducive to EU member nations’ balanced development and Europe’s integration process, he said.

Li noted that China attaches great importance to the development of its relations with the EU.

“China and the EU will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to holding the 17th leaders’ meeting of China and the EU with its new leadership, and hopes Germany will play a more active role in advancing the in-depth development of China-EU relations,” he added.

Merkel thanked China for its support to CeBIT, saying Germany is willing to maintain close high-level exchanges with China.

She said she is expecting another visit to China next year to boost cooperation between the two countries.

Germany attaches importance to the mode of cooperation between China and CEE nations, which is in line with EU rules and in the interest of the bloc, she said.

Germany is willing to play an active role in pushing forward EU-China relations, Merkel said.





>>  Overseas experts commend Chinese premier’s Eurasian tour

By Zhu Junqing

Domestic and overseas scholars, experts and foreign media, have spoken highly of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s three-nation tour in Asia and Europe last week, lauding China’s economic and diplomatic initiatives for win-win cooperation.

China has proposed “a number of ideas and initiatives to create win-win outcomes in Asia and the world,” Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Kissinger Associates, a New York-based international consulting firm, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“China has engaged in a very thoughtful approach to economic diplomacy in 2014,” said Hormats, who served as U.S. undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment from 2009 to 2013.

“There are several areas that suggest a more active Chinese role in the region: the New Silk Road initiative, the Infrastructure Bank (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and the BRICS Bank,” he said.

Chinese investments can contribute to better connections between countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Sasa Djogovic, researcher of the Serbian Institute for Market Research (IZIT), told Xinhua in an interview on Dec. 15.

Djogovic said cooperation between China and Serbia is developing in a good direction, especially when it comes to investments in Serbia’s transport and energy infrastructure.

Chinese investments can not only contribute to the interconnection between CEE countries, but also help increase the competitiveness of the individual economies, he said.

Furthermore, the projects and investments will create opportunities for new investments in the future and make Serbia more attractive to the EU, he said.

Meanwhile, he also suggested expanding these investments from the fields of infrastructure and energy to the real sector.

Serbian public broadcaster RTS focused its report on Li’s announcement to establish a 3-billion-U.S.-dollar fund for investment projects, besides the 10 billion dollars that have already been offered, saying China has money to invest and it wants to see that countries offer good projects.

Prime Ministers of Romania, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina have also voiced their admiration for China through the RTS, all underlining the importance of Chinese future investments in infrastructure and projects that will better connect the region.

B92, another Serbian national TV broadcaster, lauded the high-speed railway from Budapest to Belgrade that might extend further south to Macedonia and Greece, saying that could give an impulse to the economic growth of the region.

Serbia’s national news agency Tanjug reported on its website that the China-CEE summit marked the beginning of a new phase of relations between China and CEE countries.

High-speed trains in Thailand will help bolster logistics in the region, thus drawing more investment in the countries and forming bigger markets, said Song Qingrun, a research fellow with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

“For instance, the network could woo more investors to the less-developed areas in Thailand, while Thai farm produce will be effectively transported to other countries in the GMS (the Greater Mekong Subregion),” Song said.

Li paid official visits to Kazakhstan, Serbia and Thailand on Dec.14-20 and attended a series of international meetings. He proposed several cooperation initiatives in trade, investment, infrastructure and other fields.





>>  Georgian FM, Chinese envoy discuss Silk Road Economic Belt initiative

By Yi Gaochao

Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Yue Bin and Tamar Beruchashvili, newly appointed Georgian Foreign Minister, held talks here on Tuesday of December 23 on the Silk Road Economic Belt Initiative.

The belt initiative was brought forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Kazakhstan last September,to revive the ancient Silk Road from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe

During the meeting, Yue expressed China’s readiness to join hands with Georgians in materializing the initiative.

It was the first meeting between the Chinese ambassador and the new Georgian foreign minister, who took office last month after her predecessor resigned.





>>  China to continue supporting Afghanistan: ambassador

By Haleem

Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Deng Xijun said on Tuesday of December 23 China would continue to support the post- war country in every field.

“We sincerely expect to join hand with Afghanistan to continuously promote tangible cooperation in every field with a view of consistently deepening the bilateral ties and striving to blaze a trial for a better future of the two countries together,” the ambassador said in his remarks after the inauguration of two newly constructed China-aided buildings — the Chinese Language Department and the Guest House in Kabul University.

In the ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Kabul University dean Habibullah Habib and acting Minister for Higher Education Mohammad Usman Babury, among others, the ambassador said the China- aided teaching building of the Chinese Language Department is to serve as the compound of the Confucius Institute where students can learn about China and its culture while the Guest House will help provide international professors and teachers with better working and living conditions.

“The two buildings are not only a symbol of the continuous support of the Chinese government to the post-war reconstruction of Afghanistan, especially in the field of education, but also a manifestation of the long-lasting friendship of the two peoples of China and Afghanistan,” the ambassador said.





>>  China, Nepal strengthen financial cooperation

By Cheng Jing and Liu Zheng

The central banks of China and Nepal have signed a supplementary agreement to expand the use of local currencies, according to a statement on the website of the People’s Bank of China(PBOC) on Tuesday of December 23.

According to the deal, the two countries’ currencies can be used for settlement in both cross-border trade and ordinary trade activities.

The deal, signed during a meeting between PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan and his visiting counterpart Yuba Raj Khatiwada, will further facilitate bilateral trade and investment, the statement said.

The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism cooperation.





>>  Cambodia, China ink deal to set up agricultural promotion center

Cambodia and China on Tuesday signed an agreement to establish a Cambodia-China Agricultural Promotion Centre, aiming at helping Cambodia develop agriculture sustainably.

The deal was inked between Ty Sokhun, Cambodian agriculture secretary of state, and Wenwen Luo, chairwoman of Guangxi Forword Agricultural Technology International Cooperation, under the presence of Song Xiaoguo, commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia.

The Guangxi Forword Agricultural Technology International Cooperation is the implementer of the center project.

Sokhun said the center will provide not only agricultural theories, but also practical techniques to Cambodian experts and farmers.

“It will help develop the agriculture sustainably,” he said, adding, “Moreover, it will promote Cambodian agricultural produce to international markets, particularly Chinese ones.”

Sokhun extended his sincere thanks to the government and people of China for constantly supporting Cambodia for socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

Agriculture is one of the four sectors supporting the Cambodian economy.

Song Xiaoguo said the center will contribute to developing Cambodian agriculture through increasing planting techniques for experts and farmers and promoting Cambodian products broadly to Chinese markets.

Wenwen Luo said, “It is expected that more than 20,000 Cambodian experts and farmers will be trained.”





>>  China’s Belt and Road Initiatives to be growth driver for Europe: Italian experts

By Marzia De Giuli

Italian experts say China’s initiatives of building a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is an extraordinary driver of development for China and Europe.

“The project is very ambitious and definitely destined to succeed,” Cristiana Barbatelli, founder and CEO of Pas Advisors, an international consultancy company based in Shanghai, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Firstly the project, she explained, will serve as a driver of China’s development especially in those areas which have not fully benefited from the country’s fast economic growth, such as Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

“In the new geographic map, Xinjiang will become a key player for China’s exchanges with Europe,” she said.

Secondly, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will open new train and ship routes for increasing flows of goods, information, tourists, students, businesses, technologies and scientific knowledge between China and many other countries, Barbatelli added.

In particular, the Belt and Road Initiatives’ impact on European countries will be “extraordinary,” she said, especially considered the current times of economic difficulties.

“Some 30 years ago, it took an incredibly long time to travel from Europe to China. And at present, you still need to fly across different non-connected nations and barriers to have relations with China. Just think that in a few years you will take only seven days to reach China by train and you can understand the importance of this project,” Barbatelli pointed out.

“This means that a container full of steel from Germany, for example, or of machinery from Italy could travel by train from one side to the other side of the planet some 10 times faster than now,” Barbatelli noted.

In fact, the two initiatives will “change the perspective of the world,” she said.

In particular, Barbatelli noted, for the Italian industrial system, whose strength lies in rapid transport systems, robotic automation and shipbuilding, the two initiatives will offer great business opportunities.

Paolo Borzatta, director and senior partner of the European House-Ambrosetti think tank, told Xinhua “We have estimated that the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will create investments worth several trillion U.S. dollars in the involved 21 countries over the next 10 years.”

Earlier this month, the think tank co-hosted the Qianhai Conference 2014 in the newly established district of Shenzhen city, in southern China. The conference, a round table discussion among peers from the Asian and European public and private financial world, especially focused on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road as a driver of common growth.

The Belt and Road Initiatives, Borzatta said echoing Barbatelli’s words, highlight China’s “strategic vision” and are of enormous importance for China, the other countries involved in the project and also the rest of the world.

Both initiatives recall a positive historical memory of economic and cultural integration among nations, the ancient Silk Road connecting the West and the East, Borzatta said.

But in his view, China needs to “massively invest in communication” in order to make the project known to the majority of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe, which would enormously benefits in terms of growth and jobs from the initiatives, but might be not fully aware of their size.

“Media reports are not effective enough to describe the huge numbers and figures supporting both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” Borzatta stressed.

He called for more communication action from Chinese authorities on European business groups to raise awareness and “avoid that Europe misses this fundamental road for development.”





>>  Iceland expects to attract more Chinese tourists

By Huang Xiaonan

Iceland saw more than 23,000 Chinese visitors in the first 11 months of this year, increasing by 49 percent compared with the same period last year.

Pleased to see the increasing number of Chinese visitors, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson expressed his warm welcome, saying “we are extremely pleased to see the growth in tourism and particularly in this large number of Chinese tourists which we welcome very much.”

In an interview with Xinhua, the prime minister said, “The reason we are so pleased to see Chinese in particular visiting Iceland is that we would like to encourage as much cooperation with China as possible.”

“China is in many ways the country of the future. A growing country in many ways,” he said. “It has shown interest in Iceland and we certainly are interested in China. Anything that increases the cooperation between these countries is good in our opinion.”

Meanwhile, expressing her highly welcome to the increase in tourists from China, Iceland’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir told Xinhua that Chinese tourists are valuable to Iceland and she would like very much to see an increase of Chinese tourists even furthermore.

“We have made preparations to increase our marketing efforts in various cities in China in order to facilitate more tourists coming from China,” she said.

Referring to Iceland’s efforts in improving infrastructure to cope with an increase in numbers of tourists from China, she said, “we are preparing for that. We are targeting and seeing what efforts we need to do here privately with different companies, with the hotels, with the tour operators, and hopefully we will be even more prepared to welcome Chinese tourists than ever before.”

In order to have Chinese tourists well informed about services in Iceland, Icelandic Times magazine has newly launched its Chinese version.

Icelandic Times project manager Edda Snorradottir told Xinhua that the growing number of Chinese travellers coming to Iceland calls for Icelanders to better adapt their service offerings so Icelanders can greet their guests the best way they can.

Icelandic Times has designated its Chinese version to provide the information which they expect helpful to make the stay of Chinese guests as the best as possible, Edda said.

“We have also published our magazine online for those who are thinking about coming to Iceland, maybe planning their vacation or are simply curious about the country,” she said.





>>  China Cup Chinese speech contest held in western Japan

By Yan Lei

The eighth annual China Cup Chinese speech contest for overseas Chinese children and youngsters in Japan was held in Kobe, western Japan on Tuesday of December 23, with 44 Japanese Chinese students taking part.

The contestants gave speeches in Mandarin on bridge, a theme set beforehand. Most of them were born and grew up in Japan and some of them started to learn Chinese only a couple of years ago. Yet they speak Chinese fluently and told the audience about their understandings of bridge.

“Bridge signifies communication between people. I hope I can build a bridge of friendship between the Japanese and Chinese people in the future, and promote relationship between the two countries.” said Li, a contestant aged ten from Kobe.

“Language is a bridge. My mother came from China and I was born in Japan. I can speak both Chinese and Japanese, and I would like to tell my Japanese friends about Chinese culture and Chinese friends about Japan, and help them to know each other better,” said another contestant Hirano.

“The contest aims to provide a platform for young Chinese in Japan to exhibit their Chinese-speaking skills and encourage them to learn the Chinese language better, in the hope that they could become envoys of friendship between the two countries in the future.” said Hu Shiyun, one of the organizers of the contest and head of Overseas Chinese Association in Western Japan.

China Cup Chinese speech contest for overseas Chinese children and youngsters in Japan has been held annually since 2007, and are cosponsored by Chinese Educators’ Association in Western Japan and Kansai Chinese Teachers’ Association.





>>  Angolan police free 18 Chinese expatriates

By Wang Bingfei

Angolan police on Tuesday of December 23 released 18 of the 31 Chinese expatriates who remained under detention after the December 19 police action under intervention of the Chinese Embassy to Luanda, consular officer with the embassy Zhao Haihan told Xinhua.

Tasked by the Chinese embassy, Zhao visited the detention center of the Angolan immigration service, helped the Chinese citizens to present proper documents and urged Angolan officials at the center to provide proper humanitarian treatments to the remaining 13 Chinese citizens after 18 of the Chinese were released after submitting proper passports and visa documents.

Angola police rounded up some 1,000 foreigners in the capital city of Luanda on December 19, including citizens from Portugal, DR Congo, Vietnam and over 300 Chinese expatriates, to clamp down upon illegal entry, stay and work in the African country.

The Chinese embassy to Luanda made solemn representations to the Angolan foreign ministry of interior and Luanda police headquarters over the police action to detain Chinese expatriates without proper identification.

Most the Chinese were released after presenting proper travel or residential documents under the intervention of the Chinese embassy.

The Chinese chamber of commerce also lodged a protest to the Angolan ministry of interior and Luanda police headquarters for detaining Chinese citizens without identification and alleged police brutalities during the action.

The vast majority of Chinese citizens and companies were legal in Angola and made significant contribution to the post-war reconstruction process of the African country, said Zhao Hongbing, secretary general of the Chinese chamber of commerce, in an interview with Xinhua.

Francisco Ribas, Deputy commander of Luanda police, stressed in an interview with Xinhua that the December 19 police action was by no means targeting Chinese but all foreigners in the capital to streamline the labor markets and to clamp down upon illegal immigration and work in Angola.





>>  China’s deep-sea sub Jiaolong dives in Indian Ocean

By Zhang Xudong

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong carried out its first dive in hydrothermal area in the southwest Indian Ocean on Tuesday of December 23.

The submersible commenced its dive at 7:30 a.m. local time (0330 GMT) and will return to the Xiangyanghong 09 oceanographic vessel at around 5:30 p.m. (1330 GMT).

The crew included Fu Wentao, one of the divers of Jiaolong; Ye Cong, chief designer of Jiaolong and an employee of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp; and Tao Chunhui, researcher with the Second Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administration.

Being the first task of Jiaolong’s Indian Ocean mission, the main purpose of the dive is to test whether all parts of the submersible work well after a four-month-maintenance, Fu said, adding that the depth of the dive is around 2,700 meters to 3,000 meters.

“If the submersible is all fine and there is extra time left, we will carry out some scientific investigations,” he said.

“Our scientists want to get some samples of rocks, biology and sulfide in the submarine hydrothermal area,” Tao said, adding: “If we are lucky enough to find an active hydrothermal vent, we will try to get a sample of the hydrothermal fluid and test its temperature.”

Jiaolong will dive 20 times to research polymetallic sulfides, biological diversity, hydrothermal microbes and genetic resources in the southwest Indian Ocean in a four-month mission, according to Yu Hongjun, chief commander of the mission.

Named after a mythical dragon, Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Pacific’s Mariana Trench in June 2012 and started its five-year trial period in 2013.





>>  Retired state leader publishes book on reform efforts in NE China

By Wang Xiaopeng

Former senior Chinese politician Li Changchun has published a book documenting the reform and opening up efforts in Liaoning Province from December 12, 1982 to July 1990, when he served in the province.

Li is a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Li’s book is available starting on Tuesday of December 23, according to a joint statement from the People’s Publishing House and the Liaoning People’s Publishing House, which published the book.

The book, which includes articles, letters, and photos, is important for the nation’s drive to deepen reform and realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, according to the statement.





>>  Former vice mayor of Shenzhen sentenced to 10 years in jail

By Bai Xu and Zan Yijia

A former vice mayor of south China’s business hub Shenzhen, Liang Daoxing, has been sentenced to ten years in prison for corruption, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

The sentence was passed on Nov. 19 by the Intermediate People’s Court of Zhaoqing city, but the announcement was stalled until Liang decided if he would choose to appeal. He did not appeal.

Liang, who was vice mayor of Shenzhen City from 2002 to early 2009, was found guilty of accepting bribes of 1.95 million yuan (318,000 U.S. dollars), 1.78 million HK dollars (about 230,000 U.S. dollars) and 5,000 U.S. dollars, in return for “benefits” for others.

In addition to his prison term, Liang’s personal wealth of 1 million yuan was confiscated and he was ordered to return all ill-gotten gains to the state, according to the Supreme People’s Court website.





>>  Former executive of top aluminum producer under judicial probe

By Zuo Yuanfeng

Sun Zhaoxue, former general manager of China’s top aluminum producer, is being investigated for allegedly accepting bribes, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).

Sun, also former member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of the state-owned enterprise Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco), has been placed under “coercive measures,” the SPP said in a Tuesday statement.

According to China’s criminal procedure law, coercive measures include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced earlier Tuesday that Sun had been expelled from the CPC and public office following its own investigation.

The CCDI investigation found that Sun took advantage of his post to seek profits for others, asked for and accepted “a huge amount in bribes,” and committed adultery.





>>  Four Chinese officials investigated for graft

By Liu Tong and Chen Fei

Four Chinese local officials have been placed under “coercive measures” or indicted by prosecutors for bribery, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) on Tuesday of December 23.

Lian Ziheng, former secretary general of the standing committee of Henan Provincial People’s Congress, is being investigated for accepting bribes.

Xu Shuangyong, former party chief of State-owned Xining Qinghai-Tibet Railway Co. Ltd. and Meng Gang, former police commissioner of Xinxiang city in Henan Province, are also being investigated on suspicion of accepting bribes.

Local prosecutors in Hubei Province have indicted Wang Shiyi, former party chief of Xinzhou district of Wuhan city, for abuse of power and accepting bribes.

According to China’s criminal procedure law, coercive measures include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.





>>  Former China keeper detained for using drugs

By Li Zehgn

China’s former national soccer team goalkeeper Liu Yunfei has been detained for drug use in Tianjin, the city’s police department announced here on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old goalie was caught taking methamphetamine late on Dec. 18. It was the third time that Liu was taken away by police for using drugs.

Liu had earned 27 international caps for China from 2002 to 2005, helping the team to reach the 2004 Asian Cup final which they lost 1-3 to Japan.

His career ended in 2007 at the age of 27 because of drug problems.





>>  Former Party chief of Qinghai-Tibet railway company under investigation

By Pang Shuwei and Bai Xu

Former Party chief of the Qinghai-Tibet railway company, Xu Shuangyong, has been put under investigation for alleged corruption, local authorities said on Tuesday of December 23.

The Henan provincial people’s procuratorate confirmed that it had opened an investigation into allegations that Xu had accepted bribes.

Construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, which stretches for 1,956 kilometers, has attracted worldwide attention, as it introduced railway transportation into Tibet for the first time in history.

More than 73 million people have travelled on this, the world’s highest plateau railway since it opened in July 2006.





>>  Former executive of top aluminum producer expelled from CPC

By Wang Xiaopeng

Sun Zhaoxue, former general manager of Chinalco, China’s top aluminum producer, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office following a graft investigation.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) made the announcement on Tuesday. Sun is also former member of the CPC committee of of the state-owned enterprise Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco).

The investigation found that Sun took advantage of his post to seek profits for others and asked for and accepted “a huge amount in bribes.” He also committed adultery, said a statement from the CCDI.

Sun seriously violated CPC discipline and is suspected of breaking the law, the statement said.

His case has been handed over to prosecutors, the statement said.

Sun has been under CCDI investigation since September for “suspected serious legal and disciplinary violations.”

Sun once served as general manager of the China National Gold Group Corp, the country’s biggest gold producer, before taking the post at Chinalco.





>>  China city to hire bus passengers in fight against terrorism

By Yao Yuan, Feng Guodong and Li Jinfeng

The central Chinese city of Wuhan will recruit 1,000 bus commuters to support its counter-terrorism drive, according to local police.

Wuhan, which is the capital of Hubei Province, will ask public-spirited citizens who are regular bus commuters to report suspicious behavior to help ensure safety on the city’s buses, said an official with the Wuhan public security bureau.

Each citizen involved in the scheme will be paid 50 yuan (8 U.S. dollars) a month in return for their efforts, the official said.

Police say they want to mobilize ordinary citizens in the fight against terrorism. The city also plans to install automatic warning devices on its more than 7,000 buses and surveillance cameras at 4,400 bus stops.

China has seen a spate of bus arson attacks in recent years. In July, a man in south China’s Guangzhou Province set a bus alight after loosing money gambling, killing two and injuring 32. The same month, 32 people were injured in an arson attack on a bus in Hangzhou, in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

In June last year, a bus in the eastern city of Xiamen burst into flames, leaving 47 people dead and 34 others injured. Police later said suspect Chen Shuizong, who also died in the fire, had purposely started the fire with gasoline.





>>  42 penalized over E China deadly coal mine blast

By Han Xiaojing and Jiang Gang

A total of 42 people have been penalized over a fatal coal mine blast that claimed 27 lives in Huainan City in east China’s Anhui Province on August 19, the Anhui Coal Mine Safety Supervision Bureau has announced.

An explosion that ripped through the Dongfang Mine shaft on Aug. 19 killed 27 workers and injured one, causing direct economic losses of over 45 million yuan.

Among the 42 people who have been penalized, 21 have been transferred to judicial organs for their alleged crimes, 20 received punishments for violating Party and administrative discipline, and another one received administrative punishment, according to the bureau’s announcement issued on Monday evening.

An investigation showed that the mine was operating illegally at the time of the incident. Although the mine was officially licensed, the city government had issued production suspension orders for all coal mines beginning on June 30 as part of a flood prevention effort.

The Dongfang mine’s license has been suspended and illegal income has been confiscated, the bureau said.





>>  China issues 190,000 penalties for environmental violators

By Cheng Zhuo

China’s environmental authorities have handed out penalties to roughly 190,000 enterprises for violating environmental protection rules over the past two years.

Authorities have investigated 103,707 cases and punished offenders involved, according to a document issued at a seminar on environmental inspection held by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Tuesday of December 23.

In the first three quarters this year, environmental agencies across the board transferred 1,232 cases involving suspected crimes regarding environmental pollution to police, the document said.

In 2013, the number was only 706, outnumbering the total transferred cases in the previous decade, according to the document.

Zhai Qing, vice minister of environmental protection, urged better law enforcement as well as strict punishment for violations and more transparency.

Also on Tuesday, the ministry publicly named and shamed two enterprises in central China’s Hunan province for illegally polluting with gas emissions.

The two factories have been ordered to suspend operation and their power supply has been cut off.

They also ordered punishment for people of these enterprises responsible for the violation, as well as for some local environmental officials.





>>  Chinese shares plunge in thin trading

By Jiang Xufeng

Chinese shares tumbled on Tuesday in thin trade, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunging 3.03 percent to fall below the 3,100-point psychological threshold.

The index closed at 3,032.61 points on Tuesday of December 23 after gaining 0.61 percent on the previous day’s trading, as some investors cashed in their profits after weeks of rallies. The Shenzhen Component Index closed at 10,570.79 points, down 0.36 percent.

Total turnover of the two bourses shrank sharply to 638.81 billion yuan (104.38 billion U.S. dollars) from 932.27 billion yuan on the previous trading day, as some investors chose to sit out and wait.

Banks and steelmakers led the losses, with the Bank of China falling 4.37 percent to end the day at 3.72 yuan apiece and Maanshan Iron & Steel Co., falling 8.82 percent to 3.93 yuan.

Insurance and brokerage firms bucked the trend and prevented the benchmark index from more losses. China Life gained 5.01 percent to 26.84 yuan a share, and Huatai Securities rose 3.66 percent to 23.22 yuan.

China Securities Regulatory Commission, the country’s top stock market regulator, announced it was investigating market-rigging involving shares of 18 listed companies last Friday.

Some of the small-cap companies under investigation on Tuesday continued to fall by the daily limit of 10 percent, with Shanxi Baiyuan Trousers Chain Management plummeting 10 percent to end the day at 36.27 yuan per share.





>>  Arson kills family of three in south China

By Li Laifang and Fu Qing

A policeman took the lives of himself and his family in south China’s Guangdong Province by setting fire to his house and himself early on Monday of December 22, police said on Tuesday.

Three people, a 48-year-old policeman surnamed Chen, his wife and daughter in Leizhou City were killed, said the Public Security Bureau of Zhanjiang City.

An investigation confirmed the fire was an arson and self-immolation case, said the bureau in a statement. It said Chen had an introverted character.

Police are still investigating the case.





>>  14 arrested for drug dealing in SW China

By Han Xiaojing and Wang Xiaolei

A drug ring of 14 has been busted, police in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality announced on Tuesday of December 23.

Police arrested the 14 members on Monday and confiscated about 20 kilograms of drugs, 1.92 million yuan (308,364 U.S. dollars) and three vehicles, local police said.

The drug ring was noticed by police during a national anti-drug campaign that launched in September.

Police said that drug ring had been purchasing drugs from the southwestern province of Yunnan and distributing them in several districts in Chongqing.

The case is still under further investigation.





>>  Chinese gov’t allocates funding for disaster-hit residents

By Wang Xiaopeng, Huang Xiaoxi and Feng Guo

The ministries of finance and civil affairs on Tuesday of December 23 jointly announced they had assigned 7.1 billion yuan (1.14 billion U.S. dollars) to help residents that had suffered as a result of natural disasters.

The money will be allocated in two stages, with 5.68 billion yuan distributed before the upcoming Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 19, and the remainder around the time of the national holiday, according to the Civil Affairs Ministry.

Vice Civil Affairs Minister Jiang Li underscored that it was the responsibility of the relevant local governments to ensure residents — displaced or effected by earthquakes, typhoons, floods, drought and landslides — received the financial assistance in a timely manner as winter was coming.

Natural disasters in the last month alone, which included two major earthquakes measuring magnitude 5, had effected more than 210,000 residents of 39 county-level regions and displaced thousands.





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