China to reform pension system for staff in gov’t, public institutions

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Quarantined Chinese peacekeepers discharged after return from Ebola-hit Liberia

By Liu Tong and Li Yun

A team of 558 Chinese soldiers were given the all clear on Sunday of December 21 after showing no signs of the Ebola virus for over-20 days.

They had been quarantined following an eight-month peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

As the 16th batch of Chinese peacekeepers sent to Liberia, their mission coincided with the unexpected outbreak of the deadly infectious disease. Not only the Liberian government caught with its guard down, but so were the UN peacekeepers.

However, Chinese soldiers managed to avoid infection while helping to construct the first Ebola treatment center in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. According to the soldiers, the treatment center was completed in late November more than 30 days ahead of schedule.

Chinese military forces have played an active role in helping West African countries fight Ebola. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sent several rounds of aid as well as doctors, nurses and other medical experts to the region.

The 16th batch consisted of a 240-member transportation battalion, a 275-member engineering battalion and a 43-member medical team. All the soldiers were from the PLA Beijing Military Area Command.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Ruble slump not to threaten RMB: experts

By Zhan Yan

The recent plunge of the Russian ruble has triggered worries of a run on emerging economies’ currencies, but experts have played down the effect it will have on the renminbi.

Researcher at the Institute of Finance and Banking, under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Peng Xingyun on Tuesday of December 23 was upbeat that the ruble’s depreciation would not weaken the Chinese currency in the long run, although he acknowledged it would have short term adverse effects.

China’s economy is adapting to its “new normal”, characterized by slower growth but higher quality, which, it is hoped, can provide a solid foundation for a strong currency, Peng said.

Amid China’s efforts to boost the internationalization of the RMB it will try to avoid a sharp depreciation of the currency, he said.

Drastic RMB depreciation could cause trade-related friction between China and the United States, as China has a trade surplus against the U.S., Peng said.

The ruble’s recent depreciation has exerted no significant impact on China and China’s economy and capital flows are normal, said Wang Yungui, an official of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange last Thursday at a press conference.

The spot exchange rate of China’s currency dropped below 6.21 against the U.S. dollar last Thursday, the weakest point in almost five months.

Wang believed it to be “normal depreciation,” stressing that the market was playing a more active role in pricing the yuan along with the central government’s exchange rate reform measures.

Peng said the driving forces causing the ruble’s depreciation did not apply to the RMB.

Russia’s economic reliance on the oil industry was exposed as fluctuations in the price of crude oil triggered the ruble’s slide, Peng said.

In addition, Russia’s political relationship with the United States and Europe has been strained, and this also played a role in the currency’s slump, Peng said, adding that speculative market activity had aggravated the situation.

The ruble’s fall against the dollar on Dec. 15 was a record-low since the currency’s crisis and default in 1998.

Since the beginning of this year, the Russian central bank has raised its key interest rate by 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent.

During a year-end press conference last week, President Vladimir Putin praised efforts by the central bank and the government to stabilize the currency and noted that it would take at most two years for the economy to rebound.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China to reform pension system for staff in gov’t, public institutions

By Ren Ke and Xu Bo

China will reform its pension system for staff in government, Party bodies, and public institutions, Vice Premier Ma Kai said in a report to the top legislature on Tuesday of December 23.

Ma delivered a report about China’s social security system at the ongoing bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, saying the reform will establish the same pension system with urban employees.

In accordance with the central authority’s arrangement, several departments have drafted a plan for the reform based on extensive studies. The draft was then approved at the executive meeting of the State Council and by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

The basic idea of the reform is to build a pension system for Party, government and public institutions with the same qualities as that for enterprises to break the long-held dual system.

The reform will be carried out nationwide simultaneously with reforms of the salary system, Ma added.

China has the world’s most public servants and staff of publicly-sponsored institutions, with government and public institutions major employers.

As the Chinese population is expected to reach 1.43 billion in 2020, the State Council is implementing a plan to make a pension system that covers the whole population.

Ma said the government is trying to cover 900 million people with the pension system by 2017, and 1 billion in 2020, raising the coverage rate from the current 80 percent to 95 percent.

 

 

 

BEIJING 

 China’s social security system improves

By Ren Ke

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai said on Tuesday of December 23 that the national social security system has been basically established, with recent measures expanding and increasing coverage.

When delivering a report at the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (CPC) Standing Committee, the top legislature, Ma said a pension insurance program, covering residents of rural and urban areas, had been established.

As of the end of November, 837 million people had joined the system.

The pension system for private employees has now expanded to not only cover employees of state-owned and collective enterprises but to all firms, social organizations and the casual- and self-employed.

As for the universal healthcare system, Ma added, it almost covered the whole population.

In addition, the government is promoting critical illness insurance to lessen the financial impact of life-threatening conditions. It is also working toward the unification of the rural and urban healthcare systems.

Over 95 percent of Chinese citizens, over 1.3 billion people, are covered by various kinds of basic healthcare systems, the report explained.

As more and more people enlist in pension and healthcare insurance programs, the amount they are entitled to has risen. For instance, after adjustments in 10-consecutive years, pension insurance for enterprise retirees has been increased from 647 yuan (104 U.S. dollars) in 2004 to 2,070 yuan in 2014, according to Ma.

Employees and urban citizens’ healthcare insurance can cover about 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively, of aggregate in-hospital medical expenses, while 75 percent of rural citizens’ in-hospital expenses will be covered by insurance.

There have also been improvements to the social assistance and welfare systems, such as an increase to the minimum living allowance from 266 yuan in 2004 to 401 yuan this year for urban low-income citizens, while low income citizens in rural areas receive annual allowances of 2,673 yuan per capita.

However, Ma admitted, some problems still existed in the social security system, including an equality gap between urban and rural citizens, a lack of fund-raising channels and the needs for relevant legislation to ensure the rights of itinerant migrant workers.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China sets up 21 new national nature reserves

By Li Huizi

China has set up 21 new state-level nature reserves, increasing the country’s total conservation area to nearly ten percent of the country’s land territory.

A circular approving the new reserves was issued on Tuesday of December 23 by the State Council General Office.

The newly-established nature reserves, with a total area of more than 6,200 square km, are scattered across 15 provinces and autonomous regions, including Liaoning, Fujian and Henan provinces and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The reserves will become sanctuaries of 35 state-level endangered animal species, such as the Manchurian tiger, giant panda and golden monkey, as well as 12 kinds of rare wild plants.

The number of national nature reserves has now reached 428, covering 930,000 square km.

The reserves are important in protecting biodiversity and implementing international conventions, the circular said.

 

 

 

BEIJING

•  China film box office may miss 2014 target

By Liu Tong

The opening of Hong Kong director Tsui Hark’s “The Taking of Tiger Mountain” brought some much needed hope to the domestic movie market, which has a 30-billion-yuan (4.82 billion U.S. dollars) box office target for the year.

But as time quickly ticks away, the world’s second biggest film market has only chalked up some 28 billion yuan as of Monday, according to China Film News.

Some analysts said that this December would see a three horse race between John Woo’s “The Crossing”, Tsui Hark’s “Tiger Mountain” and Jiang Wen’s “Gone with the Bullets”, the sequel to “Let the Bullets Fly.”

But these big-budget productions saw a lackluster response from moviegoers.

Even “Roaring Currents”, South Korea’s highest grossing film of all time, ended up being a dud in the China market.

Besides “The Taking of Tiger Mountain”, industry players are putting their faith in romance film “Love on the Cloud” as Christmas is a popular time for cinema trips.

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

 Human H5N6 avian flu case reported in south China

By Li Laifang and Xiao Sisi

A human H5N6 avian flu case has been confirmed in the southern Guangdong Province, Chinese health authorities said on Tuesday of December 23.

The patient, a 58-year-old resident in the provincial capital Guangzhou, is receiving treatment at a local hospital, said the Guangdong Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission. He is in critical condition.

The man tested positive for the H5N6 avian flu virus during a routine influenza and severe pneumonia check by provincial health authorities.

A further test by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the result on Monday.

No abnormal symptoms have ever been found among those who had close contact with the patient so far. Experts believe the infection is an individual case.

In April, a 49-year-old man from southwest China’s Sichuan Province was confirmed to have contracted the H5N6 virus and died in hospital. The case was believed to be the world’s first human H5N6 infection.

 

 

 

JINAN

 China reviews murder conviction 19 years after execution

By Han Xiaojing, Wang Haiying and Wu Shuguang

The Higher People’s Court of east China’s Shandong Province announced on Tuesday that five judges are reviewing a rape-murder case 19 years after the convict was executed, as another man insists he is guilty.

The court is reviewing the case of Nie Shubin, executed in 1995 at the age of 21 for the 1994 rape and murder of a woman in Hebei’s provincial capital, Shijiazhuang.

In 2005, Wang Shujin, 47, was apprehended by police for three unconnected rape-murder cases. During questioning, Wang claimed that he had raped and murdered a woman in a cornfield on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang in 1994 and that Nie was innocent. Hebei Higher People’s Court, which approved the death penalty for Nie in 1995, did not believe his claim in a retrial last year and Nie’s verdict still stands.

Wang’s claims have raised public questions of judicial impartiality.

In a similar case, a teenager named Huugjilt from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was found guilty of the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet in the regional capital Hohhot on April 9, 1996 and sentenced to death in May 1996. He was executed on June, 1996. An alleged serial rapist and killer, Zhao Zhihong, confessed to the murder when he was arrested in 2005.

Huugjilt was acquitted on December 15.

 

 

 

 

 

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China issues real estate registration rules

 

 

 

BEIJING 

  Mainland super-rich getting richer faster than overseas Chinese: report

By Liu Tong and Huang Xiaoxi

The Chinese mainland super-rich are closing the wealth-accumulation gap with overseas Chinese millionaires, according to a report released on Monday of December 22.

The report compared mainland super-rich and their overseas counterparts in regions of Southeast Asia, Europe, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

From 2008 to 2013, the incomes of the top 180 richest people on the mainland expanded four times faster than that of the top 180 richest overseas Chinese expatriates, said the report, which also referred to research by the Hurun Report and Forbes lists.

It also found that the mainland rich mainly made money in the real estate, high-tech and heavy chemical industries while overseas Chinese millionaires made their fortunes in real estate, manufacturing and financial services.

The report was first published by Huaqiao University in 2010, this is the fourth time the study has been undertaken.

 

 

 

BEIJING

  China issues real estate registration rules

By Zhang Xu and Wang Libin

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, has issued provisional regulations on real estate registration, according to a statement released on Monday of December 22.

The regulations include 35 articles and will take effect March 1, 2015, the statement said.

In accordance with China’s Property Law, the new rules mark the beginning of the country’s real estate registration work, to be guided and supervised by the land and resources authorities.

All governments above the county level shall designate special departments for registration in their areas and follow instructions from higher governments.

The regulations will cover collective ownership of land, ownership of buildings and forest, contracted land management rights, and rights to the use of construction land, homesteads and maritime areas.

The registration will be filed electronically or in print and kept permanently, and the electronic version shall be backed up regularly, according to the statement.

Land and resources authorities will establish a platform to manage registration information that can be shared in real time and will be strictly confidential.

Anyone who completes a false registration will have to pay compensation. Any abuse of power, forged document or illegal information disclosure of real estate registration will be prosecuted, the statement said.

 

 

 

BEIJING

  Over 50 pct of Chinese worried by “too high” house prices

By Jiang Xufeng and Liu Zheng

More than half of Chinese citizens surveyed said homes were too expensive for them, in the latest national poll by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

The survey showed that 58.8 percent of 20,000 people surveyed in 50 cities believe current home prices were “too high to accept” in the fourth quarter, down 0.7 percentage point from the previous quarter.

The property market cooled in 2014, with authorities loosening controls on purchases, mortgage rules and interest rates to avoid an even sharper slowdown. Home prices – especially in large cities – are still too high for most new graduates.

In the fourth quarter, potential “savers” still outnumbered potential “investors” by 44.9 percent to 36.4 percent, but those who expected to invest more rose by 0.4 percentage point while savers fell 1.1 percentage points respectively from the previous quarter.

The most popular investments remained wealth management products, bonds and the manufacturing industry.

Of urban residents, 52.9 percent considered current prices “too high” , down 1.1 percentage points, as the consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, edged up 1.4 percent year on year in November, the slowest increase since November 2009.

 

 

 

XI’AN 

  Chinese hospital disposes doctors taking selfies by operating table

By Fang Ning and Yang Yimiao

A dozen doctors in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province have received administrative punishment after taking group selfies next to a patient undergoing surgery.

Three of the doctors shown in the photos have had their administrative posts removed and the others given administrative warnings, the health bureau in Xi’an, Shannxi’s capital, confirmed on Monday.

The photos were widely circulated on WeChat, China’s popular social networking app, sparking public anger over the doctors’ professional ethics.

The selfies show the doctors smiling and posing in front of an unconscious patient laying on the operating table.

According to the bureau’s investigation, the photos were taken on Aug. 15 this year in the old surgery room of Fengcheng Hospital in Xi’an. The doctors took the photos as a keepsake of the last surgery held in the old operating room.

The bureau has dealt administrative punishments to directors of the hospital and imposed fines.

On popular microblog Sina Weibo, a user named Baiyishanmao, whose account certifies him as a surgeon from east China’s Zhejiang Province, gave his professional opinion.

“Judging from the photos, the surgery has completed. The surgeon’s two assistants were giving a finishing touch on the skin closure.”

Baiyishanmao commented that a doctor can be happier than a patient’s family when successfully completing a difficult surgery. Taking selfies to keep the memory is understandable. However, from a professional point of view, it was inappropriate for some of the doctors had their gauze masks taken off and the patient exposed in the photos.

 

 

 

BEIJING 

  Overschooling of kindergarten pupils must stop

By Tian Ying

Chinese authorities suggested that a good kindergarten dean should keep his or her institution a kindergarten, with play taking precedence over academia, in a guideline released on Monday of December 22.

The seemingly self-evident requirement comes after widespread concerns that academic competition is the driving force behind the over-education of young kids.

In response, the Education Ministry drafted a guideline stipulating the professional criteria for kindergarten deans that prohibited the teaching of an academic curriculum.

The draft guideline said games should be the principle activity along with at least two hours outdoor play.

Other criteria included the exposure, and understanding, of domestic and foreign kindergarten practices, and the application an use of relevant IT developments.

Children in China have long had to live under the shadow of high academic expectations and this trend is showing no signs of abating.

In an attempt to ensure their offspring outperform others in school, parents have encouraged the teaching of higher level subjects and topics.

 

 

 

TIANJIN 

•  Many disabled Chinese spend leisure time alone and idle: report

By Yao Yuan, Zhou Runjian and Zhu Tianjiao

Nearly 40 percent of young Chinese with disabilities spend most of their leisure time “being alone with a blank mind,” a report said, suggesting a lack of entertainment options among China’s disabled population.

The report issued by China Youth & Children Research Center said the majority of young Chinese with disabilities found themselves confined to home in their spare time, a result of their physical difficulties, economic plight and insufficient facilities.

The report surveyed disabled Chinese between the ages of 7 and 35, collecting 4,536 questionnaires from six provinces.

Watching films and TV at home topped their entertainment options, chosen by 64.9 percent of respondents as their main leisure activity, followed by “being idle alone with a blank mind” (38.9 percent), surfing the Internet (20.6 percent) and listening to radio (16.3 percent).

Another 12.9 percent of respondents said they go to parks, while other outside activities such as traveling and visiting museums reported “extremely low participation,” according to the report.

Apart from their physical limitations, the report said disabled people’s poor economic circumstances and a lack of available facilities also made it difficult for them to join sightseeing and museum tours.

The report said disabled young people should be encouraged to leave home to have a social life, and their current low participation in outside activities will negatively affect their integration into society.

China has about 85 million disabled people, accounting for nearly 6.3 percent of the total population.

 

 

 

BEIJING

  Jackie Chan’s son prosecuted on drug charge

By Zhong Qun and Tu Ming

Jaycee Chan, son of Chinese Kungfu star Jackie Chan, was prosecuted in Beijing on Monday for allegedly providing a venue for drug users, according to the People’s Procuratorate of Beijing’s Dongcheng District.

The prosecution came three months after he was formally arrested following a drugs bust at his residence in the capital.

On August 14, Beijing police detained multiple people for drug offences, including Jaycee Chan and Taiwan movie star Ko Chen-tung.

Chan and Ko Chen-tung tested positive for marijuana and both admitted to taking the drug. Police seized more than 100 grams of marijuana at the junior Chan’s home.

Ko Chen-tung was released on August 29 after 14 days of administrative detention.

In Beijing, a number of celebrities have been detained by police on drugs charges.

 

 

 

 

Ling Jihua investigated for serious disciplinary violation

 

 

 

Ling Jihua investigated

for serious disciplinary violation

 

By Cheng Zuo and Fu Shuangqi

 

Ling Jihua.   Photo – Xinhua 

 

Ling Jihua, a senior Party official and national political advisor, is now under investigation for “suspected serious disciplinary violation”.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced the investigation in a brief statement on Monday of December 22.

Ling is vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.

 

 

 

 

New city inaugurated in China’s Tibet

 

 

A ceremony marking the establishment of the prefecture-level city Xigaze is held in Xigaze,

southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, on December 18, 2014. The new Xigaze City has

replaced Xigaze Prefecture in the region under the approval of China’s State Council.  

Photo by Liu Kun

 

 

XIGAZE

New city inaugurated in China’s Tibet

 

By Lü Qiuping and An Na

 

The Tibet Autonomous Region now has a new city after Xigaze was upgraded and inaugurated to become the third prefecture-level city in the region on Thursday of December 18.

“The inauguration of Xigaze City is a milestone throughout the area’s history, which marks its development entering into a new era,” said Zhang Hongbo, mayor of the new city.

As part of the status upgrade, the city’s Communist Party committee, people’s congress standing committee, government and political advisory body were established.

Located at an altitude of more than 3,800 meters, Xigaze is now the third prefecture-level city in Tibet after the regional capital Lhasa and Qamdo.

With a population of 780,000, or one fourth of the total in Tibet, Xigaze was previously known as a prefecture. Its gross domestic product surged by 62.5 times to 14.5 billion yuan in 2014 from 56 million yuan in 1964.

Deputy mayor Zhang Xiuwu said the conversion from a prefecture to a city means a simplified administrative approval procedure, which is much helpful for the economic development of the area with higher efficiency.

“The prefecture, as an administrative branch office of the regional government rather than a government itself, had no right to approve many administrative affairs. With the city government established today, many administrative affairs can be approved within the city directly, without having to be submitted to the regional capital Lhasa for approval,” he said.

 

 

 

 

China offers 2 tons of food to Ebola victims in Guinea

 

 

 

CONAKRY

 China offers 2 tons of food to Ebola victims in Guinea

By Sikula

China has offered about 2 tons of food aid to Ebola patients and families affected by the disease in Guinea, an official source said on Wednesday of December 17.

The donation which was valued at 2 million U.S. dollars, was comprised of rice, highly nutritive cereal products and high energy biscuits.

The donation was given to the World Food Program (WFP) in Guinea by China’s ambassador to Guinea, Bian Jianqiang, in the presence of Guinea’s International Cooperation Minister Moustapha Koutoubou Sanoh.

The Chinese diplomat said the aid was meant to assist Guinean populations in zones that have been affected by the Ebola epidemic since March.

“All Chinese aid is a demonstration of friendship shared between our people,” the ambassador said, adding that “China will continue to offer its assistance to Guinea as much as possible.”

WFP representative in Guinea Madam Elisabeth Faure appreciated the Chinese aid which will help majority of the people in the southern part of the country that was hard hit by the Ebola.

The Chinese aid will help close to 150,000 people for a period of 45 days, WFP representative said.

Since the outbreak of Ebola epidemic in Guinea, 2,376 cases had been reported by December 13 out of which 1,480 people died.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s Ebola vaccine enters clinical trials

By Hu Longjiang and Shen Jifei

An Ebola vaccine developed by a military research institute has been approved to enter the human test stage, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) General Logistics Department announced on Thursday of December 18.

The restructured vaccine, developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMC), is based on the 2014 mutant gene type and especially targets the strain plaguing west Africa.

The vaccine is currently in the form of freeze-dried powder, which will keep it stable for at least two weeks in temperatures of up to 37 degrees Celsius. This will make it suitable for the tropical west African region and assist with large-scale production, according to a review report by 17 experts in the field.

It makes China the third country to put Ebola vaccine under clinical trials following the United States and Canada.

The Chinese drug has obvious advantages compared with other vaccines in clinical phase, the report said. The foreign vaccines are based on the gene type from 1976 and are in liquid form that have to be stored in temperatures of 80 degrees Celsius below zero.

The deadly virus has claimed more than 6,000 deaths in west African nations, spreading as far as the United States and Europe.

Since the outbreak, China has sent about 750 million yuan (120 million U.S. dollars) and some 500 medical staff and experts to Ebola-hit countries, building laboratories and treatment centers.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China expresses concerns over Ruble slump

By Fang Dong and Li Yanxia

China’s foreign exchange regulator expressed concerns over the recent devaluation of the Russian ruble on Thursday of December 18, but confirmed it was tracking the situation.

Chinese enterprises and financial institutions should use forward and swap facilities to avoid risks, said a senior official at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Wang Yungui, during a press conference in Beijing.

The ruble plummeted to a historic low two days ago before a moderate recovery that saw it stabilize at 100 rubles to 10.27 yuan (1.65 U.S. dollars) on Thursday.

Wang noted that the situation had not affected transnational capital flow in China but the situation would continue to be assessed.

China and Russia, Wang said, were close trade partners and healthy bilateral trade was expected to continue.

China’s exports to Russia increased 10.5 percent year on year and imports 2.9 percent in the first three quarters of the year, with total trade volume valued at 70.78 billion dollars.

 

 

 

NANCHANG

   China’s solar giant completes restructuring offshore debts

By Lü Qiuping and Guo qiang

One of China’s leading solar firms, LDK Solar Co., Ltd., has completed restructuring debts in Hong Kong, the United States and the Cayman Islands, the company said on Thursday of December 18.

The debt restructuring transaction between the company, senior bondholders and preferred shareholders was completed Wednesday, with a total value up to 700 million U.S. dollars, said Peng Shaomin, a spokesperson for the photovoltaic (PV) products manufacturer based in Xinyu, east China’s Jiangxi Province.

The company is the first firm in the PV production sector in China to finish its offshore debt restructuring. Affected by the global economic slowdown and the punitive anti-dumping duties levied by the United States and the European Union, the industry has experienced difficulties in recent years.

Figures show LDK Solar suffered a loss of 1.3 billion yuan (211 million U.S. dollars) in 2013, compared with the loss of 4.3 billion yuan in 2012.

According to Peng, the company will put more emphasis on developing Chinese and other emerging markets to mitigate the negative impact from the developed countries, such as the United States and Canada, because of the anti-dumping duties imposed by those countries.

LDK Solar successfully listed in New York in 2007.

 

 

 

PARIS

 French Open unveils 2015 poster designed by Chinese artist

By Zhang Han

Grand Slam tennis French Open unveiled the Roland-Garros 2015 poster here on Thursday of December 18, while its designer Du Zhenjun has become the first Chinese artist in 35 years to create a work of art for the tournament.

The 2015 French Open poster depicts a player serving to begin a point, the shot so crisp and powerful that the ball almost seems to rip right through the canvas.

Du, inspirited from both his Asian roots and contemporary Western art, explained that he chose to focus on the game itself while designing the poster.

“The speed and the movement of the ball are symbolized by a line which actually forms the main element of the poster,” said the 53-year-old, trained in traditional jade engraving, traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy back in his native Shanghai.

“The painting also expresses something that is quite Asian, since the line traced through the center of the work is part of the Zen aesthetics,” he added.

According to Du, the original of the poster was made on rice paper before being taped onto canvas.

“I used a typically Chinese painting technique with ink,” he continues. “The poster is a mix of Asian and contemporary art, and I hope the public like it.”

The artist, who moved to France 23 years ago,has adventured through multimedia, video, photography, collage and assemblage and installation.

He first came to the public eye in 2003 at the Paris Autumn Festival, where he had a significant exhibition at the Conciergerie entitled “Etre humain trop lourd” (“Too heavy a human “).

China’s ambassador in France Zhai Jun congratulated on Du while attending the poster unveiling ceremony.

“First time in the French Open history, there comes a Chinese artist who designed the poster for the Grand Slam event,” said Zhai. “Congratulations, Mr. Du. I believe his design with Chinese elements is able to share the glamour of the great tennis tournament.”

“We are honored to have invited a well-known Chinese artist to design the 2015 poster,” echoed French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Jean Gachassin. “It’s a work of art coming from collision of two cultures.”

Since 1980, the French Open has been inviting an artist through Galerie Lelong to create a poster each year, which coming out as a Rolland-Garros trademark tradition.

 

 

 

KUNMING

 New flight links Chinese tourist resort with Europe

By Hou Wenkun and Wang Ruoyao

China Eastern Airlines on Thursday of December 18 launched a direct flight between Kunming, a famed tourist city in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, and Paris.

The flight, Yunnan’s first transcontinental air route, will be plied by an Airbus A330. It will depart from Kunming every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, finishing the 9,471-km one-way trip in nearly 13 hours, according to the airline’s Yunnan branch.

Kunming, dubbed the “City of Eternal Spring,” is known for its pleasant climate and picturesque landscape. Air routes connect the city with seven Southeast Asian countries and five South Asian countries.

Yunnan also boasts other popular tourist destinations, such as Dali and Lijiang, cities famed for their architecture and distinct culture.

 

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

  Over 240,000 people signed up for Rio 2016 volunteer, China 4th largest registrations

By Ji Ye

A total of 242,757 people signed up for the Volunteer Programme of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games after the registration finished on December 15, while China has provided the fourth largest number of registrations.

Rio 2016 Organizing Committee told Xinhua in a statement on Thursday that the volunteer progamme has attracted applicants from all Brazilian states and 192 countries and regions since it was launched on August 28.

The most volunteer applications came from (in order): Brazil, the US, Russia, China and the UK, many of whom have been inspired by the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games held in their countries.

China is the country with the fourth highest number of applicants: 8,283.

There are 70,000 Rio 2016 volunteer positions available, 45,000 for Olympic Games and 25,000 for Paralympic.This total number means that about 3.5 people have applied for every position available. 50% of applicants are aged 25 or less, while 55% of applicants are female, 45% male. [ Among Brazilians, around 90% of the applicants study or work, and their academic background range from elementary school to doctorate level.

“We are very pleased with the volume and particularly the diversity of applicants in the programme,” said Flavia Fontes, Rio 2016 Volunteer Programme Manager.

Applicants will be asked to participate in a basic language test over the coming months and the selection process will commence in March 2015.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by February 2016 and available at least ten days to take part in the events. There is no age limit.

The 70,000 candidates selected will be allocated to nine functional areas: customer care, sports, press and communications, operational support, ceremony production, protocol and languages, healthcare, technology and transport.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON

 New initiative launched to support Americans to study in China

By Zhou Erjie

China and the United States launched a new fellowship initiative on Wednesday of December 17 to support mid-career American professionals to study in China.

The initiative, known as Zhi-Xing China-Perfect World U.S.-China Young Leaders Fellowships, aims to sponsor 15 to 20 American professionals who are interested in Chinese culture and China-related work to visit and study in China every year through 2024.

During their stay in China, fellows are expected to gain deeper understanding of China and U.S.-China bilateral relations through meetings, visits and cultural activities.

The initiative is one of the latest additions to the programs under the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE), which aims to strengthen ties between Chinese and U.S. citizens in areas including education, culture and science.

“Under the CPE framework, nearly 200 robust outcomes and deliverbles have been implemented over the past five years,” said Chinese Vice Education Minister Hao Ping, who is also the CPE China Coordinator.

One of the best ways to invest in next generation of leaders is to develop language and cultural skills through study abroad, said Carola McGiffert, President of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, one of the partners of the initiative.

She added that the U.S. could do more to make sure young Americans have the cultural understanding and China skills to compete, collaborate and succeed in a world where China plays a huge and growing role.

Perfect World, a leading Chinese online game developer and operator, has pledged to make a contribution to support the fellowship through the next decade.

Given the importance of the bilateral ties, both public and private sectors of the two countries, the cultural industry in particular, should show greater support to U.S.-China people-to-people exchange, said Robert Xiao, Perfect World CEO.

“I believe such efforts will foster fresh ideas, deeper understanding, and new ways of cooperation between us,” said Xiao, adding that the new initiative is an important extension of exchanges between U.S.-Chinese younger generations.

The initiative is implemented by the China Education Association for International Exchange, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Humpty Dumpty Institute, the 100 K Strong Foundation and Perfect World Co., Ltd.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 More Chinese teenagers to study in U.S.

By Li Zhihui, Shi Yucen and Liu Yizhan

Chinese teenagers studying in the United States has increased more than 60 times during the past decade, with experts believing the boom will continue into the future, a new study showed on Thursday of December 18.

Nearly 27,000 Chinese students were studying at U.S. senior schools, public or private, during the school year 2012-2013, compared with 433 in the year of 2003-2004, according to a blue book published by the Social Sciences Academic Press on Thursday.

The book was compiled by the Center for China and Globalization.

China overcame South Korea in 2011 to become the largest source of overseas high school students in the United States, maintaining its position since.

The parents, holding high academic degrees, position or income, hope their children enjoy the style of education in the U.S. and better their ability in foreign languages and independent life, according to the book.

The sharp increase of students receiving education in the U.S. is expected to continue as more Chinese families gain wealth, according to the book.

Prolonged student visas and easier overseas applications are also helping more Chinese study abroad.

But experts warn that Chinese parents should not “blindly” send children overseas because teenagers may not be mature enough to live independently.

Some find it hard to finish school work or integrate into local communities, according to the book.

 

 

 

 

OSAKA, Japan

 Two people missing after Chinese fishing boat grounded near Japan’s Shimane Prefecture

By Yan Lei

A Chinese fishing boat hit rocks and was grounded near Japan’s Shimane Prefecture, with 2 people missing and 23 rescued, according to the Consulate-General of China in Osaka on Thursday of December 18.

The Japan Coast Guard received report at around 4:30 a.m. local time on Thursday that a 255-ton Chinese fishing boat (JINHAI 805) was grounded near Shimane Prefecture.

Twenty three out of a total of 25 crew members aboard the ship have been rescued while two are still missing. Four of the rescued have been sent to hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

The fishing boat sailed to waters near Oki islands of Shimane Prefecture to take refuge from storms in its planned fishing area, according to local media.

The Consulate-General of China in Osaka has sent diplomats to the scene to deal with the incident.

 

 

 

WELLINGTON

 Prospective Chinese grandparents deported for “smuggling” bird nests into New Zealand

By John Macdonald

A Chinese couple who arrived in New Zealand for the birth of their grandchild were deported after they were caught trying to smuggle edible bird nests into the country, New Zealand border officials said on Thursday of December 18.

The couple, who arrived at Auckland on a flight from Shanghai Tuesday, had denied carrying any items that could have been a biosecurity risk, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

But MPI quarantine officers at Auckland Airport noticed possible organic material in the couple’s luggage during x-ray screening.

The nests were found in “a vacuum-packed blanket” and the couple, who had traveled to New Zealand for the birth of their grandchild, were denied entry and ordered to return home on Tuesday night.

“We believed the action was a deliberate smuggling attempt of an item that could have carried avian diseases with the potential to wipe out New Zealand’s native and commercial bird populations,” MPI Northern Border Clearance Manager Craig Hughes said in a statement.

Bird nest soup is widely believed by the Chinese people to be a precious and nutritious food, which is especially helpful for the recovery of new moms.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s top anti-graft body opens special website for tipoffs during festival

By Ren Ke

China’s top corruption eradication authority opened a new channel on its official website on Wednesday night of December 17 for tipoffs related to lavish behavior at year end.

The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said the initiative would put the central authority’s frugal policies into practice and curb bad practices such as using public funds for gifts, during the New Year festivities and the traditional Spring Festival.

The CCDI’s website will name and shame all cases involving disciplinary violations on a weekly basis starting from Dec. 29. It also has a forum open to opinions and suggestions from the public on the counter-corruption drive.

Among a series of policies that advocate thrifty life- and workstyles among Party members and government agencies, the championing of intensified supervision aims to ensure the policies are implemented correctly.

China’s Spring Festival, or the lunar new year, falls on Feb. 19 in 2015.

 

 

 

BEIJING 

 China experimental fast reactor runs at full capacity

By Liu Tong and Yu Xiaojie

China’s first sodium-cooled fast neutron reactor hit a milestone after operating at full capacity for 72 hours as of Thursday afternoon on December 18, a sign that China has fully mastered core technologies in fast reactor design.

Fast neutron reactors, also called fast reactors, use a closed nuclear fuel cycle to optimize uranium use and reduce waste.

“The achievement has laid a solid foundation for fast reactor technology development, commercialization and nuclear fuel cycle technology development,” said Xu Dazhe, head of China Atomic Energy Authority and State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

Xu said further demonstrations should be carried out to hasten industrialization and commercialization of the reactors.

The development of fast reactors is the second of China’s three-step nuclear energy program, with the aim of cutting China’s reliance on fossil fuel burning. China also intends to make fast reactors one of the priorities in its nuclear energy development program.

The 65-megawatt experimental fast reactor is one of few fast reactors that has been grid connected. It can achieve 20 megawatt of capacity in electricity generation.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

 CXA kicks off overseas promotion campaign of Chinese Chess

By Xu Zheng

The Chinese Xiangqi (Chinese chess) Association has started their overseas promotion campaign of the Chinese traditional intellectual game.

A promotional event themed “Xiangqi-Chinese wisdom at fingertips” was held at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday, according to CXA on Thursday of December 18.

“This would be the first stop of our international tour promoting the game,” said Guo Liping, deputy general secretary of CXA.

The association also invited U.N. officals to the event, in which Xie Jun, former world champion on chess, gave a lecture comparing Xiangqi to chess.

Guo hoped that their promotional activities can arouse more people’s interest in Xiangqi, which is similar to chess.

“Xiangqi is very popular in China and some Asian countries,” she said, “I hope, through our promotional activities, more people in the world will know the game and learn to enjoy it, which embodies the heritage of Chinese culture and wisdom.”

CXA’s statistics shows that about hundreds of million people are playing Xiangqi in the world and 26 countries and regions have Xiangqi associations.

 

 

 

BEIJING

•  China publishes guideline to help philanthropy

By Liu Tong and Huang Xiaoxi

Charitable donations in China will become tax deductible, according to a guideline released by the central government on Thursday of December 18.

The guideline, published by the State Council, said donations from abroad to charities in China could enjoy preferential tariff rates.

Zhu Xiaohong from North China Electric Power University, said enterprises seeking tax deductions for donations often face complicated procedures and a harsh set of terms, which hurts philanthropic activities.

The guideline called for opening more donation channels, emphasizing the development of Internet philanthropy. It also called on social forces such as public institutions and media outlets to provide more support for philanthropy.

It urged charitable organizations to improve management standards and enhance their credibility, vowing to punish those who willfully dishonor charitable organizations and hurt their reputation.

According to the guideline, the central authorities are planning an information-sharing system capable of better coordinating relief efforts for government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

China has 85 million disabled people, 120 million people living under the poverty line and 160 million left-over rural residents, meaning philanthropy needs more participation on all fronts, a statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

The guideline proposed to keep a record of citizens doing volunteer activities so as to encourage more people to do so and give commendation to people who make extraordinary contributions to philanthropy.

Philanthropy in China witnessed a boom in 2008, after a strong earthquake hit the southwestern province of Sichuan. But a series of scandals in following years have impeded its development.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Chinese petitioners to evaluate grievances handling

By Liu Lu and Luo Sha

Petitioners in China now have the chance to evaluate how their complaint was handled following the publication of a new guideline on Thursday of December 18.

Aimed at maintaining petitioners’ rights and improving transparency of the petitioning system, the rules will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, according to the guideline issued by the the State Bureau for Letters and Calls (SBLC).

Fan Xiaomao, vice head of the SBLC, said that petitioners could choose “satisfied,” “so-so,” and “not satisfied,” and write down comments after they see the results of their petition.

“Authorities receiving a new petition should refer the matter to the government departments concerned or report it to leading officials in charge of the mentioned issues within 15 days,” said Fan.

Petitioners can evaluate the results within 30 days, after they receive responses. Petitioners who do not receive replies can make the evaluation 90 days after they file their petition.

“We suggest petitioners leave real phone numbers so we can make convenient contact,” said Fan.

Those who fail to fulfill their duties in these procedures will be punished, and those who cause severe consequences will be held accountable.

As for the results marked “not satisfied,” departments receiving petitions should investigate the case and deal with officials in a timely manner if misconduct are found, Fan said.

The SBLC will strengthen supervision and continue to publicize typical cases on its official website for greater transparency, Fan added.

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

 Chinese environmental protection company dumps untreated wastes into river

By Cheng Lu and Fang Lie

Police have arrested 12 suspects and are continuing the search for another after their company was found dumping untreated waste containing heavy metals into a river in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Zhongjinlingnan Environmental Technology Company, which recycles metals in electroplating sludge and other solid wastes from factories, was found to have dumped nearly 10,000 tons of untreated waste into Oujiang River in Wenzhou City, local police told Xinhua on Thursday of December 18.

Investigations found the company, despite being overcapacity since April, still accepted hazardous waste from nearby plants manufacturing stainless steel tubing.

It costs the company nearly 500 yuan (about 81 U.S. dollars) per tonne to dispose of industrial wastes safely and 100 yuan to dump it directly into the river. Police found that in May of this year, the company’s legal representative, surnamed Jiang, directed workers to dispose of nearly 6,000 tonnes of pollutants sludge into the Oujiang River.

In early June, Jiang and his workers poured another 3,800 tonnes of untreated wastes into the river, police said.

Currently, the local environmental protection department is monitoring the water quality of Oujiang River.

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

•  Beijing’s thirsty neighbor receives water from the south

By Cheng Lu and Guo Yaru

Beijing’s neighboring province of Hebei began receiving water through the south-north water diversion project on Thursday of December 18, local authorities said.

The middle route’s first-stage project supplies more than three billion cubic meters of water annually to the province, said Yuan Fu, chief of Hebei’s office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

It will alleviate water shortage in Hebei and help promote sustainable development in local society and economy, provincial governor Zhang Qingwei said.

The middle route’s first-stage project starts at Danjiangkou reservoir in the central province of Hubei. It was officially put into operation on Dec. 12..

It will supply 9.5 billion cubic meters of water per year to the northern regions, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and provinces of Henan and Hebei.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s smartphone users to top 500 mln by 2014

By Jiang Xufeng and Zhao Xiaohui

China will boast more than half a billion smartphone users by the end of this year, an official with the State Internet Information Office (SIIO) said.

The country has 1.3 billion cellphone users, said Wang Xiangrong, deputy director of the website information broadcasting department under SIIO, China’s Web regulator.

With smartphones becoming more affordable and improved telecommunication services, by the end of 2014 three of every 10 smartphone users in the world will be Chinese, Wang said Thursday at an Internet industry conference held in Beijing.

“More than 40 percent of China’s citizens will access the Internet through their cellphones next year,” he predicted.

“In the last 20 years, the Internet in China has created a fertile market with limitless potential. The Internet has also facilitated new technological advances, products and business models as well as millions of jobs,” Wang added.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Chinese cities see better air quality in November

By Zuo Yuanfeng

Chinese cities saw 63.6 percent of days with decent air quality in November, up 11.3 percentage points year-on-year, official figures show.

The 25 cities monitored in the Yangtze River Delta saw 68.8 percent of days with sound air quality, a 26.3 percentage point increase from the same period in 2013, according to a statement released Thursday by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Even the notoriously-polluted Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region reported 42 percent of days with “good” or “fine” air quality, up 2.9 percentage points from the same period last year.

The region saw 22.4 percent of days with air quality in the range of “heavy” and “grave.”

The top ten polluted cities included seven in north China’s Hebei Province, along with Shenyang and Harbin, two northeastern cities and Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province.

In general, the major air pollutant in the country was PM2.5, followed by PM10, the statement said.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

•  China busts 27 underground banks in 10 months

By Jiang Xufeng

In the first 10 months of this year, Chinese authorities broke up 27 “underground banks” illegally trading foreign currency and transferring money across borders.

The exchanges amounted to about 65 billion yuan (10.6 billion U.S. dollars), Zhang Shenghui, head of the Supervision and Inspection Department under the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said on Thursday of December 18.

Joint operations between the administration and police resulted in the arrest of more than 90 suspects, Zhang said at a press conference in Beijing.

Between September and October, the SAFE cooperated with other agencies to uncover more than 62 billion yuan in illegal transactions, Zhang told reporters.

“Several days ago, we busted a huge underground bank and arrested 57 suspects,” said Zhang.

“China will step up efforts on fighting underground banks to safeguard the economic and financial safety,” Zhang added.

 

 

 

 

ZHENGZHOU

 China housing official jailed 25 yrs over corruption

By Li Lijing and Li Baojie

A former housing administration official in central China’s Henan Province was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday of December 17 for embezzlement, bribery and abuse of power.

Zhai Zhenfeng, former director of the housing bureau in Erqi District in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, was found guilty of embezzling 37 million yuan (6 million U.S. dollars) of public funds, according to the Zhenzhou Intermediate People’s Court.

He accepted 70,000 yuan in bribes and offered 330,000 yuan to other officials, the court found.

The court ruled that Zhai’s 13 houses and 5.5 million yuan in illegal gains, which included the proceeds of selling other houses, should be seized.

Zhai has not yet revealed if he will file an appeal.

Three others, implicated in Zhai’s corruption, were given prison terms ranging from four to seven years.

Zhai’s case was exposed in December 2012 after a woman on a popular social network boasted that her daughter, who was born in the 1990s, owned 11 apartments in a public housing project in Zhenzhou.

Investigators later uncovered that three members of Zhai’s family owned 29 houses under multiple identities, which sparked fierce public outrage.

 

 

 

 

Less privilege in China’s college enrolment

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Scientists warn of China’s glaciers shrink

By Li Zhihui

China’s glaciers have retreated by 18 percent since the 1950s, Chinese scientists warned.

A survey using remote sensing data between 2006 and 2010 showed China had 48,571 glaciers covering 51,840 square km in the west region, according to a recent catalog of the country’s glaciers released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The worst shrink was detected on the Altai Mountains located in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Gangdise Mountain in Tibet Autonomous Region, with retreat hitting 37.2 percent and 32.7 percent respectively over the past half century, according to the survey by the CAS Cold and Arid Regions Research Institute.

Major glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, especially the east part of Gangdise as well as the southern and western Himalayas were melting at the most rapid pace, with areas shrinking by 2.2 percent every year, according to the survey.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China Earthquake Networks Center to provide push notification service

By Sun Xiaozheng and Lu Guoqiang

China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC)will provide an earthquake notification service to the public through its Weibo account, the center said on Wednesday of December 17.

CENC joined hands with Weibo.com and promised that earthquake information would be pushed to all terminal users in the epicenter regions within 10 seconds of the earthquake.

Earthquake alerts will also be available through the center’s official Weibo platform, according to Pan Huaiwen, director of CENC.

“The move is to ensure fast and accurate earthquake information access for the relevant people, and to reduce people’s panic after the earthquake,” Pan said.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China establishes database on classic Chinese literature

By Fu Shuangqi

A database of Chinese poems and classics of literature will soon be open to viewers at home and abroad.

The database, still in its first phase, is made up of about 500 hours of video on the 100 most popular classic of Chinese poetry and short essays, said a press release from the People’s Education Press, the database’s publisher, on Wednesday of December 17.

The videos show readings and elaborations on the classics, including some from ethnic minorities like Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Korean. These works are presented in both their original languages and in Mandarin.

The public will be able to access the database through http://www.pep.com.cn, http://www.china-language.gov.cn and http://www.zhonghuayuwen.org.

In the second and third phrases of the database, the publisher plans to use classics of philosophy, politics and history.

The project, sponsored by the government, is the work of more than 40 experts and ten elite universities or institutes.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China calls for tipoffs on food, drug

By Liu Lu

The Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council called for tip-offs on problematic food and drug products, prohibiting exposure of the whistle-blowers’ information.

According to a draft regulation issued on Wednesday, food and drug watchdogs at all levels should create channels for people to report tip-offs using phones, internet, letters and petitions. It called for an improved administration system to handle the reports.

Concrete facts and information on suspect food and drug products should be provided when people submit tip-offs, the draft said.

Although the draft called on people to report using real names, whistle-blowers who are not willing to provide their personal information should be respected. Any information related to whistle-blowers should not be leaked.

The draft also highlighted some of the most important instances in which people should contact authorities, including those causing death and disability, infant and children’s dairy food safety, several types of pharmaceuticals, blood products, vaccines and high-risk medical instruments.

Individuals and public organizations can visit http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn or send letters and emails to share opinions on the draft regulation before Jan. 16 in 2015.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Less privilege in China’s college enrolment

By Hu Longjiang, Wu Jing and Shi Yucen

Math, science and sport competition winners will no longer receive extra points on their college application, the Education Ministry announced Wednesday amid China’s college admittance reform.

The ministry also canceled bonus points added to results on the national college entrance exam, or gaokao, based on good morality and physical performance.

In China, gaokao results are the major assessment standard for college enrollment of students. The exam saw some 9.3 million test takers in 2013.

For years, China has had the tradition of awarding extra scores to college applicants who win major sports events, math or science competitions, which has prompted a boom in math and science training centers.

Bonus points are also common for students from Taiwan, ethnic minorities, children of martyrs and returned overseas Chinese. There are no current plans to remove this policy.

The latest move does not mean that the students’ achievement in some areas become useless, according to the ministry.

The specialty and achievement of students will be recorded for college references and in a pilot program, some “extra-special” students may be directly enrolled by some colleges through an internal selection without assessing their performance in the national exam.

As a supplement of the gaokao system, the pilot program was launched in 2003 and currently covers 90 colleges and universities. They are allowed to recruit about five percent of the total quota allocated to them.

The gaokao was restored in 1977 after 10 years of suspension.

In recent years, China has been struggling to improve its college recruitment system to make it more fair and transport more talents for its fast-growing high-tech industries.

On Tuesday the ministry issued two documents to stress evaluating the students by overall competency including their actual skills, physical health, art cultivation and social practice, instead of the solely exam scores.

 

 

 

HAIKOU

 China’s game market hits 18.5 bln USD

By Ma Chao, Yu Li and Li Baojie

China’s game market experienced robust growth this year with revenues for the sector surging 37.7 percent year on year, said a report on Wednesday of December 17.

Game sales have reached 114.5 billion yuan (18.5 billion U.S. dollars) this year, according to a report released by China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association at the annual meeting of the country’s game industry held in Haikou, capital of the southern island province of Hainan.

The growth was driven in particular by strong sales of mobile games in the wake of increased smartphone penetration.

Sales of mobile games soared 145 percent year on year to 27.5 billion yuan, it said.

Sales of games developed by domestic game companies reached 72.7 billion yuan, posting strong growth of 52.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of game players in the world’s most populous country saw modest annual growth of 4.6 percent to reach 517 million, the report said.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s Baidu, taxi app Uber sign investment agreement

By Cheng lu and Li Zhengwei

China’s leading search engine Baidu signed a strategic cooperation and investment agreement with the U.S. car-hailing service Uber on Wednesday of December 17 in Beijing.

According to the agreement, Baidu will invest in Uber, but the company didn’t disclose how much the investment was worth.

The two companies will cooperate to promote technological innovation, develop the international market and China’s “online to offline”, O2O service in the future.

The agreement will allow Uber to use Baidu’s advanced technologies in multimedia, big data and artificial intelligence, and expand its share in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, Baidu can also expand global mobile service market with the help of Uber’s abundant customers and offline service capability.

Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said this is a pioneering strategic partnership between a Chinese and an American Internet companies.

He said Baidu’s strategy is to connect people with service in the mobile Internet era. What people need is service related to food, clothing, shelter and transportation. This is why Baidu has decided to cooperate with Uber, which can provide transportation service to users, he said.

Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was also present at the signing ceremony on Wednesday. He said this cooperation is a milestone for Uber, which runs in more than 250 cities across the world, and the Asia-Pacific region has been a key area of growth.

As one of China’s Internet giants, Baidu has operated businesses in regions including Southeast Aisa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

 Chinese police arrest dozens selling contaminated pig corpses

By Lü Qiuping and Fu Qing

Police in south China’s Guangdong Province arrested 34 members of five criminal outfits suspected of selling and processing contaminated pig corpses, officers said on Wednesday of December 17.

A total of 25.4 tonnes of dead pigs and pork were seized, with an estimated value of 38.5 million yuan (6.2 million U.S. dollars), said Chen Weiren, a police officer with the Zhaoqing City Public Security Bureau.

Chen said it took more than two months for police to uncover the entire dealing and processing chain in Gaoyao, a county-level city of Zhaoqing.

The suspects were involved with buying and selling the corpses of pigs who died of disease, processing them into packaged refrigerated pork and selling them to different cities across the province, Chen said.

He said pig farmers usually sold the pig corpses with the price of one yuan per kilo or even gave them to the dealers free of charge. The processed pork was sold at more than 30 yuan per kilo to local stores and preserved meat plants.

Police also found one of the groups put additive into the processed pork to sell as fake dried beef.

Further investigation is under way.

 

 

 

JINAN

 Police bust cross-border bullet smuggling at east China

By Cheng Lu and Liu Baosen

Police confiscated more than 1,000 bullets at a resident’s home in east China’s Shandong Province, customs department of Jinan City said on Wednesday of December 17.

Based on a tip-off, anti-smuggling police tracked a package, which was declared as server cabinet, delivered via FedEx from California to Liaocheng City.

When the package arrived at a resident’s house, the police checked it and found 1,100 bullets in it.

They also found an air rifle, a homemade handgun, and an imitation handgun at the home of the suspect surnamed Wu.

Preliminary investigation showed that Wu asked others to buy these bullets in the U.S. through messaging platform Tencent’s QQ in late October. Further investigation is under way.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 No casualties in Beijing shopping mall fire

By Lu Guoqiang and Lü Qiuping

No casualties were reported after Beijing’s Joy City mall in Chaoyang District caught fire on Wednesday of December 17, firefighters said.

Heavy smoke was spotted in a restaurant kitchen on the top floor of the mall located at Chaoyang North Road, and firefighters rushed to the scene upon receiving calls at 10:27 a.m., said an officer with the fire department of Beijing.

No flames were found when firemen arrived at the scene and no casualties were reported.

The officer said a pot containing boiling oil caught fire, emitting heavy smoke, and the fire was put out before firefighters came.

 

 

 

 

Chinese New Year’s Eve resumed as holiday

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Sino-U.S. investment treaty sees major progress

By Zhang Yi and Zhang Jian

China and the United States are finalizing text checks on a bilateral investment treaty and will formally exchange negative lists at the beginning of next year, China’s Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said on Tuesday of December 16.

The BIT negotiations are considered the most important issue in the two nation’s economic relationship.

Zhu underlined that the two countries sought a transparent investment treaty that was free of discrimination.

China and the United States both wish to complete negotiations within Obama’s term, Zhu said at an economic forum in Beijing

Talks on the treaty began in 2008 as both countries sought to increase mutual investment, which only accounted for a tiny share of their overseas investment.

Last year, bilateral trade volume increased to 520 billion U.S. dollars, and outstanding two-way investment rose to 100 billion dollars.

At last month’s summit, the world’s two biggest economies agreed to accelerate the bilateral investment treaty negotiations with the aim of achieving agreements on the treaty’s core issues and major provisions by the end of the year.

Both countries agreed more resources were needed in the negotiation process to cement a comprehensive high-standard bilateral investment treaty, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The treaty is expected to cement the foundation of China-U.S. economic ties and significantly benefit global trade, Zhu said.

At the forum, the vice finance minister also said China had noticed an American think tank’s proposal of a Sino-U.S. free trade area, adding that China was open to suggestions that could benefit global economic integration and promote world economic growth.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China FDI inflows jump 22.2 pct in November

By Cheng Jing and Wang Youling

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland jumped 22.2 percent in November from a year earlier, settling at 10.36 billion U.S. dollars, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Tuesday of December 16.

Growth quickened from a 1.3-percent rise in October and 1.9 percent in September, as investments into the country’s service industry continue rising steadily.

For the first 11 months, the FDI, which excludes investment in the financial sector, stood at 106.24 billion U.S. dollars, up 0.7 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said.

Around 55.1 percent of the FDI went into the country’s service sector during the Jan.-Nov. period. FDI into the manufacturing sector moved down 13.3 percent to 35.93 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 33.8 percent of the total.

Investments from the Republic of Korea and Britain saw fast growth, up 22.9 percent and 28 percent respectively. In contrast, investment from Japan plunged 39.7 percent, followed by a 23.6-percent drop from the ASEAN nations and 22.2-percent slump from the United States.

Tuesday’s data also showed China’s outbound direct investment by non-financial firms moved down 26.1 percent to 7.92 billion U.S. dollars in November, bringing the total volume in the first 11 months to 89.8 billion U.S. dollars.

MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said the ministry expects the scale of inbound and outbound investments to be “relatively close” this year.

The stronger-than-expected FDI data came as the world’s second largest economy is still facing relatively big downward pressures.

Dragged down by a housing slowdown, softening domestic demand and unsteady export, China’s growth slid to a low not seen since the 2008/2009 global financial crisis in the third quarter.

In the first three quarters, China’s gross domestic output expanded by 7.4 percent.

To support the faltering growth, the central bank last month decided to lower the one-year benchmark lending rate by 40 basis points and the one-year deposit rate by 25 basis points, the first interest rate cuts in more than two years.

The move gave a big boost to the stock market, but with China’s deflation risk on the rise, analysts are expecting further easing to invigorate the economy.

Also on Tuesday, the HSBC released the flash manufacturing PMI that showed China’s manufacturing activity dropped to a seven-month low in December, which the HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin said would warrant further monetary easing in the coming months.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s foreign aid features livelihoods

By Zhu Shaobin, Wang Youling and Yu Jiaxin

Poverty reduction and the improvement of the livelihoods of people in developing countries has been the main feature of China’s assistance to other nations, Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said on Tuesday of December 16.

Nearly 80 percent of China’s foreign aid between 2010 and 2012 went to areas including poverty reduction, education, hygiene, sports, culture, transportation as well as infrastructure, Shen said at a regular monthly news conference held by the ministry.

He said China took recipient nations’ development strategies into consideration and prioritized suggestions from the countries themselves.

“China’s decision on foreign aid projects adheres to strict standards,” Shen said, refuting recent reports that China’s foreign aid projects were disproportionately in favor of leaders’ home towns in recipient countries.

Shen added that China’s foreign aid projects were open and transparent, with relevant data updated annually on the commerce and finance ministries websites. Meanwhile, aid projects are also open to public scrutiny in recipient nations.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 ADB loans 450 mln USD to boost gas in China

By Zhang Xu, Gao Li and Han Jie

China Gas signed a loan agreement on Tuesday of December 16 with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for 450 million U.S. dollars, to finance natural gas use in transportation.

Aiming to cut the polluting effects of vehicles and ships, the loan will help China Gas establish 600 compressed natural gas stations and 200 liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations along major highways with 20 LNG stations for inland water transport.

“More use of new energy is the key to protecting the environment,” China Gas’s chairman Zhou Si said. “If natural gas replaces diesel, China will cause much less pollution.”

China has the world’s largest inland water network with huge potential for transportation development using green energy.

ADB support will help diversify China’s energy mix, with the country’s per capita natural gas consumption at a low level in world terms.

The ADB expects the loan to attract further private capital for natural gas development.

 

 

 

SEOUL

•  Samsung’s smartphone share drops on rising Chinese rivals

By Yoo Seungki

Global smartphone market share of Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest maker of the smart device, dropped in the third quarter on rising Chinese rivals, including Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo, an industry data showed on Tuesday of December 16.

Samsung’s global smartphone sales were 73.21 million in the third quarter, making up 24.4 percent of the total, according to market tracker Gartner.

The South Korean company maintained the No.1 position, but its market share was down 7.7 percentage points from a year earlier.

The decline in Samsung’s market share came as Chinese manufacturers increased their shares. Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo posted a global market share of 5.3 percent, 5.2 percent and 5 percent each, ranking third to fifth in the global smartphone market.

The combined share of the three Chinese companies was 15.5 percent in the third quarter, up 4.1 percentage points from a year earlier.

Among the three Chinese makers, Xiaomi was outstanding. The company’s third-quarter smartphone sales were 15.77 million, quadrupling a 3.62 million smartphone sale in the third quarter of 2013.

The No.2 maker Apple sold 38.19 million smartphones during the quarter, up about 8 million from a year earlier. The iPhone maker’ s global market share was 12.7 percent.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China high-tech manufacturing firms see fast growth

By Han  Qiao and Wang Xi

China saw high-technology manufacturing companies surge from 2008 to 2013, a signal of progress in economic structure adjustment, official data showed on Tuesday of December 16.

There were 26,894 large high-tech manufacturing companies by the end of last year, accounting for 7.8 percent of all large manufacturing companies, up 1.3 percentage points from 2008.

They realized a profit of 723.37 billion yuan (118.23 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013, up 165.5 percent from 2008, according to results of the third national economic census published by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The profit growth was 11.5 percentage points higher than the average manufacturing industry rate.

A total of 12.94 million people were employed in the high-tech manufacturing sector at the end of 2013, up 36.9 percent from 2008, the census showed.

They account for 15.1 percent of all employees in the manufacturing sector, 2.9 percentage points higher than 2008.

Expenditure on research and development by high-tech manufacturing firms stood at 203.43 billion yuan in 2013, rising 178.2 percent from 2008. The growth rate was 8.7 percentage points higher than the industry average.

Large high-tech manufacturing companies refer to those with annual revenue of 20 million yuan or more from their main business operations.

China’s manufacturing industry is the largest in the world, and the country has been working to upgrade the traditional industries, develop new and high-tech industries and raise product competitiveness.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China to continue internal inspections on state-owned enterprises

By Fu Shuangqi

China’s graft authorities on Tuesday of December 16 pledged to step up regular internal inspections on state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Hao Mingjin, vice minister of supervision, told an online press conference, to expect more internal inspections at SOEs.

The press conference was streamed on the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s (CCDI) website.

Since 2013, the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) central authorities have dispatched inspectors to ministries, provincial governments, SOEs and public institutions.

Six SOEs have so far undergone inspections and, in the latest round, another three — China State Shipbuilding Corporation, China Unicom and Sinopec — will come under scrutiny.

Serious corruption issues remain in SOEs, including abuse of power and bribery, Hao said.

Chief executives at state-owned enterprises have been identified as “high-risk” positions and, should it be proved they are embroiled in graft, it is highly likely their subordinates are also involved, creating a graft gang, he said.

Many corrupt executives have abused their power to facilitate private companies run by their relatives and some of their illegal decisions have led to serious state losses.

Corruption has become much more subtle, with those involved using “legal covers” to hide any untoward activity, he said.

Hao attributed corruption to the loose management and discipline of Party organs in the SOEs these senior executives, who are mostly Party members, work for.

“An SOE executive should not consider the company his or her own business nor regard himself or herself a private business person,” he said.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Small businesses account for 95.6 pct of Chinese firms

By Shi Hao and Tu Guoxi

China had 7.85 million small and micro-sized enterprises in the secondary and tertiary sectors as of the end of 2013, accounting for 95.6 percent of enterprises in the two sectors, official data showed on Tuesday of December 16.

Small businesses provided 147.3 million jobs, accounting for 50.4 percent of the total in the two sectors, according to results of the 3rd National Economic Census published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Such firms held 29.6 percent of total assets, said the NBS.

Industrial enterprises with no more than 30 million yuan (4.9 million U.S. dollars) in assets and no more than 100 employees are classified as small and micro-sized firms.

For other sectors, companies with no more than 10 million yuan in assets and no more than 80 employees fall into this category.

China has rolled out a string of favorable measures for small businesses, including easy market entry, tax breaks and reduced red tape, to support their development.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China announces major holiday dates for 2015

By Zhu Shaobin

The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced major holiday dates for 2015 on Tuesday of December 16.

New Year’s Day: Jan. 1 – Jan. 3, with Jan. 4 (Sunday) as a working day.

Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year): Feb. 18 – Feb. 24. Feb.15 (Sunday) and Feb. 28 (Saturday) are working days.

Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping Day): April 5 – April 6.

Workers Day: May 1 – May 3.

Duanwu (Dragon Boat Festival): June 20 – June 22

Mid-Autumn Festival: Sept. 27

National Day: Oct. 1 to Oct. 7, with Oct. 10 (Saturday) as a working day.

The State Council urged all departments to make preparations for people’s safety during holiday periods.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Chinese New Year’s Eve resumed as holiday

By Li Zhihui

Chinese people will be able to start their week of New Year celebrations — Spring Festival — from lunar New Year’s Eve again, a date excluded from the holiday last year.

New Year’s Eve has been an official holiday since 2007, but was designated a working day in 2014, precipitating a firestorm of complaint from people who did not have enough time to travel home to celebrate the year’s most important holiday with their families.

Most Chinese families stay up late on the eve of the Spring Festival, watching the annual TV gala and carousing with friends and neighbors. Millions of migrant workers head for their hometowns to be reunited with their loved ones.

Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 19, 2015 and the week-long holiday starts officially on Feb. 18, according to the State Council General Office.

Other important national holidays including New Year’s Day, Tomb-Sweeping Day, International Workers Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Day and National Day, were also confirmed today.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China to improve media feed on key policies

By Li Zhihui

China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) plans to hold regular media briefings on key policies to address public concern, a senior official said on Tuesday of December 16.

From January, the SCIO will hold weekly briefings on important decisions by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council as well as economic and social policies, said Cai Mingzhao, director of the SCIO.

Cai urged the voices of Party and government departments to be more helpful to the media in terms of information and interviews.

The SCIO held a total of 87 news conferences and briefings this year, the most in its history.

Central government departments held more than 1,000 news conferences and briefings, he said.

As of November this year, overseas media organizations had made 540,000 reports about China, he said.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s banks make risk control top priority

By Zhang Zhengfu and Liu Zheng

A majority of Chinese bankers see risk control as their top priority, according to a survey by the China Banking Association (CBA), released on Tuesday of December 16.

As growth slows, the banking sector has a better understanding of the need to prevent financial risk, according to the “Chinese Bankers Survey Report 2014”.

Among the 1,100 bank executives surveyed, 65.5 percent saw “boosting risk control capability” as the top priority in their strategies, compared to 42.4 percent in 2011.

Ba Shusong, deputy head of the financial research institute at the State Council development research center, believes that risk awareness and risk management capabilities of China’s bankers have increased significantly.

Risks stemming from the property market and elimination of overcapacity have caught the most attention, Ba said.

Adjusting the business structure, promoting unique businesses, making innovative financial products, and boosting capital management are also priorities, according to the survey.

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

 China’s second IPR court opens in Guangzhou

By Cheng Lu, Mao Yizhu, Lai Yuchen, Xu Ming and Xiong Lin

China’s second intellectual property rights (IPR) court opened in the southern city of Guangzhou on Tuesday of December 16.

The court will hear civil and administrative lawsuits regarding patents, new plant varieties and technological knowledge.

It will hear IPR cases from all over Guangdong Province except for Shenzhen City, so the whole province will follow the same standard, said Xu Chunjian, deputy head of the provincial higher people’s court.

IPR cases in Guangdong accounted for 29.68 percent of the country’s total in 2013, an increase from 20.55 percent in 2009, said Xu.

“It is imperative that an IPR court be established in the province,” he added.

The court has selected 10 of its 30 judges, each having handled on average at least 600 IPR cases.

“The selection process was fair and transparent. I feel proud of being chosen,” said Gong Qitian.

In addition, it is China’s first court to treat all judges as equal, said Zhou Ling, an official with the provincial higher people’s court.

The Supreme People’s Court proposal, which was approved in August by China’s top legislature, advised that three special courts for IPR cases be set up.

The first IPR court was set up in Beijing in early November. It has accepted 221 cases in one month alone and heard its first case on Tuesday. About 63 percent of the cases are administrative lawsuits regarding brands.

A similar court in Shanghai is slated to be opened by the end of this year.

Chinese courts hear about 110,000 IPR cases annually and this is expected to increase.

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

 Rare panda triplets named

By Huang Guobao and Wang Ruoyao

A Chinese zoo announced names for the world’s only surviving giant panda triplets on Monday of December 15, choosing from over one million names proposed by the cubs’ fans across the world.

The female cub of the trio, born on July 29, was named “Meng Meng,” translated as “cute,” and the two males were named “Shuai Shuai” and “Ku Ku,” meaning “handsome” and “cool” respectively, according to the Chime Long Safari Park in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province.

“Criteria for the selection included names that are easily remembered by kids and convey our best wishes to the cubs,” said Dong Guixin, general manager of the zoo. He added the names were chosen based on the pandas’ gender and personality.

In late August, the zoo launched an online campaign to solicit names for the triplets. From the proposed names, the zoo came up with a short list of 100 and then invited a panel of animal experts, representatives from all walks of life and children to decide on the final names.

The triplets born at Chime Long are the fourth set of panda triplets ever recorded. But in all previous instances, at least one of the triplets died from physical defects or being underweight.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China tightens codeine control over addiction concerns

By Zuo Yuanfeng

China’s drug watchdog has ordered a severe crackdown on the illegal sale of cough syrup that contains codeine, a potentially addictive prescription drug.

“Pharmaceutical companies and drug retailers must be stripped of their licenses if found to have illegally sold cough syrup containing codeine, and they will be banned from future trading,” according to a statement jointly released on Tuesday of December 16 by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and the Public Security Ministry.

“In recent years, some pharmaceutical companies and drug retailers have been found to have sold such products in large quantities. [As a result] abuse of this substance is worsening,” the statement said, adding that addiction and death from abuse of codeine had caused “severe social harm”.

While the CFDA failed to disclose specific cases, the statement did list two pharmaceutical companies in central China’s Hubei Province as being among those to have had their licenses revoked.

Vowing to cooperate with the police in “resolutely putting an end to the abuse issue”, the CFDA said it had also boosted supervision and control on manufacturing, distribution and purchase.

 

 

 

CHENGDU

 Ancient stone Buddha statues found in SW China

By Li Qianwei and Cheng Lu

More than 80 stone Buddha statues and statue fragments were unearthed in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, archaeologists said on Tuesday of December 16.

The red sandstone statues were found in a 500-square meter plot near the ancient walls in Qingyang District, Chengdu, the provincial capital, according to the Institute of Archaeology in Chengdu.

Dating estimates have put ages of the finds to be from around the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the peak of China’s stone Buddha statue art, said Yi Li from the institute.

This discovery will contribute to research on religious art in China. The statues have been sent to be restored.

In addition, porcelain, pottery, building material and coins were also found during the excavation.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Chinese automakers recall vehicles over faulty airbags

By Jiang Xufeng and Xu Qingsong

Several automakers, including two of Honda’s joint ventures with Chinese partners, announced plans on Tuesday of December 16 to recall vehicles over faulty airbags.

The recall filed by GAC-Honda, the joint venture between Honda and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC), will start on February 1, 2015. It affects 16,505 Fit Saloon cars manufactured between Oct. 30, 2002 and Dec. 30, 2003, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement.

The airbags on the passenger side of the affected vehicles are defective and may cause danger, said the administration, China’s top quality watchdog.

Another recall, filed by Dongfeng-Honda, starts on Feb. 28, 2015 and affects 26,128 Elysion MPVs manufactured between June 4, 2012 and June 17, 2014 due to defective airbags on the driver’s side, said the administration.

GAC-Honda also announced a recall of 527,136 Accord cars manufactured between May 17, 2002 and Dec. 25, 2007 because of defective airbags on the driver’s side.

Dongfeng Motor Corporation announced a recall of 2,848 A60 sedans manufactured between Feb. 27, 2014 and June 5, 2014 over defective airbag control units starting on Tuesday.

 

 

 

URUMQI

 Xinjiang’s high-speed rail receives 167,000 passengers in one month

By Sun Xiaozheng and Yu Tao

The first high-speed rail link in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region celebrates one month of operations on Tuesday of December 16, having carried 167,000 passengers.

The daily passenger flow reached 5,600. Visitors to Turpan by rail, went up 30 to 50 percent on year, said Chen Shuguo, director of the tourism bureau of Turpan.

The 530-km line became operational on Nov.16, slashing travel time between the regional capital of Urumqi and the eastern city of Hami by half to three hours.

With a designed speed of over 200 km per hour, the line is part of the 1,776-km Lanxin high-speed railway linking Urumqi with Lanzhou, capital of northwestern province of Gansu, which will be put into service by the end of this year.

 

 

 

SHANGHAI

 China rat trader on trial

By Wang Yuan and Li Baojie

A Chinese mutual fund manager stood trial on Tuesday of December 16 in Shanghai for rat trading stocks to a value of 109 million yuan (17.6 million U.S. dollars).

Wei Libo was charged at Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court with making 2.73 million yuan from rat trading in 2009 when he was a fund manager with Soochow Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Rat trading is the use of personal accounts by fund managers to buy shares before the share price is affected by intervention from the fund the trader manages.

Wei bought stocks in 19 companies before the mutual fund he managed also bought them and then cashed in on the price differences.

Wei admitted to the offences and expressed remorse.

He fled to Malaysia in October last year, two days after the Chinese stock exchange regulator began investigating his trades. He turned himself in to Chinese police in April this year.

The court is to announce a verdict on a later date.

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

 Vice mayor under investigation in north China

By Lü Qiuping and Qi Leijie

A vice mayor in Chengde, north China’s Hebei Province, has been added to a list of least nine other officials in the city under investigation for discipline and law violations, the disciplinary watchdog said on Tuesday of December 16.

Su Aiguo, also a Standing Committee member of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Chengde City Committee, is suspected of “serious” discipline and law violations, a statement issued by the provincial CPC discipline inspection commission said.

Su, 56, served as vice mayor of Chengde from 2009.

Amid the nationwide campaign to root out corruption, at least nine other officials in Chengde had been put under investigation or penalized this year, including Li Gang, executive vice mayor of the city.

 

 

 

FUZHOU

 City official suspended over naughty nightclub pics

By Sun Xiaozheng and Shen Rufa

An official in Fuzhou, capital city of east China’s Fujian Province, has been suspended from office while he is investigated over indecent photos appearing online.

Twenty-six photos of Lin Zonghui — deputy director of housing and real estate bureau of Jin’an District — in a nightclub, appeared online at 1:41 a.m. on Tuesday of December 16.

The district’s disciplinary watchdog has confirmed the authenticity of the photos, and Lin is suspended from his post for further investigation.

 

 

 

CHANGSHA

 Cross-border drug gang busted in central China

By Han Xiaojing and Li Dan

Police in central China’s Hunan Province have busted a cross-border drug trafficking gang, capturing 3 suspects and confiscating about 2.12 kg of heroin and 571 “magu” pills, a stimulant composed of methamphetamine and caffeine, according to police.

Customs in Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, and police in Chenzhou City published a statement about the case on Monday of December 15.

According to the statement, in November, Changsha Customs intercepted a parcel filled with heroin that was mailed from the China-Myanmar border trade zone in the southwest city of Ruili to Guiyang County in Chenzhou City.

After a 10-day investigation, the parcel was sent to Guiyang County as planned to lure the gang members, the statement said.

Two suspects were caught while collecting the parcel, and the gang leader, surnamed Zhang, was arrested in a hotel shortly afterward.

 

 

 

NANNING

 19 gang members sentenced in south China

By Cheng Lu. Zhang Zhoulai and Huang Haoming

Nineteen members of a mafia-style gang stood trial on Tuesday of December 16 on multiple charges at a court in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Li Zhenfeng, the head of the gang, received the death penalty with two years’ reprieve for intentional homicide, illegal trade in guns and ammunition and operating gambling houses, at Wuzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Tuesday.

In February 2013, the gang, led by Li, plotted revenge on another gang in Tengxian County over conflict of interest. They shot dead one person and injured another two.

The court also ruled Li Zhenfeng and other gang members had bought guns and bullets twice between January and February 2013, and ran gambling houses for a long period of time.

Another 18 gang members have been given suspended death penalties or prison sentences.

 

 

 

ZHENGZHOU

 Central China police make 22 drug arrests

By Han Xiaojing and Li Lijing

Chinese police have busted a drug ring operating in several provinces, police of Xuchang city in central China’s Henan Province announced on Tuesday of December 16.

Police arrested 22 suspects, with about 18 kilograms of heroin, more than 2.5 million yuan (403,649 U.S. dollars) in cash and 4 vehicles confiscated.

Police became suspicious after a villager surnamed Zhang in Xuchang’s Xiangcheng county suddenly got rich in 2013. After investigating Zhang, police were led to the drug ring.

Police discovered more than 20 members had been purchasing drugs from southwest Yunnan Province and transporting them to Xiangcheng county. The drugs were distributed across the six provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong, Hunan, Hebei, Anhui and Henan.

The 22 suspects were seized from August to October. The People’s Procuratorate of Xiangcheng county announced the arrest of the suspects for drug dealing and trafficking offences in December.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Businesswoman in former railway minister’s case jailed 20 yrs

By Li Baojie and Xu Ming

A Chinese bussinesswoman involved in the corruption case of former railway minister Liu Zhijun was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday of December 16, said a local court in Beijing.

Ding Yuxin, former name known as Ding Shumiao, was convicted of bribery and illegal business operation, said a verdict by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court.

Ding also was fined 2.5 billion yuan (404 million U.S. dollars) and confiscated 20 million yuan in personal property.

 

 

 

 

China exposes 3,200 “naked officials”

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China exposes 3,200 “naked officials”

By Liu Tong and Hua Chunyu

China has found more than 3,200 “naked” officials at county-level or above.

“Naked” officials are generally senior officials who have sent their families abroad, often as a conduit transferring their ill-gotten assets abroad, and in preparation for their own flight.

Some 1,000 “naked officials” who hold key positions and whose families refuse to return were demoted, said a statement from the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Monday of December 15.

In February the anti-graft spotlight fell on these officials, as a high risk group; likely be stealing sizable amounts and – once they make their getaway – difficult to track down. Such officials are banned from promotions and from “important and sensitive” posts in areas like the military, diplomacy and national security.

Personnel departments nationwide have held talks with “naked officials” and asked them to choose between accepting less sensitive posts or bringing their families back to China. Those who refused have been disciplined and personnel departments will monitor “naked officials” on a regular basis in the future.

China’s southern Guangdong Province was the first to make high-profile moves against “naked officials”, drafting a law in October banning them holding important positions.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China punishes websites with vulgar contents

By Liu Lu

China’s internet regulator has punished eight websites that intentionally publish and hype up erotic and vulgar information.

Six of the eight websites have channels that carry large amounts of vulgar videos and picture, including ifeng.com, sina.com, 17173.com, Ku6.com, pptv.com and qq.com, said a statement from the State Internet Information Office on Monday of December 15.

The channels have been shut down and people in charge of the websites have been punished.

The statement said websites iqiyi.com and sohu.com were also problematic without giving specific information.

Since the campaign to “purify the internet” was launched in 2014, the online environment has turned healthier, the statement said. However, some websites still promote vulgar content, which can be harmful and is the source of strong protests by parents.

The office urged full investigation into news and portal websites so as to further crack down on obscenity.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Chinese trainmaker CSR wins 278-mln-USD Argentine contract

By Lin Jianyang and Fan Xi

China’s CSR Corp Ltd, one of the country’s two leading rolling stock manufacturers, has secured a contract worth 1.7 billion yuan (278 million U.S. dollars) to supply locomotives and rail cars to Argentina, CSR said on Monday of December 15 in an online statement.

CSR’s locomotives and trains will be used on Argentina’s Belgrano Cargo Railway Rehabilitation Project, in which China Machinery Engineering Corp, a state-owned international engineering and trade company, is the main contractor.

The contract included 80 locomotives and more than 2,000 freight rail cars, CSR said in the statement.

CSR said it has become an important supplier of locomotives and rail cars to the South American country. Supply services began as early as 2006.

Last year, CSR had won two contracts from Argentina to supply a total of 709 rail passenger carriages to make electric multiple unit (EMU) train formations, a deal worth more than 1 billion U.S. dollars.

The first batch of six CSR-made EMUs consisting of 54 carriages went into operation in July this year on railways linking the capital Buenos Aires to satellite cities, the company said.

Also on Monday, CSR said in another statement that one of its subsidiaries, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd, had won a maintenance, repair and overhaul contract worth about 400 million yuan from Malaysia’s Transport Ministry for six-car set trains owned by Malaysia’s national railway network.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 Economic planner OKs building new airport in Beijing

By Zhan Yan

China’s economic planner announced its approval on construction of a new airport in Beijing on Monday.

The project will involve 79.98 billion yuan (13.11 billion U.S. dollars) of investment and take about five years, said a statement from the National Development and Reform Commission.

The airport is designed to be able to handle 72 million passengers, 2 million tonnes of cargoes and mail, and 620,000 planes in 2025, it said.

It is expected to meet Beijing’s rising demand for air transportation and help achieve balanced development in the capital’s southern and northern areas, it said.

The new airport will be built in southern Beijing’s Daxing District, which borders Hebei Province.

Beijing International Airport, located northeastern Beijing, was listed as the second busiest airport by passenger numbers in the world last year, behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China insurance regulator announces investment scheme for small firms

By Zhu Shaobin

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) announced a venture capital fund scheme which will facilitate insurance capital investment for small companies and start-ups on Monday of December 15.

The insurance capital will support the financing needs of small firms, technological companies and those in newly emerging industries, through investing in company stocks, preferred stocks, and convertible securities, a CIRC said in a statement on its website.

For risk concerns, the CIRC required total investment allocated for the venture capital fund scheme should not exceed 2 percent of an insurance company’s total assets registered at the end of the previous quarter. Meanwhile, an insurance company’s investment in a single venture capital fund should not exceed 20 percent of the fund’s total value, the statement said.

Data showed insurance companies have provided more than 50 billion yuan (8.2 billion U.S. dollars) to small and micro-sized companies so far through stock purchases, equity investment and asset-backed insurance lending.

The CIRC predicted up to 200 billion yuan could be unleashed to support small companies through the new venture capital fund scheme.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China has 659 rural commercial banks by September

By Jiang Xufeng

There were 659 rural commercial banks registered across China by September, with combined assets surpassing 10 trillion yuan (1.64 trillion U.S. dollars), a top industry watchdog said on Monday of December 15.

The number of rural commercial banks represented an increase of 40.8 percent from 468 at the end of last year, figures from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) showed.

The total assets and loans of these rural commercial banks reached 10.4 trillion yuan and 5.4 trillion yuan by the end of September, respectively, said the CBRC.

In recent years, many Chinese rural commercial banks have been transformed from rural credit unions to better finance the agricultural sector and farmers, as financing bottleneck is a common challenge for small farms, experts said.

Financing for the rural economy should be given the top priority. Rural commercial banks at city levels as well as those at county levels and with assets more than 10 billion yuan should publicize details of their financing support for the rural economy in line with publication of their financial reports, the CBRC said in a policy guidance.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 CNOOC’s gas field in South China Sea starts production

By An Bei and Lin Jianyang

 

China’s largest producer of offshore oil and gas, CNOOC, announced production has begun at the Liuhua 34-2 gas field in the South China Sea on Monday of December 15.

CNOOC has a 51 percent working interest in the Liuhua 34-2 gas field, while Husky Oil China Limited holds the remaining 49 percent working interest and acts as the operator.

Liuhua 34-2 gas field is located in the Eastern South China Sea, with the water depth in the range of 850 to 1,250 meters. The gas field consists of one producing well and is producing approximately 30 million cubic feet per day.

The field is expected to reach its designed peak production of approximately 45 million cubic feet per day in 2015.

In March this year, CNOOC and Husky Oil China put another deep-water gas field, Liwan 3-1, into operation.

Listed in Hong Kong and New York, CNOOC is the listed subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Husky Oil China Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Husky Energy, which is headquartered in Calgary of Canada.

 

 

BEIJING

 China express delivery revenue up 42 pct in January-November

By Zhu Shaobin and Zhao Wenjun

Revenue for Chinese express delivery businesses hit 182.07 billion yuan (about 30 billion U.S. dollars) in the first 11 months of 2014, up 41.6 percent year on year, data from the State Post Bureau showed on Monday of December 15.

A total of 12.32 billion deliveries were made during the same period, up 51.8 percent year on year, the data showed.

Due to promotions launched by major e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com, revenue of the sector hit 22.81 billion yuan in November, up 42.2 percent. The revenue marked a historical high in terms of monthly income.

Total deliveries in November came to 1.65 billion, up 51.4 percent.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 3,917 Chinese villages have no electricity

By Shi Hao, Lin Hui and Tu Guoxi

Despite China’s rapid economic growth, a large number of China’s rural residents are still sealed in poverty.

“A total of 3,917 villages have no power supply, affecting nearly 3.8 million people,” Liu Shuwen, an official with the State Council office of poverty alleviation and development, said on Monday of December 15.

“Despite being the world’s second largest economy, China is burdened with the heavy task of fighting poverty.”

Rural people with an annual net income per capita of 2,300 yuan (374.54 U.S. dollars) or less are classified as poor. The country had 82.49 million rural people living in poverty at the end of 2013

“Aside from an electricity shortage, the rural poor usually have difficulty getting clean drinking water, education and medical care,” said Liu.

The Central Economic Work Conference last week attached great importance to poverty alleviation and vowed in a statement to improve people’s livelihood.

“China will beef up efforts to enhance basic public services and combat poverty,” said the statement.

 

 

 

LHASA

 Two jailed for killing endangered donkey in Tibet

By Wang Jun and Wang Ruoyao

Two men received jail sentences after being convicted of killing a Kiang, a highly endangered Tibetan wild donkey in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

On Monday, the people’s court in Zanda County sentenced Chen Haisheng to three years and six months in jail and his accomplice Li Ming one year in jail. Chen and Li were fined 80,000 yuan (13,082 U.S. dollars) and 20,000 yuan respectively.

The two chased and hit the animal in a vehicle on Aug. 9. After it collapsed, Chen killed it with a knife, disemboweled it and took the body to their workplace to cook for their co-workers. The two work for an electricity company from northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

Chen then shared a photo showing him posed with the body of the wild ass via messaging app WeChat. The picture ignited public outrage and the two were arrested two days later.

 

 

 

ZHENGZHOU

11 dead in China karaoke fire

By Fu Haosu, Zhang Xingjun and Wang Ruoyao

Eleven people were killed after a fire in a karaoke fire in central China’s Henan Province, said local authorities.

A total of 35 people were rushed to the hospital after the fire broke out at about 0:20 a.m. on Monday of December 15 in the Huangguan karaoke bar in Changyuan County, according to a statement from the website of the county government.

A total of 24 injured, including 13 seriously wounded, are being treated in hospitals. The condition of one has worsened, while the rest are in stable condition, according to the county government.

Kong Weikai, legal representative of the karaoke bar, is being held by the police. Identities of the dead are being verified.

The blaze was extinguished at around 1:05 a.m.. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Bo Xuebin, the county’s Party chief, ordered all karaoke bars in the county to suspend operation and ensure fire safety.

 

 

 

 

Chinese passengers chastised for brawl on Thai flight

 

 

 

Chinese passengers

chastised for brawl on Thai flight

 

By Zhong Qun and Zhong Quansheng

 

In the latest scandal to taint the image of Chinese tourists abroad, four Chinese passengers grabbed headlines for causing chaos on a Thai budget flight, forcing the aircraft to return to Thailand.

The incident occurred on Thursday night of December 11, when a couple on a China-bound AirAsia flight, coded FD 9101, had a spat with the flight crew over the seating arrangement and hot water, according to Zhang Xiao, a TV host who broke the story on microblog Sina Weibo.

The couple, who were not seated together, demanded to switch seats so they could sit together when they boarded the plane. They then requested hot water when the plane was climbing, which was served only after the plane reached cruising altitude, according to Shenzhen Satellite TV, citing a passenger surnamed Wu.

The man, already annoyed by the water delay, had another fight with the flight attendant over payment and a receipt for the hot water, Wu said.

“A flight attendant who could speak Chinese came over to explain the situation, but when she turned around, the woman poured the hot water on her back,” said another passenger surnamed Zhou.

Pictures on Weibo show the flight attendant crying while covering her face. A video posted online by a passenger on the same flight shows a man screaming at flight attendants while threatening to bomb the aircraft.

After the air crew demanded an apology, the man’s girlfriend climbed over the back seats, threatening to jump out of the plane, all while punching the plane windows, Wu added.

The in-flight brawl forced the plane to return to Don Mueng International Airport in Bangkok, where the couple and two other passengers involved were taken away by Thai police. They were required to pay compensation of 50,000 Thai Baht (1,525 U.S. dollars) to the flight attendant, and all four passengers were fined a small amount of money.

AirAsia said they will not sue the passengers.

But the drama did not end there. According to an online commenter writing under the name “Lvluonuanuan,” after the couple arrived in Nanjing, they refused to get off the plane, asking the air crew to issue a statement to “clear all the rumors” on the Internet. The man even threatened to hit the air crew and onlookers at the airport.

On Saturday night, China National Tourism Administration issued a statement, saying the passengers’ behavior has “severely tarnished the image of Chinese people.”

It vowed to probe the case and punish the passengers involved by including them in a travel blacklist system in their home province of Jiangsu. The tourism agency that arranged the couple’s travel has also been criticized publicly.

The scandal spurred a storm of criticism on Chinese social media, with embarrassed netizens writing scathing comments.

“Whoever you are, wherever you go, you should remember that your behavior represents your country,” said one comment.

Some angry citizens even started a “human flesh search” for the identity of the passengers involved.

Luo Guo’an, a research fellow with Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, said the case has tarnished the image of Chinese people, and tourists should learn to behave themselves.

Outbound tourism is booming in China on the back of rising disposable income, with roughly 97.3 million passengers traveling overseas in 2013, according to official statistics. However, stories of public vandalism abound and have largely embarrassed China.

In 2013, a boy was caught carving Chinese characters in the Luxor Temple in Egypt. In 2012, two Chinese passengers had a brawl over seating arrangements on a Swiss flight, forcing the aircraft to return.

 

 

 

 

Nanjing Massacre museum receives record high visitors

 

 

 

NANJING

 Nanjing Massacre museum receives record high visitors

By Sun Xiaozheng, Jiang Fang and Cai Yugao

China’s Nanjing Massacre museum received 103,500 visitors on Sunday of December 14, one day after the first national memorial day for victims of the Nanjing Massacre, marking a record high since establishment in 1985.

Zhu Chengshan, curator of the memorial hall, said the passion of the visitors showed the influence of the national memorial day.

The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, based in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, was closed to the public from Nov. 18 to Dec. 13 in preparation for the first national memorial day.

On Dec. 13, 1937, Japanese troops began six weeks of destruction, pillage, rape and slaughter in Nanjing. Historical records show that more than 300,000 Chinese, including unarmed soldiers and innocent civilians, were murdered.

The memorial hall access was free to the public from 2004, which houses original remains, sculptures and historical records of the massacre.

Starting from 1994, Jiangsu Province and Nanjing City have given memorial assemblies on Dec. 13 every year to mourn the victims and promote peace.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, has set two national memorial days, July 7 and Dec. 13, early this year to mark victory in the anti-Japanese invasion war and mourn Nanjing Massacre victims.

 

 

 

YICHANG

 Three Gorges project celebrates 20th anniversary with record throughput

By Sun Xiaozheng, Wu Zhi and Liang Jianqiang

China’s Three Gorges project celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sunday of December 14 with a record high throughput of its five-tier ship lock.

The throughput of the year 2014 is expected to reach a record 110 million tonnes and the total throughput since the lock started operation in 2003 reached 700 million tonnes.

In the first six months, the throughput through the project’s ship lock reached 55.69 million tonnes, an increase of 11.35 percent year on year, said the Three Gorges Navigation Administration.

The throughput of passengers also grew 54 percent to reach 191,400, said the administration.

The top three categories of cargo were mining materials, ore and containers.

The Three Gorges project is a multi-functional water control system, consisting of a 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam, a five-tier ship lock and 26 hydropower turbo-generators.

The project generates electricity, controls floods by storing excess water and helps to regulate the river’s shipping capacity.

 

 

 

WUHAN

 Tourist inflow closely affected by China’s air quality: report

By YuJian, Cheng Yunjie and Zhang Jian

Chinese researchers said on Sunday of December 14 they have measured the effects of air quality on inbound tourists, calling for more attention to air pollution treatment.

The researchers looked at the proportion of days each year with air quality that meets the official standard. For each one-percent drop in good air days, the number of inbound tourists fell by about 443,550 people, according to the 2014 China Tourism Development Report released by the Wuhan Chapter of the China Tourism Academy.

Researcher Hu Jing, chief of the Wuhan Chapter, said that air quality had become a pivotal factor in people’s travel decisions.

According to the report, more than 80 percent of respondents said they would avoid tourism destinations prone to smog. Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of respondents said they would schedule their travel based on air quality index.

The report also indicated that air quality influences visitors’ traveling experiences, with more than ninety percent saying smog ruins the sights and their mood.

China began to include PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone in its new air quality standard in 2013.

Statistics from the Ministry of Environmental Protection showed that the proportion of days with up-to-standard air quality in 74 cities during the first half of the year was 60.3 percent, slightly up compared to 58.7 percent during the same period last year.

 

 

BEIJING

 China’s glaciers shrink by 18 pct in half century

By Li Zhihui

China’s glaciers have retreated by about 7,600 square km, an 18 percent retreat since the 1950s, Chinese scientists have found.

A survey using remote sensing data between 2006 and 2010 showed China had 48,571 glaciers covering 51,840 square km in the west region, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which released its second catalog of the country’s glaciers on Saturday of December 13.

An average of 243.7 square km of glacial ice had disappeared every year over the past half century, according to the survey by the CAS Cold and Arid Regions Research Institute.

The worst shrink was detected on the Altai Mountains located in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Gangdise Mountain in the Tibet Autonomous Region, with retreat hitting 37.2 percent and 32.7 percent respectively over the past five decades.

Major glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, especially the east part of Gangdise as well as the southern and western Himalayas were melting at the most rapid pace, with areas shrinking by 2.2 percent every year, according to the survey.

 

 

 

BEIJING

 China to survey underground pipelines

By Zhan Yan

China will survey its underground pipelines in the coming year, authorities announced on Sunday of December 14.

The survey is scheduled to be finished by late July of next year, and cities must update their information systems accordingly by the end of 2015, said a notice from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD).

The move aims to improve China’s management of underground pipelines, said Chen Dawei, Vice Minister of MOHURD.

China has at least 20 kinds of pipelines underground. They are used for water supply, drainage, natural gas supply, heat supply, electricity, communications and industrial production. Oil pipelines are not included in the survey.

The notice was jointly mapped by five departments, including MOHURD, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration of Work Safety, the National Energy Administration and the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.