China’s property registration helps clear market

 

 

 

China’s property

registration

helps clear market

 

By Zhu Shaobin

 

China’s new property registration rules, designed to unify the register and protect owners, could have dramatic effects of the real estate market by bringing more transparency.

New rules covering collective ownership of land, ownership of buildings and forest, contracted land management rights and rights of use, will take effect on March 1, the State Council announced on Monday of December 22. The Ministry of Land and Resources will lead and supervise registration.

Segregated registration by different government departments was inefficient, bringing disorder and risk. The unified system will confirm ownership and reduce overlap between government agencies, said Wei Lihua, a ministry official.

“The system is in accord with the 2007 Property Law, ensures the security of transactions and protect owners,” Wei said.

Information from housing, agriculture, forestry, and maritime authorities will be shared and the State Council has urged all departments to contribute relevant information.

Registration will be electronic or in print and kept permanently. Electronic versions shall be backed up regularly.

The new registration system could pave the way for property tax.

Zhang Dawei, an analyst at Centaline Property, a real estate agency, told Xinhua that some Chinese cities are seeing more luxury apartments for sale as the registration system moves forward. Speculative investment in the property sector might flow into other sectors on expectation of a property tax raising the costs of holding property assets.

As land becomes more scarce, traditional revenue through land sales by local governments will become difficult to sustain. “In such circumstances, a property tax will become inevitable, but only after a unified registration system is in place,” said Hu Jinghui, vice president of China’s major real estate agency 5i5j.com.

“The data collected through the system will allow new taxes, such as a property tax and an inheritance tax,” Hu said.

Registration will, to some extent, help anti-graft efforts. Massive investment in property is often a sign of illegal gains through abuse of power.

“Registration will help us know exactly how many properties are there; how many people own homes and how many do not,” said Li Yang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, but the effect on property prices needs to be watched.

Hu Jinghui believes that many factors affect prices, including supply and demand and credit policies. He sees registration as just one of the indirect, long-term elements influencing prices.

 

 

 

 

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Old investment remedy the treatment for China’s “new normal”

 

 

 

NEWS ANALYSIS

Old investment remedy

the treatment for China’s “new normal”

 

By Shi Hao and Wang Xian

 

For the past decade, Chinese policymakers have spent big on major projects to buoy growth in the face of economic hardship, and this approach appears not to have changed with the “new normal” of lower GDP growth.

This week, China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), approved the construction of a new Beijing airport worth nearly 80 billion yuan (13 billion U.S. dollars).

Approval of the project, followed by approval of five highway projects this week, came amid a fresh wave of investment in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Since October, the NDRC has given the greenlight to 27 projects worth a total of about 1.2 trillion yuan. Most of them were transportation infrastructure projects in China’s middle and western regions.

Transport infrastructure is one of seven “major project packages” proposed by the economic planner earlier this year to lure investment, especially by private investors, with preferential measures.

The remaining packages include projects in power grids and oil pipelines, health care, environmental protection, oil and gas exploitation, green energy and agriculture.

“Boosting investment is an important move in response to the economic ‘new normal’,” said NDRC spokesman Li Pumin.

Investment, consumption and exports are the three driving forces of a country’s economy. Although spending on expensive projects is a universal and effective way to stimulate growth in many countries, this “prescription” has become quite controversial in China as previous large-scale investment plans resulted in serious overcapacity problems.

Zuo Xiaolei, chief economist of China Galaxy Securities, said over-reliance on investment is an old mindset and policymakers should strive to forge new growth engines.

However, Hou Yunchun, former deputy director of Development Research Center under the State Council, said that encouraging investment may be the best choice currently.

“Consumption and exports will largely remain stable in the near future. What we can do is to spur investment in urban infrastructure and public service,” Hou told the National Business Daily.

The situation is pressing. China’s GDP slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter and fixed-asset investment also decelerated.

In addition, the consumer price index (CPI) hit a five-year low in November and very modest inflation indicated weak domestic demand and high downward pressure, according to Niu Li, an economist at the State Information Center.

China’s central bank predicted in a report this week that the country’s 2015 GDP growth could slow to 7.1 percent, following wide market expectations that China may lower its GDP target for next year.

Preventing GDP and CPI from dropping steeply is China’s top task in 2015, said HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin.

“China will make investment play a pivotal role in economic expansion,” said a statement released last week after the Central Economic Work Conference, an annual tone-setting meeting for next year.

“Although traditional sectors are saturated after decades of rapid growth, there are still great investment opportunities in infrastructure and other emerging sectors,” said the statement.

China has abundant capital thanks to high saving rates and market potential is huge in urbanization, pollution abatement, education, and medical care, said Niu.

“The NDRC will make sure all projects in the seven packages go smoothly and roll out more packages at a proper time,” said Li.

 

 

 

 

Time to seize the opportunity of China’s “new normal”

 

 

Photo – Internet

 

 

HAIKOU

Time to seize

the opportunity of China’s “new normal”

 

By Zhang Zhongkai, Lin Jianyang, Zheng Weina and Li Yunlu

 

In Lingshui, an autonomous ethnic minority town on south China’s Hainan Island, the real estate sector has driven growth for the past decade. But the industry’s magic seems to have run out this year.

Total housing area sold and sales volume plummeted by 14.7 percent and 7.4 percent respectively in the first three quarters of this year, leaving local government to review its economic development policies.

“We did feel the changes in the market and the whole economy, so called the ‘new normal,’ and we know that to survive and thrive, we must change our way of economic development and find new growth engines,” said Yang Wenping, head of the local government.

The town has sought cooperation with other countries such as Singapore and Israel and international companies like Microsoft to bring in advanced technology and investment by setting up an agriculture R&D base and IT industrial parks.

The small town’s efforts to adjust to the economic “new normal” have opened opportunities to the rest of the world, echoing the insights of a key CPC economic meeting that concluded this week. At the meeting, Chinese leaders mapped out major economic policies and priorities for the coming year, which are expected to benefit not only China, but the entire world.

 

FROM “MADE IN CHINA” TO “MADE FOR CHINA”

 

According to the conference, China will adjust inbound and outbound trade and investment patterns to achieve balance of international payments. It will also expand market access in the service sector, open up the manufacturing sector more, and promote the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) model.

By 2020, China’s middle class population is expected to reach 600 million, the country’s import volume could surpass 17 trillion U.S. dollars and outbound direct investment is expected to top 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars. That means 7 million new jobs and 27 percent of the world’s GDP growth, according to Zhang Yansheng, secretary general of the academic committee at the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planner.

“With rising income, Chinese consumers now have a bigger and more diverse appetite for global high-quality products, and the country’s previous export and import policies are expected to be adjusted accordingly,” Zhang added.

“That means a transition from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Made for China.’ The demand for safer food, brand-name cars, financial products and overseas travel is likely to grow impressively both in speed and volume,” said Goldman Sachs economist Ha Jiming.

 

GOING GLOBAL

The country, under pressure to upgrade its industries and restructure its economy, has increasingly been eyeing the overseas market for a way out. The firms attached to China’s last three decades of growth will be looking to diversify into new markets.

China’s outbound direct investment (ODI) is expected to outpace foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first time ever this year. Nearly 5,000 Chinese firms invested in 154 countries and regions in the first ten months of this year, with ODI by non-financial firms up 17.8 percent year on year to 81.9 billion U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, FDI on the Chinese mainland dropped 1.2 percent year on year to 95.9 billion U.S. dollars, according to the commerce ministry.

Chinese enterprises that venture overseas now have more diversified portfolios, expanding from traditional natural resources to technology and brands, and China’s efforts to facilitate innovation and urbanization and develop a modern service sector need international experience and cooperation, said Merit E. Janow, Dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

 

OPEN WORLD ECONOMY

 

China is also promoting an open world economy by building cohesive regional trade networks and enhancing regional connections such as the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” and the “Silk Road Economic Belt.”

Regional economic cooperation platforms like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS Development Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the Euro-Asia High-Speed Transport Corridor will boost regional inter-connectivity and finance regional cooperation.

China has signed 12 free trade agreements, lowering trade barriers in 20 countries and districts for Chinese business. China has also wrapped up free trade agreement negotiations with South Korea and Australia.

“China’s efforts to embrace the ‘new normal’ not only mean a more balanced domestic growth model, but also may contribute to a more open and efficient regional and global development framework,” Zhang said.

 

 

 

 

Party discipline stricter than law

 

 

 

CHINA VOICE

Party discipline

stricter than law

 

By Li Huizi

 

The Communist Party of China (CPC)’s rules are more strict than the national law.

Zhou Yongkang, the most senior Party official ever to face criminal charges, was expelled from the CPC last week and his case has been passed on to the courts.

An investigation found that Zhou, a former Standing Committee member of the political bureau of the CPC central committee, seriously violated the Party’s political, organizational and confidentiality rules.

In China, Party rules are the law within the CPC. More than 86 million Party members must abide by both the national law and Party rules.

The ruling CPC orders all members to be strict with themselves as they are “vanguard of the Chinese nation.” It also deals with anyone who breaks Party rules.

The CPC rules are much more strict than the national law. Party membership means one should always demand high standards and discipline oneself all the time. For example, the CPC does not allow the existence of “naked officials” whose family have moved overseas, to prevent corrupt officials fleeing overseas.

Party members are not allowed to hold lavish banquets and accept costly gifts, according to CPC frugality rules that took effect two years ago.

Immoral behavior, such as adultery, will lead to warnings and punishment for Party members. Last week’s statement on Zhou said he “committed adultery with a number of women and traded his power for sex and money.”

Adultery is not considered a crime in China, but it is increasingly common in disciplinary punishment within the Party, and has become a key area for graft. The ongoing anti-corruption campaign saw at least 31 officials investigated for alleged adultery, according to people.com.cn.

The anti-corruption campaign is run by the entire legal system, not just the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. “Tigers and flies” are initially investigated by the CPC before being transferred to prosecutors.

Both the internal investigation and judicial procedures are part of China’s framework for rule of law. The CPC has rules to regulate graft probes, such as disciplinary inspections.

The authority has so far covered 47 state-owned groups in the previous four rounds of central inspections since the CPC leadership took power in 2012 and has found plenty of evidence of corruption, leading to punishment of wrongdoers. A new round of inspections was launched late last month and was expected to take 30 days.

All these inspections and disciplines must run within the scope of the Constitution, the country’s supreme law.

 

 

 

 

Riding the bulls, carefully

 

 

 

CHINA VOICE

Riding the bulls, carefully

 

By Wang Zichen and Li Baojie

 

It’s not that one of the world’s worst-performing markets does not deserve a rally or two, but even a “bull market” does not adequately describe the frenzy at the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges.

 

As China’s stock market continues a record-breaking streak that includes a flux of mom-and-pop investors, some words of caution are in order.

It’s not that one of the world’s worst-performing markets does not deserve a rally or two, but even a “bull market” does not adequately describe the frenzy at the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. In the last 11 trading days, two key stock indexes climbed around 20 percent, with the biggest one-day turnover hitting 1 trillion yuan (162 billion U.S. dollars).

Granted, the rising tide is not completely unfounded. All playing their part, the central bank recently had a considerable injection of liquidity as well as a benchmark rate cut, a stock trading link between Shanghai and Hong Kong was established, housing and high-yield investment markets both cooled, and A shares were on offer for cheaper price.

But all these factors appeared insufficient to put the stocks on fire. For example, the underwhelming Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect proved less exciting than many had expected.

More broadly, the Chinese economy is still – painfully – adjusting to the so-called New Normal where growth will slow further, with Monday’s trade numbers showing the latest weakening signs: exports and imports in November fell sharply below expectations.

But the big picture supposedly did little to affect the thinking of retail investors, who have recently been flooding brokerages and pushing the indexes to new highs.

For individual investors, who significantly outnumber institutional investors in domestic exchanges, greed now appears to triumph fear, with extraordinary, if not maniacal, numbers of new account openings and purchases that had not been seen for years.

Also unseen was the enormous role of leverage in this rally, as introduction of margin financing enabled investors to buy shares with borrowed money. Outstanding margin position is now around 850 billion yuan, more than double the figures reported at the end of June. Should trends reverse, the volatility must not be understated.

From a longer perspective, a sustained bull market is only a matter of time as China’s deepening reform and opening-up is now on fast track to provide results.

The problem with a momentum market, however, is that one can’t tell when the tide will turn. Therefore, it is necessary to ring some bells now as the red-hot market is rocketing a bit too fast.

 

 

 

Leave no space for escaped corrupt officials

 

 

CHINA VOICE

Leave no space

for escaped corrupt officials

 

By Ren Ke

 

With growing determination by China to catch criminals who have escaped abroad, other countries should also make coordinated efforts to bring these people to justice.

Corruption is a crime in all countries and regions of the world, making corrupt officials a common target everywhere. They may bring money to destinations, but they go against universal values and will undermine the reputation of the countries they are hiding in.

China launched its Fox Hunt 2014 operation in July, targeting corrupt officials and suspects in economic crimes that have fled the country. The goal is to “block the last route of retreat” for corrupt officials after the country’s crackdown narrows the space for abuse of power.

So far, 288 suspects have been seized, including 21 at large for more than a decade, and 84 from developed countries such as the U.S., Canada, Japan and Belgium.

Chinese authorities recently announced an ultimatum — December 1 — for escaped economic crimes suspects, who are mostly corrupt officials, to give themselves up in exchange for lenient sentences.

The country will continue to hunt for them with harsher punishment in the future, as it is an indispensable part of the country’s overall anti-corruption plan that has already surprised the world. If corrupt officials can seek safe haven abroad, the anti-corruption war will not win.

In the meantime, the operation needs more international cooperation to address obstacles arising from different national situations in China and other countries.

Chinese corrupt officials and other economic crime suspects often choose the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other countries with friendly immigrant policies as their escape destinations.

At present, some difficulties or obstacles have hindered cross-border anti-corruption cooperation. Political, social and legal systems vary between China and other countries, which may result in different views in specific cases.

The litigation system and procedures are also different. In addition, many escape destinations have no extradition treaties with China.

Law enforcers and legislators from China and other countries, with a prerequisite of abiding laws from both countries, should make joint efforts to address the procedural issues and facilitate the process.

It is a positive sign that the legal system and rule of law have been greatly improved in China, with many countries strengthening cooperation and coordination with China on law enforcement.

In less than one month, Chinese President Xi Jinping has referred to hunting for economic crimes suspects overseas and recovering embezzled money on various occasions.

When visiting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji or attending the G20 Summit in Brisbane earlier last week, Xi talked about the issue, hoping to strengthen law enforcement cooperation with other countries.

China has also helped forge a cross-border law enforcement network to strengthen transnational anti-corruption cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, which was adopted by APEC leaders earlier this month.

The progress of cross-border anti-corruption cooperation is irreversible. Places that were once safe havens in the minds of corrupt officials’ minds will soon turn to dead ends.

 

 

 

 

Obama expects to meet Xi on relations, major issues

 

 

Obama expects to meet Xi

on relations, major issues

 

By Yang Qingchuan

 

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss bilateral relations and other major issues on the sidelines of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

“I look forward to my meeting with President Xi because it will be an opportunity to deepen our partnerships” in areas where the interests of the two countries overlap, Obama said.

The United States welcomes China’s stable, prosperous and peaceful rise and hopes for China’s contribution to global security and prosperity, Obama said in a written interview with Xinhua prior to his trip to Beijing to attend the APEC informal economic leaders’ meeting.

 

EXPECTING CANDID TALKS WITH XI

 

Obama recalled his meeting with Xi at the Sunnylands in California last year, saying it helped both sides get to know one another better, more clearly understand the perspectives and intentions of the governments, and explore areas where the two countries can deepen cooperation.

“So one of the things President Xi and I can do at this week is continue to explore ways to build the trust that is critical to progress on so many issues where we can work together,” he noted.

Lauding the progressive development of bilateral ties since the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations, Obama said that “we see ties and cooperation between the two nations that would have been “unthinkable 35 years ago.”

The president listed benefits brought about by China-U.S. cooperation: the massive trade relationship supports jobs in both countries and powers the global growth; scientists and researchers from the two nations collaborate to unlock new discoveries and innovations; joint work on security issues — from the Korean Peninsula to Iran — promotes a more peaceful and secure world; tackling new challenges — from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to climate change — helps save lives and leaves a better, safer planet for children.

On people-to-people exchanges, Obama said the friendship and cooperation between the two peoples is the foundation of the broader relationship between the two nations.

He said that more students from China study in the United States than from any other country, while more than 100,000 Americans have studied in China during his presidency.

“My wife, Michelle, and our daughters Malia and Sasha experienced the connections between our peoples for themselves when they visited China earlier this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, Obama mentioned that the United States and China still have differences with regard to some issues and that he expects to discuss them “directly and candidly” with President Xi.

 

NOT SEEKING TO CONTAIN CHINA

 

Obama reaffirmed that the United States welcomes the rise of a China that is stable, prosperous and peaceful and that plays a responsible role in regional and global affairs.

The president said that he absolutely rejects the suggestion that the United States is trying to somehow contain China, calling for discarding the outdated zero-sum thinking that says one country’s growth or security has to come at the expense of another.

“I firmly believe that we can avoid repeating history where we have seen destructive rivalries between existing powers and emerging powers,” he said.

As major trade partners, both the United States and China have a huge stake in the success of each other, said Obama, adding that “we want China and the Chinese people to succeed and contribute to global security and prosperity, because it is good for all of us.”

Obama lauded bilateral extraordinary trade and economic relationship that delivered benefits for the two nations. “I would like to continue deepening our trade and investment ties because it would mean even more jobs and opportunity for both our peoples,” he said.

Mentioning the expected meeting with Xi, Obama said it will be an opportunity to make progress toward an ambitious bilateral investment treaty, calling on both sides to be bold and negotiate a high-standard agreement.

 

STRENGTHENING ANTI-TERRORISM COOPERATION

 

As terrorism has become a global challenge, Obama said the United States opposes terrorism in all of its forms and is willing to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation with China on fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East and other issues.

Referring to recent acts of terror in Kunming, the capital city of southwest China’s Yunnan Province and Urumqi, the regional capital of the western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, by the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Obama said he was appalled by these acts of terror, and extended deepest condolences and the sympathies of the U.S. people to the victims and their families.

“As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the grief of these families who lost a loved one. Terrorist groups like ETIM should not be allowed to establish a safe haven in ungoverned areas along China’s periphery,” he said.

Counter-terrorism is an area where the two nations could strengthen cooperation, Obama said, specifying that the United States and China could work together in stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and cracking down on terrorist funding networks.

 

APPRECIATION FOR CHINA’S HOSPITALITY

 

Commenting on the APEC economic leaders’ meeting in Beijing, Obama thanked Xi and China for hosting this event, saying that “my fellow leaders and I will be greeted with the hospitality for which the Chinese people are known.”

He also commended China for using this year as APEC host to focus on bringing economies closer together and reducing the barriers that stand in the way of trade, investment and creating jobs.

This year, the APEC Beijing meeting has included further efforts on trade facilitation, regulatory transparency, anti-corruption, energy efficiency and expanding the role of women in the economy, Obama said.

 

 

 

 

Who are the winners of China’s anti-corruption drive?

 

 

Who are the winners of

China’s anti-corruption drive?

 

By Liu Tong and Meng Na

 

There is no doubt that corrupt “tigers and flies,” cadres from the top to bottom ranks, are the losers in China’s anti-corruption drive. But who are the winners?

Since President Xi Jinping assumed office, he has regarded anti-corruption as an issue that affects the Party’s and country’s survival.

The core of the anti-corruption struggle is to always maintain the Party’s close relationship with the people and avoid being isolated from them, he said.

Now after more than 22 months since late 2012, the campaign is still going strong and likely to continue. Tens of “tigers” above the ministerial level have fallen, including a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Central Committee.

By rooting out some “bad apples,” the vast majority of Party members will remain clear-headed and the Party’s purity will be preserved, said Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Xin said the campaign has reaffirmed the CPC’s resolve to consolidate the trust of the masses, improving the Party’s ability to run the country.

But the importance of the campaign is more than just its role in saving and strengthening the CPC. It is also about reversing unhealthy trends in society, such as the prevalence of unspoken rules and a gift-giving culture.

Officials have been freed from endless social activities, and ordinary people are finding it easier to get their children into schools without paying bribes to officials. Those who have suffered under the corruption culture have been emboldened to fight against it.

Xinhua reported earlier this month that restaurant owners in several places have demanded local governments pay their debts, which accumulated in the form of IOUs and at the cost of taxpayers.

Even the hairy crab, a high-end delicacy mainly enjoyed by government officials, saw its first price cut in 12 years in September and can now be easily bought by ordinary people.

Yang Weilong, president of a local hairy crab industry association at Yangchenghu Lake in Jiangsu Province, acknowledged that the price cut was connected to the ongoing anti-corruption drive, according to media reports.

In addition, the anti-graft drive is making it easier to do business in China. Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, said that the campaign is leveling the business playing field.

Joerg’s comments reflect the fact that corruption in China is related to officials’ unchecked power in setting commodity prices, project approvals and monopoly investigations. Without offering bribes, it is sometimes difficult to get projects approved, and such power mainly rests in various administrative approval items.

So it is no exaggeration to say that anti-corruption helps push forward Premier Li Keqiang’s promise to streamline administration, delegate power to lower levels and slash administrative approval items.

Zheng Yongnian, a China studies expert with National University of Singapore, said that the anti-corruption drive is more than just netting “tigers and flies,” but is also about giving reform opportunities to clean and honest officials.

“Rooting out corrupt officials and pushing forward reform measures are the ultimate purpose of the campaign,” said Zheng.

Xin Ming, the professor with the party school, said that the campaign can help China avoid the “middle-income trap,” a state of malaise featuring a widening income gap that afflicts many developing countries.

“A market economy should not be a corrupt economy, and China’s economic growth is not achieved through opportunities created by corruption,” said Xin, adding that the overall economy would be better without corruption.

 

 

 

 

By wereadchina Posted in Opinion

Time, patience needed for Chinese Nobel science winner

 

 

Time, patience needed for

Chinese Nobel science winner

 

By Liu Lu and Li Huizi

 

This year’s Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics and chemistry have been announced, with no winners of Chinese nationality, disappointing many.

Each fall, Chinese science and the Nobel Prize spark embarrassed conversation online. Chinese people have long had a “Nobel-complex.” No Chinese scientist has won a Nobel prize in science in more than a century.

Though it is the world’s second-largest economy and the largest goods-trading nation, China is not a scientific power and is still far less developed in terms of productivity compared with advanced nations. The gap lies in policies, government input, education and attitudes toward science.

Nobel prizes in science only recognize basic science, with results not benefiting people’s lives until decades or centuries later.

Scientific studies should serve science itself, not popularity or bureaucracy. Few research findings will turn into real-life products immediately. They need time and patience.

China’s fast growth in past decades has created economic miracles, but breeds a sense of eagerness for quick success and instant benefits in fields such as science and education.

Basic science should receive more support in China, where applied science, with its quicker results, has attracted the attention of policymakers who allocate research funds.

Certainly, applied science quickly pushes social progress, but basic science will do the same in the long run. Policymakers should adopt a balanced approach in allocating academic spending and putting forward policies.

A system centered on scientists rather than bureaucracy values academic manpower and creates a better innovative environment, freeing researchers of bureaucratic concerns and distractions, such as the tiring process of applying for research outlays.

Government spending on science and the respect a country shows for science is key to scientific development. The United States has invested heavily in basic science through both government and private capital. Many foreign scientists, including Albert Einstein, went to the U.S. during World War II, adding to America’s technological strength.

China’s spending on research and development (R&D) accounted for 2.08 percent of the GDP last year. Although it is a small percentage compared with technological powers, the figure has been growing steadily in recent years. The percentage was only 0.57 percent in 1995.

Education, likewise, should encourage an innovative spirit and independent thinking, which is just what China’s educational system lacks and has led to an outcry for reform for years. Rote learning and memorization, which Chinese schools use in teaching, are to blame.

Last month, China adopted a decade-long plan to overhaul its college entrance exam and university enrollment system in order to improve fairness, ease the intense pressure on students, and cultivate creative thinkers, as the overemphasis on numerical scores in the current system hinders students’ innovative ability.

The low-hanging fruit of China’s fast economic development over past decades has been picked. Reforms in scientific and educational systems need more time and effort. A Chinese Nobel prize in science, as such, requires patience.