An App today can keep the doctor away?

 

 

 

An App today

can keep the doctor away?

 

By Yuan Quan  |  CHINA FEATURES

 

 

 

Gong Xiaoming (龚晓明 http://www.weibo.com/obgyn), an obstetrician at a public hospital in Shanghai, usually sees up to 30 outpatients a day, but when he writes an article about uterine fibroids it can easily draw tens of thousands clicks within a day on his microblog.

“I can’t believe that a doctor on Weibo can be so influential,” said Gong, 42.

By day he works at Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, but around the clock 520,000 people follow him on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog service.

Gong’s popularity started with an article he wrote in 2012, saying that many female patients were diagnosed or even prescribed treatments to deal with “cervical erosion”, which, he believes, is not a real medical condition.

Gong hoped the article could raise public awareness about overtreatment. He put it on his Weibo, and it was soon reposted 33,000 times, with over 4,000 comments. A microblogger replied, “Hail to the doctor with a conscience!”

A search for “doctor” on Sina Weibo can throw up more than 2,700 accounts, nearly half of them accredited to specific hospitals. There are also hundreds of “nutritionists” and “medical technicians”. Followers range from thousands to millions. The most popular doctor’s Weibo account has 3.61 million “fans”, 30,000 more than that of basketball star Stephon Marbury.

As well as popularizing medical science, these people are revealing the human face of their profession through social media. They speak the slang of the Internet, talk about their private lives and make fun of themselves.

Yu Ying (于莺 http://www.weibo.com/539945667), a former staff member at the prestigious Peking Union Medical College Hospital, is a pioneer doctor in social media. She named her Weibo account “Emergency Superwoman”, using a selfie photo as her icon. She gathered a following by sharing the joys and embarrassments of working in a major hospital. However, her posts often sparked controversy by revealing problems in China’s healthcare system.

Cui Yutao (崔玉涛 http://www.weibo.com/cuiyutao), a pediatrician at a Beijing private hospital, runs a virtual clinic. All his posts are replies to questions about baby health. His patience and references to Western medicine have won nationwide acclaim. His fans call him “Super Hero”.

Dong Ning, a young pediatrician, has no time to run his own Weibo account, but he believes that the online consultations can help cut patients’ medical costs.

Dong cites the example of a pregnant woman who might have many questions during her nine-month pregnancy. In the West, she could ask her family doctor for help, but in China, she must register at various departments in a crowded hospital, sometimes choosing the wrong department in her ignorance.

“Doctors’social media accounts fill in the blanks,” said Dong.

The online clinic also helps doctors.

“Social media is a good platform offering for my observations, and lets me know the demands of my patients, as well of my staff,” said Duan Tao, president of Shanghai First Maternity & Infant Hospital. He began his Weibo and WeChat accounts, “Dr. Duan Tao”, in March, and has more than 70,000 followers in total.

But they also open themselves to direct criticism. “As a president, I used to be the last one to know patients’ complaints, but now I am the first,” said Duan.

But mostly, health professionals are treated with respect.

Gu Zhongyi (顾中一 http://www.weibo.com/guyingyang), now 27, an inexperienced nutritionist at Beijing Friendship Hospital, used to believe he had no future “as the nutrition department is usually on the hospital fringes”.

Since he began posting weight-loss and nutrition tips in 2010, he has become a celebrity with TV and online programs inviting him to give lectures.

“I seldom mention the hospital I work for as the outpatient registration would fill up for the whole week,” Gu said.

More than 2,000 healthcare apps are available to enable users to contact doctors either by instant message or phone. Their conversations are open to other users, who can assess a doctor’s services and skills at a glance, rather than from their qualifications.

The “Spring Rain” app, which has been downloaded 32 million times, allows users to ask a doctor for advice for free, but if someone wants advice from a particular doctor, they have to pay.

“For example, a consultation with one pediatrician started at 6 yuan, but due to her excellent service, she was very popular, and now her rate is 89 yuan, far more than doctors with higher qualifications,” said Spring Rain branding director Xu Yanni.

According to mobile Internet market research company IIMEDIA Consultation Group, China’s mobile medical market will be worth 12.53 billion yuan by 2017.

Gong said almost 90 percent of his patients come to him because of his online performance. “Patients give you trust, which a young doctor at a big public hospital rarely enjoys.”

China’s medical resources are extremely unbalanced, with 80 percent of patients in rural areas but most quality hospitals concentrated in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

The pressures on the health system and strained doctor-patient relations have resulted in increasing violence. Many patients are angry and frustrated at difficulties accessing treatment, high fees and, in some cases, doctors’ unfriendly attitudes.

Meanwhile, doctors complain about their workloads, and hospitals are often understaffed.

But the development of online services comes with a warning.

Gao Lei, a senior hematologist at a public hospital in Chongqing, says an online consultation comes with the risk of misdiagnosis. After all, observation, listening, questions and pulse-taking are fundamental diagnostic methods. “They are irreplaceable,” said Gao.

“If you want to get well, please go to a hospital,” said Duan Tao.

Sharing information online is also a risk. Duan has doubts about the security of information, because he once found someone using online data to cheat his patients.

Wang Ping, director of the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, points out that though online clinics can improve efficiency and relieve pressure, the process and privacy still require scrutiny and regulation – a task that China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission is now addressing.

 

* Sourcehttp://www.icrosschina.com/ 

 

 

 

 

Let’s share Chinese version !!!

 

自媒体: 中国医生的“新欢” ?

 

作者:  袁全  申安妮  王智  |  中国特稿社

 

 

龚晓明 (http://www.weibo.com/obgyn)                      于莺 (http://www.weibo.com/539945667)

 

崔玉涛 (http://www.weibo.com/cuiyutao)                   顾中一 (http://www.weibo.com/guyingyang)

 

龚晓明,这位上海第一妇婴保健院的妇产科男大夫,门诊一天最多能给30名患者看病。但是他发布在微博上一篇有关子宫肌瘤的科普文章不到24小时就获得了上万次的阅读量。

“没想到医生的微博有这么大影响力,” 42的岁龚大夫如此感叹社交媒体的威力。他同时也是一名有52万“粉丝”的微博达人。

让龚晓明“火”起来的是他2012年末写的一篇“宫颈糜烂不是病”的微博。他在文中说,很多女性被医院诊断为宫颈糜烂,甚至进行治疗。事实上,宫颈糜烂并不是病。

龚晓明说,发这篇微博的目的是,希望公众避免被过度治疗。微博发布后,很快就拥有33万多次的阅读量和4千多条评论。有人评论说:“向有良知的从业者致敬!”

中国医生已是社交网络上最活跃的群体之一。在新浪微博搜索“医生”或者“大夫”,有2700多个相关用户,其中近一半认证为某医院某科室的医生。此外,还有上百个标签为“营养师”,“技师”的用户。他们的“粉丝”少则上千,多则百万。最具人气的账号甚至拥有361万的“粉丝”,比篮球运动员马布里的“粉丝”还要多30万。

医学科普无疑是医生获赞的最佳方式。为了让深奥的医学知识变得生动,医生们开始放下身段,改变形象: 摘下口罩,不再以正襟危坐的姿态示人, 微博头像大多露出“天使般”的笑脸。他们熟练地使用网络语言,时不时地还会和粉丝调侃、“卖萌”几句。

曾在协和医院就职的于莺更是以“急诊科女超人”的形象示众。她在微博中时常分享自己在工作中遇到的乐事和囧事,网友大呼“亲切”。但她也因在微博上针砭时弊而受到争议。

私立医院的儿科大夫崔玉涛是最有名气的。他的微博几乎都是回答网友提出的各种问题。由于言语充满耐心,并常常引述西方医学观点,崔玉涛受到很多年轻父母的推崇,被奉为“男神”。

首都医科大学儿童研究所大夫董宁认为,同行运用自媒体普及医学知识,回答患者咨询值得提倡,因为这能减少病人的就诊成本,并且对治疗是有帮助的。

董宁说,以女性怀孕为例, 十月怀胎期间会遇到各种各样的问题。 在西方,人们往往选择向家庭医生咨询,但在中国,要想解决所有的病症,“只能到医院一个科室一个科室地去排队挂号,有时还不一定挂的合适。” 如果患者在就诊前就能获得一些咨询,可以省去很多麻烦。

“医生的自媒体正好填补了这个空白。” 董宁说, 如果有精力,他也会建一个类似的自媒体。

不仅少了麻烦,患者还能获得几乎在医院不敢奢望的服务。“平时挂不上号的大夫能回答你的问题,感觉自己也被尊重了,”25岁的耿静告诉记者。她现在是清华大学在读女博士。

“对我来说,自媒体是个不错的平台。 自媒体的运作,让我平时的思考多了一个及时的输出通道,也能更加便捷地了解我的患者,我的员工的需求,使医院的工作可以更接地气。”上海第一妇婴保健院院长段涛说。他今年3月份开始运营“段涛医生”的微博和微信,累计已经有大约7万名粉丝。

“病人常常抱怨信息不对称,而又没有好的途径去获取医学科普知识,医生自媒体实则满足了医患双方的需求。”
网上不都是好评。段涛说他常常要在微博上直面批评。同事们戏称 院长过去是最后一个听到病人意见的,现在变成了第一个。“我也会根据粉丝关注的医疗保健问题,决定下一篇科普的题目。”

与此同时,大夫们还收获了极大的尊重。27岁的营养师顾中一曾一度认为自己“没有出路”,因为营养科是医院里的“边缘”科室, 而像他这样年纪轻、资历浅的营养科营养师更不会受到重视。

顾中一设计的“营养师顾中一”的微信名片
但互联网上有关健康教育的各种信息开始风靡,这让他找到了方向。从2010年开始,顾中一就在自己的微博上分享有关饮食和减肥的知识,他甚至“把发布微博当作事业来做了”。

2012年“营养师顾中一”成为北京市卫生系统最具影响力的个人微博,他在业界小有了名气,多次走上荧屏养生节目,公众曝光率不亚于一个明星。
“我很少在节目中提起我们医院的营养门诊,要不这周门诊号准是满的,”顾中一说。

医生自媒体兴起的同时,包括医疗网站、医疗APP在内的互联网医疗也在飞速发展,这让有抱负的年轻大夫们看到了机会。

龚晓明喜欢在一些网络问诊平台上回答病人的提问,不仅是因为在线问诊具有方便、高效的特点,更主要的是医生与患者的交流完全公开,大夫的服务、水平一目了然。

在网络问诊平台上,医生个人的声誉甚至超过了医院。龚晓明说,这时候,医生的好坏完全取决于医术和态度,而不是职称和资历。“病人甚至跳过了医院”。 龚晓明曾在微博上这样回答网友,“看病找老医生的真理未必都是正确的。”

移动医疗平台“春雨医生”品牌总监徐妍妮说,广州妇女儿童医疗中心的一位儿科主治医师,起初的图文问诊价格只有6元, 但是她良好的态度,让她获得了不少好评,向她咨询的病人越来越多,现在她的问诊价格已经涨到89元,远远高出比她职称高的医生们。
上海儿童医院推出了微信平台。家长可通过微信完成挂号,专家预约,报告查询等多项服务。
对医生来说,虚拟空间带来最大的实惠还是到医院挂号的病人。龚晓明说自己90%的病人是根据网上的评论慕名而来。“病人很相信你,这在大医院的小大夫是体会不到的。”

医疗资源有限的公立医院,很容易成为人们情绪的“发泄口”,特别是今年以来,各地伤医事件屡见报端。
中国的医疗资源极度不平衡。80%的患者分布在农村,而多数优质医疗资源集中在大城市。

随着人们对生命健康越来越高的要求,在缓解紧张的医患关系上,互联网医疗被寄予很大希望。

今年,阿里巴巴将支付宝系统引入医院,“春雨掌上医生” APP累计下载量超过3200万次,多家医院开通微信预约挂号。统计显示,中国移动医疗相关软件已达2000多款,覆盖寻医问诊、预约挂号、购买医药等领域。
春雨医生是一款专业手机医生问答软件,它的设计团队都是从互联网起家。
根据移动互联网咨询公司艾媒咨询的分析报告,预计2017年中国移动医疗市场规模将达到125.3亿元,市场发展前景可观。

然而,尽管网络技术已经很发达, 一些医生和病人对网络医疗的安全和效果还存有疑虑。很多医生表示,网上只能做科普,做咨询,“真的要看病,还是要来医院”。

重庆第三军医大学新桥医院血液科副主任高蕾认为,即便是正规的医疗APP,也存在误诊风险。视触叩听,是医学诊断最基本的要求。“隔空猜物”可能加大误诊的风险。

分享疾病和信息对保护患者隐私也是一个挑战。段涛说,医生看到有人网上利用患者“有病乱投医”的心理进行不道德的欺骗,心里也很不舒服。

中国医科大学附属第四医院院长王平认为, 在好医院、好医生紧缺的情况下,互联网医疗的发展,有利于优化医疗资源的配置和使用, 能提高医疗效率和患者就医感。但互联网医疗中如何保证医疗质量和安全、保护患者隐私以及误诊如何维权等, 还需进一步的监管和规范。

据国家卫计委信息中心主任孟群透露,相关的移动医疗法正在讨论制定中。

 

* 来源 | http://www.chinafeatures.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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China to advance agricultural modernization

 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the central rural work conference in Beijing.

The conference was held from December 22 to 23.   Photos by Xie Huanchi

 

 

China to advance

agricultural modernization

 

By Liu Xinyong, Shi Hao, Fang Dong, Yu Wenjing and Wang Yu

 

China concluded a rural work conference on Tuesday of December 23, vowing to push forward agricultural modernization through reform and innovation.

The country made great progress in rural development in 2014 with its 11th consecutive bumper harvest and an increase in farm income, according to a statement released after the two-day central conference, which sets the tone for next year.

 

STARK CHALLENGES

 

“However, China is facing unprecedented challenges if it wants to achieve sustained and stable development in the agricultural sector,” said the statement, citing rising agricultural production costs, impaired cultivation and limited arable land and fresh water.

Li Guoxiang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China’s agricultural production is confronted with surging costs, pressure for the government to subsidize agriculture and the constraints of resources and environment.

“If it stays this way, a question mark should be placed after whether China can achieve sustainable development of agriculture,” Li said.

To solve the problems, China must accelerate agricultural modernization and raise quality and efficiency of agriculture, Zhu Lizhi, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told Xinhua.

The statement said that China will strive to transform the pattern of agricultural development, raise the output rate of the land, increase resource utilization rate to attain intensive and sustainable growth.

 

IMPORTANT BUT LESS DEVELOPED

 

Under the economic “new normal”, agricultural modernization is of great significance to stabilizing economic growth, adjusting structure and improving people’s livelihood.

Agricultural modernization is the foundation and pillar for China’s modernization drive, but it is a prominent weak point at present, the statement said.

“Compared with fast-advancing urbanization, industrialization and informatization, our country’s agricultural modernization is lagging far behind, seriously impeding the synchronized development of the four aspects,” said Li.

Top policymakers at the meeting pledged to make more efforts to speed up agricultural modernization in order to unleash farmer consumption potential and spur investment in rural infrastructure.

A growing agricultural sector will also forge new engines to propel China’s economic expansion, according to the statement.

 

FINDING THE WAY OUT

 

“Food security should be China’s top priority during the agricultural modernization process. China will keep cereal largely self-sufficient and staples absolutely safe,” the statement read.

Farmers are encouraged to form new agricultural entities in an innovative way to achieve economies of scale.

To facilitate associating farmers and their lands, China will guide orderly transfer of management rights of rural lands to new agricultural entities.

China will exploit agricultural resources in a more friendly and “greener” way to protect farm land and fresh water.

Policymakers decided to extend greater policy support and beef up financial support to underpin rural development.

China will actively push forward the construction of “new socialist countryside” and improve living environment for farmers.

The country will also wage a war against poverty and release more farmers from poverty. At the same time, rural residents are encouraged to take advantage of urbanization and start small businesses.

The Central Rural Work Conference is an annual event for Chinese policymakers to deliberate on and map out rural policies for next year.

The meeting discussed a guideline of deepening rural reform and advancing agricultural modernization.

 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (3rd from left) speaks at the central rural work conference

in Beijing.   Photo by Xie Huanchi

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (3rd from left of back row) speaks at the central rural work

conference in Beijing. The conference was held from December 22 to 23. Chinese Vice Premier

Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting.   Photo by Xie Huanchi

 

 

 

 

By wereadchina Posted in Economy

China, Egypt elevate bilateral ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

 

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left of front row) holds a welcoming ceremony for visiting

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right of front row) before their talks in Beijing

on December 23, 2014.   Photo by Liu Weibing

 

 

China, Egypt elevate bilateral ties

to comprehensive strategic partnership

 

By Liu Hua and Yang Yijun

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Sisi in Beijing on Tuesday of December 23, deciding to elevate the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

“This is an important milestone,” Xi said during the talks.

The establishment of the partnership will strongly boost cooperation between the two countries in several areas.

In a joint statement signed by Xi and Sisi on establishing the partnership, the two presidents pledged to boost political, economic, military, cultural and technological cooperation along with cooperation on regional and international affairs.

China pays great attention to the situation in Egypt and firmly supports the Egyptians’ pursuit for a development path suitable for their own national conditions, Xi told the Egyptian leader.

Xi said he believes the Egyptian government and people are wise and able enough to handle all problems and achieve stability and development in the country.

Hailing the traditional friendship between the two countries, Sisi expressed his gratitude for China’s support and assistance, especially for understanding the Egyptian people’s request for change in recent years.

The two leaders also pledged to cooperate on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiatives.

China stands ready to combine the initiatives with Egypt’s plan for development and boost cooperation in infrastructure, nuclear power, new energy, aviation, finance and other sectors, said the Chinese president.

Sisi said the Belt and Road Initiatives proposed by Xi have provided an important opportunity for Egypt’s renewal and that the Egyptian side will participate in the initiatives in an active way.

Sisi looked forward to China’s participation in Suez Canal Corridor projects, pledging that Egypt will create favorable conditions to attract Chinese companies’ investment.

In August, President Sisi gave the go-ahead signal for digging a 72-km expansion of the original Suez Canal as a national project to boost the country’s ailing economy, ordering “the New Suez Canal” to be open for maritime navigation in early August 2015.

Sisi also hoped more Chinese tourists will visit Egypt as more Egyptian students study in China.

During the talks, Sisi briefed Xi on his view on the situation in North Africa and West Asia.

Xi said as the situation there is complicated, it is of vital importance to find a solution that reflects regional realities and cover the interests of all sides concerned in a political way and through inclusive dialogue.

In the joint statement signed on Tuesday, the two countries reiterated they will support each other on issues regarding core interests and care for each other’s special concerns.

Egypt emphasized its stance of sticking to the one-China policy and China stressed its position of respecting the Egyptian people’s rights to choose their political system and development policy on their own as well as opposing external forces’ attempt to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs in any name.

China attaches great importance to Egypt’s concern over water security, according to the statement.

In the statement, the two sides upheld that disputes between countries should be addressed through dialogue and negotiations, opposing interference into other countries’ internal affairs with military forces in any name and politicizing issues on human rights.

The two sides pledged to safeguard the United Nations’ key role in addressing international affairs and support reform of the United Nations and the UN Security Council.

The representation of developing countries, especially of African countries, should be strengthened first to rectify injustice that Africa has suffered in history, said the joint statement.

China supports Egypt’s crucial role in resolving the Palestine issue and other major issues in the region as well as the Egyptian initiative on rendering the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. Egypt appreciates China’s objective and impartial position and constructive role in the Palestine issue and other major issues in the region, according to the statement.

They pledged to increase coordination and cooperation to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region, according to the statement.

Sisi arrived in Beijing Monday afternoon for a four-day state visit to China at Xi’s invitation.

 

 

 

CAIRO

Egypt, China see huge

chances from enhancement of ties

 

By Mahmoud Fouly

 

As Egypt and China have decided to elevate their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Egyptian economists see the move is likely to amplify investment opportunities and mutual trade between the two countries.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is currently on a four-day official visit to Beijing, signed on Tuesday a joint statement with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to boost political, economic, military, cultural and technological cooperation along with that on regional and international affairs.

“Egypt provides great investment opportunities to China and it can be a portal for Chinese products into African markets due to the Egyptian strategic geographic location,” Amr Saleh, professor of political economy at Cairo-based Ain Shams University and former World Bank project officer, told Xinhua.

The professor said that relations between Egypt and China should not be restricted to mutual trade “but it is very important to be elevated to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries,” stressing that both Egyptian and Chinese leaders have the political will for the move.

The Egyptian government led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has recently established a special cabinet unit to study fields of cooperation with China, which shows the interest of the Egyptian leadership to boost partnership with the giant Asian country.

“Egypt needs a strategic partner not just a business partner, while China has a desire to create strategic economic alternatives in light of the slowing worldwide economy,” the professor added.

Saleh expects future military cooperation between Egypt and China as a key field of economic partnership between the two strategic partners.

“Cooperation in arms industries, which is worth billions of dollars, represents a good chance for both Egypt and China as it appears to be military while it is economic in the first place,” the professor told Xinhua, noting the industry is one of the main sources of national income for big countries.

Egypt’s economy has been ailing over the past four years due to political turmoil that resulted from the ouster of two heads of state. Sisi’s administration is currently struggling to put economy back on track.

Last August, Sisi gave the go-ahead signal for digging a 72-km expansion of the original Suez Canal as a national project to boost the country’s economy, ordering “the New Suez Canal” to be open for ship navigation in August 2015.

The Egyptian president said that the Chinese companies have great opportunities to invest in the Suez Canal Corridor projects, reassuring to facilitate procedures and provide an ideal atmosphere for foreign investors in Egypt.

“Chinese companies have vast opportunities to work in logistic projects related to the Suez Canal Corridor after the new waterway is completed, such as platform building, container making, ship maintenance and repair, fuel provision, etc,” said Hamdy Abdel-Azim, economics professor at Cairo-based Sadat Academy and member of Economy and Legislation Association.

He echoed Saleh’s view that there could also be future military cooperation between Egypt and China in weapon spare parts and development.

A few days before leaving Cairo, Sisi told Chinese official media including Xinhua that Egypt supports Xi’s initiative on building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Sisi said Egypt can be a key player in implementing this initiative due to its strategic location as portal for Africa and the Arab world.

“The Silk Road used to be a well-known historical trade route and if revived it will increase the trade volume passing through it,” the economic expert said, adding that Egypt needs to develop its basic infrastructure and services to attract foreign investors in general and Chinese ones in particular.

Abdel-Azim told Xinhua that the intended Silk Road symbolizes a key of future common trade between Egypt and China and a communication bridge between Asian and African countries.

Sisi has recently said that Egypt is establishing a huge road network of 3,400 km within one year as part of its efforts to facilitate investment environment to reassure foreign investors.

Trade volume between Egypt and China exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2013, more than 80 percent of which is represented in Chinese exports.

“Egypt needs to develop technologies and improve its products to be qualified for export and make up for the gap between its imports and exports,” the economist said.

He also expected the Chinese investments in Egypt, with maximum 10 percent foreign labors according to the regulations, to help reduce unemployment in the North African country.

Political turmoil over the past few years caused a sharp decline in the tourism industry in Egypt, which brought the country over 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2010 alone.

On Tuesday in Beijing, after signing a joint statement with Xi, Sisi hoped that more Chinese tourists will visit Egypt as more Egyptian students study in China.

 

 

 

 

Xi satisfied with breakthrough of China-Thailand railway cooperation

 

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha

in Beijing on December 23, 2014.    Photo by Ding Lin

 

 

Xi satisfied with breakthrough of

China-Thailand railway cooperation

 

By Bai Jie

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday of December 23, expressing his satisfaction on the breakthrough of China-Thailand railway cooperation and urging substantial progress.

In their meeting in the Great Hall of the People, Xi recalled his meeting with Prayuth last month during the APEC meeting in Beijing, saying bilateral cooperation has made new progress during the month, especially the breakthrough on railway cooperation.

“I am satisfied with all this progress,” Xi said.

China and Thailand signed two MoUs on railway cooperation and agricultural trade in Bangkok last Friday during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit.

The MoU on railway cooperation allows China to invest in two dual-track rail lines in Thailand that will span 734 km and 133 km, connecting northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.

The project is estimated to cost 10.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Xi said the frequent meetings and exchanges between leaders of the two countries showed that China and Thailand enjoyed “Jeen Thai Phee Nong Gan”, the Thai phrase for close friendship.

Stressing the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties in 2015, Xi called on both countries to hold corresponding celebrations to cement bilateral ties.

The two countries should continue to show mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests, Xi said, adding that China will continue to respect and support Thailand’s efforts to realize political stability and economic development, as well as improve people’s living.

Cooperation between China and Thailand always leads among ASEAN countries, Xi said, urging the two sides to earnestly push forward cooperation on areas including railway and agriculture so as to further promote regional connectivity.

He also called on both countries to expand cooperation on culture and people-to-people, education and science.

For his part, Prayuth said the agreement of railway cooperation with China is the best New Year gift to the Thai people.

He also thanked China for importing more Thai farm produce, saying it is conducive to promoting bilateral trade balance.

Prayuth said Thailand is in a period of reform and development and his country is willing to learn from China to develop better bilateral ties.

He also expressed willingness to participate China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative so as to deepen cooperation on areas including railway, telecommunication and tourism.

Prayuth arrived in Beijing on Monday for a two-day visit to China.

 

 

Zhang Dejiang (right), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

(NPC), meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Beijing on December 23, 2014.

Photo by Liu Weibing

 

Zhang Dejiang (right), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

(NPC), meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Beijing on December 23, 2014.  

Photo by Liu Weibing

 

 

Top Chinese legislator meets Thai PM

By Xiong Zhengyan

 

Top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang on Tuesday of December 23 met with visiting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on seeking stronger bilateral ties.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, called Thailand China’s close neighbor and said the two countries enjoy relations of “Jeen Thai Phee Nong Gan”(Chinese and Thais are brothers).

China sincerely expects Thailand to keep stability and seek development and the Thai people to live better lives, Zhang said.

As 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties, both countries should seize the opportunities, fully implement the agreements reached by leaders, deepen practical cooperation and benefit the two peoples, Zhang said.

On legislative front, Zhang underscored the importance of exchanges and cooperation between the NPC and the Thai National Legislative Assembly.

Zhang called for the two legislatures to maintain exchanges at all levels, increase mutual understanding, create a sound legal environment for pragmatic cooperation and expand the social and public foundation for bilateral friendship so as to boost China-Thailand all-round strategic partnership.

Prayuth reviewed the traditional and solid friendship between the two countries, called on both sides to learn more from each other, implement the cooperation deals and expand the depth and width of cooperation.

Later Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping also met with Prayuth.

Prayuth will conclude his two-day China visit on Tuesday night.

 

 

 

 

FULL TEXT

Joint Press Communique

between China and Thailand

 

By Liu Dongkai

 

Following is the full text of the Joint Press Communique between China and Thailand issued by the governments of the two countries on Tuesday:

Joint Press Communique Between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand

1. At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha of the Kingdom of Thailand paid an official visit to China from 22 to 23 December 2014. During the visit, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha paid a courtesy call on President Xi Jinping and held a bilateral meeting with Premier Li Keqiang as well as met with Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the Standing Committee of the National People’ s Congress.

2. The Chinese leaders kindly requested Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to convey their cordial greetings and best wishes to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Kingdom of Thailand. The Thai side expressed deep appreciation for China’ s display of warm sentiments.

3. The Chinese side expressed appreciation to the Royal Thai Government for hosting a successful meeting of the Fifth Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation Program (GMS) Summit on 19-20 December 2014 in Bangkok. The Thai side expressed appreciation to the Government of the People’ s Republic of China for the support and constructive role in ensuring the fruitful outcome of the meeting. Both sides reaffirmed their cooperation in achieving inclusive and sustainable development in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

4. The two sides shared the view that with the growing economic interdependence and evolving regional and international landscape, it serves the fundamental and mutual interests of both Thailand and China to work together to strengthen the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with a view to contributing to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and beyond as well as the improvement of the well-being of the peoples of both countries.

5. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the close and growing ties between the two countries. The Leaders of the two countries welcomed the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand in 2015. Both sides agreed to take the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to further strengthen their long-standing friendship, enhance strategic dialogue as well as deepen and expand the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership for the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples.

6. China reiterated its understanding of the political situation in Thailand. China expressed support for the efforts by the Royal Thai Government in implementing the Roadmap on national reform, in promoting economic growth and in improving the well-being of the people.

7. The Thai side reiterated its firm adherence to the One-China Policy, and rendered full support for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and China’s peaceful reunification.

8. The Leaders of the two countries applauded the outcome of the Third Meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation between the Government of China and Thailand. They reaffirmed their full support to the work of this important mechanism to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, infrastructure, finance, energy, tourism, rubber industry and information communication and aerospace technology. The two sides agreed to make continuous efforts to promote and facilitate trade and cooperation of agricultural products. The Thai side welcomed the increased Chinese investment in Thailand, especially in greater value-added industries. Both sides look forward to working together to achieve the target of a combined number of tourist arrivals of 5 million between the two countries in 2016.

9. The two sides supported the re-invigorating of the various working groups between Thailand and the local governments of China to promote trade and investment and tourism between both sides.

10. Both sides reaffirmed the common vision for regional growth, prosperity and connectivity. In this regard, both sides welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on the Thailand’ s Railways Infrastructure Development on The Strategic Framework for Development of Thailand’ s Transportation Infrastructure 2015-2022 and the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Agricultural Products Trade between the government of the People’ s Republic of China (PRC) and the government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Both sides shared the view that these two agreements will add a new momentum to the existing close China-Thailand relations and contribute to the long-term progress and development of the region as a whole. The two sides will work on the specific details of the project to bring about its early implementation.

11. The Thai side expressed her support to China’ s initiatives on Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century. Thailand supported the constructive role of China in promoting regional connectivity through infrastructure development, including the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both sides attached importance to stepping up efforts in facilitating cross-border transport of goods and passengers between China and Thailand and the region through the main road networks such as the R3, R8 and R12 with a view to promoting trade, investment, tourism and people to people cooperation.

12. Both sides agreed to deepen financial and banking cooperation and to intensify efforts to promote the use of local currency with a view to facilitating bilateral trade and investment by establishing the Renminbi Clearing Banks in Thailand and renewing the existing Bilateral Swap Agreements (BSA).

13. The two sides agreed to share technologies, experiences and best practices in the areas of water resource management, flood prevention and disaster relief, to actively carry out relevant projects, and to explore cooperation in other potential areas of mutual interest.

14. Both sides agreed to further promote scientific and technical cooperation, including enhancing space cooperation, promoting the application of remote sensing, global navigation and other satellite technologies, and engaging actively in negotiations on an inter-governmental space activities cooperation agreement between the two countries.

15. The two sides agreed to convene defense and security dialogue between the Ministries of Defence of both countries, expand cooperation in the fields of joint military exercises, personnel training,defense industry and enhance cooperation in the prevention and the eradication of illegal immigration, drug trafficking, terrorism and transnational crimes, and continue to promote law enforcement and security cooperation through existing mechanisms within the Mekong River framework.

16. The two sides agreed to continue enhancing cooperation in culture and education, particularly in vocational education. The two sides expressed their readiness to vigorously promote exchanges and cooperation between local governments, and enhance people-to-people exchanges, so as to raise public awareness and support on the relations between China and Thailand.

17. The Thai side viewed that China could significantly contribute to the development of the countries in the region through its contributions to such areas as health, anti- drug trafficking and human trafficking.

18. The Chinese side appreciated the active and constructive role of Thailand, as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to deepening cooperation in various fields and further enhance the ASEAN-China strategic partnership so that it continues to serve as an anchor of peace and stability in the region. Both sides also agreed to work closely on the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, promote practical cooperation and consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) , with a view to arriving at an early conclusion of the COC on the basis of consensus.

19. The Chinese side expressed support for ASEAN’ s centrality in the regional architecture and the two sides agreed to further strengthen coordination and cooperation under the multilateral frameworks such as China-ASEAN, ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), the Asia Pacific and Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the United Nations (UN).

20. The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the fruitful outcome of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’ s official visit to China, and recognised the significance of the visit in setting the future course of the two countries’ bilateral relations. On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked the Government and the people of the People’ s Republic of China for their warm hospitality.

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny Lang Ping leads China to surprising resurgence

 

 

Photo taken on May 17, 2013 shows Lang Ping, the new head coach of the Chinese women’s

volleyball team, training the players before the match against Porto Rico at the 2013 China

International Women’s Volleyball Tournament held in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Photo by Xu Yu

 

 

Jenny Lang Ping

leads China to surprising resurgence

 

By Wang Jingyu

 

About one year ago, coach and volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping and her Chinese national women’s volleyball team were struggling to recover from their disappointing fourth finish at the Asian Championships. At the same time this year, they can look back upon the wonderful moments they had at the World Championships with joy and smiles.

It had been 16 years since China last stepped foot on the podium at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, but their success at Italy 2014 offers much encouragement for Jenny and the young stars under her guidance.

Although they lost to the United States in the final – a team Jenny had coached to the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – coming away with second place has been deemed a great success for a side who recorded their worst ever result in the tournament when they finished 10th four years ago. This fact is not lost on the 53-year-old.

“The World Championship is the first ‘Big Three’ tournament in the new Olympic circle and the silver medal was a very good encouragement to our young team,” said Jenny, who took the helm early last year.

“The result was a bit surprising to us. We have fought very hard to make the final and get the silver medal. Generally speaking, we have played over the bar at this tournament. We have seen our improvement, our potential and the things we need to work on from the games we played in Italy.

“After the semifinals, we found that we had a chance to go for the gold medal. Maybe we were the underdogs in the final, but for sure we had a chance. Why didn’t we get it? It’s just because we were not good enough. We need to work harder.”

The Chinese women have now reached the final of the World Championship five times with only Russia and Italy ahead of them on nine and six appearances respectively. The current world No. 3 landed the title in 1982, 1986 and finished runners-up in 1990, 1998 and 2014 and it is a testament to Jenny’s talents as both a player and a coach that she was with the team on every occasion.

“Time flies! I have taken part in so many World Championships, more than Olympic Games and World Cups,” said Jenny.

The former ace spiker was nicknamed “Iron Hammer” when leading the Chinese team to consecutive titles at the 1982 World Championship, 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and 1981 and 1985 World Cups. She became coach after retiring and led the Chinese women to win silvers at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and 1998 World Championship and bronze at the 1995 World Cup in her first spell as national team coach which sadly came to an end in early 1999 due to health problems.

However, she was parachuted back in after the Asian powerhouse’s lackluster performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games where they finished fifth. And Jenny admits that she already has one eye on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in two years’ time.

“Every team is thinking about the Rio Games,” she revealed. “From this World Championship, it’s easy to find that the competition among women’s volleyball teams has become closer than ever. All the teams have brought their best players to Italy and displayed how well they could play. I think those teams who improve faster in the next two years will have a good chance in Rio. For us, if we don’t work harder, we will be surpassed.”

China’s improvement over the last few seasons – which include a silver at the 2013 World Grand Prix and gold at the 2014 Asian Cup – has not gone unnoticed by Jenny’s peers either. Chinese Volleyball Association vice president Pan Zhichen was one of many people who convinced Jenny to return to the national team after 14 years and he has praised her influence so far.

“Jenny has played the most important role in the coaching team,” he said. “She is a world class coach and has been doing a great job.”

Pan was especially impressed by the young players including teenager stars Zhu Ting and Yuan Xinyue. The 19-year-old Zhu was included in the World Championship Dream Team as outside spiker and Yuan was also one of the stars of the tournament as she made her debut as middle blocker.

“The young players have improved very quickly under Jenny’s guidance and I think they will help bring a brighter future to our team.”

The impressive performance of the Chinese team at the World Championship also helped remove the pressure Jenny faced after the team’s disappointing fourth place finish at the Asian Championship last autumn and she is now determined to stick to her way of coaching, adding youth and continuing to develop the side into world beaters.

“I will continue to recruit young talented players and give them opportunities to play for the national team,” she asserted. “Our second string players have done a good job at the Asian Games, winning the silver also. Quite a few players from that team have participated in our training camp early this year. The more players we can use, the better our future will be.”

The 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship have also witnessed many teams record their best ever performance.

USA, who were crowned the new world champions in Italy, had never won gold before in the tournament. Their amazing first place improved on their previous best of second – which the Americans had achieved twice, in 1967 and 2002. USA have now become one of only six countries to have claimed FIVB trophies with the others being Russia (including the Soviet Union), Japan, Cuba, China and Italy.

“We came here to make history and we made it,” said USA coach Karch Kiraly.

“It feels really good, it’s awesome. I am so proud of these people I work with in this program every day. The 50 athletes who wore a USA uniform this year at some point and all the contributions they made and make on a daily basis.”

The Dominican Republic have truly shattered all their historical records, rising high above any expectations and astonishing even their most optimistic of fans.

The “Queens of the Caribbean” came within one set of a semifinal berth when they led China 2-0 (and just needed to win by any score) in their last match of Round 3. They finished fifth, a huge leap from their previous best of 11th in 1998. They were 17th in the last two editions.

Third place for Brazil, though, was a disappointment for the Olympic champions. The South Americans were chasing the only major title that still eludes them. They lost to Russia twice in tie-breaks in their previous two attempts in 2006 and 2010 and riding on the momentum of their 2012 Olympic gold, they were tipped as favorites to win the World Championships this time around. The bronze medal they ended up with doesn’t improve on their previous bests.

The success of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2014 is proof that the sport is heading in the right direction according to President Dr. Ary S. Graca.

“The global spread of volleyball has been made evident by the Championships this year – which have been the most successful in FIVB history,” he said.

“The fact that world No. 10 the Dominican Republic got so far through the competition demonstrates how the sport is developing beyond the usual stars in Russia and Brazil. We are seeing new stars emerging all the time from every corner of the world and this assures me that we are heading in the right direction as a federation.”

He also said that volleyball is in fine health as the sport begins to turn its attention to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“After over 50 years, volleyball will be coming home to Rio in 2016, where fans will see the sport’s most spectacular show yet – both in our fully-packed stadiums and on Rio’s iconic Copacabana beach.”

 

 

 

A visitor poses for photos with a wax figure of volleyball legend Lang Ping at the Madame

Tussauds Wax Museum in Beijing on May 31, 2014.   Photo – Xinhua

 

 

 

 

China’s train ticket competition intensifies ahead of Spring Festival

 

 

Photo – Internet

 

China’s train ticket competition

intensifies ahead of Spring Festival

 

By Zhong Qun, Cao Ting, Liu Jingyang, Xiong Lin, Qi Zhongxi and Chen Guozhou

 

The Chinese Lunar New Year is almost two months away, but Mr Ji and his wife, who live in Shanghai, have already bought 21 train tickets to their hometown Harbin in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

They don’t plan on making 21 journeys to home and back. Rather, the couple have been hoarding train tickets, which went on sale on December 7, in order to choose the most ideal time for their journey home during the travel rush, or “chunyun”.

“We have no choice, because we do not know which day we could go home,” said the husband surnamed Ji. With all the tickets in store, Mr Ji said he could choose the best and return the rest “without any charges”.

“Chunyun”, often referred to as the world’s largest human migration, is the hectic travel period surrounding Chinese New Year. Last year, the period saw about 266 million rail trips made, up 12 percent from the previous year. This year, the annual 40-day travel period will begin on February 4 and last until March 16.

With the Spring Festival approaching, the train ticket rush is already heating up, with the public frantically purchasing tickets in the lead-up to the hectic travel period.

On Friday, China sold more than 9.56 million train tickets, a new high for daily sales, as tickets became available for Feb. 16, 2015, three days ahead of the Spring Festival.

A total of 5.64 million tickets, or 59 percent of the total, were sold online on the same day, also hitting a historic high. The official ticket-selling website, 12306.cn, saw a record high of 29.7 billion page views on Friday, the Institute of Computing Technology under the China Academy of Railway Sciences said Sunday.

In an effort to facilitate a smooth travel peak, railway authorities made train tickets available 60 days in advance this year instead of 30 days as in previous years. Tickets can also be refunded 15 days before the train departs without any service charges.

The extension of the purchasing period and the refund policy have led to “ticket hoarding”, with some residents like Mr Ji trying to snap up as many tickets as possible because they are unsure of their returning dates .

At Beijing South Railway Station, one of Beijing’s busiest, dozens of passengers can be seen queuing outside the refund office to return purchased tickets.

One of the travellers told Xinhua that she came early to get refunds for the tickets she had hoarded, but many came even earlier.

Hoarders are not only the ones stirring up the ticket battle. Scalpers are making the situation even more difficult, according 12306.cn.

“Scalpers now use high-end software to snap up tickets, burdening 12306.cn,” a representative of the website told Xinhua.

Chinese rail police have launched a campaign targeting train ticket scalping by pledging to crack down on online scalping with a special squad of investigators.

Police have also increased patrols around railway stations. Meanwhile, they encourage the public to report scalpers to them.

But still, the problem remains rampant, as scalpers resort to new methods to reap huge benefits.

According to China’s state-broadcaster CCTV, some scalpers use software that can buy tickets within seconds of being posted on 12306.cn. Software that can automatically produce ID numbers and fake names such as the Chinese translation of “Kobe Bryant” are also applied.

“Because the website is not connected with the country’s public security system, scalpers can easily get the tickets,” an engineer told CCTV.

Scalpers then sell the tickets to those in dire need at much higher prices, and put the rest back into the ticket system. After that, they repeat the whole process.

With more people choosing to buy tickets on the Internet or via mobile applications, obtaining a ticket is increasingly difficult for Chinese migrant workers, who make up the bulk of the Chunyun travellers but do not have proper resources to purchase tickets with computers or cellulars.

To ease the problem, volunteers in a number of localities have gone out of their way to help migrant workers purchase tickets online.

Li Long, a senior student with City College of Science and Technology under Chongqing University, recently started a campaign, calling on his fellow students to help migrant workers buy tickets online.

“My parents are migrant workers, so I know how difficult it is to buy a ticket to go home,” Li told Xinhua.

On microblog Sina Weibo, Li’s campaign has drawn much attention, with many students voicing support.

But such help is only a drop in a bucket, said Huang Shaohua, a professor with Philosophy and Sociology School of Lanzhou University.

Huang suggested railway authorities reserve a certain number of tickets for migrant workers to ease the problem.

“The government should also restrict the IDs that frequently purchase train tickets online to eradicate ticket hoarding and scalping,” Huang added.

 

 

 

 

Taipei 101 confirms New Year firework show after finding sponsor

 

 

Taipei 101 skyscraper.   Photo – Internet

 

 

Taipei 101 confirms

New Year firework show

after finding sponsor

 

By Wang Di and Chen Binhua

 

Taiwan’s landmark Taipei 101 skyscraper will host its annual fireworks display on New Year’s Eve as scheduled after the tower found a last-minute sponsorship.

This year’s firework show, which costs about 38 million new Taiwan dollars (1.197 million U.S. dollars), will be exclusively sponsored by the non-profit iSee Taiwan Foundation created by the late entrepreneur Sayling Wen in 2003, Taipei Financial Center Corporation, the operator of the skyscraper, announced in a statement on Tuesday of December 23.

“TAIPEI 101 New Year fireworks display is an exciting event that people in Taiwan look forward to every year, the fireworks also represent an opportunity for Taiwan to convey a message to the world,” said Audrey Yang, executive director of iSee Taiwan Foundation.

The firework show, an annual event for the past decade, was in doubt after Wei Ying-chiao, chairman of the scandal-ridden Ting Hsin International Group, a major shareholder of Taipei 101, resigned as vice chairman and CEO of Taipei Financial Center in late October.

Ting Hsin International Group, known for a number of brands including Master Kong instant noodles, is in hot water after two of its subsidiaries were found to have used oil unfit for human consumption.

The fireworks are expected to last 218 seconds, starting from the stroke of midnight of the New Year Eve.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

HK former chief secretary sentenced to 7.5 years for graft

 

 

Rafael Hui.   Photo – Internet

 

 

 HK former chief secretary sentenced to 7.5 years for graft

By Wang Xiaoni

Hong Kong’s former chief secretary Rafael Hui was sentenced by the High Court on Tuesday of December 23 to seven-and-a-half years for corruption and misconduct convictions.

Hui was ordered to pay the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) a fine of 11.182 million HK dollars ( about 1.437 million U.S. dollars).

Hui was convicted of five counts of misconduct and corruption, making him the highest-ranking official in Hong Kong’s history found guilty of taking bribes.

Each count carries a maximum prison term of seven years, as well as a fine.

The judge said the ruling was made after considering mitigation arguments in court on Monday, including a plea of leniency from former chief executive Donald Tsang, for his ex-right-hand man.

Former vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong Tsui Lap- chee also wrote to the court, setting out many of Hui’s contributions to the society.

Sun Hung Kai Properties tycoon Thomas Kwok, 63, was jailed for five years and fined 500,000 HK dollars as he was found guilty of paying Hui 8.5 million HK dollars in bribes.

Another two middlemen involved in the scandal – Thomas Chan was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and Francis Kwan five years.

Hui, born in 1948, is a former Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong and a former career civil servant. He was arrested in March 2012 by the Independent Commission Against Corruption on suspicion of corruption.

The trial of Hui and Kwok, which opened in early June, has been seen the most high-profile corruption trial in the history of the Hong Kong SAR.

 

 

 

 

 HK stocks close 0.32 pct lower

By Wang Xiaoni

Hong Kong stocks ended down 0.32 percent on Tuesday of December 23, with the benchmark Hang Seng index falling 74. 88 points to end at 23,333.69 points after trading between 23,269. 43 and 23,495.62.

Turnover totaled 78.03 billion HK dollars (about 10.03 billion U.S. dollars).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 66.28 points, or 0. 56 percent, to close at 11,677.74.

Three sub-indices lost ground, with the Utility sub-index falling the most by 0.57 percent, followed by the Commerce and Industry 0.47 percent, the Finance 0.25 percent. The Properties closed flat.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, closed up 0.2 percent to 74.25 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank fell 0.5 percent to 127.70 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEX decreased 0.30 percent at 171. 50 HK dollars.

Local developers Hang Lung Properties lost 0.9 percent to 21.35 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, closed up 0.3 percent to 52.55 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka- shing, climbed 0.2 percent to 129.90 HK dollars.

As for mainland-based financial stocks, China Construction Bank, the country’s second largest bank which accounts for the third largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, sank 1.7 percent to 6.22 HK dollars. ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, went down 0.4 percent to 5.53 HK dollars. Bank of China retreated 2.1 percent to 4.24 HK dollars.

PetroChina, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, was down 1.5 percent to 8.59 HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.761 HK dollars)

 

 

 Gold price closes lower in Hong Kong

By Wang Xiaoni

The gold price in Hong Kong went down 145 HK dollars to close at 10,940 HK dollars per tael on Tuesday, according to the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society.

The price is equivalent to 1,183.41 U.S. dollars a troy ounce, down 15.69 U.S. dollars at the latest exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar against 7.75 HK dollars.

 

 

 

 

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.