China changes student enrollment policies for army

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago

BEIJING -- The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will no longer recruit senior high school graduates and college students for reserve officers, the Ministry of National Defence (MOD) said Friday.

Instead, the PLA will select and recruit college graduates, with new policies to be put in place to support the change, according to the MOD.

The changes are scheduled to take effect this year, as most college students graduate in June and July.

The new policy aims to better utilize China's educational resources, while providing a platform for more high-quality graduates from colleges across the country to serve in the army, said an official at the MOD.

High school graduates or college students previously accounted for a large proportion of PLA recruits. They receive education in colleges and universities, undergo military-style management and become reserve officers after graduation.

Wife's devotion helps man recover from stroke

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Li Xiaocui feeding her husband at their home at Hehui village in Xingtai, North China's Hebei province. [Photo by Zhai Lihua/chinadaily.com.cn]

A 61-year-old in North China's Hebei province, is showing signs of recovering from a serious stroke 14 years ago.

Dou Jianfang was a doctor at Hehui village in Xingtai when he had a stroke in 2003. He was left completely dependent on his wife, Li Xiaocui, who continued to take care of him even when others suggested giving up.

With her never-give-up attitude, Li proved that Dou could one day get better.

In recent years, Dou has started to remember things and could understand people's words.

Neighbour Shi Shufen said no one believed Dou could recover from his state.

"Back then he could not move, think, or speak, but now he can tell who I am and know what I am saying," Shi said.

"It is a touching miracle."

Li fed her husband, helped him go to the toilet, and chatted with him even though there was no response every day.

"She has overcome all the tedious work and done a brilliant job as a wife, also as a mother," Shi said.

The couple has two sons and a daughter, who were still unmarried when the family was hit by the disaster.

On the one hand, Li was taking care of her paralyzed husband, while on the other, she must help their children get married and settle down.

Fourteen years later, their children are married and Dou is getting better, which is a great comfort to Li.

Shanghai's first licensed B&Bs set to open

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Shanghai's first licensed bed-and-breakfast development is scheduled to open next month in the city's Pudong New Area.

Located in Lianmin village, a typical Yangtze River Delta water town just 4 km south of the Shanghai Disney Resort, the 11 B&Bs are each decorated according to a different theme — from handicrafts and baking to cotton weaving.

The renovations have been based on the city's first safety regulations for B&B projects, which were released last year.

In order to get to the B&Bs, guests will be required to park their cars and board a motor boat, the Jiefang Daily reported.

Some of the establishments come equipped with play areas for children and all offer freshly picked vegetables from nearby allotments.

By the end of this year, a total of 50 such villa houses are expected to open, according to the local government.

A decision will then be made on whether the project should be expanded.

Why poor villagers would rather stay put, than move into new homes

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A woman at her home in Naweng, a mountainous village in Southwest China's Guizhou province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Relocating poverty-stricken families out of their rural hometowns is one of China's poverty alleviation measures, but not everyone wants to move.

Naweng is a mountainous village in Zhenfeng county in Qianxinan Bouyei and Miao autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Guizhou province. With a harsh natural environment, parts of the village have been included in the local government's relocation program.

Xinhua reporters visited the village recently to find out why locals are reluctant to relocate.

When they drove to the village, they discovered a section of the road had been washed away by heavy rain the night before, forcing them to walk for 40 minutes on a muddy trail.

When journalists asked one villager whether she would like to move to the county seat, she said no with no hesitation.

The woman said she doesn't know how to speak Putonghua - the official spoken language - and would not even know where to find a bathroom or shop for groceries if she moves to the county seat.

"What if all the other people in the village have moved away?" a reporter followed up.

"I would still not move even if I am given 1,000 yuan. I don't even know how to withdraw money using a bank card," she said.

Her comments reflect the barriers many impoverished families would be faced if they relocate to new places.

Many of the villages included in the relocation program lie in the depths of the mountains where locals live in relative isolation. In villages inhabited by ethnic minorities like Bouyei or Miao people, most of the residents are illiterate and many have never left the villages where they were born and don't know how to speak Putonghua.

Villagers farm on a steep hillside at Naweng. [Photo/Xinhua]

This creates a daunting challenge for government officials in charge of poverty alleviation.

Wu Jianxiong has been working for the Lurong township government, the lowest level of the country's administration, since graduating from university five years ago. Lurong township has jurisdiction over Naweng village.

To persuade villagers to move to new settlements, Wu said government officials have tried a variety of approaches, including organizing group tours of their new homes and getting those who have already moved to talk about the benefits.

Patience is the key, Wu said. He said cadres would repeatedly try to explain the poverty alleviation policies to the impoverished households because many of the villagers don't understand them well.

He cited an example.

"We have the poverty alleviation fund which is designed to pay for training on living skills for impoverished households. But many of the villagers believe the money in the fund should be handed to them directly," Wu said.

He said the mentality of waiting for help is also a problem.

"Sometimes, we (cadres) are anxious and working hard, whereas the villagers stand aside, waiting for help," Wu said.

For all the obstacles, there are signs of hope.

"In this village, though people live in poverty and have a low level of education, they attach a great importance to education of their children, which is proof of their desire to rise above poverty," Wu said.

"What we can do is to draw the desire out of them," Wei Chuan, the village chief, said.

"Over the past few years, we have introduced cash crops such as passion fruit and pitaya and helped villagers to grow them with low-interest loans from government," Wu Jianxiong said. 

"We hope more young people working out of the village will come back. Though the incomes working at home maybe less than earned in cities, many people have come back because they can take care of the elderly and the children at home," Wu said.

Former Chinese official executed following supreme court's approval

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BEIJING -- China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) announced Friday that Zhao Liping, a former senior political advisor in northern China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, had been executed after the SPC approved the death sentence.

Zhao, former vice chairman of the Inner Mongolia regional committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was convicted of intentional homicide, taking bribes and possession of firearms, according to an SPC statement.

Zhao was found guilty of having shot dead a 26-year old woman, identified only with her surname of Li, in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, on March 20, 2015.

He also took advantage of his post to secure business contracts and official positions for associates, and accepted bribes totaling 23.68 million yuan ($3.45 million) from 2008 to 2010, as the police chief of Inner Mongolia.

During the investigation police located two guns, 49 bullets and 91 detonators that led back to Zhao.

The SPC stated that the death penalty was given on the basis of clear facts and solid and sufficient evidence. Zhao had committed crimes with serious consequences and vile social effects.

The Intermediate People's Court of Taiyuan in North China's Shanxi province executed Zhao Friday.

China's water diversion benefits 53 m residents

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BEIJING -- China's south-to-north water diversion project has benefited more than 53 million people in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei and Henan provinces, authorities said Friday.

Since the project's middle route came into operation in late 2014, nearly 7.8 billion cubic meters of water has been pumped through canals and pipes from Danjiangkou Reservoir in central China's Hubei Province, according to the construction authority.

The quality of the diverted water has met targeted standards and remained stable, according to the authority.

The water feeds over 11 million Beijing residents, or about half the city's population, accounting for more than 70 percent of Beijing's daily water supply. It also supplies Tianjin's city proper.

In addition, residents of seven cities in Hebei, as well as 11 cities and 37 counties in Henan, have access to the diverted water.

The project has helped rein in excessive use of groundwater and improved ecosystems of lakes and rivers in the four regions.

China signs six polar research agreements

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Memorandums of understanding aimed at enhancing cooperation between the State Oceanic Administration and six foreign polar research organizations were signed on Thursday night.

Parties to the agreements included the Norwegian Polar Institute, Argentina's National Directorate of the Antarctic and Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, according to a news release from the administration.

It said the memorandums pertain to a wide range of fields such as on-scene inspections, scientific study, logistical support, and personnel and technical exchanges.

China highly values international cooperation in polar exploration and research and has signed collaboration agreements with more than 10 nations in this regard, the administration noted.

The signing ceremony took place amid the ongoing 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting that is being held in Beijing until June 1.

About 400 delegates from 42 countries and 10 international organizations are taking part in the meeting, which is an annual decision-making mechanism established under the Antarctic Treaty. This is the first time China has hosted the consultative meeting.

May 26 2017

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago
People should put their patriotism and aspirations into the great course of reform and development."

China's space telescope to see why black holes get 'angry'

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BEIJING -- Black holes in space remain a mystery. One of their many secrets is why they get "angry". China will soon launch a space telescope in a bid to find out.

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), developed by Chinese scientists, will observe the black holes and neutron stars.

"Black holes will be the focus of our observation since they are very interesting, and can generate various types of radiation, including X-rays and high energy cosmic rays, as well as strong jets," says Zhang Shuangnan, the lead scientist of HXMT and director of the Key Laboratory of Particle Astrophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Scientists are curious about what the black holes are doing. So far about 20 black holes have been found in our galaxy. "We hope our telescope can discover more black holes. We also hope to better observe the black holes already discovered," says Zhang.

A black hole is a region of spacetime showing such strong gravitational effects that nothing - not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light - can escape from inside it.

There are two kinds of these "space monsters": black holes of stellar mass and supermassive black holes. Black holes of stellar mass are thought to form when massive stars collapse at the end of their lifecycle.

After a black hole forms, it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings. Some scientists believe that by absorbing gas and other stars and merging with other black holes supermassive black holes of millions of solar masses may form. There is general consensus that supermassive black holes exist in the centers of most galaxies.

Black holes are key to understanding the origins of time and nature of space and the ultimate destiny of the universe, scientists say.

Despite its invisible interior, the presence of a black hole can be inferred through its interaction with other matter and with electromagnetic radiation.

Matter that falls into a black hole can form an external accretion disk heated by friction, forming some of the brightest objects in the universe.

The first black hole was discovered in 1972. Named Cygnus X-1, it is about 6,000 light-years from Earth and is a strong X-ray source.

"If a black hole does nothing, it cannot be found. But if matter falls into a black hole, it is accelerated and heated during the process, emitting X-rays. Scientists may get to understand the characteristics of black holes through the X-rays," Zhang says.

Some times a black hole is calm, but other times it's very "bad tempered." When a black hole gets "angry", it generates very strong X-rays or gamma ray bursts or jet-flows, Zhang says.

Other countries have sent about a dozen X-ray satellites into orbit, but most are suitable for observing only relatively calm black holes. However, HXMT is suitable for observing angry black holes and neutron stars, Zhang explains.

"We will scan the galaxy to track the 'tempers' of black holes. We are still not clear why some black holes suddenly get angry, since we haven't observed them for long enough," says Zhang. "We plan to make a thorough survey of the black holes and neutron stars in the galaxy."

Xiong Shaolin, a young scientist at the Institute of High Energy Physics of CAS, says the research will push forward the development of astronomy. "We hope to take X-ray photos of black holes in the future."

China completes construction of first Hualong One nuclear project

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Staff members prepare for the dome installation at No 5 unit of Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant in Fuqing, east China's Fujian province, May 25, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua] 

FUZHOU -- China successfully installed the containment dome for its first demonstration nuclear power project using Hualong One technology, a domestically developed third-generation reactor design, in East China's Fujian province on Thursday.

The hemispherical dome, weighing 340 metric tons and measuring 46.8 meters in diameter, was installed by crane on the No 5 unit of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in Fuqing City at 5:58 pm.

The installation marks the completion of construction work on the pilot project and the beginning of the assembly stage, said Yu Peigen, deputy general manager of CNNC at the site of installation.

Staff members prepare for the dome installation. [Photo/Xinhua] 

The dome will be used for protection against nuclear accidents under extreme conditions, and both its design and installation are very demanding processes.

"The installation is much more difficult than that of traditional nuclear reactors because the whole weight of the dome and the ropes is more than 500 tons," said Yang Jianguo, the lifting commander at the site.

Construction of the pilot project began in May 2015 and was scheduled to take about 62 months to finish.

The dome is being installed. [Photo/Xinhua]

The successful installation of the dome will contribute to the development of China's domestic third-generation reactor design and enhance the confidence in Hualong One among countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to boost cooperation, said Wang Shoujun, chairman of CNNC.

The country has actively promoted Hualong One at home and abroad. There are now four projects using Hualong One design under construction, including two reactors in Karachi, Pakistan.

During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation earlier this month, CNNC also signed a cooperation framework agreement with Argentina, a key emerging market for Chinese companies, which included using the Hualong One design for the country's fifth nuclear unit.

The dome is being installed. [Photo/Xinhua]

Airport hubs eyed for city clusters

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Leaders say world-class facilities to help boost growth

China aims to build clusters of world-class airports to better serve the clusters of world-class cities being planned, the head of the national civil aviation agency said on Thursday.

"China will stick to supply-side reform and make efforts to build world-class multi-airport systems to better establish world-class metroplexes," said Feng Zhenglin, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, adding that it will boost construction of an air "silk road" connecting China with the world.

Speaking at the 2017 China Civil Aviation Development Forum in Beijing, he said, "City clusters and multi-airport systems are the essence and trend of global city development".

Feng said the United Nations estimated that by 2025 the top 40 metroplexes will engage in 66 percent of global economic activity and 85 percent of technology innovation.

China's three core city clusters-the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta-account for 2.8 percent of the country's territory. During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), the three city clusters, as the most vigorous, open and innovative regions in China, produced 36 percent of the GDP and gathered 18 percent of the total population, he said.

In 2016, the passenger turnover in the airport clusters of the three regions reached 473 million, accounting for 46.5 percent of passengers nationwide. Freight traffic was 14.69 million tons, 74.7 percent of China's total.

Last year, Beijing Capital International Airport ranked as the second-busiest airport in the world for the seventh consecutive year, with 94.4 million passengers flying in and out of the airport.

Two airports in Shanghai carried more than 100 million passengers in 2016.

Hong Kong's airport ranked top in the world regarding freight transport. Airports in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Macao are getting busier.

"The multi-airport system in the three city clusters are ready to grow, as is the world-class multi-airport system," Feng said.

"Air transport is the modern means of transportation. The development of clusters of cities and clusters of airports is closely relevant and has been promoted mutually," Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng said.

On Thursday, a new plan was released to expand airspace in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area by the CAAC North China Regional Administration, opening six new routes in the region, which will add 270 flights each day in the region.

Airlines also are essential in building the world-class airport cluster.

Air China, China's flag carrier, aims to increase flights at the Beijing airport to 1,000-1,100 a day. It will increase usage in Tianjin by shifting some domestic and international flights from Beijing there to support the Tianjin airport.

It also will increase flights from different operating bases to Shijiazhuang, said Ma Chongxian, vice-general manager of Air China's parent company.

WannaCry hackings expose weaknesses

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The recent widespread ransomware cyberattack is a landmark incident showing that computer viruses can attack anyone anywhere rather than just targeting certain groups, senior Chinese cybersecurity officials said.

They also said China must be able to handle similar and even worse attacks in the future.

"WannaCry has no specific target. All Windows users are potentially the targets of the highly infectious virus. It has caused enormous panic among people around the world because it poses a direct threat," said Liu Xinran, deputy director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Coordination Center.

He made the remarks during the center's 2017 annual conference in Qingdao, Shandong province, held Monday to Wednesday.

WannaCry, exploiting a security loophole in Windows, blocks users from accessing their own files. It encrypts data and system files, which the user can then access only by paying $300 in online bitcoin currency within seven days.

The attacks peaked between May 13 and 14 in China. Some gas stations run by China National Petroleum Corp in several cities could not process card and mobile payments because of the ransomware.

"It's really difficult to calculate the exact damage the virus has caused in China because it disrupts the normal functions of many organizations, which can hardly be quantified," said Yan Hanbing, director of the operation department at CNCERT, as the response team is known.

Chen Zhaoxiong, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said that as internet-based services have been deeply integrated into people's daily activities, such attacks now have more effect on people's lives than just interrupting cyberspace.

Threats of such attacks already represent severe security threats to key sectors including finance, transportation and energy in China, he added.

"WannaCry is just a warning sign. We need a better defense and warning system for severe attacks that are beyond our imagination in the future," said Yang Peng, a senior engineer at the center.

"China will be in great danger if similar viruses are used by other governments to start a cyberwar," he said.

Large corporations cannot afford to have cybersecurity loopholes caused by poor management because it matters to national security, Yang said.

Some corporations in key sectors were completely unaware that hackers implanted a virus in their system three years ago and their data had already been stolen, he added.

Contact the writers at cuijia@chinadaily.com.cn

Mainland: Drill will get Taiwan nowhere

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A spokesman for the Chinese mainland warned on Thursday that the Taiwan administration's attempt to resist reunification by force will "get the island nowhere".

The administration-led by the Democratic Progressive Party-should abandon its "Taiwan independence" stance and antagonistic mentality, said An Fengshan, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, during a news conference.

The comment was an answer to a question about an ongoing military drill in Taiwan simulating an attack from the mainland.

"Only by recognizing the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus can the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations be maintained," he said.

The 1992 Consensus embodies the one-China policy.

When asked to comment on Taiwan's attempt to attend the World Health Assembly, An said: "The authority of the principle of one-China policy is beyond question."

He said the policy has been widely recognized by the international community and is also reflected in United Nations Resolution 2758 and World Health Assembly Resolution 25.1.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the WHO. It is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland. This year's assembly opened on Tuesday and will run to May 31.

"As a matter of course, the WHO, the health agency of the UN, has handled Taiwan-related issues according to the principle, and we hope the assembly will not be disturbed," An said.

Newly elected WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom reiterated the organization's adherence to the one-China policy on Wednesday.

Tedros, 52, a former health minister and foreign minister of Ethiopia, will succeed Margaret Chan, whose tenure ends in June.

In a meeting with Li Bin, head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, Tedros said the UN agency will properly handle Taiwan-related issues based on the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the World Health Assembly, the WHO's decision-making body.

Tedros noted that it was his first bilateral meeting after being elected and told Li that he will continue to lead the WHO to closer cooperation with China.

Li congratulated Tedros on his election and said China is willing to continue its in-depth cooperation with the organization.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Poverty drives cross-border trade

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"I can't afford to marry a Chinese girl because I'm too poor, so I intended to buy a Vietnamese bride," said a 22-year-old from Henan province, surnamed Wang, who was arrested as he attempted to select a woman near the border between Yunnan province and Vietnam.

"My parents arranged a few blind dates for me. As betrothal gifts, one girl demanded a house and car costing more than 200,000 yuan ($30,000), but I couldn't afford them," he said.

After several failures, Wang's parents became concerned and arranged for marriage brokers to visit Yunnan to help their son find a less-expensive Vietnamese wife.

Wang's confession and careful investigation helped police uncover a major cross-border human trafficking ring.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Vietnamese traffickers search for young women with low levels of education and poor social awareness, then illegally transport them across the border under the pretext of tourism or well-paid jobs.

After buying the victims, Chinese traffickers arrange accommodations and contact brokers to resell them at a profit in rural areas across seven provinces and regions, including Yunnan, Henan and Shandong.

According to Chen Jianfeng, director of the anti-human trafficking office at the ministry's Criminal Investigation Department, most of the buyers are residents of poverty-stricken areas who are too poor to marry Chinese women.

"The buyers secretly come to the border area in Yunnan to choose Vietnamese brides. All the deals are made via agents," he said.

In February, the ministry ordered public security departments in seven provinces and regions to take unified action. The police arrested 75 traffickers and rescued 34 Vietnamese women, smashing a major transnational human trafficking ring, according to the ministry.

The suspects were transferred to the local prosecuting department for questioning, and most of the women were repatriated to Vietnam.

Under China's Criminal Law, people convicted of knowingly buying abducted women face jail terms of less than three years.

Dream jobs differ depending on generation

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The top dream job for Chinese men in childhood is to be a public servant. For women, it's to be a teacher. That's according to a survey published by LinkedIn, a US-based networking website, ahead of International Children's Day, which falls on June 1.

After civil servant - which one in four men selected in a multiple-choice survey - men dreamed of being scientists, policemen, businessmen and teachers, in that order, the survey found. Results were released on Wednesday.

Among women, nearly 31 percent dreamed in childhood of becoming a teacher. The next choices were medical worker, artist, public servant and designer.

More than 1,000 people between 22 and 45 took the online survey, which was conducted earlier this month.

It also showed that younger groups had more variety in their dream jobs. For those who were born before 1980, more than half found their childhood dream job in the top five of the list - which comprises mainly stable jobs with good social standing in a traditional sense.

However, 40 percent of respondents born after 1990 found their dream job in the top five. Corporate manager, pilot, flight attendant, movie director and photographer were what they dreamed about, the survey showed.

"Young people have more access to information, and social values have become increasingly diversified. So more young people make decisions based on their interests, rather than choosing just the jobs that are highly recognized in the traditional sense," said Wang Di, vice-president of LinkedIn China.

Roughly 13 percent of the respondents said they are currently doing what they dreamed of in their childhood, and 42 percent said they work in related areas. The rest have never tried what they used to dream about or have switched to other professions.

For Beijing native Xue Han, her dream job in childhood was to run a candy shop where people would feel happy when they walked in.

After graduating from Peking University, she started from scratch to try to make the dream come true but gave up after a year.

"It turned out to be hard to open a shop with just one person's effort and make it profitable," said Xue, 30.

Later she became a co-founder of WoW Education, a Beijing-based organization providing teenagers with learning opportunities through international service. She organizes roughly 200 students a year to help poverty-stricken Cambodian schools build facilities.

The dream job in childhood may not always be the best or most suitable, LinkedIn's Wang said.

"Children's perception of jobs may be limited. There's much room for improvement in children's understanding of jobs."


Justice Ministry official loses position, expelled from Party

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A former senior official in the Ministry of Justice who provided false personal documents and who is suspected of corruption has been expelled from the Communist Party of China and removed from office, the top disciplinary watchdog said on Thursday.

An investigation found that Lu Enguang, a former member of the leading Party group of the ministry, provided fake information regarding his age, family members, education and employment background when he joined the Party, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

The commission said in a statement that he used money and personal connections to "buy official positions and honorary titles" that enabled him to rise "from a private enterprise owner to a vice-ministerial-level official".

He was also found to have been simultaneously acting as an official and a businessman, and had sought benefits for multiple enterprises he controlled in improper ways, it said.

To benefit his business operations and get promotions in public office, he was said to have offered large amounts of money and gifts to government officials, it said.

The case has been delivered to judicial authorities for further investigation.

"Lu's values are severely twisted, and what he did seriously violated Party discipline," the CCDI said. "He tarnished the image and the personnel selection system of the Party and undermined the political environment of related regions and units."

It noted that the circumstances were serious, which is why he was dismissed from public office and expelled from the Party. In addition, the titles he obtained dishonestly will be revoked, it added.

Lu, a native of Shandong province, graduated from Tongji University in Shanghai. In the past he was a teacher and then the head of a science and technology facility.

He joined the ministry in 2009 and became a member of its leading Party group in 2015.

Report says teens should reduce sugar

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A boy drinks sweet drink. [Photo/VCG]

Experts: Popularity of sweet drinks may lead to major health problems

Chinese teenagers love their sweet drinks - consuming more than what's recommended daily. But they need to cut back to avoid tooth decay, obesity and diseases related to excessive sugar intake, health experts warn.

A report based on a survey of 14 provinces found that the average daily intake of sugar for Chinese people is lower than the recommended level set by the World Health Organization, but for children age 3 to 17 it's much higher because of the growing popularity of sugary drinks.

The WHO recommends a daily intake of sugars for adults and children of less than 5 percent of total daily energy intake. Government health authorities suggest less than 50 grams a day.

The survey, conducted in 2014 by China's health, education and sports authorities, found that the sugar intake of males 13 to 17 surpassed 8.1 percent of total intake. Only numbers for boys were given.

"This means an effort to reduce the sugary drink intake of teenagers is urgently needed," Liang Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Thursday.

"In addition, I have found that sugar imports are increasing," he said, adding that more Chinese people are picking up Western-style eating habits, including the consumption of more desserts containing lots of sugar.

Sugar is a carbohydrate that provides the body with energy, but excessive sugar intake is closely related to tooth decay, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

About 12 percent of children age 7 to 18 who were surveyed were overweight, which by Chinese standards means they have a body mass index of between 24 and 27; and 7.3 percent were obese, or a BMI of 28 or higher.

Besides sugar, Chinese authorities are encouraging reduced intake of salt and edible oils. And they're promoting physical exercise in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

In 2012, the daily salt intake of people aged 12 and over was 10.5 grams, higher than the national recommended level of 6 grams; the daily oil intake was 42.1 grams, higher than the recommended volume of 25 to 30 grams, data from National Health and Family Planning Commission show.

"We have seen 25 percent of adults develop high blood pressure, and 10 percent have diabetes," Liang said. "And the rates are climbing, which is a warning to take steps to control the problem."

The Action Plan on Promoting Healthy Lifestyle in China (2017-25), released in late April by the commission, is targeting these issues.

"To reduce the intake of sugar, salt and oil, we need to build the concepts of a healthy lifestyle into students' studies, making teenagers aware of the negative effects of an unbalanced diet," said Yang Yuexin, director of the Chinese Nutrition Society.

"Knowing how to live a healthy life and better protect themselves is more important than exam scores," she said.


The pangolin is in need of a PR campaign

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The Chinese pangolin is said to be extinct in the wild. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Do you know what a pangolin is? An instrument, guessed one friend. Term for a baby panda, perhaps? A tropical fruit grown in Indonesia, was another oddly specific response.

I've been conducting this haphazard survey ever since I came across the pangolin in a story about an illegal wild animal trafficking operation.

While having a low profile with the general public, it seems the pangolin is well-known in the black market trade in dead or live animals. That's right, the pangolin is an animal. Imagine an aardvark with an even more impressive suit of armor and an endearing habit of curling up into a tight ball.

The very scales designed to protect it from predators are exactly what has made it a target for illegal hunting. Their defense mechanism of rolling up in a ball may be enough to confuse lions, but, in a cruel twist, it makes it easy for hunters to simply pick them up.

All eight variations of the pangolin from Asia and Africa are now among the most endangered mammals. Wildlife organizations estimate 100,000 pangolins are captured each year, fetching up to $3,000 a kilogram. Pangolin meat is a delicacy and their tough scales are either turned into decoration or dried for use in traditional medicine in Asia.

So why hasn't anyone who doesn't want to eat them know about them?

Clearly, this scaly critter needs better PR.

Infographic: Saving pangolins

Hampering their cause is that you're unlikely to see a pangolin in a zoo. No wild animal enjoys being caged, but it seems the pangolin really can't hack it, becoming stressed, depressed and dying early. It's hard to mount a successful for campaign for an animal that 99 percent of the population will never see in real life, let alone have your photo taken with one.

Perhaps part of the reason they don't farewell in captivity is because not much is known about them. We know they eat ants, but their diet may include all kinds of other bugs. We don't know how long they live in the wild or much about their breeding habits. They are mammals of mystery.

It's a vicious cycle, without much love for the creature, there's little pressure to throw precious scientific research funding dollars at it.

They haven't been completely forgotten. There are admirable and hardworking people dedicated to shutting down the illegal pangolin trade and running rehabilitation centers in Asia on shoestring budgets. There is World Pangolin Day and you can buy a "save pangolins" T-shirt online.

But without a significant increase in support, these mammals of mystery are at serious risk of disappearing entirely before most people even know they exist.

It may not be as cute and cuddly as a panda, or as strong as a rhino, but it only takes an online image search to see this peculiar creature has potential. They're shy, nonaggressive and their bizarre scaly shell has earned them cute nicknames such as "walking pinecone" and "modern day dinosaur".

And I haven't even mentioned their super sticky tongue can be longer than their body, ideal for scooping up ants.

So now the panda is off the endangered list, let's dedicate some of our animal love and social media space to this bizarre, misunderstood creature.


China and Vietnam declare war on human traffickers

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago

Abducted Vietnamese women prepare to return home at Dongxing port, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on the China-Vietnam border. [Photo by Huang Jun/China Daily]

Stringent measures will be implemented to tackle cross-border abductions of young women.

Police in China and Vietnam will strengthen exchanges of intelligence and evidence, and conduct joint investigations and exercises in a bid to smash large cross-border human trafficking rings, according to a top government official.

Chen Shiqu, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Investigation Department, said border management will be strengthened and inspections will be intensified to cut off the traffickers' channels.

Officers will also focus on improving cooperation in case investigations, collection of evidence, the capture and repatriation of suspects, and victim rescue and rehabilitation.

The ministry said a huge economic imbalance coupled with loopholes in social management have resulted in a large number of Vietnamese women, mostly from poor rural areas, being kidnapped and illegally transported to China for forced marriages or to work as prostitutes.

Chen Jianfeng, director of the anti-human trafficking office at the ministry's Criminal Investigation Department, promised tougher measures against traffickers: "Women are not commodities, and they should not be marketed. We will deepen practical cooperation on law enforcement with Vietnam to crack down on such crimes."

Common ancestry

The border between China and Vietnam is more than 1,300 kilometers long and there are few natural barriers. Many people living on both sides of the border have common ancestry, so cross-border marriages are common, while locals frequently move between the two countries without checks.

The conditions in the subtropical region allow gangs to move young Vietnamese women across the border under the pretext of providing jobs as nannies or servants, and in industry.

The ministry declined to release statistics, but said the number of women trafficked fell slightly last year, as a result of intensified efforts by the countries to combat such crimes.

A Vietnamese woman waits to be repatriated at a temporary hostel in Anqing, Anhui province. [Photo by Xu Pu/China Daily]

Last year, police from both countries conducted a special three-month exercise that targeted traffickers. Figures provided by the ministry show that Chinese police uncovered 184 cases of human trafficking and arrested 290 suspects, including 29 Vietnamese nationals.

The exercise also smashed 61 criminal gangs, leading to the rescue of 207 Vietnamese women and one child.

"We still face a tough task fighting cross-border human trafficking because of the huge profits available to the gangs, and a lack of awareness among poor, ill-educated women," Chen Shiqu said.

He added that the large economic and social differences between China and Vietnam mean many Vietnamese women who are keen to work in China or move to the country in search of wealthy suitors are targeted and tricked by traffickers.

"These women often have low levels of education and their judgment is poor. They are eager to come to China to become rich, or to marry a rich man," he said.

Chen Jianfeng said the traffickers usually target rural women in their 20s and 30s.

"Some criminals have even established illegal cross-border marriage brokers who tell the women that they will live in a big city and marry a wealthy man," he said.

According to Chen Shiqu, the victims are often sold in China's rural areas as brides for poor villagers, or forced to provide sexual services in underground prostitution dens in coastal or border areas, including the provinces of Guangdong and Yunnan, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Yin Guohai, an officer with the ministry's Criminal Investigation Department, said Chinese gangs collaborate with their Vietnamese counterparts to conduct trafficking, and members are allotted different tasks to form a complete chain of interest.

Jin Yulu, a police officer at the Ruili checkpoint in the Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefecture in Yunnan, said Vietnamese traffickers search for local women, and then arrange for them to illegally bypass border checkpoints by taking them along hidden roads in forested or mountainous areas, although a number also enter China illegally by river.

Upon arrival, the traffickers transfer the women to their Chinese accomplices, who provide lodgings, contact agents and then transport them to various parts of the country.

The price for each woman usually ranges from 60,000 to 100,000 yuan ($8,700 to $14,490), based on age, appearance and nationality, he added.

Earlier this month, 13 men were arrested in Yunnan and charged with cross-border trafficking. They are accused of bringing 27 Vietnamese women into China for forced marriages between July 2014 and April last year, according to the Kaiyuan people's court in Yunnan's Honghe prefecture.

Ten of the defendants are accused of kidnapping the women from the border area and selling them at prices ranging from 33,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan each in rural areas of the provinces of Hunan, Shandong and Hebei.

The three other defendants were charged with knowingly buying women who had been abducted, according to prosecutors. The court is expected to release its verdict soon.

Under China's Criminal Law, people found guilty of kidnapping or trafficking women face jail terms of between five and 10 years.

However, if the circumstances are deemed more serious-such as the use of force, or even people dying during abduction-traffickers face sentences ranging from 10 years to the death penalty, according to Li Wei, a lawyer from the Beijing Lawyers Association.

Judicial cooperation

Chen Shiqu said the authorities face practical challenges identifying such crimes and breaking the profit chain.

"We have difficulty uncovering evidence, managing and controlling the border, and busting major criminal rings," he said.

China and Vietnam recently agreed to use a number of joint patrols to tackle the problem.

The two countries signed the Mekong River Sub-regional Cooperation Anti-trafficking Memo in 2001, and established annual meetings between senior officials, according to Dai Peng, a law professor who specializes in criminal investigation at the People's Public Security University of China.

Moreover, China has also established eight border offices with neighboring countries, including four with Vietnam, he said.

Chen Shiqu said Chinese police will carry out regular exercises to combat the trafficking of foreign women, and will also pay greater attention to patrolling key areas such as bus stations, docks and small roads in the countryside or mountainous regions that are often used by traffickers.

The police will also continue to strengthen resettlement and repatriation for rescued women to protect their rights.

Hong Daode, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said greater cross-border efforts will be required to beat the traffickers.

"International cooperation is vital, because it leads to greater intelligence sharing and better cooperation on joint actions, which is the key to capturing traffickers and smashing cross-border trafficking rings," he said.

Contact the writer at zhangyan1@chinadaily.com.cn

<EM>Jiaolong</EM> descends over 6 km in Mariana Trench

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago
Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, is lowered into the sea at the start of a dive on May 25, 2017. The submersible descends to 6,300 meters in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, the site of the oceans' deepest valley. [Photo/Xinhua] The Jiaolong's robot arm retrieves a rock sample on May 23, 2017, on the first of the current series of dives. [Photo/Xinhua] A Xinhua reporter makes notes inside the craft on May 23, 2017. The country's 38th oceanic expedition, which began on Feb 6, includes the most missions yet for Jiaolong. [Photo/Xinhua] A starfish sample collected by submersible Jiaolong in the Mariana Trench on May 23, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Submersible Jiaolong surfaces after a dive in the Mariana Trench on May 25, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Xinhua reporter Liu Shiping waves as he walks out of submersible Jiaolong on May 23, 2017.  [Photo/Xinhua]

For top player Ke, it's a Go no-go

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago

Ke Jie reflects on his play after losing the second game of his match with AlphaGo in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, on Thursday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Despite losing the second game with Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo on Thursday, Ke Jie, the 19-year-old No 1 human Go player in the world, earned praise from experts and fans for his "incredible" performance.

Though the defeat means that AI has secured victory in the three-game match, the game itself mirrors the human tenacity and courage in the face of mounting pressure, experts said.

The biggest applause came from the rival AlphaGo, whose evaluation system said Ke played "perfectly" for about the first 50 moves of the game, which was held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.

"Even for the first 100 moves it was the closest game we've ever seen anyone play against the upgraded version of AlphaGo," Demis Hassabis, chief executive of Google DeepMind, said at a postgame news conference.

In the second game, Ke played the white stones, with AlphaGo taking the black. Comparing the second match with the first, which he lost by half a point on Tuesday, Ke said the second was far more intense and thrilling.

"At one point, I thought I was very close to victory. My heart beat so fast that I pressed my hand to it, hoping it could slow down a little bit," Ke said.

"But I made bad moves later. It's really regrettable," he added.

Ke, the holder of multiple world titles, said AlphaGo's did not maximize some moves, giving him a chance, but he failed to take advantage of it. "It never occurred to me that playing against a machine can be as exciting as playing against a human," Ke said.

Go, which originated in ancient China, is a game in which two players take turns placing black and white stones on a 19-by-19 grid of squares to try to control the most territory.

The game was previously thought to be beyond the reach of computer algorithms because of its complexity, but AI has made major progress in self-learning.

The match is the latest showdown between the best human Go players and AlphaGo, which defeated South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol 4-1 in March 2016. The final game of the match between Ke and AlphaGo will be on Saturday.

"Ke had a good beginning in the game and evolved his strategy to engage in a series of complex battles across the board, but AlphaGo is too formidable," Chinese Go grandmaster Nie Weiping, said in an interview with the news website The Paper.

Sun Hongliang, 37, a teacher who has been playing Go for two years, said, "No one believed Ke would win, but he still accepted the challenge. That is courage. Considering his loss on Tuesday, Ke has done a good job. The performance was incredible."

Xi: Life of scientist worthy of emulation

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago

President Xi Jinping called on society to learn from renowned geophysicist Huang Danian, who made outstanding contributions in education and scientific research.

Xi made the remarks in a written instruction praising Huang's contribution to the nation.

Xi said Huang devoted his life to national prosperity and revival and people's well-being. He called on the public to follow Huang's example, learning from his patriotism, professional dedication and the noble spirit of being indifferent to fame and wealth while dedicated to the country.

"People should put their patriotism and aspirations into the great course of reform and development," Xi said, asking people to do their jobs well, and contribute to the realization of the nation's two centenary goals and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

Huang was known for his expertise in deep Earth exploration technology, and studied and worked in Britain for 18 years before returning to China in 2009.

In 2008, China launched a national recruitment program for global top talent, called the Thousand Talents program, as part of building an innovation-driven economy.

Huang became one of the first to participate. He gave up his position in Britain and sold his property to work at Jilin University in Changchun.

"I should go as my country needs me," he said in an email to a friend at Jilin University. He said that no matter how successful he was abroad, the biggest satisfaction would be improving his home country.

He helped China soar in a number of technical fields, transforming the nation into one of the world's leaders in deep Earth exploration.

Huang's cancer went undetected since he was constantly working, causing him to miss the key window for treatment. On Jan 8, Huang died of bile duct cancer at age 58.

Xinhua News Agency contributed to this story.

US incursion off Nanshas condemned

CHINA DAILY - 0 sec ago

Frigates deployed to warn ship sent by Washington to leave S. China Sea area

Beijing strongly condemned Washington on Thursday over a US Navy warship sailing close to the Nansha Islands without permission, and warned that such action could damage the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Experts said that the move shows the United States military wants to remain a presence in the region for both its domestic and international goals.

The USS Dewey, a guided missile destroyer, sailed less than 12 nautical miles from the Meiji Reef of the Nansha Islands early Thursday, the first such case under the administration of US President Donald Trump, US media reported, citing US military officials.

China deployed the guided-missile frigates Liuzhou and Luzhou to identify and warn the US ship to leave, Ren Guoqiang, spokesman of the Ministry of Defense, said at a regular news conference. China also made solemn representations, a diplomatic protest, to the US, he said.

"Such wrong conduct of the US military will only encourage the Chinese military to further strengthen its capacity building and firmly defend our national sovereignty and security," he said.

He said China has undisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and surrounding waters. "We strongly oppose such practices of the US military, which shows off its might, promotes regional militarization and easily causes unexpected air and sea accidents."

Ren said that a healthy and steady military relation between China and the US is in line with the common interests of the two countries, and it needs concerted efforts on both sides. "We urge the US to take concrete measures to correct the mistake and inject positive energy into the development of bilateral military relations," he said.

Lu Kang, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Thursday that the situation in the South China Sea is cooling down and showing positive signs of development, thanks to the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries.

But the US action risked severely disrupting the negotiations between the stakeholders in the South China Sea, "and benefits no one", he said.

"China resolutely opposes any country using freedom of navigation to undermine China's sovereignty and security interest," Lu said. "The determination to protect its territorial sovereignty, security and maritime interest is unshakable."

China strongly urged the US to stop the provocations and refrain from damaging the peace and stability of the region as well as Sino-US cooperation, he added.

Major General Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said that the excuse of "freedom of navigation" allows the US Navy to boast of its military presence in the region to achieve its domestic and international goals.

"By stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, domestically, the US military can ask the Trump administration for more resources to contain China," he said. "Internationally, the US military can reassure its global allies that it has not lost footing in the South China Sea, and appear tough before the upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue, where defense officials from around the world will meet in Singapore."

Belt and Road may be a wise initiative for G7

CHINA DAILY - 11 min 26 sec ago


That leaders from the world's leading industrialized countries-Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States-are expected to discuss "building the foundations of renewed trust" in Sicily, Italy, on Friday and Saturday offers a glimpse of the challenges facing the G7 amid growing concerns over global governance.

Established in 1975 by "the world's six major industrialized democracies" before Canada joined it a year later, the G7 seems to have passed the baton of international economic coordination to the G20 after the 2008 financial crisis. The G7 still accounts for more than 40 percent of the world's economy, but their combined contribution to global growth is not equal to that of China alone. And given the continuing currency and trade disputes, it is only natural for the G7 to yield place to the more inclusive G20 to build the foundations of renewed trust.

The founding of the G20, which comprises the G7 as well as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and other major economies, also poses a challenge to the G7's legitimacy. The co-existence of concerting mechanisms upheld by different regional economic blocs, to some extent, could deal another blow to the G7's once-dominant role now that the G20 enjoys more international credibility.

The major hindrance to the G7's ambitions is the waning coordination between the US and the European Union after Donald Trump was sworn in as the US president and leader of the world's largest economy. Trump's "America First" slogan, strident comments on the role of NATO, and his decision to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement have added to the US-Europe disparities over free trade, multilateralism and global governance. And many observers say he could face headwinds at the ongoing NATO summit in Brussels and the G7 summit in Sicily.

The G7 also needs to deal with the global security challenges and better manage its relations with China and Russia, which was suspended from the erstwhile G8 in 2014. Without Washington leading the way, the seven-member bloc will likely become a supplement to bilateral negotiations between the US and other G7 members like Japan and Canada. And after the EU-Canada and EU-Japan free trade agreements came into effect, however, Brussels seems to expect less from Washington.

More important, the major issues haunting some G7 economies, such as Italy's debt crisis, raise questions on the bloc's credentials in economic governance. The group's ambitions of reducing inequalities, safeguarding cyber security, closing the financing channels of terrorists and dealing with the tax challenges of a digital economy are laudable. But it will take more than seven countries to find a fundamental solution to the problems, not least because Trump's recent moves suggest something different from the previous G7 consensus on fighting protectionism and climate change.

Whether the G7 summit will raise an alert over competitive depreciation should be closely watched given the possibility of the new US administration undermining the consistency of the G20 economies' global monetary policy.

Seeking closer cooperation with China and taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative could be a wise choice for the G7 members aiming to build solidarity and efficient global governance. The two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, which ended on May 15, was attended by representatives of both developing and emerging countries, as well as the G7 countries. That is evidence of the difference the inclusive, reciprocal initiative can make to the international community and regional groups.

The author is a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, and a senior researcher at The Charhar Institute.

Ten photos from across China: May 19-25

CHINA DAILY - 20 min 55 sec ago

In this week's Ten Photos, students study hard for the all-important college exam, a breathtaking sunset in Beijing, and used tires recycled for art.

Staff members at a museum in Yunyang county, Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, check cultural relics that were recovered from smugglers on May 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

An egret forages in a field in Lu'an, East China's Anhui province, on May 23, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A sea area in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, turns blue thanks to luminescent micro-organisms in the water, May 21, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A couple takes a rest as the sun sets at the Summer Palace in Beijing, May 24, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

People use public laundry machines in Shanghai, May 19, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A sculpture of an ancient general made out of used tires on display at an art expo in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, May 19, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A man weaves through poles during a sports test in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, May 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Beijing glows red as the sun sets after heavy rain, May 22, 2017. [Photo/China News Service]

Students hit the books at a high school in Handan, North China's Hebei province, ahead of the national college entrance examination, May 23, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A man cools himself off with a towel on a scorching day in Beijing, May 24, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

'Not green revolution, think evergreen revolution'

TIMES OF INDIA - 1 hour 10 min ago
On the third anniversary of his government's tenure, PM Narendra Modi announced a new Rs 6,000 crore scheme to encourage food processing and talked of doubling farmers' income by 2022 to make way not for a second green revolution, but for an "evergreen revolution".

Vanguard’s vital initiative

SHANGHAI DAILY - 1 hour 21 min ago
VANGUARD, the world's largest mutual fund company, officially launched its wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai's free trade zone yesterday with hopes to serve Chinese consumers once the market is opened up. The office, located in Lujiazui area, will now conduct investment management, investment consulting, researching, and educational functions mainly targeting institutional investors looking to allocate asset overseas. Its existent clients include insurance, banking, asset managers and other financial institutions. “This new milestone solidifies our commitment to China,” said F. William McNabb III, chairman and CEO of Vanguard. “Bringing our investment approach to millions of investors in China is an important initiative for Vanguard's International business.” Charles Lin, managing director and country head of China, said Vanguard hopes that authorities will allow foreign investment fund houses to sell products on the mainland in the next three to five years, when the company can serve ordinary Chinese investors. He said China's booming stock market, growing affluent population, and expanding mutual fund industry offer huge prospect for the company's development in China. The company already allocated about 25 billion yuan (US$364 million) in China's domestic A-share market, and runs the first emerging market index fund that includes A shares. Vanguard joins Fidelity International, J.P. Morgan, Aberdeen Asset Management, and Bridgewater Associates to be the few investment management companies to set up wholly foreign-owned enterprises on the mainland as China gradually liberalizes its capital markets. Fidelity International this month became the first foreign fund manager to be able to sell private fund onshore to institutional and hign-net worth investors. The others still need to register with Asset Management Association of China to be able to launch onshore products.

Shanghai shares gain 0.63 percent this week

SHANGHAI DAILY - 1 hour 23 min ago
SHANGHAI shares edged up on Friday, calming down from the previous volatile trading. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.07 percent to 3,110.06 points at the close, holding above the key-level of 3,000 points and posting a weekly gain of 0.63 percent. Most of the gains came in Thursday on financial shares this week, with the Shanghai gauge rising sharply by 1.43 percent under the intention of government support, traders said. The performance shrugged off rating agency Moody's decision to downgrade China's rating by one notch to A1 on Wednesday. During today's session, transportation shares traded firm, banking and property companies retreated. Analysts said blue-chip shares having better fundamental performance will keep being favored in the near term, as investors' risks appetite has turned cautious amid recent financial crackdowns on speculative tradings. Shares of China Merchants Bank Co, though closed down today, had surged 10.28 percent over the week, while consumer shares like Kweichow Moutai Co, which has surged more than 100 yuan per share since January, rose 0.29 percent to 451.92 yuan (US$65.9) today. China's mainland stock markets will resume trading until next Wednesday due to country's Dragon Boat Festival.

Lincoln bids on larger dealership network

SHANGHAI DAILY - 1 hour 24 min ago
LINCOLN plans to accelerate the speed of opening new stores in China to meet the rising demand, the company said today in an opening ceremony of one new store in Shanghai. China is expected to home 100 Lincoln stores by the end of this year, up from 72 by March, among which 65 are large stores and seven small ones. “The large stores are standard stores, but if there is very limited space in the center of the city, we will set up smaller ones or service areas for our customers,” said Amy Marentic, president of Lincoln Asia Pacific. According to the company’s plan, about 80 stores of the 100 Lincoln stores in China will be large stores while 20 of the 100 stores will be smaller ones. Marentic said the firm considers adding more stores in Shanghai’s central areas. Lincoln is a division of the Ford Motor Company that sells luxury vehicles. The brand unveiled its Navigator concept vehicle and MKZ hybrid at the Shanghai Auto Show last month.

Huawei’s new phone for the young

SHANGHAI DAILY - 1 hour 25 min ago
A new model of Huawei Technologies has joined the highly competitive segment of smartphone targeting young consumers. The new Nova 2 models features dual camera and specially designed photo editing software, which can recognize genders of users and offer customized optimization.  The company also offered more optional colors and panorama camera accessory designed for group selfie and party photos. The Nova models aim to attract white-collar consumers aged between 18 and 29, different from Huawei’s other models targeting business executives, said He Gang, Huawei’s handset business head. The Nova 2 models will start online sales in June with starting price of 2,499 yuan (US$362). By the first quarter, Huawei narrowed the gap with Apple and Samsung Electronics in global smartphone market. But it’s also challenged by other domestic brands including Oppo and Vivo targeting young consumers, said research firms. In the first quarter, Samsung still dominated global smartphone market with 20.7 percent, followed by Apple’s 13.7 percent, Huawei’s 9 percent, Oppo’s 8.1 percent and Vivo’s 6.8 percent. Huawei’s market share gap with Apple narrowed to less than 5 percentage points compared with 6.5 percentage points a year ago, according to Gartner.

Ford China announces new CEO

SHANGHAI DAILY - 1 hour 26 min ago
PETER Fleet has been appointed chief executive officer of Ford China and president of Ford Asia Pacific to lead the company’s operations in Asia Pacific, according to US carmaker Ford’s official statement published today. Peter Fleet, in his new role as the chairman and CEO of Ford China, will be responsible for Ford China import business, Ford’s passenger car joint venture Changan Ford, investment with Jiangling Motors Corporation and Lincoln business. The appointment will be effective since July 1 this year. Peter Fleet served as vice president of marketing, sales and services of Ford Asia Pacific before he was named as the president of Ford Asia Pacific and chief executive officer of Ford China. “The leadership changes we are announcing across our global business are important as we foster even greater teamwork, accountability and nimble decision-making,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company. Ford and its joint ventures sold about 94,000 vehicles last month in China, up 11 percent year-on-year. The company’s sales in China reached 349,228 units in the first four months this year.

Better policies for Shanghai from China Mobile

SHANGHAI DAILY - 1 hour 30 min ago
CHINA Mobile announced today to partner with the Shanghai government to offer favorable and customized services for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as government bureaus in Shanghai. The initiatives will include public clouding service and upgraded broadband lines. By 2020, China Mobile’s Shanghai branch aims to serve 10,000 small and medium enterprises and startups, offering upgraded network to industrial parks and offer IT services to various government bureaus with discounted prices of up to 60 percent. It’s the latest move for telecommunications carriers to support the national strategy to encourage information consumption and offer better information infrastructure for innovation, said Huang Gang, vice general manager of Shanghai Mobile. On e-government sector, Shanghai Mobile is constructing a public cloud platform for local government bureaus on commerce, education, healthcare and official websites. It will offer 150 cloud-based services by 2017 and totally 1,000 within three to five year. Carriers have to invest more on enterprise and government sectors to diversify and optimize income structure when they have decreased prices of voice and data traffic for consumers, which contributed lion shares previously, analysts said.

Big data to expand cradle to grave

CHINA DAILY - 1 hour 43 min ago

More big data technologies will be widely applied, not only to e-commerce business but also to the booming e-governance sector and civil services, benefiting both citizens and governments, experts and company leaders said Thursday as the Big Data Expo trade show prepared to open in Guiyang, Guizhou province.

The show runs Friday through Monday.

A huge IT system and a variety of big data technologies are needed to better govern and serve people from cradle to grave, given that as many as 2,500 kinds of civil services are used during an ordinary citizen's life, said Hu Xiaoming, president of Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group Holding.

On Thursday, Alibaba Cloud announced it would jointly launch a block data center and a cloud platform project with the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau, offering more robust computing power and smarter artificial intelligence algorithms.

Block data, a kind of big data concept, refers to the aggregation of data from a particular region. With the help of the new block chain project, the bureau will collect all the data related to social security services, allowing faster response times.

"The power of big data will enable us take full advantage of various data as key resources to reduce costs and improve work efficiency," Hu added.

The recent deal is only a small part of Alibaba's ambitious blueprint to develop cloud storage, enabling local governments to better collect and analyze data and thus optimize its civil services, including urban traffic.

With the help of the cloud computing platform and AI technologies, vehicles with fake licenses will be automatically identified, according to the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau.

"For us, big data has become a powerful weapon against criminals," said Yu Yang, executive deputy director of the public security bureau. "With the use of big data analysis, the crime of burglary and robbery dropped 5.99 percent in Guiyang last year, compared with 2015."

As far back as 2014, has Alibaba signed deals with Guizhou, and 612 application systems of different administration branches have been successfully tested on the cloud platform.

Contact the writers at ouyangshijia@chinadaily.com.cn

Big data to expand cradle to grave

CHINA DAILY - 1 hour 43 min ago

More big data technologies will be widely applied, not only to e-commerce business but also to the booming e-governance sector and civil services, benefiting both citizens and governments, experts and company leaders said Thursday as the Big Data Expo trade show prepared to open in Guiyang, Guizhou province.

The show runs Friday through Monday.

A huge IT system and a variety of big data technologies are needed to better govern and serve people from cradle to grave, given that as many as 2,500 kinds of civil services are used during an ordinary citizen's life, said Hu Xiaoming, president of Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group Holding.

On Thursday, Alibaba Cloud announced it would jointly launch a block data center and a cloud platform project with the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau, offering more robust computing power and smarter artificial intelligence algorithms.

Block data, a kind of big data concept, refers to the aggregation of data from a particular region. With the help of the new block chain project, the bureau will collect all the data related to social security services, allowing faster response times.

"The power of big data will enable us take full advantage of various data as key resources to reduce costs and improve work efficiency," Hu added.

The recent deal is only a small part of Alibaba's ambitious blueprint to develop cloud storage, enabling local governments to better collect and analyze data and thus optimize its civil services, including urban traffic.

With the help of the cloud computing platform and AI technologies, vehicles with fake licenses will be automatically identified, according to the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau.

"For us, big data has become a powerful weapon against criminals," said Yu Yang, executive deputy director of the public security bureau. "With the use of big data analysis, the crime of burglary and robbery dropped 5.99 percent in Guiyang last year, compared with 2015."

As far back as 2014, has Alibaba signed deals with Guizhou, and 612 application systems of different administration branches have been successfully tested on the cloud platform.

Contact the writers at ouyangshijia@chinadaily.com.cn

China raps Pak on safety of its citizens there 

TIMES OF INDIA - 6 hours 33 min ago
Beijing yesterday delivered a stern message to Islamabad saying it needs to improve and enhance the safety of Chinese citizens living in Pakistan.The message to Pakistan to "take more effective (safety) measures" came a day after a Chinese couple were kidnapped in restive Balochistan.

Digital India's journey in 3 years of Modi govt

TIMES OF INDIA - 6 hours 53 min ago
Narendra Modi is a tech-savvy Prime Minister who is often seen encouraging people to use technology in their daily life. Soon after taking over in 2014, his government launched the ambitious Digital India project to bring about a systemic change in the bureaucratic apparatus and speed up work.

India thinking big, moving big, US lawmakers told 

TIMES OF INDIA - 7 hours 21 min ago
India is "thinking big and moving big" to catch up fast on development as it lags behind its giant neighbour China, offering tremendous opportunities to a country like the US, American lawmakers have been told.

National planning to tackle 'urban diseases'

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 21:12

In recent years, it's not been unusual to hear urban Chinese joke about enjoying a "sea view" from their homes, as cities have frequently been flooded after heavy rains in summer. Poor drainage systems in urban areas are one of the reasons for the terrible situation.

Chinese authorities now plan to cope with flooding and also keep at bay other "urban diseases", such as traffic congestion and garbage dumps in the suburbs, with guidelines in a five-year plan.

It's called The National Planning for Urban Infrastructure Construction From 2016 to 2020 and it was published Thursday by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner. It is the first comprehensive national plan for urban construction in China, according to Zhang Linwei, deputy head of the ministry's urban construction department.

The comprehensive plan changes the previous way of drafting separate planning for the development of different infrastructure and public facilities in urban areas. This will make it easier to coordinate different government departments and get rid of the "urban diseases", including traffic congestion, black and odorous bodies of water, garbage dumps in the suburbs and waterlogging, Zhang said at a news conference on Thursday.

While building or broadening 104,000 kilometers of road, the government also will construct 112,400 kilometers of underground storm drains and new facilities capable of diverting and storing 237 million cubic meters of floodwater in the country's urban areas, according to the plan.

The plan also said new garbage disposal plants will be built to increase garbage treatment capability in Chinese urban areas by 509,700 metric tons a day. More than 90,000 trucks will be purchased nationwide to help transport garbage.

To improve urban environments, the plan requires that there should be a public garden in every diameter of 500 meters, Zhang said.

According to the plan, 160,000 and 50,000 hectares of public gardens will be built in urban areas and suburbs, respectively, and 230,000 hectares of public gardens will be upgraded.

Tan Chengwen, an official with the country's top economic planner, said at the conference that public-private partnership will be encouraged for the plan's implementation. Financial institutes of various forms will be motivated to give financial support to these public-private partnership projects.

He also said the government will give more financial support to upgrade urban infrastructure in Central China and in the western parts of the country.

Once power centre, Jayalalithaa's Poes palace turns haunted mansion

TIMES OF INDIA - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 21:04
Within weeks after Sasikala left for the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru on February 15, her kin stopped coming to the house. "Many don't feel comfortable staying there at night, and some have bigger houses in Chennai," said another man on night duty

Oil prices plunge after OPEC decision

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 21:00
OIL prices settled sharply lower Thursday, as investors were disappointed about the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) decision to extend production cuts by nine months. The West Texas Intermediate for July delivery tumbled 2.46 U.S. dollars to settle at 48.90 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for July delivery dropped 2.50 dollars to close at 51.46 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

OPEC, Non-OPEC oil producers extend oil output cut by 9 months

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 20:59
THE Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Non-OPEC states on Thursday decided to extend the joint oil output cut by nine months to rebalance the global oil market after the ministerial meetings in Vienna. OPEC and some Non-OPEC oil producers jointly cut the 1.8 million barrel per day output from the beginning of 2017 to July 1, seeking to rebalance the oil market from a production glut. With the extension, the output cut will be extended to March 2018. It is not surprising that OPEC and its allies made the decision as the extension plan had been recommended by some major oil producers before the meeting. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer among OPEC member states, openly supports the extension plan, though some other member states are suggesting a deeper oil cut. "There have been suggestions; many member countries have indicated flexibilities (in deepening oil output cut)," Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources said ahead of the OPEC meeting. He indicted that the simulation of the oil market suggests that the nine-month extension could be more feasible, in response to the possible deepening oil production cut. OPEC currently accounts for about one third of the world's oil production. It has been trying to rebalance the oil market by cut its oil production amid surplus in the past two years. Jamie Webster, an oil market analyst from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told Xinhua that the shale oil in U.S. is playing an important role in the oil market. Time is still needed to monitor the shale oil output in the future, which could be influential on the efforts made by the OPEC and Non-OPEC producers to rebalance the market, said the analyst.

Defense Ministry warns against US warship in South China Sea

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 17:17

The Chinese navy deployed two missile frigates on Thursday to expel a US Navy warship sailing close to China's Nansha Islands without permission, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said.

Guide-missile frigates Liuzhou and Luzhou were deployed to identify and warn the USS Dewey that entered waters of China's Nansha Islands to leave, ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said at a regular news conference.

Foreign media reported that the USS Dewey sailed less than 12 nautical miles from the Meiji reef of the Nansha Islands on Thursday morning, the first such practice under the administration of Donald Trump.

"China has undisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their surrounding waters," Ren said. "We strongly oppose such practice of the US military, which shows off its might, promotes regional militarization and easily causes unexpected air and sea accidents."

He said that China has made solemn representations to the US side over the matter.

Thanks to the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea is cooling down and showing positive signs of development, Ren said.

"But the wrong practice of the US side disrupts the improving situation and goes against the peace and stability of the South China Sea," he added.

Ren said healthy and steady military relations between China and the US are in line with the common interests of two countries, and it needs the concerted efforts of both sides.

"We urge the US to take concrete measures to correct the mistake and inject positive energy into the development of bilateral military relations," he said.

"Such wrong conduct of the US military will only encourage the Chinese army to further strengthen its capacity building and firmly defend our national sovereignty and security," Ren said.

Shanghai to open 11 B&amp;Bs near Disneyland

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 17:09

Shanghai's first licensed bed-and-breakfast hotels will open next month just 4 kilometers from Disneyland, which is about to mark its first anniversary, Jiefang Daily reported.

The 11 new B&Bs are in Lianmin, a water town that forms part of Pudong New District, and each has a different theme, such as one that will teach guests how to bake cakes.

To reach the accommodation, guests will have to park their cars and take a motorboat along a creek. Other facilities include a play area for families with children.

Shanghai released its first set of standards and safety requirements for B&Bs last year.

The number of B&Bs in the village is expected to rise to 50 during this year, according to Jiefang Daily. The city government will decide whether to increase that further based on the response from the public.

Cheng Si contributed to this story.

Mainland welcomes Taiwan entrepreneurs in Belt &amp; Road construction

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 16:56

BEIJING -- Taiwan entrepreneurs are welcomed to participate in the construction of the Belt and Road despite the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration's refusal to recognize the 1992 Consensus, a Chinese mainland spokesperson said Thursday.

"We actively encourage Taiwan companies to make use of the China-Europe express freight trains to market their goods to central Asia and Europe to expand their overseas markets," said An Fengshan, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, at a press conference.

The office has been promoting the establishment of Belt and Road-related industrial parks in related provinces and municipalities, and has encouraged and assisted Taiwan business people to become involved to form new clusters for Taiwan investment on the mainland.

An said the office had also invited Taiwan entrepreneurs to tour provincial areas along the Belt and Road and some of them have already found business opportunities and started their investment and operations.

The mainland would continue to promote this work to enable Taiwan business people to share the mainland's economic development opportunities, according to the spokesperson.

Taiwan's current DPP administration has not recognized the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, leading to the suspension of cross-Strait communication mechanisms and stalling of institutionalized cross-Strait economic cooperation, An said.

This has impaired the interests of compatriots across the Strait and resulted in the loss of development opportunities for Taiwan entrepreneurs, he added.

Comprised of the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by the Chinese mainland, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.

CPC expels former Shanghai chief procurator

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 16:54

BEIJING -- Chen Xu, former Party chief and retired procurator-general of Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) for multiple offenses including "superstitious activities" and graft.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced Thursday that Chen was found to have violated the Party's code of conduct and been involved in corruption.

The CCDI carried out an investigation into Chen upon approval of the CPC Central Committee.

The investigation found that Chen had illegally interfered with the work of the procuratorate and sought personal gain in handling cases, which had done great damage to the credibility of the judicial system.

For a long time he had practiced "superstitious activities" betraying the Party requirement for atheism and was found to have resisted the Party's investigation, the CCDI statement said.

Chen traded power for money and plotted with his relatives, allowing them to use his influence to seek profits, according to the CCDI.

It also found that Chen had flouted frugality rules by frequenting private clubs and allowing others to pay for him to play golf, as well as violating the code of conduct regarding Party members' personal life.

The statement said that as a senior official of the CPC, Chen had lost his values, seriously violated the Party's code of conduct and did not cease his inappropriate behavior after the CPC 18th National Congress in 2012 when the new leadership launched the anti-corruption campaign.

The CPC Central Committee has approved his expulsion from the Party and the removal of his retirement benefits.

His illegal gains will be confiscated and the case will be transferred to judicial organs for investigation into his alleged crimes, the CCDI statement said.

Xi hails late Chinese geophysicist Huang Danian, stresses patriotism

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 16:52

BEIJING -- President Xi Jinping has asked society to learn from renowned geophysicist Huang Danian, who made outstanding contributions in education and scientific research.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in a written instruction praising Huang's contributions to the nation.

Huang died of illness aged 58 on Jan 8.

Resisting reunification by force to get Taiwan nowhere: mainland spokesman

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:47

BEIJING -- A Chinese mainland spokesman warned Thursday that the Taiwan administration's attempt to resist reunification by the use of force will get the island nowhere.

The Democratic Progressive Party administration should abandon its "Taiwan independence" stance and antagonistic mentality, An Fengshan, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said during a press conference.

"Only by recognizing the common political foundation of the 1992 Consensus can the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations be maintained," An said.

The 1992 Consensus embodies the one-China principle.

The spokesman made the remarks when asked to comment on an ongoing military drill in Taiwan, which has simulated a mainland attack.

CPC expels official for faking resume, bribery

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:47

BEIJING -- Lu Enguang, a former ministerial-level official of the Ministry of Justice, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office for faking personal documents, buying official positions and bribery.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement Thursday that an investigation of Lu, former member of the leading Party group within the ministry, found that he had provided fake information regarding his age, his family members, his education and employment background and documents for joining the CPC.

He was also found to have used money, personal connections and lobbying to "buy official positions and honorary titles along the way" and which enabled him to rise "from a private enterprise owner to a vice ministerial-level official," according to the CCDI.

The statement said Lu had been simultaneously acting as an official and a businessman controlling multiple enterprises and had sought benefits for these enterprises via dishonest means.

He was also found to have offered significant amounts of money and gifts to state officials to obtain promotions to official positions and benefits in business operations.

The statement accused Lu of resisting the investigation.

The CCDI said Lu's values were "severely twisted" and his actions have seriously violated the Party's code of conduct and involved criminal acts.

Such acts have tarnished the image and the personnel selection system of the CPC and undermined the "political environment of related regions and units," the CCDI statement said, noting that "the circumstances were serious."

His dishonestly obtained honorary titles will be revoked and his suspected crimes and illegal gains will be transferred to judicial organs, according to the CCDI.

GST benefit: Merc cuts prices, more to follow

TIMES OF INDIA - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:10
As luxury carmakers step on the gas to pass on GST benefits to customers, buyers of top car brands can look forward to 4-6% mark downs or price reductions to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh-Rs 7 lakh for models assembled in India.

CBSE may moderate marks, result 'on time'

TIMES OF INDIA - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 14:55
The Central Board of Secondary Education may desist from moving the Supreme Court against Delhi HC’s order asking it not to do away with moderation of marks, even as the HRD ministry again instructed the board on Thursday to release Class XII results “on time”.

Guangzhou expo to help forge Belt and Road tourism ties

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:46

The 2017 China International Tourism Industry Expo will play a significant role in expanding tourism cooperation between countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior tourism official has predicted.

Zeng Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration, said the event, to be held in Guangzhou from Sept 8 to 10, will present myriad opportunities for travel agencies and businesses from home and abroad.

"The tourism industry and Sino-foreign cooperation have great potential for development after the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing this month," Zeng said on Wednesday.

An estimated 150 million Chinese are expected to visit countries involved in the initiative by 2020, spending more than $200 billion, he said, adding that tourism departments and travel agencies should seize the opportunities to work with foreign counterparts.

Guangdong should also develop tourism by advancing cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge opens this year, Zeng said.

The province is a major tourist destination, receiving 12.89 million visitors from home and abroad over the recent May Day holiday. The income from entrance tickets to scenic spots totaled 532 million yuan ($77.35 million).

Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng, Thailand's consul general in Guangzhou, said this year is the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and that there are many opportunities to strengthen industrial cooperation between member countries and China, especially in tourism.

"China is the world's largest outbound tourism market, with ASEAN countries popular destinations for Chinese," he said.

He added that 8.8 million Chinese visited Thailand last year, and the figure is expected to surpass 9.2 million this year.

The China International Tourism Industry Expo 2017 is to be held at the Guangzhou Pazhou International Convention and Exhibition Center and will include a Belt and Road international exhibition hall.

Covering an area of more than 90,000 square meters, the expo will host more than 4,500 booths. More than 20,000 professional buyers and 500,000 visitors from 60 countries and regions are expected to attend the event.

Cleanup to restore ancient Beijing canal

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:44

A cleanup of Beijing's oldest canal will be completed this year, according to the city's Development and Reform Commission.

Stretching 23 kilometers, the Xiaotaihou Canal runs from downtown Chaoyang district to the southwestern suburb of Tongzhou.

The man-made waterway, around since 988, was full of aquatic life before the 1950s. However, it gradually became polluted after being used as a main drainage outlet.

Restoration work started in November, and a wetland area totaling 710,000 square meters is now being built along the canal in Chaoyang to restore its ecological function, according to Zhang Huanshan, chief engineer of the district water authority.

The canal is currently dry but is expected to fill with rainwater once the rainy season starts in June, he added.

Wang Liping, landscape design manager at Beijing Enterprises Water Group, said cleanup efforts in Tongzhou have focused on preserving cultural relics, with the redevelopment plan changed three times to protect an ancient bridge.

Bitcoin’s record price

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
BITCOIN hit a new record to top 18,500 yuan (US$2,695) in China yesterday, almost a 150 percent hike from a month ago, due to an important agreement to help improve trading efficiency as well as strong consumer demand. The price of Bitcoin hit 18,527 yuan at 8:30pm, up from about 7,400 yuan a month ago, according to Huobi, a major Chinese Bitcoin trade platform. The hike is due to the recent agreement between 56 companies, which increases the block capacity from 1 megabytes to 2MB within six months, according to Digital Currency Group, a venture capital company focusing on the digital currency market with stakes in 77 Bitcoin companies globally. Bitcoin is data recorded in files called blocks. The agreement is expected to solve most problems of Bitcoin trading.  

Tech IPOs boom

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
TWELVE Chinese technology firms completed initial public offerings in the first quarter of this year, the most in the world, netting US$1.2 billion in total proceeds, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report yesterday. All the 12 IPOs were launched on domestic exchanges due to favorable valuations. The newly listed companies are engaged in semiconductors and Internet software and services, and they’re relatively small in market valuation and business size. “The number of China tech IPOs continues to grow as a result of the faster IPO approval process by the China Securities Regulatory Commission,” said Gao Jianbin, TMT leader at PwC China. The company expects the number of Chinese tech IPOs to hit a historical high in 2017.  

Shanghai’s 1GB speed

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
SHANGHAI will become the first city in the world with full coverage of 1-gigabyte broadband bandwidth next year, China Telecom said yesterday. The country’s biggest fixed-line service provider plans to spend 3 billion yuan (US$437 million) building the upgraded network in 2017, which will cover 60 percent of the city by the year end. The network is expected to cover the whole city in 2018, with more than 1 million family users. The local average broadband bandwidth is about 71.7 megabytes per second — the fastest in China.  

Vital initiative

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
VANGUARD, the world’s largest mutual fund company, sees bringing its investment approach to Chinese investors as a vital initiative for its wholly owned subsidiary, which was launched in Shanghai’s free trade zone yesterday. The office will manage investments, offer investment consulting, do research and educate investors.

Shorter negative list for investment

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
WITH a shorter negative list for foreign investment, China has made a further step in opening up its vast market. A revised guidance catalog for foreign investment in China will soon come into force, with relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership in automotive electronics, new-energy vehicle batteries, motorcycles and other industries, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday. The new catalog was adopted on Tuesday at the 35th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, which urged further opening-up in sectors as services, manufacturing and mining. A draft of the catalog, which was published earlier to solicit public opinion, showed the number of industries restricted or off limits to foreign investment, the negative list, would be cut to 62 from 93. The revision was viewed as another significant move by China to open up its economy for mutual benefit in a global environment of rising protectionism. “It was a step forward for China to open up its economy on a larger scale and deeper level,” said Liu Hong with the China Association of International Trade. China is moving fast to lower thresholds for foreign investors. More industries have been accessible to foreign investment in the country’s free trade zones, while laws were amended last year to simplify the approval procedures for foreign companies. Today, over 95 percent of new foreign enterprises in China do not need government approval before they are set up, and the registry procedures take less than three days, compared with more than 20 days previously, said Fang Aiqing, vice minister of commerce. Authorities have also pledged to treat foreign firms the same as domestic companies when it comes to license applications, standards-setting and government procurement. Wang Diankai, an economist at Capital University of Economics and Business, highlighted the negative list approach, calling it a major change in China’s management of inbound investment. “The approach sets the limits of government authority and gives foreign firms more freedom,” Wang said. China first piloted the negative list approach for foreign investment in the Shanghai free trade zone in 2013 and expanded it to four regions in 2015. “The overall market environment in China is increasingly regulated and fair, with improved laws, reduced red tape and better protection of intellectual property rights,” said Sara Dai, regional president for Asia-Pacific of Danish biotechnology giant Novozymes. She also called for clearer regulations to encourage orderly competition and further expansion of market access.

Chinese group buys condom producer

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
A Chinese consortium is buying Ansell Ltd’s condom division, the world’s No. 2 condom maker, for US$600 million, betting on surging demand in China as more emphasis is placed on public health education. The Australian firm, which put its oldest but smallest division up for sale last August, said yesterday that it has reached an all-cash deal with China’s Humanwell Healthcare Group Co and CITIC Capital China Partners. Ansell’s brands include Jissbon, which sounds like James Bond in Chinese, and it is the second-largest maker in China behind Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Durex. It also competes with local brands Donless, Double Butterfly and Gobon. Foreign brands tend to have more of a cachet in China after some scandals involving cheap Chinese products. For Ansell, however, it made sense to let go of a non-core division that comes with hefty marketing costs to focus on industrial and medical rubber products. “It is our only consumer business, it is the only business where we’re not No. 1 in the world, it is a business with a dramatically different go-to-market in terms of marketing spend,” Chief Executive Magnus Nicolin said. “The fact that we can now focus a little bit more narrowly on hand-and-body protection in both industrial and medical settings will give us a stronger platform, if you will, from which to lead the industry.” The company expects to receive net after-tax proceeds of US$529 million from the sale, and the proceeds will help fund a US$265 million buyback of 10 percent of shares on issue as well as future acquisitions. The business sold at nearly 16 times earnings from 2016. “They’ve sold what was a smallish part of their overall business for a very good price, we think it’s a good move,” said Anton Tagliaferro, investment director at Investors Mutual Ltd, the biggest holder of Ansell stock. According to a 2016 Transparency Market Research report, China’s condom market is seen growing at 12 percent a year in the 2016-2024 period from a US$1.8 billion market in 2015 to over US$5 billion by 2024. Ansell said it sees condom sales growth there moderating in the future. The transaction is set to complete at the end of September.

Lenovo sees profit, warns of price stress

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
CHINA’S Lenovo Group, the world’s largest personal-computer maker, reported a return to profit yesterday but said rising component prices could pressure its bottom line this year as supply shortages extend to batteries. Profit reached US$535 million in the year to March on revenue that fell 4 percent, just missing analyst estimates. The news sent Lenovo shares up as much as 6 percent in Hong Kong trade. The result comes as Lenovo navigates a PC market that has shrunk markedly since the advent of tablet computers. According to researcher Gartner, global PC shipments fell for the 10th consecutive quarter in the January-March period, dipping below 63 million units for the first time since 2007. Lenovo’s annual shipments fell 1 percent versus a market decline of 3 percent, with its share rising 0.4 percentage points to a record 21.4 percent. Revenue in its PC and smart devices unit — which makes up 70 percent of the total — fell 2 percent. Lenovo blamed the declines on transition in the company’s smartphone and data center businesses, as well as on a difficult macro-environment and component supply constraints. Memory shortage is likely to continue this year, particularly solid-state drives, pushing up parts costs, Corporate President and Chief Operating Officer Gianfranco Lanci said at an earnings briefing. “We are starting to see shortage in batteries,” Lanci added. “That is mainly because of cars consuming many more batteries than before.”

Shares jump on opening-up news

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
SHANGHAI shares jumped yesterday, with the blue-chip CSI 300 index posting its best day in more than nine months, as investors were buoyed by news of further opening-up of China’s financial sector. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.43 percent to 3,107.83 points. The CSI 300 surged 1.8 percent — its biggest gain since August 15 — to 3,485.66 points, its highest close in more than a month. Market sentiment was lifted after Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said the CSRC is planning with related departments to allow foreign investors to trade futures in the domestic market. “With the deepening of China’s reform and opening-up, China is also accelerating the opening-up of its financial sector,” Fang said. Blue chips such as financial, real estate and infrastructure companies were among the biggest gainers. Sinolink Securities Co soared 5.78 percent to 11.90 yuan (US$1.73), Beijing Dalong Weiye Real Estate Development Co advanced 4.98 percent to 4.85 yuan, and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank jumped by the daily limit of 10 percent to 12.93 yuan. Expectations were also building that global index provider MSCI Inc will add Chinese mainland shares to its Emerging Markets Index when it issues its annual classification review on June 20. “The chance of an A-share inclusion into MSCI has risen drastically for 2017,” China Securities Co said in a report. The brokerage encouraged continued buying of leading blue chips, which have already outperformed small caps this year. JPMorgan, China International Capital Corp and BlackRock have also expressed optimism over prospects that A shares could be included by MSCI this year. Investors were also optimistic after 102 centrally administered state-owned enterprises reported profits jumped 18.1 percent year on year to 445 billion yuan in the first four months of the year, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said on Wednesday.

China mulling opening futures trading

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
CHINA is considering allowing foreign investors to trade domestic crude oil and iron ore futures as part of financial reforms, Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said yesterday in Shanghai. “The commission is working actively on a plan to expand the participation of foreign investors in China’s financial futures markets,” Fang told a derivatives forum, adding that the CSRC is studying tax policies for futures trading. “The commission is also considering crude oil and iron ore futures as a pilot to lure overseas investors,” said Fang. Shanghai is likely to launch crude oil futures this year, Fang said last month. The move seeks to draw international buyers and lets the country maximize its global pricing power for the commodity. The regulators are also studying new futures such as pulp, hog, jujube and apple, and will allow commercial banks to participate in the treasury futures market, Fang added. China is the largest consumer of several commodities, and has long sought to be a price maker globally.

Train maker gets vital certification

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
CHINA’S top train manufacturer yesterday received the country’s first certificate to export rolling stock to Europe from Germany’s safety standards firm TUV Rheinland. CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co received the Technical Specification for Interoperability in Shanghai, which means the quality of its products is recognized and the trains can be exported to the European Union. “The certificate is like a passport for the company’s products to EU nations,” said Vincent Tan, rail vice president for Asia-Pacific and China of TUV Rheinland. With the certificate, CRRC’s bullet trains will firstly be exported to Macedonia, followed by Turkey and other nations along the Belt and Road, according to the train maker. TUV Rheinland has spent three years in testing and supporting CRRC to meet the technical standards, said Tan.

China Eastern nurtures ‘Aerial Silk Road’ connectivity

SHANGHAI DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:01
CHINA Eastern Airlines, which operates 131 international routes to 45 cities in 21 countries located along the Belt and Road, plans to create an “Aerial Silk Road” to facilitate the nation’s initiative and help the carrier expand its global network. The flight capacity on the Belt and Road nations has increased by 45 percent for the past three years, the airline said. Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road initiative is a grand plan to connect Asia with Europe and Africa along, and beyond, ancient trade routes by putting in place an unparalleled trade and infrastructure network. The project calls for expanding trade across Asia, Africa and Europe by investing in ports, railways and other facilities. China Eastern aims to form an Aerial Silk Road, said Liu Shaoyong, president and Party secretary of the China Eastern Airlines Group. The carrier will not only enhance the transport capacity but also develop supporting industries overseas including aircraft manufacturing, aviation hub, maintenance and finance, Liu added. Ma Xulun, the airline’s general manager, said the carrier plans to open routes to all the nations along the Belt and Road. In June 2016, the airline opened four international routes within 8 days from Shanghai to St Petersburg, Prague, Amsterdam and Madrid to expand the European market. Since it started flying on June 23, 2016, from Shanghai to Prague, the route has an average load factor of over 80 percent, the airline said. Besides Shanghai, the airline has also developed Xi’an in Shaanxi Province as a new hub for the Aerial Silk Road. The northwestern city once served as the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. The airline’s northwest branch also flies to Sydney and Moscow using the Airbus 330 wide-body aircraft. It plans to open new routes this year between Xi’an and St Petersburg, Irkutsk, Prague, Vancouver and Saipan to help cement Xi’an as a starting point again for the new Silk Road in the air, China Eastern Northwest Co said. Other regional transport hubs for the Belt and Road initiative include Kunming in Yunnan Province and Fuzhou in Fujian Province. The carrier has trained a batch of foreign crew members from Japan, South Korea, France, Germany and Italy to serve passengers along the routes. China Eastern has operated an average of 63,000 passengers’ seats daily in 2016 on international routes, up 45 percent from that of 2013. The capacity for flights to European, Australian and US destinations has increased by 87 percent from 2013. The Southeast Asia capacity has taken off by 40 percent, according to the carrier. To facilitate the expanding network, the airline has retired over 100 passenger aircraft and purchased new planes, making the average age of the fleet around five years, younger than most fleets of international carriers. The airline has also invested heavily to expand the cargo transport network to implement the Belt and Road initiative. A global cargo transport network has been established with Shanghai serving as the core hub with Tianjin, Zhengzhou in Henan Province, Xi’an, and Ningbo in Shanghai’s neighboring Zhejiang Province, becoming supportive hubs, the carrier said. China Eastern has also inked several agreements for international cooperation to give the Belt and Road initiative a huge boost. Delta, the world’s third-biggest carrier, said in September 2016 that it would buy 465.91 million Hong Kong-listed shares of China Eastern. The cooperation has helped the Shanghai-based airline to further expand in Oceania and America. China Eastern has also collaborated with Ctrip, China’s top online travel agency, in selling air tickets and operating a budget carrier. China Eastern is a partner with the Shanghai Disney Resort.

EVM challenge: EC rejects AAP demand to tamper with motherboard

TIMES OF INDIA - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:11
The Election Commission has turned down AAP’s demand for allowing change or tampering of EVM motherboard during the ensuing 'EVM challenge', saying that changing the motherboard or internal circuitry of the machine was like changing the whole device itself.

China's major tech breakthroughs

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:14

The Jiaolong, China's manned deep-sea research submersible, Tuesday morning dived into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world's oceans.

This is the latest of a string of major technological events that China has witnessed in the science and techworld over the past few months, including mining of flammable ice, maiden flight of homegrownlarge passenger jet C919, in-orbit refueling of cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1, launch of the first domestically developed and built aircraft carrier.

Submersible Jiaolong is about to dive into water in the Mariana Trench on May 23, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Submersible Jiaolong descends to 4,811 meters in Mariana Trench

China's manned submersible Jiaolong finished a dive in "Challenger Deep" in the Mariana Trench, the world's deepest known trench, on May 25, 2017.

The whole dive lasted 8 hours and 50 minutes. During the dive, the submersible reached the planned depth of 4,811 meters, where scientists conducted observation, sampling and surveying, and collected seawater, rocks and samples of marine life, including a sea cucumber, a sponge and two starfish. The submersible also photographed the seabed.

The latest dive was the first of 10 dives planned for the third stage of China's 38th oceanic expedition.

Photo taken on May 16, 2017 shows the flames spouting from the trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

China succeeds in mining combustible ice in South China Sea

China has succeeded in collecting samples of combustible ice in the South China Sea, a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution, Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming said on May 18, 2017.

This is China's first success in mining flammable ice at sea, after nearly two decades of research and exploration.

Experts believe that the success shows China has mastered combustible ice mining technology. It marks a historic breakthrough after nearly two decades of continuous efforts and independent innovations by China in theory, technology, engineering and equipment for natural gas hydrate exploration and exploitation.


China's homegrown large passenger plane C919 makes its maiden flight in Shanghai, East China, May 5, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Homegrown jumbo passenger jet C919 completes maiden flight

China sent its homegrown large passenger plane C919 into sky on May 5, 2017, becoming one of the world's top makers of jumbo aircraft.

The flight makes China the fourth jumbo jet producer after the United States, Europe and Russia.

It also marks a milestone for the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), the Shanghai-based manufacturer of C919.

China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 blasts off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan province, April 20, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

China launches first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1

China launched its first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, into space on April 20, 2017, a crucial step for the country in building a space station by approximately 2022.

In space, the cargo ship will dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab, provide fuel and other supplies, and conduct space experiments before falling back to Earth.

China aims to build a permanent space station that is expected to orbit for at least 10 years, and the debut of the cargo ship is important as it acts as a courier to help maintain the space station.

If the Tianzhou-1 mission is successful, China will become the third country besides Russia and the United States to master the technique of refueling in space.

China's second aircraft carrier is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony in Dalian shipyard of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, April 26, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

China launches second aircraft carrier

China launched its second aircraft carrier on April 26, 2017, in a Dalian shipyard in Liaoning province, Northeast China.

It is China's second aircraft carrier, coming after the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet Union-made carrier put into commission in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in 2012.

Putting the carrier into water marks progress in China's efforts to design and build a domestic aircraft carrier.


Xi's vision on sci-tech development

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:09

Editor's note:

From the cargo spacecraft Tianzhou 1 to successfully testing marine natural gas hydrates, China's recent achievements in science and technology have amazed the world once more. Amid National Science Week (May 20-27), let's review President Xi Jinping's comments on turning China into a world power in science and technology.


Dhola-Sariya, India's longest bridge: 10 facts

TIMES OF INDIA - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 09:50
Bringing Assam and Arunachal Pradesh closer, the country's longest river bridge - the Dhola-Sadiya - constructed over the mighty Brahmaputra, is all set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. Here's all you need to know about the bridge that's touted to transform road connectivity in the northeastern region.

Ronaldo defrauded nearly $9 million in tax: Report

TIMES OF INDIA - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 09:36
The Spanish Tax Authorities (Agencia Tributaria) consider that Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo defrauded over 8 million euros ($8.95 million) by not correctly declaring his image rights for the period between 2011 and 2013, according to media reports in Spain.

Taiwan rules in favor of same-sex marriage

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:57

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's judicial body Wednesday ruled that the current laws that request "marriage between a man and a woman" must be amended, or a new law passed within two years to protect the rights of same-sex couples.

The ruling, or "constitutional interpretation," was requested by veteran gay rights advocate Chi Chia-wei, who failed in his marriage registration with his male partner in Taipei in 2013 and in subsequent court appeals.

According to the ruling, the current marriage law's failure to include same-sex marriage violated people's freedom of marriage and their right to equality.

It also said same-sex marriage would not affect the application of the current marriage laws for straight couples, and disallowing same-sex marriage due to reproduction arguments had "no apparent rational basis."

The judicial body therefore ruled that the authorities concerned "shall amend or enact relevant laws, in accordance with the ruling of the interpretation, within two years" to legalize same-sex marriage.

If relevant laws are not amended or enacted within two years, same-sex couples can register their marriage at authorities in charge of household registration in Taiwan.

Hundreds of gay-right supporters burst into cheers when they heard the ruling Wednesday afternoon. Chi said he was satisfied with the outcome and hoped relevant law amendments could be completed as soon as possible.

However, the ruling was strongly opposed by religious and parental groups. Dozens of anti-gay protesters held banners saying "Same-sex marriage unwelcome in Taiwan" or "Defend orthodox marriage," while shouting in front of the building of the judicial body, claiming that the issue should be left to the legislative body.

The move resulted in fierce debate on both sides.

In a survey of nearly 1,100 respondents last November by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, a non-governmental and non-profit institute, 46.3 percent said they supported same-sex marriage legalization, while 45.4 percent expressed opposition.

Beijing bans shared bikes in military areas

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:56

BEIJING -- Shared bikes will be banned from military areas in Beijing starting Thursday, a military officer said Wednesday.

The off-limits zones include restricted military areas and hospitals, residential areas, and sanitariums administrated by the military in Beijing.

"Bike sharing has brought new problems to the management of military areas, such as illegal parking and entering and exiting without approval," said the officer with the training management department of the Central Military Commission.

"The army's image would be tainted once misuse like bike refitting or damage is found in military areas," the officer said.

Shared bikes are being moved away from military zones, and inspections will be carried out by the department.

The Ministry of Transport on Monday released draft rules requiring local governments to strengthen oversight of the sector.

Bike-sharing services took off in Chinese cities in the past two years. They allows riders to hire bikes for about one yuan (about 15 U.S. cents) per hour via a mobile app, and drop them off for the next user.

The service has reduced traffic congestion and cut auto emissions, but haphazardly parked bikes often block sidewalks, causing complaints.

There were 18.9 million users of shared bicycles nationwide at the end of 2016. The number is expected to hit 50 million by the end of this year, according to the China E-Commerce Research Center.

Chinese submersible Jiaolong to dive to 6,300 meters in Mariana Trench

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:53

Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, is about to dive into the Mariana Trench, May 23, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

ON BOARD SHIP XIANGYANGHONG -- China's manned submersible Jiaolong plans to descend to 6,300 in the Mariana Trench, the world's deepest known trench, on Thursday.

Thursday's mission will be Jiaolong's second dive in the Mariana Trench this year, which is expected to take less than 10 hours.

The submersible will collect seawater, rocks and samples of marine life,and also conduct observation, measurement and photography near the seabed.

Chinese scientists plan to carry out a total of five dives in the Mariana Trench.

The first dive took place on Tuesday, with Xinhua News Agency journalist Liu Shiping descending inside the submersible along with scientists to 4,811 meters below the sea's surface.

China city to expand e-payment to all buses

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:46

HANGZHOU -- China's eastern city of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province and location of the 2016 G20 summit, will expand e-payment service to the city's nearly 5,000 buses by the end of June.

Passengers, both local and non-local, will be able to pay via Alipay, the payment system of China's e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba.

Alipay has reached a cooperation agreement with Hangzhou Public Transport Group Co Ltd and Hangzhou Citizen Card Co Ltd, according to Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Financial.

Hangzhou started piloting the mobile payment service on 20 buses in August 2016 before the G20 summit.

Top legislator meets Hong Kong delegation

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:45

BEIJING -- China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang on Wednesday met with a visiting delegation of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, called on the chamber to hold to its principles of patriotism and loving Hong Kong.

He urged the chamber to give full support to the chief executive and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in their administration according to law.

After hearing reports from the delegation, Zhang said that under central government support, the Hong Kong SAR government has united and led people from all walks of life to carry out the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law, cope with various challenges, and maintain prosperity and stability, since Hong Kong returned to the motherland 20 years ago.

Zhang said that the central government has always paid high attention to Hong Kong and cared about its development.

He expressed his hope that Hong Kong society will build consensus, seize opportunities, perform national development strategies, achieve better development and create new glory.

China's top legislator meets president of Chilean Chamber of Deputies

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:43

BEIJING -- Chinese top legislator Zhang Dejiang on Wednesday met with Fidel Espinoza, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said the China-Chile parliamentary political dialogue committee has become an important platform for communication and cooperation between the NPC and the Chilean parliament.

He called on both sides to give full play to the committee in order to enhance exchanges, consolidate mutual trust and cement the foundation of cooperation.

Espinoza, who is in Beijing to attend the 11th meeting of the political dialogue committee, said the Chamber of Deputies will actively participate in parliamentary exchanges with China and contribute more to cooperation between the two countries.

China to simplify cargo clearance

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:42

BEIJING -- China has vowed efforts to streamline cargo clearance procedures to smooth foreign trade and improve the business environment.

The "single-window system," a trade facilitation policy that enables faster and easier cargo clearance, will be adopted in all ports nationwide by the end of the year, according to a statement released Wednesday after an executive meeting of the State Council, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

An information-sharing platform will also be created to reduce the documents required for traders and help realize paperless customs declaration, examination and tax payment.

To relieve corporate burdens, unreasonable port fees will be cut or eliminated and compliance costs of containers will be reduced.

Strengthened supervision and risk control in cargo clearance were also highlighted in the statement.

It was the latest move from the world's major trading nation to stimulate imports and exports amid a sluggish global economy. China's exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 14.3 percent year on year in April while imports increased 18.6 percent, still resilient following a strong start to 2017.

Tibet offers loans to encourage start-ups

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:40

LHASA -- A bank in China's Tibet autonomous region is providing loans of up to 2 million yuan (about $290,000) to start-ups.

According to the Lhasa office of the People's Bank of China, the policy will benefit individual start-ups and businesses set up with partners, which are entitled to credit lines of 500,000 yuan and 2 million yuan respectively.

The lending bank is the Tibetan branch of Postal Savings Bank of China and its local offices.

Recent college graduates and laid-off workers who apply for start-up loans are allowed discounted interest rates.

The terms of loans will not exceed 20 years. Applicants should hold Tibet's household registration and have capital of not less than 30 percent of the amount required for business operation.

Over the past few years, the government has been encouraging young Chinese to embrace start-ups and become entrepreneurs and create a new growth paradigm for the economy. Financing is cited as one of the main obstacles for starting businesses.

Entrepreneurship has taken roots in some coastal boomtowns, but in land-locked regions like Tibet, the local economy remains largely dependent on state funding and state-owned businesses.

China to accelerate shantytown redevelopment

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:38

BEIJING -- By the end of 2017, China will secure the full delivery of a three-year, 18-million new homes development program for rundown urban areas across the country.

The matter was deliberated at a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

Li called for greater endeavors to get all pieces of the preparations together. He defined the campaign as a major component of the supply-side structural reform and a strong push to improve quality of life and development outlooks.

"Our institutional advantages have been demonstrated over the past eight years as the campaign has achieved fruitful outcomes and a set of good practices," he said.

According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the government invested 1.48 trillion yuan ($215.25 billion) in 2016 to build 6.06 million new homes for shantytown redevelopment, 60,000 more than last year's target. In 2015, the number was 6.01 million.

In his Government Work Report delivered in March, the premier vowed to revamp 6 million housing units for shantytown redevelopment this year and continue to develop rental housing and other forms of government-subsidized housing. He also promised better delivery of financial compensation combining multiple means for relocated families while improving infrastructure and public services to lift living standards.

From January to April this year, the country had completed 36 percent of the year's goal by starting construction of 2.19 million housing units.

Wednesday's meeting decided to make solid progress of new redevelopment projects in quality and in speed on par with last year. New phases of existing projects are to be finished as early as possible.

More relocated families will get these compensations in monetary form, especially in third- and fourth-tier cities to help sell inventories of residential complexes. Amenities and public services such as schools and hospitals will be improved to nurture a comfortable environment for relocated families.

Meanwhile, fund management will be strengthened to control the costs as local governments will be urged to make the best of earmarks and prevent embezzlement.

Li urged to ensure construction quality, supporting facilities and housing allocations. "We want the families that move into their new homes to enjoy their new lives as early as possible," he said.

A follow-up plan will be made to grant stronger support in fund, financing and adequate supply of land for the shantytown redevelopment program from 2018 to 2020, the last step to build new homes for about 100 million people who used to live in shantytowns and urban villages.

Shantytown redevelopment has played a bolstering role in economic growth by boosting investment and consumption, including household appliances, and has improved living conditions.

Li called for all efforts to keep the projects, new or old, ahead of schedule, so that those families can move into new homes sooner.

"China's industrialization and urbanization is a lasting effort. We have many people that are yet to move to the cities and start new lives. We should remain unrelenting in our efforts to live up to the people's expectations," he said.

Students knuckle down ahead of <EM>gaokao</EM>

CHINA DAILY - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 08:18

A Beijing Chenjinglun High School student does exercises while she has breakfast in preparation for the national college entrance exam known as the gaokao, May 15, 2017. The gaokao starts on June 7. [Photo/VCG]

A student crams for the gaokao while waiting in line at the dining hall of Beijing Chenjinglun High School, May 15, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Students of Beijing Chenjinglun High School run laps of the playground to keep fit in the lead up to the gaokao, May 15, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A student takes a break from study at Beijing Chenjinglun High School, May 15, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A teacher at Beijing Chenjinglun High School sets up a desk in the corridor to answer senior students' questions, May 15, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Students at Hefei No 8 High School study hard for the gaokao, East China's Anhui province, May 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

One of the teachers stays behind to answer senior students' questions at Hefei No 8 High School, East China's Anhui province, May 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A countdown to the gaokao is written on the blackboard in a classroom of Hefei No 8 High School in East China's Anhui province, May 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Tianshui No 3 Middle School students read inspirational words on postcards hung around their campus in Northwest China's Gansu province, May 24, 2017. As the gaokao approaches, a "wish tree" was put up by the school to inspire students to work hard for their college dreams. [Photo/VCG]

Postcards with inspiration words from students at Tianshui No 3 Middle School in Northwest China's Gansu province. [Photo/VCG]