One year on, China’s bureaucracy overhaul “fruitful”






>>  China achieves first of UN Millennium Development Goals: FAO chief

By Alessandra Cardone and  Liu Yu

China is among the 62 countries that have achieved the first Millennium Development Goal, namely halving extreme poverty rates by 2015, chief of the Rome-based UN food agency has told Xinhua in an exclusive interview recently.

“This is an outstanding achievement,” Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva said, adding that “The numbers of China, on the whole, are very impressive: the country feeds around 20 percent of the world’s population with only 9 percent of arable land and 6 percent of freshwater. This is a very good example.”

“I can really say that it was basically due to China’s achievements if we were able to push down the total number of undernourished people in the world from 1 billion to 840 million over the last years,” he said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of cooperation between the FAO and China, which has been solid and successful, said Graziano da Silva.

Throughout the four decades, FAO has been supporting more than 400 projects in China in many sectors such as agriculture, fishery, forestry.

China’s expertise in combining rice farming and fish production is a successful model that would be of great help to the global fight against malnutrition, Graziano da Silva said.

“This peculiar combination of aquaculture and rice production is very rare, such expertise belongs only to a few countries like China, Vietnam and Laos,” he said.

“It is really a perfect approach to the food security because it combines rice that is one of the staple food in the world and protein that is needed to avoid malnutrition especially in children,” Graziano da Silva said. “We would like to improve this combination in African countries and also in other Asian countries, and China could help much in this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Graziano da Silva highlighted the importance of China as one of the major supporters of FAO programs for food security. “It has been one of the most important countries supporting the changes FAO has been trying to implement in the world,” he told Xinhua.

The ongoing partnership between FAO and China could act as a stepping-stone toward achieving greater success in the future, and an important stage will be the Milan Expo 2015, Graziano da Silva said.

“Milan Expo 2015 is really going to be an international appointment. Our approach during the Expo will be focused on one issue – how we can feed the world in a sustainable manner – and this is quite related to China because, as I said, China is a good example of achieving such a goal.





>>  China mourns JCCEA president Takashi Tsujii

By Hou Lijun

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Monday of December 2 mourned the death of Takashi Tsujii, president of the Japan-China Cultural Exchange Association (JCCEA).

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had sent a message of condolence to Tsujii’s family on behalf of the Chinese government, Hong said at a regular press briefing.

According to the spokesman, Tsujii had been committed to friendship between China and Japan and had made important contributions to promoting bilateral cultural exchanges as well as the development of bilateral ties.

“China pays tribute to Tsujii’s contributions,” said Hong.

Tsujii passed away on November 25.





>>  China calls for restraint in Thailand

By Wang Huihui

China called for restraint from all parties in Thailand to avoid violence as clashes between protesters and government supporters has claimed three lives and left over 100 injured.

“China is concerned about the situation in Thailand. We hope stability and order can be restored at an early date,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.

He urged all parties to consider national development and people’s well-being, resolving disputes properly through dialogue and negotiation.

Thailand’s antigovernment protesters on Sunday night gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra two days to return power to the people, which implied the resignation of the premier and dissolution of the Lower House.

Shinawatra said on Monday that she was ready to resign to bring peace to the country, but rejected protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban’s request to return power to the people, saying it has no constitutional basis.





>>  China provides agricultural engines to Cambodia for post-flood rehabilitation

By Phnompenh

China’s Yunnan province on Monday of December 2 provided 200 agricultural engines to Cambodia’s northwestern Banteay Meanchey province for post-flood rehabilitation.

A handover ceremony was held here between Yu Dingcheng, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Yunnan Provincial People ‘s Congress, and Oung Oeun, chief of the ruling Cambodian People’ s Party to Banteay Meanchey province.

Yu said the people of Yunnan province hoped that the donation would help relieve difficulties of farmers in Banteay Meanchey province after their rice paddy and other crops were destroyed by recent floods.

Yunnan established friendship relationship with Banteay Meanchey in Dec. 2011. Since then, the two provinces have constantly strengthened cooperation in agriculture, tourism, education, culture, and infrastructure development.

“We hope that closer ties between our two provinces will partly contribute to further strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Cambodia,” he said at the handover ceremony.

Oung Oeun said Banteay Meanchey was the province that was worst hit by recent floods and thousands of rice paddy and other crops were destroyed.

“The donation of agricultural machines is timely for post- flood rehabilitation,” he said. “This assistance truly shows the generosity and attention of the Chinese people to Cambodia.”

The Mekong River floods hit Cambodia between August and October, killing at least 168 people and affecting 1.7 million others. It was estimated that the floods cost about 1 billion U.S. dollars in damage.





>>  Air China launches Beijing-Cambodia’s Siem Reap direct flight

By Phnompenh

Air China has started to operate direct flights between China’s Beijing and Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, aiming at further promoting tourism and economic ties.

Its first flight landed at the Siem Reap International Airport at Sunday night with 115 passengers onboard.

Liu Jia, chief executive officer of Air China to Cambodia, said the Air China used a Boeing 737-800 jet to operate the new route on Wednesdays and Sundays, and starting from January, the airline will add flights on Mondays and Fridays.

“It is a new chapter of cooperation between Cambodia and China on air transport service,” he told reporters at the airport upon the plane’s arrival. “Through the flight, it will bring closer contact between Beijing and Cambodia.”

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, which represents 220 tour and travel operators, welcomed Air China’s operations to Siem Reap province, saying that it would further promote tourism and economy.

“It will facilitate the peoples of the countries to travel to and fro,” he told Xinhua on Monday. “I believe that more Chinese tourists and business people will come to Cambodia through Air China.”

Cambodia greeted 339,890 Chinese tourists in the first nine months of this year, up 45 percent year-on-year, making China the second largest source of tourists to Cambodia.

Northwestern Siem Reap province is renowned for the Angkor Wat Temple, a World Heritage Site.  





>>  New world climate deal on track, China’s efforts “encouraging”: EU official

By Miao Xiaojuan and Wang Cong

The world is on track to reach a new deal on climate change in 2015 and China’s efforts in carbon emission cuts are “encouraging”, the European Union’s top climate official said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

“It’s going to be challenging to get this ambitious deal the world needs in Paris,” said Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate action, referring to 2015 talks to secure a new global climate deal that may have legally-binding targets on emission cuts for all countries in the post-2020 period.

The Kyoto Protocol, the first global document with legally-binding targets for developed countries, will be replaced by the new deal after its second commitment period ends in 2020.

But progress is being made across the world as more and more countries understand that doing nothing about climate change would come with a very high price, Hedegaard added, citing the alarming example of the recent typhoon Haiyan that devastated the Philippines.

As one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on land, claiming thousands of lives, Haiyan was the focus of much attention at the United Nations’ annual climate conference, which ended ten days ago in Warsaw. All parties agreed to set up a loss and damage assessment mechanism to help the most vulnerable countries, but no detailed plans have yet been agreed upon.

The Warsaw conference managed to get the process on track ahead of the 2015 negotiations in Paris, Hedegaard said, despite the fact that many developing countries had expressed disappointment at the unwillingness of developed countries to honor their financial commitments and pledge further emission cuts.

All countries are required to identify their national targets on emission cuts after 2020, said the commissioner.

“In good time before Paris, we can see all the different pledges at table, and then we must see if this adds up to enough combined efforts,” she added.

The Warsaw conference was to lay the groundwork for the deal to further stave off dangerous global warming, and all parties agreed to prepare “intended nationally determined contributions” — while Japan ironically announced the scaling down of its 2020 target.

The Paris deal must stick to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” Hedegaard stressed, while proposing that the way that all parties are legally bound should be maintained for the post-2020 agenda.

The Kyoto Protocol has so far only been joined by the EU and a few other developed countries.

“Rich countries, developed countries, they should be doing more than developing countries… The efforts, the level of ambition can be different,” she said.

Europe was encouraged to see China and many others making great efforts towards a low-carbon economy, she added.

The bilateral cooperation on climate would be further strengthened, while Europe, where the world’s first emission trading system was born, would continue to facilitate the build-up of China’s emission trading system in the near future, Hedegaard said.

Europe remains ambitious to further “lead by example” in the global fight against climate change both before and after the year 2020, the commissioner said.

“We are almost alone in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, but Europe accepts that… And we are also working on our 2030 targets,” she said.

Both policymakers and Europeans are convinced that fighting climate change can benefit the economy in the future and help Europe move towards resource efficiency and sustainable growth, said Hedegaard.

In fact, the EU has earmarked 20 percent of its entire budget for climate-related areas in the 2014-2020 period. Rather than being parked in a corner of the EU budget, climate action is to be integrated into all of the major spending areas, including energy, environment, transport, research, agriculture, and development, she said.

“We won’t get development and growth the world needs in the 21st century, unless we understand the impact of climate change and get it right,” she said.





>>  EU imposes definitive measures on Chinese solar panels

By Yan Lei

The European Union (EU) decided on Monday to impose definitive measures on Chinese solar panels.

According to a press release, the Council of the EU backed the European Commission’ s proposals to impose 42.1-percent anti-dumping duty and anti-subsidy measures on imports of solar panels from China. The duties will apply for two years as of December 6.

In parallel, the Commission confirmed its decision to accept the undertaking with Chinese solar panel exporters, which means that those Chinese exporters that participate in the undertaking continue to be exempt from paying any anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

The Commission said such decisions came after a 15-month investigation for the anti-dumping case and 13-month probe for the anti-subsidy case, launched in September 2012 and November 2012 respectively.

Chinese manufacturers had been allegedly selling the product, which is used for producing solar panels, in the EU at prices below cost, thus causing “material injury” to EU producers, the Commission said in its Official Journal.

The EU and China solved their solar panel trade disputes through “an amicable solution” in August.

Many Chinese manufacturers which agreed to accord with price undertakings, a form of an amicable solution in trade defence proceedings based on a minimum import price, could be exempt from the anti-dumping duties.

The terms of the undertaking have been offered by Chinese exporters of solar panels, represented by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at the talks.





>>  Chinese state councilor meets Jordan’s FM

By Hou Lijun

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met on Monday of December 2 with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Yang said China is willing to work with Jordan to implement the consensus reached during Jordanian king’s visit to China in September, constantly cement political mutual trust, deepen all-round cooperation and strengthen multilateral coordination.

China is ready to offer help for Jordan’s sustainable development within its capacity, said Yang.

Judeh, who is on a three-day China visit, said Jordan will make plans for bilateral ties from a strategic point of view and deepen all-round cooperation with China, to fulfill the consensus reached by both leaders.

He expressed gratitude for China’s support and assistance for Jordan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday of December 1 held talks with Judeh.





>>  China’s CSR to supply Malaysian light rail

By Hu Tao, Su Xiaozhou and Yang Jian

A subsidiary of China’s leading railway car manufacturer CSR Corporation Ltd. has gained a new order for light rail trains from Malaysia, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive said on Monday of December 2.

The order of 30 high-performance light rail trains, which include 180 cars, will run on Malaysia’s AMPANG Line Extension Project, said the locomotive company.

The design on the train has taken full consideration of the tropical marine climate in Malysia by use of aseptic and dehumidifying technologies.

The sale is the company’s seventh order from Malaysia for advanced rail traffic equipment and service technology.

Some of the trains will be assembled in the Malaysian branch company of CSR.

CSR, based in Beijing and listed on Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets, has developed into one of the major players in the global railway transport industry and is one of the biggest by global sales revenue.

CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive manufactures European-standard metro trains.





>>  HK raises travel alert for Bangkok to red

By Jiang Tingting

The Hong Kong government on Monday of December 2 raised the Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) for Bangkok to red, given the latest situation in the Thai capital. The OTA for other parts of Thailand remains at amber.

A government spokesman warned that Hong Kong residents intending to visit Bangkok should adjust their travel plans and avoid non-essential travel. Those already there should monitor the situation, attend to personal safety and avoid protests and large gatherings of people.

Hong Kong residents in Thailand who need assistance may call the 24-hour hotline of the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Immigration Department at (852)1868 or contact the Chinese Embassy in Thailand at 24-hour consular protection hotline: (66) 854833327.

Clashes between protesters and supporters of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra left three people dead in Bangkok on Saturday.





>>  Himalayan countries address poverty at int’l conference in Nepal

By Ayush Khadka

The ongoing conference to address poverty and vulnerability in Hindu Khush Himalayas here has agreed that the mountains cannot be seen as only a source of resources for the plain areas but also need to be provided sufficient recourse for protecting environment fragility and development.

The four-day conference organized by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development kicked off on Monday of December 2. It has brought together multi-stakeholders, including high dignitaries and government officials from Nepal, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

Speaking at the conference, Professor Wei Fangquiang of China Academy of Science, Chengu, said that the government of China has been taking steps to balance the disparity between Western mountain and Eastern coast through the dissemination of knowledge, infrastructure, environment protection and disaster risk reduction. 

Likewise, Dr. Rabindra Shakya of National Planning Commission of Nepal, opined that the stability of the mountain region is critical to the stability of Nepal as a country and the fact that the voice for political change in Nepal historically started in the mountain areas.

In the coming day they will be discussing on alleviating poverty in the Himalayan region and providing concrete inputs that can contribute to strengthening the mountain perspective in the United Nations post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Earlier, inaugurating the conference, President Ram Baran Yadav had said that mountain environment and development issues are transboundary in nature and it should be dealt by regional and international cooperation.  





>>  Chinese special envoy to visit Egypt

By Wang Huihui

China’s special envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike will visit Egypt and attend the 9th Manama Dialogue in Bahrain from December 3 to 9, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei announced on Monday.

Wu will exchange views with relevant parties on China-Egypt ties, the Middle East peace process and Gulf security, Hong said at a daily news briefing.





>>  Chinese official to attend BRICS security meeting

By Hou Lijun

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will attend the fourth meeting of BRICS senior representatives on security issues in Cape Town, South Africa from December 5 to 9.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the announcement at a regular press briefing on Monday of December 2.

According to Hong, Yang will also visit Iran.

The BRICS nations refer to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.





>>  ROK speaker to visit China

By Liang Linlin

A delegation headed by Kang Chang-hee, speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea (ROK), will visit China from December 4 to 7, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, announced on Monday.

Kang will make the visit at the invitation of Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.  




>>  China’s Taiwanese bank looks into Cambodian financial sector

By Phnompenh

The Shanghai Commercial & Saving Bank (SCSB), one of the leading banks in China’s Taiwanese region, opened a representative office here on Monday of December 2 thanks to increasing interest in Cambodia by Taiwanese business people, a bank official said.

Peter Hsu, chief of the SCSB representative office in Cambodia, said the bank’s decision to open the office in Phnom Penh was made after it saw that Cambodia was an emerging country in Southeast Asia and its economy has seen sustainable growth in recent years.

“With the office here, the bank will collect information regarding Cambodia and provide financial consulting and service platform to our customers who want to expand their businesses into Cambodia,” he said at the launching ceremony.

To date, Cambodia has six foreign banks’ representative offices, 34 commercial banks, seven specialized banks, and 37 microfinance institutions, according the National Bank of Cambodia.

Trade volume between Cambodia and Taiwanese region was valued at 700 million U.S. dollars last year, according to the SCSB press release.





Returned overseas Chinese hold congress

By Cheng Zhuo

More than 3,200 people attended the opening ceremony of the Ninth National Congress of Returned Overseas Chinese and their Relatives in Beijing on Monday of December 2.

President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and senior leaders Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli joined representatives from government organs, democratic parties, people with no party affiliation, congress delegates and overseas Chinese guests at the ceremony.

In a speech at the ceremony, Vice President Li Yuanchao expressed his congratulations to the meeting and extended his greetings to returned overseas Chinese, Chinese people living abroad and workers with the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (AFROC).

Such people are a treasured resource for the building of socialism with Chinese characteristics and an important force for achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, according to Li.

To realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, all Chinese people, at home or abroad, should strive together, he said, calling on overseas Chinese to carry on their patriotic tradition and contribute to safeguarding national unity, push forward China’s reunification, promote Chinese culture and strengthen friendship between Chinese people and people of other countries.

Overseas Chinese have unique advantages in financial and technological resources as well as knowledge, and these can be used in introducing trade and technical cooperation projects and investments in emerging industries, attracting overseas talents and expanding Chinese enterprises’ overseas market, Li said.

He also urged the AFROC and its local branches to better unite returned overseas Chinese and provide better services for them.

A decision to honor models of returned overseas Chinese was also announced at the congress.





>>  Taiwan gift goat dies in E China zoo

By Yao Yuan, Lü Fuming and Teng Junwei

A zoo in eastern province of Shandong said a male serow sent by Taiwan as a gift died a sudden death on November 29 due to heart and lung failure.

The serow is a type of goat-like animal indigenous to Taiwan.

The animal, named Xiyangyang (“merry goat”), showed no signs of abnormality before zoo staff found its body on the morning of Nov. 29, the Liugongdao National Forest Park in Weihai City said on Monday.

A group of experts sent by Taipei Zoo, the original home of the animal, arrived in Weihai soon after being informed of the death and performed an autopsy along with zoologists in Shandong, according to the zoo.

Taiwan sent the animal, along with its mate, Leyangyang, and a pair of spotted deer, Fan Xing and Dian Dian, in 2011 as a token of improved cross-Strait relations.

Since arriving at their new homes in Liugongdao, Dian Dian has given birth to three fawns, and Leyangyang has delivered two kids, one of which died shortly after its birth.





>>  One year on, China’s bureaucracy overhaul “fruitful”

By Yang Hui, Zhao Chao, Huang Xiaoxi, Cui Jing, Hua Chunyu and Qin Huajiang

Almost 20,000 Chinese officials have been punished for breaches of a set of anti-bureaucracy rules announced one year ago, China’s discipline watchdog said on Monday of December 2.

The officials at different levels were found to have been involved in 17,380 cases and had been punished by administrative or Party discipline agencies during the campaign by the end of October, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The “eight-point” anti-bureaucracy and formalism rules were introduced at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on December 4 in 2012. They ask CPC officials to reduce pomp, ceremony, bureaucratic visits and meetings.

Since the election of the new leadership, the CPC has launched a series of campaigns to eliminate bureaucracy, formalism and lavish spending of public funds.

Before the Mid-Autumn Festival in September and the seven-day National Day Holiday in early October, the CCDI issued a circular urging officials to refrain from luxurious banquets and gift-giving.

The CCDI received 917 tips-offs about official decadence during the two holidays.

The suspected violations include use of public funds for gift-giving, dining and travel unrelated to official duties, expensive recreational activities, violations of official car use and handing out unnecessary bonuses, according to the CCDI.

Banquet orders at some upscale hotels have seen a steep decline compared with booming pre-holiday business in past years, partially due to the CPC’s anti-extravagance campaign.

“A total of 100,000 yuan (16,410 US. dollars) has been saved as the so-called annual meeting has been canceled this year,” a government official surnamed Liu in east China’s Shandong province told Xinhua.



Despite the achievements in the CPC’s anti-extravagance drive, grassroots officials are still considered the most at risk for violations of the “eight-point” rules.

Statistics from the CCDI showed that nearly 99 percent of the violations found by the CCDI involved prefecture- or township-level officials.

The discipline watchdog in northwest China’s Gansu province has exposed ten typical violations, including civil servants playing games during working hours.

Most of the officials who have received punishments are at or below prefecture-level, the CCDI added.

“It’s hard for township-level officials to fulfill supervisory duties as discipline inspection staff at that level is largely insufficient,” said Xue Qingchao, a researcher with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, adding that there are only two to three officials in some township governments.



Experts and officials called for more efforts to step up supervision and punishment in order to eradicate such violations and further improve officials’ working style.

“What the masses are concerned with most is whether the eight-point rules will be further enhanced and implemented,” said Wang Shiyi, an anti-corruption expert of the provincial party school in east China’s Jiangsu Province.

“Supervision from the public should play a bigger role in further promoting the campaign and building a clean government,” said Li Songyu, dean of the institute of public administration at Shandong Normal University.

“The vitality and authoritativeness of any regulation lie in its implementation,” said Ma Huaide, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law, adding that anyone who has violated the rules should be held accountable.

The enforcement of the rules can be ensured only by officials’ improved awareness and adherence to the regulations, according to Ma.

In order to prevent the resurgence of extravagance, Ma called for strict supervision by discipline agencies and the media.





>>  China’s 30th ocean exploration voyage gets underway

By Cao Kai and Zheng Weina

Research vessel Dayang Yihao (Ocean No. 1) departed from the city of Sanya in the southernmost, island province of Hainan on Monday of December 2, on China’s 30th oceanic exploration mission.

The global voyage, which will last 180 days and cover 19,000 nautical miles, will take the vessel across the Indian Ocean. A total of 339 people are on board, including 254 scientists and engineers.

Among the experiements, scientists will be testing a remotely-operated underwater vehicle, on a series of oceanic surveys mainly on polymetallic sulphide and bioresources.

The Dayang Yihao will anchor in Port Louis of Mauritius three times before its scheduled return to Qingdao in the eastern province of Shandong on May 30, 2014.  





>>  Beijing to host world camping expo

By Yang Jianxiang

The 80th Federation Internationale de Camping et de Caravanning (FICC) rally will be held next year in northwest Beijing, a press conference was told on Monday of December 2.

Dubbed “the Olympics” of camping and caravanning, the ten-day event will take place from May 30 at a purpose built campsite by the side of Jinniu Lake in Yanqing, close to the tourist attractions of Badaling Great Wall and Longqing Gorge.

As China’s economy grows, more households own cars and the pattern of tourism is changing. The potential for camping and caravanning is great.

“We hope this event will meet growing tourist demand,” says Gao Feb, vice president of Beijing Tourism Group, sponsor of the event, at the press conference.

The FICC set up in 1933 in Britain with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Its annual rally is one of the most important gatherings of campers and caravan fans in the world. In 2010 China bid successfully to host the event for the first time.

The Yanqing Longwan International Motor-caravanning Campsite, as the venue is known, is under construction. Work is scheduled for completion in March next year and trial operations will kick off in early May.





>>  Central bank set to support China’s FTZ

By Zhan Yan

China’s central bank said on Monday that it has recently issued a guideline in offering financial supports for China’s experimental free trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai.

The guideline was issued to boost the real economy in the FTZ, provide financial support for cross-border investment and trade and deepen financial reforms, said a statement on the website of the People’s Bank of China.

Of particular importance are its facilitation of financial exchange and assistance to enterprises in going overseas.

Another aspect is to promote the cross-border use of RMB, or the yuan, so that enterprises and individuals can trade in local currency to reduce exchange rate risks, the statement said.

It added that other efforts include boosting the marketization of interest rates and deepening reforms on foreign currency management.

The central bank also mapped measures to guard against risks and strengthen supervision over speculative capital in the FTZ.

The China (Shanghai) Pilot FTZ, launched in October, is a test ground for China’s reforms. The zone has pledged to push for “a full-scale opening” of the financial service sector to eligible private capital and foreign financial institutions.





>>  China allows early shareholders sell shares at IPO

By Liu Xinyong and Zhao Xiaohui

China’s top securities regulator on Monday of December 2 unveiled and put into effect rules to allow early shareholders of a company to sell their shares during an initial public offering (IPO).

The temporary regulation is one of the important supporting measures in China’s newly announced IPO reform plan, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

Company shareholders who have held shares for more than 36 months are eligible to sell shares to investors during the company’s IPO, but the sales must not lead to a change of the company’s controller or major changes in its ownership structure.

The move will help raise the number of shares for sale during the IPO and promote adequate seller-buyer interactions to curb high prices set for IPOs, the CSRC said.

On Saturday, the commission issued a plan for reforming the country’s IPO system, which vowed to be market-oriented and law-based and aimed at maintaining market fairness and protecting investor interests.





>>  Shanghai air pollution hits dangerous peak

By Lu Wenjun and Lü Dong

Smog shrouded the skyline of China’s financial hub Shanghai as air pollution in the city hit its worst level on Monday of December 2.

Air quality in Shanghai was recorded at 303 on the official Air Quality Index (AQI) on Monday morning, crossing the 300 threshold that indicates the most severe level of air pollution on the chart.

The AQI monitors six pollutants on an hourly basis, including PM 2.5, or particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameters, which has been widely blamed for the worsening air pollution across China in recent years.

Shanghai’s environmental watchdog listed PM 2.5 as the major pollutant on Monday, without disclosing detailed readings.

The World Health Organization sets a daily guideline value for PM 2.5 at 25 micrograms per cubic meter, while it has been around 10 times this volume in Shanghai in recent days.

Shanghai saw deteriorating air quality over the weekend. The AQI index rose above 230 on Sunday, when the city held its annual Shanghai International Marathon.

The PM 2.5 reading also hit 248 micrograms per cubic meter on that day, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

The marathon took place as usual despite the heavy pollution. Some participants wore masks.

The dangerous level of pollution has prompted Shanghai authorities to curb industrial production and activities at construction sites and docks that may add dust to the air. Citizens are advised to stay indoors.





>>  China stocks ride reform roller coaster

By Huang Xin, Lin Jianyang and Wang Xiaowei

China’s ChiNext Index, which is composed mainly of hi-tech start-ups, on Monday of December 2 responded dramatically to moves for a more standardized market.

Down a record 8.26 percent — the worst daily loss since trading started in 2009 — 325 of 328 shares listed on the board fell, with 225 collapsing by the daily limit of 10 percent. Profit taking was triggered by suggested reform to the initial public offering (IPO) system.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Saturday unveiled the reform plan, which was seen as a major step toward replacing the current administrative approval mechanism.

Director of the CSRC research center Qi Bin said the plan will vitalize the capital market by enlarging the development space and enabling more investors to benefit from the process of economic transition. In China, direct financing makes up 42 percent of total financing, lagging behind the rate of developed and other developing countries which stands at around 70 percent.

He warned that the rate has been dropping for several years as bubbles in the stock market inevitably burst, threatening overall economic development as resources are allocated with moderated market influence.

Steven Sun, head of HSBC’s China Equity Strategy, said in a research note that medium-term impact on the main board was limited, but the news could trigger profit taking on ChiNext and brokerage stocks.

“In short, we expect A-share IPO resumption to have only limited impact on the main board index, but ChiNext, given its hefty valuation and the bull run this year, might see a much bigger correction due to the anticipated supply shock,” he said.

Since A-share IPO suspension in November 2012, the ChiNext index has risen more 130 percent, purely on valuation multiple expansion as the price earning ratio (PE) has re-rated over 120 percent to 58 times. Of the 88 companies that have received IPO approval, half of them will list in the ChiNext board.

Furthermore, the new rules prohibit companies from using ChiNext listings as shell companies for asset injections and backdoor listings.

The news could be an excuse for investors to take profits on listed brokerage companies, since their share prices have run up more than 30 percent following the release of a key policy document of the ruling Communist Party of China and in anticipation of A-share IPO resumption, according to Sun.

The CSRC said in a statement that the plan would focus on the market and legislation, and emphasize a regulation philosophy with information disclosure at its core. Reviews of new listing candidates will be more transparent, and the process will be made public at the same time. Increasing transparency, the CSRC said, will allow the public to monitor the whole review process.

China has an approval-based IPO system, whereby new listing candidates go through a complicated application process that can take multiple rounds of reviews and several years to receive approval from the CSRC.

Under the new registration-based system, the CSRC would focus on compliance reviews of candidates. The timing of new share issues and how to issue shares will be determined by the market. The valuations of new share offerings will better reflect demand-supply dynamics.

The CSRC believes the plan will protect small and medium investors by safeguarding their right to know, right to participate, right to supervise and right to claim compensation.

The plan would also further clarify the liabilities of new share issuers, IPO sponsors, accounting and law firms, among others in IPO issuance. Issuers and brokers should compensate losses to investors if serious lapses in information disclosure cause those losses.

A commission spokesman said the plan did not mean relaxation of regulation. On the contrary, there will be more regulation during the listing and stricter enforcement after listing.

The spokesman said that it could take about one month to complete preparations before the first to-be-listed company can begin its registration process.

He predicted around 50 companies would be able to complete their registration procedures for IPO by the end of January.

IPO issuance in China has been on hold since November last year, with around 700 firms in the IPO pipeline.

Supported by blue chips, particularly banks and oil companies, shares edged down on Monday’s closing, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 0.59 percent and the Shenzhen Component Index down 1.94 percent.

The large caps were buoyed by new rules mandating cash dividends and an announcement by the State Council on a preferred share pilot. Two surveys also pointed to stabilizing factory growth in November.

The ups and downs are a reflection of a change of market style in the current macro situation, and support the switch to true supply and demand, said a report of Shanghai-based BOCOM Schroders Fund Management Co., Ltd.





>>  Official details China’s judicial reform plans

By Wang Di

China’s authority on judicial system reform has expatiated on plans to reform the country’s petition system and abolish its controversial “reeducation through labor” program.

Monday’s edition of the People’s Daily quoted an unidentified official with the central leading group for the reform as saying that the petition system will be overhauled to protect the public’s fundamental interests.

Petitioning, also known as “letters and calls,” is the administrative system for hearing public complaints and grievances.

China will reform its petition system and authorities must respond to petitions within the legal framework, according to a key policy document approved at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Nov. 12.

Petitions regarding legal and judicial systems should be left for judicial remedies and handled by judiciary agencies in accordance with laws, the official said, adding bureaus for letters and calls will not accept such cases.

Judiciary agencies should finish handling such petitions within legal time limits set by legal procedures, the official noted.

The CPC Central Committee also pledged at the session to abolish the “reeducation through labor” system, commonly known as “Laojiao.”

The correction system was adopted in 1957 to take in minor offenders whose offence is not severe enough to warrant court proceedings. It allows for people to be detained for up to four years without an open trial.

“With the improvement of China’s legal system, those minor offenders can be punished in accordance with current laws through rigid legal procedures,” the official said, adding that the number of people committed to Laojiao labor camps has gradually decreased in the past few years.

According to the source, social stability has been maintained since the correction system was suspended nationwide in March and it is time to abolish the system, while proposals to do so are being drafted and will be submitted to the top legislature for an amendment to the laws.

To fill in the blanks after the Laojiao program is abolished, China will promote community correction programs, the official said, with these believed to help offenders better return to society.

China introduced community correction schemes in 2003. About 1.7 million offenders have been through the program and the recidivism rate remains at 0.2 percent.





>>  China’s November manufacturing PMI tops forecast: HSBC

By Wang Yaguang

China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dipped to 50.8 in November, beating the flash estimate of 50.4, a HSBC survey showed on Monday of December 2.

However, the final reading of the HSBC November manufacturing PMI was down a notch from 50.9 in October. A reading of above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing activity from the previous month, while that below 50 means a contraction.

The HSBC final PMI reading came one day after China’s statistics bureau said the country’s November manufacturing PMI stood at 51.4 percent, unchanged from October and remaining at an 18-month high.

Qu Hongbing, chief China economist with HSBC, said China’s manufacturing sector kept relatively steady growth momentum in November, as the final manufacturing PMI was revised up from the flash reading on the back of faster new business gains.

“However, the renewed contraction of employment and the slower pace of restocking activities call for a continuation of accommodative policy. The modest inflationary pressures leave room to do so,” Qu said in a statement.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.59 percent to end at 2,207.37.





>>  China’s consumer price faces upside risk: report

By Zuo Wei

 China’s consumer price index will rise slightly with economic conditions improving in the final quarter and may face greater upside risk in 2014, according to a report published on Monday’s edition of China Securities Journal.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.6 percent in the first ten months of 2013, below the 2.7 percent over the same period last year, said the price monitoring center at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in the report.

A seasonal rise in food prices, increase in service costs, as well as higher housing costs pushed up by more expensive gas, coal and rent, will put upward pressure on the CPI in the fourth quarter, said the center’s report.

The center predicted a year-on-year CPI growth of about 3.2 percent in the final quarter, which will bring the whole year’s CPI increase to about 2.7 percent, well below the government’s macro-control target of 3.5 percent set in March.

China’s inflation reached a high of 6.5 percent in July 2011 and bottomed out in October 2012 during its latest price fluactuation cycle. Currently, inflation is halfway on the rebounding track, the center said.

The CPI increase will be somewhere between 3 percent and 5 percent for some time to come, which also fits in with medium to high growth expected during economic restructuring.

For 2014, the center forecast a moderate consumer price growth that slightly exceeds 3 percent but under 3.5 percent, with greater upside risk than in 2013.

Steady growth in investment, consumption and export growth in real terms will buoy the floor of price fluctuations, it explained. Food prices, which account for about one third in the calculation of CPI, are also likely to record a larger increase, it added.

The pace of the decrease in the producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation on the wholesale level, will probably further narrow in 2014 amid improving economy, easing downward pressure on prices of industrial consumer goods, the center said.

Besides, rising labor cost will continue to drive up the price of services, it said. Data showed the price of services went up 2.8 percent in the January-October period of 2013, the first time to be faster than the overall CPI growth.

The center also warned of rises in housing prices in a few major cities, and a stock market not mature enough to produce a wealth effect to boost residents’ consumption.

The center suggested attention be given to consumer prices that are closely associated with people’s livelihoods, such as prices of necessities and housing.

The NDRC’s research center added that the gross domestic product will grow about 7.7 percent for the whole year of 2013.

The Chinese economy began to show signs of stabilization as gross domestic product expanded 7.8 percent in the third quarter, up from 7.5 percent in the second and 7.7 percent in the first.





>>  Inflation within control as harvest eases pressure

By Cheng Jing

China’s 3.5-percent target for controlling inflation this year is achievable as a steady increase in grain output has helped ease pressure, said Monday’s overseas edition of the People’s Daily.

China has recorded another bumper grain harvest in 2013 as output gained 2.1 percent year on year to hit 601.94 million tonnes, marking the 10th consecutive year of growth, earlier official data showed.

The rising supply is “of great significance” for China to guide market expectations and stabilize overall prices as food has a weighting of roughly one-third in calculating China’s consumer price index (CPI), the paper said.

“Any rises in food prices would affect expectations, which may prompt the panic buying that can lead to a new round of price rises,” Zhang Zhenghe, a professor at the China Agricultural University, told the People’s Daily.

China’s CPI grew 3.2 percent year on year in October, up from 3.1 percent in September. In the first 10 months of 2013, CPI growth stood at 2.6 percent on average.

Given the bumper harvest and other factors including the government’s prudent monetary policies, China’s CPI is likely to grow 2.7 percent this year, well below the government control task of 3.5 percent, said Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications.

Also on Monday, the China Securities Journal carried a report from the price monitoring center of the National Development and Reform Commission saying despite the bumper harvest, China will see faster growth of food prices next year.

The report named rising production and labor costs, and increasing minimum purchase prices as major factors driving growth.

“Growth in food prices may push up the overall price levels by an average of 0.2 percentage points to 0.5 percentage points next year,” the report concluded.





>>  China Futures Association to collaborate with 3 overseas financial institutions

By Lin Jianyang, Liu Kaixiong and Zhao Xiaohui

The China Futures Association (CFA) on Monday of November 2 signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation with operators of the Hong Kong and Singapore stock exchanges, as well as the Swiss Futures and Options Association.

The MOUs were signed in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on the sidelines of the 9th China International Derivatives Forum.

The China Futures Association said in a statement that it would cooperate with the three financial institutions on business, information sharing and training.

CFA Chairman Liu Zhichao said development of China’s futures industry would be market-oriented and law-based, and would feature an international perspective.

However, the industry’s development still faces problems related to talents and management, and it is imperative for the CFA to strengthen cooperation with overseas counterparts, he said.

Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong stock exchange, said the agreement was an important step in furthering the relationship and communication with the CFA and the Chinese mainland’s futures industry.

“We hope we can help mainland futures brokers reach out globally by offering them a market with a wide range of products to meet their clients’ investment and risk management needs, as well as a platform for capital formation,” Charles Li said.





>>  China stocks close lower as ChiNext dives

By Zhang Xu

Chinese shares closed lower on Monday after the securities regulator unveiled reforms to the initial public offering (IPO) system on Saturday of November 30.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, dived 8.26 percent, the worst ever daily decline, to close at 1,253.93 points, with over 200 ChiNext shares hitting the daily drop limit at 10 percent.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on Nov. 29 that it will prohibit any backdoor listing from acquiring a shell company on the ChiNext board which now has more than 350 listings.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index moved down 0.59 percent, or 13.13 points, to finish at 2,207.37. The Shenzhen Component Index dropped 1.94 percent, or 165.96 points, to close at 8,376.64.

Total turnover on the two bourses increased to 306.3 billion yuan (49.89 billion U.S. dollars) from 229.48 billion yuan the previous trading day.

Almost 400 stocks dropped by 10 percent on Shanghai and Shenzhen, including the ChiNext board shares’ dire performance.

Bucking the trend, the shares of security dealers, banks, insurance and electricity performed strongly. China Merchants Securities rose 10 percent and Bank of China climbed up 2.14 percent to 2.87 yuan per share.

The country’s two oil giants, Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation performed well, both up over 4 percent, which helped prevent the two bourses from declining further.





>>  E-commerce boom brings phishing to China

By Zhang Xinxin and Cheng Jing

China detected an increasing number of online scams taking advantage of the e-commerce boom to swindle netizens.

Authorities tracked and handled 49,613 phishing schemes, which lure users to fake sites to obtain password and other personal information, during the January-October period, according to data from the Anti-Phishing Alliance of China (APAC).

The number is a 129-percent jump from the same period last year.

Online payments and financial securities are among the most common targets for the scams, APAC said.

The rapid growth in online scams comes as an unpleasant side effect of China’s e-commerce boom, which is expected to see transactions exceed 18 trillion yuan (2.93 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2015.

China has the world’s biggest online population, with 564 million netizens as of the end of last year.





>>  Maserati recalls defective autos in China

By Rong Jiaojiao and Chen Weiwei

China’s quality watchdog said on Monday that Italian luxury car maker Maserati has recalled 25 vehicles imported to the Chinese mainland due to a defective generator wiring harness.

The recall, which began Monday, includes 25 Maserati Quattroporte V8 models produced between April 10 and July 1 this year, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement.

The statement said the vehicles contain defects in the generator wiring harness, which may cause flameout and lead to safety problems.

Ferrari Maserati Cars International Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. will offer free replacement of the defective generator wiring harness.





>>  China’s South East Motor recalls V3 Lingyue

By Rong Jiaojiao and Chen Weiwei

South East Motor, an automotive joint venture between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, will recall 171,093 defective V3 Lingyue, China’s quality watchdog announced on Monday of December 2.

Starting from February 10, 2014, the recall will involve 171,093 vehicles produced between April 1, 2009 and Sept. 22, 2011, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement.

The dust cover of the hand brake line of the defective vehicles may crack, which will affect the proper working of the vehicles and cause safety problems, the statement said.

The manufacturer will offer free checks and replace the hand brake line of the recalled cars.





>>  Grave robbers rescued then arrested in China

By Wang Wen and Feng Guo

Police in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province have rescued two grave robbers, trapped in a burial chamber for 25 hours and then detained them.

Five suspected grave robbers were excavating a tomb dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in Fuping County when two of them became stuck in a chamber 20 meters underground.

Police received reports on Saturday and came to the site to find the two trapped men had spent more than 24 hours in the chamber with the fear of a cave in and lack of oxygen.

Sun Weidong, the officer in charge of the rescue, said three rescuers with oxygen masks spent more than an hour locating the two men who had been calling for help and waving flashlights. Rescuers pulled them out of the chamber through a crack on top of the cave, said the police officer.

All five suspects were detained and further investigation into the case is underway.

Fuping County is known to have a cluster of emperors’ mausoleums and subordinate tombs from the Tang Dynasty. The five suspects excavated a subordinate tomb, according to archaeologists.





>>  80 skulls found in China’s neolithic city

By Feng Guoqiang and Qiang Lijing

Archaeologists in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province said they had excavated over 80 skulls in the ruins of the largest neolithic Chinese city ever discovered.

The skulls were found in groups and their limb bones could not be retrieved elsewhere at the Shimao Ruins in Shenmu County, Yulin City, said Sun Zhouyong, deputy head of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, on Sunday.

Two groups of skulls were firstly found in two pits, with 24 of the grisly finds in each, in front of the east gate of the city ruin while others were later uncovered along the eastern city wall, Sun said.

Archaeologists deduced that these skulls are likely to be related to the construction of the city wall, suggesting that ancient religious activities or foundation ceremonies were launched before construction of the neolithic city began.

Sun said anthropologists identified most of the skulls as belonging to young women, which suggested the outbreak of mass violence or ethnic conflict in the region since ancient people were prone to use their enemies or captives as sacrifices.

These skulls will serve as important materials for research on the religious thinking, construction concepts and cultural activities of people living along the Yellow River Basin over 4,000 years ago, according to Sun.

The Shimao Ruins were first found in 1976 in the form of a small town, and archaeological authorities identified the ruins as the largest of their kind from neolithic times in 2012 after measuring the exact size of the ancient stone city.

Archaeologists said the city was built about 4,300 years ago and was abandoned roughly 300 years later during the Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BC), the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles.  





>>  Beijing to host world camping expo

By Yang Jianxiang

 The 80th Federation Internationale de Camping et de Caravanning (FICC) rally will be held next year in northwest Beijing, a press conference was told on Monday of December 2.

Dubbed “the Olympics” of camping and caravanning, the ten-day event will take place from May 30 at a purpose built campsite by the side of Jinniu Lake in Yanqing, close to the tourist attractions of Badaling Great Wall and Longqing Gorge.

As China’s economy grows, more households own cars and the pattern of tourism is changing. The potential for camping and caravanning is great.

“We hope this event will meet growing tourist demand,” says Gao Feb, vice president of Beijing Tourism Group, sponsor of the event, at the press conference.

The FICC set up in 1933 in Britain with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Its annual rally is one of the most important gatherings of campers and caravan fans in the world. In 2010 China bid successfully to host the event for the first time.

The Yanqing Longwan International Motor-caravanning Campsite, as the venue is known, is under construction. Work is scheduled for completion in March next year and trial operations will kick off in early May.





>>  HK confirms first human case of H7N9 bird flu

By Xie Xiyu

Hong Kong confirmed on Monday of December 2 its first case of H7N9 bird flu as a 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper has been hospitalized in critical condition.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said that the patient had contact with poultry while traveling to Shenzhen.

Ko said close contacts of the patient have been sent to hospital, and among them four family members have disease signs. All of them will be examed as soon as possible, Ko said.

P.L. Ho, president of the Center of Infection, University of Hong Kong, believed it is an individual imported case and temporarily H7N9 has not been found to spread man-to-man easily.  





>>  Foreigner falls to death at Shanghai airport

By Zhu Yi and Shi Shouhe

Shanghai police have confirmed that a foreigner fell to his death on Monday morning of December 2 at an airport in Shanghai.

The man, whose nationality and identity are yet to be determined, jumped off a ramp at the departure floor of Shanghai Pudong International Airport’s T2 terminal, according to police sources at the airport.

The man was sent to a nearby hospital, but he died after rescue efforts failed.

Police said the man arrived at the airport from a downtown hotel in a taxi.

When the taxi drove onto the ramp on the third floor, the man suddenly opened the vehicle’s door, rushed to the roadside and jumped over the guardrail to the ground.

Police are further investigating the case.





>>  Shanghai air pollution hits dangerous peak

By Lu Wenjun and Lü Dong

Smog shrouded the skyline of China’s financial hub Shanghai as air pollution in the city hit its worst level on Monday of December 2.

Air quality in Shanghai was recorded at 303 on the official Air Quality Index (AQI) on Monday morning, crossing the 300 threshold that indicates the most severe level of air pollution on the chart.

The AQI monitors six pollutants on an hourly basis, including PM 2.5, or particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameters, which has been widely blamed for the worsening air pollution across China in recent years.

Shanghai’s environmental watchdog listed PM 2.5 as the major pollutant on Monday, without disclosing detailed readings.

The World Health Organization sets a daily guideline value for PM 2.5 at 25 micrograms per cubic meter, while it has been around 10 times this volume in Shanghai in recent days.

Shanghai saw deteriorating air quality over the weekend. The AQI index rose above 230 on Sunday, when the city held its annual Shanghai International Marathon.

The PM 2.5 reading also hit 248 micrograms per cubic meter on that day, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

The marathon took place as usual despite the heavy pollution. Some participants wore masks.

The dangerous level of pollution has prompted Shanghai authorities to curb industrial production and activities at construction sites and docks that may add dust to the air. Citizens are advised to stay indoors.





>>  China issues alerts for fog, smog

By Liu Xinyong and Lin Hui

China’s top observatory on Monday of December 2 issued yellow alerts for fog in most southern regions and heavy smog in some northern and eastern areas.

China has a four-tier warning system for extreme weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

From Monday night to Tuesday, heavy fog will reduce visibility to less than 1,000 meters in the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Jiangsu and Fujian, as well as the municipality of Shanghai, the National Meteorological Center said in a statement.

During the same period, moderate smog will shroud some areas in eastern and northern China, while Shanghai, central and southern parts of Jiangsu, and the central and southern parts of Hebei will be hit by heavy smog.  






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