Chinese central gov’t shows concern over Hong Kong garrison break-in





>>  China slams Japanese minister for notorious shrine visit

By Yang Yijun

Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday of January 1 strongly criticized Japanese Internal Affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo for his Yasukuni Shrine visit.

Shindo on Wednesday visited the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine amid strong opposition against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the notorious shrine on December 26.

Shindo’s visit to the shrine is another provocation of the Japanese cabinet members on historical issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.

His act once again exposed the dangerous intention of the Japanese side to prettify the militarism war criminals and challenge the results of the World War II as well as the post-war international order, Hua said.

Urging the Japanese side to seriously reflect on history and correct errors, Hua stressed that the Chinese and Asian people will never allow Japan to turn back the clock.





>>  Chinese helicopter ready to rescue passengers on stranded Russian ship

in Antarctica

By Lu Rui

Chinese icebreaker Xuelong has been prepared to rescue passengers and crew members aboard a Russian vessel stuck in sea ice off Antarctica.

Xuelong, which left Shanghai in early November on China’s 30th scientific expedition to Antarctica, has established an emergency relief working group after the Russian ship’s captain sent a formal request on Tuesday of December 31 for chopper rescue.

The expedition says it will utilize the helicopter Xueying (Snow Eagle) on board to airlift trapped passengers to safety, if weather conditions permit.

Chief officer of MV Akademik Shokalskiy told Itar-Tass the passengers are expected to be rescued by helicopter in groups of 12 and will be initially transported to Xuelong. The powerful Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which is approaching slowly due to the poor weather, will then use its barge to take aboard all the 52 passengers.

“When to start the evacuation depends on weather conditions, but currently the rescue must be held off due to strong wind and poor visibility,” he said.

The adverse weather will not improve until Wednesday afternoon. All 22 crew members are now ready to help evacuate passengers as an area about 40 meters away from the vessel has been cleared for helicopter landing, he added.

MV Akademik Shokalskiy, built in Finland in 1982, is carrying 22 crew members and 52 scientists and tourists. It is scheduled to return to New Zealand in January 2014. It sent a distress call on Christmas Day after being trapped in heavy sea ice in Antarctic sea.

Meanwhile, the Chinese ship has continued with some of its research assignments while actively making attempts to free the trapped Russian ship.

Jiao Yutian, team leader of China’s 30th Antarctic scientific expedition, said it is Xuelong’s maiden tour of the waters where the Russian vessel is trapped and there is a lack of scientific records regarding ocean physics, sea ice and meteorological environment of this sea area.

“It is the first time we have obtained scientific data of this sea area in Antarctica, and it holds great significance for our future research,” Jiao said.





>>  China’s aircarft carrier returns from South China Sea voyage

By Tian Ye

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, returned to its homeport in north China on Wednesday of January 1 after completing a series of scientific tests and training programs in the South China Sea.

According to a source with the Navy of China’s People’s Liberation Army, the aircraft carrier underwent a comprehensive test of its combat system and conducted a formation practice during its 37-day voyage.

Such tests have “attained the anticipated objectives”, the source says.

Liaoning’s combat and power system and its seagoing capability have been further tested during the trip. “All tests and training programs went well as scheduled”, according to the source.

The Chinese Navy dispatched aircraft, naval vessels and submarines to participate in the tests.

The Liaoning is China’s only aircraft carrier in operation. It was refitted based on an unfinished carrier of the former Soviet Union. The refitted carrier was delivered to the navy on September 25, 2012.





>>  China’s Sansha City launches government website

By Hu Tao and Luo Yu

Sansha City in south China’s Hainan Province launched its government website and its first newspaper on Wednesday of January 1.

The government website shows the history, local customs and current conditions in Sansha and aims to present the progress of the city.

The newspaper, Sansha News, which is published by the city’s press center, was launched to enrich the cultural life on the island city.

Sansha City was officially established in July in 2012 to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.





>>  Chinese central gov’t shows concern over Hong Kong garrison break-in

By Tian Ye

The Chinese central government shows grave concern over the break-in at the headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison in Hong Kong, a spokesman said on Wednesday of January 1.

Several local residents forced their way into the PLA Garrison headquarters at Hong Kong Central on Thursday afternoon of December 26, defying the warning of the guard on duty. Two of them were detained by Hong Kong police on Wednesday of January 1.

The PLA garrison troops, who perform defense duties in Hong Kong according to law, are a symbol of national sovereignty, the spokesman from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said in an interview with Xinhua.

All PLA garrison barracks in Hong Kong are protected by law. Those who disregarded the law and forced into the barrack should be punished, the spokesman said.





>>  China’s third economic census enters registration phase

By Rong Jiaojiao and Liu Jing

China’s third national economic census entered its registration phase on New Year’s Day after months of preparation, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The census is designed to paint a wide economic picture of China’s fast-expanding secondary and tertiary industries and complete a database covering all economic sectors, said NBS head Ma Jiantang.

The census will survey over 10 million companies and 60 million privately or individually-owned businesses in the next three months.

Nearly three million statisticians will collect data related to enterprise ownership, staff size, financial status, production capacity and research and development activities during the census.

According to Ma, refusal to register accurate data, leaking of census data by census officials and institutions, and tampering with data will all be dealt with seriously.

Data gathered during the census cannot be used as evidence for legal prosecution, he added.

The final results will be released in the second half of 2014, according to the NBS.

The census is conducted once every five years.




>>  Nanjing opens “historic site” government house to public

By Hu Tao and Pan Ye

Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, on Wednesday of January 1 held its first open house to allow the public into its government compound, which is a renowned historic relic site.

About 400 Nanjing residents and friends from home and abroad visited the historical buildings with volunteer guidance by government officials and staff.

Yang Weize, the city’s Communist Party secretary, and Miao Ruilin, the acting mayor, delivered wishes for New Year’s Day and guided visitors to appreciate the major historical buildings, which now serve as office buildings and an auditorium for government institutions.

“This is the first open house day. It represents our first step to open such a historical site to the public, which contains and has witnessed the history of Nanjing,” said Yang Weize.

During the tour, visitors enjoyed hot tea and received New Year’s gifts, including a hand-painted map and introduction to the government house site, as well as postcards.

Starting on Jan. 1 this year, Nanjing will open the government house each Jan. 1, May 1 and Oct. 1 to the public for free visits after registration.

The current government compound is in a historical site. It was set up in the 1930s and served as the examination institute of the republican government in Nanjing.

It was renowned as a “garden-style government house” featuring well-designed buildings that combine both Western-style and classical Chinese architecture.

It began serving as the government house for government organs in 1949. In June 2001, it was listed as a national key cultural relics protection unit.





>>  China’s manufacturing PMI drops to 51 pct in December

By Rong Jiaojiao, Hua Yedi and Liu Zheng

China’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dropped to 51 percent in December, down from 51.4 percent in November, according to official data released on Wednesday of January 1.

December marked the first time since June 2013 that the manufacturing PMI declined, according to a statement jointly released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).

In December, the sub-index for production stood at 53.9 percent, down 0.6 percentage points from November, while the sub-index for new orders lost 0.3 percentage points to 52 percent, said the statement.

The sub-index for purchase quantity moved down 0.9 percentage points to 52.7 percent in December, while the sub-index for new export orders stood at 49.8 percent, down 0.8 percentage points from November.

Major PMI compounds all declined in December, indicating downward pressure on the economy, said Zhang Liqun, an analyst with the Development Research Center of the State Council.

He said the fall of the PMI in December reflected the fall in market demand and a cautious attitude by enterprises toward the future market.

Zhang predicted that China’s industrial growth and export growth may fall in the future and the downward pressure of the Chinese economy will still remain.

But Zhang also added that economic growth is still in a process of stabilizing. “In general, the country’s economy is still on the course of stabilization,” he said.

A PMI reading below 50 indicates contraction, while one above 50 signals expansion.

The HSBC flash manufacturing PMI for December eased to 50.5, compared to 50.8 in November and 50.9 in October, according to HSBC’s preliminary PMI released in mid-December 2013.

According to Qu Hongbin, chief China economist with HSBC, the December HSBC flash manufacturing PMI reading slowed marginally from November’s final reading, but stood above the average reading for the third quarter,which implied that the recovery trend in the manufacturing sector that started in July still holds.





>>  China’s farm produce prices stay flat

By Rong Jiaojiao and Liu Yangyang

Farm produce prices in 36 major Chinese cities stayed mostly flat in the week ending December 29 compared with the previous week, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

Average wholesale prices of 18 kinds of vegetables rose 4.8 percent from a week earlier, while the prices of bitter gourds and tomatoes increased 11.3 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.

The average wholesale price of aquatic products dropped 0.5 percent, while the price of eggs rose 0.1 percent from the previous week.

The prices of grain and oil fell slightly, with peanut oil dropping 0.2 percent.

The cost of mutton went up 0.6 percent and beef 0.2 percent, while pork prices dropped 0.5 percent compared with the previous week.

Food accounts for about one-third of China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation.

The CPI grew 3 percent year on year in November, down from 3.2 percent in October, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).





>>  China’s Shenyang, Dalian offer 72-hour visa-free stays

By Hu Tao and Luo Jie

Shenyang and Dalian, capital and port city of northeast China’s Liaoning Province, respectively, launched 72-hour visa-free stays for foreigners starting on Jan. 1, authorities said on Wednesday of January 1.

To enjoy the policy, travelers should hold a valid passport, third country visas and plane tickets leaving for a third country or region within 72 hours, according to the public security bureaus of both cities.

The 51 countries include the United States, Australia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, which are among the most common origin countries for inbound tourist arrivals to China.

Foreigners who enjoy the visa-free policy can stay within the two cities after arriving at the Shenyang Taoxian International Airport or Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport.

However, foreigners should also apply for a Chinese visa if they are faced with unexpected circumstances or special events causing them to stay in the two cities for over 72 hours.

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing also have 72-hour visa-free services in place.





>>  Xiamen Marathon expects new women’s record

By Liu Yang

Fresh new record is highly expected in women’s group of Thursday’s Xiamen International Marathon, the first major marathon of 2014.

Zhang Yingying’s time of 2:22:38 from 2008 has stood as the mark to beat for six years but Ethiopia’s 24-year-old Mare Dibaba potentially has the credentials to challenge that mark. Earlier in 2012, Dibaba set her personal best 2:19:52 for third place in Dubai and is by far the fastest runner in the race.

Her compatriot, 27 year-old Alemitu Abera won in Houston in January 2012 with her yearly personal best of 2:23:14. Antoher Ethiopian, Emebet Etea was second in Seoul in March 2013, clocking 2:25:53 personal best. Ethiopian contingent, including Meseret Legesse (2:26:15) and Biruktayit Degefa (2:27:34), have another two runners with personal bests under 2:30.

Also in the race is Turkey’s Sultan Haydar who ran a 2:27:10 season’s best in Rome in March 2013 and holds the national record at 2:25:09 from 2012.

Organizers have made a slight adjustment to the 2014 course in order to make it faster and even more picturesque adding the famous Zhongshan Road through Xiamen’s renowned historical district.








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