Chinese embassy condemns attack on students in France




>>  Chinese embassy condemns attack on students in France

By Chen Jian

The Chinese embassy on Sunday of June 16 strongly condemned an attack on six Chinese students in western France, demanding French authorities bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of Chinese students in the country.

An official statement said that related Chinese government departments and the Chinese embassy in France are highly concerned about the incident.

The Chinese embassy has sent officials to Bordeaux to follow up the incident, assist the handling of related problems, visit the injured students and convey the concerns and condolences from Chinese Education Minister Yuan Guiren.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday condemned the attack on the six Chinese students in France’s western Gironde Province, describing it as an act of xenophobia.

Valls said in a statement that the three attackers will be punished by law and the French government will provide full support for the relatives of the injured students.

According to the statement, three drunk local men attacked the six Chinese oenology students on Friday night at their home in Hostens, south of Gironde.

A female student at the age of around 20 was seriously injured in the face by a glass bottle and has already been sent to a hospital in the western city of Bordeaux for further treatment, it said.

Two of the alleged suspects have been detained, the statement added.

The six Chinese students arrived in France two months ago for a one-year training course.

French local media reported that the suspects are the neighbors of the six Chinese students.

The police called on the three men on Friday night as they made too much noise, and then the drunk suspects attacked the Chinese students as they believed it was their neighbors that had complained to the police about the noise.



>>  British brand Burberry makes further China inroads 

By Huang Xin 

British brand Burberry is making inroads in China as Chinese consumers are contributing about 25 percent of its global sales.

Burberry Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts told Xinhua that 15 percent of the company’s global sales have recently been coming from its stores on the Chinese mainland and 10 percent from stores outside the mainland where Chinese consumers have been recorded as shopping.

The brand’s famous camel, red and black plaid is displayed in its 70 stores in 35 Chinese cities. With red being a popular color in Chinese culture, this reflects Burberry attaches great importance to the Chinese market, according to Ahrendts.

She said Burberry’s investment in China has exceeded 50 million U.S. dollars and its sales in the country rose about 20 percent in the year ended March 31, accounting for 14 percent of its retail and wholesale revenue in those 12 months.

The company plans to open 25 stores in 2014 and the majority will be in China and Latin America, she said, adding that the the fashion firm’s flagship Asia store will open in Shanghai in December.

Meanwhile, the company has strengthened online promotion. It has stepped up cooperation with Chinese internet companies including Baidu and Sina and plans to work with Taobao and Alibaba for promotion in the beauty and fragrance market, said Ahrendts.

The company also offers online customized services for private clients, she said, with it possible for personalized garments to be delivered to Chinese clients from Italy or the U.K. in eight weeks.


>>  Number of Chinese trademark agencies skyrocketing

By Zhang Xiaosong and Zuo Wei

The past decade has seen a near-20-fold increase in the number of trademark agencies in China, revealed an official from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) on Sunday.

About 9,000 general agencies and 8,000 law firms in China are now engaged in intellectual property services related to trademarks, Zhang Wanxin, of the SAIC’s trademark office, said while attending the 2013 China International Trademark Festival here.

The number of trademark agencies has skyrocketed in recent years, notably after state-level administrative approval for trademark agent eligibility was lifted in 2003 and law firms were allowed in the business without registration in 2010.

South China’s Guangdong Province is home to most trademark agencies, followed by Beijing, east China’s Zhejiang Province, Shanghai and its neighboring Jiangsu Province, Zhang said.

A total of 1.5 million trademark applications are filed each year by these agencies, but the industry is still plagued by an excess of market players, low levels of professionalism and misconduct by some agencies, according to the official.



>>  Investors increase share holdings, defying overall swoon

By Huang Xin

As China’s bourses saw sharp revisions recently, some investors have swooped to buy stocks in quality companies at low price points.

Chinese shares fell to a six-month low last week over concerns of a liquidity drain in the world’s second-largest economy. Investors have so far pulled 834 million U.S. dollars from stock funds focused on China, according to data from EPFR Global, a global fund flow tracker.

Bucking the trend, some investors increased holdings in quality enterprises, citing a constructive macroeconomic and earnings outlook, according to survey results released by the Shanghai Securities Journal on Saturday.

The controlling shareholder of Shanxi Coal International Energy Group Co., Ltd. on Thursday built a stake of 1.13 million shares in the company through its wholly owned subsidiary.

Earlier this month, the senior management of Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science And Technology Co., Ltd. bought 19.38 million shares in the company, a move interpreted by insiders as a “positive signal worthy of attention.”

Amid downturns in the construction machinery industry and weak market demand, Zoomlion witnessed a 70-percent drop in performance in the first quarter of this year. Its shares have seen continued declines since February.

The company’s executive team said in a statement on June 6 that the decision to increase holdings was individual behavior based on confidence in the company’s a sustainable and steady growth in future.

Similarly, the executive team of Xuzhou Handler Special Vehicle Co., Ltd. has loaded up with the company’s shares based on a positive outlook for their business.

The manufacturer of special-purpose vehicles reported a 540-percent slide in its first-half performance.

About 30 companies have reported overweight stocks so far in June, according to the Shanghai Securities Journal survey.

Analysts said the overweight position in equities helped stabilize share prices and showed investors’ confidence in the Chinese economy.

In its biannual Global Economic Prospects Report released on Thursday, the World Bank cut its global economic growth outlook to 2.2 percent for 2013, citing slower-than-expected expansion in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.

It also slashed its forecast on China’s growth to 7.7 percent from 8.4 percent, warning of a potential slowdown caused by a drop in investment.

The Chinese economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012, marking the lowest growth in 13 years. The growth target set by the government this year stands unchanged at 7.5 percent, a sign that authorities are willing to tolerate slower growth in the process of achieving quality growth driven less by exports and investment and more by consumption.



>>  Market insiders expect new home sales steadily up

By Zuo Wei

Real estate market insiders expected China’s new home sales to trend steadily up over the course of this year as major listed developers posted robust sales in May.

The real estate giant China Vanke Co. said in a report in early June that it reaped a sales revenue of 70.18 billion yuan (11.39 billion U.S. dollars) in the January-May period, up 42.6 percent year on year.

Evergrande Real Estate Group also sold about 1.3 million square meters of housing for a total of 34.19 billion yuan, completing a reasonable share of its 100-billion sales target for the year, according to Saturday’s edition of China Times.

By the end of May, leading developers such as China Resources Land Limited and Poly Real Estate Group had completed about half of their annual sales target. Smaller industry players like Sunac China and CIFI Holdings (Group) Co. advanced at a similar pace, achieving 42 percent and 46 percent of its respective yearly target.

The Chinese government tightened controls over the property market in the past months, highlighted by a guideline released in early March urging local authorities to implement measures including a 20-percent tax on capital gains from property sales. The measure was meant to, among other things, curb speculative property buying.

“The measures have dampened market demand to a certain extent, but the overall market sentiment was good in May,” China Times cited Mou Zengbin, chief analyst at real estate consulting firm CRIC’s Beijing center, as saying.

According to China Times, many developers raised their 2013 sales targets at the beginning of the year, but Mou said new home market was not affected much by the property controls, forecasting 70 percent of developers will be able to complete their half-year sales targets by June.

Chen Guoqiang, vice president of China Real Estate Society said that sales of major developers remained steady because they have fine-tuned their products and sales strategy after the property control measures were rolled out.

Official data showed a total of 2.59 trillion yuan of commodity houses were sold in the first five months of this year, marking a 52.8-percent rise year on year but slower by 7 percentage points from the growth registered in the January-April period.

Mou said the transaction volume will expand as market supply increases, and the prices are likely to trend up. “A steady growth is expected in the property market in the second half of this year,” the analyst said.

But developers are acting cautious since further property control measures are not impossible.

“We won’t raise or cut prices considerably as policy in the second half remains hard to tell. The main task for the remaining seven months is destocking and implementing an active sales strategy to keep sales at a reasonable scale,” said a manager from Longfor Properties Co. who declined to be named.



>>  China Railway Corporation targets freight transport market

By Zhu Shaobin, Fan Xi and Qi Zhongxi  

The China Railway Corporation, a commercial arm separated from the nation’s ex-railways ministry, said on Saturday of June 15 that it will push its freight transport services to cover a bigger market.

A company spokesman said it will work toward that goal through a slew of reforms focused on efficiency and better services, in efforts to transform the company’s freight transport into a modern logistics business.

The China Railway Corporation will simplify procedures regarding customers’ needs in freight transport, such as offering direct and fast services via its platforms including hotlines and its Internet-based service platform, the spokesman said.

The website is also the primary service providing passengers with online ticket bookings and ticket refunds in case passengers want to cancel a trip.

In March, China dismantled its Ministry of Railways into administrative and commercial arms to reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency. The ministry, both a policymaker and service provider, had long been criticized for low efficiency and unpleasant services.



>>  China’s millennials become the smartphone generation

By Zhu Shaobin

Chinese millennials are heavy users of technology, with most owning smartphones and preferring the Internet for communication, the China Daily reported on Saturday of June 15.

About 92 percent of Chinese aged 18 to 30 own smartphones, well above the global average of 67 percent, the report said, citing a joint survey by Spain-based telecommunications firm Telefonica SA and the Financial Times newspaper. Government data show the nation has about 270 million people aged 18 to 30.

The report said people born between the mid-1980s and late 1990s are considered millennials. They grew up with the Internet, and they are heavy users of social networks.

“Clearly, millennials are the smartphone generation,” said Caspar Luyten, chief regional officer of Telefonica Asia.

The country’s position as the world’s major smartphone maker, combined with its rapid growth, has fueled smartphones’ popularity, Luyten said.

China overtook the United States as the world’s biggest smartphone market by shipments two years ago. About 95 percent of mobile phones shipped in China will be smartphones by 2017 and the country will become one of the world’s top smartphone markets after the U.S. and the European Union in terms of penetration rate, the report said.

Domestic smartphone makers were among the first to see the business value of the nation’s millennial population.

Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific Co Ltd, maker of Coolpad smartphones, has been among the most active in targeting the millennials.

Accounting for 11.6 percent of the smartphones sold in April, the Shenzhen-based Yulong is the biggest domestic cell phone manufacturer by sales, according to Sino Market Research.

Most of Yulong’s devices cost about 1,000 yuan ($163), a widely accepted level for young buyers.

“When many smartphones sell at the same price as feature phones, it’s easy for buyers to make the decision to purchase smartphones,” Luyten said.



>>  Wang Meng wins national biography awards

By Zhou Fang 

China’s former cultural minister Wang Meng, as well as a noted historian on the Qing Dynasty and 10 other people have won the “Awards for Excellent Chinese Biographic Works”, a national prize selected and issued once every five years.

Wang, now 69, is awarded for an autobiography on his own life, which is full of ups and downs between the 1950s and 1980s.

Jia Yinghua is a very productive writer who has been known for his serial novels based on the real life of the family of Puyi, the last Qing emperor and a puppet “emperor” of the “Manchu State” under the invading Japanese troops during the 1930s and 40s.

Apart from the two prestigious writers, the majority of the prize-winners are newcomers in the country’s literature circle. None of them thought they would have won the national award before they were acknowledged by the Biography Society of China (BSC).

One of the eye-attracting winners is translator Lu Yi, who has turned an English biography on Iris Chang (Zhang Chunru) into Chinese. 



>>  HIV/AIDS spreading to younger people in Taiwan

By Wen Chihua, Pei Chuang and Zuo Yuanfeng

HIV/AIDS is spreading to more younger people in Taiwan, the island health authorities warned at Taiwan HIV Testing Month that kicked off Sunday of June 16 at Taipei Main Station.

Currently, HIV carriers aged between 15 and 24 account for 19.5 percent of the total number of HIV infections on the island, said Chen Chang-Hsun, a health official in charge of TB, HIV/AIDS control.

He noticed that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS keeps going up on the island since 1984 when the first case of a foreign HIV carrier was reported in Taiwan.

By the end of 2012, 3,771 people died from AIDS, while there are 24,239 living with HIV, of whom 4,716 are young people aged between 15 and 24. Most of them contracted the virus through unsafe sex,” Chen said.

More alarmingly, “base on our surveys on those at high-risk from HIV, such as gays, prostitutes and their customers, it’s estimated that there are 6,000 to 9,000 people who don’t know they may have HIV.”

“A most possible reason is that they have internalized stigmatization against themselves due to discrimination against the patients that still persists. They are afraid what would happen to them and their families if they are found infected,” Chen said.

If the rate of testing for HIV can reach 90 percent, an estimated total of 50,000 people could be prevented from getting infected in five years, and could save 140 billion New Taiwan dollars (4.67 billion U.S. dollars), according to statistics released by Taiwan health authorities.

The HIV testing campaign is inspired by the U.S. National HIV Testing Day launched on June 27, 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS. It’s an annual campaign to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.”

In response to the growing number of HIV infections, Taiwan AIDS Foundation in collaboration with Taiwan health authorities introduced similar testing campaign to the island in 2007, and made June as HIV Testing Month in 2012.

“HIV testing is a critical first step in taking control and responsibility over one’s health, and it can help lower the chances of passing it on to others,” said Lin Ting, general secretary of Taiwan AIDS Foundation.

“HIV/AID control is not something you need to do only on the World AID Day. It should be an everyday activity. We only hope the campaign can help the public better understand HIV/AIDS discrimination, and let more people at high risks come out to have the test,” said Lin.



>>  Food watchdog probes copper sulphate-tainted egg allegations

By Ren Ke

China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) on Sunday began to check for food companies processing lime-preserved eggs with copper sulphate, following a scandal highlighted in a media report.

On Friday, China Central Television reported that some egg processing plants are suspected of using copper sulphate in the pickling of lime-preserved eggs, a black-colored cold dish popular around the country.

Copper Sulphate can be poisonous if swallowed.

The SFDA ordered the Jiangxi provincial food and drug administration to investigate the issue immediately, and required industrial and commercial administrative departments, quality supervision departments as well as food and drug administrative departments nationwide to supervise and examine all producers of lime-preserved eggs.

Food additives and processing aid will be the focus of the supervision, said the SFDA, adding that companies found using copper sulphate to process preserved eggs will have their production licenses suspended and be punished strictly according to law.

People suspected of violating the criminal law will be transferred to the police, said the SFDA. 


>>  Central China official removed after public outcry

Tan Jian and Zhang Hui

An official in central China’s Hunan Province was removed from office after public backlash against her eligibility went viral online.

Local authorities said Sunday of June 16 that Liu Qiong, who previously served as deputy Party secretary of Shimen County, Changde City, had received an inappropriate promotion, and therefore, was relieved from her duties.

Liu was put to the post when she was 30, a much younger age than average county officials. Her career path was later exposed on social networking websites and some questioned that her political moving-up might be tied to the influence of her father, who had been head of the Standing Committee of Changde National People’s Congress before retirement.

Hunan authorities said relevant people have been punished and Liu’s father is under investigation.






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