CPC graft watchdog establishes three new offices





>> China reaffirms objective, fair position on Ukraine issue

By Liang Linlin

China on Monday said it maintains “objective and fair position” on the ongoing Ukraine issue, urging relevant parties to seek political solution through talks.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks in response to the outcome of the Crimea referendum on Sunday of March 16.

China is deeply concerned at the development in the Crimea situation, Hong said. “We call on all sides to exercise restraint.”

China urged relevant parties to seek political solution through dialogue as soon as possible and appropriately solve the crisis on basis of respecting reasonable concerns and legitimate interests of all sides, he said.

The Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine on Monday, after official results showed 96.77 percent of Crimean voters chose to join Russia in Sunday’s referendum.

The Crimea crisis began in late February following the ouster of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.






>>  Spokesman rejects “mistaken remarks” over death of Chinese national

By Bai Jie

China has voiced strong dissatisfaction at and firm opposition to U.S. and European comments regarding the death of Chinese national Cao Shunli.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing on Monday of March 17, “China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the mistaken remarks made by the governments and institutions of the U.S. and Europe on the death of Cao Shunli.”p Cao was chronically ill, said Hong.

She was investigated in September on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. She was on bail awaiting trial with restricted liberty of movement in February, Hong added.

Cao died of multiple organ failure caused by tuberculosis and severe pneumonia in a hospital on March 14 after efforts to save her failed, said Hong. “She received conscientious and proactive treatment during her illness and her legal rights were ensured.”

China is a country under rule of law, and everyone is equal before the law, said Hong. Each Chinese citizen must strictly abide by the obligations stated in the Constitution and law while enjoying the rights granted by the Constitution and law, the spokesman said. “No one is above the law.”

“We oppose relevant countries using the name of human rights to interfere in China’s judicial sovereignty and independence,” Hong said.

“We hope relevant countries strictly abide by the basic norms of international relations of not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, and stop the interference under all sorts of excuses,” he said.







>>  Chinese envoy urges Japan to face historical facts of “comfort women”

By Ni Hongmei

A Chinese envoy to the UN on Monday of March 17 urged the Japanese government to squarely face up to the historical facts regarding the use of a large number of war-time sex slave, or “comfort women,” and make formal and sincere apologies to the victims.

“A lot of historical evidence points to the fact that the Japanese military forcefully drafted a large number of the ‘ comfort women’ as sex slaves in an organized manner from China, the Republic of Korea and many other countries during WWII,” said Wang Min, the Chinese deputy permanent representative to the UN, at the General Debate of the 58th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The women and girls forced to be “comfort women” were victimized by horrific sexual violence, Wang said. “70 years later, only a few of them have survived, with unhealed physical and psychological trauma still haunting their twilight years. Most of them have left the world without seeing justice served.”

“In total disregard of the repeated calls of the UN human rights mechanisms, the Japanese government refuses to assume legal responsibilities and take concrete actions to compensate the victims,” said Wang, adding that senior leaders of the Japanese government have attempted to negate the history of aggression.

Under international pressure, the Japanese government has recently stated that it has no intention to revise the Kono Statement but would continue with the so-called investigation into the circumstances surrounding the statement.

They try every means in their attempt to whitewash and exonerate the Japanese militarists from this crime against humanity, he said.

The Kono Statement, made by then Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993, acknowledged the Japanese government and its army were involved in the use of war-time sex slaves.

Wang also lashed out at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent move to blatantly pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine where 14 Class A war criminals from WWII are honored.

“These war criminals were the chief culprits responsible for the drafting of the ‘comfort women.’ What the Japanese leaders have done constitutes a serious affront to the rights and interests of the ‘comfort women’victims,” Wang said.

“It is a blatant provocation to human conscience and historical justice. It is a gross challenge to the post-WWII international order. It has met the strong condemnation and denunciation of the international community,” he said.

Wang called on women’s organizations around the world to unite as one and urge the Japanese government to squarely face the historical facts and make formal and sincere apologies to the victims “so as to let those deceased rest in peace and the traumatized souls of the survivors be consoled.”







>>  China, S.Korea start 10th FTA talks

By Peng Qian

China and South Korea started the 10th round of negotiation on the bilateral free trade agreement ( FTA) in Ilsan, north of Seoul, on Monday of March 17.

The fresh round of negotiations, to last until Friday, focuses on goods, service and investment trade, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, intellectual property and other related issues, according to the Chinese delegation.

Chinese delegation was led by Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of China’s Ministry of Commerce, while the South Korean side was led by Woo Tae-Hee, assistant commerce minister of the Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy.

South Korea and China completed the first stage in early September for the bilateral free trade pact, with a total of seven rounds of negotiations.

Seoul and Beijing tentatively agreed to abolish tariffs on 90 percent of all products during the first-stage talks and opened the door for raising the threshold during the second-phase negotiations.

China is South Korea’s No. 1 trading partner, with Seoul’s exports to Beijing accounting for a quarter of the total in 2012. Since the two neighbors established diplomatic ties in 1992, their annual trade has grown almost 50 times and reached 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.







>>  China urges jointly maintaining peace on Korean peninsula

By Qian Tong

China hopes relevant sides will do more things conducive to reducing tension so as to jointly maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday of March 17.

China has noticed reports on the recent missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Hong Lei told a daily press briefing.

The DPRK fired 25 short-range missiles toward eastern waters on Sunday evening, according to media reports.








>>  China, S.Korea start encoffining remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War

By Peng Qian

China and South Korea on Monday of March 17 started encoffining remains of Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War in South Korea’s border city of Paju.

A total of 437 remains of Chinese soldiers along with some of their clothes, helmets, bottles and other belongings were covered with traditional Korean papers and placed in coffins supplied by Chinese government. 55 of the remains were attached with identification records.

Both Chinese and South Korean officials mourned for the soldiers and presented flowers to their remains.

“We want to express our deep gratitude to South Korean government and all the people who have contributed to the return of the remains of Chinese soldiers,” said Li Guiguang, an official from China’s ministry of civil affair.

He added that it was a significant event for leading China-ROK relations to a new stage and both sides would continue to fulfill all the following tasks.

The excavation in Paju started in December 2013 and lasted for three months as solders’ remains have to be cleaned, dried and identified in extreme cold winter.

Around 14,000 South Korean soldiers, experts and technicians were involved in the excavation and identification procedures, according to Seoul’s defense ministry.

“The return of Chinese soldiers’ remains was a milestone of healing the wounds of war both countries suffered,” said Moon Sang Gyun, an official from South Korean defense ministry.

He said South Korea has made great efforts on the issue as it was their promises to the Chinese side.

Seoul and Beijing reached an agreement last year with Seoul promising to return the remains of Chinese soldiers buried in a cemetery in Paju. This move came after South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s visit to China in June last year.

The coffins will be carried back to China by air after a transfer ceremony at South Korea’s Incheon Airport in late March, several days before the traditional Chinese Tomb-Sweeping Day, according to South Korean defense ministry.

The Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) fought side by side with the people’s army of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the 1950-1953 Korean War against South Korean army and U.S.-led UN forces. Tens of thousands of CPV soldiers died on the Korean Peninsula during the war that ended in armistice.

Since 1981, a total of 43 remains of Chinese soldiers have been returned by South Korea via the United Nations Military Armistice Commission.







>>  Cambodian, Chinese senior military officials pledge to advance ties

Cambodian and Chinese senior military officials on Monday of March 17 vowed to deepen bilateral ties and cooperation for mutual benefits.

The commitment was made during a meeting between Gen. Pol Saroeun, commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces ( RCAF), and Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and chairman of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies.

Sun Jianguo said China and Cambodia are good friends, neighbors, brothers and partners, and his visit to Cambodia aimed to further enhance long-standing friendly relations and cooperation between the armies of the two countries.

“With strong commitment and efforts by the leaders of the two countries, I believe that our bilateral ties and cooperation will get closer and stronger from day to day,” he said.

He pledged to continue supporting the RCAF through human resources development. He also proposed that there should be more frequent exchange of visits by both sides’ senior military officials.

Pol Saroeun highly spoke of nice ties and cooperation between the two countries in all fields.

He said it was necessary for the two countries to further deepen relations and cooperation for mutual benefits, requesting the Chinese side to grant scholarships to Cambodian military personnel.

Pol Saroeun reiterated Cambodia’s staunch support for the one- China policy.

Sun Jianguo arrived here Saturday on a three-day visit.







>>  Cambodian deputy PM hails friendship, cooperation with China

Cambodian deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh on Monday lauded good friendship relations and cooperation between Cambodia and China, and vowed to further enhance the ties for mutual benefits.

“Our ties reached the top level of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation in 2010 thanks to strong commitment and efforts by the leaders of our two countries,” he said during a meeting with Sun Jianguo, visiting deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and chairman of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies.

“Cambodia is very satisfied with its relations with China and will continue to further deepen this relationship for mutual benefits,” he said.

The minister also thanked China for providing a great amount of aid to Cambodia for social and economic development.

For his part, Sun Jianguo said his visit to Cambodia aimed to further enhance long-standing friendship relations and cooperation between the armies of the two countries.

He pledged to continue supporting the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces through human resources development.

Meanwhile, he also hailed Cambodia for good security, political stability and strong economic growth over the last decade.

Earlier in the day, Sun Jianguo met with Gen. Pol Saroeun, commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and both sides vowed to further promote closer ties between the two armies for mutual benefits.

Sun Jianguo arrived in Cambodia on Saturday for a three-day visit. During the stay, he had also visited Angkor Wat Temple, a World Heritage Site, in northwestern Siem Reap province.







>>  China vows to advance Iran nuclear talks in Vienna

By Liang Linlin

China said on Monday of March 17 it is ready to make joint efforts with relevant parties to push forward Iran nuclear negotiations in an upcoming new round of talks

Wang Qun, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control and disarmament department, will head a delegation to attend the talks, which will be held by six world powers and Iran from Tuesday to Thursday in Vienna, Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

The talks on the Iran nuclear issue are entering an important new stage, Hong told a daily news briefing, noting that key elements of a comprehensive accord will be the main topic during the new talks.

“China urges relevant parties to stick to peaceful talks, adopt an objective and pragmatic attitude, seek common ground while solving differences, and jointly pursue mutual benefits and a win-win outcome,” he said.

China stands ready to work with relevant parties to promote peace talks and push forward the peace process of the negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue, Hong said.







>>  China urges int’l support for Afghanistan’s transition

By Wang Lei

A Chinese envoy on Monday of March 17 called on the international community to continue its support to Afghanistan’s ongoing transition as well as an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process.

Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, made the call here at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan.

“2014 is a crucial year for the transition of Afghanistan, during which it will undergo three dimensional transitions on political, security and economic fronts,” Liu told the 15-member Council.

“The upcoming 2014 presidential and provincial council elections slated for April represent an important milestone in Afghanistan’s political transition,” he said.

Meanwhile, Liu noted that the security situation in Afghanistan remains fragile, and China is concern about the frequent occurrence of security incidents in the country, which has resulted in increased civilian casualties.

“China supports the continued capacity building of the Afghan military and police so as to ensure the successful completion of the security transition,” he said, adding that Beijing also supports “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process and the efforts made by the High Peace Council in this regard.”

China welcomes the provision of additional support to Afghanistan by countries of the region, said the envoy.

“China hopes that the international community will honor its commitment to providing assistance to Afghanistan and help Afghanistan implement the government’s National Priority Programs, ” he said.

According to Liu, China will host the Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in August, thereby further strengthening efforts to promote cooperation among the countries of the region and peace, stability and development in Afghanistan and in the region.

“China has been actively involved in the peace and reconstruction process in Afghanistan, providing assistance to the country to the extent of its ability,” the ambassador said.

“China stands ready to work together with the international community to play a constructive role in helping Afghanistan achieve at an earlier date political reconciliation and economic revitalization, and embark on a road towards lasting peace and sustainable development,” he pledged.







>>  Chinese products gain popularity in Russian Far East city

By Zhu Yushu

Chinese products are gaining popularity in the Russian Far East city, with Chinese-made clothes and electronics now accounting for 80 to 90 percent of the local market.

“In the 1980s, made-in-China products meant bad quality. But now they are as popular as products from any other countries,” said Najerita, a salesgirl at a small downtown store.

“In the past, the shoes imported from China always had a strong smell. But now they have no smell at all,” Najerita told Xinhua. “I haven’t heard about any complaint about Chinese products.”

In Gum, one of the most famous stores in Vladivostok, Chinese products are gaining popularity.

“They account for more than 80 percent of the market. Jeans, T-shirts and leather shoes sell best,” said Egor, who sells the famous Russian brand New Yorker.

The best-selling jeans normally cost 30 to 50 U.S. dollars, while T-shirts are 30 to 40 dollars, similar to the prices in China. Knee-high boots suitable for Russians are about 100 dollars.

In addition to clothes, electronic products such as computers and tablets were mostly “from China” or “Made-in-China”, especially the smaller gadgets like mice, USB disks, earphones and keyboards, said Vyacheslav, a salesperson at the DNS electronic store.

“Consumers purchase these products because they have excellent quality and reasonable prices,” Vyacheslav said.

The four-layer shelves at DNS are filled with Chinese laptops, including Lenovo and Huawei, which cost between 500 and 600 dollars.

“Chinese domestic brands are very popular among local residents. Laptops such as Lenovo and Huawei sell well. Sales volumes for the two brands could reach 15 million roubles (45,000 dollars) per month,” store manager Daniel said.

“The computers we use are all assembled in China. In the Russian Far East, Chinese products no longer have anything to do with bad quality,” an emergency worker said.







>>  Kenyan falls in love with China

By Bedah Mengo and Chen Yingying

She had heard many things about China, some negative, before she left Kenya for the Asian nation.

However, having stayed in the country for over six month, Sandra Rwese, a Kenyan living in China, has fallen in love with the country and is working hard to achieve her dreams.

The tourism analyst is relishing every bit of time she is spending in China as she discovers the nation.

“When I was leaving Kenya for China, what I had in mind was a country where people have no freedom because government controls everything. At least that is the picture I had gotten from the foreign media,” said Rwese in a recent interview in Nairobi.

Rwese thus believed that the Chinese do not live in egalitarian conditions and they do not like it.

“I have stayed in China for few months and to be quite honest, millions of Chinese are highly-satisfied with their government’s policies, structures and rules of law,” said the tourist analyst.

And this is the reason: “The government caters fully for basic human existence, leaving little room for want. Public transport is really cheap, rent is controlled, academic scholarships are in plenty, job fairs are extensive, salaries are reasonable, road network is superb, there is ample water supply and food is available and more importantly affordable.”

Never in her over six months stay in China has she ever seen electricity fluctuate.

“Supply is stable; never has it flickered since I arrived here. Not even once. What does this tell you? The basics are largely covered.”

The analyst advises that foreign media should highlight China’s achievement in that regard.

“The Chinese are having it smooth when it comes to several provisions due to structured policies. There are millions of Chinese who would on no account have it any other way.

Can we also say the same for developed economies worldwide? In fact, how many first world economies can even boast of the successes highlighted? That is food for thought,” observed Rwese.

Another thing that has impressed the tourist analyst is China’s ability to feed its huge population.

“I appreciate a lot of what China has done for food security, especially considering it has over a billion mouths to be feed daily. This is quite admirable,” she said.

From a social standpoint, Rwese appreciates Chinese reverence for the elderly. The Chinese nationals publically recognize their senior citizens, giving them a lot of respect.

“By this l mean giving elderly persons preference in public buildings, queues and buses. The youth instantaneously rise up and offer their seats to the elderly who enter buses or subway trains. Several countries, especially Kenya, can learn a lot from this as in some places, old men are killed due to their advanced ages,” she said.

However, as the tourism analyst gives thumbs up to her second home – China, there are things she wishes could change in the country. During her travels, Rwese has noticed that customer care is lacking in many places.

“In the bigger cities, things are sometimes different. But you cannot, for example, compare it with emphasis given to customer care in the US. There is simply no comparison to be honest,” she noted.

She has visited many public places like hotels and hospitals, and according to her, the people she has come across so far aren’t attuned to aspects like phone courtesy and neither did they go extra mile to give quality service.

“In most instances, it’s has been quite mechanical. From hospital nurses, to hotel managers, airline ticket agents, wait staff, and even office administration staff. I feel they have dealt with me as a client nonchalantly.”

“While riding in a taxi recently, recounted Rwese, the driver shouted at her for not knowing which suburb she was headed to.

“This was despite having printed the full address in Chinese and given him. He went ballistic because it hadn’t included the exact neighborhood. A hotel liaison officer also sent me an e-mail saying l could go ahead and call the police if l felt he wasn’t doing enough to get my initial deposit refunded,” recounted Rwese, whose main friends are expatriate residents (professionals) and students.

“A friend of mine in Xi’an recently had a pharmacist throw a packet of medicines over the glass counter since she was too busy chatting on phone to actually hand it over politely.”

The tourism analyst noted that the person representing the first-point-of-contact is essentially the face of an organization.

“How they dress, communicate, and commit to service quality matters so tremendously. Perhaps it is the reason why a good number of Chinese social scientists dedicate their PhD studies to researching customer orientation? It’s truly that big a deal,” said Rwese, who gives credit to the Chinese banking industry, which she noted is among sectors with great customer care.







>>  China heading for better-balanced, market-oriented reforms: British experts

By Wu Xintao

The latest reform agenda, policies implementation concerned, as well as the widening trading band of the Renminbi against U.S. dollar, are all signals that China is heading for a more-balanced and more market-oriented economic reforms, and the process is benefit the whole world, said experts in London Monday.



China’s economic slowdown is clearly bad news for some commodity exporters, but the world as a whole should actually benefit from slower but better-balanced growth in China, said Julian Jessop, Chief Global Economist at Capital Economics, in his analysis piece.

The London-based economic research company attributes the recent lackluster economic data of China to seasonal impact of the Chinese New Year, when many factories shut down for the holiday.

Fears that the recent weaker data may be early indication of a “hard landing” are overdone, noted Jessop.

“A slowdown in China driven by a shift away from net exports towards consumption could in principle boost activity elsewhere. Meanwhile, any resulting weakness in commodity prices should be a net positive for the rest of the world,” said Jessop.

“A controlled slowdown now should reduce the chances of a crash landing later. This is also the context in which to view the clampdown on shadow banking: better to allow a few defaults now than to see potential bad debts spiral out of control,” he said.

Capital Economics expects China’s GDP growth at or slightly above 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

Andrew Colquhoun, senior director of sovereign at Fitch Ratings, also said:” Chinese data are highly seasonal, and first quarter weakness is normal.”

Though the January-February data show a slowdown, it was reflecting in part the previous monetary policy tightening, said Colquhoun in a research report.

“We think tighter monetary and credit conditions are aimed at reining in credit growth, particularly ‘shadow banking’ activities perceived as riskier for financial stability,” said Colquhoun.

“The slowdown also coincides with the government signalling a shift towards greater tolerance of corporate defaults by allowing China’s first on shore corporate bond default in recent times,” added Colquhoun.

Fitch uplifted China’s growth forecast from previous 7.0 percent to 7.3 percent for 2014 last week.



The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is signalling that this weekend’s widening of the RMB’s, or Chinese yuan, trading band means that the currency’s days as a “one-way bet” are over, and fundamentals stills point to a stronger currency over the medium term, said Mark Williams, Chief Asia Economist at Capital Economics, in the China Economic Update report.

The PBOC announced Saturday that the RMB’s daily trading band against the U.S. dollar will be widened from the current one percent to two percent from Monday. The move will meet market demands and further liberalize the RMB exchange rate, said the central bank in a statement.

“The message from the PBOC in its accompanying statement is that this will allow greater two-way movement of the currency in future. This is of course true in terms of how far the RMB can, in principle, move in any given day. In fact, a two percent band would be enough to contain all but the most extreme moves of any free-floating currency,” said Williams in his China Economic Update report.

With China still a strong draw for inward investment of all forms and the current account surplus likely to rebound, market pressures will in most circumstances push the RMB towards the strong-side of its band, said Williams.

Colquhoun also noted:” We view the PBOC’s tolerance of greater exchange-rate volatility as a financial-stability measure, aimed at deterring some speculative activity driven by perceptions of inevitable yuan appreciation.”

The credit rating company rates the China sovereign “A+” with a stable outlook.







>>  Chinese companies earn locomotive contracts in S. Africa

By Guo Xinghua

South Africa’s state-owned freight transport and logistics company Transnet on Monday of March 17 signed a 50-billion-rand (4.7 billion U.S. dollars) contract for manufacturing 1,064 locomotives, in which more than half go to Chinese companies.

Chinese locomotive firm CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive and CNR Rolling Stock South Africa won 359 electric locomotives and 232 diesel locomotives contracts respectively, while GE South Africa and Bombardier Transportation South Africa had the rest.

Announcing the bidders on the press release, Transnet Group Chief Executive, Brain Molefe said “This marks a significant milestone in the company’s history together with substantial socio- economic benefits for South Africa.”

When facing the question about why CSR cut the biggest piece of the deal, Molefe said that according to the cooperation experience with CSR before, CSR provided high above average quality product, had the ability to follow tight deliver schedule, and Transnet is happy with the first patch of 10 electric locomotives from CSR.

In line with South Africa’s commitment to boost its maunufacturing capacity and to empower black economy, most of the locomotive will be produced at Transnet Engineering’s plants in Koedoespoort, Pretoria and Durban, driving South Africa’s regional integration objectives.

“This transaction is intended to transform the South African rail industry by growing existing small business and creating new ones. We are going to create and preserve approximately 30,000 jobs,” Molefe said.

Transnet Engineering General Manager of Human Capital Dudu Masoek told Xinhua that CSR Zhuzhou has trained more than 100 engineers for her company, and as for the future capacity building plans in the contract 400 engineers are needed at least.

“I haven’t got a chance to Zhuzhou China, but there will be more and more people interactions between the two companies in the technology and capital transfer from China to South Africa,” Maeoek said.







>>  Africans happy with Chinese investments: survey

By Chen Yingying

The majority of Africans are happy with Chinese massive investments in the continent, a newly published survey reveals.

The survey, conducted by the Ethics Institute of South Africa with the aid of the Global Compact Network Kenya which is housed under the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) revealed on Monday that Africans felt that Chinese businesses were reliable and were contributing to job creation on the continent.

The survey, Africans’ perception of Chinese Business in Africa, carried out last year in 15 African countries, notes that the majority of Africans have welcomed Beijing’s foray in the continent.

According to the report, the largest number of respondents to the survey came from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Compared to the other two countries, Kenyans had the most positive evaluations of Chinese businesses with 75 percent saying that investments by Chinese companies had a positive impact on developing their country.

According to the study, 23 percent of the respondents believed that Chinese company operations were above board and not mired in corruption.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Betty Maina said China has offered stiff competition for local manufacturers and urged more Chinese firms to invest in areas of where the East African nation lacks skills.

The study aims to provide a factual basis for dialogue with the Chinese government and Chinese companies about their involvement in the continent.

China, the world’s second largest economy, has intensified investments in Africa with trade increasing from 10 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to an estimated 200 billion dollars in 2013, four years after overtaking the U.S. as the continent’s largest trading partner.

The Asian nation is particularly eyeing infrastructure development projects across the region, pitting it against development partners such as India, Japan and traditional giants like Europe and the U.S..

With support from their governments, Chinese firms are targeting the expected windfall in the region’s telecommunication, mineral extraction, engineering and consumer goods markets, fields previously dominated by Western firms.

Economic experts say Beijing’s growing influence on the continent is now a concern among traditional Western donors who are questioning the trend among African countries to give contracts for major projects to the Asian giant regardless of the financier.

However, trade relations between Kenya and Western nations continue to boom despite the East African nation exploring new bilateral ties, particularly in the east.

New economic data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) released last week indicated that Western nations remained one of the top destinations of the country’s exports last year.

Kenya’s top trading partners in the West, according to KNBS, are Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, the U.S. and France.







>>  Chinese wholesale supermarket debuts in Rio de Janeiro

By Kong Xiaohan

The first Chinese wholesale store opened last Friday in Rio de Janeiro.

The ChinaTown Atacado supermarket is the first wholesale warehouse founded and run by Chinese immigrants in the second largest city of Brazil.

Located near the Rio de Janeiro International Airport, the giant supermarket has over 10,000 square meters of trade area, in which it sells electronics, toys, stationery, bags and other accessories.

“We have tens of thousands of varieties,” said its shareholders.

“I am very happy, satisfied and proud to see the ChinaTown Atacado open,” Li Yanjun, deputy consul general of China in Rio de Janeiro, said at the opening ceremony.

“I’m even more pleased to see Chinese in Brazil are able to achieve success by complying with local laws and living in harmony with local people,” he said. “I hope every overseas Chinese will accomplish more.”

Rio de Janeiro welcomes more Chinese investment, said Alexandre Cardoso, mayor of the city, adding Chinese goods are no longer synonymous with poor quality and cheap price.

“From the preparation for the opening of the supermarket, I saw the diligent and pioneering spirit in many of the Chinese immigrants here,” the mayor said.

Many shareholders of the ChinaTown Atacado belong to the same family, the Yin’s, from Qingtian County in China’s eastern Zhejiang province.

Yin Xiaomin, a major shareholder of the store, moved to Brazil 27 years ago, and is engaged in import and export trade between China and Brazil, from which he made his fortune.

The supermarket combines the functions of a wholesale store, a consulting agency, and a logistics and distribution base in one. It aims to provide one-stop consulting services for Chinese manufacturers wishing to access the Brazilian market, Yin told Xinhua.

It is hoped such a comprehensive platform can provide more opportunities for Chinese goods to enter the Brazilian market rapidly and smoothly, without any bureaucracy problems they once ran into, said Yin Xiangcong, Yin Xiaomin’s elder brother, who is also a successful businessman in the city.

The supermarket is located in Duque de Caxias, a satellite city of Rio de Janeiro, which aims to become a logistical base for Rio de Janeiro, host city of both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.







>>  Australia among top destinations for Chinese property investors: media

By Pei Fang

Australia has become one of the most popular destinations for Chinese property investors, with nearly 6 billion AU dollars (5.42 billion U.S. dollars) invested by Chinese buyers in the local real estate market in the last financial year, local media reported on Monday of March 17.

Chinese nationals are estimated by some financial institutions to be buying around 12 percent of the country’s new homes, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The Australian Federal Parliament’s House Economics Committee is reviewing the foreign investment laws amid fears that the local property market prices are being pushed up by overseas investors.

Kelly O’Dwyer, who chairs the House Economics Committee, told the Radio National Breakfast on Monday that the inquiry into foreign investment rules would determine whether they are still achieving the purpose, which ensures that overseas money adds to Australia’s housing stock and does not push up prices for locals.

A report by global financial services firm Credit Suisse predicted that by 2020, about 18 percent new Sydney homes would be bought by Chinese buyers while in Melbourne new home market, Chinese buyer would grow to 14 percent.

Up to 44 billion AU dollars (39.7 billion U.S. dollars) of property investment is expected from Chinese investors in the seven years to 2020, the report says.







>>  Chinese, U.S. presidents to meet in Netherlands

By Liu Hua

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama later this month on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the Netherlands, Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said on Monday of March 17.

The NSS will be held in The Hague from March 24 to 25.

The bilateral meeting, the first between the two presidents this year, is significant for the further development of the China-U.S. relationship, Li said at a press briefing on Xi’s upcoming overseas trip.

Li said the two leaders will exchange views on the China-U.S. relationship and other issues of concern.

“The Chinese side will work with the U.S. side to pursue positive outcomes at the NSS as well as the meeting between the two heads of state and instill new momentum in the push to build a new type of major-country relationship between China and the United States,” said the official.

Besides his attendance at the NSS, Xi will also pay state visits to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium, and will visit the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the headquarters of the European Union during the trip.







>>  President Xi to attend nuclear security summit

By Zhang Yi

President Xi Jinping will explain China’s opinions on nuclear security and ideas about international cooperation in this field at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said on Monday of March 17.

According to Li, leaders from more than 50 countries and international organizations will attend the summit in The Hague from March 24 to 25, with the focus on nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism.

Noting that the NSS has become an important platform to address these issues since its first meeting in Washington in 2010, Li said developing nuclear energy under the condition of safety to support social and economic development was an important topic for the international community.

It will be Xi’s first presence at the NSS, demonstrating China’s diplomatic efforts in the nuclear security arena, Li said, adding that the president will introduce China’s measures to strengthen nuclear security and progress, and will discuss cooperation with leaders from other countries.

He said China hopes participants will reach new consensus and promote international cooperation on nuclear security, improve the security level of nuclear materials and facilities, and advance rational development of nuclear energy.

China expects the efforts to help advance the economy and society, and contribute to world peace and security, Li added.

Besides his attendance at the NSS, President Xi will also pay state visits to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium, and will visit the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the headquarters of the European Union during the trip from late March to early April.







>>  Chinese President to visit Europe

By Zang Xiaocheng, Zhong Lei and Yue Shengsong

President Xi Jinping will make his first trip to Europe since taking office from March 22 to April 1.

Xi will pay state visits to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium from March 22 to April 1. He will visit the headquarters of the European Union from March 31 to April 1.

“China-Europe relations are facing new opportunities as both are at the tipping point of reform and development. President Xi’s visit to Europe, instilling new vitality to a long-term stable and healthy relations, will be a milestone for both sides,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao told a news briefing on Monday.

China-Europe relations are flourishing and Europe has been China’s largest trade partner for a decade. Last year, bilateral trade reached almost 560 billion U.S. dollars.

The Netherlands is the first stop on Xi’s visit. He is the first Chinese president to visit the Netherlands since the two states established diplomatic relations in 1972 and will meet King Willem-Alexander and parliamentary leaders, before holding talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Both sides will sign cooperation agreements on agriculture, energy, finance and culture.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership. Leaders of the two sides will draw on successful experiences from the past 50 years to plan for the future. During the visit, Xi will hold talks with French President Francois Hollande and together they will attend celebrations of the 50th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties. He will aslo meet with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and parliament leaders.

Both sides will exchange views on strategic mutual trust, mutual cooperation and partnership in international affairs, stressing China-France relations take the lead in China-Europe ties, Wang said. During the visit, the two sides are expected to sign agreements on education, science and technology, energy, aviation, urbanization and agriculture.

Germany is China’s biggest trade and technology partner in the EU. China and Germany have expanded cooperation in culture, science and technology, education and the military. Xi’s is the first state visit to Germany by a Chinese president in eight years. The two sides will map out the relations for the coming 5 to 10 years from a strategic and long-term perspective. Xi will meet with President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel, deliver a key note speech, attend a banquet with business leaders and meet with entrepreneurs from both countries. The two sides will sign cooperation agreements on industry, aviation, science and technology, education, culture and agriculture.

Xi’s visit to Belgium will be the first for a Chinese head of state in 27 years. He is scheduled to meet King Philippe and have talks with Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. Cooperation documents are expected to be signed, ranging from economy and trade, science and technology to telecommunication and education.

Xi will be the first Chinese head of state to visit the headquarters of EU since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and EU in 1975. He will hold talks with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and meet EU Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

China attaches importance to Europe, supports European integration and is committed to deepening China-EU relations, Wang said.

China and Europe have a strategic plan for China-EU cooperation until 2020, which came out of the China-EU summit in Beijing in 2013.







>>  CPC graft watchdog establishes new offices

By Tian Ying

The Communist Party of China (CPC) graft watchdog has established three new offices to handle discipline inspections and oversight of discipline officers.

The news was posted on Monday on the official website of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and the Ministry of Supervision (MOS).

The three new offices include two discipline inspection divisions and a division tasked with supervising discipline inspection officers.

The newly established discipline inspection divisions will bring the total number of such divisions in the ministry to 12.

Despite setting up new offices, the CCDI and the MOS have managed to keep the organization’s overall size unchanged through streamlining and integrating functions.




Wang Qishan (center), a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the

Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Central

Commission for Discipline Inspection, addresses a conference on the work of central-level

Party inspection in Beijing, on March 15, 2014.   Photo by Li Tao





>>  China sharpens “Sword of Damocles” via inspection innovation

By Liu Lu

China’s anti-graft watchdog on Monday of March 17 announced it has set up three new offices following anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan’s call for efforts to innovate disciplinary inspections.

The offices are two discipline inspection divisions and a division tasked with supervising discipline inspection officers.

Wang, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Saturday of March 15 called for continued efforts to make inspection work the “Sword of Damocles” that hangs above those in power as a deterrent.

Wang said that a third group of inspectors will begin work soon.

Different from the previous two rounds, the third will carry out special inspections in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Shanghai-based Fudan University, and China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation. Ten provincial-level areas will have regular inspections.

“Special inspections can target at some specific section of an institute,” said Gao Bo, deputy secretary with the research center of clean government of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

With clear targets, inspectors can carry out anti-graft work more efficiently, Gao said.

Cai Zhiqiang, an associate professor with Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said inspectors will focus on areas which are prone to corruption.

He said that the three organizations to be inspected cover three important fields — government ministries, state-owned enterprises and educational institutes.

Since May, the CCDI has carried out two inspection rounds, which found evidence of corruption among officials, malpractice and harmful workstyles. Wrongdoers have been punished.

Though things have improved in the past year following the Party’s campaign to clean up four undesirable work styles — formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance — the “Sword of Damocles” will always hang to prevent any relapse.

Cai said the third round of inspections will also reinvestigate potential corruption and malpractice found during the last two rounds.

Inspectors will report problems to relevant disciplinary watchdogs and punish wrongdoers in accordance with laws, Cai added.

“With a steadfast resolve to combat corruption, the CPC will continue to innovate the supervisory system and carry out inspections more flexibly, in order to forge the ‘Sword of Damocles’,” Cai said.

In January, President Xi Jinping said, “Do not let regulations become ‘paper tigers’ or ‘scarecrows’” and pledged more efforts to hold officials accountable for any wrongdoing.

According to a work report of the CCDI, discipline inspection agencies punished about 182,000 officials nationwide in 2013, 13.3 percent more than in 2012. Thirty-one high-profile officials were investigated by the CCDI and eight of them were handed over to prosecutors.







>>  Over 1,000 administrative approval items listed

By Liu Tong and Cheng Zhuo

China’s central government now has 1,235 administrative approval items in total, after last years’ widespread cull, according to a list published on Monday of March 17.

The list, available on a State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform website scopsr.gov.cn, lists the items which come under 60 central government departments. For each item, the list spells out the responsible authority, approval object and its legal basis.

In his first work report earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to abolish or delegate another 200 administrative approvals to governments at lower levels, following the 416 last year. At the press conference that wrapped up the annual session of the National People’s Congress last Thursday, he said streamlining and delegation would continue.

Publication of the list is a major step in the transformation of government functions, said a statement by the State Council office in charge of the system. No department may create more approval items and the market should be allowed to do anything not specifically prohibited by law. Government departments must not do anything unless mandated by the law, the statement said.

The public have been asked for feedback on further reform of approvals via the website, by phone or email.







>>  Bribe-taking transport official gets life sentence

By Wang Bo and Qiang Lijing

A former transport official in northwest China’s Gansu Province has been sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes, the provincial higher people’s court announced on Monday of March 17.

Yan Chenglu, former director of the transportation bureau of Lanzhou City, capital of the province, was convicted of taking large sums in bribes in exchange for favors, according to the court.

Yan was detained for taking bribes on May 31, 2012. He was given a life sentence during his first trial by the Lanzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court in December 2012.

Bribes Yan accepted included 10.3 million yuan (about 1.7 million U.S. dollars) as well as 20,000 pounds during his term from April 2007 to April 2012, the court said.

The first-instance verdict by the court also deprived Yan of his political rights for life and confiscated all his personal assets.

Yan appealed after the ruling. The Gansu Provincial Higher People’s Court tried the appeal case on August 20, 2013. It finally rejected the appeal and upheld the original verdict, according to sources with the court.







>>  China to check medical equipment safety

By Zuo Yuanfeng

China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) is planning a nationwide safety campaign to check the manufacture, sales and use of medical apparatus.

The five-month action will focus on fake certificates, illegal manufacture and sales, false advertising claims and the use of unapproved products, Tong Min, a senior CFDA official said on Monday of March 17 at a press conference.

The check for illegal manufacture will mainly target products such as disposable injectors and catheters as well as condoms — which might be made from unapproved or non-sterilized materials.

Meanwhile, products for external use, including contact lenses, hearing aids and various reagents, will be the focus of the check for illegal sales and improper storage and transfers.

Advertised claims of exaggerated effectiveness, sometimes in the name of experts and patients, are a long term concern of the public.






>>  China tightens checks on cod-liver oil products

By Wang Di

China’s food and drug watchdog Monday promised increased safety checks of cod-liver oil products following media exposure of the hazards of overconsumption.

China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said at a press conference that a national campaign will be launched against unauthorized cod-liver oil producers.

The CFDA will strengthen supervision of manufacturers, including their qualifications and production safety, Yan said, adding that unapproved enterprises will be ordered to suspend operations, recall products and be subject to sanctions.

The state broadcaster China Central Television revealed that excessive consumption of cod-liver oil harmed children’s health in a special program on March 15, the international consumer rights day.








>>  China releases 2014 scientific report

By Yu Junjie, Li Zhihui and Wu Jingjing

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has published its annual series of reports on the latest scientific findings and outlook, according to an announcement from the CAS on Monday of March 17.

This year’s reports emphasized clean technologies and said the next ten years will be the most challenging time for resources and environment protection. The series noted the urgency of adopting an eco-friendly development path.

The series is China’s only annual overview report on science. It consists of three parts: a report on high-tech development, a report on science development, and a strategic report on China’s sustainable growth.

The “2014 report on science development” contains the latest research achievements by Chinese scientists, such as the finding of new particles and breakthroughs in the study of the H7N9 virus.

The report also highlights issues that need attention in the near future, and suggests efforts in controlling heavy metal pollution in soil and the establishment of a national emergency medicine network.

The “2014 report on high-tech development” introduces hot areas of scientific study, such as the use of 3D printing and artificial organs research.

The “2014 strategic report on China’s sustainable growth” calls for an overall top-level design to remove structural barriers in industry upgrades and promote energy conservation and emission reductions.






>>  Yuan strengthens to 6.1321 against dollar

By Jiang Xufeng

The Chinese currency Renminbi, or the yuan, went up 25 basis points to 6.1321 against the U.S. dollar on Monday of March 17, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

In China’s foreign exchange spot market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day.

The central parity rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar is based on a weighted average of prices before the opening of the market each business day.

China widened the yuan’s daily trading band from the current 1 percent to 2 percent on Monday.

The move is aimed at enhancing the floating flexibility of the Renminbi exchange rate, making capital allocation more efficient, facilitating economic restructuring and beefing up the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, said in a Saturday statement.

China has gradually raised its currency’s daily trading limit, from 0.3 percent in 1994 to 0.5 percent in 2007 and 1 percent in 2012.  







>>  Fire breaks out in SW China forest

By Cheng Yunjie and Ji Zhepeng

A forest fire in Tengyue Township of Tengchong County in southwest China’s Yunnan Province broke out on Monday afternoon, according to the local forest fire prevention headquarters.

A total of 1,550 personnel, including 25 firefighters, 60 forest police officers and more than 1,400 cadres and volunteers were battling the blaze, said a Yunnan Provincial Forest Fire Prevention Headquarters statement.

The fire is under control and firefighters were trying to contain the blaze that had spread to neighboring Beihai Township.

The cause of the fire was being investigated.









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