Chinese insurers offer smog policies

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>>  China denounces ETIM support for Kunming terror attack

By Yue Shengsong

China on Wednesday reiterated its stance on fighting against the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist group that voiced support for the terrorist attack in Kunming on March 1.

ETIM released a video online and expressed support for the attack in Kunming City, capital of Yunnan Province in southwest China, which killed 29 and injured another 143.

“It has fully exposed the terrorist nature of the ETIM,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.

Terrorism is a common enemy of mankind. Fighting against the ETIM is a key component of the international anti-terrorism war, Hong said.

He called on the international community to fully recognize the terrorist nature and severe damage of the “East Turkistan” forces, as represented by the ETIM, and to support China’s anti-terrorism stance.

The ETIM, listed by the United Nations Security Council as a terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the Tian’anmen attack in October in which five people were killed and 40 others injured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Chinese envoy visits DPRK over resuming talks

By Tan Jingjing

China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei has visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as part of efforts to restart the long-stalled six-party talks, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday.

Hong Lei told a routine briefing in Beijing that Wu started his trip on Monday, but did not reveal when it ended or whether it is ongoing.

Wu’s consultations with the DPRK side mainly focused on the Korean Peninsula situation and the resumption of the six-party talks.

The six-party talks between the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, have been suspended since late 2008.

On Jan. 29, the DPRK’s ambassador to China, Chi Jae Ryong, said in Beijing that the DPRK agrees on the resumption of six-party talks, calling on the United States to fulfil its related obligations.

Chi said the DPRK has already “taken a seat on the boat of the talks,” urging other concerned parties to come on board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China urges political solution to Crimean issue: UN envoy

By Ni Hongmei

A political solution should be found for the Crimean issue under a framework of law and order, a Chinese envoy to the UN said Wednesday, urging all parties concerned to exercise restraint.

“Respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states has been the consistent position of China,” Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

“We shall continue to promote peace talks and play a constructive role for the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis,” Liu said, noting that “China supports UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon in his trip today to the countries concerned to conduct mediation.”

Ban left New York on Wednesday afternoon for Russia and Ukraine as part of his diplomatic efforts to encourage all parties to resolve the current crisis peacefully.

“All parties concerned should exercise restraint and refrain from any action that might cause situation to further deteriorate, ” he added. Liu also called on the international community to continue its efforts to defuse tension.

China has put forward its own proposal to address the Ukrainian crisis last Saturday, calling for the establishment of an international coordinating mechanism joined by all parties concerned as soon as possible to explore political possibilities.

It also urged that no actions should be taken to further exacerbate tension and held that the international financial institutions should start to explore various possibilities and assist Ukraine in maintaining its economic and financial stability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China urges political resolution to Crimean issue

By Bai Jie

China on Wednesday reiterated that the Crimean issue should be resolved politically, urging all parties concerned to refrain from raising tensions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to a question about Russia’s acceptance of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as its territory on Tuesday.

China always respects all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Hong.

Stressing that China has already stated its position and principle on the Crimea issue, Hong said China believes the issue should be resolved politically under the framework of law and order.

China calls on all parties to keep calm, exercise restraint and refrain from raising tensions, said Hong, adding that the international community should play a constructive role.

Asked for comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expression of thanks to China for its support in his unscheduled address to a joint session of parliament in the Kremlin on Tuesday, Hong said China “has been just and objective” on the Crimean issue.

“Due to complex historical and practical factors, we should take everything into consideration when dealing with the Crimean issue,” said Hong.

The issue should be resolved politically on the basis of considering reasonable concerns and the rights of all relevant parties, he said.

Russia on Saturday vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution that declared invalid a planned referendum in Crimea on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

Thirteen countries in the 15-member Security Council voted in favor of the draft resolution, while China, a permanent Security Council member, abstained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China calls for more attention to socioeconomic

development in post-conflict peacebuilding

By Wang Lei

A Chinese envoy here on Wednesday stressed the importance of addressing root causes of conflict in post-conflict peacebuilding, urging the international community to pay more attention to social and economic development in post-conflict countries.

Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, made the remarks at a UN Security Council open meeting on Post-conflict Peacebuilding.

“It is important to tackle, as a matter of priority, the root causes of conflict in post-conflict peacebuilding, especially those related to economic and social development,” Liu told the 15- member Council.

“In its peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict countries, the international community has long tended to focus on human rights, the rule of law and security sector reform, perhaps without granting sufficient attention to economic and social development,” he said. “Real investment is often lacking.”

The envoy said China urges the international community to ” grant heightened attention” to the social and economic development of the countries concerned.

“Only by achieving economic reconstruction and recovery and only when people can enjoy the peace dividend will there be an overall situation that enables the promotion of political reconciliation, the stabilization of security and the establishment of a political basis for the peace process,” Liu said.

He also stressed that it is imperative to respect the ownership of the countries concerned in post-conflict peacebuilding, noting that post-conflict countries bear the primary responsibility for their own peacebuilding.

“The international community should fully respect their sovereignty and the will and provide constructive assistance pursuant to the priorities determined by those countries themselves,” Liu said.

“All our histories are different; all our specific circumstances are different. There is no single model for peacebuilding,” he added.

The Chinese diplomat also said that the international community ‘s swift and timely support in the form of assistance is important in terms of achieving post-conflict peacebuilding objectives.

Therefore, the United Nations should urge the international community to continue to provide assistance to peacebuilding activities within those countries and to work together to broaden the channels for financing, he said.

Liu went on to say that it is important to strengthen coordination and cooperation in post-conflict peacebuilding and the United Nations should continue to play a leadership role in such efforts.

“China has been a strong supporter of peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict countries and is ready to play a positive role in helping those countries in achieving durable peace and sustainable development,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Chinese peacekeeping troops set off to Liberia

By Li Zhihui

China sent its 16th contingent of peacekeeping soldiers to Liberia on Wednesday night for a United Nations mission.

The first detachment of the 558-strong troops dispatched by the Beijing Military Area Command took off from Beijing Capital International Airport. The second batch is expected to set off on March 29, according to the command.

The eight-month mission will consist of transportation, engineering and medical service.

China sent its first peacekeeping troops to Liberia in December 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China urges Japan to address wartime forced labor

By Zhong Lei and Hu Hao

 Japan should seriously address issues of forced labor during its war of aggression, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday after a Chinese court accepted a lawsuit by forced laborers.

“China has always demanded Japan take a responsible attitude and seriously treat and properly handle the issues left over from history,” spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing.

Hong’s comments came a day after the First Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing on Tuesday accepted a collective lawsuit by Chinese World War II laborers against Japanese companies. The group is seeking compensation and apologies from Japan.

Hong said recruiting labor by force was a severe crime committed by the Japanese military during World War II and deeply undermined Chinese victims’ dignity and legitimate rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Romanian deputy PM to visit China

By Liang Linlin

Romanian Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea will pay an official visit to China from March 20 to 26, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced on Wednesday.

Dragnea, also Romania’s minister of regional development and public administration, is making the visit at the invitation of Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huawei expects high growth potential in Middle East

By Song Yu

China’s biggest provider of information and communication technology (ICT) Huawei said here on Wednesday it expected its business for the Middle East region a growth of 36 percent per year until 2018.

Speaking at a conference and networking day organized for Huawei resellers and business partners, Huawei enterprise business Middle East president Dong Wu said he expected for the Middle East a growth of 36 percent per year until 2018.

“For Saudi Arabia, we see the highest growth potential of 47 percent per annum, said Dong. Sales revenues in the oil-rich kingdom increased from 20 million dollars in 2003 to a projected one billion dollars in 2014, he said.

He added that Huawei became the leading provider of ICT solutions in the region and that Huawei smartphones, storage solutions and telecom services became accepted tools for businesses and private consumers alike.

Sales revenues increased from 1.25 billion dollars in 2009 to 2. 740 billion dollars in 2013, said Dong who encouraged the over 300 attending delegates from various enterprises across the Middle East to join forces in upgrading Huawei solutions and services through permanent feedback and cooperation.

The section enterprise business became the driving force for Huawei Middle East which for the Chinese ICT giant the second biggest market in relation to market share and revenues, said Dong.

As a key segment for the future, Dong identified ICT convergence as a future driver, meaning the combination of big data, virtualization, security, collaboration and networking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Huawei signs agreement with Madrid university to develop education project

By Paul Giblin

Chinese telecommunication giant, Huawei and the Technical University of Madrid (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid) signed an agreement on Wednesday to develop the educational project ‘Liderando la era LTE’ (Leading the LTE era).

Don Carlos Conde Lazaro, the Rector at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM) and Walter Ji, the CEO of Huawei Espana (Huawei Spain) signed the five accord which make up the program, which is aimed at training university students and giving an impulse to the educational environment through the use of cutting edge technology such as LTE (4G) and LTE A, while also making the use of new generation networks more readily accessible.

Leading in the LTE Era, contains four basic pillars, the first of which is a postgraduate course in mobile communications, imparted jointly by professors at ETSIT and Huawei Spain.

The second pillar is the session of application licenses LTE Star 6.0 to allow the implementation of a virtual laboratory designed by Huawei.

The third pillar consists of six months work experience in Huawei Spain, while the final pillar sees Huawei sponsor a study over the problems and challenges in giving access to LTE 30 mbps networks in rural areas of Spain.

This is the first agreement Huawei Spain has signed with a Spanish University and it is hoped it will be a huge benefit to the students at UPM, who will be able to combine their studies with a degree and also the work experience which will aid their entry into the labor market.

Meanwhile the virtual laboratory will aid the staff at the university while the studies into making LTE more widely available will have wide-ranging benefits outside of the academic sphere.

“This project is a sign of the compromise this company maintains with Spanish society in the field of education. It is also an honor to work hand in hand with UPM, an institution which has educated many of the current leaders in the technology, information and communication market,” commented Walter Ji, who added that, “in a global and competitive world such as the one we live, education is vital to create job opportunities. We hope this agreement is the first step to carry on collaboration in the area of investigation and education related to new technology such as LTE.”

Meanwhile Carlos Conde said the agreement was interesting “for many reasons,” and highlighted that the fact Huawei is a Chinese company represented the “intense academic and investigative co-operation that UPM has maintained with different universities and technological companies in China.”

 

 

 

 

 

>>  ZTE launches logistics center in Greece at COSCO-run port

By Maria Spiliopoulou

Chinese leading global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions ZTE and Chinese shipping giant COSCO on Wednesday signed here an agreement for using Greece’s Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) as a European logistics center for ZTE products for the wider Southern European region.

Under the deal, from now on ZTE’s deliveries in 12 major South-Eastern European markets will be routed via PCT, the largest port of Greece run by COSCO under a 35-year concession agreement. These markets are Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

Wednesday’s agreement is the first phase of ZTE’s long-term investment plan in Greece, which is expected to create around 600 jobs until its completion over a three-year period, according to ZTE Vice President Zhou Jianfeng.

The next phases of the investment include the construction of a repair center for the region and the establishment of an assembly line.

The pillars of Wednesday’s deal were set during Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ official visit to China last May.

The deal between ZTE and COSCO marks an important step in the cooperation between the two companies, as well as in the strategic collaboration between China and Greece, supporting the country’s efforts to exit the financial crisis, dignitaries who attended the event stressed.

“Piraeus port is a strong development vehicle for Greece. It is a key gateway, an international hub, connected with Greece’s rail infrastructure, with Eastern and Central Europe. It has become a significant global hub of transport networks,” Samaras said, addressing the signing ceremony at PCT’s premises.

Since the start of PCT’s operations at the port’s Pier II in 2009 a series of infrastructure works and business deals between COSCO and other multinationals, such as the American technology and communications solutions giant Hewlett-Packard and the Chinese Huawei, have upgraded Piraeus’ standing internationally.

The deal signed on Wednesday is viewed as a further boost in this direction and a vote of confidence to the prospects of Greek economy.

“Today, we welcome the signing of the cooperation agreement between ZTE and COSCO, two giant companies which exploit effectively this infrastructure and operate successfully in this new context of confidence and stability we are building in our country,” Samaras stated.

The Greek prime minister, as well as Development and Competitiveness Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis who also attended the event, added that such investments contribute to efforts to tackle unemployment and improve the competitiveness of Greek economy.

Addressing the event, Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli said he is convinced that the agreement will help Greece attract new investors and create more jobs.

“I sincerely hope that, under the auspices of the great spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Greece, the ZTE Logistic Center, the COSCO PCT, the Huawei Logistic Center, and the other children of Piraeus port will grow up strong so as to bring prosperity to the big family of Piraeus port,” Zou stressed in a reference to a famous Greek song “The Children of Piraeus port”.

Zou said as Chinese ambassador to Greece, he has a number of dreams.

“I dream that, in the near future, COSCO, ZTE, Huawei and other Chinese companies will be able to expand their investment on large scale in Piraeus Port and its surrounding areas. I dream that a Chinese Culture Center will be established soon in Athens. I dream that Greek universities and academic institutes will be more open and easily accessible to Chinese students and scholars.

“I dream that hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists will come in Greece annually. I dream that archaeologists from our two countries will jointly explore and restore underground and underwater art treasures. I dream that flights will go direct between big cities in China and Greece. I believe these are also dreams shared by our two peoples. So, let’s join hands and push these dreams to set sail from Piraeus port,” Zou told the audience enthusiastically.

“Your dream is our dream,” Samaras told Zou after he presented China’s vision for the further enhancement of bilateral ties in all fields.

Welcoming ZTE to enter into the cooperation agreement with COSCO Greece, PCT CEO Fu Chengqiu said this step brings COSCO’s goals — developing Piraeus port into the Mediterranean Sea container transport hub, transforming it into a distribution center for the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region, and making it the Southern Europe gateway.

On his part, ZTE Vice President Zhou Jianfeng noted: “We believe that through the execution of this project, we will stimulate more logistics companies to expand their business in Greece, and that this will lead to the further improvement and enhancement of the local employment environment.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Chinese businessman buys emblematic Spanish building

By Vera

Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin bought the emblematic building known as “Edificio Espana” in Madrid after reaching an agreement with Spain’s Grupo Santander, president of the Community of Madrid Ignacio Gonzalez said on Wednesday.

According to local media, Gonzalez told reporters during an event in Madrid that Emilio Botin, Executive Chairman of Spain’s Grupo Santander, had confirmed the sale of the building on Tuesday.

Gonzalez explained that he had met Wang last week to “reach some agreements on investment projects,” adding the sale of the building will be very important to recover the area of Spain Square in Madrid, where the building is located.

The Edificio Espana is an example of the Spanish architecture from the 1940s and 1950s. It was inaugurated in 1953 as the highest building in Europe with its 117 meters high.

The construction required an investment of 200 million pesetas (1.67 million U.S. dollars), Spain’s former currency, and it took five years to build its 25 floors, 32 lifts, 184 apartments, a luxury hotel with 307 rooms, a ballroom for 1,200 people and a swimming pool on the upper deck.

The building was a hotel, a shopping center and it had apartments and offices until 2006. Its rehabilitation began in 2007, but it stopped afterwards and the “Edificio Espana” became an abandoned building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Italian experts eye regulated growth of web-based financial products in China

By Marzia De Giuli

New web-based financial products in China pose no big threats to the general economy, and it was right the government prudently guide the healthy implementation of economic reform, according to Italian experts.

In a few months, the money market fund Yu’E Bao, created by e-commerce giant Alibaba, has grown to a global leader, with 80 million investors and aggregate deposits estimated at around 500 billion yuan (nearly 81 billion U.S. dollars).

“The online financial boom has created some headaches to the Chinese government which is grappling with a slowdown in economic growth and with the need to widen the yuan’s daily trading band,” General Secretary of Assiom Forex, the financial markets association in Italy, Claudia Segre said on Tuesday.

According to Segre, “gradual steps” in the management of the new products were necessary in order to avoid “systemic shakes” and any adverse effect in the process of deepening economic reform.

China has to avoid “the rise of phenomena out of control during the extremely delicate process of yuan’s internationalization, which probably will be completed by 2020 allowing China to overtake the U.S.,” she explained to Xinhua.

Loretta Napoleoni, a renowned economist and author with international work experience, said she was not surprised about Yu’E Bao notable growth.

“The web-based systems are extremely developed in China, and money market funds are seen as better tools to make some profits compared to banks. Also, Chinese have a propensity for risk and live in a country that offers big opportunities, which is lacking in Western economies,” she explained to Xinhua.

Napoleoni did not see real threats to the stability of China’s economy in the growth of web-based financial products such as Yu’E Bao. “Chinese savers have traditionally made use of an ‘informal banking system’, for example lending money to each other, and this is a natural continuation,” she noted.

The economist added that the amount of aggregate deposits on Yu’E Bao was “still little thing compared to the size and huge potential of the Chinese economy.” Furthermore, she also suggested, there could be significant amounts of foreign deposits on the money market fund.

Of course, she highlighted, there were some risks in the Chinese economy, “such as hyperinflation or a massive financial bubble, which are things that still happen regularly in Western countries.”

For this reason, strengthening financial regulation to avoid any adverse effect on the general economy was positive, she pointed out.

“I think that China is doing the right thing. What the government is trying to do is modernizing the country without putting it through the shocks that other developing economies had. China has made in 30 years what we have done in 300,” Napoleoni said.

“The government is working to liberalize the economic system while maintaining its Chinese characteristics and avoiding the negative consequences that are frequent when there is no control,” Napoleoni concluded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China’s urban population to reach 940 million by 2030: report

By Zhang Binyang

China’s urbanization rate will increase to 67 percent with 940 million population living in cities by 2030, said a report published here Tuesday.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, a London-based think tank, forecasted that China’s urbanization rate will increase to 61 percent by 2020 before reaching 67 percent in 2030.

In absolute terms, the urban population will near 940 million by 2030, while the number of people living in the countryside will fall to around 450 million, it said.

“China’ s march towards becoming an urbanized society to continue in the coming decades. This trend will continue in the next 20 years, when China will remain the main force driving global urbanization,” said the report released by the think group.

The report said that in absolute numbers eastern China, led by Guangdong, will see the largest increase of 124 million over the 2010-30 period in its urban population.

Central China will follow with a rise of 71 million over the period. By 2030, around one-fifth of China’ s prefecture-level cities will be left behind with an urbanization rate below 50 percent, while another one-fifth will go beyond the key threshold of 80 percent, placing them on a par with cities in developed economies.

If the process is managed well, urbanization could help to sustain China’ s long-term economic growth, as urban economies are more productive than those in rural areas, it said.

The report, however, warned: “policies to pump up urban population growth beyond the level that demographic and economic trends will support are likely to result in distortions and waste, not to mention corruption.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  U.S. may levy countervailing duties on electrical steel products from China

By Zheng Qihang

The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday announced its preliminary affirmative determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation against imports of non-oriented electrical steel (NOES) from mainland China and Taiwan, signaling that it may pose punitive duties on the products.

The department said producers and exporters of NOES from mainland China had received countervailing subsidies of 125.83 percent, while producers and exporters from Taiwan had received countervailing subsidies from 6.41 percent to 12.82 percent.

As a result of the preliminary affirmative determinations, the Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require cash deposits based on these preliminary rates.

The Commerce launched antidumping (AD) duty and CVD investigations against imports of NOES from mainland China and Taiwan in November 2013, in response to a request from AK Steel Corporation based in the state of Ohio, a U.S. steel producer. The department is scheduled to make its both final determinations in July 2014, unless the statutory deadline is extended.

Punitive duties would be imposed after both the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) make affirmative final rulings. The USITC is scheduled to make its final determination in September 2014.

NOES is typically used in the production of large and small motors, generators, lighting ballasts and ignition coils. In 2013, imports of NOES from mainland China and Taiwan were at an estimated 11.9 million U.S. dollars and 8.1 million dollars respectively, according to the Commerce Department.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and work together with China and other members of the international community to maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  U.S. companies in China optimistic: survey

By Wang Xi and Cheng Jing

U.S. companies in China remained optimistic about the business environment but would be more cautious in making investments due to rising costs and narrowing profit margins, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The survey, by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China), showed over 80 percent of the 365 respondents perceive China’s investment environment as improving or staying the same.

Some 75 percent are optimistic or slightly optimistic about their business outlook in China in the next two years, according to the survey.

But despite the short-term optimism, the companies are increasingly cautious about future investments as growth in revenue and profits slowed.

The percentage of companies reporting substantial revenue increases fell for the third consecutive year in 2013, according to the survey.

Among the challenges of doing business in China, 68 percent of respondents still characterize the enforcement of intellectual property rights in China as ineffective, and 40 percent felt that foreign companies are singled out in pricing and anti-corruption campaigns.

“The survey reflects the current realities of operating in China and the associated uncertainty, but also the optimism and confidence among AmCham China members that the country’s leadership is set on reform and that foreign business has an important role in China’s future,” said AmCham China chairman Gregory Gilligan.

Regarding China’s ongoing reforms, 35 percent of the surveyed expect a positive impact from the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and 44 percent expect the same from the bilateral investment treaty.

China’s economy grew 7.7 percent last year, overshooting the official target of 7.5 percent. The government announced earlier this month that the goal would be unchanged for 2014 to allow more room to push ahead necessary reforms for the long-term good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China launches optical fiber preform anti-dumping probe

By Liu Xinyong

China on Wednesday launched an anti-dumping probe into optical fiber preform products imported from Japan and the United States, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said.

The probe was launched in response to an official application made by domestic preform producers, the ministry said in a statement.

The MOC will investigate whether anti-dumping practices exist, the degree of anti-dumping, and damage to Chinese manufacturers of similar products, it said.

The investigation will end before March 19, 2015 under normal conditions, but may be prolonged until Sept. 19, 2015 under special circumstances, according to the ministry.

Optical fiber preform is a piece of glass used to make optical fiber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

• • • • • •

>>  China struggles to tame illegal foreign laborers

By Zhong Qun and Xia Jun

Braving the windchill by a highway in Baise City of south China’s Guangxi, 18-year-old Vietnamese Lau Mi Lenh and his family desperately tried to hitch a lift to their dreamland of neighboring Guangdong Province.

Hailing from a village in the Vietnamese province of Nghe An, Lau and his eight relatives had sneaked into China by themselves, hoping to find a job in Guangdong, as he had heard that the bustling coastal province could guarantee a handsome income for people like them.

It wasn’t to be, and the illegal immigrant told Xinhua his tale from a Chinese jail cell.

He is among booming numbers of people without valid entry and employment paperwork, particularly from southeast Asia, that are flooding into the country’s eastern seaboard, a part of China that is increasingly looking to the black market to fill gaps in affordable labor.

The issue is once again in the spotlight after two groups of Vietnamese stowaways, a total of eight people, were detained by local police in Baise on Friday.

Regional border control police of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region intercepted 4,500 illegal foreign laborers in 2012, and though the number dipped to a little over 3,500 in 2013, police say there are “definitely ones that are at large.”

The illegal laborers, taking advantage of the many trails that snake through the China-Vietnam border area, stick their necks out to bypass the checkpoints in Guangxi to reach the eastern paradise of their dreams.

Mi Lenh said that his family moved heaven and earth to get to Baise, eventually enduring an anxious 24-hour ride in a minivan to get there.

“I was prepared to labor in jobs planting eucalyptus or sugarcane even in the countryside of Guangdong,” he explained.

China’s black market of foreign labor is booming on the back of a shift in the country’s own labor forces from east to west, driving human traffickers, or “traders” as they are dubbed, to transport cheap labor from abroad into the eastern areas like Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang.

Ah Xiang, a trader detained by police in Guangxi, said that they usually lure poverty-stricken foreigners willing to work in China with blandishments about the working opportunities, then charge “registration fees” before transporting them into Chinese factories.

“We would negotiate with the factory owners in advance to remove any possible stumbling blocks, and then the procedures would go smoothly,” she said.

According to Ah Xiang, foreign laborers are becoming increasingly popular in factories in the east, as domestic workers are thin on the ground, while foreigners tend to be cheaper, more “well-behaved” and “quiet.”

But the opportunities to make more money in China are often outweighed by terrible working and living conditions, Ah Xiang added, pointing out that it is hard to guarantee the rights of the illegal workers.

Experts attribute the phenomenon to a wide range of factors, including rising labor costs in China as well as loose supervision.

One of the underlying reasons for the rampant black market in foreign labor is that China’s coastal cities have come under pressure from a severe shortfall in labor resources, according to Yu Yimao, captain of Baise’s border control police.

In February, a survey by the Guangzhou Human Resource Market Service Center showed a shortfall of 123,300 workers in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong. A similar warning was issued later by the Fujian provincial government, cautioning that the province needs 80,000 laborers to fill the gap.

Meanwhile, the cost of domestic labor is on the rise.

Construction worker Li Deqin said that the daily salary for people like him used to be about 80 yuan (13 U.S. dollars), but now they command at least 180 yuan.

That is a huge contrast to many foreign workers like Mi Lenh, who barely makes 50 yuan each day in Vietnam.

“I heard that even stowaways can make more than 100 yuan a day in China,” the young Vietnamese said.

While his dreams have now become castles in the air, many others are still falling for the bait, and authorities have called for a taming of the black market with a spate of proposed legal measures.

Xu Ningning, deputy secretary-general of the China-ASEAN Business Council, said that China needs to ramp up supervision to tackle the problem, for that is in the interest of both foreign workers and domestic factories.

“I think that the government could work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to figure out a mechanism to ease the labor pressure and guarantee the rights of workers,” Xu said.

He suggested that the problem could be solved by qualifying and legalizing more foreign laborers to work in China under government supervision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China’s HKTDC offers aid to Bulgarian exporters

By Marian Draganov

Stephen Wong, regional director of China’s Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) said here on Wednesday his organization can help Bulgarian exporters to reach Chinese market.

HKTDC assisted companies in the food industry wanting to reach the Chinese market, in adapting products to local tastes and needs, Wong said at a meeting with Vasil Todorov, Secretary General of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

Bulgarian manufacturers and retailers of products such as mineral water, honey, organic foods and supplements could receive such support, Wong said according to a press release published by BCCI.

He explained that despite its developed industry and trade, the region felt a strong lack of raw materials, the press release said.

Cooperation with companies from Bulgaria could be implemented in areas such as winemaking, food processing, information technology, furniture and textile industry, Wong said.

In turn, Todorov said Bulgaria was also interested in attracting foreign investors, BCCI said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China shares one fifth of BMW global sales

By Zhu Sheng

China accounted for about 20 percent of German car producer BMW Group’s global sales, BMW chairman said Wednesday in Munich on the annual accounts press conference for the business year 2013.

BMW expanded its production capacity in 2013 by up to 300,000 cars in China, said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.

“In the medium term, we are able to increase production up to 400,000 cars annually if needed,” Reithofer continues, “Together with our joint-venture partner Brilliance, we are planning a new engine production site, due to open in 2016.”

Besides China, the sales in Western Europe, North America and Germany each took up 26 percent, 21 percent and 13 percent of BMW’s global sales, which came to a total of 1.96 million cars, 6.4 percent increase compared to 2012.

The revenues of BMW Group stood at 76.1 billion euros (105.8 billion dollar) in 2013, with a net profit of 5.3 billion euros, which is the highest net profit in the company’s history.

“We deliver on our promises, and we hit all our targets for 2013.” Reithofer added.

Referring to the sales target of the Munich-based company for the coming business year, Reithofer said that the Group sales will surpass two million cars, earlier than the planned year 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Chinese VP meets Kazakhstan FM

By Hou Lijun

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao on Wednesday met with Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov in Beijing.

Li said China and Kazakhstan, as friendly neighbors, share broad common interests on maintaining stability and achieving development.

China is willing to work with Kazakhstan to implement the important consensus of both leaders, enhance high-level exchanges and comprehensively deepen cooperation in all areas, to ensure the development of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, he said.

Idrisov said Kazakhstan views China as one of its top cooperative partners, and is ready to participate in the building of the Silk Road economic belt, in a bid to upgrade bilateral ties.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Idrisov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Chinese president’s visit to make bilateral ties even stronger: Dutch PM

By Pan Zhi andChristien

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Netherlands will be his first to a European country and will further strengthen bilateral ties, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Xinhua recently.

“I believe there is so much we have to offer each other, politically, culturally and economically,” said Rutte, who last met Xi during an official visit to Beijing in November last year.

Latest statistics show that bilateral economic trade between China and the Netherlands reached a new high of 70.15 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, while year-on-year growth hit 3.8 percent.

For 11 consecutive years, the Netherlands has been China’s second-biggest trade partner in the EU. At the same time, China has been the second biggest partner to the Netherlands for four consecutive years taking into account the number of foreign investment projects.

“We in the Netherlands see China as a major trading partner. And the Netherlands currently is China’s second largest trading partner in the European Union and the tenth largest worldwide,” Rutte pointed out, “We can learn a lot from each other.”

He cited fast-growing sectors such as agri-food, water resources, the creative industry and high tech as examples. “These sectors are growing fast in China and the Netherlands has a great deal of innovative expertise and knowledge,” he said.

For Rutte, the cooperation between the two counties is not limited to the field of economy. “And of course we work together in other fields as well. Our armed forces are working closely with one and another in Mali,” he said.

“I was so proud to see the big yellow duck,” he continued, “and in the area of art, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra visited Beijing and was being conducted by a Chinese conductor.”

Talking about the Nuclear Security Summit as the host, the prime minister said “the upcoming NSS is another good example (of the Dutch-Chinese cooperation) and I am glad that President Xi Jinping will be attending the summit personally on Monday and Tuesday.”

“The direct involvement of world leaders will make it possible to achieve results that otherwise would be beyond our reach,” he said.

He introduced that the goal of the Summit is to prevent nuclear terrorism, and to reach effective agreements. “Our aims for the summit are, first of all, to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear materials in the world, to improve the security of existing materials and thirdly to step up international cooperation in this area.”

The prime minister highly praised China’s efforts to the nuclear security. “There is the China progress report 2014 in terms of what happened since 2010. China is an example to many other countries.”

“I am looking forward to a highly successful state visit of Chinese president and a highly successful summit,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Taiwan chief legislator keeps KMT membership

By Li Zhihui

The head of Taiwan’s legislative body Wang Jin-pyng can retain his Kuomintang (KMT) Party membership, a local court in Taipei ruled on Wednesday.

Wang’s lawyer said they would respect the KMT’s decision of whether or not to appeal the ruling issued by the Taipei District Court.

The KMT has not commented on the ruling.

In September, a KMT disciplinary meeting decided to withdraw Wang’s party membership after he was suspected of being involved in an illegal lobbying scandal.

After the decision, Wang appealed for an injunction to prevent the punishment. The court ruled that Wang can keep his membership until the final ruling on condition that he pay 9.38 million New Taiwan Dollars (about 315,000 U.S. dollars) as a collateral deposit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Calls for restraint after Taiwan students protest

By Yao Yuan, Wu Jihai and Li Hanfang

Hundreds of students continued a protest on Wednesday after they stormed into the assembly hall of Taiwan’s legislative body on Tuesday evening to demand a “proper review” of a cross-Strait agreement.

Physical disputes had broken out between police and students, who gathered at the legislative building in Taipei accusing the Kuomintang of cutting short the review of the cross-Strait service trade agreement.

On Wednesday, students were seen sitting on the podium of the assembly hall, delivering speeches and shouting slogans. Over a thousand students and members of the public also rallied outside the compound in a stand-off with police.

A student from Chengchi University told Xinhua reporters they demanded the agreement be reviewed clause-by-clause before being sent to the legislative floor and that more information be made public.

Other members of the public called for restraint.

A middle-aged man urged a group of students outside the building to be rational and not disrupt legislative proceedings.

Wang Jin-pyng, head of the legislative body, called for calmness, so the legislative body could resume its work on the agreement.

The Kuomintang central committee issued a statement calling for the rational expression of opinions, while accusing the opposition Democratic Progressive Party of inciting the public.

Taiwan’s industry sectors have voiced support for the agreement, which was signed in June but awaiting ratification by the island’s legislature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China’s cabinet divides government tasks for 2014

By Hu Longjiang

China’s cabinet, the State Council, on Wednesday convened a meeting to delegate major tasks for this year within its own system.

The meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, listed 15 areas and 55 key tasks of general government work and delegated them to various departments and institutions of the State Council.

The general work list was outlined by a government work report adopted at the annual parliamentary session last week, which is a promise made by the central government to the people, according to a statement released after the meeting.

All departments and institutions must follow orders and regard the implementation of tasks listed in the report as their major duties, the statement said.

They should promote reform and improve people’s well-being and complete this year’s target of economic and social development to “live up to the people,” it said.

To achieve the goal, the meeting stressed deepening economic restructuring and promoting reforms in key sectors, continuous cuts of administrative approvals and development of the mixed-ownership economy.

It also called for keeping China’s economic growth within a “reasonable range” and effectively preventing and eliminating possible risks.

According to the statement, measures should be in place as soon as possible to expand the domestic market and stabilize growth, as well as increase employment and control the price of commodities.

The nation should also continue to improve people’s livelihood by increasing incomes, expanding medical insurance as well as intensifying pollution control and improving ecological conservation.

The State Council also assigned responsibilities to heads of various authorities at the meeting and promised to reinforce supervision and publicize their work for public oversight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Malfeasant feasts off China’s frugal menu

By Liu Lu and Guo Likun

China’s frugality campaign is now more targeted and easier to enforce, with more detailed rules.

An end to extravagance at official dinner tables and good nutritional habits among the public are the objectives of a new guideline on food waste, covering receptions expenses, restaurants, government canteens and cafeterias.

In addition, there are rules specifying everything from the preferred forms of official dinners to the disposal of leftovers and kitchen waste. Authorities will no longer be allowed to organize banquets and stuff themselves in the name of meetings and training.

Supervision authorities will investigate restaurants and hotels to track down greedy officials from paper trails, promising severe punishment for gluttonous malfeasants.

With a large population and a scarcity of water and land, China has had a tight balance of food supply and demand for a long time, but flagrant food waste, the result of ostentatious lifestyles and poor supervision, remains a widespread feature of officials’ lives. Munificent dinners in the guise of conferences and training days are staples of government officials’ diets.

The new measures are just the latest anti-waste moves which have swept delicacies from dinner tables to overshadowed edacious galas since late 2012, when an eight point guideline on work styles — formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance — started eating into official voracity.

Last year, the broad picture became more detailed in many aspects, including food and gifts. Even the military was ordered to re-heat leftovers and eschew fancy food.

Last November, regulations standardized budget management for various ends, detailing 65 items, including travel, receptions, meetings, and use of official vehicles and buildings.

These increasingly detailed rules have effectively passed the pressure from the top to the bottom and from the government to the public. These rules will not only relieve some of the economic burden, but an end to extravagance and corruption would promote service-oriented government.

Supervision and inspection must clear the waste from dinner tables or these rules will be reduced to paper tigers, unfit for purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Chinese insurers offer smog policies

By Zhao Ruixi and Liang Saiyu

China’s insurers have rolled out new smog-focused health insurance policies in response to the air pollution that has stirred up worries among most Chinese.

Ping An Insurance (Group) of China Ltd. on Wednesday announced its move to introduce insurance for residents of or visitors to seven Chinese cities to compensate if they encounter smog.

Users in seven cities include Shijiazhuang, capital city of north China’s Hebei Province, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou can insure themselves against air pollution, and they will get paid off if the Air Quality Index (AQI) hits more than 300 for more than three days.

Those who purchase smog health insurance can pay a premium of 100 yuan(16 U.S. dollars) and receive medical examinations to check their lung functions when the AQI exceeds 300 for five consecutive days.

Under China’s assessment system, an AQI value under 50 represents excellent air quality and a value between 50 and 100 represents fine air quality. An AQI value over 100 is unhealthy and one over 300 is considered hazardous.

The People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China Ltd., the nation’s largest insurer, also launched an insurance policy on Tuesday to compensate Beijingers made ill by air pollution with up to 1,800 yuan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Tibet to hold cyclo-cross in May

By Li Hualing and Xu Wanhu

The Tour de Basum Lake cycling race will be held at southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, according to Tibet’s Outdoor Sport Association recently.

It is the second time for Tibet to hold the cyclo-cross. The race will be held at Basum Lake, national 4A scenic spot in southwest Tibet’s Nyingchi Prefecture from May 1 to 3.

The course is 41km long with 70 percent mountainous terrain and featuring 15.5km professional race track and 12km amateur race track. The rest is highway track with the an average altitude of 3,600 meters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Vice president of Sichuan University under investigation

By Ye Jianping and Sun Xiaozheng

A vice president of Sichuan University in southwest China’s Sichuan Province is under investigation on suspicion of crimes, provincial authorities said on Wednesday.

An Xiaoyu, vice president and member of the standing committee of the CPC Sichuan University committee, is being probed for serious violation of discipline, according to the provincial discipline inspection commission.

Authorities are handling his case according to procedure and have passed the case to judiciary organizations, according to the commission.

Sichuan University, located in the provincial capital of Chengdu, is one of China’s key comprehensive research universities under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China punishes officials violating new-building ban

By Hu Longjiang

Fifty-five officials have been punished for violating a ban on the construction of new government buildings, a statement from the State Council revealed Wednesday.

The officials were punished according to Party or government disciplines, said a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council, or China’s cabinet.

Another 147 Party members and officials were being “handled,” it said, without giving details.

China’s central authorities introduced a five-year ban on the construction of new government buildings in 2013 to promote a national frugality campaign and curb official’s appropriation of public funds.

Most areas and departments have complied with the ban, but some localities are still building office compounds in violation of rules or have not rectified their wrongdoing as ordered, said the statement.

The statement ordered further supervision to avoid a recurrence of the problem.

“The malpractice of constructing new government buildings should be exposed. Departments and individuals should never cover or shield the malpractice,” said the statement.

Those who are building new government offices must be punished. For the buildings that have been illegally constructed, relevant authorities must rectify the problem within a set time.

It also called for establishing an inspection mechanism to prevent public funds being abused for constructing government offices, auditoriums and hotels.

“Precious funds should be used for safeguarding and improving the people’s well-being,” the statement said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China’s swimming national team lifts Sun Yang’s ban

By Li Jia and Zhou Xin

 The Chinese swimming national team lifted the ban on Olympic champion Sun Yang’s on Wednesday.

Sun, the first Chinese man to win an Olympic swimming gold with his victories in the 400 and 1,500-meter freestyle at the London Games, was suspended from training and competing indefinitely last November after he was given seven days of detention as punishment for driving without a license.

Sun was suspended from all the competitions and training by the Chinese swimming team last November after he was caught driving without a license in a car accident in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province. He was banned by the Zhejiang College of Sports as well as the national team.

The college lifted Sun’s ban earlier Wednesday and asked the national team to let the swimmer back to training.

“The national team welcomes Sun,” said Shang Xiutang, deputy head of the Chinese Swimming Administrative Center (CSAC). “We always hope he can realize his mistake and come back. We hope he can do better in the future.”

The London Olympic champion has been going through a hard time after taking surgery of paronychia earlier this year. He has been out of systematic training for a long time and struggled with finding his form. It’s still unknown whether he can take part in the National Championships in May.

Sun has come to Beijing for rehabilitation training since February. 20.

“Sun need time to be back in form,” Shang said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  CNOOC makes exploration breakthrough in South China Sea

By An Bei and Fang Dong

China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) announced Wednesday it recently made a new mid-sized gas discovery called Lingshui17-2.

It is the company’s first deepwater exploration breakthrough in Qiongdongnan Basin of the South China Sea.

Lingshui17-2 is in east Lingshui Sag in the deepwater area of the basin, with an average water depth of about 1,450 meters.

The discovery well was drilled and completed at a depth of 3,510 meters and encountered the gas reservoir with a total thickness of about 55 meters.

The discovery has not only proven the exploration potential of Lingshui Sag, but also further confirmed good exploration prospects in the deepwater area of Qiongdongnan Basin, said CNOOC.

Listed in Hong Kong and New York, CNOOC is the largest offshore oil and gas producer in China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China adds 3.2 mln cars in first two months

By Yu Junjie and Hu Longjiang

The number of automobiles on China’s roads increased by more than 3.2 million in the first two months of 2014, the Ministry of Public Security revealed on Wednesday.

Passenger vehicles accounted for 95 percent of the growth. The number of small passenger cars rose rapidly, said the ministry’s traffic control bureau.

China had 253 million motor vehicles on the roads by the end of February, of which 141 million were cars, statistics from the bureau showed.

Nine provincial regions, including Guangdong, Shandong and Sichuan, have more than 10 million motor vehicles.

Meanwhile, 283 million people in China hold a driving license, among which 223 million are qualified to drive a car, according to the bureau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China’s first “fresh air index” released

By Cheng Yunjie and Hu Su

China’s Fujian province on Wednesday began releasing the first ever “fresh air index” to promote eco-tourism, in sharp contrast to air quality indexes which often cause pollution scare.

Compared to existing air quality indexes released by environmental departments which focus on urban air quality, fresh air indexes focus on changes at a single tourist attraction, said Chen Yihui, deputy chief of the provincial tourism bureau, at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Our goal is to have PM2.5 and healthy air measurements speak for themselves to boost eco-tourism,” said Chen.

On March 10, China’s State Council, the cabinet, approved Fujian to spearhead the country’s ecological construction.

Zhu Hua, director of the provincial tourism bureau, said that the indexes apply to 50 local eco-tourism attractions.

Tourists can track updates on the provincial tourism bureau’s website, www.fjta.gov.cn, through microblogs, WeChat, fujian.people.com.cn, fj.sina.com.cn or fj.qq.com.

Based on the province’s data, Yongtai Yunding Mountain in Fuzhou City and Da’anyuan scenic spot in Mount Wuyi registered 100,000 and 80,000 negative oxygen ions per square centimeter respectively. Negative oxygen ion readings show how healthy the air is.

These figures far exceeded the World Health Organization standard for fresh air, which ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 per square centimeter.

At Yuhua Karst Cave in Jiangle County, the PM 2.5 reading, which measures airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometer, was one or close to zero.

Under China’s air quality standards, anything up to 75 micrograms per cubic meter is deemed safe for a PM 2.5 reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China launches organ donation website

By Tian Ye

China launched its first official organ donation registration website on Wednesday of March 19, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).

Citizens can register as organ donors via www.savelife.org.cn, and their information will only be accessible to authorized organizations and coordinators, the commission said.

Donors can modify or withdraw their registration via the website. Donations will have to be approved by close relatives after the donor’s death, according to the commission.

Zhou Jun, an official with the NHFPC, said the website had been set up to promote public awareness on organ donation.

China has the world’s second-largest demand for organ transplants. About 300,000 patients suffer from organ failure each year, but only around 10,000 transplants are performed due to a lack of donors.

Traditional Chinese customs call for people to be buried or cremated with their organs intact, making it difficult to get people to become donors.

China introduced an organ donation system in 2010, with the Red Cross Society serving as an independent third party for supervising and facilitating donation procedures.

The NHFPC issued a new rule to prevent human intervention and ensure fairness and transparency in human organ distribution in August, stipulating that donor organs must be distributed automatically through a national system.

In March, China set up a special committee in charge of coordinating and guiding different systems including donation, obtaining and distribution, clinical transplant service, postoperative registration, and transplant supervision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Central China province reports H7N9 human infection

By Cheng Yunjie and Shuai Cai

An elderly man was confirmed to have been infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus on Wednesday, the Hunan Provincial Health Department said.

Surnamed Tan, the 78-year-old lives in Xinning County of Shaoyang City in central China’s Hunan Province. He is receiving medical treatment in the provincial capital of Changsha.

The latest infection has brought the total number in province to 17.

China has reported more than 120 human H7N9 cases this year, including at least 36 deaths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Wukan village deputy chief held over alleged bribery

By Zan Yijia  and Li Baojie

A deputy chief of Wukan Village in south China’s Guangdong Province has been detained for alleged bribery, local authorities said Wednesday.

Hong Ruichao, deputy chief of the village committee, was arrested and put under criminal investigation on Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of taking bribes in public projects in the village, the information office of Lufeng City, which administers the village, said in a statement.

Last Thursday, another deputy village chief, Yang Semao, was also detained for alleged bribery. But Yang was bailed out Friday to help organize the upcoming election of the village’s new leadership.

Yang is part of the 11-member election committee responsible for helping organize the election scheduled for March 31 and April 1.

Wukan grabbed international headlines in 2011 when the village’s residents staged three rounds of large-scale rallies over four months to protest village officials’ alleged illegal land grabs, corruption and violations of financing and election rules. Order was restored in December of the same year after a senior provincial official held direct talks with villagers.

A new village committee was elected in March 2012. Later in April, several former village officials were expelled from the Communist Party of China over corruption and election-rigging charges.

Over the past two years, more than 5,000 mu (330 hectares) of land determined to have been illegally transferred, allotted, or left idle has been returned to the village. Governments at the provincial and city levels also earmarked tens of millions of yuan for improving villagers’ livelihood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  China reports huge disaster-induced maritime losses

By Yu Junjie and Zuo Yuanfeng

Oceanic disasters in China last year caused a direct economic loss of 16.3 billion yuan (2.6 billion U.S. dollars), the greatest in the past five years, said the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).

According to the 2013 SOA report released on Wednesday, maritime disasters caused the deaths of 121 people.

The report notes storm waves, sea waves, sea ice and red tides accounted for most of the ocean disasters, with storm waves leading to 94 percent of the direct economic loss.

Guangdong Province in southern China suffered the most in oceanic disaster-linked direct economic losses, with losses of 7.44 billion yuan.

Also on Wednesday, the SOA released a separate report on China’s sea level, which revealed a rising trend in China’s coastal sea level.

The rising sea level has caused the submergence of coastal lowland and floods, posing great danger to the coastal ecosystem and manmade infrastructure, said the report.

The key factors leading to anomalies in sea levels are temperature, air pressure and monsoon changes, according to the SOA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Kunming Airlines to sue passengers for explosive hoax

By Cheng Junjie and Hou Wenkun

The Kunming Airlines has decided to file a civil lawsuit against two passengers alleged of giving a hoax explosive alert, said a company spokesperson on Wednesday.

While the flight KY8285 was about to set off on Monday night from Kunming, capital city of southwestern China’s Yunnan Province, for Guangzhou, capital of the southern province of Guangdong, one passenger whispered a warning to a steward that explosives had been carried on board.

The airlines therefore put all passengers through a second security check before transferring them to another flight.

Airport police later confirmed it was a hoax bomb alert.

The menacing passenger and a fellow traveler of this person are being investigated, police said, without giving details.

Dozens of passengers have lodged complaints over the flight delay and inquired about the processing of the occurrence, according to the Kunming Airlines.

Although no airlines have sued any suspect alleged of purposely giving false bomb alerts before, Kunming Airlines said it would take the suspects to court as the economic losses inflicted were massive.

The company said it has started to prepare materials for the appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Environment officer gets 6 years for pollution

By Lu Bo’an and Qiang Lijing

An environment agency official in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday for his role in the pollution of a river in July 2013.

Huang Qiang, former director of environmental monitoring at the municipal environment bureau of Hezhou,took bribes from Huiwei,an ore processor who polluted in the Hejiang River, according to Babu District people’s court.

Huang took 50,000 yuan (8,150 U.S. dollars) in cash and gifts of tobacco and alcohol from the owner of Huiwei in May 2013, in exchange for helping the company get a pollutant discharge permit to which they were not entitled. Learning that the company had been involved in poisoning the Hejiang, Huang returned the 50,000 yuan.

The court also found that Huang took bribes of 24,000 yuan from others when serving in Huangtian Township in Hezhou City in 2012. Personal assets of 34,000 yuan were confiscated.

The pollution of the Hejiang River was discovered in early July 2013 when dead fish were spotted. Investigation suggested that the pollutants were thallium and cadmium, both toxic to humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  Two Chinese men punished for rumor mongering

By Cheng Yunjie, Chen Wenguang, Liang Jianqiang and Li Siyuan

Two Chinese men were punished with detention in separate cases on Wednesday for starting or spreading website rumors and causing public unease.

Both will face 10-day administrative detention, according to China’s Law of Punishment for Public Security and Administration.

In one case, a 25-year-old man surnamed Li in Chenzhou City of central China’s Hunan Province spread false information on tieba.baidu.com on Tuesday night. He warned locals “not to hang out in highly populated areas” as “the police had seized dozens of knives in Ailian Lake Park of the city”.

“These knives are pretty much the same as those used in the terrorist attack at Kunming Railway Station (on March 1),” his post read.

The information was forwarded by microbloggers and messaging app WeChat users, triggering unease, police said.

Li said he did it “just for fun”.

The other case involved another man surnamed Jiang in Yichang City of central China’s Hubei Province.

On his microblog at sina.com on Tuesday night, he said a “major incident” had happened, saying “a child was poisoned to death by teachers of Jinbei Kindergarten in Yichang City”.

“Even though the teachers there fed antiviral drugs to kids out of kindness, it is not acceptable. Those poor kids. It’s so heart-wrenching,” the post read.

The information quickly spread on the web, despite being untrue.

Jiang was arrested at a rental property in downtown Yichang early Wednesday morning.

He told police that he did it “to attract the attention of netizens”.

Jiang’s lie came amid cases of principals at kindergartens in the cities of Yichang, Xi’an and Jilin who had been illegally giving children anti-fever drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two dead, 30 hospitalized in kindergarten food poisoning

By Zhong Qun and Ji Zhepeng

Suspected food poisoning in a rural kindergarten in southwest China’s Yunnan Province killed two pupils and left 30 hospitalized on Wednesday, local authorities said.

Thirty-two children showed symptoms of possible food poisoning at around 3:20 p.m. in Jiajia Kindergarten in Pinglong Village under Qiubei County.

They were taken to a local hospital for treatment, according to a statement released by the county’s publicity department.

Two died after medical treatment failed and another five are in critical condition, the statement said.

The kindergarten has a total of 76 students, all of whom have been sent to hospital for medical observation, the statement added.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  131 dead pigs found in Chinese river

By Cao Kai and Guo Qiang

At least 131 dead pigs have been dumped into a major river in east China’s Jiangxi Province that provides drinking water to the provincial capital, local authorities said on Wednesday.

The water authority of Nanchang City, the capital, first discovered dead pigs on Saturday in a section of the 758-km-long Ganjiang River, a major tributary of the Yangtze River.

As of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 131 dead pigs had been collected. They are believed to have flowed from the upper reaches of the river, according to the water authority.

Collecting efforts are still under way in the river.

Examination of all water intakes in the city by the environmental and health authorities showed that the tap water is safe for drinking, according to a statement from the municipal government’s information office.

The dead pigs have been disposed of safely, added the statement.

In March 2013, thousands of dead pigs were retrieved from the Huangpu River in Shanghai, sparking panic in the business hub as well as satire among the public over tap water safety.

Zhejiang Province’s city of Jiaxing, which is located on the Huangpu River’s upper reaches, was believed to be the source of the animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>  SW China forest fire extinguished

By Li Hualiang and Wang Jian

Firefighters in southwest China’s Sichuan Province have put out a fire that has been raging overnight in a local forest, authorities said on Wednesday.

The fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon in a forest near Xichang City in the remote Liangshan Prefecture, which is mainly populated by ethnic Yi people.

Under a joint effort by local firefighters, forest police officers and armed police, the blaze was extinguished around 7:58 a.m., according to the publicity department of Xichang City.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

 

 

 

 

 

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