Chinese army sets up team to supervise training






>>  Chinese academic weighs into Nanjing Massacre dead debate

By Tian Ye

A senior Chinese academic has urged Japanese politicians to face up to the historical facts of the Nanjing Massacre, the subject of an increasingly high-profile spat between China and Japan.

Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall and head of a research association on the atrocity, said on Thursday that the 1937 massacre was a “fact with ironclad evidence” and that its existence has been acknowledged by the international community.

His remarks followed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Germany, where he commented on Japan’s military aggression in China and referred to 300,000 people having been killed in the massacre. Xi also said more than 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or injured as Japanese militarists waged war against China.

Japan lodged a protest with the Chinese government over Xi’s comments.

China and Japan have been at odds over the number of victims in the Nanjing Massacre.

China insists that more than 300,000 civilians and soldiers died in the massacre, which began on Dec. 13, 1937 and lasted for six weeks, while Japanese historians and politicians call that number into question.

However, the Chinese figure was confirmed by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, according to Zhu.

More than 190,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians were captured and shot dead in groups by Japanese soldiers, and another 150,000 people died in random killings and their bodies were collected by charities, the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal concluded.

According to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Japanese invaders killed more than 200,000 civilians and soldiers in Nanjing, excluding those whose remains were cremated or dumped in the Yangtze River.

A Japanese military officer identified as Ota Hisao confessed that 150,000 bodies were dumped in the Yangtze or cremated, said Zhu.

China’s top legislature has set December 13 as a national memorial day for Nanjing Massacre victims. Previously, memorial services were mostly limited to the province of Jiangsu, where Nanjing is located.







>>  ”Courageous” Chinese student given trophy by Japanese media

A Chinese exchange student was commended on Thursday of April 3 by a major group consisting of local newspaper and wire companies for his courageous behavior when he rescued a nine-year boy out of a swollen river about half a year ago in the western Japanese city of Osaka.

Yan Jun, 26, attending a postgraduate program at Osaka City University, received the trophy for the annual Happy New Person award, which is given to the person who most impressed newspaper readers in the year before. Yan was given the trophy by an executive of the daily Mainichi Shimbun, who is also the representative of the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association.

Local reports noted that he had found the schoolboy in the water when he was taking a jog on a day in September last year along the city’s Yodo River, where the water level had increased due to overnight rains brought by an approaching typhoon that day, and he jumped into the water and successfully pulled out the drowning boy.

Receiving the award at a ceremony held on Thursday in the university, Yan told reporters that he was at the same time impressed by the wider reaction of the Japanese media’s coverage of the story, which encouraged him in his studies in Osaka.

According to Mainichi, which first reported the topic on the following day, Sept. 17, the media group’s decision was based on a letter sent from a 20-year-old student living in Nara Prefecture, western Japan, who was overwhelmingly touched by Yan’s humanity.

The annual award is organized prior to the day, April 6, a date that when pronounced in Japanese sounds like the present-tense verb “read”.







>>  China supports improved ties between DPRK, ROK

By Hou Lijun

China supports improved relations through dialogue between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), said a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday of April 3.

Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on ROK President Park Geun-hye’s speech in Dresden, Germany on March 28.

In the speech, Park unveiled a package of proposals for the DPRK and the ROK to work toward unification, with the ROK increasing humanitarian aid to the DPRK before expanding economic cooperation.

Park called for regularizing the reunions of families separated since the Korean War. Humanitarian projects would also include health care for pregnant women and infants during their first 1,000 days.

She also proposed more exchanges in areas such as history, culture and sports to renew a sense of homogeneity between the people of the two Koreas, and joint projects in infrastructure and exploration of natural resources.

Hong Lei said China has always supported improvements to relations between the DPRK and the ROK through dialogue, and hopes the two sides push forward with reconciliation and cooperation, with the ultimate objective of peaceful reunification.

China will work to ease tensions, push for progress in the six-party talks, and seek the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular for regional peace and stability, said the spokesman.







>>  China hopes for smooth Afghanistan election

By Sun Yi

China here on Thursday of April 3 expressed the hope that the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan would be smooth.

“China pays close attention to Afghanistan presidential election, and appreciates efforts of the Afghan government in preparation,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

China hopes the election, slated for April 5, will be a starting point for Afghanistan’s unity and stability, he said.

China stands ready to work with all parties to provide assistance for Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction and national reconciliation, to contribute to lasting peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region, Hong said.







>>  Russia looking to China for economic cooperation: veteran investor

By Han Liang

Russia highly values its economic cooperation with China and sees huge potential for further development, according to a veteran Russian investor.

Cooperation between Russia and China in the fields of trade, energy, scientific and industrial projects, and security could benefit both sides, Russian Direct Investment Fund chief executive Kirill Dmitriev told Xinhua in a recent interview.

He said Russian companies increasingly looked east in search of cooperation opportunities.

Russian Direct Investment Fund and China’s Investment Corporation formed a joint investment fund in 2012, with capitalization of 2 billion U.S. dollars. Seventy percent of that capital would be invested in Russia, Dmitriev said.

The Russia-China Investment Fund had already closed its first deal, with the largest forestry group in Russia, he said, adding 30 more projects were in the fund’s portfolio.

Dmitriev said Chinese direct investment in Russia grew 40-fold in the 2004-2012 period, reaching 4.9 billion dollars.

He said China now played a leading role in investment and trade in the Asia-Pacific region, with its trade turnover in 2012 exceeding U.S. and EU foreign trade combined by 120 billion dollars.

By lowering trade barriers, China also facilitated the economic development of its neighbors, he said.

“We expect that, in 2014, Russia-China trade will reach 100 billion U.S. dollars, and by 2020 that figure should be twice as big, thanks to closer relations and mutual understanding,” he said.

The Fund chief said the most important aspect for deep economic reforms in China was the government’s efforts to make the yuan convertible while gradually abandoning dollar accounting during trade and investment operations.

For example, Russia-China trade in their national currencies had exceeded the equivalent of 2 billion dollars since 2011, Dmitriev said.

China also was steadily liberalizing its domestic financial market, and enhancing the status of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing as international financial centers, he said.

In general, the Asia-Pacific region demonstrated a positive economic dynamic, which was especially apparent when compared with western markets, Dmitriev said, citing the 7-percent GDP growth in the region. This led to rising domestic demand and imports, as well as increasing mutual trade among the region’s countries.

“Further lowering of barriers for capital, services and goods in Asia would create millions of jobs. This is why development of economic cooperation, along with rising labor productivity and investment into large infrastructural projects, have been a priority for the region,” Dmitriev said.

As for the upcoming Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) to be held in China’s Hainan province, Dmitriev said it would be an important forum to discuss regional cooperation.

Founded in 2001, the BFA is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization committed to regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals.






>>  Human resources potential remains engine

to Asian economic growth: Standard Life’s chairman

By Wu Xintao

Asian countries’ great human resources potential, entrepreneurial spirit and hard working of the people are acting as the main engines to the region’s economic growth, said Gerry Grimstone, Chairman of Standard Life Plc, a major insurance company in Britain, on Thursday of April 3.

Grimstone, who will be a panelist at Boao Forum for Asia next week, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua here.

He said China will definitely play the “vital part” of Asia in the future.

“I think the biggest engine to Asian economy is the energy of the people,” said Grimstone.

He said he believed that the difference between the West and Asia at the moment is “the great human resources in Asia, the great willingness for Asian people to work hard, and their great desire to succeed in the global economy.”

Grimstone noted that Asian countries’ demographic situation is diverse. Countries like Indonesia and India have the booming young labors groups, while China is facing the challenges of an aging society.

Hailing the splendid changes in China over the last two decades in terms of economic development, he said China is playing an increasingly important role among Asian economies and is fulfilling its responsibilities towards its Asian neighbors.

“The growth of China has been the commander system in the growth of other Asian economies,” he said.

“I think China combines energy with innovation,” Grimstone noted. “The combination of the intellectual power house in China with the determination and the commercial attributes create these very fortunate circumstances for growth.”

The chairman of the insurance company expects that the sustainable growth of China in the long-term would be at a band from six percent to seven percent.

He said he is very optimistic that China can fulfill this goal and pursue the more sustainable development paths.

And given the size of China nowadays, the growth rate is the “fantastic growth power,” according to Grimstone.

The British insurance industry’s leading figure also suggests that the Chinese customers have to be helped to understand the importance of long-term saving, though the customers can easily find the attractive short-term interest rates.

“The important thing is saving for 10, 15 or 20 years, and I think the insurance sector in China has a very important role to play in the long-term savings market,” Grimstone said.

The development of long-term savings insurance market, which is mainly some tax incentives eventually, could be a very important ingredient in the future Chinese economic growth, he added.








>>  ”Terracotta Army, the Warriors of Xi’an” exhibition a huge hit in Madrid

By Paul

The exhibition, “Terracotta Army, the Warriors of Xi’an” has become one of the main tourist attractions in the Spanish capital Madrid with over 100,000 visitors in just four months.

The exhibition, which opened in November 2013, has been so successful that the Madrid Local Authority has decided to extend it until April 20, meaning it will be another attraction open during the forthcoming Easter holidays.

Located in the Fernan Gomez Theater in the heart of Madrid, the Terracotta Army exhibition coincides with the 40th anniversary of one of the most important archeological discoveries of all time: that of over 8,000 terracotta soldiers, along with 130 chariots and almost 700 horses, depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, namely the first Emperor of China’s Qin dynasty.

Although none of the original warriors is on display in Madrid, visitors can see full scale replicas of 150 figures, including 90 warriors, horses and equipment, discovered in Pit One of the excavations.

These are surrounded by a diorama aimed at giving the impression of how these pieces appear in their original setting, along with another 70 reproductions, including government officials, weapons, jewels, tools and art to give a true sense of life in ancient China.

Tuesday saw a round table event held at the Fernan Gomez theater to celebrate the success of the event and Javier Sierra, the journalist, writer and commissioner of the exhibition highlighted that apart from the huge scale of the discovery, what makes the Terracotta Army truly special is that each of the 8,000 soldiers is different and they thus help give a picture of the different people living in China at the time.

The Terracotta Army is famous in Spain and the work of the archeological team in the excavation was recognized in the country in 2010 when they were given the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.








>>  China remains leading destination for clean energy investment: report

By Zheng Qihang

China remains the leading destination for clean energy investment in 2013 as global investment kept declining in 2013, according to a report released on Thursday of April 3.

China remains the leading regional and global clean energy market, attracting 54.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, 6 percent lower than that in 2012, said the report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report said the worldwide investment in clean energy kept declining in 2013 after it reached its peak in 2011, mainly dragged down by the curtailment of incentives in Europe region, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Clean energy finance in the European region slid sharply for the second consecutive year, by 42 percent to 55 billion dollars. Investment plunged by 55 percent in Germany and 75 percent in Italy, said the report.

Japan, Canada and non-G20 markets, however, witnessed quick investment growth. Japan experienced the fastest growth in the world by increasing 80 percent in 2013 to almost 29 billion dollars and moving to third from fifth place among G20 countries. Canada moved to seventh from 12th among the G20 as investment grew 45 percent to 6.5 billion dollars in 2013. The investment in non- G20 markets also increased by 15 percent.

The report also found more solar than wind energy was installed globally for the first time in 2013. Solar generating capacity increased by 20 percent while wind capacity addition declined by more than 40 percent due to the uncertainty about U.S. policy in the wind sector.

The solar will be the leading clean energy technology in both investment and capacity for the next several years, the report predicted.







>>  Beijing, Seoul fight air pollution together

By Cui Wenyi and Tan Jingjing

Beijing and Seoul signed a cooperation agreement here on Thursday of April 3 to jointly tackle air pollution.

The agreement was reached after a meeting between Beijing mayor Wang Anshun and visiting mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon.

“Seoul hopes to cooperate with China in a long-term and practical way at a time when citizens feel growing anxiety,” Park told Xinhua.

Park said a team would be established within a joint committee in charge of economic and cultural exchanges between Beijing and Seoul.

The Seoul government tackles the problem through strong monitoring and tough regulations. “We hope to work with Beijing as part of regional cooperation and deal with a common environmental issue for northeast Asia,” Park said.

Park visited a Beijing pollutant observatory and attended a forum on air quality with officials and experts from both countries on Thursday afternoon.

Heavy smog has been frequent in the Chinese capital since February, and skies in neighbors Tianjin and Hebei are hardly any bluer. Beijing has thrown 8 billion yuan at the air quality problem since last year, according to Mayor Wang. The municipal government acknowledges that they are under great pressure when the air is not clear.

Among the 10 most heavily polluted cities, seven are in north China’s Hebei Province, which encircles Beijing. Tianjin is also on the top 10.

Steel and cement capacities are being slashed and tens of thousands of coal-fired furnaces extinguished forever, according to Premier Li Keqiang’s recent work report. Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei have pledged that, by 2017, coal consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 63 million tonnes and 122 million tonnes, respectively, compared to 2012.

Over 100 million people live in the three regions, with a combined area of 216,000 square kilometers.







>>  Work on 4th Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge almost completed

The work of fourth Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge has almost been completed after a 16-month construction, a contractor said on Thursday of April 3.

He Luesa, head of Shanghai Construction (Group) General Company’ s construction team, said the construction of a 855 meters by 13.5 meters Takhmao Bridge across Tonle Bassac River will be completed in late July this year.

“The remaining task for the bridge is the paving of tar,” he said.

Then, the company will construct a total of 11.2 km of tar- paved roads on each sides of the bridge to connect it to National Road No. 2 in the west of the river and to National Road No. 1 in the east of the river.

“The whole project will be entirely completed in May 2015,” he added.

The project would totally cost 32.89 million U.S. dollars, which is a concessional loan from the Chinese government.

Speaking during a visit to the bridge Thursday, Lim Sidenin, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the bridge is vital to contribute to easing traffic jams between Kandal province and capital Phnom Penh, boosting economic development and reducing poverty.

“In the name of the Cambodian government, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the government of China for providing loan for the construction of this bridge and to the Shanghai Construction Company for building the bridge with international standards,” he said.

Song Xiaoguo, an economic councilor at Chinese Embassy to Cambodia, said so far, China has funded the construction of seven bridges across rivers in Cambodia. Three among them have already been completed and opened for traffic.

“China sees Cambodia as a good friend, neighbor, brother and partner and will continue assisting this country in developing economy and reducing poverty,” he said.

China is the largest donor for road and bridge development in Cambodia. The two countries upgraded the bilateral relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation in December 2010.






>>  1st China-Myanmar TV series premieres in Yangon

A ceremony to screen the first China-Myanmar jointly-shot TV series “The Legend of Music” took place in Yangon on Thursday of April 3 .

The event was attended by U Paik Htway, Myanmar deputy minister of Information, Cui Yuying, vice minister of the Information Office of the State Council of China, Yang Houlan, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar, and Zhao Jin, member of Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party of Yunnan Province and head of Information Department of the province.

Speaking at the ceremony, Zhao expressed appreciation over the efforts of joint shooting and production of the TV series involving artists of both sides.

He learnt that Chinese audiences were moved and responded on their websites for the artists’ role played in the film when the TV series was first aired by Chinese TV on different channels.

“The Legend of Music” has opened a new chapter of cultural exchange and cooperation between China and Myanmar, witnessing the friendship between the two peoples, he said.

He hoped that such exchange and cooperation in the cultural sector would continue and expand and enhance the mutual understanding between the two peoples so as to inherit such China- Myanmar friendship generation by generation.

On the occasion, U Paik Htway also hoped that the joint shooting of the TV series provides exchange and friendship to the two countries.

He believed that following the premiere of the TV series, which promotes the two countries’ friendly exchange through the strength of music, the long-standing China-Myanmar paukphaw fraternal friendship would be better and better.

The TV series will be broadcast on Myanmar’s Sky Net TV among others on April 14 supplied by China.

In the Chinese Tang Dynasty, over 1200 years ago, a royal prince of Myanmar’s Pyu dynasty led a musical troupe and traveled thousands of kilometers of historic journey to then Chinese Tang dynasty’s capital of Chang An to give their artistic performance.

Then Chinese noted poet Bai Juyi wrote a poem in praise of the ancient cultural link.

The film show of the Chinese TV series in Myanmar has indicated that the two countries’ cooperation in the sector has reached a new level.

The premiere of the TV series is part of “Experience China” – Myanmar Tour, which has been underway for the past several days.






>>  HK suggests to raise civil servants retirement age to 65

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong government on Thursday of April 3 proposed that the retirement age of new recruits of civil servants be extended by five years to 65.

A public consultation on the issue has been launched and will last for four months.

Secretary for the Civil Service Paul Tang said, “In face of the demographic challenges arising from an ageing population and a shrinking labor force, the government, being the largest employer in Hong Kong, considers it an opportune time to examine possible options for extending the working life of civil servants so as to enable us to better respond to such challenges.”

As set out in the consultation paper, Tang said, the government proposed to adopt a higher retirement age for civil service new recruits as from a future date.

Specifically, it is proposed that the retirement age of new recruits for the civilian grades be extended by five years to 65. For the disciplined services, the new retirement age be raised from 55 to 57, but it may be further extended up to the age limit of 60 subject to an annual suitability assessment.

Suggestions also included the introduce of a new “Post- retirement Service Contract Scheme” for engaging retired civil servants on contract terms, on a targeted basis, to fill non- directorate positions for undertaking ad hoc duties requiring specific civil service expertise or experience.







>>  Hong Kong a better gateway for Japanese companies to China: official

By Zhu Chao

The increasing economic integration with the Mainland of China has made Hong Kong a more competitive gateway for Japanese companies to partner with, Sally Wong, principal representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Economic and Trade Office in Tokyo said on Thursday of April 3.

When talking about comparison with Singapore in attracting Japan investments and cooperation, Wong said the two are something like competitors on one hand, while on the other hand they are very complimenting each other.

She said that Singapore is geographically close to ASEAN, while Hong Kong also has strong presence in this area.

“There are many different ways Japanese businessmen can partner with Hong Kong companies to go to Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, on the other hand, they can partner with the same company to go into China,” Wong told Xinhua. “For Singapore, it’s good for ( exploiting) ASEAN, but not so good for entering China.”

Wong also said, to promote regional cooperation, the Hong Kong government will consider opening more economic and trade offices in Asia and further negotiating with ASEAN for a Hong Kong-ASEAN free trade agreement.







>>  China, Vietnam trade turnover reaches over 12 bln USD in first quarter

By Ngan

Trade turnover between China and Vietnam reached over 12 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2014, said Vietnam’s General Statistics Office (GSO) on Thursday of April 3.

Accordingly, in the first three months of 2014, Vietnam’s export revenue to China stayed at 3.8 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 30.2 percent year-on-year, ranking fourth among its foreign markets after the United States, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

China remained the country’s major source for imports during the period, with some 8.3 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods sold to Vietnam, up 11.8 percent year-on-year.

During the three-month period, Vietnam’s total trade revenue hit around 65.7 billion U.S. dollars, said GSO.







>>  Regional price differentiation is business norm: China Mobile

By Shi Hao, Liu Juhua, Xu Zilin

China Mobile has responded to reports that its service in Hong Kong is much cheaper than on the mainland by saying it’s a norm for global companies to charge different prices in different regions.

The country’s largest mobile telecommunications provider reaffirmed its stance on the price differentiation to Xinhua on Thursday of April 3 and called for “a comprehensive and rational view” on the difference.

According to reports circulated widely this week, China Mobile’s “3G Lite” service package in Hong Kong, including 1,700 minutes of local talk time, 10,000 messages and unrestricted mobile Internet data, is priced at only 68 HK dollars (about 54 yuan) a month.

A 56-yuan package in Beijing, for example, only contains 1,000 messages, free answering of local calls and 20 Mb of data service.

However, China Mobile said in an online announcement that actually the Hong Kong package has a lot restrictions.

Hong Kong subscribers have to use the package for at least a year and link their phone number to a credit card, and they are deprived of access to China Mobile’s other promotions.

“If they break any of the rules, the charges will rise to 140 HK dollars a month, together with other fees,” according to the announcement.

If a phone call is made outside Hong Kong, or a message sent to phones in other networks, the charges will be much higher than on the mainland, said China Mobile.

The package’s highest data transmission rate is 384 Kb per second, while subscribers using China Mobile’s other packages in Hong Kong can enjoy a rate of up to 42 Mb per second, said the company.

Despite China Mobile’s explanations, many Internet users don’t seem satisfied. A netizen with the screen name “masakibaby” said on Twitter-styled Sina Weibo, “I don’t mind all these restrictions. Just give me a similar package.”

The mobile telecom market on the mainland is dominated by China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, and is a frequent target of consumer complaints about high charges and poor service.

In Hong Kong, there are five major telecommunications providers and some smaller ones. The competition there is fierce.







>>  ”China Library” set up at Myanmar’s Yangon university

A “China Library” was set up at Myanmar’s University of Yangon on Thursday of April 3, aimed at establishing a gateway for Myanmar university students to know about China.

The library was inaugurated by Vice Minister of the Information Office of the State Council of China Cui Yuying and Deputy Minister of Education of Myanmar Zaw Min Aung.

A signing ceremony of letter of intent on cooperative establishment of the “China Library” was held between China’s State Council Information Office and Myanmar’s University of Yangon.

The “China Library”, which covers 150 square-meters of the plot provided by the Yangon University, was established with over 5,000 Chinese books and picture albums of 1,000 categories in three language versions of Chinese, English and Myanmar as well as some related computer equipment, presented by the Information Office of the State Council of China.

University of Yangon is Myanmar’s most oldest and noted university, established in 1920.







>>  Macao resumes import of live poultry

By Lin Juan

After suspending by 21 days, the import of live poultry was resumed on Thursday of April 3 and they will be back on sale in markets on Friday in Macao.

The three-week ban on importing live poultry began on March 13 after the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) announced that the H7-type avian flu virus was found in sample tests of 1,000 live chickens that were imported from a farm in Zhuhai’s Doumen district.

Vong Iao Lek, chairman of the IACM said that, poultry will not be imported from this farm for the time being. He said most of poultry will be imported from other two registered poultry farms in Zhuhai, with just a few coming from farms in Zhongshan and a number of other cities in Guangdong.

Some 7600 chickens and 1800 pigeons were imported to the Nam Yue Wholesale Market on Thursday, of which 150 samples were tested. The number was 60 everyday before the import of chickens was banned.

According to the IACM, routine cleaning and disinfection will be conducted in all retail poultry stalls in the wet markets every day, while a thorough disinfection will be conducted every two weeks.

In order to more effectively reduce the risk of the avian flu spreading, thorough disinfections will be conducted in wet and wholesale markets on the same day every fortnight.







>>  China’s vice president meets Singapore delegation

By Xiong Zhengyan

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao on Thursday of April 3 met with Khaw Boon Wan, chairman of the People’s Action Party of Singapore.

Khaw Boon Wan, also minister for National Development of Singapore, is leading a seven-member delegation to Beijing.

Li reviewed political mutual trust and robust trade, science and technology cooperation between the two countries.

Li said China placed great importance on ties with Singapore and would like the two countries to work more closely to build an upgraded free trade area between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and maritime silk road in the 21st century.

Li also called on the Communist Party of China and People’s Action Party of Singapore to exchange more experience on state governance and seek growth of bilateral relations.

Khaw Boon Wan said China-Singapore cooperation has benefited the two peoples and pledged to deepen bilateral relations, promote regional cooperation and seek common development.







>>  China has success in food smuggling crackdown

By Han Qiao

Chinese customs authorities have put 114 smuggling cases of agricultural products on file for investigation since beginning a nationwide crackdown at the beginning of this year.

The cases involved 1.46 billion yuan (235.2 million U.S. dollars), the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said Thursday.

Zhu Feng, deputy head of the administration’s anti-smuggling bureau, said the GAC initiated an intensive one-year campaign, running till the end of December, to combat smuggling of agricultural products.

Nanning, Kunming and Jinan customs have ferreted out a large amount of sugar, rice and cotton in the campaign, he said.

Zhu said rising production costs in China have driven up prices of domestic agricultural products, fueling smuggling activities.

The administration’s figures showed that China seized 14,000 tonnes of sugar, 52,000 tonnes of rice and 94,000 tonnes of frozen meat in the crackdown last year.

Food safety problems have emerged with the smuggling as a third of the frozen meat confiscated last year, about 30,000 tonnes, came from epidemic-stricken areas, according to Zhu.

Smuggling also affects domestic food production and results in losses of taxes, the official said.







>>  Gov’t exposes power plant pricing scam

By Zhan Yan

China’s economic planner said on Thursday of April 3 that it will punish coal-fired power plants that falsely claim to have installed and be operating environmental protection equipment as a pretext for raising prices.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a statement to reiterate that coal-fired power plants must be equipped with and be operating facilities to limit sulfur, nitrates and dust in their emissions before increasing prices on the grounds of environmental protection expenses.

According to the NDRC, some plants have cheated by raising prices of their power without running their facilities to clean discharges, according to the NDRC.

The commission and the ministry vowed to step up monitoring of power plants’ discharges and punish those whose discharges contain pollutants above limits.

Now power plants with environmental protection equipment can raise their power prices by 0.015 yuan per kilowatt-hour for desulfidation, 0.01 yuan for denitration and 0.002 yuan for dust elimination.







>>  China develops 3-day smog forecasts

By Ren Ke and Liu Lu

An air quality early warning system means smog can be forecasted two or three days in advance, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said on Thursday of April 3.

At a meeting on environmental monitoring, vice minister Wu Xiaoqing said an air quality forecast and early warning center covering the whole country is in operation with a forecast accuracy of 60 to 70 percent.

China began air quality forecasts in 47 major cities in 1998. The new system covers all prefecture-level cities in the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, areas surrounding Beijing and other capital cities of provincial regions.

Wu called for improvements through remote sensing and other cutting edge technology, as well as innovating new ways to publicize air quality information. Around 1,200 automatic air quality monitoring stations have been established in 252 cities.

At an earlier meeting, Wu said that finding the primary cause of pollution was of utmost importance.

“The control and prevention of smog will be effective only when we know the main cause. Haze analysis needs more than a year of records to be effective,” said Luo Yi, head of monitoring at the ministry. All municipalities, provincial capitals and listed cities must start research on smog sources this year.

Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang should hand in preliminary results in the first half of 2014. Other cities should submit by the end of this year, the ministry said.







>>  Climate change: risks and opportunities

By Hu Tao

Every part of the world is feeling the impact of climate change, according to Kalee Kreider, a special adviser for climate science at the United Nations Foundation.

“No country is immune,” said Kreider, who is also spokeswoman for former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, at a forum on Wednesday of april 2 in Beijing.

The forum was part of a three-day promotional activity publicizing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.

Titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaption and Vulnerability, the document was released on Monday in Yokohama, Japan.

The report focuses on the impact of climate change to date, future risks, and opportunities to reduce risks. “The opportunities are tremendous,” said Kreider.



At the launch of the report on Monday, Christopher B. Field, co-chair of the IPCC, said although the report focuses on challenges, it also looks at opportunities.

This can ultimately help build a better world, Field said.

Last year, the IPCC’s report revealed that it was 95 percent certain that human action alone was responsible for rising global temperatures since the mid-20th century.

The IPCC is the leading international body for climate change assessment and seeks to provide a “clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts,” according to official statements.

“Reducing risks is an opportunity, but the world needs to take action,” said Dr. Wang Ke, executive director of program of energy and climate economics at the Renmin University of China.

Wang admitted China is under pressure to take concrete measures in tackling climate change.

On Wednesday, central China’s Hubei Province launched a carbon trading scheme, the country’s sixth. Under the program, those which emit below their quotas of carbon emission can sell the excess to other enterprises or even to investors for profit.

The scheme is a big step for China in building a nationwide carbon market, with an expectation of 40 to 45 percent reductions of 2005′s emissions slated for 2020.

China is predicted to become the world’s second-largest carbon emission trading market, covering 700 million tonnes of carbon emissions.



China’s development began far later than many Western countries, but when it comes to climate change technology, nations are at the same starting point, Kreider said.

She said new types of power plants, clean energy providing facilities, and developments in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology were all needed.

This was Kreider’s fourth trip to Beijing in the past eight years.

The “most impressive change” in the country for her has been the increasing awareness of climate change in government, research, market and among the public.

China has initiated pilot low-carbon programs, with industrial parks and communities across the country, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation’s top economic planner.

To hit polluting industries hard, China has also been considering a carbon tax.

In mid-March, China revealed a blueprint of a new-type of urbanization to prop up the economy with massive building projects of transportation networks and infrastructure expected from now on to 2020.

Kreider said this provides the country with an opportunity to become more efficient. She said if policy making and the financial sector are well built then China can expect “healthy growth.”

The United Nations Foundation, which is a public charity, is a platform for connecting people, ideas, and resources to help the UN resolve global problems.







>>  PLA senior generals back Xi’s orders

By Li Zhihui

High-ranking officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have voiced group support to President Xi Jinping’s instruction of building a strong military.

The PLA Daily on Wednesday of April 2 published articles by chiefs of seven military area commands, the air force and the armed police as well as senior leaders of the navy, the second artillery force, the general political department and general staff departments.

Comments on national defense and building strong armed forces made by Xi, who is chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), were all echoed by the chiefs and senior leaders.

The use of air force at sea must be strengthened to safeguard China’s maritime rights and tackle various threats from the ocean, according a piece by Air Force commander Ma Xiaotian.

He highlighted enhanced information support, systematic combat capacities and exercises in real war situations at sea.

“(We must) ensure to fulfill our mission effectively as soon as Chairman Xi and the CMC give an order,” Ma said in his article.

Zhang Shibo, Beijing Military Area commander, said the rule of law in military construction must be implemented and anyone violating laws and regulations must be punished severely.

Military leaders must be subject to strict management and take the lead in obeying laws to build a strong army, Zhang said.

Shenyang Military Area commander Wang Jiaocheng and Guangzhou Military Area commander Xu Fenlin emphasized the importance of establishing and implementing standards for combat capacities, while Liu Yuejun, Lanzhou Military Area commander, pledged to consolidate border defense in northwest China.

Military reform, strategic thinking and being prepared for combat were also discussed by chiefs of the military area commands in Jinan, Nanjing and Chengdu.

The navy will step up developing new combat platforms and weapons for strikes, and improve information support during maritime wars, said Tian Zhong, deputy commander of the navy.

The navy will strengthen exercises under the electromagnetic environment in unfamiliar and complicated sea waters, he said.

The second artillery force is striving to improve informatization to build strong missile troops, said Wang Jiurong, the force’s deputy commander.

Yi Xiaoguang, assistant to the chief of staff, underscored military and civilian integration, with cooperation in sea, air and space as well as information, of which the country is in urgent need. Integration will be at higher levels and in a more coordinated way.

The leadership of the Communist Party of China over the armed forces must be guaranteed as it is important politically for the nation and is aimed at maintaining the interests of the people, said Wu Changde, deputy director of the general political department.

Wu warned of caution against challenges to the leadership, including hostile forces’ infiltration into the military as well as the changing social environment and construction of the PLA.

Efforts to improve theoretical work, supervision of senior officials and style of working should be made to ensure the CPC’s absolute leadership, Wu said.






>>  Chinese army sets up team to supervise training

By Guo Likun

China’s armed forces have set up a leading team to direct work on military training to improve combat capabilities, the flagship newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reported on Thursday of April 3.

The team is comprised of a general office and two supervisory groups on training and education, the PLA Daily cited a circular issued by the PLA General Staff Headquarters as saying.

Military area commands, different arms of the services and armed police forces will also have to set up teams based on the headquarter model.

The leading team will supervise responsibilities, rules, quality and work styles within military training, according to the newspaper.

Supervision could be in the form of hearing reports, meetings and lessons, organizing seminars, talking with individuals, surveys, inspections or training assessments, the article said.

The supervision model has been introduced in response to a guidance on raising the army’s actual combat standards by improving the level of military training. The guidance was issued by the Central Military Commission last month.

It listed tasks that needed to be carried out to improve standards, and stressed that problems in military training should be addressed through mechanisms and systems with innovative ideas and measures.






>>  Chinese Buddhist temple forms anti-terror, anti-riot squad

By Duan Jingjing and Li Baojie

A renowned Buddhist temple in east China’s Zhejiang Province has set up an anti-terrorist and anti-riot squad to cope with potential emergencies as the peak travel season approaches.

The squad at the 1,700-year-old Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, is made up of 20 monks aged between 20 and 40 and over 20 security guards, Master Jueheng said on Thursday of April 3.

It is the first such initiative for Chinese temples. The squad’s members are equipped with shields, pepper spray and batons.

“The squad members practice Buddhism in the day and take part in training exercises at night,” said Jueheng.

Local police authorities are responsible for the training and guidance.

“We set up the squad to guard against violence and terrorist attacks in a bid to protect the safety of visitors and Buddhism believers,” said Jueheng.

The temple receives a daily average of 10,000 visitors and believers, and that number can rise even higher during some major holidays.







>>  Chinese grassroots policemen to get arms training

By Liu Lu

The Ministry of Public Security on Thursday of April 3 launched a three-month program to train Chinese grassroots policemen in using arms in accordance with laws.

The training is aimed at improving grassroots policemen’s legal knowledge and practical skills, so they can effectively use weapons in line with laws and deter criminals when they are dealing with violent crimes, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the training will mainly focus on policemen who patrol streets and handle emergencies in big cities and county-level regions.

It will provide teaching on the laws as well as training in actual combat skills.

The ministry and provincial-level public security organs will also send teams of trained instructors to grassroots public security offices to help local police improve weapon-use ability, it said.

The ministry stressed that public security organs at all levels should establish rules and regulations on routine exercises and set-term intensified training, establish standardized long-term training mechanisms and strive to improve practical skills, in order to protect people’s lives and property.







>>  Authorities summon major media amid fake news crackdown

By Hu Longjiang and Xu Wei

The Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Thursday of April 3 summoned China’s major media for a meeting, urging a deepened crackdown on fake journalists and news.

The meeting was attended by heads from the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, China Education Daily and major radio stations in Beijing.

These media were urged to improve internal management and education for their staff and cooperate with press authorities to eliminate “black sheep” within their systems, a process aimed at “clearing the air” in the press circle, according to a statement released after the meeting.

The public were encouraged to report illegal media and reporters through hotlines and online channels.

At the meeting, the department reiterated its resolution to wipe out fake and for-profit news.

China’s publicity and press authorities have been campaigning against fake news and journalists for the past two weeks, while issuing various guidance documents and publicizing illegal cases.

The press watchdog announced a fresh crackdown on illegal journalistic practices last week, targeting online media and others who defraud or extort money by pretending to be journalists, as well as genuine media and journalists involved in illegal cases.

Some people in China have sought negative news about government organs or companies while posing as journalists, and then extorted money from their victims by threatening to publicize the news. They have also asked for money in return for releasing positive stories.

Some have even swindled money from petitioners by claiming to help with their petitions.

In a previous campaign, authorities investigated 136 criminal cases involving fake journalists and confiscated 1.34 million illegal newspapers and magazines.

Earlier this week, two genuine reporters respectively working for China Economic Times and West Times were transferred to judicial authorities on suspicion of having committed blackmail.

On Wednesday, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television publicized 14 cases related to online spread of fake news and media swindling.







>>  Ma Yun’s firm enters financial IT market

By Fang Ning and Zhang Yao

A technology firm owned by Ma Yun, the founder of China’s leading e-commerce company Alibaba, has taken over a division of Hundsun Group, a Chinese financial software provider.

Shanghai-listed Hundsun Group announced on Thursday of April 3 that Zhejiang Finance Credit Network Technology Co. Ltd., in which Ma holds a 99-percent stake, will pay 3.3 billion yuan (536.6 million U.S. dollars) for Hangzhou Hundsun Technologies Group Co. Ltd.

The transaction means Ma will hold a controlling share of 20.62 percent in Hundsun Group.

Hundsun suspended its stock trading on March 18 for restructuring. Trading is due to resume on April 8.

Zhejiang Finance Credit Network Technology Co. Ltd. has no direct connection with Alibaba, in which Ma holds 7.3 percent of shares. Both companies are headquartered in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Alibaba owns China’s leading online payment service — Alipay, which handles mobile and Internet payments. It also owns money market fund Yu’ebao.

Some financial firms fear the acquisition may give Alibaba access to sensitive information handled by Hundsun’s systems. The software provider has 70 percent of the country’s market for securities and fund management software used by financial, trust and insurance companies.

The close relation between Alibaba and Hundsun could give Alibaba an unfair advantage in the money market.

In its announcement Hundsun dismissed such worries, saying it only provides financial information technology to users, and is not involved in data management and after-sales software operations.







>>  CNOOC eyes private capital for expansion

By Fang Dong, Zhu zhu and An Bei

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) plans to bring more private capital into its sales business, especially its gas station network.

General manager of the oil producer’s marketing arm Sun Dalu said the corporation will accelerate mixed-ownership to increase vitality and expand business without necessarily taking a leading role in joint ventures.

China’s third-largest oil producer wants a larger share of a petroleum market dominated by PetroChina and Sinopec. Nearly half of CNOOC’s marketing businesses and 76 percent of its gas stations are co-owned with private shareholders.

CNOOC posted 56.5 billion yuan (around 9 billion U.S. dollars) in net profits last year, 11.4 percent less than in 2012, the corporation’s financial report said.







>>  China reports 2 more human H7N9 cases

By Xiao Sisi and Cheng Lu

Two more people were confirmed to be infected with H7N9 bird flu in China, health authorities said on Thursday of April 3.

Infection of a man, 30, from Tongling City in east China’s Anhui Province was confirmed on Thursday, according to the provincial health department website.

The man is being treated in a hospital of Hefei, the website said, adding that the case brought the total infections in the province to eight.

A 37-year-old man from Shenzhen City in south China’s Guangdong Province was also confirmed as infected. He was in stable condition, according to the provincial health department.

China has reported more than 130 human H7N9 cases this year, including at least 38 deaths.







>>  Trial opens for trader against securities watchdog

By Zhan Yan

The civil trial of China’s securities watchdog which is being sued by a former executive of Chinese brokerage firm Everbright Securities opened on Thursday of April 3.

Yang Jianbo, former head of the strategic transaction department of Everbright Securities, is suing the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) after it fined and banned him for life from the securities and futures markets for insider trading last year.

At Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court on Thursday, Yang said the commission had violated the law and infringed his legal rights when handing down the punishment.

He asked the court to rule that the commission revoke the punishment.

An abnormal trading on Aug. 16, caused a 5.96-percent gain in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index in about three minutes with a large number of purchase orders sent from Everbright Securities’ own account.

At 11:05 a.m. on Aug. 16, due to a computer program error, Everbright Securities mistakenly placed 23.4 billion yuan (3.84 billion U.S. dollars) worth of purchase orders for 180 ETF (exchange-traded funds), of which 7.27 billion yuan were concluded, according to Yang’s indictment paper.

Yang reported to the CSRC Shanghai branch and the Shanghai Stock Exchange after the incident and later asked traders to sell short index futures and ETF to hedge risks according to instructions from Everbright Securities, the indictment paper said.

The commission later that month slapped the company with record penalties totaling 523 million yuan for legal and regulatory violations.

Yang, together with three other colleagues, were each given an official warning and fined 600,000 yuan and banned from the securities and futures markets for life, according to a CSRC statement on Aug. 30.

The trial was adjourned to a later date.







>>  China’s non-manufacturing PMI drops

By Liu Xinyong

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China’s non-manufacturing sector dropped 0.5 percentage points in March from a month earlier to 54.5 percent, data showed on Thursday of April 3.

The index tracks activity in a number of sectors, including construction, software, aviation, railway transport and real estate, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).

A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 percent reflects contraction.

The decline follows a rebound in February, when the index came up from its lowest level in more than a year in January.

However, CFLP Vice Chairman Cai Jin remains optimistic.

“The March figure shows the non-manufacturing sector is still within a range of moderate and relatively fast growth,” Cai said.

He attributed the slight weakness last month mainly to a drop in business in the tourism, transport and catering sectors after high demand during the Spring Festival holiday from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.

The index for new orders dropped 0.6 percentage points from a month earlier to 50.8 percent, the new data showed.

However, the sub-index for new export orders surged by 3.4 percentage points to 51.7 percent last month.

The index for business outlook rose 1.6 percentage points to 61.5 percent, marking strengthening corporate confidence.

Employment rebounded 0.5 percentage points to 51.4 percent, while charges also rose 0.5 percentage points to 49.5 percent.

The new figures came amid signs of a slowing Chinese economy since the beginning of the year.

The NBS said on Tuesday that the country’s manufacturing PMI rebounded by 0.1 percentage points from February to 50.3 percent in March, but the rebound was by no means strong compared with a 0.8-percentage-point rise in March 2013 and 2.1 percentage points for March 2012.

The HSBC manufacturing PMI, which was also released on Tuesday, dipped to an eight-month low of 48 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February, partly due to weakening domestic demand.

The growth of China’s power consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, slowed by 1 percentage point from a year earlier to 4.5 percent in the first two months.

China’s economy expanded by 7.7 percent last year, flat from a year earlier and representing the lowest growth rate since 1999. The government has set this year’s growth target at 7.5 percent for a third straight year.

The NBS is scheduled to release the GDP figure for the first quarter on April 16. Many analysts have forecast that the growth rate may fall below 7.5 percent.







>>  China moves to stabilize faltering economy

By Cheng Jing and Lin Jianyang

After a string of economic indicators suggesting China’s first quarter growth may have slipped below the annual target of 7.5 percent, the government has decided to try to arrest the slowdown with a package of policies.

At a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday of April 2, a set of supportive policies, including cutting tax for micro and small businesses, facilitating shanty-town renovation and speeding up railway construction, was announced in an apparent attempt to stimulate growth.

“These measures show that the government aims to stabilize short-term growth with policies which can enhance efficiency while avoiding future financial troubles,” said Lu Ting and Sylvia Sheng, economists with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in a research note.

The stock market was unmoved by the modest stimulus package, with the benchmark Shanghai Stock Index down 0.74 percent on Thursday.

Among the measures released on Wednesday, China decided to let the China Development Bank, the largest policy bank in the country, set up a special organization to issue targeted housing financing bonds to other financial institutions in support of shanty-town reconstruction and other infrastructure projects.

The new financing approach, seen as a reform step, will help establish a long-term sustainable funding channel for much-needed infrastructure projects, said HSBC Chief China Economist Qu Hongbin.

It was announced at Wednesday’s meeting that China will speed up railway construction in the central and western region to push forward urbanization and reduce regional inequality, with 6,600 km of new railway lines planned for 2014 nationwide.

The projects in shanty-down renovation and railways will jointly drive investments amounting to over one trillion yuan (162.6 billion U.S. dollars), according to analysts.

While hoping the investment boost will pump up the economy, the government is also looking to the vitality of small businesses to support growth and create enough jobs.

Tax breaks for small and micro firms will be extended till the end of 2016, according to the State Council. It is also considering raising the tax threshold significantly above the current level of 60,000 yuan.

China’s small and micro-sized enterprises have played a leading role in generating jobs. Over 70 percent of new jobs are created by China’s 11.7 million such operations, according to a recent report released by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

The State Council decision came as hopes for stimulus policies have been running high in China amid weak economic activities across the country that highlighted the challenges the government faces in its efforts to balance growth and reforms.

The latest evidence can be found in the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a key measure of factory activity in China.

The official PMI for March, compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, edged up 0.1 percentage points from February to 50.3. The reading, the first rise since November, is a touch above 50 — the expansion/contraction watershed.

The HSBC/Markit PMI, which sampled small and medium-sized enterprises, dipped to an eight-month low of 48 in March, from a final reading of 48.5 in February. It also signals the sharpest fall in output since November 2011.

That, combined with other weak indicators ranging from industrial production, fixed asset investment to power consumption, all painted a murky picture of the economy.

Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist with Japan’s Nomura Securities, saw Wednesday’s package measures as a signal for policy easing.

“These measures clearly show that the pace of policy easing is picking up,” Zhang wrote in a research note, with a projection of 7.3-percent growth for the first three months.

Without a pick-up in policy easing, growth will likely drop below 7 percent in the second and third quarter, he added.

“We reiterate our view that both monetary and fiscal policies will be loosened in the second quarter. We expect a cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio by 50 basis points in the second quarter and another cut in the third,” Zhang wrote.

But Lu and Sheng from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch maintained that the market is overly bearish on China.

China set the growth target for 2014 unchanged at around 7.5 percent to give more prominence to its reform agenda.

But at a press conference following the conclusion of the annual legislative session in March, Premier Li said there is a level of flexibility for the target, stressing rather the importance of creating enough jobs.

China is due to release GDP data for the first quarter on April 16.







>>  China’s non-manufacturing PMI drops

By Liu Xinyong

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China’s non-manufacturing sector dropped 0.5 percentage points in March from a month earlier to 54.5 percent, data showed on Thursday of April 3.

The index tracks activity in a number of sectors, including construction, software, aviation, railway transport and real estate, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).

A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 percent reflects contraction.

The decline follows a rebound in February, when the index came up from its lowest level in more than a year in January, data showed.

However, CFLP Vice Chairman Cai Jin remains optimistic.

“The March figure shows the non-manufacturing sector is still within a range of moderate and relatively fast growth,” Cai said.

He attributed the slight weakness last month mainly to a drop in business in the tourism, transport and catering sectors after high demand during the Spring Festival holiday from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.

The sub-index for new export orders surged by 3.4 percentage points to 51.7 percent last month.

The index for business outlook rose 1.6 percentage points to 61.5 percent, marking strengthening corporate confidence.

Employment rebounded 0.5 percentage points to 51.4 percent, while charges also rose 0.5 percentage points to 49.5 percent, data showed.







>>  Chinese shares decline on lukewarm economic data

By Jiang Xufeng

Chinese shares closed lower on Thursday of April 3, ending a two-day winning streak, as the latest data on the non-manufacturing sector dampened investor confidence.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index went down 0.74 percent to finish at 2,043.7. The Shenzhen Component Index dropped 0.49 percent to close at 7,298.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China’s non-manufacturing sector dipped 0.5 percentage points in March from a month earlier to 54.5 percent, data showed on Thursday. A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 percent reflects contraction.

The index tracks activity in a number of sectors, including construction, software, aviation, railway transport and real estate.

Combined turnover on China’s two bourses shrank to 149.42 billion yuan (24.29 billion U.S. dollars) on Thursday from 165.44 billion yuan on the previous trading day.

Bank and real estate shares led the decline on Thursday, while the ChiNext Index, tracking China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, performed better than the blue-chip Shanghai Composite Index, with the latest announcement of a tax breaks policy for smaller firms.

The ChiNext Index dipped 0.14 percent to end at 1,326.18 points on Thursday. The State Council, China’s cabinet, on Wednesday announced that tax breaks for small and micro firms will be extended till the end of 2016.







>>  SW China landslide kills 1, 2 missing

By Hou Wenkun and Cheng Lu

One person has died and two others are missing after a landslide onto a road in southwest China’s Yunnan Province on Thursday afternoon of April 3.

The accident, in which a further six people were injured, happened around 2:05 p.m. on a road in Shiyueliang Township, Fugong County of Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture.

When three cars stopped to check fallen rocks on the road, they were struck by a second collapse, said the county’s publicity department.

The accident also disrupted the only main road linking the county with Liuku, the capital of the prefecture.

The landslide was related to heavy rainfall in south China over the last few days, according to the publicity department.

The injured are being treated in a county hospital and further investigation is under way.







>>  House collapse kills 2 in central China

By Zhong Qun, Chen Wenguang and Yang Jian

A house under construction in central China’s Hunan Province collapsed on Thursday afternoon of April 3, killing two construction workers, local authorities said.

The accident happened at around 1:30 p.m., when ten builders were working on an three-storey house in Xiyu Village, Changsha City, the provincial capital. The house suddenly collapsed and all the workers were buried at the site, according to the local government.

The injured were taken to a local hospital where two died of their injuries. The remaining are in a stable condition, doctors said.

The local public security bureau has detained Yan Haijun, the house owner, and Dai Zhimin, head of the construction team.

Further investigation into the accident is under way.






>>  China builds more rural sanitary toilets

By Fu Shuangqi

About 74 percent of households in rural China now have access to sanitary toilets, said the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Thursday of April 3.

By 2015, 75 percent of rural households should have sanitary toilets and by 2020 the ratio will rise to 85 percent, said Zhang Yong, deputy head of the commission at a regular press conference.

A sanitary toilet in rural China refers to a toilet, under a roof with walls and a standard digestion tank. It can either be dry or flush.

A survey in 1993 found only 7.5 percent of households with access to sanitary toilets. A national initiative launched in 2004 to improve rural sanitation and combat infectious disease, has seen the central government allocate about 8.3 billion yuan (about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars) for 21 million rural toilets.

Sanitary toilets reduce the population of mosquitoes and flies, and prevent disease. Thanks to the program, the incidence of diarrhea, typhoid fever and hepatitis A have notably decreased over the past decade, Zhang said.

The government expects to raise construction standards for sanitary toilets and introduce better waste processing technology.

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization in 2012 showed 2.5 billion people worldwide still practiced open defecation or lacked adequate sanitation.







>>  Fire destroys village houses in SW China

By Fang Ning, Yang Hongtao and Li Qianyu

A fire swept through a village in southwest China’s Guizhou Province early on Thursday of April 3, destroying 45 houses and leaving 430 people homeless, local authorities said.

No casualties have been reported.

The fire broke out at the the village in Shibing County at about 2:40 a.m., and it was put out about two hours later, a spokesman with the county government said. Relief supplies have been dispatched to local residents.

Traditional houses in the ethnic area are usually made of woods, which are prone to fires.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.









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