China pushes for SIM card registration in crime crackdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYDNEY

>>  Most Australians don’t support Japan, U.S. over East China Sea issue: survey

By Patrick Whiteley

Most Australians don’t support the United States in any armed conflict between Japan and China over disputes in the East China Sea, a new survey released on Tuesday of January 6 showed.

Approximately 71 percent of those surveyed in a poll commissioned by the Australia-China Relations Institute, headed by former foreign minister Bob Carr, thought Australia should remain neutral.

Only 15 percent believed that Australia should support Japan and the U.S.

Should a U.S. president ask the Australian prime minister for help in the future, 68 percent of respondents believed the prime minister should refuse America’s request.

But only 40 percent of the 1,000 people polled were aware of the dispute at all.

Carr, director of the Institute, said the East China Sea is the most volatile of any disputes that could see Australia drawn into armed conflicts.

“The poll confirms Australians overwhelmingly want their country to stay neutral,” he said.

“As far as the public is concerned we are not obliged under Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) treaty to make any commitment.

“We know that Australians overwhelmingly support the ANZUS treaty but this poll confirms they do not want it invoked in conflict between China and Japan over the islands in the East China Sea.”

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China urges Japan to abide by its promise on historical issues

By Bai Jie

China urged Japan to abide by its promise on historical issues and follow a path of peaceful development with concrete actions on Tuesday of January 6.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comments in response to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remarks on Monday that he will inherit the overall stance his successors have adopted on historical issues, including the historic 1995 Murayama statement in his statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in August.

According to local media, Abe said at the New Year press conference in Ise, central Japan, that his statement will refer to Japan’s determination to act as a proactive contributor to world peace.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the World Anti-Fascism War and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The international community will take the occasion to retrospect, review and learn from the history, and look into the future.” said Hong.

He said China is watching the stance taken by the Japanese government and leaders on the past aggression history and the messages they send to the world.

“We hope Japan could earnestly abide by the promises it has made on the historical issues and follow a path of peaceful development with concrete actions,” Hong said.

On the 50th war-end anniversary on Aug. 15, 1995, Murayama said Japan caused “tremendous damage and suffering” to the people of Asia and other countries through its colonial rule and aggression, and expressed “feelings of deep remorse” and “heartfelt apology.”

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Commentary: 70 years after WWII, high time for Tokyo to face history

By Luo Jun

As the world gears up to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, it is high time for the Japanese government to adopt a correct attitude toward history and act in good faith to help maintain the postwar order.

A host of global and regional events have been planned to commemorate the hard-won peace after the bloodiest war in human history and draw lessons from that heartrending and thought-provoking chapter of human civilization.

Like Nazi Germany, militarist Japan back then inflicted unbearable losses upon many nations and committed horrendous atrocities against humanity. But unlike today’s Germany, Abe’s Japan remains unrepentant and even bent on whitewashing the past war crimes.

Now with the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII approaching, the Abe administration is presented with an unmissable opportunity to correct its historical stance and demonstrate its sincerity for safeguarding world peace and order.

Given that, Tokyo needs to change course. For starters, the Abe administration should abandon its attempts to gloss over past villainies and stop Japan from sliding further along an alarmingly right-leaning and even militaristic path.

Realizing the crucial juncture his country faces, Japanese Emperor Akihito stressed in his New Year message that “it is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war … as we consider the future direction of our country.”

Some erstwhile Japanese leaders, including former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, were far-sighted and courageous enough to face up to history, and they have been held in high esteem across Asia and the world. Some others were stuck in historical denialism and held in infamy.

In a news conference on Monday, Abe said he will inherit the overall stance his successors have adopted on historical issues, including the historic 1995 Murayama statement, and his government will draft a new statement “that includes Japan’s remorse for the war.”

That is encouraging, but it is far from enough. In order to earn the trust of the international community, not least those nations ravaged by imperialist Japan seven decades ago, he must take concrete actions to back up his words.

Otherwise, it would just be another round of double-talk, which will only further undermine Tokyo’s reputation and credit in the international arena and damage Japan’s relations with neighboring countries.

The world must not forget the costs and sacrifices the entire human race made for the peace and stability now enjoyed by all, and the international community should be constantly vigilant against any attempt to whitewash history and undermine the postwar order.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China welcomes positive signs in ROK-DPRK ties: FM spokesman

By Hou Lijun

China welcomed positive signals released by leaders of the Republic of Korea(ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on improving their ties, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday of January 6.

The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Korean nation, said spokesman Hong Lei at a regular press briefing.

As a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, China has always supported the ROK and the DPRK mending their ties through dialogue, pushing forward reconciliation and cooperation, and ultimately achieving independent and peaceful reunification, he said.

ROK President Park Geun-hye on Friday vowed to lay an “actual and detailed” foundation to open a way for reunification of the Korean Peninsular in the year 2015, as this year marks the 70- year division of the peninsula.

One day before, top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un called on the ROK to halt all provocative war maneuvers and emphasized that there is no reason not to hold high-level north-south talks in a televised New Year speech.

It is the first time since Kim took power in 2011 the top DPRK leader commented on the inter-Korean summit.

Kim said stalled high-level contacts can be resumed and other talks can be held issue by issue “if the atmosphere and environment is created.”

Under the current situation, China hopes the two sides to bear in mind the overall situation, seize opportunities, and take concrete measures to make positive efforts in improving north-south relations as well as safeguarding regional peace and stability, said Hong.

The latest round of senior-level contact was held in February 2014 and led to the reunion of separated families.

 

 

 

 

 

CANBERRA

>>  Australia under pressure to offer incentives to Chinese investors

By Riley Beveridge

Federal and State governments in Australia are coming under increasing pressure to offer incentives for Chinese companies to invest throughout the country, particularly in northern Australia.

The group AustCham, which has long promoted relations between the two countries, said that Chinese projects on Australian shores need more”soft support”in the wake of recent free trade agreements.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese president Xi Jinping signed an historic free trade agreement last year — the first between the two nations.

The pressure from AustCham follows similar urges from the National Australia Bank (NAB), who has requested relaxed trade agreements in an effort to guarantee the”future prosperity”of the agriculture industry within northern Australia.

NAB has suggested tariff reductions on sectors such as sugar, rice and cotton as a means of moving relations forward, while AustCham is campaigning for relaxed Visa roles for Chinese engineers and construction workers while completing projects in Australia.

One of AustCham’s directors, Tom Luckock, told News Ltd. on Tuesday that Chinese investors”take a degree of comfort from soft government support for a project.”

Luckock then pointed to examples in the United Kingdom, where the Beijing Construction Engineering Group were provided”soft support”to begin a 1.2 billion U.S. dollar redevelopment of the Manchester Airport in 2013.

While Luckock said that the support was not always expected to be financial, he did reveal any assurances offered to Chinese investors by Australian government officials would be beneficial. “This could be by presenting the projects to investors,”he told News Ltd. on Tuesday. “It could be through assurances that approvals within their control would be forthcoming, or it could simply be by encouraging Chinese investment into the north of Australia.”

Northern Australia is being targeted for foreign investment by Australian governments due to its limited commercial benefits.

However, Luckock indicated that Chinese and other foreign investors would continue to steer clear of the area if they were not incentivized.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China to award best Ebola aid doctors

By Tian Ying and Bai Ying

China will select ten extraordinary doctors who have offered medical aid to Ebola-stricken African people, according to an official statement.

The selection was initiated on Tuesday in Beijing by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).

The top ten aid doctors will be determined in mid-February from candidates nominated by the NHFPC and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)general logistics department, both responsible for dispatching medical aid teams.

Candidates’ work achievements, professional ethics and team spirit will all be factored in. The title winners will be awarded 50,000 yuan (8044.8 U.S. dollars) each for their fight against Ebola in Africa, according to the statement.

Since the outbreak of the deadly virus in February, 2014, China has delivered four rounds of humanitarian aid with a combined value of more than 750 million yuan (120 million U.S. dollars) to Ebola-stricken countries and sent hundreds of medical workers to the African front line.

China has been providing medical aid to Africa since 1963.

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR

>>  China stands by Malaysia to overcome flood disaster

By Zhao Bochao

Malaysia has suffered its worst flood disaster in past 45 years due to sustained rainfall since the end of 2014, with 23 people killed and over 200,000 people evacuated from their homes. As Malaysian people’s good friend, China has attached great concerns to the flood situation in Malaysia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a letter to his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman on December 27, expressing sympathy for the victims and property loss caused by the floods.

In Kuala Lumpur, on the same day, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang on behalf of the Red Cross Society of China handed over a check of 100,000 U.S. dollars to the Malaysian Red Crescent to help the Malaysian people who suffer from the recent flood. The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia recently also donated RM50, 000 (about 14,000 dollars) worth goods and materials to three states of Malaysia, of which, RM30,000 (8,400 dollars) went to the worst-hit Terengganu, and RM10,000 (2,800 dollars) to Kelantan and Pahang, respectively.

During the donation ceremony, Ambassador Huang said the Chinese people are concerned about the serious flood in Malaysia as the country has a long friendship with China. If it is needed, China is willing to provide further assistance to the distress area in Malaysia, he added.

Meanwhile, RM34,000 (9,500 dollars), a portion from the ticket sales of the world-renowned Chinese musical “Dynamic Yunnan,” was forwarded to the Crisis Relief Squad of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) East Coast Flood Relief Fund, in a bid to support Malaysia’s efforts to overcome the flood disaster.

At the same time, many Chinese companies also volunteered to make donations to help the Malaysian side. China’s CSR Corp, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), and Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) on Dec. 31 donated RM900,000 (about 253, 000 dollars) and 10,000 candles to the flood-stricken regions in Malaysia.

Liow Tiong Lai, MCA president and Malaysian transport minister, expressed his appreciation to the Chinese companies, saying that the donation will greatly enhance their capacity to cope with the floods. Their assistance also reflected the deep friendship between China and Malaysia, he added.

On the same day, China Enterprises Association in Malaysia and the Malay Businessmen & Industrialists Association of Malaysia also donated RM50,000 (about 1,4000 dollars) respectively to help Malaysia handle the flood disaster.

 

 

 

 

 

DUBAI

>>  Chinese table tennis stars excite Dubai at ping pong festival

The world’s number one and two table tennis men’s single players Xu Xin and Ma Long, Olympic gold medalist Zhang Jike and the three highest ranked female players, Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Li Xiaoxia were present here on Tuesday to mark the Dubai ping pong festival.

The Dubai-sponsored Chinese national table tennis team were the star attraction, hosting master classes and meeting fans, during the one-day event at Dubai ice rink in the world’s biggest shopping center by footfall, the Dubai Mall.

Staged just two days before the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Team Cup kicks off in Dubai which will be held from Jan. 8 to Jan. 11, the China team was joined by players of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and coaches to share tips and perform trick shots with the general public.

Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin won last year’s ITTF GAC group 2013 world tour finals in the women’s and men’s challenge, respectively, which were held in January 2014 in Dubai.

Table tennis aficionados had the chance to get a free master class with the Chinese and Emirati athletes, exchange tips and collected rackets signed by the Chinese top stars.

“China has a strong affinity with table tennis and it is always encouraging to see our passion for the sport being shared in other countries around the world,” said Liu Xiaonong, vice president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association. “This is key to the sport’s development and the popularity of the Ping Pong Dubai Festival is a clear indicator of the growth of table tennis in Dubai.”

The UAE’s female number one Majd Albalooshi said “Ping Pong Dubai is a community initiative at heart and it is really positive to see the emirate’s ongoing effort to promote the sport as an inclusive, fun and easy way to keep active.”

Ping Pong Dubai is a non-profit venture between the UAE Table Tennis Association, Dubai Sports Council, and Falcon and Associates, which facilitated Dubai’s sponsorship of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team until 2017.

Falcon and Associates Will Oscroft, Falcon and Associates’ director of marketing and communications, said “Dubai is committed to forging even closer ties with China across the economic and cultural arenas and sport is a fantastic way of achieving this.

 

 

 

 

 

NAIROBI

>>  Kenyans athletes keep focus on Guiyang World Cross in China

By Ding Xiaoxi

Three months before the world congregates in Guiyang, China for the World Cross Country Championships, Kenyan athletes are taking nothing for chance as they focus on the global competition.

Having broken on the senior ranks last year, Faith Chepng’etich, the Commonwealth Games 1,500m champion, is taking the war to her rivals doorsteps as she continue to dominate the Kenyan cross country circuit.

“It’s important to test my body and fitness against different opponents. I believe making the Kenyan team is more difficult than competing against the Ethiopians and Ugandans at the World Championships,” she said.

“China, Bahrain, U.S. and Eritrea are also capable of presenting tough opponents and that is why I have to be at my best form when we head to Guiyang on March 28.”

Chepng’etich beat her closest rivals former World Cross country champion Emily Chebet and Mercy Cherono in Sotik (west of Nairobi), but will not be resting on her laurels in the final 80 days in the count down to the World Cross Country event in Guiyang.

“Beating them was no bid surprise. Many of these athletes are just dusting off their rust after a break for the Christmas and New Year holidays. They will be different opponents when we meet at the national trials next month. It is there that I want to win and make the Kenya team,” she said.

Also keen to make impact in the Kenya team are African junior cross-country champion Agnes Tirop, 19, Caroline Kipkirui, Joyce Chepkirui and Gladys Cherono.

The World Cross country in Guiyang China will be the 41st edition and hopes to attract over 80 countries in the one-day event set for March 28.

The event will play as a curtain raiser and ground for athletes to gauge their endurance ahead of the World Championships which will be held in Beijing in August.

 

 

 

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

>>  China’s Dalian Aerbin eye Argentine playmaker Conca: reports

By Michael Place

Chinese club Dalian Aerbin have made an eight million-US-dollar bid to sign Argentine midfielder Dario Conca from Brazil’s Fluminense, local media reported on Tuesday of January 6.

The 31-year-old has been offered a monthly salary of 450,000 US dollars a month, according to the Uol news portal.

Dalian Aerbin will this year play in China’s second division after being relegated from the country’s top flight in 2014.

Conca is well known in China after a successful two-and-a-half years spell with Guangzhou Evergrande that ended in December 2013.

He returned to his former club Fluminense in January and scored 16 goals from 59 matches across all competitions in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Right timing for China-Latin America cooperation

By Cheng Zhuo

As the first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) prepares to open, the timing is right for China and Latin America to break new ground and promote cooperation in an all-round manner.

The two-day meeting, starting on January 8 in Beijing, will see representatives from China and CELAC meeting together with the heads of Latin American regional organizations.

The event is expected to push China-Latin America comprehensive cooperation to a new level.

The idea of this meeting was agreed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Latin America in July 2014. Xi and CELAC leaders announced the establishment of the cooperation forum and agreed to hold its first ministerial at as soon as it could be arranged.

Within only half a year, the agreement has entered into implementation phase and will mark a major achievement, a fact indicating that all participants involved are sincere and keen to promote the cooperation with this platform.

China values the development potential of Latin America, and it will also provide more opportunities to Latin America to take a ride on the Chinese “express train” of development.

Into the 21st century, China-Latin American trade has increased more than 20 times, from 12.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 261.6 billion dollars in 2013.

Cooperation between the two sides has also covered a broader field including technologies, education, infrastructure, finance and investment.

For China and Latin American and Caribbean states, who have similar development aspirations and are seeing eye to eye regarding their ties, the all-round cooperation, which features equality, mutual benefit and common development, just happens naturally.

The upcoming ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC forum will discuss guiding principles of cooperation, major cooperative areas and institution building.

The two sides will also use the forum for collective dialogue on politics, economics, trade and culture.

These efforts will further enrich the perspective of China-CELAC cooperation, bringing closer ties.

Moreover, it is also believed that the meeting will extend China’s collective cooperation mechanism to include all developing countries.

With consensus in mind and practical work in need, the China-Latin America cooperation, which covers about one-fifth of the world’s area and a quarter of the world’s population, will also make its unique contribution to world’s economy and international order.

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  HK to start second consultation on constitutional reform

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung announced on Tuesday of January 6 that the second round of public consultation on constitutional reform will start on January 7.

Speaking before the Executive Council meeting in the morning, Leung called on people to express their views on constitutional development but stay within the framework set out in the Basic Law and the relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

The Hong Kong government will use different ways to collect people’s opinions during the consultation, he said, hoping that a consensus could be reached in a legal, rational and pragmatic manner.

Leung noted that the first round of consultation had already laid out the foundations for the second phase which should be more focused and completed in a shorter time.

The chief executive made it clear that Hong Kong is a law- abiding city that will not tolerate illegal acts or attempts to pressure the Hong Kong government or the central government to accept any proposal that is not in accordance with the Basic Law.

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG 

>>  HK strives to expand stock connect: Chief Executive

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong Chief executive Leung Chun-ying said on Tuesday of January 6 that he will keep liaising with the Central authorities about launching the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Executive Council meeting in the morning, Leung said that Hong Kong plays a vital role in the country’s monetary reforms and the scheme would benefit both Hong Kong and the mainland’s financial development.

Leung added that economic development is important and can help improve people’s livelihoods and that the Hong Kong government will continue to strive for more development opportunities.

He also called on the local business and industrial sectors to seize the opportunities brought about by the development of Nansha and others such as Qianhai and Hengqin.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Central gov’t calls for peaceful, legal expression of appeals in HK

By Guo Likun

China’s State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office called for peaceful and legal expression of opinions in Hong Kong on Tuesday of January 6, saying the rule of law as Hong Kong’s core value must be safeguarded.

The remarks came after the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) submitted a report on the recent social and political conditions in the region to the office on Tuesday.

“Hong Kong is a society ruled by law,” the spokesperson said, “Everyone should express their appeals in a peaceful and legal way to safeguard this core value.”

It is advisable that appeals are expressed in line with rule of law and do not disrupt normal social order, the spokesperson said.

The office was aware of recent developments in HKSAR, the spokesperson stated, adding that reporting to the central government is an obligation of the chief executive’s under the Basic Law.

“We hope all circles in Hong Kong can engage in rational and pragmatic discussions and build consensus within the boundaries of the Basic Law and decisions adopted by the National People’s Congress [NPC] Standing Committee, so as to realize universal suffrage in the election of the region’s chief executive as scheduled,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson reiterated that the central government supported democratic development in the HKSAR in accordance with law.

An Aug. 31 decision made by the NPC Standing Committee on Hong Kong’s electoral system, the spokesperson said, was in line with the Constitution and the Basic Law and has heeded opinion from all walks of life in Hong Kong, thus, had “unshakable” legal status.

The NPC decision granted universal suffrage in selection of the HKSAR’s chief executive on the basis of nomination by a “broadly representative” committee.

The spokesperson said that the decision complies with the region’s actual condition and is conducive to safeguarding China’s national sovereignty, security and development as well as to the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  HK gov’t submits report on social situation

By Zhang Yashi

The Hong Kong government said on Tuesday of January 6 that the Task Force on Constitutional Development has submitted a report on the recent community and political situation in Hong Kong to the State Council’s Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office.

The report, submitted outside the “five-step” constitutional process, reflects truthfully the events related to constitutional development, and opinions and aspirations expressed by different sectors of the community from Aug. 31 to Dec. 15 last year in Hong Kong, according to the government’s Information Services Department.

The report covers relevant events and views obtained from public sources to the best of the government’s knowledge, including events relating to constitutional development during the report period; relevant statements made by various groups; and relevant opinion polls conducted by various organizations, said the Information Services Department.

Earlier, there were suggestions that the government could relay to the Central Authorities the opinions of different sectors of the community since the end of August last year regarding the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee’s decision on issues related to selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage and the method for forming the Legislative Council in 2016, as well as constitutional development in future.

The government noted that constitutional development has all along been an extremely controversial issue.

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  Hong Kong stocks close 0.99 pct lower

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong stocks closed down 235. 91 points, or 0.99 percent, to 23,485.41 points on Tuesday of January 6.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 23,312.50 and 23, 611.00. Turnover totaled 114.74 billion HK dollars (about 14.01 billion U.S. dollars).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 215.92 points, or 1. 77 percent, to close at 11,990.79.

All of the four sub-indices lost ground. The Finance sub-index dropped the most at 1.63 percent, followed by Properties at 1.47 percent, the Utilities at 0.73 percent, the Commerce & Industry at 0.07 percent.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, dropped 1.58 percent to close at 71.75 HK dollars. Its local unit Hang Seng Bank lowered 0.78 percent to 126. 90 HK dollars.

Bank of East Asia, another Hong Kong’s major bank, dropped 1.12 percent to 30.80 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEx edged up 0. 17 percent to 177.60 HK dollars.

Local developers closed down. Hang Lung Properties fell 1.39 percent to 21.25 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, fell 1.29 percent to 53.45 HK dollars.

Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, plunged 2.61 percent to 127 HK dollars. Sun Hung Kai Properties decreased 0.85 percent to 116.60 HK dollars.

Mainland-based financial stocks closed down. Bank of China fell 0.68 percent to 4.41 HK dollars. Bank of Communications sank 2.09 percent to 7.03 HK dollars. China Construction Bank lost 1.38 percent to 6.43 HK dollars. ICBC fell 1.55 percent to 5.71 HK dollars.

As for energy stocks, PetroChina rose 2.4 percent to 8.53 HK dollars. CNOOC dived 3.2 percent to 10.3 HK dollars. Sinopec moved down 1.89 percent to 6.24 HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.75 HK dollars)

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  Gold price closes higher in Hong Kong

By Zhang Yashi

The gold price in Hong Kong closed higher at 11,180 HK dollars per tael on Tuesday of January 6, up 100 HK dollars per tael from the previous trading day, according to the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society.

The price is equivalent to 1,210.93 U.S. dollars a troy ounce, up 10.83 U.S. dollars at the latest exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar against 7.75 HK dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese think tank launches recruitment after major reform

By Guo Likun and Yu Xiaojie

The Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), one of China’s top think tanks, has kicked off biennial recruitment of new members after major revisions to its charter.

Candidates will be nominated starting January 1, then go through two rounds of review by one of the CAE’s nine academic divisions before October, and secure their membership through a vote by the academy and a review by the presidium.

The CAE downplayed its new member recruitment launch this year, without holding press briefings as in previous years.

The CAE adopted an amended charter to cut administrative interference in its operations and correct a profit-chasing tendency in June of last year.

The new charter modified the CAE’s member nomination and exit mechanisms by depriving governments, universities and enterprises of nomination rights.

Nominating rights are now limited to incumbent members and academic groups.

The academy has since issued ten circulars to standardize recruitment of new members and supplement the charter.

According to these new rules, a candidate has to obtain three votes, including no fewer than two votes from members of the same CAE division, to be a viable nominee, and each incumbent member may nominate no more than three candidates.

Meanwhile, selection of new members now requires a vote by the whole academy, rather than just one of its divisions.

According to the new rules, the candidates should generally not be older than 65. Candidates may be above 65 if they are nominated by six CAE members, but those above 70 may only be nominated once.

Punishment, including losing the right to be nominated for life, will be handed out to those involved in election fraud, including falsified applications and using influence to gain votes, the CAE said.

The CAE, founded in 1994, has 802 members, who are often referred to as “academicians” in China, the highest academic title in the field of engineering.

The academy usually recruits members every two years. It accepted 51 members in 2013.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Three local officials probed for graft

By Wang Xiaopeng and Chen Fei

Three Chinese local officials have been indicted by prosecutors for taking bribes, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) on Tuesday of January 6.

Zhang Likui, former Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of the Zhengzhou Institute of Aeronautical Industry Management, is being probed by local prosecutors in Henan Province for taking bribes.

Lei Lingxiao, former head of the standing committee of Puyang municipal People’s Congress, is also being investigated by prosecutors in the province on suspicion of accepting bribes

Local prosecutors in Zhejiang Province have indicted Hong Jiaxiang, former publicity chief and member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Ningbo Municipal Committee, for taking bribes.

The three officials have been placed under “coercive measures.” According to China’s criminal procedure law, coercive measures include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China pushes for SIM card registration in crime crackdown

By Zhu Shaobin, Zhao Xiaohui, Zhang Xinxin and Gao Kang

China will intensify efforts to crackdown on crimes committed with unregistered SIM cards.

There are more than 130 million “black cards” in circulation at present, which refer to unregistered phone cards which are used in cell phones or provide wireless Internet services.

This, however, runs contradictory to a regulation passed by the government on September 1, 2013, which mandated that SIM cards must be registered with genuine identities.

China Mobile, the nation’s largest wireless service provider, said on Tuesday of January 6 that up to 16 percent of its users were unregistered, making it the major source of unregistered customers in the country compared to its competitors China Telecom and China Unicom.

The black cards could be used to spread pornographic content, engage in phone or text message scams and even organize terror activities. Without registration, black card users are more difficult to track by police, according to the Industry and Information Technology Ministry.

The Public Security Ministry said that the country reported 157,000 cases involving phone scams and the online sale of user information to third parties in 2014 alone, with 273,000 suspects arrested.

Chinese authorities will accelerate identity confirmation in order to prevent crimes through the year, according to a joint statement issued by the two ministries and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China to support civil litigation against environmental offenders

By Liu Lu and Luo Sha

China will offer more support to non-governmental organizations (NGO) to bring lawsuits against those who commit environmental violations, according to a judical interpretation issued on Tuesday by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC).

The SPC, together with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), also issued a circular to guarantee such litigation.

According to the judicial interpretation, which will come into effect on Wednesday, an NGO that protects the public interest and carries out environmental protection activities qualifies for recognition as an “environmental protection NGO.”

As of late September 2014, China had more than 700 environmental protection NGOs, according to the country’s regulations, said Liao Hong, an official with the MCA.

The judicial interpretation said that court charges should be reduced in public non-profit environmental litigation and shall be paid by the defendant if the plaintiff wins the lawsuit.

Environmental protection NGOs can also sue violators across the country, regardless of their registration region, said the judicial interpretation

Environmental protection NGOs that seek profits from litigation should be punished by their registered offices, it said.

After courts accept litigation, they should report it to relevant environmental protection organs within 10 days to investigate the case, it added.

Bie Tao, vice head of the policy and regulation division of the MEP, said that environmental protection organs will advise courts on handling cases.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s private financing to hit 18 trln in 2015

By Rong Jiaojiao and Li Yanxia

Aggregate private financing, a liquidity measure that sums up funds offered by China’s domestic suppliers, will amount to 18 trillion yuan (2.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015.

The figure is 13.6 percent up on last year, according to a report by the Bank of Communications (BOC) Tuesday, alongside a 12.5 percent expansion of M2.

The report predicted that new loans, the biggest part of social financing, will hit 11 trillion yuan in 2015, up 13.5 percent.

Net new financing by corporate bonds and stocks, the second largest source, is forecast to account for 20 percent of the total at 3.6 trillion yuan.

BOC chief economist Lian Ping predicted that interest rates will be cut by a small margin in the first half of 2015 but the required reserve ratio will be cut by 0.5-1.5 percentage points.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese shares extend gains

By Rong Jiaojiao

China’s shares continued to rise on Tuesday of January 6 after hitting their highest level in five-and-a-half years on the first trading day of 2015.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended at 3,351.45 points, up 0.03 percent.

The Shenzhen Component Index closed at 11,667.97 points, up 1.28 percent.

Total turnover on the two bourses shrank to 839.3 billion yuan (137.14 billion U.S. dollars) from 847.64 billion yuan seen on the previous trading day.

Software, media and infrastructure led gains Tuesday, helped by the news that China’s securities regulator allowed 20 companies’ applications for initial public offerings (IPOs) Monday.

Linewell Software surged by the daily limit of 10 percent to end at 28.66 yuan apiece and Avic Aircraft jumped 9.98 percent to end at 21.26 yuan.

Meanwhile, Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-earth Hi-tech lost 2.77 percent to end at 27.68 yuan, and China Minmetals Rare Earth tumbled 3.30 percent to end at 31.10 yuan, as the Commerce Ministry announced that China had ended the export quota system for rare earth minerals, which had been in place since 1998.

The ChiNext Index, China’s Nasdaq-style tracking board of growth enterprises, closed 5.1 percent higher at 1,539.83 points Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s express deliveries increase by 52 pct

By Zhu Shaobin and Zhao Wenjun

The total revenue of China’s express delivery market hit 204 billion yuan (33 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, up 42 percent, official data showed on Tuesday of January 6.

Businesses made 14 billion deliveries last year, the most in the world and 52 percent up from 2013, according to the State Post Bureau (SPB).

“From 1 billion deliveries in 2006 to 14 billion in 2014, the express delivery sector has grown quickly,” said Ma Junsheng, SPB chief.

China will help domestic express delivery companies expand overseas this year to support the cross-border online shopping market, Ma said.

China welcomes overseas couriers who wish to invest in the domestic market and provide management services.

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGCHUN

>>  Science graduates earn most in China: Report

By Fang Ning and Zhang Jian

New college graduates with degrees in science and technology services are receiving higher starting salaries than their peers in China, according to a survey by the Ministry of Education.

The monthly average starting salary of college graduates was 3,412 yuan (about 568 U.S. dollars) in 2014, with 68.21 percent of the surveyed students responding they were satisfied with the salary offered for their first jobs, according to Yang Xiaohui, chief researcher of the program.

The study surveyed 202,350 new graduates from 14 Chinese cities.

Among them, those who studied science and technology services earned the highest salary, or 4,674 yuan a month on average. The average starting salary for economics majors was 3,908 yuan.

The report also showed that Beijing offered the highest average monthly pay for the new job seekers at 4,338 yuan, which was followed by 4,226 yuan in Shanghai and 3,930 yuan in south China’s Guangdong Province.

Yang said job location, salary level and employers’ reputation are the three most considered factors for new college graduates in looking for their first jobs.

China’s employment situation is still “tough”, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his government work report delivered to the country’s top legislature in March, 2014.

The country is expected to see 7.49 million people graduate from college in 2015, the largest ever, a year on year increase of 3 percent. Helping them find a job will be a tremendous challenge.

In December, education minister Yuan Guiren asked universities and colleges to give more consideration to employment when making admission plans.

He also urged colleges to strengthen education of students on innovation and starting a business, allowing students to suspend from school to start their own businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Beijing city raises subsidies for scrapping polluting vehicles

By Sun Xiaozheng and Ni Yuanjin

Beijing car owners with emissions-heavy models can now earn more money from scrapping their vehicles after the city raised its subsidy for doing so by an average of 2,000 yuan (321.8 U.S. dollars), environmental protection authorities said on Tuesday of January 6.

According to the new plan, owners who used their vehicles for more than six years and disposed of the vehicles at least one year earlier can receive an average of 8,000 yuan subsidies. The highest subsidies for cars will reach 8,500 yuan, and 21,500 yuan for heavy duty diesel vehicles.

The plan is to be effective throughout 2015 and 2016.

Owners who trade in their old vehicles for new ones will receive another subsidy for purchasing new cars.

Old-vehicles used for more than 10 years with high pollutant emissions are still running on the road, said Li Kunsheng, with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

“They are the target of our pollution monitoring work,” he said.

The new plan is to be announced in detail soon, according to Li, and all vehicle-owners who scrapped their vehicles after Jan. 1 are qualified to apply for the new plan.

Beijing’s average PM2.5 density in 2014 dropped by four percent compared with 2013, but some pollutants rebounded, said the municipal environmental protection bureau earlier this week.

The average density of PM2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, was 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter in 2014, compared with 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013, the bureau said in a statement Sunday.

The reading was still 1.5 times higher than the national standard of 35, which was set by the State Council in 2012.

As part of efforts to curb pollution, Beijing reduced coal use by 2.6 million tonnes to keep it below 19 million tonnes. The capital also removed 476,000 outdated vehicles from roads and shut down about 375 factories in 2014.

In 2015, Beijing aims to cut PM2.5 index by around five percent and reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by six percent.

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

>>  Guangdong reports 2nd human H7N9 case in 2015

By Xiao Sisi and Li Baojie

South China’s Guangdong Province reported its second human infection of H7N9 bird flu of the new year on Tuesday of January 6.

A 36-year-old man in the city of Dongguan was confirmed infected with the H7N9 virus on Tuesday, the provincial health and family planning commission said in statement.

The man is in critical condition at a local hospital, it said.

On Monday, Shenzhen, a coastal city in Guangdong that borders Hong Kong, also reported a human infection of H7N9 bird flu as a six-year-old girl contracted the virus.

Authorities in Guangdong and Hong Kong last week culled thousands of chickens after exports to Hong Kong were found to be infected with the virus.

Hong Kong raised its response level in hospitals to “serious” from “alert”, after a 68-year-old woman was hospitalized on Dec. 25 with H7N9, the region’s first case since early 2014. The woman had arrived from Shenzhen two weeks before.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Foot-and-mouth disease found in east China

By Yu Wenjing and Fang Dong

Live pigs in east China’s Anhui Province have been found to be infected with foot-and-mouth disease, the Ministry of Agriculture announced on Tuesday of January 6.

The virus was detected in 556 live pigs in several farms in Maanshan City, 314 of which were dead on Jan. 2, and test results confirmed on Tuesday that the pigs were carrying the A-type virus, said the ministry.

All infected pigs and another 56 raised with them have been destroyed, and the epidemic contained, the ministry said.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China to boost potato cultivation

By Zhan Yan

China is boosting potato acreage to transform the crop into the country’s fourth staple food after rice, wheat and corn, said Yu Xinrong, vice minister of agriculture, at a seminar on Tuesday of January 6.

It is time for potatoes to become a staple food, given China’s rapid urbanization, and they can diversify the dinner table, said Wan Baorui, director of China’s state food and nutrition consultant committee.

The potato has been grown for about 400 years in China and now covers 5 million hectares in China, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Acreage will expand to 10 million hectares in the future to better safeguard the country’s grain supply, according to the ministry.

The country will see 50 billion kilograms of new food demand by 2020. China has a shortage of farmland and it is hard to improve the yield efficiency of wheat and rice, but it is easier to improve with potatoes, according to the ministry.

The country has set a “red line” minimum of 120 million hectares of cultivated land, but pressure on arable land is still great, largely due to rapid urbanization.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Railway police crack over 5,700 cases in one month

By Ren Ke

China’s railway police cracked more than 5,700 cases, including 81 criminal cases and 5,640 publicity security cases, since they launched a special campaign on December 7, they announced on Tuesday of January 6.

The police also confiscated 5 tonnes of stolen railway equipment and disbanded 138 illegal material collection spots. A total of 3,486 potential safety risks were rectified in the past month.

The campaign was aimed at addressing prominent issues in the country’s railway system, high-speed rail in particular, and safeguarding safety with the upcoming travel peak seen during the traditional Spring Festival in which hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel by train.

Rail police deployed more police officers for the campaign, strengthening patrol along railways and launching a thorough check of potential safety risks.

They have also coordinated with other departments to crack down on crimes involving stealing railway equipment. They also carried out publicity work in schools and enterprises and mobilized people to provide tip-offs for any violations.

The campaign will last until March 16.

 

 

 

 

 

KUNMING

>>  121 kg drugs seized in SW China

By Han Xiaojing and Wang Yan

Three drug smugglers have been arrested in Pu’er, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, with 121 kg of methamphetamine seized, local police said on Tuesday of January 6.

During an investigation in December, anti-drug police in Menglian County, Pu’er city, discovered a group of drug dealers had been purchasing methamphetamine from Myanmar and planned to sell it in China.

Three suspects were seized in Lincang city on Jan. 3 when transporting the drugs, police said.

The case is under further investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  25 jailed for food, drug safety cases in north China

By Qi Leijie and Li Baojie

Twenty-five people were given sentences terms ranging from six months to 20 years in 11 food and drug safety cases in north China’s Hebei Province on Tuesday of January 6.

Song Hexin was sentenced to 20 years for selling 322 tonnes of toxic industrial gelatin as edible between 2007 and 2012, a district court in Cangzhou said. The court also confiscated all his personal property.

Another two senior managers of the company were sentenced to nine years.

In another case involving the sale of fake diabetes drugs, the two defendants were also sentenced to nine years in prison.

 

 

 

 

 

WUHAN

>>  China discovers earliest musical instruments

By Yu Pei and Bai Xu

A cluster of musical instrument, believed the earliest in China, have been discovered in central China’s Hubei Province.

Archaeologists found a broken Se (a twenty-five-stringed plucked instrument similar to the guzheng) and the frame of a Bianzhong set (bronze chimes) in tombs which could date back to more than 2,700 years ago.

Zhang Xiang of the Hubei provincial institute of cultural relics and archaeological research, said the tombs were built in the late Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C.-771 B.C.) or the Spring and Autumn Period (771 B.C.- 476 B.C). They had been robbed and had collapsed.

“Only half of the Se remains, but we can see clearly holes on it for cords,” he said. “It is the earliest discovered in China. Delicately made, it demonstrates the high musical level of China 27 centuries ago.”

A 4.7-meter beam and seven pieces of chime bases decorated with dragon and phoenix patterns, symbols of royalty in China, were also excavated.

“We have never found such large Bianzhong sets before,” said Fang Qin, head of the institute.

The graveyard where the tombs are located covers more than a square kilometer. Archaeologists also found 400 pieces of bronze, some pottery, and 27 horse-drawn carts.

 

 

 

 

 

KUNMING

>>  Wire fault blamed for ancient tower-destroying fire

By Li Laifang and Ji Zhepeng

An electrical wire fault was blamed for a fire that destroyed a 600-year-old tower on Saturday in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, investigators said on Tuesday of January 6.

The wire fault ignited nearby flammable materials in the southeastern corner at the top of Gongchen Tower, an ancient city gate tower in Weishan County.

The fire quickly engulfed the historic structure and burned it down. The fire was put out two hours later and did not cause any casualties.

Built in 1390 during China’s Ming Dynasty, the tower is listed as a key cultural protection site in Yunnan Province.

Yin Junhua, head of a local music troupe that performs in the tower, is being questioned by police.

A team of experts will be assembled to assess the damage to the tower, said the local government. Reconstruction will begin following approvals.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s influence in global film market expanding: report

By Liu Tong and Zhou Wei

China is not only more capable of withstanding the impact of Hollywood, but is expanding its influence overseas, said a report on Tuesday of January 6.

The report, by China’s domestic film industry research firm Entgroup, said that some 29.6 billion yuan (4.76 billion U.S. dollars) were generated by 388 films screened China last year, 36 percent up on 2013, achieved in a sluggish market while North America registered a 6 percent drop.

The report said the quality of China’s homegrown films is improving fast, with 54.5 percent of the total box office generated by domestic products. This success of domestic film comes even after the import movie quota was expanded from 20 to 34 in 2012, and regardless of the success of “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction,” the highest-grossing film in China.

The biggest threat to China’s film industry is not Hollywood blockbusters because, “even if the quota is lifted, what audiences will see will be second and third class products.”

“What domestic filmmakers need to do is to improve their own quality, particularly making more ‘high-concept’ movies,” the report said.

Entgroup estimates that China’s film industry generated more than 50,000 jobs both directly and indirectly in 2014; an output of 68.7 billion yuan.

China is the main engine of the global box office with 75 percent of the annual increment from China. The domestic market is exerting a subtle influence globally, with all six Hollywood studios opening offices in China.

European directors are turning to China rather than of Hollywood, said the report, citing French director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Wolf Totem,” a co-production between China and France.

As of the end of 2014, ten countries have co-production agreements with China.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Jackie Chan’s son to be tried in public for drug charge

By Han Xiaojing, Tu Ming a nd Xiong Lin

Jaycee Chan, son of Chinese kung fu star Jackie Chan, will be tried in public on Friday for a drug-related crime, the Dongcheng District People’s Court in Beijing announced on Tuesday of January 6.

On Aug. 14, 2014, Beijing police detained multiple people for drug offences, including Chan and Taiwan movie star Ko Chen-tung.

Chan and Ko tested positive for marijuana and both admitted to having taken the drug. Police seized more than 100 grams of marijuana from Chan’s home.

The People’s Procuratorate of Dongcheng District filed charges against Chan on Dec. 22 for providing a venue for drug users.

According to Chinese law, the maximum sentence for this crime is three years in prison as well as a fine.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Natural disasters kill 1,583 in 2014

By Liu Tong and Huang Xiaoxi

Natural disasters claimed 1,583 lives and left another 235 missing in China in 2014, authorities said on Tuesday of January 6.

Disasters affected 244 million people and displaced some 6 million, said the Civil Affairs Ministry and the National Committee for Disaster Reduction in a joint statement. The statement also said “losses caused by disasters were less than in previous years.”

Disasters resulted in direct economic losses of 337.4 billion yuan (54.2 billion U.S. dollars), less than 580.84 billion yuan the previous year.

Some 450,000 houses were destroyed and more than 3.5 million damaged. Disasters affected nearly 24.89 million hectares (ha) of farmland, with over 3 million ha yielding no crops at all.

The statement said all indicators measuring natural disasters were down, with the number of missing people and destroyed homes down by 80 percent compared with the average of the years between 2000 to 2013.

But strong earthquakes in west China still caused heavy losses, the statement cited 22 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or above and six of magnitude 6 or above. A 6.5 magnitude quake that hit Ludian in the southwest province of Yunnan on Aug. 3 had the third-highest death toll, , resulting in 617 deaths, after Wenchuan in 2008, and Yushu in 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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