China to streamline administration of scientific programs








>>  China, U.S. discuss economic fugitives

By Hu Longjiang and Zou Wei

Judicial authorities from China and the United States on Thursday of January 15 discussed cooperation in the hunt for fugitives and asset recovery.

The discussion was organized by China’s Ministry of Public Security and brought together representatives from China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate; its ministries of supervision, foreign affairs and justice; and the U.S. Department of Justice; and Internal Revenue Service of the Department of the Treasury.

The meeting aimed to step up efforts to capture Chinese fugitives hiding in the United States. It will last until Friday, with a focus on laws and evidence hand-over.

China has reinforced its hunt for economic fugitives, including many corrupt officials suspected of graft. Last year’s “Fox Hunt 2014″ operation saw 680 such offenders brought to task.

However, China has yet to pen an extradition pact with either the United States or Canada, two very attractive places for suspected economic fugitives to hide.

The Ministry of Public Security said it would conduct more talks with U.S. law enforcement authorities this year, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.







>>  Delta to start daily nonstop service between Los Angeles and Shanghai

By Xue Ying

Delta Airlines announced on Wednesday of January 14 that it plans to start daily nonstop service on July 9 between Los Angeles International Airport and Shanghai Pudong Airport.

The plan still needs to be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Chinese government, the U.S. company said.

The start of Shanghai service will mark Delta’s fourth daily nonstop flight to the Asia-Pacific region in addition to Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda and Sydney.

A 291-seat Boeing 777-200LR aircraft will be used on the route.

Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 5,400 flights daily and serve an extensive domestic and international network that includes 333 destinations in 64 countries on six continents, as of June 2014.

Headquartered in Atlanta, it employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and serves nearly 165 million customers each year.







>>  Delta to open direct airway between LA, Shanghai

By Zhang Chaoqun

U.S. Delta Air Lines announced on Wednesday of January 14 that it plans to begin daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport on July 9, pending approvals from U.S. Department of Transportation and foreign governments concerned.

The Los Angeles market makes up 25 percent of all U.S.-Asia demand, and the start of Shanghai service will mark Delta’s fourth daily nonstop flight to the Asia-Pacific region in addition to Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda and Sydney.

The new airway will bring the number of Delta’s flights to Shanghai to 42 per week, in addition to those departing from Detroit, Seattle, and Tokyo, according to report from USA Today.

Delta’s Los Angeles-Shanghai flight will connect customers to more than 25 cities in China, while the Los Angeles-bound flight will offer connections to 40 markets throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

A 291-seat Boeing 777-200LR aircraft will be used on the route.







>>  China demands fair bidding environment on Mexican HSR link

By Bai Jie

China on Thursday of January 15 responded to Mexico’s relaunch of bidding for its first high-speed railway, calling for a fair, competitive system.

A Chinese-led consortium, including the China Railway Construction Corporation and several Mexican firms, had their original winning bid rejected in November, but will bid for the project again.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told a daily press briefing in Beijing that China has always supported its enterprises with high capabilities and a good reputation when participating in infrastructure cooperation projects abroad.

“We hope Chinese enterprises will cooperate with Mexico this time on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win, and that the cooperation will promote the development and benefit both sides,” Hong said.

“We also hope Mexico can provide a fair competitive environment for all who participate the bid,” Hong added.

Mexico on Wednesday reopened bidding for its first high-speed railway, two months after the Chinese-led bid was abruptly canceled.

Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transport on November 6 announced to annul the 4.4-billion-U.S.-dollar deal due to public concerns about the bidding process.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed his regret over the Mexican decision when he met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Nov. 11in Beijing.

He asked the Mexican government to “fairly” treat Chinese enterprises investing in the country and achieve early, substantive results from relevant cooperation.

Mexico said bidders need to submit tenders by July 14 and the winner will be announced on July 31.








>>  Chinese polar vessel to visit Kiwi city Christchurch

By John Macdonald

China’s icebreaker and polar research vessel Xue Long will make a resupply visit to New Zealand ‘s second city of Christchurch on Friday of January 16, said local officials.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said Xue Long’s visit is significant for Christchurch.

“As one of only five gateway cities to Antarctica in the world, Christchurch has become a logistics hub for national and international programs and therefore our international relationships and strong historic connection with Antarctica is a top priority for Christchurch,” Dalziel said in a statement.

The Xue Long, Snow Dragon in English, would dock in the Kiwi city for three days for refueling and cargo transfer after traveling through the Southern Ocean from Antarctica’s Ross Sea region.







>>  Asia-Pacific lawmakers vow to strengthen cooperation, common development

By Liang Junqian

Legislators from Asia-Pacific nations on Wednesday of January 14 vowed to strengthen cooperation and jointly facilitate common development in the region.

The pledge was made at the end of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito.

The four-day conference, attended by 187 delegates from 17 countries, adopted a joint communique and 18 resolutions covering various issues such as disaster prevention, climate change, gender equality, cyber security, as well as combating cross-border organized crime and terrorism.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Gabriela Rivadeneira, president of Ecuador’s National Assembly and chair of the annual event, said it’s essential to generate, among member nations of the forum, “even closer inter-parliamentary dialogue based on mutual recognition and solidarity.”

“Sharing the experiences and strengthening the ties of our parliaments will allow us to enrich our understanding of common problems,” she said.

Zhang Baowen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China, led the Chinese delegation in the forum. He called for closer inter-parliamentary cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region in his keynote speech at the meeting.

Zhang said that all member countries should cherish the hard-won peaceful environment and make due efforts to maintain regional peace and stability by advocating a new security concept, promoting regional economic integration, abiding by international law and basic principles of international relations, and building enduring mechanism for peace.

Established in Tokyo in 1993, the forum aims to promote greater cooperation among legislative bodies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Canadian city of Vancouver will host the 24th annual meeting of the APPF in 2016.







>>  Thai railway project to commence in September: minister

By Zhang Chunxiao

Thailand has tentatively decided to begin building its first standard-gauge railways in cooperation with China in September, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said on Thursday of January 15.

Two dual-track rail lines, with a total length of more than 800 km, will be built to connect northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.

The entire project is divided into four sections, and work on the first two sections, which span 133 km and 246 km respectively, will start in September and conclude in December 2017, Prajin was quoted by Bangkok Post as saying.

The third and fourth sections, totaling 493 km, are expected to commence in December this year and ends in March 2018, he added.

Thai and Chinese officials will meet to talk about details of the plan and other issues, according to the minister.

The first round of meetings between the two sides will take place next week and center on plans to survey the route and related studies.

The second round, scheduled for early February, will focus on financial and investment issues, while the third in late February will discuss the partnership between Thai and Chinese companies, Prajin said.







>>  China, Myanmar to increase exchange on timber legality verification system

China and Myanmar have agreed to increase exchange on timber legality verification system to serve as a basis for establishing a bilateral agreed timber legality scheme to regulate and promote legal and sustainable timber trade between the two countries, said the website of the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar on Thursday of January 15.

The two sides agreed on the move at a closed-door informal dialogue during a seminar on timber governance and legality system in China and Myanmar held in Nay Pyi Taw Wednesday.

The both sides also discussed issues of the implementation, compliance and awareness of legality system as well as the potential to establish joint wood-processing industrial zones in Myanmar, said the website.

The seminar serves as a kick-off meeting for the “Myanmar-China Timber Governance Project” which will explore a range of concrete collaborative activities, including enhancing the capacity of Chinese customs officials to identify specific guidelines on responsible forest investment to guide Chinese companies’ investment behaviors in Myanmar.







>>  First edition of Chinese version of ECS Nepal magazine unveiled

By Santosh Ghimire

The first edition of the ECS Nepal magazine in Chinese language was launched here Thursday.

Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chutai unveiled the first edition of the quarterly magazine amid a function held at Hotel Annapurna on Thursday afternoon of January 15.

“China and Nepal are very good friends and neighbors. The feelings and spirit of the Chinese and Nepalese are similar,” Wu said.

The ambassador expressed the hope that bilateral cooperation in various areas including tourism would be expanded.

“Both countries are going to celebrate 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015. This magazine can help promote bilateral relations so that more Chinese people know about Nepal,” the ambassador said.

Coordinator of the Nepal Tourism Year 2011 and pioneer tourism entrepreneur of Nepal, Yogendra Shakya, said that China’s aid to Nepal is important for the country to be uplifted from the current Least Developing Country (LDC) category to a developing country status by 2022.

The Chinese version of the ECS Nepal will be published four times a year by the ECS Media. ECS NEPAL is a popular culture and lifestyle magazine being published in English language.







>>  China, Equatorial Guinea vow to enhance cooperation, political trust

By Wu Baoshu

China will further promote cooperation with Equatorial Guinea in energy and other fields and create more win-win achievements, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday of January 14 after a meeting with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in the port city of Bata.

Wang said China cherishes the traditional friendship with Equatorial Guinea, and is willing to further consolidate political trust and enhance cooperation.

China will promote the cooperation with Equatorial Guinea in energy and other fields, and tap the potential for agriculture and marine economy cooperation, Wang said.

He also suggested the two countries enhance coordination in regional and international affairs.

Calling China Equatorial Guinea’s “true and good friend,” Obiang said his country is committed to further deepening mutually beneficial cooperation.

Equatorial Guinea hopes to get China’s continual support and assistance in its industrialization and economic transformation, said Obiang, adding that he expected China to play a bigger role in helping Africa to achieve security and development.

Equatorial Guinea is the fouth stop of Wang’s African trip, which has already taken him to Kenya, Sudan and Cameroon.







>>  China hopes for a comprehensive deal on Iran

By Wang Huihui

China on Thursday of January 15 expressed willingness to facilitate a comprehensive agreement in the upcoming Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva.

Wang Qun, director-general of the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will lead a delegation to the Geneva talks on Jan. 18, the ministry’s spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily briefing.

Iran and the P5+1, including China, France, Russia, Britain, the United States, and Germany, will continue to negotiate a comprehensive deal on resolving the Iranian nuclear issue.

Resolving the Iranian nuclear issue at an early date will have a far-reaching positive impact on maintaining international non-proliferation and the situation in the Middle East, Hong said.

Hong said negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 are hastening their talks on a comprehensive agreement through bilateral and multilateral channels.

“China is willing to work with all parties involved to focus on major problems and facilitate a package solution and a win-win comprehensive agreement in a step by step manner,” the spokesman said.

Western states suspect Iran has been developing atomic weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear plan, while Iran dismisses the allegation, saying its nuclear program is solely peaceful and the allegation is baseless.

Under an interim deal between Iran and the P5+1 on Nov. 24, 2013, Iran said it would suspend some sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for limited relief of sanctions, with all sides seeking a comprehensive deal by July 20.

But talks throughout the year failed to reach a comprehensive agreement. Tehran and world powers have agreed to extend the negotiations to July this year.







>>  China hopes Palestine, Israel build trust, resume negotiations: envoy

By Ni Hongmei

A Chinese envoy to the United Nations on Thursday of January 15 called on Palestine and Israel to build confidence in peace and resume talks as soon as possible.

“The stalled peace talks will inevitably bring about intensified conflicts and bring both Palestine and Israel into the vicious cycle of violence against violence,” Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN, made the remarks at an open debate of the Security Council.

“China hopes that Palestine and Israel will consolidate their confidence in peace, stick to the strategic option of peace talks and take measures to rebuild mutual trust,” Liu said.

China called on Israel to stop settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory, stop dismantling Palestinian housing, completely lift its blockade against the Gaza Strip and transfer the withheld tax revenue to Palestine so as to create the necessary conditions to re-launch the peace talks, Liu stressed, adding that “the reasonable security concerns of Israel should also be addressed.”

The peace process between Palestine and Israel has been stalled since the last round of peace talks collapsed in April 2014. In December, the UN Security Council failed to adopt a Palestinian- backed resolution urging Israel to end occupation by the end of 2017. Palestine then started process to join international organizations, including the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Earlier this month, Israel decided to withhold tax revenue it collects on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf as a punitive measure.

“China hopes that Palestine and Israel will meet each other half way and resume negotiations as early as possible so as to promote an early and proper settlement of the question of Palestine,” he said.

The envoy said the Palestinian issue is the core of the Middle East issue and that its protracted absence of settlement “can lead to more violence and extremism in the region.”

He called on the international community to “have the sense of urgency,” strengthen coordination, explore all possibilities and form synergy so as to bring Palestine and Israel back to the track of peace talks.

Liu also said the Security Council should respond as early as possible to the call of Palestine, Arab states and international community by effectively undertaking responsibilities and playing an effective role in promoting peace talks, ending occupation and promoting the rebuilding of Gaza and taking action to promote progress in the question of Palestine.

He reiterated that China supports the endeavor of the Palestinian people to establish on the basis of the 1967 border an independent statehood with full sovereignty and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“We support Palestine and Israel in enjoying common peace and security. China has been exploring through its own ways and means all possibilities to talk to the parties concerned to promote peace talks,” said Liu, adding that China is ready to strengthen cooperation with the international community so as to play a greater role in pushing for settlement of the Palestinian issue.







>>  Japan’s attempts to deny aggression undermine its credit: Chinese FM

By Qian Chunxian

China on Thursday said Japan’s denials of its wartime atrocities erode its international standing.

“It is irrefutable that the Nanjing Massacre was a cruel crime that the Japanese militarists committed during Japan’s war on China. Any attempts to overturn its aggression past only erode Japan’s international credit,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at the daily press briefing on Thursday of January 15.

Hong’s comments came one day after Kyodo quoted the Japanese government sources as saying Japan told China in late December that it was not appropriate for Chinese President Xi Jinping to state that the number of victims of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre totaled “300,000.”

The Nanjing Massacre was one of three major massacres during WWII. It was an atrocious anti-human crime and a dark page in the history of humanity, Xi said on Dec. 13 last year when he addressed a state commemoration for China’s first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims.

“We urge Japan to correct its attitude and honor its commitment to face up to and reflect on its aggressive past,” Hong said.

Japanese troops captured Nanjing, then China’s capital, on Dec. 13 of 1937 and started a 40-odd-day slaughter. More than 300,000 Chinese soldiers, who had laid down their arms, and civilians were murdered and over 20,000 women were raped.







>>  China means great opportunities instead of threat: Japanese business owner

By Yan Lei and Ma Xinghua

China’s fast development is not a threat to Japan, but provides great opportunities for Japanese enterprises, Tadayuki Yoshitani, head of Niitaka Seisakusho Co., Ltd., a small or medium-sized enterprise in western Japan, has said.

Headquartered in Osaka, Niitaka Seisakusho has a history of 83 years and mainly manufactures and sells metal parts for buildings in Japan. It has factories both in Japan and in China.

Talking about the so-called “China Threat” theory, Yoshitani said that he does not believe the fast development of China is a threat. Instead, he considers it as great business opportunities for Japan.

“My own company has benefited a lot from the development of Sino-Japanese economic ties. As Chinese economy develops, there will be bigger scope and potential for us to cooperate with Chinese enterprises,” he said.

Five years ago, Niitaka Seisakusho set up a factory in Kunshan city of China’s Jiangsu province, manufacturing metal parts such as water-proof sluice gate and aluminum shutters for Japan. Now the factory’s annual gross output value has reached about 100 million yen, or 849,000 U.S. dollars.

The company also imports about 100 million yen’s worth of metal parts for buildings from Guangdong province, China to Japan annually.

Yoshitani attributed part of the company’s success in China to the hard work of its Chinese employees. “Chinese associates are smart, conscientious and hard-working, a great help for our company to make progress in China,” he said.

Currently, three out of 15 regular employees in the company’s headquarters were from China. One of them has worked for the company for 13 years.

Yoshitani said he has witnessed fast development and great changes in China, as well as the development of Sino-Japanese economic ties.

As early as 1974, 34-year-old Yoshitani visited China with a 400-member youth delegation from Osaka, traveling to cities such as Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing. He developed a special interest in China since then and started reading books about Chinese history.

In the early 1990s, the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an economic organization in Kansai region of Japan, started to provide trainings to small and medium-sized enterprises for exploiting Chinese market. Taking advantage of such training programs, Yoshitani prepared to set foot on Chinese market.

According to Yoshitani, he has visited China for dozens of times and kept learning more about the Chinese language and culture. His interest in China pays well.

“My company plans to recruit two more Chinese employees this year. We hope to expand our business in China,” he said.







>>  Vietnam hopes to further promote ties with China: official

By Anh

Vietnam highly appreciates the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation with China and hopes to join hands with China to further promote a stable, healthy and sustainable relationship for the fundamental and long- term benefits of both sides, a Vietnamese official said on Thursday of January 15.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the remarks at a reception held by the Chinese Embassy to mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and China.

China was the first country in the world forging diplomatic relations with Vietnam on Jan. 18, 1950, Minh said, adding that in the past 65 years, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the friendship and cooperation between the two parties and two nations have been strengthening.

The Communist Party of Vietnam, the state and the Vietnamese people always remember the valuable support of China in their struggle for national independence, he said.

Chinese Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong said the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government attach great importance to the development of China-Vietnam ties. China is willing to elevate their bilateral relations to a new height on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of ties.

The two sides will further promote high-level exchanges of visits, deepen pragmatic cooperation, build a new pattern of joint development and common prosperity, and strengthen people-to-people exchanges, said Hong.

Both sides should continue to unswervingly enhance friendly relations between the two peoples, tap the potentials for mutually beneficial cooperation and jointly safeguard the right direction in developing bilateral ties, he added.







>>  Sri Lanka’s new PM assures continued cooperation with China

By Uditha

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has promised continued cooperation with China during his meeting with the Chinese ambassador, a press release from the Chinese Embassy said here on Thursday of January 15.

Sri Lanka attaches great importance to developing relations with China, and is willing to further strengthen bilateral pragmatic cooperation in various fields for mutual benefits and win-win results, said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who took office on Friday.

Sri Lanka encourages more Chinese companies to invest and do their business in Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe said when meeting with Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao on Wednesday.

The prime minister recalled that the friendly relations between China and Sri Lanka have withstood the test of time.

Ambassador Wu said China is willing to further develop its ties with Sri Lanka based on bilateral agreements and consensus.







>>  Winner of China-Mongolia wrestling championship to pocket 500g gold

By Yu Jia

A wrestling championship designed for Chinese and Mongolian wrestlers will kick off on Saturday of January 17 in Xilinhot, a pastoral city of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Eight wrestlers from China and Mongolia each will be taking part, with the champion to be awarded 500 grams of gold. Meanwhile, every other wrestler’s bonus is a gold coin worth of 5,000 yuan (about 805 U.S. dollars).

Wrestling is one of the Mongolian traditional sports. Before the start of a contest, traditional hymn would be sung to encourage wrestlers.







>>  Geese use “roller coaster” strategy to fly over Himalayas: study

By Lin Xiaochun

An international team of researchers studying the migration of bar-headed geese in the Himalayan Mountains revealed on Thursday of January 15 that the birds hug the terrain as they fly, riding the peaks and valleys like the hills and dips of a roller coaster.

This unexpected flight pattern, described in the U.S. journal Science, may help the geese conserve more energy than if they were to fly steadily at extreme altitudes over 7,000 meters.

The study, including researchers from Britain, Mongolia, Canada, Australia, Germany and the United States, implanted devices in the geese to monitor their heart rate, abdominal temperature and pressure as well as body movements during their southern migration from their breeding grounds in Mongolia to their wintering grounds in south-eastern Tibet, China or India.

Previously, it was commonly assumed that the geese would fly to high altitudes relatively easily and then remain there during their flights, possibly benefiting from a tailwind.

Instead, the new study showed that the geese tend to fly closest to the ground when traversing the mountains, although this means repeatedly shedding hard-won altitude only subsequently to regain height later in the same flight.

The birds adopt this roller coaster strategy because the decreasing air density at progressively higher altitudes reduces their ability to produce the lift and thrust required to maintain flight, the team said.

The birds would also face the problem of reduced oxygen availability if they were to fly at high altitudes as atmospheric oxygen concentrations fall from 21 percent at sea level to about 10.5 percent at 5,500 meters and about seven percent at the top of Mt. Qomolangma, also known as Mt. Everest.

Wingbeat frequency increased at higher altitudes as bar-headed geese strive to move through the thinner air, the study showed.

An increase in wingbeat frequency would then result in an exponential elevation in heart rates and estimated metabolic power, suggesting that it would cost the birds too much energy to maintain horizontal flight at high altitudes, it said.

The team was also surprised to find that, very occasionally, bar-headed geese were flying in air updrafts created by the mountains.

“This would give them the best opportunity to obtaining assistance from wind that is deflected upwards by the ground ( known as orographic lift), thus, providing additional rates of ascent with either a reduction in their energetic costs or at least no increase,” co-author Pat Butler, professor of the University of Birmingham, said in a statement.

While previous studies show that these birds may be capable of flying over 7,000 meters, 98 percent of the new observations show them flying below 6,000 meters.

“Our highest single records were of birds flying briefly at 7290 meters and 6540 meters and seven of the highest eight occurred during the night,” said co-author Lucy Hawkes of the University of Exeter, explaining that flying at night would reduce the cost of flight compared to the daytime because the air is colder and denser.

Overall, it’s more efficient for the birds to fly low to the ground and to lose and regain altitude, the team said.

Given that energetic costs are thought to increase with body mass and that bar-headed geese are heavier than 98 percent of bird species, “it is particularly impressive that these birds are able to migrate across the world’s highest land massif while remaining comfortably within their physiological capabilities,” the team wrote.







>>  China’s manned sub collects mysterious deep-see living beings in Indian Ocean

By Zhang Xudong

China’s manned deep sea submersible, the Jiaolong, collected 17 items of deep-sea living beings from the seabed of the southwestern Indian Ocean on Wednesday of January 14, and two of them were unknown for scientists aboard the vessel.

With a size similar to a regular sea cucumber, the first mysterious creature broke into three parts when it was taken to the vessel.

Since the living being was transparent, scientists could see its blue and brown viscera clearly.

“This might be a special kind of sea cucumber, but we need to make sure after further analysis in labs,” said Lu Bo, a scientist with the Second Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administration.

Looking like a small pink snake, the second weird creature, which is 330 centimeters long and three centimeters wide, is completely unknown for the scientists.

Two bubbles appeared in its body, due to pressure change, said the scientists.

“These two living beings might be new species but we can’t be certain with limited tools and data on the ship,” Lu Bo said.

Additionally, the Jiaolong gathered 15 deep-sea shrimps, water and sulfide weighing 6.9 kilograms.

Reaching the maximum depth of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012, the Jiaolong is on a 120-day expedition to study polymetallic sulfide, biological diversity, hydrothermal microbes and genetic resources in the southwest Indian Ocean.






>>  Chinese authorities study Xi’s anti-corruption instructions

By Hu Longjiang

China’s top legislature, along with other authorities, convened on Thursday of January 15 to study President Xi Jinping’s latest anti-corruption instructions.

Xi delivered a speech to the fifth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Tuesday, stressing adherence to party rules and calling for continued corruption eradication efforts.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee told all legislators that they must follow Xi’s instructions and strictly adhere to party discipline to fulfill their Constitutional duties.

The meeting was presided over by Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.

At a meeting of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body, advisors were told the implementation of Xi’s instructions was an “important political task”.

They must be self-disciplined and safeguard unity within the party and follow the central authorities, led by Xi, according to the meeting, which was presided over by Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee.

The Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate also held meetings to study the president’s speech, both vowing relentless punishment of corrupt officials.







>>  President Xi confident of China’s nuclear power future

By Fu Shuangqi

President Xi Jinping on Thursday of January 15 pledged that China will sharpen the competitive edge of its nuclear industry, which has seen healthy growth over the past six decades.

The country will adhere to peaceful and safe use of nuclear power, said Xi in written comments marking the 60th anniversary of the beginning of China’s nuclear projects.

Nuclear industry is “an important foundation for national security”, Xi said.

The industry has contributed a lot to economic development and national security, he said.

Currently China has 22 operational nuclear power units, with a total generation capacity of 20.1 million kw, while 26 are under construction, which — once operational — will have an additional capacity of 28 million kw.

Premier Li Keqiang commented that the government encouraged domestic nuclear power equipment producers to explore the overseas market.

The government will keep a close eye on the safety of nuclear facilities and related policies, Li said.

“We will work hard to build the country into a powerful nuclear industry player,” he said.

In January 1955, China kicked off a number of nuclear projects. In 1964, the country successfully tested its first A-bomb and then the first H-bomb in 1967.

Since the late 1970s, the focus of nuclear projects shifted to civilian use. In 1991, the first nuclear power plant started operation in east China’s Zhejiang Province.







>>  Highlighting Party rules to discourage cliques, factions

By Li Huizi

China’s anti-graft roadmap for 2015 underscores the importance of Party discipline and rules, which experts believe is to discourage those forming cliques and factions within the Communist Party.

“Party officials, especially senior ones, must observe Party rules,” said a communique issued after the fifth plenary session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which ended on Wednesday of January 14.

Stressing Party rules as the bottom line, the CCDI demanded senior officials toe the line and warned that the CPC will not tolerate cronyism nor allow fakery and sycophancy.

It warned senior Party officials against breaking Party rules and conspiring together for private interests.

Laws govern a country, while rules and discipline manage Party officials, said Ma Huaide, vice president of the China University of Political Science.

In China, Party rules are the law within the CPC. More than 86 million Party members must abide by both the law and the Party rules.

Party rules encompass discipline as well as CPC traditions, some of which are “unwritten rules,” Ma said. Running the Party according to rules reflects the Party’s resolution of tightening up internal management.

Addressing the CCDI plenum on Tuesday, President Xi Jinping demanded discipline and rules move to a more important position, declaring Party rules an important test of loyalty for members.

Xi said the atmosphere of discipline and rules must be systemic within the whole Party, and “leading cadres, especially senior leading cadres, must play an exemplary role.”

During the CPC Central Committee’s plenary meeting last October, Xi said some Party members disregarded discipline and rules by engaging themselves in collusion and cronyism, “forming cliques and factions or even creating rumors.”

Gao Bo, deputy secretary-general of the Clean Government Studies Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Xi had repeatedly stressed the importance of rules and discipline because of violations by party cadres in the past.

“If the party was a house, the rules are the beams and frames. Without the rules, the building is only a castle in the sky,” Gao said.

Ma said Party rules are stricter than laws. Party membership means one should always demand high standards and discipline of oneself all the time. For example, the CPC does not allow the existence of “naked officials” whose family have moved overseas, to prevent corrupt officials fleeing overseas.

Moreover, Party members are not allowed to hold lavish banquets and accept costly gifts, according to the CPC’s frugality rules.

Immoral behavior, such as adultery, will also lead to warnings and punishment for Party members.

China’s fierce anti-corruption campaign in 2014 saw a number of high profile cases that shocked the country, including high-ranking state officials such as Zhou Yongkang, Xu Caihou, Ling Jihua and Su Rong.

According to the CCDI, cases involving 68 high-level officials are under investigation or have been closed.







>>  Senior official attends Party School graduation ceremony

By Hu Longjiang

Senior Communist Party of China (CPC)leader Liu Yunshan attended a graduation ceremony at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee on Thursday of January 15.

Liu, president of the school and member of the CPC Central Committee’s Standing Committee of the Political Bureau, presented diplomas to the 828 graduates of the school’s 2014 Fall semester.

The school trains existing or potential CPC or government officials.

He Yiting, the school’s executive vice president, called on the graduates to continue to learn from President Xi Jinping’s latest anti-corruption instructions, be loyal to the party and serve the people.







>>  Chinese army urged to follow central leadership

By Liu Tong

The negative impact in the wake of former Central Military Commission (CMC) vice chairman Xu Caihou’s corruption case needs to be eliminated and the army must follow the Party central leadership, Fan Changlong, the current CMC vice chairman said on Thursday of January 15.

“The impact of Xu Caihou’s case must be eliminated resolutely,” said Fan during an inspection tour in Tianjin.

Fan said the anti-corruption campaign should continue in the military, and soldiers’ interests should be protected.

Fan also urged the army to study CMC chairman Xi Jinping’s speeches on national defence and military modernization, to hone their fighting skills and to be combat ready.







>>  China to streamline administration of scientific programs

By Liu Lu and Yu Xiaojie

New reforms on managing China’s science and technology programs aimed at creating streamlined administration and encouraging innovation have been outlined by the central government.

In the outline, 47 programs have been listed as the first group to be streamlined through cancellation, merger, transference and standardization.

Concrete budget plans will be submitted in March this year, Zhao Lu, head of the educational, scientific and cultural division of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), said on Thursday of January 15.

The outline involves reform in more than 90 science and technology plans and programs, covering funds of 80 billion yuan (13.1 billion U.S. dollars) to 90 billion yuan, Zhao said.

“In 2017, all of the scientific and technological programs will be administrated in accordance to the streamlined and integrated methods,” Zhao added.

According to the Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, now more than 40 governmental organs are in charge of the over 90 science and technology projects.

“Redundant administrative system has led to malpractice such as repeated application, fragmental plans in the sector and lack of supervision,” said Wan.

Wan cited that Chinese researchers takes 51 percent of their total working time to carry out scientific studies, while the rest time mainly goes to application for the funds.

However, their research results are disappointing.

Since the reform and opening up drive began in the late 1970s, China has set up several projects in succession, including the Spark Program (a fund to boost rural economy), the National Natural Science Foundation and the National High-tech R&D Program.

“Theses programs have made great contribution through China’s development but the outcomes are still behind the country’s scientific and technological needs,” said Zhang Xiaoyuan, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST).

China will establish a public platform to operate national scientific and technological development and a system for assessment and supervision, said Zhang.

Based on the platform, governmental organs will not administrate specific programs.

A joint meeting will be established by the MST, the MOF and the National Development and Reform Commission to stipulate regulations and review development plans while the administration will be under entire operation by professional institutes.







>>  China approves new vaccine against poliomyelitis

By Hu Longjiang

China’s drug watchdog has licensed a new vaccine against the poliomyelitis, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced on Thursday of January 15.

The vaccine (S-IPV) is manufactured by the Institute of Medical Biology of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, located in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan province.

It was welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO). “The new vaccine will be an important weapon in the fight against polio as the world nears the eradication of the deadly disease,” said Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO Representative in China.

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease caused by the poliovirus. which invades the nervous system and can cause lifelong paralysis, or even death.

China has been confirmed by the WHO as a nation free from the Poliomyelitis since 2000. The S-IPV is a breakthrough for China to keep the polio-free status and for the world to kill the polio, according to Dr Schwartlander.

The WHO is considering use of the new vaccine in its global polio treatment program.







>>  China to boost development of children in underdeveloped areas

By Wu Chen

The government has laid out new measures to ensure children in impoverished areas have improved access to education and health care, a document published on the Chinese government website said on Thursday of January 15.

The Enhancing Underprivileged Children Development Plan (2014-2020), released by the General Office of the State Council, will cover 40 million children that have lower development in health and education than the national average.

Children in the rural areas of 680 counties will receive benefits such as neonatal care to affordable education, according to the plan.

The measures aim close the gap between the overall level of development of children in such areas and the national average by 2020.

Efforts will be made in major areas including neonatal health, nutrition, medical care, education and special needs.

The document said the maternal mortality rate in these regions should be decreased to 30 per 100,000. p The infant and child mortality rates should also drop to 12 per 1,000 and 15 per 1,000, respectively. Free vaccines will also be provided.

Seventy-five percent of children should be enrolled in kindergartens and the number of those finishing a nine-year compulsory education will be no less than 93 percent of the number enrolled, according to the plan.







>>  Freeing children from the poverty trap

By Wang Jian an Gui Tao

Something of a cliche perhaps, it is nonetheless widely said that, “children are our future” and this is especially true in China’s impoverished heartland.

Despite being the second largest economy in the world, China remains a nation under the shadow of poverty. By the end of 2013, over 82 million rural people were struggling below the poverty line of 2,300 yuan per year (371 U.S. dollars), and among them, children are the most vulnerable.

China has been getting tough on children’s rights, and met the UN Millennium Development Goal ahead of schedule, but that’s only gone a small way toward resolving the real problem: unbalanced development.

There are about 40 million children in China’s poorest areas, about half of the population of Germany. Obviously not all children in these areas can be described as poor and there is no shortage of poverty outside the poorest areas, but the number remains huge.

While children in developed eastern areas are worrying about obesity and Internet addiction, children in the poor regions dream about living in clean and warm houses and using computers.

The real challenge is that poverty is transmitted from one generation to another. Children living in poor conditions usually lack access to quality education and job opportunities. They are trapped in poverty and, when they grow up, they are unable to provide a satisfying growth environment for their own children. As a result, poor families sink ever deeper in the mire of chronic indigence.

Helping poor children lay a sound foundation for personal development at the very beginning of their lives is of great importance, not only in terms of social justice, but also for the future of the country as a whole.

Investment in early childhood is key. Proper spending in this regard will lead to a nation of better human resources and save the government huge amounts currently spent in such fields as compensatory education, health care and social welfare.

The much vaunted Chinese Dream — doubling the 2010 levels of both GDP and per capita income by 2020, and turning China into a modern socialist county by the middle of the century – requires that these poor children be dragged of poverty and join mainstream society as productive and moderately prosperous adults.

Improvements to the living conditions of poor children is an important job of public services and an indicator of the degree to which national governance can be considered capable and modern. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational transmission of poverty through support for poor families is a precondition for a modern, urbanized nation.

The State Council took concrete steps to reduce children poverty when it approved the Underprivileged Children’s Development Plan (2014-2020) in November, promising benefits ranging from better prenatal care to effective and affordable education.

Only when the plan is put fully into action will we be able to see the success, or otherwise, of the anti-poverty campaign.

This coming year will be crucial to protecting children’s rights in general and clearing development obstacles from the path of the nation’s most underprivileged.







>>  China runs more trains to meet travel demand

By Rong Jiaojiao and Qi Zhongxi

As Chinese New Year celebrations approach, China Railway Corporation (CRC) announced plans on Thursday of January 15 to run 1,120 more trains, bringing the total to 6,400 to cope with the travel rush.

The 40-day travel frenzy is known as “Chunyun”, the hectic period surrounding Chinese New Year which falls this year on February 19. Chunyun will begin on Feb. 4 and last until March 16, but many thousands of people have already begun their trek.

Chinese New Year celebrations, known as Spring Festival, are China’s most important family holiday, with hundreds of millions of people heading for their hometowns to touch base with relatives and old friends, putting huge stress on transportation system.

Chinese people have never been more affluent and keen to travel, nor have there ever been more migrant workers in cities far from home, so every year, the stress on the transportation system becomes greater and greater, despite great improvements in infrastructure over the last few years.

The transport networks — road, rail, aviation and waterways — have set new highs for chunyun numbers almost every year recently. In 2015, a total of 2.8 billion trips are expected.

Railways are expected to see a rise of 10 percent in passenger trips year on year, a greater rise than any other transport options.







>>  China starts new electricity distribution pricing system

By Rong Jiaojiao and Zhao Chao

China’s top economic planner unveiled the country’s new electricity distribution pricing system on Thursday of January 15 as they look to reform the sector.

The southern city of Shenzhen was the first to launch the new pricing system, which began this year, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

For every 1,000 kwh of electricity, the new electricity distribution price stands at 143.5 yuan (23.5 U.S. dollars) in 2015, lower than the 155.8 yuan in 2014. For 2016 and 2017, the new prices will be 143.3 and 142.8 yuan, respectively, according to the new pricing system.

The new pricing system aims to benefit power users, set up the cost-saving mechanism for power grid enterprises and promote the marketization of electricity, said the NDRC.

The NDRC has also approved the new distribution pricing system to be piloted in Inner Mongolia before expanding it to more areas in the country.








>>  Beijing to complete key supporting water diversion passage

By Li Laifang and Wei Mengjia

A tunnel carrying some of the water diverted from the Yangtze River in the south to slake Beijing’s perennial thirst in the north will soon be completed.

The 44.7 km culvert will supply water to residents in eastern and southeastern Beijing, said an official of the Beijing south-to-north water diversion office. Trials will begin at the end of January.

The project is vital to Beijing ‘s water diversion program and cost 9.2 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars). The conduit passes under four railway lines, nine subway lines, 25 roads, 18 rivers and more than 600 underground pipelines.

Water from the Hanjiang River, the largest tributary of the Yangtze, began flowing into Beijing in late December after a journey of over 1,200 kilometers along the south-to-north water diversion project. Beijing has already received over 20 million cubic meters of water through the project.







>>  China accepts more invention patent applications

By Shi Hao and Dong Jun

China accepted about 928,000 invention patent applications in 2014, some 103,000 more than in 2013, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) said on Thursday of January 15.

SIPO director Shen Changyu said invention patent applications accounted for 39.3 percent of all patent applications last year, compared with a 34.7 percent in 2013.

China grants patents for three major categories: invention, utility model and design.

Invention patent application growth slowed from 26.3 percent in 2013 to 12.5 percent in 2014, according to Shen.

Growth in invention patent applications is moderating, but its share in total patent applications is rising, said Shen.

The director said the SIPO will step up law enforcement in 2015 and put more efforts in intellectual property protection.







>>  China starts “toilet revolution” at tourist sites

By Qian Chunxian, Sheng Yang and Cheng Jing

China will launch a “toilet revolution” at tourist sites across the country this year to make the notorious facilities cleaner and more regulated, tourism authorities said on Thursday of January 15.

China will spend three years to improve the toilets at tourist sites that have long been complained of their insufficient numbers, unhygienic conditions, and lack of management, said Li Jinzao, head of China National Tourism Administration.

Some 33,500 new toilets will be built at tourist sites during the period and another 25,000 renovated, according to Li. By 2017, the country aims to make tourist restrooms reach three-star standards.

The administration asked local authorities to step up policy support and launch campaigns for the move.







>>  China changes rules of calculating lending, deposits

By Liu Xinyong and Chen Wenjin

New rules for for commercial banks, more accurately reflecting market liquidity, were revealed by China’s central bank on Thursday of January 15.

Monies held by commercial banks on behalf of non-deposit-taking financial institutions will now be calculated as regular deposits, while the lending to these institutions will be considered regular loans, according to a notice released by the People’s Bank of China.

Lending of commercial banks to financial leasing companies will also be reckoned as regular lending.

“The changes will more accurately reflect overall lending and deposit figures and liquidity conditions,” said Sheng Songcheng, director of surveys and statistics at the central bank, “making the calculation more accurate and monetary policy more effective.”

“This adjustment will not affect China’s reserve requirement system,” Sheng said.







>>  China banks’ 2014 new yuan lending hits record high

By Zhang Zhengfu and Liu Zheng

China’s new yuan-denominated lending in 2014 hit record high at 9.78 trillion yuan (1.58 trillion U.S. dollars), up 890 billion yuan from one year earlier, latest data showed on Thursday of January 15.

In December, banks’ new lending reached 697.3 billion yuan ,up 214.9 billion yuan from the same month of 2013, said the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank.

M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased 12.2 percent year on year to 122.84 trillion yuan at the end of December, according to the PBOC.

The narrow measure of money supply (M1), which covers cash in circulation plus demand deposits, rose 3.2 percent year on year to 34.81 trillion yuan at the end of December.

Total social financing in 2014 stood at 16.46 trillion yuan, 859.8 billion yuan less than 2013, according to data released by the central bank.







>>  China tobacco sector contributes more to revenue

By Liu Xinyong and Xu Bo

China’s tobacco industry generated 1.05 trillion yuan in profit and taxation in 2014, up 10.02 percent year on year, data from the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) said on Thursday of January 15.

The industry handed over 911.03 billion yuan of profit, tax and fees to government revenue last year, up 11.63 percent, said Ling Chengxing, head of the STMA.

Although China has been stepping up efforts of tobacco control in public places in the past few years, the monopolistic sector remains a major contributor to government revenue.

In 2013, the industry handed over 816 billion yuan to the government, accounting for 6.3 percent of the country’s total revenue, data showed.

The STMA forecast that its contribution to government revenue will near 1 trillion yuan in 2015.







>>  China smartphone maker Xiaomi releases new model

By Lü Qiuping and Li Zhengwei

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi released the Xiaomi Note, a 5.7-inch screen smartphone, in Beijing on Thursday afternoon of January 15.

The new model features a Sony 13 million pixel OIS camera and streamlined profile, is priced at 2,299 yuan (371 U.S. dollars), company founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Lei Jun said.

Another version of the same model, which has larger memory and better graphic processing unit, will cost 3,299 yuan.

It is hoped the new model will be a market competitor of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch screen.

Xiaomi, which means “millet” in Chinese, was founded in April 2010 in Zhongguancun, Beijing’s technology hub and often dubbed “China’s Silicon Valley.” Xiaomi’s first smartphone debuted on August 16, 2011.

In 2004, the company reported total sales revenue of 74.3 billion yuan, up 135 percent year on year.







>>  China’s taxi-hailing app gets big financing

By Fang Ning and Zhang Yao

E-commerce giant Alibaba’s taxi-hailing app Kuaidi Dache has secured big financing as optimistic investors eagerly back a big name in the quickly growing service.

Kuaidi Dache has raised 600 million U.S. dollars of funding from a recent round of financing, said CEO and chairman of the board Lyu Chuanwei on Thursday of January 15.

Investors include Softbank Group, Alibaba and Tiger Global Management.

He said the capital will be invested in technology upgrades and innovation.

Taxi-hailing apps such as Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, rolled out by Alibaba and Tencent respectively, are gaining popularity among users. By connecting passengers with drivers, the two firms account for almost 99 percent of taxi-hailing market with 154 million registered users in more than 300 Chinese cities.







>>  Chinese shares rise on abundant liquidity

By Han Qiao and An Bei

Chinese shares rose more than 3 percent on Thursday of January 15 after the latest central bank report showed abundant market liquidity.

The Shanghai Composite Index passed the 3,300-point mark in the afternoon trading session and continued to rise, closing 3.54 percent higher at 3,336.45 points.

The smaller Shenzhen Component Index closed 2.19 percent higher at 11,483.68 points.

Total turnover on the two bourses increased to 527.7 billion yuan (86.2 billion U.S. dollars) from the previous trading day’s 457.6 billion yuan.

Bank and property shares rallied after data showed that China’s new yuan loans and total social financing both hit a record high last year, indicating abundant liquidity in the market.

Huaxia Bank jumped 5.93 percent, SPD Bank rose 4.07 percent, and Bank of China soared by 6.10 percent.

China Vanke, the country’s largest developer, increased 5.12 percent to 13.77 yuan, while Poly Real Estate, the second largest, rose nearly 8 percent to 11.25 yuan.

Insurance shares were strong on news that measures on old-age insurance for workers in government agencies and public institutions had been unveiled.

Ping An Insurance rose 6.80 percent, China Life Insurance went up 9.9 percent and New China Life Insurance jumped by the daily limit of 10 percent.

Oil shares advanced as crude prices steadied in the global market after plunging for months, with PetroChina leaping 8.66 percent and Sinopec closing 4.86 percent higher.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, closed 0.11 percent lower at 1,586.34 points.







>>  Another senior Chinese military logistics officer under investigation

By Ren Ke

Liu Zheng, deputy head of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) General Logistics Department is under investigation for “suspected legal violations,” the PLA announced on Thursday of January 15.

Liu was put under investigation in November by the military procuratorate, according to a report published on the official PLA website, which listed 16 senior officers — of corps level and above — as subjects of investigation in 2014.

Liu is not the first deputy head of the PLA General Logistics Department to be in the firing line. Previously, Gu Junshan was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power.

In addition, Yu Daqing, deputy political commissar of the Second Artillery Force; and Fan Changmi, deputy political commissar of the Lanzhou Military Area Command; have also been under investigation since December, according to the report.

The report also included other names that had been released before, including former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission Xu Caihou; and Yang Jinshan, former deputy commander of the Chengdu Military Area Command.







>>  Pangolin smuggling ring busted by Chinese police

By Cheng Lu, Weng Ye and Guan Hao

Customs from south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have busted a pangolin trafficking ring who allegedly smuggled over 4,000 of the endangered anteater.

According to Nanning customs, ten suspects face prosecution for smuggling endangered wild animals in late December. Based on a tip-off, police caught 15 suspects, seizing five vehicles and 24 live pangolins in Beihai City last April.

The gang bought live pangolins in southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, smuggled them to a farm in Beihai City, and then transported the animals to Guangdong Province for sale. The ring appears to have smuggled 4,195 of the beasts.

Pangolins, which have second-class state protection in China, are targets for smugglers because their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales are believed to have medicinal qualities. A whole pangolin served in a restaurant goes for as much as 2,000 U.S. dollars. The scales can sell for 1,000 dollars per kilo.0 Under China’s criminal law, those who catch, kill, buy or sell animals on the state protection list can face more than 10 years in jail and fines.







>>  Suspect caught after E. China bus fire

By Shen Rufa, Zhang Yizhi, Lin Shanchuan and Wang Ruoyao

A suspected arsonist has been caught after a bus fire caused injuries in east China’s Fujian Province on Thursday of January 15.

While on its regular route, No. 656 bus caught fire at 8 a.m. in Xiamen City. The blaze has since been extinguished, according to a spokesman with the city’s public security bureau.

One passenger suffered burns while others were injured after the driver applied the emergency brake. They were rushed to the hospital.

An initial police investigation showed the suspected arsonist was a 53-year-old man surnamed Cai. He was also suspected of earlier arson at a local food company on the same day.

Cai was dismissed from the company for theft on Wednesday. The fire at the food company caused no injuries.

Further investigation of the case is underway.







>>  China reports over 100,000 new HIV/AIDS infections in 2014

By Cheng Zhuo and Hu Hao

China reported 104,000 new HIV/AIDS infections in 2014, up 14.8 percent from the previous year, the country’s central health authority revealed on Thursday of January 15.

Wang Guoqiang, vice head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said that the overall rates of infection and number of HIV/AIDS cases have stayed at a low level.

China has provided anti-viral treatment for an additional 85,000 HIV/AIDS patients last year, an increase of 21.2 percent compared with 2013, Wang said at a national conference on disease control.

Wang said despite the low pandemic situation, the spread of the disease in certain areas is still high.

Moreover, while mother-to-child and drug needle infection rates remain at a relatively low level, sexual transmission has become the main infection channel.

The official also noted that infections among elderly people and young students in China are on the rise.

Wang urged full coverage of virus monitoring at the country’s blood collection stations and full prevention to cut mother-to-child transmissions in 2015.

He also pledged to encourage more social organizations to take part in prevention work among high-risk groups and establish an effective intervention system to curb sexual transmissions.

China has pledged to control new HIV/AIDS infections while increasing detection of the disease.

Also at Thursday’s conference, Wang called for enhanced monitoring efforts, timely reporting and quick response to prevent possible outbreaks of other infectious diseases, such as H7N9 bird flu, measles, dengue and Ebola.







>>  Many missing after boat sinks in China’s Yangtze River

By Chen Gang and Zhang Yi

A tug boat sank in the Yangtze River in east China’s Jiangsu Province on Thursday of January 15, the Jiangsu Maritime Safety administration said.

The administration said many people were feared missing but did not give an exact number. Two crew have been rescued from the water.

The boat was on a trial voyage when the accident happened.

The maritime administration said the shipyard had not filed a trial voyage application, which is a legal requirement.

The water rescue center in Jiangsu sent 27 boats to search for the missing crew.

Jiangsu Party Secretary Luo Zhijun ordered the authorities to put great effort into the search and rescue mission.

An investigation team has been despatched to the location of the incident.







>>  Tunnel collapse buries 4 in south China

By Li Bin and Zhang Yi

Four workers were buried on Thursday of January 15 after an underground water pipe tunnel collapsed in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the local government said.

The workers have been located and at least one is feared to be dead, according to rescuers.

The accident happened in Xiangzhou County.







>>  17 injured in 5.0-magnitude quake in SW China

By Hu Longjiang

Seventeen people have been confirmed injured after a 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Wednesday, the provincial authority revealed on Thursday of January 15.

The quake struck Jinkouhe District in Leshan City at 1:21 p.m. Wednesday.

The epicenter was located at 29.3 degrees north latitude and 103.2 degrees east longitude, at a depth of 14 kilometers, said the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).

About 32,000 people were affected and more than 33,000 houses were damaged, the local authority said. Traffic and telecommunications in the area have been restored.

Covering an area of 598 square-km in southwestern Sichuan, Jinkouhe District is home to about 60,000 people, including many of the Yi ethnic minority. h Tremors were also felt in many other parts of Sichuan, including the provincial capital of Chengdu, as well as Ya’an, Yibin, Suining and Mount Emei, a famous tourist destination.







>>  Snow, sleet damage crops in southwest China

By Cheng Lu and Ji Zhepeng

Sleet and snow have damaged more than 2 million mu (130,000 hectares) of crops in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, local authorities said on Thursday of January 15.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 2.3 million mu of crops including wheat and barley had been damaged, and more than 60,000 mu of additional crops were wiped out, the provincial agricultural department said.

The weather also wreaked havoc on tropical and subtropical cash crops such as coffee and tea, fruit farms and agricultural facilities in the province.

Yunnan experienced a sharp temperature drop on Jan. 9 and 10. Heavy rainfall hit its southwestern parts and flooded fields, while snow and sleet hit northeastern parts of the province.










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