China to instill national characteristics in think tanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese, Afghan presidents exchange congratulatory messages on ties

By Wang Shang

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday of January 20 exchanged congratulatory messages with his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, on the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and the commencement of the Year of China-Afghanistan Friendly Cooperation program.

In his message, Xi said that the two countries have always understood, respected and supported each other over the past 60 years, and that the friendship between China and Afghanistan has rooted deeply in the hearts of the two peoples.

China attaches great importance to the development of China-Afghanistan relations, and stands ready to play a constructive role in promoting Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction, Xi said, urging the two sides to bring their relations up to a new stage.

Ghani said in his message that Afghanistan is grateful for China’s contribution to his country’s pursuit of peace and reconciliation.

Afghanistan is also willing to make concerted efforts with China to build a better future in this region, said Ghani.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Chinese premier, Afghan chief executive exchange congratulations on anniversary of ties

By Sun Ruijun

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday of January 20 exchanged congratulatory messages with Abdullah Abdullah, chief executive of the Afghan government, on the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the launch of the Year of China-Afghanistan Friendly Cooperation program.

In his message, Li said China and Afghanistan have enjoyed traditional friendly relations and Beijing cherishes the two countries’ friendship and commits itself to developing their strategic cooperative partnership.

He also voiced his country’s support for Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction, saying China is willing to make concerted efforts with the Afghan side to boost Afghanistan’s economic development, improve people’s well-being and maintain long-term stability.

For his part, Abdullah said Afghans value their profound friendship with the Chinese people.

The Afghan side is ready to take the Year of Friendly Cooperation program as an opportunity to further promote mutual understanding between the two peoples, he added.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China denies link between U.S. pet sickness and Chinese snacks

By Wang Yaguang

China’s top quality supervisor said on Tuesday of January 20 that tests had found no direct evidence to connect pet sickness in the United States to snacks made in China.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said tests — conducted by it and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — had not confirmed any connection and had not detected any poisonous or hazardous ingredients in the snacks, despite allegations that they were the cause of widespread illness and death in U.S. pets.

The AQSIQ did not specify what brand or snack variety was under investigation.

The statement came after U.S. pet specialty retailer Petco announced earlier this month that it was pulling all pet treats made in China from its 1,300 stores because of concerns they had caused sickness in thousands of pets and killed more than 1,000 dogs in the U.S. since 2007. Phoenix-based PetSmart Inc. also plans to remove the treats from its stores by March.

China will closely follow events and hopes the parties concerned can remain objective and rational, the AQSIQ said in a statement on its website.

According to statistics from AQSIQ, China exported 98,000 tonnes of pet food in 2014, of which 35,000 tonnes went to the U.S. market.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China welcomes DPRK-U.S. dialogue on Korean peninsular denuclearization

By Bai Jie

China on Tuesday of January 20 said it welcomed the dialogue between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States on Monday in Singapore, calling for an early resumption of the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Launched in 2003, the six-party talks involves China, the DPRK, the United States, the ROK, Japan and Russia.

China supports the DPRK and the United States in bettering bilateral ties, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a daily press briefing.

“We welcome increased mutual understanding and trust through dialogue and contact, which jointly work for the stability of the Korean Peninsula and forge ahead the process of the denuclearization,” said Hua.

China hopes relevant dialogue and contacts will create conditions for the early resumption of the six-party talks, she added.

DPRK’s chief nuclear negotiator Ri Yong Ho held an unofficial meeting with former U.S. senior officials and experts including former U.S. special representative for DPRK policy Stephen Bosworth on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula Monday in Singapore.

The closed-door meeting came after the United States rejected the proposal by the DPRK that it stands ready to suspend its nuclear tests if the United States suspends its annual joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The United States has obviously downplayed the importance of the meeting, with its embassy in Singapore saying that the U.S. government was not involved.

The six-party talks had been bogged down since Pyongyang pulled out in April 2009 in response to a UN Security Council presidential statement condemning its rocket launch. Amid rounds of crippling sanctions and repeated U.S.-South Korea joint military drills, the DPRK has so far conducted three nuclear tests.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China, Grenada celebrate 10th anniversary of ties resumption

By Liang Linlin

China and Grenada on Tuesday of January 20 celebrated the tenth anniversary of resumption of diplomatic ties, as China calls for more vigor in relations with the Caribbean nation.

The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) held a banquet attended by around 20 guests including senior officials from both sides and several Grenadian students studying in China.

Before the banquet, Eligen Imibakhi, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, met with Karl Hood, Grenadian ambassador to China, saying that the two sides have enjoyed “frequent high-level contact, deepened political mutual trust and expanded cooperation over the past ten years.”

China and Grenada established diplomatic relations in 1985 and severed ties in 1989 over the issue of Taiwan. The two nations reestablished ties on Jan. 20, 2005.

According to a white paper on foreign aid issued in July 2014, the two cooperated on agriculture and fisheries, and on addressing climate change.

“Our people have benefited greatly and will continue to benefit from the goodwill of China,” Hood said at the banquet, adding that his country appreciates China’s support on infrastructure, sports facilities, overseas scholarship and cultural exchange.

Addressing the banquet, CPAFFC Vice President Xie Yuan said the CPAFFC is ready to make more efforts to advance bilateral people-to-people contacts.

A total of 35 Grenadian students currently study in China.

The total value of China’s trade with Grenada reached 14 million U.S. dollars in 2014, up 10.3 percent over the previous year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS

>>  Chinese UN envoy urges elimination of root causes of conflicts

By Pei Lei

A Chinese envoy on Monday of January 19 called for more investment in development to eliminate the root causes of conflicts, and more efforts in peace-building so as to prevent turbulence relapse in post-conflict countries.

Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN, made the remarks at an open debate of the Security Council on “inclusive development for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

“Poverty and underdevelopment are often the major causes of conflicts, crisis and terrorism,” he said, calling on the international community, particularly the UN, to attach more importance to the advancement of international development agenda.

“Developing countries constrained by historical factors and conditions of development are faced with daunting challenges in economic development in social progress,” said Liu, urging developed countries to further assist developing countries in debt relief, market openness, and technology transfer.

In post-conflict countries and regions, the envoy continued, the international community should place reconstruction in all development, political and security areas, with special attention given to the promotion of coordinated economic and social development.

“The governing ability of countries involved needs to be effectively strengthened, and their ability of providing basic services enhanced, so that development and reconstruction will be advanced in all sectors,” Liu said.

Meanwhile, the ambassador pointed out that attentions should also be given to youth employment, and woman empowerment, so that the public will enjoy the peace dividend at an early date.

“This is conducive to the stabilization of post-conflict situation, the promotion of political reconciliation and the consolidation of existing peace,” he said.

In addition, Liu focused on African countries by citing that 70 percent of items on the Security Council’s agenda are related to Africa and two thirds of peace-keeping operations are deployed in the continent.

“Without peace and development in Africa, prosperity and stability of the world would be impossible to be achieved,” he stressed. “We should focus on the issues of underdevelopment and insufficient infrastructure faced by Africa, effectively help Africa translate abundant human and natural resources into power for economic development and substantive benefits for the African people.”

Liu also expressed China’s will to continue to participate constructively in the resolution of hotspot issues in Africa, and help African people eradicate the root causes of conflicts and achieve sustained peace and development.

 

 

 

 

 

ZURICH

>>  China, Switzerland to sign financial deal on offshore RMB market in Zurich

By Shang Jun

China and Switzerland are poised to sign a financial deal on Wednesday of January 21 to pave the way for the establishment of an offshore renminbi market in Zurich.

“A memorandum of understanding will be signed between the central banks of the two countries during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Switzerland,” a government official told Xinhua. “It is an important step in the internationalization of the RMB, especially in Europe.”

Li arrived in Zurich Tuesday to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort of Davos and pay a short working visit to Switzerland.

He is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech on China’s economy and reform efforts to the participants of the forum and meet with Swiss leaders on Wednesday.

“Financial cooperation will be the brightest spot of Premier Li’s visit to Switzerland,” the official said. “The two countries will announce the plan to set up an offshore RMB market in Zurich.”

Under the deal to be signed, China will give Switzerland a quota of 50 billion yuan (about 8 billion U.S. dollars), under its Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) scheme to support the establishment of the Zurich offshore RMB market, while the first branch of a Chinese bank will be set up in the Swiss financial hub for future RMB clearance after it gets approval from regulators of both sides.

The QFII program kicked off in 2002 to allow foreign investment in Chinese securities using foreign currencies.

China has established offshore RMB markets in Hong Kong, London, among other places, in a drive for the internationalization of its currency.

The Chinese and Swiss central banks already signed a bilateral currency swap agreement worth 150 billion yuan (24 billion dollars), in July last year, which was intended to provide liquidity support to economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.

It is Li’s second visit to Switzerland since he took office in 2013, and this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“This shows the importance China attaches to its relations with Switzerland,” said Dong Jinyi, former Chinese ambassador to Switzerland. “Though Switzerland is not of big size, it plays a big role in China’s overall relationship with Europe.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Li’s visit is also aimed to reap the “dividend” of a free trade agreement between the two countries after it took effect in July 2014.

Switzerland, famous for its precision instruments and pharmaceuticals, was the first country among the world’s top 20 to have a free trade agreement with China.

“The China-Switzerland free trade agreement has exemplary effect. It will not only enhance the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, but also encourage other countries to follow the lead and work together with China for common development,” said Chen Fengying, a senior researcher with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China, Turkey usher in golden era of economic, trade cooperation

By Sun Ding

China and Turkey have in recent years enjoyed booming development in bilateral trade and economic relations, with comprehensive promotion of cooperation in such fields as trade, investment and project contracting.

The two countries have actually ushered in a best era in history for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

In 2004, China was only Turkey’s sixth largest source of import and its 19th largest export destination, while in 2013 China became its second largest source of import and 11th largest export destination.

According to statistics released by China’s Ministry of Commerce, the two-way trade volume between China and Turkey in the first 11 months of 2014 totaled 20.9 billion U.S. dollars, registering a year-on-year increase of 3.57 percent.

Of the total trade volume, China’s exports to Turkey grew by 8.56 percent to 17.5 billion dollars while Turkey’s exports to China went down by 16.06 percent to 3.4 billion dollars, making China the biggest contributor to Turkey’s foreign trade deficit in the 11-month period.

In November 2014, up to 3,692 Turkish buyers attended the 116th China Export Commodities Fair or the Canton Fair in south China’s Guangzhou City, up by 13 percent.

With rapid growth of the economic aggregate, a huge domestic market, and abundant human resources, Turkey — which has since ancient time enjoyed a favorable geological location stretching to Asia, Europe and the Middle East — has played an increasingly important role in the roadmap for Chinese enterprises to realize their “going global” strategies.

As a country that relies heavily on foreign investment, Turkey particularly welcomes investment from China.

A group of Chinese enterprises such as Hainan Airlines, China’s major locomotive maker CSR Corp. Ltd. and agribusiness New Hope Group have already invested in Turkey in fields including transportation, energy, telecommunication, mining and tourism.

In the second quarter of 2014, China became Turkey’s largest source of foreign capital inflow, according to the Turkish government.

In terms of overseas project contracting, figures released by China’s Ministry of Commerce showed that the total contract value and sales volume of Chinese enterprises in Turkey respectively reached 1.67 billion dollars, up by 172.6 percent, and 1.54 billion dollars, up by 9.9 percent, in the first 11 months of 2014 compared with the same period of the previous year.

It is noteworthy that high-speed trains manufactured by China are already running in Turkey. On July 25, 2014, the major sections of Turkey’s Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway of 158 kilometers, a 1.27-billion-dollar project jointly built by a Chinese-Turkish consortium, was put into operation.

The operation of the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway is a proof of China’s strength, said Suleyman Karaman, General Director of Turkish State Railway, in an interview with Xinhua.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s initiative on building the Silk Road Economic Zone and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has won positive response from Turkey — a major country located on the ancient Silk Road.

Since the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries in 2010, China and Turkey have maintained close communication on cooperation in the fields of trade and economy.

Except for the Ankara-Istanbul railway, Turkey has planned another high-speed project linking its eastern and western borders, and maintained in-depth contact with Chinese enterprises on intent of cooperation therein.

Given the robust development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Turkey intends to make Istanbul an international financial hub and an overseas transaction center for the Chinese yuan.

Moreover, an increasing number of Chinese tourists annually travel to Turkey — an epitome of frequent cultural exchange between the two sides.

Both as emerging economies, Turkey and China will respectively host the 2014 and 2015 G20 summits — an important platform for the two sides to build their international influence under the global governance mechanism.

The host of G2O summits in succession by Turkey and China will definitely create more opportunities for high-level exchanges between the two countries. Enditem

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO 

>>  China-Sri Lanka ties to become stronger: official

By  Huang Haimin

Sri Lanka’s newly-elected government will continue to maintain strong ties with China, a top official assured on Tuesday of January 20.

The decades of close relations enjoyed by China and Sri Lanka will continue unchanged, said C. Mahendran, foreign affairs secretary of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

“In 1952 Sri Lanka withstood the pressure from the United States and other Western countries and signed the famous rice and rubber agreement with new China, and in doing so, opening a chapter in the history of friendly exchanges between the two countries,” said Mahendran, who was also Sri Lanka’s former ambassador to China. “For a long time, China has always helped Sri Lanka. China has played a major role in Sri Lankan national unity and national construction and development. The Sri Lankan government and people are deeply grateful,” he added.

Sri Lanka and China have always supported each other unconditionally in important historical moments, and formed the precious tradition of friendship, Mahendran stressed.

“Our new government will continue to maintain good relations with China, to carry out a pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation. The Sri Lankan government will not change the policy of friendship with China.”

He stressed that Sri Lanka backs the”one-China policy”. “Sri Lanka attaches great importance to developing relations and is willing to further strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields. I hope more Chinese companies will invest in Sri Lanka to achieve mutual benefit and development,” said Mahendran.

Regarding the port city project, which is the largest investment project to date between the two countries, Mahendran emphasized that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had given his assurance it would continue once environmental assessments are met.

He described it as a “big opportunity” for Sri Lanka, especially in terms of attracting much-needed capital investment.

Mahendran pledged that Sri Lanka will continue to strengthen relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides.

 

 

 

 

 

BISHKEK

>>  Kyrgyztan plans on railway project with China

By Chen Yao

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev held here on Tuesday of January 20 a meeting on the construction of Kyrgyz-China railway project.

According to the presidential press service, Atambayev discussed with Kalykbek Sultanov, minister of the Kyrgyz Transport and Communications, and Argynbek Malabaev, general manager of the Kyrgyz National Railway Company, all possible options of the Kyrgyz-China railway project.

At the meeting, Atambayev stressed the importance of the railway project, saying it would benefit both countries.

The Kyrgyz president asked Sultanov to visit China with an official delegation for negotiations on the construction of the railway.

Kyrgyzstan and China have been discussing for many years the possibility of constructing a China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. The Kyrgyz-China railway in discussion is a new project linking Kyrgyzstan with China.

 

 

 

 

 

ULAN BATOR

>>  Mongolia to build secondary schools with Chinese grant

By Ganbat Namjilsangarav

Mongolia will build 21 secondary schools with a Chinese grant of 300 million yuan (50 million U.S. dollars), local reports said on Tuesday of January 20.

The new schools, built with one model design, would help reduce burdens on existing schools, where students are studying in three shifts, and upgrade old school buildings.

In the 2014-2015 school year, there are 22 schools that have three shifts in Mongolia, 21 of which are located in Ulan Bator. Also, 26 secondary schools in the country need to be upgraded.

Mongolia has dire needs for new school and kindergarten buildings. Many of the existing buildings are old and can’t accommodate increasing number of students.

 

 

 

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

>>  Conca already welcome in China as his return just being tipped

By Yao Youming

Chinese fans were happy to learn that Fluminense player Dario Leonardo Conca is considering a return to China.

Brazilian media Universal Sports Tuesday reported that Conca would consider an offer from a Chinese Super League club. Through the club’s name was not revealed yet, it was rumored that Shanghai SIPG Football Club was probably the gold master behind the scenes.

“Is it for real? I like Conca a lot,” net user Ming said beneath the concerned news article on Suhu.com, a major Chinese portal.

Argentine Conca, former Brazilian MVP, 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 last January and scored 16 goals from 59 matches across all competitions in 2014.

“No matter which club he chooses to join, Evergrande fans will applause for him. Thank you Conca for giving your best time to Evergrande,” said Drunken Beauty.

Conca is said to be unhappy at Fluminense due to a delay in the payment of image-rights after investment group Unimed parted ways with the club in the end of 2014. The image-rights revenue takes up the majority of Conca’s salary at Fluminense.

 

 

 

 

 

MADRID

>>  Chinese plans to buy Atletico stake

By Zheng Xin

Chinese real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin plans to buy a 20-percent stake in Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid, media reported on Monday of January 19.

Madrid sports daily AS said Wang planned to pay 40 million euros (46 million US dollars) for the stake.

Various media reported that Atletico chairman Enrique Cerezo will travel to Beijing this week to close the deal with Wang. They were expected to sign the deal on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  CITIC attracts 10 bln USD investment from Japan, Thai firms

By Xu Feng a nd Wu Yu

CITIC Ltd. on Tuesday of January 20 announced a deal with Japan’s Itochu Corp., and Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group that would enable it to further capitalize on opportunities in the global business market.

The Hong Kong-listed CITIC said in a statement that the agreement with CT Bright, a joint Itochu-Charoen Pokphand venture, will involve 800 billion HK dollars (10.3 billion U.S. dollars).

CT Bright will first purchase a 10 percent stake in CITIC Ltd. In the coming months, CITIC will issue CT Bright convertible preferred shares, once completed the joint venture will hold a 20.61 percent stake in CITIC.

CITIC Group will remain the controlling shareholder.

The deal, CITIC said, will further diversify its ownership structure, and the three companies will set up a strategic cooperation committee to develop business in areas such as financial services, information technology, resources and energy

“We hope the deal will help us do business in different countries and industries as [together] we have complementary advantages,” said Chang Zhenming, Chairman of CITIC Ltd.

“The deal shows that CITIC’s reform efforts and globalization strategy are ongoing,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

THE HAGUE

>>  18 pct more Chinese visit Holland in 2014, fastest growth

By Jesse Wieten

The number of tourists from China to the Netherlands in 2014 grew by 18 percent over the previous year to a total of 250,000, the greatest percentage growth from all countries, NBTC Holland Marketing stated on Tuesday of January 20.

In 2014, around 14 million international tourists visited the Netherlands. That is an increase of 10 percent compared to 2013. Like in previous years, most visitors came from Germany at over 3.9 million, followed by Britain and Belgium, according to NBTC, which is responsible for branding and marketing of the Netherlands nationally and internationally.

In addition, almost 1 million tourists came from the United States. Visitor numbers from Russia decreased by 6 percent, especially because of political tensions and the depreciation of the Russian ruble.

In 2015, NBTC expects an increase in visitors of around 4 percent, to a total of 14.5 million international tourists. Arrivals from Asia are expected to grow further.

Jos Vranken, CEO of NBTC, said the government is investing 50 percent less in the branding and marketing of destination Holland, while “our country has to deal with large and growing competition.”

 

 

 

 

 

NANNING

>>  China clamps on “jihadi migration” at SW border

By Zhang Zhoulai and Cao Bing

Violence in the name of “jihad” has emerged as a major threat along China’s southwestern border, prompting a crack down on illegal immigration since last May, according to China’s police authorities.

Just two days ago, Chinese police shot dead two illegal immigrants who attacked them with knives in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region that borders Vietnam.

Police found five illegal immigrants on Sunday in Pingxiang City, but they resisted capture. Two were shot dead and two others were apprehended at the scene. The other fled but was captured on Monday of January 19.

It is the instant case following a campaign by the Ministry of Public Security against “jihadi migration”, a step for terrorist training abroad in the disguise of religion.

To date in the current campaign, local police have busted 262 human smuggling cases, seizing 352 suspects who allegedly organized such activities and 852 suspects who attempted to cross the border illegally.

Unlike human smuggling in general terms, such activities in southwestern regions carry obvious features of terrorism. According to local police, most immigrants, influenced by the thoughts of religious extremism, were ready to participate in “jihad” abroad.

Based on joint operations among provinces across China and cooperation with southeast Asian countries, several cells have been busted, which has gone someway to contain the rampant situation in the region.

The special campaign mainly focuses on three kinds of crime offenders, namely organizers, traffickers, drivers and guides. Police named the East Turkistan Islamic Movement as a key player behind those activities by spreading extremism, organizing “jihad” and providing illegal immigration channels.

A source in the police said organizers often planted an ex-convict or an outlaw in a group of immigrants. It was them who urged the rest to wage “jihad” at home when they were inspected or arrested.

Sun Xiaoying, an expert on Southeast Asia, said such illegal migration involves more than one country, which means stowaways could be arrested anywhere and sent back. “It was a mission impossible for most people.”

“And the destination is by no means heaven, males are most likely to end up as ‘cannon fodder’ on battlefield, young females are deprived of even the slightest human rights, and old, weak, ill ones will be abandoned before they can have a look at the organization,” Sun said.

 

 

 

 

 

MELBOURNE

>>  Chinese player Zheng Jie fails into second round in Australian Open

By Hu Dandan

Chinese player Zheng Jie lost to Kai-Chen Chang from China’s Taiwan on Tuesday of January 20, on the second day of the ongoing Australian Open here.

The 100th-ranked Zheng lost by 1:6/2:6 to 402nd-ranked Chang in no less than one and a half hour.

Zheng, 32, who had an operation last year, was obviously not quite in shape.

At the press conference after the match, Zheng said she would focus more on her doubles.

Two other Chinese women players, Zhang Shuai and Zheng Saisai also failed to make it into their next round on Tuesday morning.

The 63rd-ranked Zhang, lost 3:6/2:6 to 19th-ranked French player Alize Rornet.

She said at her conference that she had made her due efforts, but her opponent player was better this morning. She was ok with the result.

Another Chinese starlet Zheng Saisai lost 4:6/4:6 to her opponent, Slovaakian player Daniela Hantuchova.

Unlike Zhang, Zheng was quite emotional about her loss. She said that she was not even warmed up before she lost the game, which she originally thought she had good chance to win.

“Next time, I will look better after myself, guarding against cold and unpredictable whether.”

Unlike last year’s sizzling heat, the temperature this year is around 20 degrees Celsius in Melbourne at the moment, and quite cold on windy mornings, once again catching many lightly-dressed players off guard.

 

 

 

 

 

MELBOURNE

>>  Chinese Zheng Jie pins hope on doubles

By Hu Dandan

Chinese Zheng Jie now pins her hope on the doubles after she failed to get past the first hurdles in the Australian Open singles on Tuesday of January 20. Zheng was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Chang Kai-Chen 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.

“I wasn’t quite myself on court today. I took a surgery at the end of last year and missed the winter training,” said the 31-year-old who was the first wild card to have made it to any Grand Slam semifinals as she reached the Wimbledon last four in 2008.

She also reached the semifinals of the 2010 Australian Open where Li Na finished runner-up.

Next Zheng will pair up with Chan Yung-jan of Chinese Taipei in the doubles.

She showed confidence in their cooperation.

“We always have good teamwork. Yung-jan and I trained together a couple of times and our cooperation is good,” said Zheng.

“Actually I have higher expectations in the doubles as it is not so straining as the singles competition. I hope we play well,” she added.

Also on Tuesday, Zhang Shuai and Zheng Saisai both lost in the first round.

No. 21 seed Peng Shuai progressed to the second round on Monday by defeating Tatjana Maria from Germany, while Chinese Xu Yifan and Liu Fangzhou also moved up, with compatriots Zhang Kailin and Zhu Lin eliminated.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Reports on Chinese nationals trapped in Myanmar “not true”: spokeswoman

By Hou Lijun

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday of January 20 that media reports claiming hundreds of Chinese nationals have been trapped in Myanmar due to fighting are incorrect.

A Chinese consular working group arrived at Myitgyina, capital of northern Myanmar’s Kachin state, Monday to provide consular assistance for Chinese nationals detained for illegal logging.

The group will also investigate media reports that hundreds of Chinese citizens have been stranded in Kachin state since government troops and the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) began exchanging fire last week.

According to an initial investigation by the Chinese working team, reports that a large number of Chinese nationals have been trapped in the conflict areas are not true, spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

“We will continue to closely follow the development of the situation and protect the security and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens,” she said.

As a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, China hopes the country’s northern region will achieve lasting peace and stability at an early date, she said.

“We hope parties in Myanmar will try to reduce conflict and frictions and resolve their disputes through peace talks,” said Hua.

The clashes between the KIA and the government broke out last Thursday after KIA members took hostage a state transport minister who was traveling through the region in a convoy, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting peace talks according to the will of the Myanmar people, and will work with Myanmar to safeguard peace and stability near the border, said Hua.

The KIA took up arms in 1961 and is the second-largest of about 20 ethnic armed groups in Myanmar.

Tensions in Kachin state, where a 17-year ceasefire between KIA and the government splintered in 2011, have overshadowed efforts to call an end to the multiple civil wars in Myanmar’s ethnic minority borderlands.

 

 

 

 

 

SOFIA  

>>  Xi’s book on Chinese Dream published in Bulgaria

By Marian Draganov

The Bulgarian version of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book “The Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation” was published in the Balkan country on Monday of January 19.

The book consists of 146 expositions from the president’s more than 50 documents between November 15, 2012 and November 2, 2013, including his speeches, remarks, letters and instructions.

The presentation ceremony in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, was attended by over 100 politicians and researchers, including Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Chairman of the National Assembly Mihail Mikov, former President Petar Stoyanov and former Vice President Angel Marin.

In his speech at the ceremony, Plevneliev said that the Chinese dream of the great national rejuvenation is a dream for prosperity of the Chinese people, a shared ideal for prosperous China as a world power and a key factor for global peace and development.

He voiced the hope that more Bulgarians read this book and that the Bulgarian people dream together with their Chinese friends and forge together a common future of peace as well as environment-friendly and dignified life for everybody on the planet.

He said he is proud that during his visit to China in January 2014, the two countries established an all-round friendly partnership, with a perspective to develop it into a strategic partnership.

Sun Yeli, head of a Chinese delegation that has come here for the event, and also vice director of the Party Literature Research Office under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said that this book will be of great help for foreign friends to know the Chinese Dream well and deepen their understanding of China.

Such an event as the publication of a collection of political speeches of a Chinese leader is the first in decades in Bulgaria, said Professor Georgi Bliznashki, the host of the ceremony.

Professor Petar-Emil Mitev, board chairman of the Institute for Social Values and Structures “Ivan Hadjiiski,” said that Bulgaria is the first country that has initiated and carried out its own translation of this book.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  President Xi to attend opening ceremony of 2015 Boao Forum

By Wang Huihui and Wu Jialin

Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in south China in March, BFA Secretary-General Zhou Wenzhong announced on Tuesday of January 20.

The event is slated from March 26 to 29 in the scenic town of Boao on south China’s tropical island province of Hainan, while the opening ceremony will take place on March 28, Zhou said at a press briefing.

The annual meeting, on the theme “Asia’s New Future: Toward a Community of Common Destiny”, will discuss macroeconomy, regional development, industry transformation, technological innovation, politics and security.

This year’s meeting, for the first time in BFA history, puts agriculture, judiciary and religion on its wide-ranking agenda.

It also has sessions on new growth drivers amid the weak global economic recovery, China’s campaign against corruption and HIV, SARS, Ebola, smog and their impact on human health.

A non-governmental and non-profit international organization founded in 2001, the BFA works to promote regional economic integration and bring Asian countries closer to their development goals.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Xi asks Party to support independent judiciary

By Fu Shuangqi

President Xi Jinping has ordered Party departments to support judges and prosecutors to exercise their duties independently.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks in a written instruction on political and legal work.

The central conference on political and legal work was convened in Beijing on Tuesday of January 20.

Party committees at all levels should set an example of abiding by the law, he wrote.

They should enable law enforcement agencies and judicial departments to work independently according to the Constitution and laws and “create a favorable environment” for them to do so, he wrote.

Meanwhile, the president noted that party committees should improve their leadership in judicial affairs, appointing qualified officials to take the lead, raising their political awareness and ensuring their integrity.

Officials in law enforcement agencies and judicial departments should be loyal to the Party, to the state and the people, he wrote.

The president stressed management and supervision of the police and ordered them to strictly follow Party discipline.

He also strongly warned officials in law enforcement agencies and judicial departments against using public power for personal interest and other misconduct.

Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, delivered Xi’s instruction to the meeting.

A statement issued after the meeting said officials will try to be more proactive, law-abiding, efficient and open while using more information technology in their work. They pledged to advance the judicial reform, identify and control social security risks.

An October CPC session outlined legal reform that stressed the supreme authority of the Constitution and promised wide ranging changes to the judicial system.

The plan includes ensuring the independence of courts and prosecutors, and rules to control intervention in court cases by senior officials.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China to instill national characteristics in think tanks

By Ren Ke

A new type of think tanks with Chinese characteristics would support development and strengthen soft power, according to a guideline issued on Tuesday of January 20.

The guideline by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council said that by 2020, think tanks must clearly define their positions and specialties, with the aim of several think tanks wielding major global influence.

Think tanks should stick to Marxist ideology, follow the CPC’s leadership and provide intellectual support to help rejuvenate the nation, according to the guideline. Intellectual resources are the most precious. Although China’s think tanks have improved in recent years, they have failed to keep up with the times.

There are no high-end think tanks with major influence and global prestige; research results are limited; resources are not appropriately allocated and there are few prominent leading figures, the guideline said.

Strategic issues and public policies will be the main fields of endeavor, supporting the Party and government in making policy and decisions. Think tanks should be non-profitable.

The guideline proposed 50 to 100 think tanks become high-end think tanks with specialties.

The guideline also called for system reform by hiring foreign experts, building overseas branches of Chinese think tanks, and strengthening international cooperation.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese premier urges better protection of consumers’ rights

By Zhang Xu

Premier Li Keqiang has urged better protection of consumers’ legitimate rights and interests, as China Consumers’ Association (CCA) elected its new head on Tuesday of January 20.

Li, in a written instruction, ordered that the consumers’ associations at various levels should work with all circles of the society to create a safe consumption environment for consumers, and make new contributions to boosting development and improving people’s livelihood.

The CCA convened the first meeting of its fifth council Tuesday, at which Zhang Ping, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, was elected new CCA chairman.

Zhang said the CCA will observe the newly amended law on the protection of consumers’ rights and interests, and constantly improve the CCA’s credibility and influence.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s united front departments urged to improve multi-party consultation

By Liu Lu

Top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng urged united front work departments to improve consultation among Chinese political parties on Tuesday of January 20.

The departments should also pool wisdom to solve problems in ethnic minority work, said Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Yu, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), urged all officials of the CPC’s united front work to improve work styles.

At the meeting, Sun Chunlan, newly-appointed head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, urged carrying out the united front work in every field and keeping absolute loyalty to the CPC.

Sun was appointed head of the United Front Work Department in late December, replacing Ling Jihua, who was removed from office after the CPC’s discipline agency announced an investigation into him for “suspected serious disciplinary violations.”

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Official urges public’s help in Beijing anti-smoking drive

By Zhong Qun and Li Yahong

Though Beijing has outlawed indoor smoking in public spaces, the public remains skeptical that the latest smoking ban will be enforced.

In November, the Beijing municipal legislature passed an anti-smoking bill banning smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces, and on public transportation. It is scheduled to take effect in June 2015.

But doubts about the feasibility of the regulation have been climbing, as smokers are still seen puffing away in restaurants, schools and other public spaces in the capital city, despite previous smoking bans in these places.

In response to the public’s suspicions, Zhong Dongbo, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning Commission, said that the local government will increase law-enforcement teams and launch tip-off hotlines to make sure the new regulation is implemented effectively.

“Local departments will take measures when illegal smoking is reported, and reports from the public and how these reports are handled will be recorded,” Zhong said.

Zhong added that including the public in the reporting system will help the municipal government’s anti-smoking push.

“Not only our commission, but also tobacco departments, education authorities and public security staff should all bear legal responsibility to contain public smoking,” Zhong said.

China is home to over 300 million smokers, with more than one million people dying as a result of tobacco-related illness a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The country signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, which went into effect in 2006. According to the FCTC, China should have banned smoking in indoor public areas completely by 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese scientists discover new ways to reduce H7N9 symptoms

By Liu Tong

Chinese scientists have used a targeted antibody to significantly reduce H7N9 symptoms in monkeys.

The study, published in British medical journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases,” demonstrates patients infected with H7N9 virus often end up dead after severe pneumonia and systemic inflammation caused by acute lung infection (ALI).

Part of the high deathrate of H7N9 is due to very limited effective treatment options.

African green monkeys were inoculated with the H7N9 virus and treated intravenously with an antibody. The treatment markedly reduced ALI and systemic inflammation, according to the study.

The results show promising progress on helping treat the virus in humans.

The study was led by Sun Shihui from Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology and Zhao Guangyu from Academy of Military Medical Science.

Since H7N9 avian flu killed three people in China in March 2013, the flu has repeatedly cropped up in winter and spring seasons.

The study said “complement inhibition may be a promising adjunctive therapy for severe viral pneumonia.”

 

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  N. China polluted city improves air quality by hefty investment

By Li Laifang and Bai Lin

Shijiazhuang, one of the major polluted cities in north China’s Hebei Province, saw remarkable improvement of air quality after a hefty investment last year, said the city’s mayor Wang Liang.

The capital city of Hebei invested nearly 1.6 billion yuan (261 million U.S. dollars) in treating air pollution, said Wang on Tuesday of January 20 at the annual session of the city’s legislature.

Shijiazhuang witnessed 114 days of excellent or good air quality in 2014, or 71 days more than in 2013. The number of seriously polluted days also fell by 51.

The city’s density of PM2.5 and PM10, two key air pollution indicators, dropped by 19.5 percent and 32.5 percent respectively.

Shijiazhuang was often listed as one of the country’s worst polluted cities.

Last year, the city reduced 7 million tonnes of coal consumption, 1.1 millon tonnes of iron and steel capacity and 18 million tonnes of cement production capacity.

The city also improved pollutant emission facilities for 14 thermoelectric companies and removed 80,000 heavy polluting vehicles from roads.

It aims to cut down coal consumption by 2.7 million tonnes and close small coal-burning boilers this year. Meanwhile, the city will displace 19 industrial companies in the downtown.

Hebei, which neighbors Beijing, is struggling to cut its excessive capacities to handle air pollution.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  

>>  Accounts of gov’t agencies flourish on WeChat: report

By Wang Xiaopeng

The number of public accounts by government agencies on WeChat, a popular instant messaging service, increased substantially in 2014, according to a Tuesday report.

At least 17,217 government WeChat accounts are active, according to the report from xinhuanet.com.

The figure is a remarkable increase from a July report by the Communication University of China (CUC), which said that at the end of 2013 there were 3,600 government WeChat accounts, and nearly 6,000 at the end of March.

About 20 percent now belong to Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations, people’s congresses (legislatures) and the committees of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (political advisors).

Government accounts had sent some 3 million pieces of information by Nov. 30.

For example, “gcdyweixin” is a WeChat of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee and operated by xinhuanet.com. Launched in June, regularly updates include news on Party organizations, introductions to role models for CPC members, and general knowledge spanning Chinese classics, history and other subjects of interest.

The report also revealed that governmental accounts on popular microblogging services including Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblog totaled 277,000 at the end of November, 219 operated by the central government, attracting about 270 million followers in total.

Meanwhile, the governments at all levels are using apps. Apps run by traffic managers, public security and weather forecasters are popular, with 12306 — the official ticket booking app of the China Railway Corporation — topping the download list.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  133 WeChat accounts shut down for distorting Chinese history

By Liu Lu

A total of 133 accounts on instant message platform WeChat have been shut down for distorting Chinese history and the history of the Communist Party of China, the country’s Cyberspace Administration said on Tuesday of January 20.

The accounts, such as “zhebushilishi” (meaning this is not the history), spread fabricated information and confused the public, said the administration.

They closed them after investigating tip-offs by web users.

The accounts “were against laws and regulations,” “disobeyed socialist core values” and “severely disturbed the online order,” which should be punished in accordance with laws, said the administration.

The administration will strengthen efforts on regulating online information and deal with tip-offs in a timely manner.

The public can report online malpractice to the 24-hour report center via hotline 12377, the website net.china.com.cn or email jubao@china.org.cn.

 

 

 

 

 

LHASA

>>  Tibet’s mineral water to be new regional growth pillar

By Fang Ning, Wang Jun and Huang Xing

Tibet Autonomous Region, in southwest China, has identified its fresh water resources as a new sustainable economic growth pillar, which has the potential to support efforts to reduce poverty and boost industrial development in the region.

Positioned on the world’s highest plateau, Tibet is often called Asia’s Water Tower, and many of the world’s greatest rivers flow out of the Tibetan Plateau. Unlike the rest of the country, which is struggling with water shortages and deteriorating water environment, Tibet boasts a pristine environment and has a large repository of freshwater.

Sources at an ongoing annual regional people’s congress session said the region had explored 28 mineral water springs and had reported 190 million tonnes of water reserves.

Speaking at the opening of the congress on Sunday, Losang Jamcan, chairman of Tibet’s regional government, said Tibet produced 300,000 tonnes of bottled water in 2014, and the sector was an important driver of economic growth.

He pointed out that to fully exploit its potential, Tibet needed brand-driven strategies to prompt further growth in the sector.

Investment, mainly from the central government, has long supported growth in Tibet.

The region aims to maintain 2014′s growth rate of 12 percent this year, while striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection. As a result, the mineral water industry has been singled out as a suitable sector to boost the local economy.

Deputy director of Tibet’s industry and information technology bureau, Qiu Chuan, said transportation infrastructure projects and strong market demand for high-quality mineral water had upped investors’ confidence in Tibet’s mineral water industry.

So far, the region has 30 mineral water production lines with a combined production capacity of 2 million tonnes a year.

Leading bottled water producers, including Nongfu Spring and Bright Food Group, have signed 16 cooperative agreements with the regional government on mineral water development, promising investment of 3.6 billion yuan (5.79 million U.S. dollars).

The regional government aims to boost the industry value to 40 billion yuan by 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Official urges public’s help in Beijing anti-smoking drive

By Zhong Qun and Li Yahong

Though Beijing has outlawed indoor smoking in public spaces, the public remains skeptical that the latest smoking ban will be enforced.

In November, the Beijing municipal legislature passed an anti-smoking bill banning smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces, and on public transportation. It is scheduled to take effect in June 2015.

But doubts about the feasibility of the regulation have been climbing, as smokers are still seen puffing away in restaurants, schools and other public spaces in the capital city, despite previous smoking bans in these places.

In response to the public’s suspicions, Zhong Dongbo, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning Commission, said that the local government will increase law-enforcement teams and launch tip-off hotlines to make sure the new regulation is implemented effectively.

“Local departments will take measures when illegal smoking is reported, and reports from the public and how these reports are handled will be recorded,” Zhong said.

Zhong added that including the public in the reporting system will help the municipal government’s anti-smoking push.

“Not only our commission, but also tobacco departments, education authorities and public security staff should all bear legal responsibility to contain public smoking,” Zhong said.

China is home to over 300 million smokers, with more than one million people dying as a result of tobacco-related illness a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The country signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, which went into effect in 2006. According to the FCTC, China should have banned smoking in indoor public areas completely by 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

ZHENGZHOU 

>>  Four macaque circus trainers acquitted in China

By Li Laifang and Shi Linjing

Four macaque circus trainers in central China will be allowed to continue performances after a court overturned a first-instance verdict which found them guilty of illegally transporting rare wildlife.

The People’s Court of Xinye County in Henan Province announced Bao Fengshan and three others were innocent given their minor offense in a second trial verdict.

The trainers caused no harm to the macaques in their transportation and performances and thus the offense was very minor, the court said on Tuesday of January 20.

The four were detained in July 2014 by local police when performing with six macaques on the streets of Mudanjiang City in the northeastern Heilongjiang Province, because they did not have a wildlife transportation license.

A local court in Heilongjiang saw the case in late September and said he and his fellow trainers committed the crime of illegally transporting rare wildlife. But the court was lenient, not handing out criminal penalties.

Despite their release, the four appealed as they feared they would not be able to continue their circus performances given the conviction.

According to regulations, macaque performers need to have three licenses, namely for domestication and breeding, performing, and wildlife transport. But most performers have no wildlife transport licenses due to the complicated administration procedures to obtain them.

“Our family has been macaque performers for generation after generation, we never had a wildlife transport license,” said Zhang Zhizhong, a macaque circus performer in Xinye.

Without the transport license, Zhang said he was often driven away by authorities when performing in other places.

Though macaque circus performers finally won the case, the most troublesome issue has not yet been solved, said Zhang Junran, head of the Macaque Art Association of Xinye County.

“We hope relevant departments can simplify procedures for us to obtain all licenses, taking into account the specialty of the intangible cultural heritage,” said Zhang.h Zhang said he also hoped to set up formal macaque circus troupes and show the performances on stages instead of streets in the future.

Monkey circuses are a traditional art form in Xinye and listed as an intangible cultural heritage by Henan Province in 2009. Its origins date back over 2,000 years during the Eastern Han Dynasty. Currently, several hundred people in Xinye are macaque circus trainers and performers. They travel to different places across the country to perform to earn money.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU 

>>  5 detained for E China parking shed fire

By Han Xiaojing and Wang Junlu

Five people have been detained by police for their roles in a parking shed fire that left eight dead in east China’s Zhejiang Province, local authorities said on Tuesday of January 20.

Electric bikes caught fire around 4 a.m. on Jan. 14 at a shed in Jiefangtang Community in Yuhuan County, Taizhou City, leaving eight people dead. The victims include a four-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, according to the city’s fire department.

Chen, head of Jiefangtang neighborhood committee and another four were detained, local police said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  14 arrested for ivory trading in north China

By Bai Lin and Zhang Yi

Chinese police have arrested 14 suspects in a crackdown on an ivory trading ring, the public security bureau in Hebei Province’s Hengshui City said on Tuesday of January 20.

Ivory products seized from the suspects were estimated to be worth more than one million yuan (160,000 U.S. dollars), the Hengshui police said. China bans all ivory trade.

Police were tipped off that sculptors who appeared to be doing business legally were actually trading ivory as part of a close-knit ring.

The police spent about 10 months infiltrating the gang and collecting evidence of the crimes, and later arrested all core members over the following three months, the public seccurity bureau said.

 

 

 

 

 

SHENYANG 

>>  Explosion hits chemical plant in NE China

By Wang Wei, Zhang Yifei and Li Baojie

An explosion ripped through a chemical plant in northeast China’s Liaoning Province on Tuesday afternoon of January 20, local authorities said.

Fire fighters have arrived at the plant in the city of Liaoyang to put out the explosion-triggered fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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