Over 53,000 officials investigated in first 11 months of 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYDNEY

>>  New Chinese ambassador to Micronesia presents credentials to president

By Sun Ding

Li Jie, China’s new ambassador to Micronesia, presented his letter of credence to Micronesian President Emanuel Mori on Wednesday of January 21, news reaching here said.

Li conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s warm greetings to Mori during their meeting at the presidential palace in the Micronesian capital Palikir.

China-Micronesia relations are enjoying a good momentum of development, Li said, pledging his full dedication to promoting the ties with the Micronesian side by fully implementing the consensuses reached by leaders of both countries, helping maintain high-level contacts, deepening pragmatic cooperation and boosting local-level and people-to-people exchanges.

He said China highly appreciates Micronesia’s positive efforts and remarkable achievements in national construction, economic development and the improvement of its people’s well-being.

China will continue to provide support and assistance within its capacity to Micronesia, the ambassador said, voicing the belief that bilateral relations will witness greater development with joint efforts of the two sides.

Mori asked Li to convey his good wishes to Xi. He expressed his appreciation of the series of major measures proposed by China during Xi’s meeting with him two months ago on the development of the ties between China and Pacific island nations.

He also spoke highly of China’s leading role in efforts to deal with climate change, which is Micronesia’s grave concern.

Micronesia is grateful for China’s long-time assistance and support for its economic and social development, and is looking forward to promoting bilateral ties by carrying out close cooperation with China, fully tapping cooperation potential and strengthening coordination in regional and global affairs, Mori said.

Li was appointed ambassador to Micronesia earlier this month and arrived in Pohnpei, Micronesia, on Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese president receives credentials of eight new ambassadors

By Tan Jingjing

Eight new ambassadors to China presented credentials to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday of January 22 in Beijing.

The ambassadors are Paul Chikawa from Zimbabwe; Milan Bacevic from Serbia; Fazlul Karim from Bangladesh; Mohamed Faisal from the Maldives; Ricardo J. Leon P. from Costa Rica; Michael Milli Hussein from South Sudan; John McKinnon from New Zealand; and Dato Zainuddin bin Yahya from Malaysia.

Xi welcomed the new ambassadors and asked them to convey his sincere greetings to the leaders and the people of their countries.

The president hoped the ambassadors to make contribution to strengthening the relations between China and their countries.

China is ready to work closely with these countries to enhance friendly exchanges and win-win cooperation, said the president.

The ambassadors said China’s development offers opportunities to the world, adding their countries attach great importance to ties with China.

They vowed concerted efforts to promote friendship and cooperation with China during their tenure.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China urges U.S. to be impartial in South China Sea

By Yang Yijun

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday of January 22 urged non-parties to stick to an objective and impartial stance over the South China Sea issue.

Non-parties should contribute to mutual trust, cooperation, regional peace and stability instead of sowing discord or fanning flames, said spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a routine press briefing.

Hua’s remarks came after U.S. assistant secretary of state Daniel Russel on Wednesday said that “bigger nations can’t bully the small” in the South China Sea.

China has always stood for equality of all countries, big and small, said Hua. Bigger countries should not bully the small, and the small should not make trouble out of nothing, she stressed.

Countries are equal not only in their rights but also in abiding by international rules, said the spokeswoman.

China has repeatedly expounded its position in the South China Sea, Hua said, stressing the country has always sought peaceful settlement of territorial and maritime disputes through dialogue and consultation.

She urged parties concerned to take practical actions to implement the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to safeguard regional peace and stability.

The DOC was signed in 2002 between China and the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including the Philippines.

 

 

 

 

 

BEJING

>>  China lauds foreign chiefs’ consensus over Ukraine crisis

By Xiong Zhengyan

China on Thursday of January 22 hailed the agreement reached by the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, which called for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

“China [...] expects it to help ease the situation in eastern Ukraine and avoid any further escalation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.

Hua’s comments came after the four top diplomats concluded the latest four-way talks over Ukraine in Berlin, Germany, and called for all sides involved in Ukraine crisis to “cease hostilities and withdraw heavy weapons” from the demarcation line, as stipulated in the Annex to the Minsk Memorandum, which was signed on Sept. 19, 2014.

The ministers reiterated that tangible progress on a full implementation of the Minsk agreements should be achieved ahead of a planned summit in Astana, including an effective ceasefire and an agreed way for delivering humanitarian aid to the region as well as continued release of detainees.

Under the agreements, Ukrainian forces and pro-independence insurgents would pull heavy arms 15 kilometers backs on either side of the demarcation line.

“China welcomes and supports the positive efforts by related parties to resolve the Ukraine crisis,” Hua said.

China called on related parties to make use of the Normandy and Minsk mechanisms, take care of legitimate interests and concerns, reach a comprehensive, balanced and lasting political solution at an early date and realize the peace, security, stability and development of Ukraine and the whole region, she said.

 

 

 

 

 

TOKYO 

>>  China, Japan hold high-level talks over maritime issues

By Liu Tian

China and Japan held their third round of high-level negotiations over maritime issue in Yokohama on Thursday of January 22 and agreed to launch at an early time the bilateral contact mechanism over air and maritime issues involving their defense organs.

Yi Xianliang, vice chief of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, headed the Chinese delegation, while deputy Director-General Makita Shimokawa of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at the Japanese Foreign Ministry represented the Japanese side and the talks also covered other government branches from both sides.

The two sides agreed to continue cooperating over cracking down maritime crimes like smuggling and to establish a dialogue channel between both sides’ coast guard headquarters.

China and Japan also achieved the agreement to intensify dialogue on maritime policies and laws under the mechanism and will enhance maritime cooperation in fields such as searching and rescue, science and environment.

The two sides also agreed to hold the fourth round talks of the mechanism in China in the second half of this year.

The bilateral high-level talks over maritime issues formed in January 2012 and the first talks was held in Hangzhou in China in May 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China rebukes Outlook hacking allegation

By Wang Cong

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Thursday of January 22 dismissed allegations that Chinese authorities had hacked into Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook email service as “groundless slander”.

CAC spokesman Jiang Jun made the remarks in response to media inquiries after the China-based web monitoring group Greatfire.org claimed that Chinese Outlook users were victims of a “man-in-the-middle” (MITM) hacking attack.

The accusation aimed to “incite dissatisfaction and smear China’s cyberspace management system,” Jiang said.

Jiang brushed aside the claim as “unsupported speculation, a pure slanderous act by overseas anti-China forces,” while describing Greatfire.org as being run by foreign anti-China organizations.

The Chinese government is a staunch advocate for cyber security and stands firmly against any sort of cyber attack, he said, adding that China will crack down on online offensive maneuvers initiated in China and those launched via Chinese Internet infrastructure in line with law.

 

 

 

 

 

DAVOS

>>  Huawei CEO rejects espionage rumors

By Wu Xia

China’s telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies on Thursday of January 22 dismissed claims that it engages in wire-tapping on behalf of the Chinese government.

“We have never received any request from the Chinese government to conduct wire-tapping on other countries,” chief executive Ren Zhengfei told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

He compared Huawei’s business to making water pipes. “We only care about carrying water. All we make is the iron sheet of that pipe. Economically speaking, there is no benefit from espionage.”

Ren said that as a Chinese company, Huawei will definitely support the Communist Party of China and the government, but stressed that it will not compromise the interest of any other country. “We comply with the laws and regulations in every country we do business in,” he said.

The chief executive added that British regulators have decided that Huawei’s products are too crude to facilitate spying.

The United States has long described Huawei as a security threat and repeatedly stymied its attempt to enter its market. It accused Huawei of having special relations with the Chinese government and designedly placing backdoors in its products.

Analysts said the U.S. act was an excuse for trade protectionism. The Chinese government has called on the U.S. government to respect the truth and overcome biases so as to boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Established in 1988, Huawei operates in 170 countries and is the world’s second-largest network equipment supplier behind Sweden’s Ericsson.

 

 

 

 

 

GABORONE

>>  Botswana gov’t applauds Chinese medical team’s contribution

By Lü Tianran

Botswana’s ministry of health on Thursday of January 22 held a farewell dinner for the 13th China Medical Team to Botswana to express appreciation to the latter.

According to the captain of the 13th China Medical Team Zheng Shounian, the team consisting 46 medical professionals arrived in Botswana on March 4, 2012. They have been working at Princess Marina Hospital in the capital of Gaborone and Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown, the second largest city of Botswana.

The first China Medical Team starting work in Botswana in 1985 with 13 members, while the numbers have increased to the current 46 as the increase symbolizes the true spirit of friendship and partnership between China and Botswana, said the minister of health Dorcas Makgato during the dinner.

The minister also presented certificates of appreciation to all the members of the team, which as she said, are to honour and show utmost recognition of the contribution that the medical team have rendered to Botswana.

Chinese ambassdor to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang said medicine and health-care has long been one of the top priority areas where China and Botswana cooperate closely and effectively.

According to the envoy, alongside daily clinical services, the medical team also shared health techniques and clinical experiences with Botswana counterparts through lectures, case study, academic exchanges etc.

Besides, the Chinese team procured medical equipment valuing over 30,000 U.S. dollars and donated them to hospitals of Botswana, said Zheng.

The ambassador said with joint efforts and with deeper cooperation between China and Botswana, the two sides will both have brighter future in the health area.

 

 

 

 

 

BELGRADE

>>  China donates office equipment to Serbia

By Nemanja Cabric

Chinese Embassy in Serbia donated office equipment to the tune of 1.60 million U. S. dollars to the Serbian foreign ministry on Thursday of January 22.

The donation consists of computers, office accessories to be used by Serbian foreign ministry, government’s European integrations office and the health ministry, as well as 25 incubators that will be distributed to Serbian hospitals.

Li Manchang, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia, said that Chinese Embassy wishes to do all it can to improve the friendly relations between the two countries, and that he hopes the equipment will make the work easier for the employees at the ministry.

Ivica Dacic, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the donation improves the relations between the two countries even further and that it will mean much to Serbia especially having in mind that this is in a period of fiscal consolidation and a lack of money to purchase new equipments.

“We share the opinion that our relations are constantly improving, that our agreements are being fulfilled, and that we are working towards their realization,” Dacic said.

 

 

 

 

 

WINDHOEK

>>  Namibia dismisses Chinese naval base report

By Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa

The Namibian government on Thursday of January 22 denied media report that China had proposed to build a naval base at the Walvis Bay port.

Quoting form Namibia’s Ambassador to China Ringo Abed, local daily newspaper The Namibian reported on Tuesday of January 22 that a delegation will visit the Southwestern African country to discuss the project.

But the Namibian Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained Thursday in a statement that no meeting took place last year between the ambassador and an official from the Chinese Ministry of National Defense to discuss construction of the naval base as alleged in the article.

The ministry said there are no discussions between the Republic of Namibia and the People’s Republic of China regarding the establishment of a Chinese naval base in Namibia.

This is not the first time that reports of a Chinese naval base in Namibia have surfaced.

In November 2013, the Namibian and Chinese governments were forced to deny reports carried by the same daily paper that they were in talks over a proposed naval base.

 

 

 

 

 

ACCRA

>>  Chinese envoy advises Ghanaians to maintain culture identity

By Lin Xiaowei

Chinese ambassador to Ghana Sun Baohong has asked Ghana to maintain what she described as its “splendid civilization,” culture and national identity.

The Chinese ambassador said “modernization does not mean abandoning our culture,” and therefore urged Ghanaians not to ignore their culture as a result of modernization.

The Chinese ambassador gave the advice on Tuesday when she paid a courtesy call on Nii Adjei Kraku II, Tema Paramount Chief, as part of a working visit to the port and industrial city Tema.

She said that culture had a lot to contribute towards the development of the country, and therefore called for cultural exchanges between China and Ghana.

Sun said the visit was to strengthen the 55-year bilateral relations between China and Ghana as well as to create the needed relationship with Tema.

She said China would continue to invest in Ghana as her country was looking for economically favorable countries to do business with, and to explore areas such as culture, education and business.

Isaac Ashai Odamtten, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, said Tema would learn from the Chinese people on how to place the metropolis as the economic power of Ghana.

He said a trade center would be built at the Tema Meridian enclave to encourage trade between the two countries.

 

 

 

 

 

SANTIAGO

>>  Chilean film festival to showcase Chinese cinemas

By Mao Pengfei

Three films from China will be featured during the Ficil Biobio Film Festival in central Chile’s province of Arauco next month.

The 15th festival on Feb. 13-19 are expected to bring international movies to the public with free outdoor screenings in three regional cities of Concepcion, Canete and Lebu.

As this year’s guest country, China will bring three dramas that showcase the country’s culture through different themes, including “Quancheng Gaokao” (“Mark of Youth”) which follows four students preparing for the university entrance exam, “Tangshan Da Dizhen” (“Aftershock”) depicting the aftermath of the tragic earthquake that hit Tangshan in 1976, and “Yi Dai Zong Shi” (“The Grandmaster”) with the story of martial arts master Ip Man.

The Ficil Biobio, which began in 1999, is Chile’s third largest film festival, after the festivals of Valdivia and Vina del Mar.

This year, the Year of China in Chile, will see numerous cultural events featuring the Asian country throughout the South American nation.

 

 

 

 

 

SINGAPORE

>>  Confidence in Chinese, regional economies increasingly hinge on reforms: analysts

By Chen Jipeng

Confidence in Chinese, regional economies beyond the short term increasingly hinges on progress of reforms in China while acceptable slower growth leaves space for sustainable development, analysts and economists said.

Slower growth will still be “acceptable and still sufficient to support growth around the region,” said Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB Research — a research arm of the Commerce International Merchant Bank (CIMB).

China’s gross domestic product(GDP) growth in 2014 is 7.4 percent. Instead of being a cause for analysts to go panic, the growth rate is increasingly seen as natural at the current stage of development.

Paul Yip, an associate professor at Nanyang Technological University, said it is not necessary to worry.

Song said slower economic growth can be explained by rebalancing efforts to shift from quantitative to qualitative growth, which includes further opening up the economy, focusing less on investment and more on the development of the service industry, and upgrading the banking sector to better pump liquidity into all sectors.

“While I suppose analysts would like to see these reforms accelerated, the reality is that everything has to be done in measured ways,” he said, “Given the different stages of development, we are all aware that the rebalance will take many years.”

Chen Kang, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, said a serious rebalancing effort would mean that growth should be allowed to be slower, he said.

“The economic slowdown will somewhat serve the purpose of forcing reforms on the way. If you prop up the growths artificially, they would think they are doing OK without the reforms,” he said.

The policy makers in China have been seen as observing fiscal disciplines fairly strictly, though efforts have been made to pump liquidity into targeted sectors.

Some said that it is still too early to tell whether the reforms are producing desired results, while others said they see that the Chinese leaders are serious about rebalancing and that there is no room for failure. They agree that the long-term outlook for China’s economy will be good if the reforms are carried through.

“China is a continental economy. It is all possible for China’s internal demand to sustain a long period of growth, especially given that the population is still young overall, though it is aging,” Chen said.

“Compared with 1998, there is more room for slower growth. Back at that time, workers were being laid off. There was also the Asian financial crisis. The state-owned enterprise reforms were underway. Even the pressure in terms of the population was larger,” he said.

“Now it is different, the overall labor population is declining,” he said when he compared China’s current reforms with those in the late 1990s.

An economist team of ANZ Research led by Liu Ligang said in a recent report that allowing economic growth to slow down would help create more maneuvering space for China’s structural reforms.

“Looking forward, we expect the service sector to contribute a larger part of China’s economic growth and become the main driver. As the imports of China gradually shift from imports for the purpose of processing trade to general imports, China’s imports will also lead to more growth opportunities for the global economy,” said the report.

Even in the short term, there does not seem to be much to worry about.

“The businesses in the region and around the world will calibrate their expectation” in making investment to target slower growth rather than growth of around 10 percent seen in the previous decade, Song said.

 

 

 

 

 

MOSCOW

>>  China’s Belt and Road Initiatives to boost links: Russian expert

By Ding Chao and Igor

China’s “Belt and Road” initiatives will create more opportunities to boost connectivity in Asia and beyond, a Russian expert said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

“The proposal is a huge project. It could coordinate with other regional organizations to give full play to their advantages and further boost multilateral relationships,” said Yakov Berger, a senior researcher with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The Belt and Road Initiatives were put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his overseas visits in 2013, which includes the Silk Road Economic Belt — from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road — through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa.

Both projects remind people of the ancient Silk Road that set a paradigm of interaction among nations.

The initiatives will not be a competitive replacement of other economic or political associations in the region, like the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Berger said, adding they will, on the contrary, help to strengthen multilateral relations.

His remarks were echoed by Dmitry Mezentsev, secretary-general of the SCO, who said in November in Beijing that China’s initiatives respond to the common needs of mutually beneficial cooperation and development, and will help further enhance ties in the region.

“This project will add a new ‘quality’ of multilateral cooperation, including in the SCO area,” said Mezentsev.

More than 50 countries along the ancient Silk Road have voiced willingness to participate in the initiatives to foster common development between China, Europe and Asia.

China has fulfilled its commitments with tangible efforts, including a 40 billion U.S. dollar Silk Road Fund to directly support the projects and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to help supply the capital for infrastructure construction along the routes.

“The sum of 40 billion dollars looks quite adequate for the first stages of the project implementation,” said Berger.

Speaking of Russia’s role in the initiatives, the expert said Russia may take part in those projects through cooperation in such areas as energy supply and development of new technologies.

“In general, among all the countries which could be included in the initiatives, Russia possesses the biggest potential,” he said. “For Russia, that implies cooperation not only with China but with other countries.”

Berger refuted the claim that The Belt and Road Initiatives are a Chinese version of the Marshall Plan which Beijing would use to seek influence and even dominance in Asia and the rest of the world.

“This is absolutely incorrect to compare the U.S. Marshall Plan with China’s Belt vision. The Marshall Plan was an unilateral and one-off economic assistance to rebuild Europe,” he said.

“Unlike it, the Belt vision is a long-term and, what’s more important, a multilateral cooperation plan. This is not just Chinese assistance for Asian countries; this is mutually beneficial cooperation,” he noted.

Berger said the initiatives have profound implications for Asia and the world at large.

“It will not only bring economic benefits to countries involved, but also bolster social and cultural interactions among all the partners in the region through other channels, like educational projects and cultural programs.”

 

 

 

 

 

BRUSSELS

>>  China’s economic reforms, regional initiatives bring global benefits: top EU economists

By Shuai Rong

China’s ongoing economic reforms and initiatives on regional development will benefit both itself and the rest of the world, top European economists have said.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday of January 21 that the Chinese economy, the world’s second largest, is not heading for a hard landing.

During the economic transformation and upgrading, “the only risk for China was stagnation, but this has been overcome,” Daniel Gros, director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies, told Xinhua in an interview.

China’s economic reforms benefit the world in two ways, according to Gros, a former economic adviser to the European Commission and then the European Parliament.

“First, everybody benefits if China grows more strongly, especially if growth is re-balanced from investment and exports towards consumption,” he told Xinhua.

“Second, making the market the main determinant of economic decisions also facilitates trade,” Gros continued.

Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a world-economy think tank based in Brussels, said economic reforms that open up for more competition and innovation are key to China’s development.

“The country could add a new dimension to its global economic leadership by fastening economic reforms that can reverse the country’s growth trend,” the Swedish economist said.

 

INVESTMENT INITIATIVES

In recent years, China has been eyeing economic upgrading through coordinating its financial and monetary policies and through long-term investment in such areas as infrastructure.

China has also proposed or promoted a host of initiatives, including the Silk Road Economic Zone, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the BRICS Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as part of efforts to fund global public investment and pursue win-win results.

Commenting on these initiatives, Gros said a distinction should be made between internal investment drive and the financing of investment abroad.

“Internal infrastructure investment has been useful to maintain demand and employment in the short run, but it does little to address the domestic demand deficiency which one can see in the continuing very high national (not merely household) savings rates,” he explained.

Chinese efforts to finance global public investment are laudable, but the size of this investment would be much smaller than domestic investment because other countries have an absorption problem for foreign capital, Gros said.

Noting that these initiatives will help push growth, Erixon said that “new investments that are combined with economic reforms have a much better multiplying effect.”

Regarding China’s trade policies, the ECIPE chief said China’s efforts to spur regional trade integration are important.

China’s trade negotiations with the United States or the European Union should not be that far off, provided that domestic economic reforms are sped up, he added.

 

CHINESE CAPITAL GOING OVERSEAS

Asked to comment on the going-out of Chinese capital, Erixon said the global market has seen an increasing competitve presence of Chinese companies.

Some sectors are sensitive in some countries, especially the infrastructure sector and those previously privatized sectors, but countries with a protectionist sentiment towards Chinese are declining in number, he said.

China can contribute to better conditions for cross-border investment by allowing more competition between outward oriented Chinese investors and by reforming corporate governance that will make it easier for others to understand how companies in China work, according to Erixon.

 

INNOVATION

Both economists also offered their insights on how China can step up its innovation-led growth, as Chinese governments are pushing for more innovation-supporting measures, including encouraging people to start undertakings and promoting the development of the internet economy.

Erixon said apart from increasing the scope for competition in the economy, China could accelerate its own innovation-led growth by education.

“The experience of many other countries is that it is smarter to invest in readiness to adopt innovations than invest in the capacity to create them,” he added.

Innovation is best left to the private sector, Gros said, noting that in reality, the government is rarely the source of innovation.

 

 

 

 

 

OSAKA 

>>  Chinese LCC to link Japan’s Osaka with China’s Qingdao, Lanzhou

By Yan Lei

Chinese low-cost carrier (LCC) Spring Airlines will launch two new air routes on Saturday, linking Osaka in western Japan with Qingdao in Shandong Province, eastern China, and with Lanzhou in Gansu Province, northwestern China, New Kansai International Airport Co. Ltd. said on Wednesday of January 21.

The carrier, which already links Kansai airport with four other Chinese cities, will provide seven flights a week from Osaka to Lanzhou (via Shanghai), and three flights a week to Qingdao. It will be the first airline to fly the Kansai-Lanzhou route.

The new air routes are opened up to meet the needs of the increasing number of Chinese tourists to Kansai region in Japan, said the airport company.

Spring Airlines is a budget airline headquartered in Shanghai, China. It launched the air route from Kansai airport to Shanghai in March 2014, and later opened routes from Kansai airport to China’s Tianjin, Chongqing, and Wuhan city, with the average passenger load factor kept over 90 percent.

 

 

 

 

 

HANOI

>>  Three Chinese workers die, one injured at hydropower project in northern Vietnam: local official

By Zhang Jianhua

Three Chinese workers died and one other was injured while working at a hydropower project in northern Vietnam earlier on Tuesday, a local official told Xinhua on Thursday of January 22.

Tran Quy Duc, vice chairman of Ha Giang Provincial People’s Committee told Xinhua water was discharged into a conduit while four workers were working inside. Tragically the torrent swept them away.

Procedures are underway to bring the bodies of the three victims back home, Quy told Xinhua, saying the health condition of the sole survivor is “quite stable” while being treated at a Ha Giang provincial hospital.

According to local media, the three victims were aged 31, 35 and 42. The four workers were carrying out survey work for drills at the site.

The incident happened at Thuan Hoa hydro power plant in Ha Giang province bordering China in the north.

According to the website of Ha Giang government, Thuan Hoa hydro power plant with a capacity of 38 MW is being built on Mien River in Thuan Hoa commune, Vi Xuyen district, Ha Giang province, 220 km north of capital Hanoi.

Construction of the plant started on Aug. 30, 2013 and is scheduled to finish in three years. Total investment of the project is nearly 1.3 trillion Vietnamese dong (61.61 million U.S. dollars).

Investor of the project is Thuan Hoa hydro power joint stock company. A company from China is contractor of the project, reported the website of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Once completed, the plant is expected to produce some 130 million kwh and bring some 20 billion Vietnamese dong (around 948, 000 U.S. dollars) to the state budget each year.

Relevant authorities are working to investigate the case, said Quy.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

>>  Apple steps up China expansion with another new store

By Cao Bing and Zhang Yao

Apple will open its 14th Chinese mainland store in Hangzhou, in east China’s Zhejiang Province, on Saturday of January 24.

The store is in the the coastal province’s downtown area by the West Lake.

Apple VP retail real estate/development Bob Bridger told Xinhua that the new store was designed by the same architecture firm in charge of the company’s new headquarters in California.

The new story has nearly 200 staffers including shop assistants, technical experts and business consultants, coming from 22 provinces and cities in the Chinese mainland, and speaking eight languages and 14 Chinese dialects.

According to Bridger, Apple is experiencing its most rapid growth since it opened its first store in China in 2008. Just 10 days ago, Apple opened its 13th store in central China’s Zhengzhou City. Another store will open in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality next week.

Two more new stores are expected to open before Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 19 this year, but the company has not yet disclosed their locations.

Earlier this month, a report from investment banking firm UBS showed that strong demand for Apple’s latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus smartphones had helped the Chinese market outsell the United States for the first time.

iPhone demand saw outsized growth in China, with as much as 35 percent of shipments in the last quarter of 2014 headed for the country, higher than the 24 percent ratio of the U.S. market.

One Shanghai-based Apple store sees over 25,000 customers a day, more than any other store in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

HO CHI MINH CITY

>>  Vietnam exports 2 mln tons of rice to China in 2014

Vietnam has exported about 2 million tons of rice to China in 2014, despite the amount registered upon official contracts was only 650,000 tons, local Saigon Economic Times reported on Thursday of January 22.

The surplus volume over the contract-based figure was traded through land borders between the two countries, the report quoted the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) as saying.

According to the Vietnam General Statistics Office, Vietnam exported over 6.3 million tons of rice in 2014, earning nearly 3 billion U.S. dollars. However, the country’s rice inventories were sold off thanks to the increasing demand of rice from China through the borders, said the VFA.

In 2014, Asia maintained Vietnam’s main rice export market, accounting for nearly 76 percent of the country’s total rice exports through the official trade way, followed by Africa with 13 percent and America with 7.5 percent. Major importers of Vietnamese rice included China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cuba and China’s Hong Kong.

Prices of Vietnamese rice exports fluctuated between 380 and 465 U.S. dollars per ton for the 5-percent-broken rice, higher than the previous year’s level at 365-420 U.S. dollars per ton. Vietnam’s Jasmine rice was sold at the highest price at 620 U.S. dollars per ton.

 

 

 

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

>>  Conca set to return to China after Fluminense accepts proposal: reports

By Ji Ye

Fluminense’s Dario Conca will go back to the Chinese Super League after the Brazilian club accepted the proposal from Chinese club Shanghai SIPG, Brazilian media reported on Thursday of January 22.

According to the Brazilian news hub UOL, the Argentine midfielder will receive 56 million reals for a two-year contract with Shanghai SIPG, which just signed former England team coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Conca, who came back to Fluminense in 2014 from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande, 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.

Although the final contract hasn’t been signed between the two sides, Brazilian media believed that there is no hurdle in Conca’s transfer after Fluminense accepted the proposal. Unimed, who also owns the economic rights of Conca, has already authorized the transfer.

Amid the financial crisis of Fluminense as a result of the withdrawal of Unimed, veteran Brazilian striker Fred, who also encountered the delay of image-rights payment, is also set to go to China, according to reports in Globo.

A Chinese club has made a proposal for Fred and he can leave the club in the coming days. But the name of the club hasn’t been revealed. Fred had a lackluster performance at last year’s World Cup in the number nine shirt for Brazil, but the 31-year-old earned the top scorer prize in the Brazilian league last year.

Conca traveled in a separate flight back to Brazil on Monday after Fluminense ended pre-season training in the United States. Conca was said to be informed the offer from China during his stay in the United States.

On Thursday’s regular training at Fluminense, Conca didn’t show up until the very last minute, while other players appeared on the field half an hour earlier before the scheduled time as usual.

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

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

Recently, there are growing ranks of South Americans joining the Chinese Super League from the Brazilian league.

Last week, two Chinese teams announced major signings with Brasileirao’s high-profile players. Brazil international midfielder Ricardo Goulart from Cruzeiro has signed a four-year deal with Guangzhou Evergrande, while Brazil striker Diego Tardelli from Atletico Mineiro signed with Shandong Luneng.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  French PM to visit China

By Liang Linlin

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will pay an official visit to China from Jan. 29 to 31, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman announced on Thursday of January 22.

Valls will visit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Senior CPC official urges to serve people

By Liu Lu and Hua Chunyu

A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Thursday of January 22 called on all Party officials to remain down to earth and be devoted to the people.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made his remarks while a group of people were chosen to be examples of upstanding citizens.

Gao Derong, the first of the role model delegation to be named, was the former chief of Drung-Nu Autonomous County of Gongshan, in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

During his tenure, Gao was devoted to local development and poverty alleviation, and his efforts garnered the sincere approval of residents.

Liu said that Gao was not only a role model for the Drung ethnic minority, but also for all CPC officials. He urged all Party officials to follow Gao’s lead by being loyal to the CPC and serving the people.

“Gao’s deeds reflect President Xi Jinping’s spirit of serving the people and he passed on this positive energy,” Liu said.

To truly be an honest and upright official, cadres should fulfill their duties and responsibilities, and cultivate the right understanding of power, Liu said.

After Liu’s visit to the delegation, Gao and other role models gave speeches at a seminar on their own stories. The seminar was attended by more than 700 delegates from all walks of life.

There are around 6,900 people in China that identify themselves as Drung, making it one of the smallest ethnic minorities in China.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China Law Society aims at key think tank

By Wang Xiaopeng

China Law Society on Thursday of January 22 said it would improve its decision-making advisory service to establish itself as a key think tank as the nation works toward being for the rule of law.

President of the society Wang Lequan told a meeting attended mainly by executive members that there should be more emphasis on collective thoughts rather than individual thinking, so academic opinion could be developed into feasible proposals.

Wang said law experts should be encouraged to conduct research on strategic issues that would contribute to economic and social development, or rule of law.

In his speech, Wang also urged the society to support law experts who were interested in working at international law organizations, as this would increase China’s standing on international rules.

Wang’s remarks followed a guideline released on Tuesday by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council.

The guideline called for a new type of think tank with Chinese characteristics that would support development and strengthen soft power.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s top court vows to continue correction of wrongful convictions

By Guo Likun

China’s top judge has vowed to continue correction of wrongful convictions following multiple judicial scandals including Huugjilt’s case.

“Deep lessons should be drawn from major wrongful convictions such as Huugjilt, and their grave harm should be fully recognized,” said Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), at a national meeting of chief justices of higher courts on Wednesday of January 21.

A higher court in Inner Mongolia ruled in December 2014 that teenager Huugjilt, who was found guilty of rape and murder in 1996, was innocent and had been wrongfully executed.

The top court will make efforts to improve its systems to prevent, reinvestigate and correct wrongful convictions more effectively in 2015.

Reinvestigation and retrial can be conducted by judicial organs from different jurisdictions if necessary, according to the SPC.

The top court also plans to introduce measures to help the wrongly convicted in seeking state compensation.

As part of China’s initiative to adopt a more prudent attitude toward using death penalties, the SPC reiterated the criteria for issuing capital punishment should be strictly observed so as to ensure “the penalty is only used on an extremely few convicts whose crimes are extremely serious.”

As to the anti-graft fight, the SPC said while meting out severe punishment to those who took bribes, it will also give harsher punishment to those who offer bribes.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  CPPCC discusses rights protection for disabled population

By Wang Cong

China’ political advisors discussed protection of the rights and interests of the country’s disabled population at a bi-weekly consultation session on Thursday of January 22.

According to a statement issued after the session presided over by Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the advisors acknowledged that the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have attached great importance to the protection of rights and interests of China’s 85 million disabled people.

But considerable gap regarding living standards continue to exist between the disabled population and the overall average of the Chinese society, they noted.

The advisors suggested a government-led approach that involves full public participation in the welfare improvement for the disabled people, and called for favorable education and employment policies for them.

They also called for improving China’ s current laws and regulations concerning protection of disabled people’s rights and interests.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese bank unveils loans worth 590 bln yuan for infrastructure

By Zhu Shaobin and Jiang Lin

China Development Bank, a wholly state-owned policy bank, unveiled a lending plan on Thursday of January 22 that will see at least 590 billion yuan (96 billion U.S. dollars) in new loans made for infrastructure projects in 2015.

Of the new loans, at least 400 billion yuan will be used to support housing renovation projects in shanty towns in urban areas. Meanwhile, 100 billion yuan will be available to the railway sector, with another 90 billion yuan going to key water infrastructure projects, the bank said.

The new lending comes after the bank granted 408.6 billion yuan in 2014 in loans to support shanty town renovation projects. In the same year, the bank’s new lending to railways and water projects reached 119.5 billion yuan and 81.4 billion yuan, respectively.

The bank also said on Thursday its net profits hit 88.4 billion yuan last year. By the end of 2014, the bank’s total assets topped 10 trillion yuan and the non-performing loan ratio stood at 0.63 percent.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Over 53,000 officials investigated in first 11 months of 2014

By Hu Longjiang and Chen Fei

China’s prosecuting authorities probed 53,043 officials for suspected corruption in the first 11 months of 2014, with 24 at or above ministerial levels, including Zhou Yongkang.

The total number was up 7 percent from the same period in 2013, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) said at a meeting on Thursday of January 22, without saying how many of them were prosecuted.

They arrested or persuaded 664 duty-crime suspects that fled the country to return.

The SPP also said it would strengthen investigating officials involved in areas such as the major construction projects, land transfers and mineral resources exploitation.

The SPP also announced it would establish a new “general administration for the graft fight” in 2015, upgrading its anti-corruption bureau set up in 1995.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Survey reveals public satisfaction of China’s anti-graft campaign

By Guo Likun

A recent survey found 70 percent of respondents were satisfied over the progress of the country’s anti-graft campaign, China Youth Daily reported.

The respondents listed the downfall of a batch of “big tigers” or high-ranking officials, cracking down on corrupt officials fleeing abroad, and a purge of “naked officials”, which refer to those whose spouse and children have emigrated overseas, as the top three biggest results in 2014.

The survey sampled 2,167 people, with employers ranging from private and state-owned companies to government agencies.

Some 82.3 percent of those polled, however, believe the situation remains grave and the fight against graft still has challenges ahead.

The most anticipated anti-graft moves in 2015 include bringing down corruption in common people’s daily life, ferreting out more “big tigers,” and the continued hunt for fugitive officials and their illegal gains, the survey said.

After taking the helm of the Communist Party of China in November 2012, top leaders resolved to target both high-ranking “tigers” and low-ranking “flies” in their corruption fight.

Among the highest-ranking officials downed last year were former state leader Zhou Yongkang, former military leader Xu Caihou, and former senior political advisors Ling Jihua and Su Rong.

 

 

 

 

 

HOHHOT

>>  Officials in Inner Mongolia face graft investigation

By Han Xiaojing and Jia Lijun

Two officials in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region were investigated for alleged serious discipline and law violations, said the regional discipline inspection watchdog on Thursday of January 22.

The two are identified as Bao Chongming, deputy chief of the Chifeng City Committee of the Communist Party of China; and Lin Jian, head of Erdos City’s Dongsheng District government.

China is carrying on unprecedented intensive anti-graft campaign, targeting both high-ranking and minor officials. The effective crackdown has been lauded by the public.

 

 

 

 

 

XI’AN

>>  Senior provincial official stands trial in NW China

By Liang Aiping, Fu Ruixia and Zhang Yi

A court in northwest China heard the case of former Zunyi City Party Secretary Liao Shaohua, who stood trial for bribery and abuse of power on Thursday of January 22.

Liao was tried at the Intermediate People’s Court in Xi’an, capital city of Shaanxi Province.

During his term as Zunyi Party Secretary, Liao also served as member of the standing committee of the Guizhou Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Liao is accused of taking bribes worth more than 13.2 million yuan (2.1 million U.S. dollars) when serving as mayor of Liupanshui City, Party Secretary of Qiandongnan Prefecture and Party Secretary of Zunyi City from 2004 to 2012.

The prosecution said Liao took the bribes from 11 businessmen and sought profits for them.

Prosecutors also said Liao abused his power as Qiandongnan Prefecture Party Secretary and caused huge losses of national funds.

Liao and his attorney questioned the prosecutors’ evidence in court, and Liao made a statement.

The court said it will issue a verdict on a later date.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

>>  China establishes e-commerce union to monitor, share quality information

By Zhang Xu and Xu Qingsong

An e-commerce union has been established to share product quality information and identify blacklisted businesses, a senior official with the quality watchdog said on Thursday of January 22.

Zhang Qinrong, deputy head of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), said the union will connect e-commerce enterprises and rid the market of those that are dishonest or illegal.

The e-commerce industry is booming in China, with online retail turnover hitting 1.8 trillion yuan (293.89 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2014, up 49.9 percent from a year ago.

Meanwhile, complaints over counterfeit or poor quality products needed to be addressed by unified supervision.

Zhang said the AQSIQ has set up a public service platform for sharing information and is planning to build a database to select and analyze information.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Ministry vows stricter air quality inspections

By Wang Cong and Zhang Zewei

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on Thursday of January 22 said air quality checks would be intensified in 2015.

According to the MEP, 14 inspections were made by the ministry in 2014, including to the city of Tianjin; north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; and Hebei, Shanxi and Henan provinces.

Follow-up surveys showed that air quality in those regions had improved remarkably, said Liu Changgen, a director with the ministry’s inspection department.

But the situation is far from perfect, Liu said, pointing to insufficient desulphurization facilities at heating plants in some regions.

He also noted excessive discharge of pollutants by certain enterprises, explicitly naming Zhengzhou Xinli Electric Power Co. Ltd. for its oxynitride discharge.

This year the ministry will organize further, stricter inspections in the above regions as well as include other cities on its inspection program.

Levels of PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone have been included in air quality standards since 2013.

Tianjin and the cities in Hebei and Henan provinces and in Inner Mongolia frequently top the MEP’s monthly air pollution lists.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Beijing’s “southern water” safe and clear

By Yao Yuan and Wei Mengjia

Beijing’s tap water has passed daily tests since last month, when a massive project drove water from a south China river into the Chinese capital, Beijing’s water supplier said.

Water from a tributary of the Yangtze River has flowed about 1,200 km to Beijing since December 27 as part of a south-to-north water diversion project to quench China’s drought-hit north.

Beijing Waterworks Group said testing facilities have been installed at 159 sites across Beijing, and tests have been conducted twice a day. So far, the city’s tap water has met national standards, said Liang Li, spokeswoman of the group.

The project delivers 800,000 cubic meters of water to Beijing each day, up from 700,000 when the supply began, according to Liang. Residents have praised the influx of “southern water” for clearer tap water.

Beijing’s water supply previously relied heavily on groundwater with high calcium and magnesium content that irritated residents by clogging showerheads and stiffening laundry.

“Tap water has become clearer. Even my tea-loving parents say tea brewed with tap water tastes better,” said Yang Yufei, who lives in Beijing’s Fengtai District.

With a population of over 20 million, Beijing consumes 3.6 billion cubic meters of water annually, but its water resources per capita are only one-eightieth of the world average. The water project will deliver 9.5 billion cubic meters of water per year to China’s northern regions, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and the provinces of Henan and Hebei.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Beijing sees growth in residents income

By Wang Jian

The per capita disposable income of urban residents in Beijing was 43,910 yuan(7,070 U. S. dollars) in 2014, an increase of 8.9 percent from the previous year, local authorities said on Thursday of January 22.

According to a report jointly published by Beijing Statistics Bureau and the National Bureau of Statistics Beijing survey office, the per capita net income of the city’s rural residents was 20,226 yuan, up by 10.3 percent year on year.

Population of the permanent residents in Beijing was 21.516 million by the end of 2014, a growth of 1.7 percent from the end of 2013. The population of the urban residents was 18.59 million, which is 86.4 percent of the total permanent residents.

The city’s consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.6 percent in 2014 from 2013.

The total retail sales of consumer goods of Beijing in 2014 was 909.81 billion yuan, up by 8.6 percent year on year.

A raft of China’s 2014 economic figures unveiled on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics shows per capita disposable income of all residents was 20,167 yuan.

The CPI for the whole country rose 2 percent, below the government’s target of 3.5 percent.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Beijing’s GDP exceeds 2 trillion yuan in 2014

By Wang Jian

Beijing’s gross domestic product(GDP) in 2014 topped 2.133 trillion yuan(343.38 billion U. S. dollars), up by 7.3 percent from the previous year, local authorities said on Thursday of January 22.

According to a report jointly published by Beijing Statistics Bureau and the National Bureau of Statistics Beijing survey office, the per capita GDP of Beijing was 99,995 yuan in 2014.

During 2014, the added value of primary industry was 15.9 billion yuan, down by 0.1 percent year on year. Meanwhile, the added value of the secondary and tertiary industry in 2014 was 454.55 billion yuan and 1662.63 billion yuan, up by 6.9 and 7.5 percent respectively.

The GDP of the tertiary industry took 77.9 percent of the total GDP in 2014, an increase of 2 percentage points from 2008.

Statistics show growth in communication and electronic equipment, automobiles, and medicine accounted for 74.2 percent of the total growth rate of the city’s manufacturing industry in 2014.

Among the tertiary industries, finance, information and software, and scientific research and service saw the fastest expansion in 2014, witnessing a yearly growth of 12.3, 11.7 and 11.1 percent respectively. The added value of the property industry was down by 2.2 percent on a yearly basis.

Total value of the city’s imports and exports was 415.65 billion U. S. dollars in 2014, down by 3.3 percent year on year, according to the report.

A raft of China’s 2014 economic figures unveiled on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that China has seen the slowest pace of GDP growth since 1990, as the country’s GDP expanded 7.4 percent year on year to 63.65 trillion yuan.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Body of senior Chinese military leader cremated in Beijing

By Liu Lu

Former senior Chinese military leader Zhang Wannian was cremated on Thursday of January 22.

President Xi Jinping, top legislator Zhang Dejiang, and senior leaders Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli attended Zhang Wannian’s funeral at Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in west Beijing.

Premier Li Keqiang and former leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao expressed their condolence to his relatives.

Zhang Wannian was former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and a member of the Political Bureau and Secretariat of the 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He died on Jan. 14 at the age of 87.

Zhang Wannian joined the army in 1944 and the CPC a year later. He was promoted to the rank of a general in 1993.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

>>  Swimmer Sun Yang shut out of local top 10 voting

By Cao Jianjie and Xialiang

Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang was shut out of a top 10 athletes voting by the southeast Chinese province of Zhejiang on Thursday of January 22.

Sun missed out on the balloting for the second straight year for “well-known reasons”, said Zhao Xiaoxiang, deputy sports director of Sun’s birth province, adding those candidates for awards are the “pride and examples of Zhejiang sports”.

Sun, who holds the 1,500-meter freestyle world record, served a three-month doping ban earlier this year after testing positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine on May 17.

Sun wasn’t listed for the top 10 voting or other awards for Zhejiang-born athletes last year as he had a public falling out with his longtime coach and was briefly jailed after being caught driving without a licence.

In athletic results alone, Sun is better than any of 20 candidates who include women’s swimmer Ye Shiwen and ultra-marathon runner Chen Pengbin, having won three gold medals in the 2014 Asian Games.

The winners of sporting awards “not only excel in sports but also have positive energy”, said Zhao.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Chinese customs investigate more criminal smuggling cases in 2014

By Wang Xi and Lin Jianyang

Chinese customs authorities investigated 2,275 criminal smuggling cases in 2014, an increase of 10.4 percent from a year earlier, official data revealed on Thursday of January 22.

The cases involve 66.9 billion yuan (10.9 billion U.S. dollars), a year-on-year increase of 65.5 percent, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said. Of the total, 170 major cases each involved tax evasion totaling more than 10 million yuan, 1.1 times more than that of 2013.

In 2014, the GAC stressed harsh checks and punishment on agricultural products, overseas waste and endangered animals and plants.

In a special campaign against the smuggling of agricultural products last year, the GAC had cracked 638 cases, involving nearly 38 billion yuan, GAC said.

In another special campaign against drug smuggling in 2014, Chinese customs authorities had cracked 471 cases and seized 4.4 tonnes of drugs in total.

For 2015, the GAC said it would continue cracking down on smuggling activities, especially on agricultural products, arms, drugs and waste from overseas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU 

>>  South China city reports one more human H7N9 case

By Han Xiaojing and Xiao Sisi

South China’s Guangdong Province reported another human case of the H7N9 strain of avian flu, local authorities said on Thursday of January 22.

The 58-year-old man surnamed Lin is in a critical condition in a hospital in Shenzhen city, the provincial health and family planning commission said in a statement.

The health authorities warned that people are most at risk at catching bird flu during winter and spring.

In addition to Guangdong, Shanghai Municipality and Fujian and Zhejiang provinces have all reported human cases of H7N9 this winter.

 

 

 

 

 

HOHHOT 

>>  Hohhot to build first metro

By Liu Yide and Zhang  Yi

Hohhot, capital of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, will start building its first subway lines next year, the city government said on Thursday of January 22.

The proposal includes two lines stretching about 60 kilometers in the city of 3 million, according to the government.

Hohhot’s economy has soared in the last decade as the resource-rich region boomed during China’s construction and investment binge. The city now has more than 900,000 cars and faces frequent traffic jams downtown.

Hohhot Mayor Qin Yi said the metro project has met the review and approval requirements for the National Development and Reform Commission.

Qin added that the metro project has passed evaluations by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development as well as assessments by environment watchdogs.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s central bank extends MLF

By Zhang Xu, Liu Zheng and Wang Peiwei

China’s central bank has extended the term of a due medium-term lending facility (MLF) valuing 269.5 billion yuan (43.99 billion U.S. dollars) and added another 50 billion yuan.

The move was made to stabilize the market using stimulus and guidance of MLF in anticipation of the upcoming Spring Festival, which usually causes a seasonal liquidity fluctuation, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said during an announcement on Wednesday of January 21.

The MLF operation targets joint-stock commercial banks, city commercial banks and rural commercial banks, with a term of three months and an interest rate of 3.5 percent, according to the PBOC.

The PBOC implemented new tools last year to tackle the changing economic landscape, including MLF and pledged supplementary lending (PSL).

The new tools are more flexible and targeted to ensure sufficient liquidity, support reasonable credit growth and facilitate structural adjustment, the central bank explained.

On Jan. 9, PBOC announced it will continue with prudent monetary policies in 2015 with better coordination of tight and loose monetary measures and proper fine-tuning.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China farm produce prices up slightly

By Rong Jiaojiao and Liu Yangyang

China’s farm produce prices in 36 large and medium-sized cities edged up slightly in the week ending Jan. 18 compared with the previous week, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday of January 22.

The average price of 18 vegetables went up 0.5 percent in the time period. The price of wax gourd and cabbage rose 7.7 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

Last week, the price of pork and mutton dropped 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. The average price of aquatic products went down 0.3 percent, and egg prices declined 1.1 percent.

The price of rice, flour, soy bean oil and peanut oil remained flat, according to the ministry.

Food accounts for about one-third of China’s consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation.

China’s CPI grew 2 percent in 2014 from one year earlier, well below the government’s 3.5-percent target set for the year, according to the official data.

The increase was also below the 2.6-percent growth registered in 2013.

CPI growth rebounded to 1.5 percent in December from November’s 1.4-percent rise, its slowest increase since November 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese public funds see Q4 profits at 4-year high

By Han Qiao

China’s public funds saw a profit of nearly 300 billion yuan (49 billion U.S. dollars) in the final quarter of 2014, the highest quarterly gains in four years, boosted by the recent stock market rally.

A total of 2,226 public funds managed by 88 fund companies saw combined profits of 299.1 billion yuan during this period, according to data compiled, based on these firms’ quarterly reports.

Profits of stock funds stood at 204.7 billion yuan, accounting for the biggest share in the total gains, followed by hybrid funds with a profit of 46.7 billion yuan, money funds 21.0 billion yuan, and bond funds 23.2 billion yuan.

Property, finance and electricity shares were favored by public funds during the Oct.-Dec. period, with Ping An Insurance, Poly Real Estate and Industrial Bank being the top 3 most purchased shares.

In the first quarter this year, fund companies will emphasize blue chips and growth shares when arranging their investment portfolios, according to their reports.

Chinese shares were bullish in the last quarter of 2014, thanks to a recovering economic climate and easing measures from the central government, sending the key Shanghai Composite Index up more than 50 percent year on year by the year-end.

However, recent official moves signaled concerns from policymakers on the wild rally, as securities regulators strengthened control on margin trading while other authorities curbed capital flow into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China forex settlement surplus narrows in 2014

By Jiang Xufeng and Cheng Jing

China continued to see a surplus in its foreign exchange settlement in 2014, but the volume narrowed significantly, indicating easing capital inflows to the country, official data showed on Thursday of January 22.

Chinese lenders bought 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars’ worth of foreign currency last year and sold 1.77 trillion U.S. dollars, resulting in a net buy of 125.8 billion U.S. dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement.

This marked a 53-percent drop from the surplus seen a year earlier, said Guan Tao, director of the International Balance of Payment Department of SAFE, at a press briefing.

Notably, after registering surplus in the first two quarters of 2014, the foreign exchange settlement swung to a deficit in the third quarter and saw the deficit widening to 46.5 billion U.S. dollars during the October-December period, fanning concerns of massive capitals flowing out of China as the economy slowed.

Guan attributed the fluctuations to the U.S. QE tapering that led to capital flowing out of emerging markets, as well as investors’ cautious sentiment towards China’s slowing expansion.

“The current adjustment is moderate and within the limit,” he noted.

Data out on Tuesday showed China’s economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years as the country is bracing the new normal period of slower growth but higher quality.

“The world economy went through an uneven and slow recovery in 2014,” said Guan, adding that China registered a relatively high economic growth rate and RMB deposit rates will continue to be higher than those of other major currencies which can help maintain China’s attraction to foreign capital.

The normalization of U.S. monetary policies this year will present both challenges and opportunities to capital flows for China. With a stable and relatively fast economic growth pace, China has ample foreign exchange reserves and a relatively strong buffer to cope with cross-border capital flows, he told reporters.

“The U.S. Fed’s QE tapering and monetary policy normalization are on the basis of U.S. economic recovery prospects. If the United States can stage a solid economic recovery, it can translate into an improving export outlook for China,” he added.

China should transform the pressure of U.S. monetary policy normalization into impetus for facilitating domestic reforms and opening- up as well as building an open and new economic structure, he stressed.

As investors are waiting for a possible monetary easing decision by the European Central Bank (ECB), Guan held that to some extent a potential ECB’s QE can help cushion the tightening impact for the market exerted by the Fed’s QE tapering.

“But a possible QE from the ECB is only one of those important external factors affecting China’s cross-border capital flows and RMB exchange rates, and it should be taken into consideration with other factors to make an overall judgement and a contingency plan,” Guan added.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Profit growth of China’s state firms slows

By Wang Yaguang

Profitability of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) was squeezed in 2014 amid slackening momentum in the economy as it registered the weakest growth since 1990.

Combined profits of SOEs reached 2.48 trillion yuan (404.66 billion U.S. dollars), up 3.4 percent from one year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Thursday of January 22.

The growth slowed from 4.5 percent reported in the first 11 months last year and 5.9 percent in 2013.

Business revenue climbed 4 percent year on year to 48.06 trillion yuan while operating costs rose at a faster pace of 4.5 percent to 46.66 trillion yuan.

By the end of December, total assets gained 12.1 percent from the beginning of 2014 to 102.12 trillion yuan while liabilities grew 12.2 percent to 66.56 trillion yuan, the ministry said.

It said auto making and pharmaceutical industries posted strong profit increases, while sectors such as coal mining and chemicals saw notable declines in profits.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China’s newly established firms surge 46 pct in 2014

By Zhu Shaobin

The number of newly founded companies in China surged almost 46 percent year on year to 3.65 million in 2014, the latest data showed.

The total registered capital of the new companies reached 19.05 trillion yuan (3.11 trillion U.S. dollars), marking a year-on-year increase of 99 percent, according to data released on Thursday of January 22 by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

The government agency said that the number of newly established firms meant 10,600 new companies were set up each day since March of last year, when the country reformed its business registration rules, sparking a business startup boom.

The data also suggested that the majority of new companies established last year were in the tertiary industry, with their numbers hitting 2.87 million, up 50 percent year on year.

The number of new foreign-funded companies increased 5.76-percent to hit 38,400, the data showed. The rise also reversed consecutive drops for two years prior to 2014.

Apart from new companies, the country also saw a startup boom in individually owned businesses in 2014. These businesses employed a total of 250 million people across the country, up 14.26 percent from a year before, the data showed.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced in February 2014 measures to reform business registration in an effort to ease market access by scrapping previous requirements for minimum registered capital for startups and simplifying complicated approval procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s luxury market shrinks in 2014

By Rong Jiaojiao

Luxury goods consumption in mainland China declined for the first time in 2014 as China’s ongoing anti-extravagance campaign hit sales hard.

Chinese mainland’s luxury goods consumption reached 115 billion yuan (18.79 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, down 1 percent year on year, compared with a 2-percent and 7-percent growth in 2013 and 2012, according to a recent report from the international consulting firm Bain & Company.

The government campaign encourages frugality and is cracking down on corruption across the country to put a dent in gifting, which had been one of the major growth engines for the sector, said Bruno Lannes, author of the report.

Luxury watches and men’s goods were hit particularly hard, according to Lannes, with their sales declining 13 percent and 10 percent respectively in 2014.

The report also said 70 percent of luxury brands bought by Chinese consumers are now purchased abroad or through “daigou”, shopping agents, who stockpile the products before selling them at a profit to buyers back home.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

>>  China’s Wenzhou to speed up bad debt disposal: official

By Lü Ang and Lü Dong

Authorities have sped up the disposal of bad loans in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou in the past year, vowing enhanced efforts to defuse financial risks this year, said the city’s communist party chief on Wednesday of January 21.

Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province is known for its private entrepreneurship and manufactured exports. Over the past year, the city’s non-performing loans (NPL) in the banking sector have decreased by 39.4 billion yuan, bringing the bad loan ratio down to 3.1 percent currently, said Chen Yixin, head of the city committee of the Communist Party of China, during the province’s annual parliamentary session.

“Corporate financial risk is a gauge of Wenzhou’s economic health, and we have seen signs that the city’s economy is getting back on its feet,” Chen said.

Chen added that the government’s top priority for 2015 will be defusing risks associated with surging bad loans in one of China’s most enterprising cities.

Han Mingjin, a provincial lawmaker and financial professional, said that banks in Wenzhou are helping local businesses weather the liquidity crunch by assisting restructuring and relieving the liquidity crunch. She also suggested tax cuts for financially stressed firms and urged the government to speed up the debt-clearing process.

“Financial institutions in Wenzhou are still reluctant to lend,” said Li Guosheng, another legislator and an entrepreneur in Wenzhou. “Pressure on local businesses has doubled down since the rise of social security expenditures.”

Bad loans began to rise after the city’s private lending activities collapsed in 2011, forcing local businesses to go bankrupt and some entrepreneurs to commit suicide or flee.

“Companies here are in dire need of financial support. The government should think of ways to channel money back to the real economy,” Li said.

According to Chen, Wenzhou banks still have more than 30 billion yuan of bad loans on their books, with another 47.8 billion considered potentially risky.

It will take another two to three years for banks in Wenzhou to fully rid themselves of toxic assets if the current pace of resolving bad loans continues, Chen said.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China stocks close higher Thursday

By Xu Feng

Chinese shares closed higher on Thursday of January 22, extending rallies that began on Tuesday following a 7.7-percent drop on Monday, the steepest daily fall since June 2008.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended at 3,343.34 points, up 0.59 percent. The Shenzhen Component Index closed at 11,471.21 points, up 0.87 percent.

During Thursday’s trading, gainers outnumbered losers by 728 to 162 in Shanghai and by 1,148 to 228 in Shenzhen.

Combined turnover of the two bourses fell to 714.17 billion yuan (116.6 billion U.S. dollars) from 808.58 billion yuan the previous trading day.

Aircraft manufacturers and nonferrous metal producers led gains. Avic Aircraft Co., Ltd. rose by the daily limit of 10 percent to 25.86 yuan per share. Avic Aviation Engine Corporation gained 5.99 percent to reach 32.4 yuan. Anhui Xinke New Materials Co., Ltd. rose by the daily limit of 10 percent to 5.46 yuan.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, closed 1.25 percent higher at 1,744.04 points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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