Palace Museum launches app on collections

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-02-12 21:41:32

>>  President Xi’s U.S. visit in Sept. to boost new type of major-country relationship

By Wang Huihui, Tan Jingjing, Pan Jie, Yang Yijun and Xiong Zhengyan

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States in September will give a new boost to the development of a new type of major-country relationship, international think tanks said on Thursday of February 12.

Xi accepted President Barack Obama’s invitation for a state visit during a phone conversation on Wednesday. This will be Xi’s first state visit to the U.S. since he became China’s top leader in 2013.

“Face to face communication will facilitate a steady growth of bilateral relationship and ensure a smooth transition of China’s relations with the new U.S. administration after presidential elections in 2016,” said Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.

During the phone conversation, Xi expressed hope that the two countries’ Strategic and Economic Dialogue and high-level consultation on people-to-people exchanges, which will be held in the United States this year, will achieve as many positive results as possible.

Xi and Obama discussed several areas of potential cooperation, including working toward bilateral investment treaty and reducing greenhouse gas emissions ahead of a climate summit in Paris in December.

“Through this trip, both sides will better manage their differences on South China Sea and cyber security to avoid frictions or crisis in bilateral ties,” said Da Wei, a research fellow with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Urging both sides to respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, Xi expressed hope that Washington takes seriously China’s concern on Taiwan and Tibet, so as to keep China-U.S. ties free from unfavorable interference.

“Military relations are the ‘short plank’ (in the concept of the cask effect) in China-U.S.relations. A small step forward in this will lift the overall relationship,” military expert Zhao Xiaozhuo said.

China and the U.S. signed MoUs on two mutual trust mechanisms, namely a mutual reporting and trust mechanism for major military operations and a code of safe conduct on naval and air military encounters in 2014, making them highlights of their military relationship.

Progress in military relations seems to continue in 2015. According to the two defense ministries, they will have a series of joint exercises in 2015, and China is likely to participate in the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific multilateral naval exercises for the second time.

China and the U.S. will have more cooperation in combating corruption, though there is no extradition treaty between them, Ruan said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also confirmed that Chinese and U.S. working groups attended an APEC meeting on anti-corruption in the Philippines in January and that they will meet again in August.

Chinese and U.S. officials are beginning to prepare for the visit. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Beijing on Wednesday and voiced his commitment to ensuring a success of Xi’s visit.

Xi and Obama met in June 2013 for an informal summit at the Annenberg Retreat, California, where they agreed on building a new type of major-country relationship.

In November 2014, Obama paid a state visit to China after attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing. Xi and Obama spent some 10 hours together and both countries announced breakthroughs on climate change and visa facilitation.

Xi’s September trip will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Analysts say Xi and Obama are expected to talk on regional and international issues such as the 70th anniversary of the victory against fascism, cyber security, the Iranian nuclear issue and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China urges U.S. to play exemplary role in cyber security

By Bai Jie

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday of February 12 urged the United States to play an exemplary role in cyber security instead of pointing the finger at other countries.

Spokeswoman Hua Chunying’s remarks came as Assistant to the U.S. President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa O. Monaco delivered a speech in Washington D.C. on Tuesday on cyber defenses, saying that U.S. cyber “threats come from nations with highly sophisticated cyber programs including China.”

“China has reiterated its position on cyber security that China firmly opposes to and fights all forms of hacker attacks in accordance with law,” said Hua at a daily press briefing.

Calling hacker attacks a global problem, Hua said the international community should unite to address the threats.

She suggests countries respect but not be suspicious of each other and cooperate but not point the finger at others so as to jointly safeguard peace, security, openness and cooperation over cyber space.

“As a country with the most advanced and powerful cyber technology in the world, the United States should set itself as an example first for others on safeguarding cyber security,” Hua said.

She called on the United States to take more positive moves and contribute more to safeguarding mutual trust and cooperation in the cyber space.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON

>>  U.S. launches trade probes against China, among others

By Zheng Qihang

The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Wednesday of February 11 that it had initiated anti-dumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations against imports of certain uncoated paper from China, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Portugal.

The investigations are in response to a complaint from Domtar Corporation, Finch Paper LLC, Packaging Corporation of America, and P.H. Glatfelter Company which alleged that papers from China, Australia, Brazil Indonesia and Portugal were sold below the fair value of the products in the U.S. market. The company also claimed that exporters from China and Indonesia also received improper government subsidies.

Uncoated paper is typically used for office copy and printer paper, books, business forms, instruction manuals, inserts, flyers, brochures and maps.

The International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S. trade authority, was scheduled to make its preliminary inquiry determinations on AD and CVD around March 9.

The probes will continue if the ITC determines that the imports of such products materially injure or threaten the domestic industry of the United States. The Commerce Department will then make its preliminary determinations of CVD in April, and AD in June.

Imports of these products from China were estimated at about 32 million U.S. dollars in 2013, according to U.S. official data.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has kept urging Washington to abide by its commitment against protectionism and help maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  MOC denies U.S. allegation, says China abides by WTO rules

By Xu Feng

China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday of February 12 that its designated model zones for exporters meet WTO rules.

Responding to U.S. allegations that China unfairly subsidizes exports in “demonstration base”, the MOC said in a statement that the purpose of these model zones is to transform China’s foreign trade and promote its sound and stable development.

On Wednesday, the office of the U.S. trade representative said the Chinese government offered unfair subsidized services, prohibited by WTO rules, to seven industries, including textile and clothes makers, light industry and agricultural firms.

The MOC said it will settle the issue according to WTO dispute procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China refutes British think tank’s report regarding military spending

By Tan Jingjing

China refuted the annual military balance report of a British think tank saying China lacks transparency in its growing military spending, urging them to view the country’s development in an objective, just and rational way.

“China’s military expenditure in 2014 accounted for less than 1.5 percent of GDP, which is not only well below major countries in the world, but also less than the world average of 2.6 percent,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Thursday of February 12.

“Our per capita military spending is even less, only one twenty-second that of the United States, one-ninth of Britain and one-fifth of Japan,” she told a daily press briefing.

Her comments came in response to a question regarding the military balance report of the International Institute for Strategic Studies released on Wednesday, an annual assessment of the military capabilities and defense economics of 171 countries worldwide.

The report highlighted China’s growing investment in maritime power-projection capabilities.

Hua stressed China is sticking to peaceful development and a defensive national defense policy.

The development of China’s military buildup is a required for maintaining the country’s territorial integrity and development as well as international and regional peace and security, she said, adding it is not directed against or pose a threat to any country.

China has been mindful of controlling its military spending and making rational arrangements of the expenditure, she said.

“China’s annual defense budget is incorporated into the annual financial budget draft of the central government, and then submitted to the National People’s Congress for approval,” she said.

The whole process is open and transparent, and so are the total amount of the defense spending, its composition and other information, she added.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China hails Minsk agreement over Ukraine crisis

By Bai Jie

China welcomes the Minsk agreement on Ukraine crisis by leaders from Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, saying it helps ease tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press release on Thursday that China has always believed that a political resolution is “the only way out” for the Ukraine crisis.

“We hope all parties could respect the hard-won results and implement the consensus at an early date to bring peace and stability to Ukraine,”she said.

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel,

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement Thursday after 16 hours of talks in Minsk, capital of Belarus, including a ceasefire from Feb. 15, clear timelines for elections in eastern Ukraine, border control and prisoner exchange.

Government troops and insurgents have been locked in fierce confrontation in eastern Ukraine since April 2014, leaving more than 5,000 dead and over 12,000 wounded.

 

 

 

 

ISLAMABAD

>>  Support needed in four areas to resolve Afghanistan issue: Chinese FM

By Chen Peng

Support is needed in four areas to resolve the Afghanistan issue, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here after his meeting with Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

With the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan has entered into an important period of transition, Wang told a joint press conference with the Pakistani official.

For a long time, Afghanistan endured turbulence, turmoil and poverty and it is high time to end such a situation. This represents the strong will of the Afghan people and the common aspiration of China, Pakistan and the rest of the international community.

To resolve the Afghanistan issue, support is needed in the following four aspects, said Wang.

First of all, the effective governance of the national unity government of Afghanistan needs to be supported. The international community needs to respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and respect the develop path chosen by the Afghan people in accordance with their own national conditions.

Second, the Afghan government needs to be backed in its efforts to realize reconciliation with various political forces including the Taliban.

The broad-based national reconciliation on the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led basis is the right direction for Afghanistan to realize national unity and the long-term stability and security of the country. The international community should give it support and encouragement, and China is ready to play a constructive role and provide any necessary facilitation at any time if required by various parties in Afghanistan.

Third, we need to support the economic and social reconstruction in Afghanistan, Wang said.

To resolve the issue in Afghanistan, reconciliation is the key and reconstruction is the fundamental solution. Afghanistan will only have a new future when its economy and society developed and its people stripped off poverty. The Chinese government will earnestly deliver its commitment for the country’s reconstruction, and work along with the international community to help enhance Afghanistan’s self-development capacity, Wang said.

Fourth, Afghanistan’s integration into regional cooperation needs to be supported. We welcome Afghanistan’s active participation in China’s proposal of the One Belt and One Road initiative in the light of its own reconstruction and development needs, and we hope that through alignment of develop strategies, Afghanistan will achieve common development and win-win cooperation with China and its other neighbors, Wang said.

Pakistan is an important neighbor of Afghanistan and the two countries have inseparable ties in terms of history, culture, ethnicity and religion. Because of all these, Pakistan has special leverage and irreplaceable role in resolving the issue of Afghanistan, said the Chinese foreign minister.

Looking forward, China and Pakistan will further enhance communication with Afghanistan and work with the rest of the international community to make unremitting efforts for the smooth transition of Afghanistan, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Business as usual at Chinese Embassy in Yemen

By Hou Lijun

China has no immediate plan to close its embassy in Yemen nor to withdraw embassy staff, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday of February 12.

The Chinese diplomats in Yemen will stick to their posts and provide assistance to Chinese nationals and agencies there, said spokesperson Hua Chunying at a routine press briefing.

China has been closely following the situation in Yemen, she said, urging parties concerned to ensure the security of Chinese nationals and agencies.

The Chinese embassy in Yemen has contingency plans and has advised Chinese nationals there to take precautions, said Hua. The Foreign Ministry has issued travel warnings and suggests Chinese citizens carefully reconsider travel to Yemen, she said.

For those already in the country, the ministry has posted alerts on its website warning of the hazards and asking them to stay in touch with the embassy. “All Chinese citizens in Yemen are safe and sound,” she said.

On Friday, Yemen’s Shiite Houthi group announced its unilateral move to dissolve the parliament and form a presidential council. The country’s president and premier resigned last month.

The embassies of the United States, France and Britain announced Wednesday plans to withdraw their diplomatic staff from Yemen due to the security situation.

The Shiite Houthi group, also known as Ansarullah, and based in the far northern province of Saada, has been expanding its influence southward since signing a UN-sponsored peace and power-sharing deal in September, following a week of fighting.

Political parties and Houthi group resumed talks on Monday under the mediation of UN envoy Jamal Benomar, trying to find a solution to peacefully end the current crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

ISLAMABAD

>>  Chinese FM calls for expanding all-round cooperation with Pakistan

By Hu Dandan

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday of February 12 called for expanding all-round exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan.

Wang made the statement here Thursday during his meeting with adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

Speaking highly about the friendship between China and Pakistan, Wang called the two countries “bosom buddies” and “true friends”, noting that their friendly ties are not built overnight, but have withstood the test of time and history.

President Xi Jinping is going to visit Pakistan this year. The visit, which comes nine years after his last visit and to be his first to the country as president, will surely be an important one to further consolidate the all-weather strategic partnership between the two countries and deepen their all-round cooperation, Wang said.

China and Pakistan’s practical economic cooperation and security cooperation should go side by side and complement each other, Wang said.

The China-Pakistan economic corridor, which is an flagship project of the “One Belt, One Road” initiatives intend to revive the ancient Silk Road with a focus on infrastructure, constitutes the strategic framework of the bilateral pragmatic cooperation, Wang said.

The two sides are to further boost the construction of the economic corridor and strive to achieve more progress in projects and fields such as the port of Gwadar, energy, transportation infrastructure, and industry cooperation so as to bring greater benefits to people of the two countries, he said.

The two countries will also work to consolidate the security cooperation firewall and strength anti-terrorism cooperation to safeguard the safety of both countries and peoples, he said.

The two countries are to strengthen cultural exchanges and work together to successfully conduct the celebration activities of the China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges, so that bilateral goodwill will be deeply rooted in hearts of the two peoples, he said.

Wang also called on the two sides to strength coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs, so as to jointly safeguard the interests of developing countries.

For his part, Aziz said Pakistan considers relations with China as a cornerstone of its foreign policy. Pakistan will always adhere to the one-China policy and staunchly support China’s core interests and major concerns. The country is ready to strength its cooperation and coordination with China in international and regional affairs.

Pakistan is looking forward to President Xi’s visit and believes it will become a new milestone in the bilateral ties, he said.

Pakistan is ready to work with China to boost the construction of China-Pakistan economic corridor, and materialize the energy and infrastructure construction projects.

The country fully supports China’s crackdown on the “three evil forces” of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and will continue to protect the safety of Chinese projects and persons in the country, said Aziz.

 

 

 

 

 

ISLAMABAD

>>  Pakistan, China vow to further strengthen friendly relations

By Chen Peng

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain met with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Thursday of February 12 and the two sides pledged to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.

During their meeting, Hussain hailed the firm friendship between the two countries and said Pakistan anticipates a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping at an early date, which would greatly promote the development of Pakistan-China relations.

The Pakistani president pledged his country would continue to firmly back China’s stance on matters related to the country’s core interests, including issues regarding China’s Taiwan and Tibet.

Hussain expressed the wish for speedy construction of Pakistan- China Economic Corridor with China, adding that his country would firmly combat terrorism and spare no effort for the security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan.

Pakistan is willing to enhance cooperation with China to push forward reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan, added the president.

For his part, the Chinese foreign minister said China and Pakistan are friendly neighbors connected by same mountains and waters, and the two countries’ destiny and interests are closely related. China-Pakistan friendship is always rock firm regardless of changes in the international and regional situation, and the two countries’ leaderships had reached a consensus in forging a community of shared destiny, said Wang.

Wang said President Xi would pay a state visit to Pakistan at an early date this year, which would certainly bring China- Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership to a new level.

China and Pakistan should simultaneously boost pragmatic cooperation and security cooperation, and make them promote each other, said Wang, adding that the two countries should jointly fight all forms of terrorism, maintain common security, peace and stability in the region.

He also stressed that the two countries should strengthen people-to-people contact, especially friendly exchanges between youth, in order to pass China-Pakistan friendship from generation to generation.

 

 

 

 

 

FREETOWN 

>>  China hands over P3 biolab to Sierra Leone

By Lin Xiaowei

China handed over a P3 level biolab to Sierra Leone on Wednesday of February 11 as part of its continued contribution in fighting against the Ebola virus.

The lab is attached to a multipurpose hospital at Jui, some 30 kilometers north of the capital Freetown.

Construction of the lab started around September last year and was finished in three months, making it the second of its kind in west Africa.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention team in Sierra Leone, the lab is now ready for the country and they “will be around to train Sierra Leoneans on the use of the facility.”

The construction work was done by the Beijing Urban Construction Group.

 

 

 

 

 

FREETOWN

>>  Sierra Leone’s president lauds China’s support in anti-Ebola fight

By Lin Xiaowei

The President of the Ebola ravaged west African state of Sierra Leone has described the support from China in the fight against the virus as “exemplary” and second to none.

President Koroma made this remark when Ren Minghui, the Director of the department of international cooperation of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China paid a courtesy call on him at state house in Freetown on Wednesday of February 11.

The Chinese director is in the country for the opening of a laboratory at Jui close to the Chinese built hospital.

President Koroma described China as a “true friend indeed of Sierra Leone”. He noted that China has fulfilled a promise at the outbreak of the virus to provide a permanent lab for disease control to Sierra Leone.

He pointed out that the lab is in line with the country’s response to the fight against the dreaded disease. He looked forward for the lab to be transformed to a centre for disease control and “research and the empowerment of the country’s medical staff”.

Ren Minghui described the new lab as a symbol of further cooperation between the two countries and recommended that the Jui hospital be used as a “center for tropical disease and disease control”. He also suggested a building of relations between Sierra Leone and China for Sierra Leone medical staff to benefit from the Chinese experience.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone described Chinese aid to Sierra Leone as “easy to access and comes in timely”.

Chinese Ambassador, Zhao Yanbo said the Chinese wasted no time in providing comprehensive assistance including drugs, holding and treatment centers and medical staff including the new permanent lab. He described the lab as “one of the most important symbol of Sierra Leone-China relations”.

 

 

 

 

 

BAMAKO

>>  Mali’s First Lady terms China as true friend

By Sikula

Mali’s First Lady Keita Aminata Maiga has said “China is genuinely concerned about the needs of the Malian people.”

The Malian First Lady was speaking on Tuesday night of February 12 during a dinner hosted in Bamako by China’s ambassador to Mali Lu Huiying.

“The friendship between Mali and China did not begin today. I had the opportunity to witness the start of this cooperation in 1960s,” she said, adding that “this is why I gladly responded to the invitation by the ambassador to demonstrate the friendship between the two countries.”

She said the Chinese had done a lot, and will still do a lot for Mali.

“I am sure that they are genuinely concerned about our issues as a people and country, and I believe they will do everything within their powers to satisfy our needs,” Madam Keita affirmed.

The Chinese ambassador said relations between the two countries were reinforced in 2014, especially following the visit to China by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

“The year 2015 marks the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Mali,” the ambassador recalled, and at the same time appealed to both countries to use the opportunity to achieve more results.

The dinner which was organized to celebrate China’s Spring Festival, was attended by Malian government ministers, parliamentarians and diplomats.

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  Sri Lanka, China pledge to strengthen cooperation

By Tai Beiping

Sri Lanka and China pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation when Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met with Wang Jiarui, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) here on Thursday of February 12.

President Sirisena said Sri Lanka appreciates the assistance that China had offered over the past and the country will continue to strengthen friendly cooperation with China in various sectors. The president added that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party is willing to deepen friendly exchanges with the CPC in a bid to promote the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka’s new government attaches great importance to relations with China, and welcomes Chinese companies to invest in Sri Lanka. The prime minister hoped that exchanges and cooperation between Sri Lanka’s United National Party and the CPC would add more momentum to bilateral relations.

Wang, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, said China highly values the development of friendly relations with Sri Lanka. He added that China would like to further coordinate development strategies and expand pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka, and welcomed Sri Lanka’s participation in China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative.

Wang, who is here for a visit on Thursday and Friday, said the CPC is willing to strengthen exchanges with parties in Sri Lanka so as to consolidate bilateral relations and friendship between the two peoples.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON

>>  Fossils of earliest tree-dwelling, subterranean mammals found in China

By Lin Xiaochun

Two 160 million-year-old fossils from the dinosaur-dominated Mesozoic era suggested that mammals had adapted to wide-ranging environments even at this early stage in their evolution, researchers from China and the United States said on Thursday of February 12.

One of them, Agilodocodon scansorius, which was discovered in north China’s Inner Mongolia, is the earliest-known tree-dwelling mammal with claws for climbing and teeth adapted for a tree sap diet. The other one, Docofossor brachydactylus, found in Hebei Province, also in north China, is the earliest-known subterranean mammal possessing multiple adaptations similar to African golden moles such as shovel-like paws.

The two new species, from an extinct group of early mammals called docodontans, also showed off distinct skeletal features that resemble patterns shaped by genes identified in living mammals, suggesting these genetic mechanisms operated long before the rise of modern mammals.

These discoveries are reported by international teams of scientists from the University of Chicago and Beijing Museum of Natural History in two separate papers, which appeared in the U.S. journal Science.

“We know that modern mammals are spectacularly diverse, but it was unknown whether early mammals managed to diversify in the same way,” said Zhe-Xi Luo, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago and an author on both papers.

“These new fossils help demonstrate that early mammals did indeed have a wide range of ecological diversity. It appears dinosaurs did not dominate the Mesozoic landscape as much as previously thought,” Luo said.

These two shrew-sized creatures have unique adaptations tailored for their respective ecological habitats, providing strong evidence that arboreal and subterranean lifestyles evolved early in mammalian evolution, the researchers said.

Agilodocodon, which lived roughly 165 million years ago, had hands and feet with curved horny claws and limb proportions that are typical for mammals that live in trees or bushes.

It is also adapted for feeding on the gum or sap of trees, with spade-like front teeth to gnaw into bark, an adaptation similar to the teeth of some modern New World monkeys and the earliest-known evidence of gumnivorous feeding in ancient mammals.

In addition, Agilodocodon had well-developed, flexible elbows and wrist and ankle joints that allowed for much greater mobility, all characteristics of climbing mammals.

Docofossor, which lived around 160 million years ago, had a skeletal structure and body proportions strikingly similar to the modern day African golden mole. It had shovel-like fingers for digging, short and wide upper molars typical of mammals that forage underground, and a sprawling posture indicative of subterranean movement.

Docofossor also had reduced bone segments in its fingers, leading to shortened but wide digits, which the researchers said is an evolutionary advantage for digging mammals.

This feature is due to the fusion of bone joints during development, a process influenced by the genes BMP and GDF-5. The researchers hypothesized that this genetic mechanism may have played a comparable role in early mammal evolution.

They also found the spines and ribs of both Agilodocodon and Docofossor showed evidence for the influence of genes seen in modern mammals.

“We can now provide fossil evidence that gene patterning that causes variation in modern mammalian skeletal development also operated in basal mammals all the way back in the Jurassic,” Luo said.

Early mammals were once thought to have limited ecological opportunities to diversify during the dinosaur-dominated Mesozoic era, but the new findings and numerous other fossils, including Castorocauda, a swimming, fish-eating mammal described by Luo and colleagues in 2006, suggested widespread ecological diversity among them.

“The earliest mammals were just as diverse in both feeding and locomotor adaptations as modern mammals,” said Luo. “The groundwork for mammalian success today appears to have been laid long ago.”

 

 

 

 

 

SYDNEY

>>  Chinese company lists on Australian stock exchange

By Patrick Whiteley

Chinese petrochemical company Premiere Eastern Energy listed on the Australian stock exchange on Thursday of February 12.

The Guangzhou-based firm raised the minimum share prescription of just three million Australian dollars (2.3 million U.S. dollars) in an initial public offering (IPO).

The company issued 15 million shares at 20 Australian cents each, attracting more than 500 investors and the business will have a market capitalisation of 183 million Australian dollars ( 140 million U.S. dollars).

Foreign companies must have two Australian directors if they want to list on the local market, and Premiere has appointed David Wheeler as director and deputy chairman.

The other Australian director, Ting Jiang, is also a director of menswear retailer Sunbridge Group which listed on the ASX in 2013.

Premiere said in a statement that it plans to capitalise on the growth of the car industry in China by introducing full service petrol stations, and has no plans to expand to Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

WELLINGTON

>>  Fonterra lodges stock exchange offer for stake in China’s Beingmate

By John Macdonald

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra said on Thursday of February 12 that it had lodged a partial tender offer to buy up to 20 percent of Chinese infant food maker Beingmate.

Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. said in a brief statement that the tender had been submitted to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and it would remain open till March 13.

It was expected that the result of the partial tender offer for Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co. Ltd. would be announced on March 18.

Fonterra and Beingmate said in August last year that they intended to form a global partnership to help meet China’s growing demand for infant formula.

The partnership will create a fully integrated global supply chain from the farm gate direct to China’s consumers, using Fonterra’s milk pools and manufacturing sites in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

Fonterra said it would invest 1.17 billion NZ dollars (859.15 million U.S. dollars) in forming the partnership and building new processing capacity to meet export demand.

Fonterra would seek to buy up to 20 percent of Beingmate for 615 million NZ dollars (451.6 million U.S. dollars), and the two companies would set up a joint venture to buy Fonterra’s Darnum plant in Australia and agree a distribution deal for Fonterra’s Anmum brand in China.

Beingmate would own 51 percent of the joint venture in Darnum, which produces infant formula and other nutritional milk powders, and the plant would prioritize supply to the Chinese market.

Fonterra estimated the infant formula market in China was worth about 18 billion NZ dollars (13.22 billion U.S. dollars) and was expected to be worth 33 billion NZ dollars (24.23 billion U.S. dollars) by 2017.

Fonterra, which is building three major “dairy hubs” in China, had a 43-percent stake in China’s Sanlu dairy company when it collapsed under the 2008 melamine-contamination scandal.

In August 2013, Fonterra announced a global recall of products connected with a batch of whey protein concentrate that was wrongly thought to be contaminated with a botulism-causing bacteria.

Fonterra claims to be the largest processor of milk in the world, producing more than 2 million tonnes of dairy ingredients and related products every year.

 

 

 

 

 

WELLINGTON

>>  Chinese visitors help drive growth in New Zealand accommodation sector

By John Macdonald

Growing numbers of Chinese visitors helped drive a boom in New Zealand’s accommodation sector last year, according to figures from the government statistics agency on Thursday of February 12.

Guest nights across the country were up 5.8 percent last year, compared to 2012, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Last year ended on a high note too with guest nights in December up 7.1 percent year on year, making it the ninth straight month of growth.

The earthquake-battered Canterbury region and neighboring Otago on the east of the South Island were the main regions contributing to the national increase in December, business indicators manager Neil Kelly said in a statement.

Domestic guest nights were up 5.4 percent year on year in December, and international guest nights were up 9.5 percent.

China drove record numbers of overseas visitors to New Zealand in both December and last year, according to figures from Statistics New Zealand last month.

Visitor arrivals were up 5 percent year on year in December to 402,500, with Chinese visitors providing the biggest source of growth, up 39 percent to 25,800.

China also contributed the biggest annual increase in visitors, with Chinese visitors up 15.7 percent to 264,864, followed by Australia, the United States and Germany.

Total visitor arrivals hit a record 2.86 million in last year, up 5 percent from 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

CARACAS

>>  Joint venture produces over 40,000 Chinese brand cars in Venezuela

By Mao Pengfei

Auto-assembling firm ZGT, a Venezuelan-Chinese joint venture, has rolled out its 40,000th car in the south American country, Venezuela’s ministry of industry said on Wednesday of February 12.

The number marks a milestone of win-win cooperation after three years’ continuous work at the company’s two assembly plants in the central states of Aragua and Carabobo, the ministry said in a press release.

The assembly lines now offer Venezuelans two automobile models of China’s Chery brand cars at fair prices, said Alfredo Oran, general manager of the auto corporation.

“This social project, which was initiated by (late Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez and has been continued under the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro, has benefited thousands,” said Oran, “now more Venezuelan families have bought their cars at fair prices.”

“The vehicles produced at the factories have become products with added value, because they have been developed and manufactured in our country as part of the strategic partnership between Venezuela and China,” said Oran.

Thanks to their high quality, low costs and good design, Chery cars have taken the lead in the Venezuelan market, said Oran, adding that the company’s after-sales service centers across the country have provided good service to the 70,000-plus Chery vehicles in the country.

Earlier, Jose David Cabello, Venezuela’s minister of industry, announced that as part of reciprocal cooperation between the two countries, more than 20,000 Chery brand taxis will be manufactured for Venezuela.

Founded in 1997 in China, Chery had sold over 4.5 million vehicles all over the world, including over 1 million overseas, by the first half of 2014.

The ZGT Automotive Corporation assembles, imports, exports and distributes Chery vehicles and parts.

 

 

 

 

 

SINGAPORE

>>  China Sky Ex-CEO to pay 2.5 million SG dollars civil penalty

By Ma Yujie

Huang Zhongxuan, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of China Sky Chemical Fibre Co., Ltd (China Sky), has agreed to pay a civil penalty of 2.5 million Singapore dollars (1.88 million U.S. dollars) for making misleading statements and failing to disclose material information to the market thereby contravening the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a press release on Thursday of February 12.

Under the settlement agreement with the MAS, Huang will also make an offer to surrender 10 percent of his shareholding in China Sky, equivalent to 15,416,121 shares. Huang can not assume the role of a company director or be involved in the management of any entity listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) for three years.

The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of Singapore commenced investigations in February 2012 and subsequently in consultation with MAS and the Attorney General’s Chambers, agreed to discontinue criminal investigations so that the civil penalty settlement could take place.

During the investigation, Huang admitted that he has made misleading statements to the market relating to China Sky’s purchase and subsequent return of a plot of land in southeast China’s Fujian province, which is in contravention of Section 199( c) of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA).

The statements include misleading disclosures relating to the use of the Fujian Land, incorrectly depicting the transaction counterparty as an independent third party, and providing a false reason for the delay in the transfer of the land use rights to China Sky’s subsidiary.

Huang has also admitted to contravening Section 203 of the SFA relating to China Sky’s failure to make prompt and proper disclosure to the market in relation to the Fujian Land acquisition.

“MAS takes a strong stance against market misconduct and spares no effort in investigating possible transgressions,” Said MAS’ Assistant Managing Director (Capital Markets), Lee Boon Ngiap. “We will continue to work closely with other statutory agencies to enforce the law against those who commit offences in our securities markets, whether they are based in Singapore or overseas.”

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR

>>  More ships likely to join search for MH370: Malaysia

By Hu Guangyao

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Tai said here Thursday of February 12 that more ships may join the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the South Indian Ocean.

The transport minister told local reporters that the government is currently in discussions with China on the matter, hoping that such a move would become a reality.

“We will add more vessels with China’s cooperation and hope to increase the number of vessels searching for MH370,” he said.

Right now there are four vessels in the South Indian Ocean and they are currently searching the ocean floor for a sign of the plane.

Malaysia has officially declared the incident as an accident and all 239 people on board the flight presumed dead as months of underwater searches have not found anything relating to their aircraft.

 

 

 

 

 

HARBIN

>>  China plans airport in border city near Russia

By Li Laifang and Wang Zichen

China plans to build a civilian airport in the northeastern border city of Suifenhe, Heilongjiang Province, the country’s largest contributor to trade with Russia.

According to the feasibility plan, which was approved by the central government, the project includes a 2,500 meter long runway and a 4,500 square meter terminal. The domestic regional airport is designed to handle 450,000 passengers and 3,600 tonnes of cargo by 2025, said the Suifenhe municipal government.

It will cost about 944 million yuan (153 million U.S. dollars).

Expansion of the Shuifenhe land port is also under way, which will significantly increase its passenger and cargo handling capacities.

Suifeihe is in Heilongjiang’s southeast and neighbors Russia. About 80 percent of Heilongjiang cargo imports and exports are through Suifenhe.

In 2013, the Chinese government authorized Shuifenhe as the country’s first city where the Russian ruble can be used alongside the Renminbi on a trial base.

 

 

 

 

 

NANNING

>>  New direct flight links China’s Nanning and Seoul

By Cao Bing and Tan Xingxing

Korean Air, the national flag carrier of South Korea, will launch direct flights between Seoul and Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, from May 11, the Guangxi Airport Group said on Thursday of February 12.

Flights will run every Monday and Friday, departing from Incheon International Airport in Seoul at 6:55 p.m. and arriving at Nanning Wuxu International Airport at 10:50 p.m. Flights will departs from Nanning at 11:50 p.m. and land in Seoul at 4:50 a.m. the next day.

One of the largest foreign airlines flying in China, Korean Air connects Incheon with 23 Chinese mainland cities.

 

 

 

 

 

VIENTIANE

>>  Chinese tourist arrivals rising fastest as Laos welcomes more visitors

By Steven Cleary

The number of tourists to Laos has jumped 10 percent in 2014 with arrivals from China rising fastest, according to new statistics released this week.

The South-East Asian nation received some 4,158,719 visitors in 2014, compared to a total of 3,779,490 arrivals the previous year, according to data from the Tourism Research and Administrative Division under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Tourist arrivals to Laos from China jumped 72 percent from 245, 033 in 2013 to 422,440 in 2014.

Speaking to Xinhua, Deputy Director of the Tourism Research and Administrative Division Bounthavy Sisava said the increase in arrivals from China had been facilitated by the completion of a second international border crossing between the two neighbors.

“We have been able to see Chinese visitors increase up 72 percent thanks to opening of the new border checkpoint at Luangtoui in Phongsali Province in addition to the other at Boten in Luang Namtha Province,” Mr Bounthavy said.

South Korea also contributed to the overall upward trend in arrivals with a 17 percent increase.

This helped to offset declines in tourist arrivals from Europe and Japan, which decreased by 2 and 8 percent respectively.

Thailand continued to contribute the largest number of foreign tourist arrivals to Laos with 2,043,761 down from 2,059,434 the previous year, with Vietnam ranking second with 1,108,332 up from 910,164.

These contributed to an increase in arrivals from ASEAN members from more than 3.04 million in 2013 to 3.22 million in 2014.

Tourist arrivals from Europe dropped from 212,566 in 2013 to 209,331 in 2014, attributed to the challenging economic outlook on the continent.

Arrivals from Japan fell from 48,644 in 2013 to 44,877 visitors in 2014, a drop of 8 percent amid a decline in the purchasing power of the yen on the global currency exchange.

Visitors from the United States to Laos increased by 0.15 percent to 86, 027 in 2014, while tourists from Africa and the Middle East increased by 13 percent to 8,920 in 2014.

However, European visitors had more time in the country than those from other regions, spending two weeks in Laos compared to the average stay of eight days.

A target for an average tourist stay of 10 days by 2020 has been set, with improved amenities and expanded tourist opportunities acting as the draw.

The country is also considering better ways to capture a slice of the profitable high-end global tourism market.

Bounthavy said the department would continue to process data from the nation’s 23 international border checkpoints and use it to gain understanding on how Laos could attract visitors to spend more of their valuable time and money in the country’s regions.

 

 

 

 

 

COTONOU

>>  Chinese film week launched in Benin

By Sikula

Director for the Chinese Cultural Center in Benin, Bai Guangming, on Wednesday of February 11 launched the Chinese Film Week on Beninese public broadcasters, Benin Radiodiffusion and Television (ORTB) and Ado TV.

“We are launching the Chinese Film Week to enable all Beninese citizens to be culturally close to China through the broadcast of Chinese films on ORTB and Ado TV for a whole week,” he said.

The event will also serve as an occasion for the Beninese to share with China the joy and happiness of the New Year and rediscover hope for the continued development of both nations.

Deputy director for Benin Film Board, Mathias, said film is the most ideal vector for exchange of culture.

The Chinese Film Week in Benin is part of festivities to mark the Chinese New Year which is set to begin on Feb. 19, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

SOFIA 

>>  Happy Chinese New Year show held in Bulgaria

By Marian Draganov

A Spring Festival show titled “Happy Chinese New Year” was held here on Thursday evening of February 12 in the National Palace of Culture, bringing good mood to hundreds of spectators.

A dance of two lions and performances by students from three schools studying Chinese language were part of the nearly two-hour program jointly organized by the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria and Confucius Institute in Sofia.

In addition, the Zhangjiajie Ensemble from Chinese Hunan Province, which on Saturday and Sunday will give two concerts in the Black Sea city of Varna, presented a dozen of breathtaking dances and acrobatic performances.

“The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday,” Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria Wei Jinghua said, addressing the event.

He believed that during the New Year, the relations between China and Bulgaria would develop faster and better, and the friendship between the two nations would deepen and enrich, Wei said.

Just after the event, Yanaki Stoilov, Vice-President of the National Assembly, told Xinhua the show was really great, and the acrobats and folk performances were at the highest world level.

This was a good start to the Chinese New Year, and he hoped it would be healthy, peaceful and successful, Stoilov said.

Another spectator, Bozana Antonova, whose son participated in the show, told Xinhua: “Great, unique, colorful performances; smiling people; I am very pleased.”

 

 

 

 

 

KATHMANDU

>>  Chinese Tibetan new year marked in Nepal

By Sanotsh Ghimire

The Chinese Tibetan Losar, or new year, has been marked in the Nepalese Capital City Kathmandu on Thursday evening of February 12.

The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu hosted a grand ceremony in celebration of the Chinese Tibetan Losar.

Chinese ambassador to Nepal Wu Chutai inaugurated the cultural show where a group of artists from Ali District of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China performed dances on the occasion.

Talking to Xinhua, participants of the function said that Losar has a great significance in their culture and lifestyle.

“We have been celebrating Losar for many years in Kathmandu to promote our culture. We feel pride to observe it,” 25-year-old girl Samten Dolma told Xinhua during the function organized at Hotel Yak and Yeti in Kathmandu.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING  |  2015-02-12 20:34:09

>>  Chinese, Greek heads of gov’t discuss bilateral cooperation

By Yang Jingzhong

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed on Wednesday of February 11 to further advance the friendly ties and win-win cooperation between their countries during a telephone conversation.

Li said China treasures bilateral friendship and continues to expand pragmatic cooperation with Greece. He wishes that both sides continue to be equal partners to achieve mutual benefit and win-win outcome, so as to lift bilateral ties to a higher level.

For his part, Tsipras said the Greek government also prioritizes relations with China and welcomes China to invest more in Greece.

Pledging not to change the nature of existing cooperation projects with China, Tsipras said Greece is confident that, together with China, the two countries’ friendly and cooperative ties will be further advanced.

Li said that the China-Greece relationship enjoys huge potential and that achievements generated in their cooperation have benefited the two peoples.

The Chinese premier added that since Greece reffairmed welcome for Chinese investment and promised to implement existing bilateral deals, it should provide better legal guarantee for Chinese enterprises operating in Greece.

The Piraeus port project, a success of China-Greece cooperation, has boosted not only local employment, workers’ rights and interests, but also the conservation and improvement of their working conditions, Li stressed, hoping that both sides keep own promises.

China is willing to work with the Greek side to develop the port into a first-class one in the Mediterranean and an important regional hub, which could play a key role in constructing a land-sea express passage linking China and Europe and boosting the Asia-Europe interconnectivity, said the Chinese premier.

Li expressed the confidence that the project will also accelerate the integration process and balanced development in Europe.

In response, Tsipras said that Greece, in a vital phase of reviving and developing national economy, needs China’s support and help. Greece is ready to strengthen maritime and shipping collaboration with China and conduct mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as infrastructure and finance, he added.

The Piraeus project with the Chinese shipping giant Cosco is crucial for Greece’s economic development, he said. As a pilot project for Greece-China cooperation, Athens will attach more significance and provide more support for it, promised Tsipras.

China is an important power backing Europe’s stability and development, said the Greek prime minister. Greece values the construction of the Europe-China land-sea express passage, and is willing to serve as a bridge for Europe-China interactions and enhance constant progress of the European-Chinese partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China plans quality growth, anti-graft drive in 2015

By Fang Dong

China will focus on improving economic quality in 2015 and adapt itself to slower growth against global economic headwinds, top policy makers agreed on Thursday of February 12.

Economic growth should remain within the desired range and restructuring of the economy will be at the center of policy decisions, according to a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The meeting also said China should push forward reform, encourage mass innovation and provided better public services.

Growth slowed to a 24-year low of 7.4 percent in 2014. Macro economic policy needs to be improved, fiscal policy maintained and monetary policy must remain frugal. Fine-tuning and targeted regulatory measures will be used more frequently, the meeting said.

Reform of investment, fund-raising, pricing, taxation and finance should be pushed forward. Domestic consumption and effective investment should increase, along with the modernization of agriculture and urbanization.

The meeting discussed the government work report for the previous year that is due to be presented to the National People’s Congress during the annual “Two Session” in March.

It also examined a report on the national discipline inspections, saying that the Party should be aware of the grim and complicated graft situation and combat corruption with the most determined attitude and decisive measures.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese use more credit cards in 2014

By Jiang Xufeng

Chinese people used more credit cards last year, fresh evidence that the nation’s traditionally frugal residents are looking for credit cards for everyday purchases.

Chinese banks issued a total number of 455 million credit cards by the end of 2014, up 4.38 percent from a year ago, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in a report released on Thursday of February 12.

These cards have an average credit limit of 12,300 yuan (2,005 U.S. dollars), making the combined credit limit 5.6 trillion yuan in 2014, up 22.5 percent from the year before, said the PBOC, the central bank.

Chinese card holders used an average 41.69 percent of their credit limit in 2014, up 1.4 percentage points from the previous year, the report said.

The industry picture is not all rosy. Credit card issuers also witnessed a spike in delinquency last year, with a total amount of 35.76 billion yuan unpaid for more than six months by the end of 2014, up 41.97 percent from a year earlier.

Metropolitan residents tend to own more credit cards, with Beijing and Shanghai topping the list. Residents in these two cities have 1.7 and 1.33 credit cards on average respectively, much higher than the national average of 0.34.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Internet regulator tightens regulations on dating websites

By Liu Tong

China’s Internet watchdog will target dating websites and other online match-making sites to combat fraud.

Fraud on dating websites has become a public nuisance to millions of users, especially young people, who use such services, said the Cyberspace Administration of China in a statement on Thursday of February 12.

The campaign lists fraud rings, prostitution and service providers’ fraudulent practices as major targets. Dating websites must enforce online real-name registration and accounts failing to register with real names must be closed.

As people celebrate the lunar New Year, many of young people are pressed to find a spouse and dating websites are one way of dealing with the problem. Jiayuan.com claimed more than 100 million users in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Authority dismisses China telecoms merger rumors

By Fang Dong, Li Yan, Gao Kang and Zhang Xinxin

Volatility on the stock market has prompted China’s information industry authority to publicly dismiss online suggestions of an imminent merger between Chinese telecom operators.

Shanghai-listed China Unicom, one of the country’s three telecom service providers, surged by 8.37 percent on Thursday of February 12. The rise was partly attributed to online reports that the company will merge with its rival, China Telecom. Another rumor suggested China Mobile, the largest in terms of user numbers, was to absorb Shaanxi Broadcast and TV Network Intermediary Co. All named companies gained by a considerable margin.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology denied any knowledge of the merger, as did all companies involved.

A China Mobile spokesperson said the company has has no information to disclose, while China Telecom refused to comment.

Industrial insiders pointed out that mergers of this kind must first be discussed by the authority and then filed with the State Council for approval.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Palace Museum launches app on collections

By Tian Ying

Beijing’s Palace Museum, otherwise known as the Forbidden City, launched its iPhone app on Thursday of February 12, showcasing its antiques collection.

The calendar-styled app will choose from over 1.8 million items in the museums collections, and present one piece a day.

English users can browse “The Palace Museum” in iPhone App Store and download it for free. Users can learn the stories behind the masterpieces and discover traditional Chinese craftsmanship through the app.

Thursday’s was a painting by Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), featuring men bathing their horses by a river.

An Android version will soon be available, according to the Palace Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

SHANGHAI

>>  Shanghai FTZ relaxes overseas financing

By Zhang Yi, Yao Yujie and Wang Tao

Companies in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone may now borrow overseas without prior consent from authorities, the Shanghai headquarters of the People’s Bank of China said on Thursday of February 12.

Banks and securities brokers have also been allowed to finance overseas. Under the new regulation, companies in the Shanghai FTZ are no longer limited to borrowing Chinese yuan only.

The scale of the financing has also been doubled to up to twice the company’ capital.

“Borrowing costs will be greatly lowered and may even be halved,” said Wang Jianxin, deputy president of the FTZ branch of SPD Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

SHANGHAI 

>>  Car crashes into US consulate in Shanghai

By Yang Jinhi, Zhu Hong and Liu Tong

A car crashed into the guardrail of the Consulate General of the United States in Shanghai late on Thursday of February 12, injuring a Chinese armed police guard.

In a statement released early Friday, Shanghai police said the car, a black Toyota sedan with license plate registered in southeast China’s Fujian Province, drove along the South Urumqi Road before it suddenly veered right to hit the guardrail of the side entrance of the consulate at 9:43 p.m.. Police nearby and consulate guards captured the driver.

The driver, identified as Liu Daojie, 35, from Sanming City of Fujian Province, claimed he ran a large company in Fujian and felt someone wanted to kill him, so he needed to provoke an incident to draw people’s attention.

“I drove from Hangzhou to Shanghai today, and saw the place is guarded by armed police. So I crashed my car into it,” the police statement quoted Liu as saying.

The police statement said Liu showed confusion of thinking, and spoke incoherently. The police has basically ruled out drunk driving and drug driving. Further investigation is under way.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Onshore, offshore RMB bond markets to grow in 2015: Moody’s

By Jiang Xufeng

China’s onshore and offshore RMB bond markets will expand and diversify in 2015, as the Chinese currency gains more global clout, Moody’s Investors Service forecast on Thursday of February 12.

“The evolution of the RMB into an international reserve currency is driving volume growth and diversification in the offshore RMB bond market,” said Ivan Chung, a Moody’s senior vice president.

“We expect offshore RMB bond issuance to grow even as the U.S. dollar strengthens and China’s onshore interest rate falls,” Chung added.

China’s central bank cut benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years in November 2014.

In the offshore market, more regional state-owned enterprises and Chinese non-bank financial institutions are expected to make their debut as they expand funding channels, Moody’s said.

In China’s onshore RMB market, the company identified regional and local government bonds and asset-backed securities as strong growth drivers.

Moody’s also predicted that asset-backed securities (ABS) market to continue its fast growth in China this year. In particular, it expected to see more auto ABS transactions to satisfy the needs of lenders in the car market.

 

 

 

 

 

LHASA

>>  Tibet’s impoverished population down 30 pct

By Cao Kai, Huang Xing and Zhang Jingpin

Tibet’s impoverished population has dropped by about 30 percent from 2013 by the end of 2014, the region reported on Thursday of February 12.

Some 130,000 people in Tibet were lifted out of poverty in 2014, said Hu Xinsheng, head of the Tibet Poverty Alleviation Office.

Those living in poverty decreased from 830,000 in 2010 to 320,000 in 2014, the proportion of people living in poverty in the region’s farming and pastoral areas is now 13 percent, compared with 34 percent in 2010.

Hu said Tibet had channeled 1.77 billion yuan (288.6 million U.S. dollars) to support poverty reduction efforts in 2014, up 13 percent year on year.

This year 1.88 billion yuan will be invested by the region to lift another 80,000 people out of poverty, he said.

The nation’s poverty threshold is 2,300 yuan (375 U.S. dollars) a year for a household.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China strengthens financial support to southern Xinjiang

By Fang Dong and Li Yanxia

China’s financial regulators will increase policy support to southern Xinjiang to stimulate economic development and safeguard social stability, an official guideline said on Thursday of February 12.

Measures including deepening indirect fund-raising, expanding direct financing, promoting insurance, encouraging financial innovation and stepping up infrastructure will be adopted to benefit the west China region.

The guideline was jointly released by the People’s Bank of China and three state commissions respectively in charge of banking, securities and insurance sectors.

The regulators will implement favorable monetary policies, such as differentiated required reserve, re-lending and rediscount to guide financial institutions to increase credit supply to south Xinjiang region, especially for agriculture and small firms.

China’s commercial banks should delegate more power to their branches in the region and improve tolerance to non-performing loans, under the condition that risks were well controlled, the guideline said.

The guideline also encouraged state-owned banks to set up branches in counties of south Xinjiang where banks are inadequate and promoted the establishment of private banks in the region.

Measures including expanding financing channels, encouraging agricultural insurance and improving financial circumstance could also be expected in the region.

In addition, the guideline said the authorities should continue to strengthen efforts to crack down on terrorism-related money laundering.

The multi-ethic southern Xinjiang is one of the less-developed regions in China, still plagued by a harsh desert environment and poor infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China central bank steps up cash injection

By Wang Yaguang

The central bank injected the most cash into the financial system in a year after a pre-holiday cash squeeze drove the benchmark overnight interbank rate to a five-week high.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) pumped in 205 billion yuan (33.44 billion U.S. dollars) net this week, the largest amount since January 2014, in an effort to meet high cash demand before the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Feb. 18.

Tight liquidity has been exacerbated by investors seeking funds for equity initial public offerings (IPO) subscription. A total of 24 IPOs are planned this week, which is expected to lock up 2.3 trillion yuan.

On Thursday, the central bank sold 80 billion yuan each of 14-day and 21-day reverse repurchase agreements (repos), a process in which central banks purchase securities from banks with an agreement to resell them.

The 14-day reverse repo was priced to yield 4.1 percent, while that of the 21-day reverse repo was 4.4 percent, according to a statement on the PBOC website.

In Thursday’s interbank market, the benchmark overnight Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor), which measures the cost at which Chinese banks lend to one other, climbed by 12.6 basis points to 3.058 percent, the highest since January 6.

 

 

 

 

 

SINGAPORE

>>  China Aviation Oil reports 30 pct drop in net profit in FY2014

By Ma Yujie

China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation Ltd. (CAO), reported a net profit of 49.2 million U.S. dollars for the 12 months ended December 31, 2014 (FY2014), a 30 percent decrease from the previous year, the company said in a press conference on Thursday of February 12.

The largest physical jet fuel trader in the Asia-Pacific region said the decrease in net profit was mainly due to lower profit contributions from associated companies.

Despite the plunge in net profit, total revenue increased 9.6 percent from a year ago to a record 17.1 billion U.S. dollars, mainly due to an increase in the trading volumes of both middle distillates and other oil products, the company said, adding that total supply and trading volumes for jet fuel and other oil products increased 23.5 percent to a new high of 20.4 million tons in FY2014.

Jet fuel supply and trading volume, which is part of the Group’ s core jet fuel supply and trading operations, increased 15.9 percent to 12.1 million tons for FY2014, mainly supported by strong demand from China’s civil aviation industry as well as the Group’s growing international aviation fuel business.

Earnings from the Company’s investments in oil related assets through its associate companies were 43.2 million U.S. dollars for FY2014, compared to 46.5 million U.S. dollars a year earlier. The company attributes the drop primarily to the impairment of inventory valuation at Shanghai Pudong International Airport Aviation Fuel Supply Company Ltd (SPIA) on the back of the steep decline in global oil prices.

“Oil markets are inherently volatile but the trading environment from the second half of FY2014 have been especially challenging with increased volatilities given the steep decline in oil prices.” Meng Fanqiu, Chief Executive Officer of CAO, said, adding “The slump in oil prices also brings with it opportunities as it presents structural shifts in the global economy and we will continue to focus on building a global trading network to expand our businesses through this structural transition.”

Looking ahead, the Group said it will continue to look to invest in strategic assets along the value chain and focus on expanding its aviation marketing business to more airports outside China.

CAO is the sole supplier of imported jet fuel to the civil aviation industry of China. It also supplies jet fuel to airports outside the Chinese mainland, in markets such as the Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the Middle East. It also engages in international trading of jet fuel and other oil products.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s installed wind power capacity hit record high in 2014

By Li Yan and Chen Weiwei

China’s newly installed wind power capacity jumped to a record high of 19.81 million kilowatts in 2014, according to an industry briefing by the National Energy Bureau (NEB) on Thursday of February 12.

Wind power generated 153.4 billion kilowatt hours of on-grid electric power in 2014, contributing to 2.78 percent of the country’s total generated electricity, said Shi Lishan, deputy director of the NEB’s new and renewable energy department.

The year saw more wind power construction and development, with newly-approved wind power capacity reaching 36 million kilowatts, a year on year increase of 6 million, Shi said.

The average usage of wind power in 2014, however, slumped to 1,893 hours from 2,074 hours in the previous year, partly due to weak wind conditions throughout the year, Shi added.

The wind power sector generated 134.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in China in 2013, making it the country’s third-largest source of electricity, after thermal power and hydro power.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese shares close higher

By Li Yan, Zhao Xiaohui and Zhang Xinxin

Chinese stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday of February 12, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rising 0.5 percent to end at 3,173.42 points.

The Shenzhen Component Index gained 0.33 percent to end at 11,302.73 points.

Total turnover on the two bourses expanded to 438.21 billion yuan (71.60 billion U.S. dollars) from 412.07 billion yuan the previous trading day.

Stocks related to transport equipment, telecom operation, smart TV, as well as hotel and catering led gains. Hisense Electric, a leading home appliance maker in China, rose sharply by 9.988 percent, close to the daily limit of 10 percent, to end at 18.06 yuan per share.

China Unicom, one of China’s biggest phone companies, surged by 8.37 percent to 4.92 yuan per share. The surge was partly due to reports that the company will merge with its rival, China Telecom.

However, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) later said it was not aware of the merger, and the company itself also refuted the reports as rumor.

Stocks in aircraft manufacturing were big losers. Shaanxi Aerospace Power Hi-Tech slumped 1.83 percent and Avic Aircraft closed 1.55 percent lower.

CITIC Securities analyst Gao Xiang expressed confidence in the future, adding that the stock market is likely to continue the rallies as the week-long Spring Festival holiday is around the corner, and the IPO upsurge has also passed.

The ChiNext Index, China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, gained 0.9 percent to end at 1,788.81 points.

 

 

 

 

 

DONGGUAN

>>  Guangdong edges Dongguan to face Beijing in CBA semis

By Wang Haoming

Guangdong edged out Dongguan 102-89 and won the best-of-five series 3-1 here on Wednesday of February 11, setting up a semifinal clash against bitter rival Beijing at the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league.

Ike Diogu scored a game-high 28 points for Dongguan, while Yi Jianlian scored 26 points and Will Bynum 21 for Guangdong.

“It was a tough match,” said Guangdong coach Du Feng. “Dongguan did very well in defence. I am glad to see we have less turnovers than in last game.”

Guangdong led the first quarter 29-18 as Dong Hanlin scored nine points in five minutes to help the visiting team dominate the paint with a 20-2 run.

Diogu stood out for Dongguan, single-handedly cutting the deficit to one digit in the beginning of the second quarter.

Gu Quan then made two of two three-pointers and Diogu added another, closing the gap to three points before Will Bynum broke through Donguan’s defence to keep Guangdong 53-46 ahead at half time.

With more pressing in defence, the two teams found themselves harder to score in the third quarter. Thanks to Yi Jianlian’s slam dunk and Ren Junfei’s three-pointer, Guangdong kept a two-digit lead at the end of third quarter.

The fourth quarter saw Guangdong lead by 14 points as Wang Shipeng and Yi Jianlian made two shots. Dongguan missed the final chance to close up with four minutes to go, when they lost two defensive rebounds, only to see Guangdong pull away four more points to clinch the victory.

“It’s very hard to say goodbye to this season,” said Dongguan coach Li Qun. “But we kept fighting to the last second. My boys will be improving and we will come back next season.”

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Guangdong book last berth of CBA semifinals

By Zhan Tingting

Guangdong clinched the final semifinal berth by beating Dongguan 102-89 and collecting a 3-1 triumph of the best-of-five quarterfinals at the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league playoffs on Thursday of February 12.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian led Guangdong with a double-double of 26 points and 17 rebounds, the foreign duo Will Bynum and Jeff Adrien combined for 37 points and 16 boards, Dong Hanlin and Wang Shipeng finished with 14 and 13 points respectively.

Dongguan’s Ike Diogu had a team-high 28 points and 14 rebounds, Meng Duo contributed 12 points, Bobby Brown had 11 points and five assists and Gu Quan added 10 points.

Guangdong heated up for the game more quickly and built an 8-0 run at the start of the first quarter. Dongguan only trailed four points after Gu Quan chipped in a 3-pointer with several minutes left in the second quarter. Thanks to Bynum’s consecutive shots, Guangdong led 53-46 into halftime.

Dongguan tried all means in the second half but were not good enough. Guangdong kept pace in the whole game while they dominated the board by 56-38.

Guangdong will meet the defending champions Beijing while Liaoning take on Qingdao in the semifinals to be beginning on February 25, also with a best-of-five format.

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

>>  Two more human H7N9 cases reported in China’s Guangdong

By Xiao Sisi and Zhang Yi

The number of H7N9 human cases in south China’s Guangdong Province has reached 45 this year with two more cases reported on Thursday of February 12.

The provincial health authorities said a 61-year-old man died in Guangzhou city and a 60-year-old man in Shantou city is in a critical conditon.

Guangdong is in the high-incidence period for bird flu, which occurs in winter and spring.

Thousands of chickens have been culled in Guangdong and Hong Kong this year. Several cities in Guangdong have taken measures to restrict the live poultry trade.

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

H7N9 is a bird flu strain first reported to have infected humans in March 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Deputy mayor of N. China city investigated for graft

By Tian Ying

Su Aiguo, deputy mayor of Chengde City in north China’s Hebei province, has been put under criminal investigation over allegations he accepted bribes, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) on Thursday of February 12.

Su also serves as a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Chengde Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

JINAN

>>  Drug ring busted in E China

By Han Xiaojing and Wu Shuguang

Police in east China’s Shandong Province busted a drug ring that sold drugs online and operated across Shandong and the southwest province of Sichuan, local police announced on Thursday of February 12.

Police arrested seven suspects, seizing 15 kilograms of methamphetamine as well as the raw materials and equipment for drug production.

In January, police started tracking a drug dealer in Shandong’s Jinan City who had been actively purchasing drugs online and selling them in Jinan. Three suspects of the gang were arrested on Jan. 27 in Jinan.

The suspects gave police information that led to the arrest of the other gang members in Sichuan at the beginning of February. Three meth labs were also discovered at the same time.

The investigation continues.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU 

>>  China arsonist sentenced to death

By Li Laifang and Qiu Lihua

A Chinese man was sentenced to death for setting a bus on fire on July 5 last year which left 30 injured in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Hangzhou also deprived Bao Laixu of his political rights for life in the first-instance verdict on Thursday afternoon of February 12.

During the trial on Jan. 28, Bao pleaded guilty of arson. He said that his crime was an expression of revenge on society and that he wanted to end his own life because of poor treatment of his tuberculosis for years.

Bao, 35, set fire to a bus with more than 80 passengers aboard with flammable liquid on July 5, 2014 in Hangzhou, the provincial capital. The fire left 30 injured, including 20 in serious condition. The youngest victim was aged 7.

The defendant himself also sustained extensive burns in the fire and had to have his feet amputated in hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Famous Chinese singer prosecuted on drug charge

By Zhong Qun and Xiong Lin

Popular Chinese singer Yin Xiangjie was prosecuted in Beijing on Thursday of February 12 for illegal possession of drugs, the latest celebrity involved in drug offenses in China, according to the People’s Procuratorate of Beijing’s Chaoyang District.

Beijing police arrested 45-year-old Yin in a residential community in Chaoyang District in late December and seized drugs there, including 13.93 grams of crystal meth and 1.02 grams of marijuana.

In China, illegal possession of more than ten grams of crystal meth could result in up to three years in jail and fines.

A Beijing native, Yin became famous after singing “Boat Tracker’s Love”, with his fellow singer Yu Wenhua in 1993.

China has detained a string of celebrities, including movie and television stars and film directors, on drug-related and prostitution charges. In early January, Jaycee Chan, son of Chinese kung fu star Jackie Chan, was sentenced to six months in prison in Beijing for drug offenses.

The Beijing Trade Association for Performances said in September it would not hire any stars involved in drug abuse or prostitution.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Infectious diseases kill 1,271 in China in January

By Zuo Yuanfeng and Hu Hao

Infectious diseases killed 1,271 people last month on the Chinese mainland, up 10 percent from the same period last year, according to official figures.

A total of 497,479 cases were reported in January on the Chinese mainland, according to a statement released on Thursday of February 12 by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

No cases of Class-A infectious diseases, which includes the plague and cholera, were reported.

A total of 290,297 cases of Class-B infectious diseases were reported, leading to 1,261 deaths. Hepatitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea and scarlet fever accounted for 94 percent of the cases in this category.

Class-C infectious diseases claimed 10 lives, with infectious diarrhea, foot-and-mouth disease and influenza contributing the most cases.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  266 deaths in China coal mine gas accidents in 2014

By Xu Feng and Chen Weiwei

266 people were killed in 47 coal mine gas accidents last year, China’s National Energy Administration said on Thursday of February 12.

The accidents and causalities were down 24.2 percent and 27.5 percent from 2013, the NEA said in a statement issued after a meeting of staff from over ten ministries including those of science and technology, finance, human resources and social security.

Though the number of accidents has decreased each year, the statement said that there are still too many. More effort must be made in 2015 to avoid major accidents (those with over 30 deaths), reduce those that kill more than 10 and achieve a year-on-year reduction of casualties by over 10 percent.

Last year, China extracted 17 billion cubic meters of coalbed gas, up 9.2 percent from 2013. It aims to extract 18.5 billion cubic meters this year.

 

 

 

 

 

CHONGQING

>>  Highway accident kills 5 in SW China

By Cao Bing and Han Zhen

A car crashed through a highway guardrail and left five people dead on Thursday of February 12 in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.

The local police said the accident happened at around 8:35 a.m. and all five passengers in the Buick commercial vehicle were deceased when rescuers arrived.

Traffic at the scene has returned to normal and the cause of the accident is being investigated.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Smog forecast for north China

By Han Qiao and Yu Wenjing

China’s meteorological authority said on Thursday of February 12 that northern regions will be blanketed by smog in the next two days.

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecast medium to severe smog in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Hebei and Shandong provinces, due to low wind. In addition, the regions will experience fog in the mornings of Friday and Saturday.

The center also forecast snow for northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday and Friday, with temperatures dropping by up to 10 degrees.

South China will experience rain in the coming three days, with thunderstorms across the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the center said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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