Keep fit or lose rank: Army sets standard for soldiers’ weight








>>  China welcomes adoption of UN resolution to cut off funding to terrorism

By Ni Hongmei

China welcomes the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2199 which is aimed at cutting off funding to terrorism, a Chinese envoy to the UN said on Thursday of February 12.

This resolution is “of great significance for the coordination of the international community’s fight against terrorism” and for supporting related countries’ anti-terrorism efforts, said Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN after the resolution’s adoption.

“China opposes all forms of terrorism. We oppose double-standards in combating terrorism. We oppose linking terrorism with specific religions and ethnicities,” he said.

He urged the international community to comprehensively and fully implement the resolution and previous related resolutions and jointly contain and combat terrorism.

“China calls on the international community to attach greater importance to the use of the Internet by terrorist organizations,” he said.

The international community should enhance cooperation, implement policies in an integrated manner and cut all the channels through which terrorist organizations use the Internet to broadcast terrorist videos, spread extreme ideologies, recruit personnel, mobilize funds, as well as instigate, plan and carry out terrorist activities, Liu added.

The UN Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution to cut funding sources to the extremists groups of Islamic State (IS) and Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), by efficiently choking off their illegal earnings from oil trading, trafficking of antiquities and ransom payments.







>>  Chinese “Big Four” settle with U.S. regulator

By Fang Dong and Zhao Xiaohui

China’s securities regulator on Friday of February 13 welcomed the settlement reached by Chinese branches of four global accounting firms with the U.S. regulator.

International cooperation solved the cross-border audit problems, said Deng Ke, spokesperson of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

Chinese arms of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, KPMG and Ernst & Young paid fines totaling 2 million U.S. dollars and promised to provide audit documents for Chinese-U.S companies to the U.S. securities and exchange commission (SEC).

The SEC had previously said that refusal to provide documents for companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges obstructed their investigations.

Deng said the two commissions have a full agreement on cross-border law enforcement and a mechanism to ensure cooperation.







>>  China urges Japan caution on security reform

By Bai Jie

China on Friday of February 13 urged Japan to be cautious on its planned security legislation reform, after a speech by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that refrained from explaining this contentious issue.

“It is hoped that Japan can correctly view and deal with its history of aggression, live up to the solemn statement and commitment it has made on historical issues,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.

“Only by facing up to the past can Japan have a bright future,” Hua said.

She urged Japan to act with discretion on reforms in military and security areas, follow a path of peaceful development and work constructively for peace, stability and development of the region.

In his speech in Japan’s parliament, the Diet, on Thursday, Abe emphasized his reform plans for Japan’s agriculture, medical services, social security program, education and economy, but refrained from explaining the most controversial issue expected to be discussed at this year’s parliamentary session, namely security legislation.

The Japanese government plans to submit to the Diet a number of security-related bills, including ones that would allow Japan to use the right of collective self-defense, based on the government’s rubber-stamped decision in July to reinterpret the pacifist Constitution.

As for those bills, Abe said only, “I will promote enactment of security legislation so that [Japan] can seamlessly cope with every possible contingency.”







>>  Chinese FM meets Pakistani ex-president

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Asif Ali Zardari, former Pakistani president and co-chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) here on Friday of February 13.

Speaking highly of Zardari’s contributions to China-Pakistan friendship, Wang said the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership is the result of efforts of generations of leaders of both sides.

Various parties of Pakistan, including the PPP, have made positive contributions to bilateral friendly relations, he said.

China highly values its friendly relationship with the PPP, and is willing to carry out party-to-party exchanges with the party, the foreign minister said, adding it is hoped and believed that the PPP will continue to be a staunch supporter of China-Pakistan friendship.

For his part, Zardari vowed that his party will continue to vigorously push forward the development of Pakistan-China ties.

China has provided great help to Pakistan and has played a significant role in promoting economic development of its neighbors and maintaining regional peace, the ex-president said.







>>  Chinese FM hails China-Pakistan military ties

By Chen Peng

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday of February 13 lauded military-to-military relations between China and Pakistan.

During his meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif in Rawalpindi, Wang said the two countries’ militaries have established friendly relations marked by mutual help and mutual support.

Describing military relations as an important part of the China- Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership and a significant content of bilateral strategic mutual trust, Wang said that further consolidating and developing military relations will not only benefit peace and stability of the two countries, but also have a significant impact on regional stability.

The Pakistani military has always been a staunch force supporting China-Pakistan friendship, Wang said, adding that he believed it will continue to play a major role in bilateral ties.

While expressing gratitude to the valuable help provided by the Chinese side, Raheel said military-to-military relations between China and Pakistan were at the best period in history.

He also said Pakistan is willing to enhance military cooperation with China and jointly fight terrorism.







>>  Pakistan, China vow to expedite work on economic corridor

By Chen Peng

Pakistan and China vowed to expedite work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor during a meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Friday of February 13.

China has been a trustworthy friend of Pakistan, and friendship with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, said Sharif.

Pakistan is looking forward to welcoming a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping at an early date in 2015, the Pakistan-China Year of Friendly Exchanges, the prime minister said, adding that his government believes the visit will bring the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries to a new level.

He said Pakistan attaches great importance to the Pakistan- China Economic Corridor and is willing to work vigorously with China to build the corridor and get early harvest.

For his part, the Chinese foreign minister extended great appreciation to Sharif for his unremitting efforts to promote China-Pakistan ties.

China and Pakistan are “iron brothers,” he said, adding the iron brotherhood between the two countries “will never go rusty.”

The upcoming visit by President Xi to Pakistan this year will provide a powerful impetus to the development of bilateral relations, said Wang.

He said the two countries should push forward both economic cooperation and security cooperation at the same time. China and Pakistan should boost economic cooperation in key fields such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, port, energy, transportation infrastructure and industries while jointly combating terrorism to maintain peace and stability of the region, said Wang.







>>  Chinese FM: China-Pakistan brotherhood will never go rusty

By Chen Peng

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Thursday of February 12 China will work with Pakistan to ensure success of all the activities within the framework of China-Pakistan Year of Friendly Exchanges this year.

“We will cement the friendly sentiments of our two peoples, advance the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, enhance our collaboration and coordination in regional and international affairs, so that our cooperation will benefit all people in our two countries and our two countries will set an example of building a community of common destiny,” Wang said.

In doing so, the iron brotherhood between China and Pakistan ” will never go rusty,” the foreign minister said at the launching ceremony of the friendly year in Islamabad.

Wang stressed that China takes Pakistan relationship high on its diplomatic agenda and the Chinese people take Pakistani people as their most trustworthy friends.

“China is working vigorously to promote the initiative put forth by President Xi Jinping to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

“If comparing this ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative to a symphony that is participated by all countries and produces benefits to all participants, then China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the glorious melody in the chapter one of this symphony,” he said.

Wang described the China-Pakistan relationship as one that is as close as lips and teeth because the two countries are connected by same mountains and waters.

“The Chinese people have made a special term for Pakistan – ‘ Iron Pak,’ which means Pakistan is the ‘iron friend’ of the China, ” as the two countries enjoy all weather friendship and have conducted all-round cooperation.

The China-Pakistan brotherhood is rock firm and has grown from strength to strength in the course of time, the Chinese foreign minister added.

Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and Chief Minister of Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif were also present at the ceremony.







>>  Indian PM expresses wish for stronger economic, trade ties with China

By Wu Qiang

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday of February 13 expressed wish for stronger economic and trade ties between India and China.

During a meeting here with Wang Jiarui, 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, Modi said the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India last September was highly successful and that the friendship between the leaders of the two countries is a driving force behind bilateral cooperations.

He said stronger cooperation in the fields of economy and trade is conducive for India and China to play a more important role in Asian and world affairs.

Modi said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India is willing to carry out more exchanges with the Communist Party of China, especially in the fields of local governance, youth and women.

Wang said the successful visit by President Xi to India last year has drawn a new blue print for China-India cooperation.

The year 2015 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India, and China is ready to build closer development partnership with India, to which the Communist Party of China is willing to make its contribution, he said.







>>  Investments needed to boost Italian manufacturing recovery

By Marzia de Giuli

The potential of Italian manufacturing, for which a recovery has been announced, can be enhanced by reawakened investments, according to local experts.

The two recessions that have occurred in the last seven years have left a legacy of structural damages to the manufacturing industry, a study published by the Bologna-based think tank Nomisma earlier this week said.

Nomisma estimated that the potential of Italian manufacturing production, or what is obtained when production capacity is fully utilized, contracted by 18 percent between 2007 and 2014.

Between 2008 and 2012 the number of manufacturing firms fell by 2.4 percent, but despite the substantial decrease also in the number of exporters, the foreign sales of Italian manufacturing still grew by 2.3 percent in the same period.

In this scenario, a sector that is renovated and made more efficient would be ready to ride into the recovery phase as soon as it occurs, Nomisma Chief Economist Sergio De Nardis noted.

At the same time, it is all the more necessary to “try to reconstitute that part of the production potential that did not deserve to be eliminated and which may be recovered in an expansionary environment,” he added.

This is possible, De Nardis said, provided that the stagnation phase is overcome, that there is a recovery path and, especially, that investments to reconstruct the production base are reawakened.

Giorgio Prodi, a member of Nomisma Scientific Committee and an economics professor at the University of Ferrara, said Chinese investments have helped some Italian companies remain in business or re-launch in the market.

In his view, the flow of Chinese investments into Italy can also open up access to China for Italian manufacturing companies.







>>  China to finance broadband network construction in Cambodia

By Cao Bing and Wei Donghua

The Export and Import Bank of China has agreed to lend Cambodia 50 million U.S. dollars to finance a national broadband network project, the bank’s Zhejiang branch, in east China, announced on Friday of February 13.

The loan will be given to the Cambodian government under a Preferential Buyer’s Credit facility to finance the construction of the core components of a nationwide high speed optical network.

According to the bank, this would promote connectivity between the two countries, which is in line with China’s initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Zhejiang branch of the bank has invested 1.94 billion U.S. dollars in 52 projects in 10 countries along, what China calls, the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.







>>  China plans tourism zone with Russia, DPRK

By Zong Wei and Zhao Mengzhuo

China is planning an international tourism zone in its northeastern border area with Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The Tumen River Delta international tourism area will include part of China’s Hunchun City, as well as a 10 sq km plot each from Russia and DPRK, said the government of China’s Jilin Province. The three sides will jointly build tourism facilities.

At the ongoing annual session of the provincial legislature, Jiang Chaoliang, governor of Jilin, said the province would draw up a blueprint for the tourism area this year and explore a management model that would involve the three countries.

The initiative was put forward by the Hunchun City government in 2013 and has drawn interest from authorities of the border areas of Russia and DPRK.

Visitors shall enter the tourism zone without visa and shopping shall be duty-free, according to officials.

In the long run, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Mongolia will join the tourism area via highways, railways and air routes, said Zhao Xiaojun, director of Jilin Provincial Tourism Administration.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) in 1995, which provides a multilateral forum for its member countries to tap potential economic opportunities.







>>  Chinese sportswear brand ANTA signs NBA star Klay Thompson

By Ma Xiangfei

Chinese athletics sportswear company ANTA Thursday of February 12 announced here they have signed rising NBA star Klay Thompson.

According to ANTA, they already inked the deal with Thompson last year but did not make the deal public until the company finished the KT FIRE sneakers custom-built for Thompson.

After signing the Golden State sharpshooting guard, ANTA now have Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Chandler Parsons, and Luis Scola representing their brand in NBA.

Thompson will debut in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

ANTA’s new signing followed their yearly financial report on Wednesday when the company said its 2014 net profit jumped nearly one third on growth in children’s lines and e-commerce and the total revenue jumped 22.5 percent year-on-year to 8.92 billion yuan.

Chairman Ding Shizhong considered ANTA the first domestic sportswear firm to achieve a turnaround in the sector.

“In the past few years, Chinese sportswear companies all faced with challenges like vague brand image, identical products, over expansion and bad inventory management. After many efforts, Anta is leading the way to achieve a turnaround,” said Ding.

Ding now is confident ANTA will have a better performance in 2015.

“Our goal for 2015 is for the total revenue to exceed 10 billion yuan,” he said.







>>  Chinese Year of Sheep window show opens in New York

By Liu Li

A festive window exhibition marking the Chinese Year of the Sheep opened on Thursday of February 13 in New York’s Empire State Building’s Fifth Avenue lobby.

It is the sixth year for the city’s landmark building to hold such an exhibition, which, according to the Chinese co-organizers, is meant to introduce the Chinese unique New Year culture to the American people and tourists from all over the world.

This year’s theme for the window displays is “san yang kai tai (three sheep bring bliss).” The saying implies the revival of life when spring returns and expectation for a fortunate and prosperous year.

The three rams with the names of auspiciousness, kindness and beauty, are decorated with red firecrackers, red velvet tassels, and fiery red flowers bloom.

The designer of the exhibition said that the three rams symbolizing people’s wish for a propitious, productive and affluent year, show Chinese people’s New Year wishes for American people and best wishes for healthy relations between China and the United States.

The sheep is the eighth sign of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The 2015 Year of the Sheep starts from Feb. 19, 2015 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) and lasts to Feb. 7, 2016.







>>  Chinese New Year galas presented at U.N., L.A.

By Shi Xiaomeng, Zhang Chaoquan and Xiong Ping

Galas and performances were presented on Thursday of February 13 at the UN headquarters in New York and in Los Angeles, celebrating the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year of the Goat.

At the gala presented at the UN headquarters, renowned tenor Warren Mok, violinist Lyu Siqing, popular singer Huo Zun and other artists played their classic pieces.

Chinese Kungfu (martial arts) show, performance of musical instruments like Erhu (a two-stringed bowed musical instrument) and Guzheng (Chinese plucked zither), and classical Chinese dance introduced traditional Chinese culture to the large audience.

“Tonight is special. At the UN headquarters, we perform the Chinese New Year Gala to share with the world our traditional festival,” said Warren Mok. “As a singer, it’s my responsibility to help spread the culture of my country to the whole world.”

The gala is initiated by the United Nations Chinese Book Club.

“Tonight’s performance is successful. You can see the crowd clapping and cheering from time to time,” said Wen Xuejun, president of the club.

“I think the UN is a great platform to spread our culture,” Wen said.

Also on Thursday, a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration was held at South Coast Plaza, a luxury shopping destination in Los Angeles in Southern California.

Hundreds of visitors enjoyed the traditional Chinese art performance, lion dance and traditional Chinese music performance at the six-year-old annual event in the South Coast Plaza to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Chinese Beijing Opera actress Sun Ping and her husband Ye Jinsen, who comes from a well-known Beijing Opera family, performed a famous episode of Beijing Opera — “The Forest of Wild Boars.” The face changing performed by a local American artist also won a long standing ovation from the audience.

“We are privileged and honored to have established a close relationship with the Chinese Consulate Office in Los Angeles and enjoy their support of our annual celebration of the Lunar New Year,” said Werner Escher, the executive director of Domestic and International Markets of South Coast Plaza.

Meanwhile, Xinhua Gallery held a photo exhibition themed “Explore Beautiful China Along the Silk Road” in collaboration with the China National Tourist Office Los Angeles during the 11-day event at the South Coast Plaza.

The photos show the natural sceneries, profound history, and diversified culture of some destinations along the Silk Road, an ancient land trade passage between China and Europe.

“We cherish the relationship between China and the United States. We are very happy to have this celebration in the South Coast Plaza in the year of ram,” said Steve Mensinger, the mayor of Coata Mesa.

Terri Delhamer, a visitor, told Xinhua, “I have just seen lion dancing on TV before. It’s my first time to see a live show. It’s really beautiful.”

The shopping plaza was decorated with a lot of ornaments with Chinese characteristics.

The goat occupies the eighth position in the Chinese Zodiac circle of 12 animals.







>>  Chinese New Year celebrations kick off in Rome with engaging performance

By Alessandra Cardone

Chinese New Year celebrations in Italy kicked off on Thursday of February 12 with an engaging and colorful show at the Rome’s multi-functional Auditorium Parco della Musica.

The event was promoted by the Chinese Embassy in Italy, and anticipated the main street parade that will take place on Saturday in the heart of the capital’s historic centre to mark the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival falling on Feb. 19.

A large audience of both Chinese and Italians gathered in the spacious Sinopoli Hall of the complex to enjoy a most various exhibition of music, dance, and acrobatics staged by artists belonging to the best tradition of China’s performing arts.

“Cultural and social exchanges represent a most vital part of Italian-Chinese relationship, which build a bridge to promote our mutual friendship,” Ambassador to Italy Li Ruiyu said in his opening speech to welcome spectators and guests.

The evening offered indeed remarkable examples of grace, balance, and agility, as artists from the Chinese provinces of Hunan and Shaanxi alternated on the stage to perform traditional folk music, traditional dances, and pieces of acrobatic arts.

The brightly colored dresses, the elegant costumes, and the engaging rhythms featured on the stage seemed fascinating the audience as much as the skills of the performers engaged in the show.

The artists offered short versions of music and dances as they had been conceived in ancient China, such as the Rainbow and Feather Garment Dance and the White Linen Dance.

Yet, Italian culture also had its moments within the spectacular show.

Eight Chinese opera students with the renowned Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome were invited to perform selected pieces from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, as a tribute to the tradition of Italian opera.







>>  Dutch dragon dancers prepare to dazzle at Chinese New Year party

By Liu Fang

As the lunar year of the goat draws near, a group in The Hague is busy preparing to celebrate China’s most important festival of the year.

The lead actors of the municipality’s Chinese dragon and lion dance team are finalizing every gesture to make sure that their long-awaited performance dazzles people at the Chinese Spring festival celebrations in the Netherlands.

At Yuliang Fei’s martial arts club in the Dutch political capital, Guus Kramer, a 45-year-old Kungfu fan who works as adviser of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, told Xinhua that his team has been practicing for several months.

“We started months before the Chinese New Year to choose nine performers good enough to form a dragon dance team. Then we kept practicing so that everyone masters each of his positions and every step of his movements. Weeks before the festival, we rehearse with costumes to check that everything is perfect,” he said.

For the past 13 years, Guus’ team — made up of Fei’s martial arts followers — have staged many performances in the annual parade in The Hague’s Chinatown.

Amid vigorous drumming and fireworks, the dancing dragons and lions have wowed crowds with their rich expressions, unique footwork and colorful appearance.

Guus is happy to see the Chinese New Year so exuberantly celebrated in the Netherlands, and even happier to contribute to the celebrations. “I can see that the celebration is highly valued by both the Dutch and Chinese communities. Surely this tradition brings us closer to each other,” he said.

Anil Bhagole and Gwan Pieters, who perform as the lion’s head and body in the dance, told Xinhua they love the wushu aspects of the dance.

“With technique, we aim to make spectators feel the energy of the lion,” said Bhagole.

“The lion must also feel the energy from the spectators,” added Pieters, “Sometimes kids seem scared by the lion, so we make the lion also look a bit scared. Then the kids get courage and become happier. By interacting with the audience like this, we make it a festive party for everyone.”







>>  Lanterns of Terracotta Warriors exhibition kicks off in Sydney

By Zhao Xiaona

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore and Chinese artist Xia Nan jointly turned on the lights of the lanterns of Terracotta Warriors, one of the most breathtaking components in the history of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival celebrations on Friday night of February 13.

The Lanterns of The Terracotta Warriors were illuminated for the first time in Australia at the 19th Sydney Chinese New Year Festival launch at Dawes Point.

“The City of Sydney is delighted to present this wonderful artwork in Australia for the first time as part of our 2015 Chinese New Year Festival,” said Moore.

“Sydneysiders and visitors will be enchanted by the lanterns, which will complement the iconic view of our stunning harbor and Opera House.”

The massive installation features 90 warriors standing 2.1 meters tall, along with two warrior horses, and will light up Hickson Road Reserve during this year’s festival from Feb. 13 to 22. The warriors shine in red, green, yellow and blue and they are fashioned out of fabric and wire.

The artwork was created for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 by a team of Chinese artists, including Xia Nan. It was inspired by the famous army of terracotta warriors, and uses traditional Chinese lantern designs to re-imagine the awe-inspiring historic discovery.

The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, located at Dawes Point, has previously only been shown in China and Britain.







>>  Chinese media man believes more Chinese to visit Australia

By Patrick Whiteley

Chinese visitors have a high regard for Australia’s agricultural products and more will be attracted to the nation’s natural and beautiful environment, a member of a visiting Chinese media group said on Friday of February 13.

“Chinese people think of Australia as having a lot of abundant resources and a beautiful environment,” Zhang Kun, chief editor of the China Youth Daily, told Fairfax Media.

“It’s a developed country with high technology and good food,” said Zhang, who was part of an 18-member Chinese media group touring Australia this week.

The visit, supported by the University of Technology – Sydney Center for Independent Journalism, was designed to raise more awareness of Australia to Chinese people.

Zhang said Australia’s milk products, particularly long-life and powdered milk, were best known to Chinese shoppers.

He believed Australia was becoming a star attraction for Chinese holiday travelers.

Zhang said China’s recent free trade agreement plans with Australia did not yet mean much to average Chinese, but such relationships would strengthen understanding between communities, including media opportunities, in both countries.







>>  Official calls on CEE countries to attract more Chinese tourists

By Marian Draganov

Countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) should join hands to attract more Chinese tourists, an official said here on Friday of February 13.

Zsuzsa Vincze, Executive Secretary of China-CEE Tourism Coordination Center, said in a presentation that CEE countries are too small to promote themselves individually to China, therefore they have to cooperate and advertise the region as a single destination for Chinese tourists.

According to Vincze, 8.8 million Chinese tourists visited Europe in 2014, and about three quarters of them visited places that are more well-konwn such as Paris and London. 2.2 million Chinese tourists visited CEE countries last year.

Vincze believed more visitors will come to CEE countries in the future.

According to her, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to CEE countries annually would reach 3.7 million for the next five years, and the CEE countries’ outbound trips to China would increase more than fivefold in the next ten years.

Vincze’s presentation was a part of the official event of the three-day Holiday and SPA Expo that opened here on Thursday, which gathered more than 270 exhibitors from more than 10 countries including Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and India.







>>  Cambodia expects more Chinese tourists during the Spring Festival

By Xue Lei and Nguon Sovan

Cambodia is expected to welcome hundreds of Chinese tourists during the Chinese New Year which starts late next week, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said. “I believe that more Chinese tourists than previous years will visit Cambodia this year because the Chinese people, who have visited Cambodia during the previous yeas, must have told their compatriots, friends and relatives about the country’s beautiful tourist spots,” Khon told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “As I know, hotels in Siem Reap’s Angkor are now fully booked.A lot of Chinese tourists come to Cambodia during the occasion, but I do not have the exact figures yet,” he said.

According to the minister, Cambodia received some 560,000 Chinese tourists in the whole year of 2014, up 20 percent year-on- year, accounting for 12.4 percent of the international visitors to Cambodia. Of the number, over 330,000 Chinese tourists visited the famed Angkor Wat Temple. “China is the second largest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia…We predict that Cambodia will attract 700,000 Chinese tourists in 2015, and up to 2 million by 2020.”

Khon said the remarkable rise in Chinese visitors to Cambodia is the result of excellent ties and proximity between Cambodia and China, Cambodia’s political stability and, of course, the world- famous Angkor Wat Temple. There are now also direct flights from China to Cambodia.

In its strategy to draw 2 million Chinese tourists by 2020, the minister said Cambodia has focused on creating tourism products for Chinese tourists and promoting them in China. “Many Chinese tourists are now well-off and based on forecasts, China’s middle-class population will reach 630 million in 2020. So they have the means to buy quality products, eat in expensive restaurants and stay in luxurious hotels and entertainment facilities,” he said.

Khon said that in order to lure more Chinese visitors, he has encouraged owners of hotels, restaurants and resorts to use three languages, Khmer, English and Chinese, on their billboards or promotional leaflets.

He said he does not have any problem with the etiquette of Chinese tourists in Cambodia because Cambodia and China have similar cultural practices and Chinese visitors always respect Cambodian laws, culture and traditions. “They are friendly tourists and Cambodia is pleased to welcome them because they understand Cambodian traditions and customs and our cultures are also similar,” he said. “Generally, we have not encountered any problems with Chinese tourists even if sometimes they speak loudly at public places which they have been accustomed probably in China,” Khon said.

What he admires most in Chinese tourists is that they are friendly to Cambodians, respect local laws, and are not stingy in their spending while visiting Cambodia’s tourist spots or going to restaurants or shopping malls.

Khon, however, said that there are few reminders for foreign tourists visiting his country not to do and these include swimming naked or kissing in public. There is also law that bans the taking of photos of visitors in the nude particularly in historic spots like the Angkor Wat Temple, Khon added.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents which consist of 211 tour and travel companies, said close Sino-Cambodian ties and Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat Temple have lured more Chinese tourists to Cambodia. “I foresee that more and more Chinese tourists will come to Cambodia in coming years. The influx of Chinese tourists to Cambodia has contributed to the development of local economy and poverty reduction,” he said.

He also lauded Chinese tourists for spending a lot of money buying Cambodian-made souvenirs and showing respect for Cambodian laws, culture and traditions. “Most Chinese tourists understand and respect Cambodian culture and traditions. For instance, when visiting our worship sites, they light incense sticks and worship the statues of Buddha at some shrines at the Angkor Wat Temple,” he said. “They worship at Cambodian shrines like what we Cambodians do.”

Le Lyna, a Cambodian tour guide for Chinese tourists, said there is growing interest of Chinese tourists to Cambodia’s temples during the Spring Festival season. “During this period, many groups of Chinese tourists have visited Cambodia because they want to explore Cambodia’s cultural and ecological sites,” he said. “Most of them like shopping, eating, drinking and sightseeing.”

He said Chinese tourists are now broad-minded and spend a lot of money for their leisure and souvenir items.

Another tour guide Chhean Samnang said the favorite places for Chinese tourists are the Angkor Wat Temple, capital Phnom Penh, and coastal Sihanoukville.

“Chinese tourists are as friendly as Cambodian people. They are easy to get along with.”







>>  New airline put into operation in China

By Lü Qiuping, Tan Xingxing and Qian Chunxian

Flight ERJ-190 left Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Friday of February 13, the maiden flight of Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines (BBG Air).

The flight, which departed at 10:50 a.m., was bound for Haikou City, Hainan Province.

Based in Nanning Wuxu International Airport, BBG Air’s investors are Tianjin Airlines — an affiliate of Hainan Airline Group (HNA Group) — and Guangxi Beibu Gulf Investment Group Co. Ltd. With total registered capital of 3 billion yuan (480 million U.S. dollars), Tianjin Airlines holds a 70 percent share.

The airline is an important move for the HNA Group and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as it plays into the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative and will enhance the region’s role in China-ASEAN regional cooperation, said Chen Feng, chairman of the HNA Group.

Chen said the new airline, which will operate domestic flights for the moment, are expected to have a fleet of 10 ERJ-190 aircraft and will open at least two international routes to ASEAN cities from Nanning by the end of 2015.

Bordering Vietnam, Guangxi is a hub for China-ASEAN cooperation.







>>  China stresses tourist safety for coming holidays

By Zuo Yuanfeng

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has called for strengthened safety measures for tourists for the upcoming dual holidays after a deadly stampede in Shanghai on the New Year eve.

“(Related departments) should be on alert of potential risks and keep a strong sense of responsibility so as to map out sound arrangements and safety measures to ensure the security of tourists’ lives and assets,” said a circular from the cabinet on tourists’ safety for the Spring Festival holiday and the Lantern Festival in early March.

The circular cited the deadly stampede in the Bund, Shanghai’s riverfront tourist hotspot where 36 were killed on Dec. 31 while people gathered to usher in the new year. The tragedy saw 11 local officials punished.

“The lessons from the Shanghai stampede and similar accidents should be well learned,” it said.

According to the document, local governments at or above the county level are responsible for coordinating efforts to ensure tourists’ safety within their jurisdictions, and detailed obligations must be delegated to specific people.

The cabinet vowed to pursue the liabilities of officials for inadequate safety measures, slack supervision or duty negligence that lead to severe tourist safety accidents.

The circular called on local authorities to focus on mass gatherings and celebration activities, urging key tourist attractions and large hotels to map out emergency response plans in case of stampede and fire.

It also stressed safety checks targeting accommodations, shopping malls, passenger vehicles, cable cars, elevators and other facilities in popular tourist sites.







>>  Jackie Chan’s son released from prison

By Cao Bing, Lu Guoqiang and Xiong Lin

Jaycee Chan, son of Chinese kung fu star Jackie Chan, was released after serving six months in prison on Friday of February 13.

On Aug. 14, 2014, Beijing police arrested Jaycee and Taiwan movie star Ko Chen-tung, both tested positive for marijuana and admitted to having used the drug. Police discovered 117.7 grams of marijuana in a bedroom at Jaycee’s house.

Ko was released after 14 days detention. Jaycee was sentenced to six months in prison and fined 2,000 yuan (326 U.S. dollars) for drug offenses by the Dongcheng District People’s Court in Beijing on Jan. 9.

China has detained a string of celebrities on drug-related and prostitution charges. On Thursday, popular Chinese singer Yin Xiangjie was prosecuted in Beijing for possession of drugs.

Beijing police arrested 45-year-old Yin in a residential community in Chaoyang District in December and seized 13.93 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 1.02 grams of marijuana.

The Beijing Trade Association for Performances said in September it would not hire any stars involved in drug abuse or prostitution. Sixteen Chinese production companies also pledged not to hire stars involved in prostitution, drugs or gambling.







>>  Chinese police target theft, fraud on railways

By Zuo Yuanfeng

Chinese police have dealt with 350 cases of theft and fraud in trains and detained 416 suspects during a Spring Festival security campaign.

The arrests were made by 100 police contingents on major routes and in key railways stations, according to a statement released Friday by the Ministry of Public Security.

Almost 3 billion trips will be made by road, rail, air and water during Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, this year.

In addition to police in plain clothes in stations and on trains, railway staff and passengers were encouraged to be on the look out for suspicious behavior and report it to the police.







>>  Chinese vice premier meets Gazprom head

By Liu Dongkai

China-Russia natural gas cooperation has become more practical, efficient and mutually beneficial, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here on Friday of February 13 as he met with Alexei Miller, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Zhang said natural gas is a key area of bilateral energy cooperation. He said both countries’ heads of state had helped advance the cooperation to achieve major breakthroughs.

He said as the two countries will continue to develop their strategic partnership, the project of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline should be earnestly implemented.

The West Route cooperation should also be accelerated and cooperation should be expanded to the upper-end of the industry, construction and equipment manufacturing, Zhang said.

China and Russia signed an agreement last May on the China-Russia East Route natural gas pipeline. The 30-year contract will see the pipeline providing China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from 2018.

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing last November, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the construction of a second natural gas pipeline between China and Russia, known as the West Route project.

Miller said Russia is willing to continue to cooperate with China in energy sector and tap into the huge potential.







>>  Chinese state councilor, Vietnamese deputy PM hold phone talks on ties

By Sun Ruijun

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke over phone on Friday of February 13 and agreed to make concerted efforts for further improving bilateral ties.

China-Vietnam relations now face an important opportunity for improvement and development as this year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the two countries’ diplomatic relationship, Yang said.

He spoke of a recent telephone conversation between Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Phu Trong.

During the phone talks, a general scheme for developing the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the next stage was mapped out from a strategic and overall perspective, said the Chinese state councilor.

Yang added that in order to earnestly comprehend and implement the important consensus reached by the two general secretaries, the China-Vietnam Steering Committee on Cooperation should maintain close communication and strengthen coordination.

He also called on the committee to make good preparations for bilateral high-level exchanges, plan and carry out cooperation in various fields, and properly handle maritime issues, so as to promote further improvement and development of China-Vietnam relations in the new year.

Minh, who is also Vietnam’s foreign minister, said the two general secretaries’ conversation is of great significance to developing relations between the Communist Parties of Vietnam and China and between the two countries.

Vietnam is willing to work with China to make a concrete plan for bilateral cooperation in various fields in line with the consensus reached by the two general secretaries, enhance high-level exchanges, boost practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, and jointly safeguard maritime peace and stability, he said.







>>  Keep fit or lose rank: Army sets standard for soldiers’ weight

By Li Huizi

Members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been reminded to stay in shape or else lose out on promotions.

The PLA has set a compulsive standard for soldiers’ weight and vowed to pay more attention to military physical training, according to “reform and development of military physical training (2015-2020)” guideline published on Friday of February 13.

“Physical training should be linked to personnel management,” said the guideline, referring to promotions or demotions.

Military physical training is “a basic way of enhancing soldiers and officers’ physical and mental quality” and helps cultivate combat power, it said.

It called for innovative training methods and outlined a distinctive military training system.







>>  Website puts parole cases in the public domain

By Wang Xiaopeng and Liu Tong

A website launched by China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on Friday of February 13 will inform the public of commutation of sentences, parole and out-of-prison enforcement.

The public can access documents including applications for mitigation, parole or out-of-prison enforcement and the date when cases will be heard, according to a statement of the SPC.

If the cases will attract public attention and will be influential, the videos of trials will be available on the website. The documents released will not include those that must not be made public according to law.

Jing Hanchao, vice president of the SPC said courts should make full use of the platform to ensure each and every appropriate case is handled in a transparent and fair way.

The move is a response to misconduct in handling of cases in the past.

Prosecutors have found a high proportion of commutation and probation granted to those with money and/or power, according to Yuan Qiguo, a senior prosecutor with the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP).

Zhang Hai, former chair of Jianlibao Group Co. Ltd., a beverage company, had his sentence cut by five years in a second trial and further reduced by more than four years while serving the sentence, all illegally.

This kind of judicial corruption has led the SPC and the SPP to target powerful and rich criminals: the SPC in 2014 revoked 1,739 criminals’ rights to serve a sentence outside jail and returned them to prison.

Xia Daohu from the SPC, said powerful criminals should be treated “specially”. “Inmates with hypertension are normally granted the right to serve a sentence outside jail, but, as long as there is no risk to life, serving their sentences outside jail should be denied.”







>>  CPC expels three officials

By Hu Longjiang

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has expelled three senior officials for bribery and abuse of power, its anti-graft watchdog announced on Friday of February 13.

They are Wu Changshun, former police chief of Tianjin Municipality, Sui Fengfu, former deputy head of the provincial legislature of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, and Qin Yuhai, former deputy head of the provincial legislature of central China’s Henan Province, according to the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

They were also removed from public offices.

The commission said they accepted gifts, took a large amount in bribes and abused their power to seek profits for others in promotion of officials and business operations.

Wu and Qin were also accused of committing adultery.

The three have seriously violated party rules and laws, causing “extremely bad social impacts,” the commission said.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate also announced Friday that it is conducting further investigation over the three and may charge them for crime of taking bribes.







>>  CPC expels former vice governor of Shanxi

By Tian Ying

Du Shanxue, former vice governor of north China’s coal-rich Shanxi province, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) for bribery, adultery and abuse of power, announced the CPC’s anti-graft watchdog on Friday of February 13.

Du will also be removed from his post of vice governor and member of the standing committee of the CPC Shanxi provincial committee, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said following an investigation.

The investigation found that Du accepted gifts and “a large volume of bribes”, and “sought benefits for others in official selection and appointments as well as the operation of companies”. He also bribed others and committed adultery, according to the CCDI statement.

Du is also suspected of the crimes of offering and taking bribes, and will be put under judicial investigation. The properties he gained illegally will be confiscated, it said.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate announced on Friday that Du had been placed under “coercive measures” and indicted by prosecutors for bribery.

Under China’s criminal procedure law, coercive measures include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.







>>  Deputy head of Heilongjiang provincial legislature expelled from CPC

By Li Huizi

Former deputy head of the standing committee of the people’s congress of northeastern Heilongjiang Province, Sui Fengfu, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office following an internal graft investigation.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) made the announcement on Friday of February 13.

The CCDI investigation found that Sui accepted bribes, cash and gifts; sought profits; and took advantage of his position in the selection and promotion of officials and enterprise management.

Sui is also the former Party chief of Heilongjiang Provincial State-owned Farms Administrative Bureau, which is in charge of the province’s state-owned farms.

A relatively low population density and nutricious soil has made Heilongjiang an agricultural powerhouse. It is China’s biggest grain producer.

“As a senior Party official, Sui seriously violated Party rules, discipline and law,” said the statement, adding that he did not stop his “vile” wrongdoing even after the 18th Party Congress in late 2012.

Sui’s illegal gains have been confiscated and his case has been transferred to the judiciary, according to the statement.

He has been under investigation since November.







>>  Deputy head of provincial legislature expelled from Party, office

By Li Huizi

Former deputy head of the standing committee of the provincial people’s congress of central Henan Province,Qin Yuhai, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office following an internal graft investigation.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) made the announcement on Friday of February 13.

The CCDI found that Qin impropriated public property; accepted bribes, cash and gifts; squandered public money; abusing his power in promotion of officials and business operations in exchange for huge amounts of bribes.

Qin was also found to have committed adultery, according to the CCDI.

“As a senior Party official, Qin seriously violated Party rules and discipline, and the law,” said the statement, adding that his “vile” wrongdoings continued after the 18th Party Congress in late 2012.

Qin’s illegal gains have been confiscated and his case will now be subject to a criminal investigation, according to the statement.

He has been under investigation since September.







>>  Beijing legislature approves coercive measures against deputy

By Zhou Yan and Wu Mengda

Beijing’s legislature on Friday of February 13 approved a proposal from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for “coercive measures” against a major general on corruption charges.

The 14th standing committee of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress made the approval at a meeting on Friday of February 13.

According to a proposal submitted to Beijing’s legislature by the military procuratorate of the PLA General Staff Headquarters, Major General Liu Hongjie who was in charge of logistic support, was suspected of graft.

The military procuratorate said it planned to take coercive measures against Liu, who was suspected of having abused his power and taken bribes in 2013.

It had to get approval from the Beijing municipal legislature before taking action because Liu is one of its deputies.

Under China’s criminal procedure law, coercive measures include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.







>>  China reveals new cases of law enforcers’ corruption

By Tian Ying

Chinese authorities revealed another 16 corruption cases involving judiciaries and policemen on Friday of February 13.

Of the judges, prosecutors and policemen, some have been convicted, and others are still under judicial investigation, according to a circular issued by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, which had previously exposed such cases in three batches.

Among the convicted, Yang Moulin, former head of the intermediate court of Xuancheng City in Anhui Province, received the harshest sentence, a 14-year imprisonment, for taking bribes of 340,000 yuan (54,000 U.S. dollars), and embezzling 1.37 million yuan of public funds.

In the most prominent case, a dozen policemen were punished for a scandal in Nehe Prison in Tsitsihar City, Heilongjiang Province. The case exposed flaws in management that allowed guards to aid prisoners’ fraud racket.

Prisoner Wang Dong was reported to have been chatting to and subsequently blackmailing women that lived near the prison via the cellphone app WeChat.

Wang threatened to circulate nude videos and pictures of the women and succeeded in swindling two of them out of more than 116,000 yuan (about 18,000 U.S. dollars).

The warden, Gao Qingxiang, and several other managers of the prison were either suspended or sacked. Six policemen directly responsible for the scandal were put under judicial investigation.

Other transgressions revealed include seeking profits for others, having improper influence in the employment of civil servants, and protecting illegal businesses in their jurisdiction.







>>  Tianjin police chief expelled from CPC

By Hu Longjiang

Wu Changshun, former police chief of Tianjin Municipality, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) for bribery, adultery and abuse of power, the CPC’s anti-graft watchdog announced on Friday of February 13.

Wu was also removed from the post of vice chairman of the Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in July, after he was put under investigation by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

The investigation found that Wu breached frugality rules to accept cash and gifts, attended luxury banquets and ran companies, which is forbidden for officials, the commission said in Friday’s statement.

Wu also embezzled public funds, accepted large bribes, bribed others and abused his position to “seek benefits for others in official selection and appointments as well as the operation of companies,” it said.

He also committed adultery, according to the commission.

As a senior Party leader, Wu seriously violated the Party’s rules, and has caused “extremely bad social impacts,” it said.

The properties illegally gained by Wu will be confiscated and his case will now be transferred to judical organs.







>>  Liu Cigui elected governor of China’s Hainan

By Li Laifang and Fu Yongtao

Liu Cigui was elected governor of China’s southernmost island province of Hainan on Friday of February 13 at the annual session of the provincial legislature.

Last month, Liu was relieved of his position as director of the State Oceanic Administration and political commissar of the China Coast Guard. He was appointed deputy and acting governor of Hainan.

Liu, 59, is a native of Quanzhou in China’s southeastern Fujian Province.







>>  China surpasses affordable houses targets

By Li Yan and Du Yu

China completed the building of 5.11 million affordable houses in urban areas in 2014, with 2.29 million such projects under way, surpassing the goals set at the beginning of the year, the State Council announced at a press briefing on Friday of February 13.

The central government granted 198 billion yuan (32.35 billion U.S. dollars) to fund urban affordable housing projects in 2014, an increase of 25.1 billion yuan from the previous year, according to Qi Ji, deputy head of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development.

Throughout the past four years, more than 20 million affordable houses were completed, with 12 million under construction, and the assistance fund for building the houses has reached 710 billion yuan, according to Qi.

China has set goals to construct 36 million affordable houses, also called state-subsidized housing, public housing, or social housing, between the start of 2011 and the end of 2015.

“This year is the final year of the Twelfth Five-Year plan (2011-2015), and the government will accelerate the affordable housing project with a focus on transforming the shanty towns,” Qi said.

The Chinese government has been rolling out an affordable housing scheme since 2007, in an effort to provide homes to people unable to buy them at market prices. The efforts are also aimed at helping counter the slowdown in the property market in recent years.







>>  China’s pollution control not enough: vice minister

By Wang Cong

China’s emission cuts are not enough to help improve the environment, vice environment minister Zhai Qing said on Friday of February 13.

Speaking to reporters at a regular press briefing a few days ahead of Spring Festival when air quality is expected to plummet due to fireworks, Zhai said pollution reduction had made an “undeniable” contribution. In particular, China could only process 52 million tonnes of wastewater around 2006; that figure is now 170 million tonnes. In addition, 95 percent of thermal power plants are now equipped with desulphurization facilities, whereas very few had such equipment in 2006.

Zhai acknowledged that efforts to bring down emissions have not helped improve air quality much.

“China’s pollution problem is very big and reducing pollution by a few percentage points is not enough for a significant improvement,” he said.

Pollution control only covers a few key pollutants such as chemical oxygen demand. Other pollutants like volatile organic compounds are not included.

The vice minister said China would continue to cut pollution and give special attention to improving the environment.







>>  New hydropower station in SW China gets hefty loans

By Zhou Yan and Yang Di

A hydropower station planned for southwest China’s Sichuan Province received 53 billion yuan (about 8.5 billion U.S. dollars) in loans Friday from seven domestic financial institutions, company sources said.

The planned hydropower station, in the middle reaches of the Yalong River in Sichuan’s Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, will have an installed generating capacity of 3 million kilowatts with a total reservoir capacity of 10.8 billion cubic meters.

Construction will cost about 66.5 billion yuan and the loan agreement, signed in Chengdu Friday, covers about 80 percent of the total, said Chen Yunhua, president of Yalong River Hydropower Development Co. Ltd.

The seven lenders are China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Postal Savings Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Development Bank, Bank of China and Bank of Communications. They will provide long term, low-interest loans to support the project.

He said the project will transform the river’s hydropower resources into a new driving force for the regional economy and generate clean energy to fuel southwestern and eastern China.

The station will be the largest in China’s Tibetan areas. Its first generator is expected to come into service at the end of 2021 and the entire station to be completed in 2023.







>>  E-commerce stands test as couriers go home for holiday

By Liu Tong and Zhao Wenjun

China’s e-commerce industry is being tested as more than half of couriers are going home for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Though the State Post Bureau has urged companies to continue deliveries over the period, which lasts about three weeks, some have found it hard to cope with the shortage of labor.

Wu Bo of Best Express said they had to work around the clock to handle packages before Spring Festival, but efficiency may be affected as many couriers in big cities have to go back home.

Xiong Jun, a manager with STO Express, said more than half of its couriers in Beijing have gone home.

China’s e-commerce industry employs some 1.2 million couriers. Though a large number of couriers go home for family reunions, some are choosing to stay as many Chinese people can’t do without delivery services.

Liu Xin, a courier from YTO Express, said he would stay in Beijing during the holiday because he can earn several times his usual salary.







>>  China tightens check over TCM material market

By Zuo Yuanfeng

China’s drug watchdog has vowed tighter supervision over the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) material market and severe punishment for irregularities.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) made the comments in a statement after unnannounced inspections exposed misconduct in various regions, ranging from artificial coloring, weight-increasing practices, illegal processing and contamination by counterfeit or substandard ingredients.

Sold by weight and mostly processed from plants and animals parts, TCM ingredients are often altered through deceptive practices such as soaking them in salt water to increase their weight and mixing them with cheap but similar materials.

“Illegal practices in the sales of TCM materials must be wiped out so as to cleanse the market,” it said, adding that cases of wrongdoings constituting crimes must be immediately transferred to police departments for further management.

The CFDA promised to increase the frequency of sample checks as well as unannounced and anonymous inspections while making more efforts to deal with clues offered by whistleblowers.







>>  Service sector pivot to economic restructuring: economists

By Fang Dong and Wang Xi

China’s emerging tertiary industry will determine economic reforms in the future as the country has entered a key period of industrialization, a prominent economist said.

The transformation and upgrade of the economy will depend on whether China can steer its economy on to a service sector-led path by 2020, director of the China (Hainan) Institute for Reform and Development, Chi Fulin, said on Thursday of February 12.

Chi said the country, which is on the cusp of growth; restructuring; and reform, is facing three major trends: The improvement of Chinese manufacturing, ongoing urbanization that features quality and growing consumption, which is increasingly in favor of services rather than tangible merchandise.

“Given the trends, China is laying the foundation of restructuring an economy that is led by service sector by 2020,” Chi said, adding the new model will help to realize 7 percent growth and avoid the middle income trap.

Jing Ulrich, managing director and vice chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase Asia Pacific, also underlined the significance of the service industry, saying the sector will replace manufacturing, the traditional engine of growth, to drive economic growth in 2015.

The world’s second largest economy has been increasingly reliant on the robust service sector to tackle looming downward pressures. The added value from the tertiary sector accounted for 48.2 percent of GDP in 2014, signalling improved economic structure.

However, Chi said the ratio was well below the 70 percent level of developed countries and challenges still remained.

The Chinese economy expanded at 7.4 percent year on year in 2014, the lowest reading in 24 years, official data showed.







>>  Balance between stability and growth key to China’s economic restructuring

By Rong Jiaojiao

China will balance stability and growth to achieve medium-to-high speed growth in 2015 through stabilizing macro-economic policies while deepening economic reform, economists observed.

A meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Thursday stressed the determination of policymakers to strike a balance between stability and growth in adapting to the new normal of economic growth.

China will stabilize and improve its macro-economic policies; maintain the proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy; and continue fine-tuning and targeted regulatory measures in 2015 to secure steady economic growth, said the meeting.

The meeting also called for deepening reforms in the investment, financing, pricing and taxation sectors and the continued streamlining of administrative procedures and powers to tackle economic slowdown.

The meeting signalled policymakers’ resolution to continue the quality-growth drive in the second largest economy, which is pushing forward restructuring measures to fend off impacts from a continued slowdown, said Zhang Zhuoyuan, an economic researcher from the China Academy of Social Sciences.

China’s economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years, and a string of economic indicators for the new year, including in manufacturing and trade data, all suggested continued weakness.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), the main gauge of manufacturing activity, fell below 50 for the first time since October 2012 in January, and data last week showed exports fell by 3.2 percent and imports plunged 19.7 percent for January.

Zhang said the ongoing slowdown would not force China to backtrack on its reform promises, because a lack of reforms could be fatal for long-term development.

Furthermore, stability and growth can be mutually reinforcing as the the necessary adjustment in economic structure will help promote the steady growth, he added.

Zhang Qing from the Chinese Academy of Governance observed that China had an arsenal of policy options at its disposal to counter the slowdown in 2015.

One of the options, he noted, was to increase efforts to expand effective investment to help stabilize economic growth.

According to the meeting, China will step up the management and regulation of investment this year to expand effective investments, improve their profitability, strengthen certain vulnerable areas in economic and social development.

“Expanding investment, particularly in infrastructure, will not cause overcapacity, but will benefit economic restructuring and sharpen China’s competitive edge,” said Zhang Qing.

In addition, the significance of service sector was also on the meeting’s agenda, Zhang said, noting that the consumption and service sector will replace traditional engines of manufacturing and investment to drive economic growth in 2015.

“A service sector-led economic structure is the strategic option of China’s economic transformation and upgrading,” he said.







>>  China’s new yuan loans rise in January

By Fang Dong and Li Yanxia

China’s new yuan-denominated lending in January hit 1.47 trillion yuan (239.8 billion U.S. dollars), up 289.9 billion yuan from one year earlier, official data showed on Friday of February 13.

M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased 10.8 percent year on year to 124.27 trillion yuan at the end of January, according to data released by the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

The narrow measure of money supply (M1), which covers cash in circulation plus demand deposits, rose 10.6 percent year on year to 34.81 trillion yuan.

Total private financing stood at 2.05 trillion yuan in January, down 539.4 billion yuan from a year ago.







>>  Chinese banks’ bad loan ratio up in 2014

By Fang Dong

The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of Chinese banks rose last year but banks’ capacity to defend against risks also improved.

The ratio of commercial banks rose to 1.25 percent by the end of 2014, 0.25 percentage points higher than the beginning of the year, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in an online statement on Friday of February 13.

Outstanding NPL was 842.6 billion yuan (137.46 billion U.S. dollars).

However, the banking sector still performed well with net profits growing by 9.65 percent year on year. The capital adequacy ratio remained high and liquidity was sufficient.







>>  Chinese shares close higher, real estate leads

By Li Yan and Zhao Xiaohui

Chinese stocks kept up their winning streak on Friday, ending the last complete trading week before Spring Festival holiday with a handsome performance.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.96 percent to end at 3,203.83 points, and the Shenzhen Component Index gained 1.24 percent to end at 11,443.05 points.

Combined turnover on the two bourses expanded to 563.82 billion yuan (92.13 billion U.S. dollars) from 438.21 billion yuan the previous trading day.

Shares related to real estate led the rises on Friday. Poly Real Estate Group Co., one of China’s property heavyweights, went up 3.69 percent to 10.11 yuan per share. Beijing HOMYEAR Real Estate Co., a privately-owned property enterprise, gained 9.97 percent, close to the daily limit of 10 percent, to end at 10.15 yuan per share.

Sun Xiwei, an analyst with CITIC Securities, said the surge in the property sector is a result of market expectation that the central bank will cut interest rates before the week-long Spring Festival holiday.

The central bank’s money injection earlier this week contributed to the surge in the stock market, Sun added.

Stocks related to securities and insurance were among the day’s biggest losers. Southwest Securities slumped by 0.31 percent to 19.35 yuan per share. China Life Insurance Co., the country’s largest insurance company, lost 1.63 percent to end at 38.13.

China’s central bank pumped 80 billion yuan (13.05 billion U.S. dollars) into the money markets through reverse repurchase agreements (repos) earlier this week, in an effort to satisfy the growing demand for cash before the week-long Spring Festival holiday.

The ChiNext Index, China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, gained 2.05 percent to end at 1,825.49 points.







>>  Number of human H7N9 cases climbs to 49 in Guangdong

By Zhou Yan and Xia Sisi

The number of H7N9 human cases in south China’s Guangdong Province has climbed to 49, with four new cases confirmed on Friday of February 13 by the local health authority.

The provincial health and family planning commission said an 82-year-old man from Chaozhou City diagnosed with H7N9, died Thursday, the 12th fatality in Guangdong this year.

The other three new cases, including two men aged 51 and 61 and a woman aged 58, in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chaozhou, the commission said in a press release.

It said the patients all suffered chronic diseases including high blood pressure and diabetes.

Bird flu is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

In Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, thousands of chickens have been culled this year. Several cities in Guangdong have banned the live poultry trade.

Other Chinese localities including Shanghai, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Zhejiang have also reported human cases of H7N9 this winter.

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







>>  China sees fewer fire casualties in 2014

By Zuo Yuanfeng

China reported 1,817 deaths from fire in 2014, a year-on-year decrease of 14 percent, showed new data from the Ministry of Public Security.

Last year saw some 395,000 fires that led to direct economic losses of 4.39 billion yuan (700 million U.S. dollars), down by 9.5 percent from the previous year, according to a statement released on Friday of February 13.

A total of 1,493 people were injured in fires, an 8.8-percent decrease, it said.

While incorrect use of electrical devices led to 26.9 percent of all cases of fire, more than half of the deaths resulted from smoke inhalation, it added.

The statement noted a particular rise in deaths from fires in residential buildings, as they accounted for 68.5 percent of all fatalities.

The ministry attributed the decline in fire damage to strengthened fire checks throughout the country that covered more than 9.9 million buildings and saw the elimination of more than 60 million fire risks.

In addition, fire awareness campaigns were launched in schools and other public venues, along with more firefighting training courses open to the public.










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