China’s environment watchdog to exit from evaluation services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Chinese leaders send condolences to Germany, Spain over plane crash

By Liu Yue

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday of March 25 sent separate messages of condolences to German President Joachim Gauck and Spanish King Felipe VI over the crash of a Germanwings flight.

Xi mourned the dead in the crash and extended heartfelt condolences to their families, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in his own name.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday send condolences to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy respectively over the tragedy.

Also on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent messages to his German and Spanish counterparts, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo, expressing his deep grief for the victims.

The Germanwings plane crashed in the Alps in southern France on its way from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany. All 150 people on board were killed. The victims were mainly from Germany and Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China expresses sorrow over Germanwings crash

By Liu Dongkai

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson has expressed China’s sympathy for the victims of Tuesday’s deadly crash by a Germanwings plane.

“Upon learning about the tragic crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525, we express deep condolences to all the victims and sincere sympathy to their families,” Hua Chunying said in a press release on Wednesday of March 25.

She said initial information shows that there were no Chinese citizens on the plane.

“We will continue to closely follow the development of the incident and maintain communication with all relevant parties,” Hua said.

The plane crashed in the southern French Alps as it flew from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. All 150 people on board were killed. The victims were mainly from Germany and Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese vice premier mourn passing of Singapore’s founding PM

By Hao Yalin

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli mourned the passing of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the Singaporean embassy to China on Wednesday afternoon of March 25.

Zhang brought a wreath and signed the condolence book, in which he expressed “profound condolences”.

Singaporean Ambassador to China Stanley Loh expressed gratitude for the condolences from the Chinese government.

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, served as the country’s prime minister from 1959 to 1990 and then as a senior minister and minister mentor. He died in Singapore early on Monday at the age of 91.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China welcomes all countries to join AIIB

By Xu Feng

All countries interested in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are welcomed to join, China’s Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said on Wednesday of March 25.

“The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development bank. China welcomes all countries to join and make contributions to the infrastructure improvement in Asia,” Shi said, responding to a question on whether China communicated with the United States or Japan during the preparation for AIIB.

“China has been in communication with Australia, the Republic of Korea,the U.S. and Japan. However, China will respect their decision whether or when to join,” he said.

“China is willing to strengthen communication with them under bilateral or multilateral economic dialogue mechanisms and cooperate with existing multilateral organizations such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).”

Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland recently applied to join the AIIB, which has 27 prospective founding members.

Shi also dismissed the assumption of China seeking or giving up veto power in the AIIB.

There have been reports China sought to attract major European countries to join the AIIB by offering to forgo the veto power.

“Prospective founding members are deliberating on the AIIB agreement, including its decision-making mechanism and share distribution. As a proposition aimed at mutual benefit and win-win results, the AIIB will be an open, transparent and efficient multilateral organization,” he said.

“As the number of AIIB founding members continues to rise, the share awarded to each country will drop accordingly.”

Whether the Beijing-headquartered AIIB will set up other regional centers is a matter of future consultation in consideration of the AIIB’s business performance, Shi said.

“The AIIB will draw on experience from multilateral development banks such as the WB and ADB, to avoid their mistakes and seek even better standards. This way, the AIIB will turn into a financing platform that’s professional and efficient,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHNOM PENH

>>  U.S. fear for AIIB “premature, Sinophobia”: expert

The fear which the United States has been betraying for the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is premature and Sinophobia, said an India-born expert at a Cambodia university.

“The U.S. fear or rather phobia that AIIB lacks international standards of governance and transparency is premature and Sino- phobic,” Joseph Matthews, director of International Cooperation Department at the Phnom Penh-based Asia Europe University, wrote in an article released to Xinhua.

Matthews’ article is titled “China-initiated AIIB draws wider support from countries around world.”

A Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing AIIB was signed on October 24, 2014, in Beijing with an initial capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars.

“This is a unique bank in terms of its name and mission. Its main purpose is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia region,” Matthews wrote.

The AIIB, which aims to become an international financial institution providing support to infrastructure projects in Asia, has prospective founding members including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

When it was firstly announced, most of the Western countries, especially the United States, regarded it as a rival for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the developed countries including the U.S., Matthews noted.

“But, most of the economists, financial experts and bankers around the world think otherwise, they believe, the establishment of AIIB is the result of decades long frustrations and disappointments that were constantly growing in developing countries against these three financial institutions, and they regard slow pace of reforms and output of these banks have created a gap where AIIB is being considered as a breath of fresh air for the financial-choked countries,” he wrote.

The expert believed that for any developing country, qualifying for any kind of assistance, loan, credit line or financial aids, from these three financial institutions come with strident conditions and measures that sometimes affect sovereignty, self- respect and integrity of the whole nation.

“There were so many countries in the past, which opted for the bankruptcy rather than surrender to the conditions of these three financial institutions. We all know, what happened in Argentina, Cyprus and now in Greece,” he wrote.

Cambodia, as a founding member, is also looking forward to an alternative source of funding for its poor, dilapidated and non- existent infrastructure.

“After having being seen the global scenario and enthusiasm of developing countries to joining the AIIB, forced the many western countries to change their hearts and minds,” Matthews wrote.

“I would like to make a prediction about the AIIB that, in the future, it will grow tremendously in the terms of members, investments and lending that those member countries will be forced to change its present name from AIIB to Global Infrastructure Investment Bank (GIIB).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAIROBI

>>  Interview: AIIB to accelerate investment trends in Africa: experts

By Deng Yaomin

The ongoing preparations to launch the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will further transform the investment climate in Africa, and lead to lower cost of finance while boosting competition in the international financial markets, analysts have said.

Gerishon Ikiara, Associate Director at the Nairobi University’s Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, said the creation of the AIIB will raise the profile of China as a leading force in global lending and investment trends in the 21st century.

“It will also improve the available global investment resources and increase the level of competition in the global financial markets,” Ikiara told Xinhua.

China is leading efforts to have the proposed bank launched, with 21 countries having signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in support of the AIIB.

African countries have limited opportunities accessing long- term finance for infrastructure projects because of their under- developed capital and financial markets. There are limited infrastructure bonds issued by African states due to what experts at the World Bank attribute to lack of investment banking skills.

Studies by the World Bank cite the unwillingness by investors to buy long-term financial instruments not supported by cash refunds like easy access to bank loans based on an agreed maturity period.

“These resources will increase the level of competition in the global financial markets and reduce the monopoly that the West has enjoyed in the past,” Ikiara said.

The proposed AIIB is expected to be formally established by the end of 2015, with an initial subscribed capital of 50 billion U.S. dollars. At least 27 countries, including Britain, Germany, France and Italy, have expressed an interest in joining its board as founding members.

Ikiara said the proposed bank will accelerate infrastructure development and investment in Africa and other developing countries.

“The readiness and willingness of the key European countries (to support the proposed bank) is an indication that European countries recognize China’s growing role in many sectors of the global economy can no longer be ignored or underrated,” he said. “It makes sense to cooperate with China in these types of ventures. ”

For Africa, the proposed investment bank is considered a potential solution to a financial environment dominated by aid and export-driven economic booms and breakdowns in the past.

“The AIIB is a major and welcome development in terms of widening choices of sources of financial resources,” said Ikiara. “Already many African countries have utilized funds from the Chinese Exim Bank and will see the new bank as further good news.”

The countries in the Eastern African region are currently engaged in projects aiming to expand electricity generation and distribution across borders and are also investing in renewable energy sources.

“The AIIB is expected to accelerate this process in terms of expansion and modernization of various general investments, general infrastructure and business opportunities,” he said.

Professor Macharia Munene, an international affairs with Nairobi-based United States International University, also said the AIIB’s bias towards infrastructure development is of particular appeal to Africa, which is currently trying to open up their countries to facilitate movement of goods and services, and to lower the cost of doing business.

“The opening of AIIB can only be as positive as a stimulant to global economic growth. It can and should venture into global investment zones that few think about. It can pioneer new activities and it should,” Munene said.

He added that with growing international interest on the proposed bank, countries around the world would benefit from large sources of infrastructure financing as a result of lower cost of borrowing for infrastructure projects brought by the bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  2015 Boao Forum to unite Asia-Pacific nations, promote all-win aspiration

By Wang Bowen

With the advent of the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), China, the host country, hopes the BFA annual meeting will promote solidarity and cooperation among Asian nations as well as the regional integration process to achieve an all-win outcome.

Themed “Asia’s New Future: Toward a Community of Common Destiny,” the annual conference will witness more than 70 formal discussions on topics of macroeconomy, industrial transformation, regional development, technological innovation, politics and security, people’s livelihood, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Presidents from Armenia, Austria, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia will attend the annual meeting.

The guests also include the Governor-General of Australia and prime ministers from Kazakhstan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Qatar and Sweden, as well as Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tanasak Patimapragorn.

Georgy Petrov, vice-president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said “China, India and other Asia-Pacific countries are the main engines of the global economy today”, despite the fact that China has slowed down its overall economic growth to achieve a quality one.

It is a shared view that the Asian community which shares the same fate should seek common development.

MD Nalapat, an Indian strategic analyst, said without the development of Asia it is impossible for China to develop and Asia’s progress needs China, which works for other Asian countries as well.

With that in mind, China hopes the meeting will also push for the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which consists of a network of railways, highways and other forms of infrastructure, as well as oil and gas pipelines, power grids, Internet networks and aviation routes in the Eurasian area.

Aimed at strengthening regional connectivity through the reinforcement of transport infrastructure, investment and trade, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges, the two initiatives are calling for the collective efforts of countries along the routes.

Under the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiatives, Asian nations could create newer and freer trade regimes and reach a closer interdependence within the community, which could be further facilitated by the financial support provided by the AIIB.

“The AIIB comes into being as a result of the rise of rejuvenation of Asian countries. Asia will keep leading the global economic growth as the global power and wealth is shifting towards Asia. I hope that the forum could encourage more countries to join the AIIB,” Indonesian Political Analyst Bambang Suryono said.

The AIIB will not only help break the infrastructure bottleneck and boost regional development, but also bring considerable benefits to any party participating in or cooperating with the enterprise.

It is worth noting that the AIIB will function as an open and inclusive organization dedicated to cooperation and development, not as an arena to wield power and influence.

International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Zhu Min, Former French Finance Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Yi Gang, World Bank Vice President Cyril Muller and Asian Development Bank Vice President Stephen Groff will attend the event slated for March 26-29 in the scenic town of Boao in south China’s tropical island province of Hainan.

“The Boao Forum will strongly push for the integration process of Asia, as well as the construction of the Asian Community of Common Destiny,” Suryono said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOSCOW

>>  Interview: Boao Forum an event of global significance: Russian expert

By Ding Chao

The 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) scheduled for this week will be an event of global significance, a Russian expert told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Georgy Petrov, vice-president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the forum not only plays a very important role in shaping an Asian community that shares the same fate, but also has become an important platform for the discussion of some of the world’s most important economic and political issues.

The annual conference, themed “Asia’s New Future: toward a Community of Common Destiny”, includes more than 70 formal sessions of discussions on topics concerning macro-economy, industrial transformation, regional development, technological innovation, politics and security, as well as people’s livelihood.

“This meets the vision of a multipolar world. This is why in Russia the Boao Forum has been nicknamed the Asian Davos,” he added.

Noting that emerging economies’ representation in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank has been significantly lower than their actual weight in the global economy, Petrov said, “China, India and other Asia-Pacific countries are the main engines of the global economy today. So it is inevitable to discuss the role of the emerging markets.”

As the host country, China hopes the BFA annual meeting will promote solidarity and cooperation among Asian nations as well as regional integration.

“This affects lives of not only politicians and businessmen but of every common person. So we are looking forward to the forum,” the expert said, adding that Russian participation in the summit has been growing year by year.

Petrov said China’s road of development and reforms have attracted the attention of the entire world.

“We understand that China aims at not quantitative but qualitative economic growth. We in Russia completely share that approach,” he said. “The gradual change of direction demonstrates the wisdom and clear political vision of Chinese leaders.”

Speaking of the recent decisions by major European countries to join the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Petrov refuted claims that it would threaten existing financial institutions.

“China has made it clear that the initiative would not replace the Asian Development Bank,” Petrov said, adding that Asia countries need more financial institutions to implement large projects of infrastructure which are badly needed in this region.

“It is wise for those countries to have applied to join the bank, and I think the bank will have a bright future,” he added.

The 2015 Boao Forum for Asia is slated for March 26-29 in the scenic town of Boao on south China’s tropical island province of Hainan. Its opening ceremony will take place on March 28.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GENEVA

>>  UN council adopts statement celebrating 20th anniversary of Beijing Declaration

By Nie Xiaoyang

The ongoing 28th Human Rights Council session on Wednesday of March 25 adopted a Presidential Statement marking the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The Presidential Statement by the Council reaffirmed the importance of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action in fostering global gender equality 20 years after it was adopted by the United Nations(UN) in 1995.

In his statement, Joachim Rücker, President of the Human Rights Council, stated that “governments bear the primary responsibility for the achievement of gender equality and that international cooperation has an essential role to play in assisting developing countries in progressing towards the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”.

He also reiterated the pivotal role played by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in terms of achieving set development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

The Platform for Action, which adheres to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, is an agenda of women’s empowerment. As such, it is the central policy framework for the achievement of gender equality.

It builds on the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women set out in 1985, and seeks to provide equal participation for women in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.

Twelve critical areas of concern are outlined, including women and the economy, women and poverty, women and armed conflict and violence against women.

In the past 20 years, governments, civil society groups, NGOs and the private sector have been called upon to instigate societal and legal changes aiming to improve women’s lives.

Ren Yisheng, Minister Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of China to UN at Geneva, thanked all participants for their constructive cooperation in a general statement, and said that the Fourth World Conference was an important milestone in the achievement of women’s rights.

According to the diplomat, China will co-host and organize, in collaboration with UN Women, a Global Leaders’ Meeting on Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in September 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS

>>  Chinese envoy calls for zero-tolerance in protecting children

By Shi Xiaomeng

The UN Security Council should adopt “zero-tolerance policy” towards armed groups in order to create a peaceful environment to protect children, said a Chinese envoy here on Wednesday of March 25.

Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN, made the remarks at a Security Council open debate on children and armed conflict.

“The Security Council should not condone acts by terrorist and extremist forces and other armed groups of brutal killing of children, using children as human bombs and forcing them to kill hostages,” said Liu.

The international community should comprehensively halt the act of harming children by any party to the conflict and urge them to observe relevant international law and international obligations, he added.

Liu noted the protection of children in armed conflict starts with halting and easing armed conflicts, saying that only by preventing the worsening of the security situations can countries avoid children from being harmed in armed conflict.

He also said the government of the country in conflict bears the primary responsibility for the further protection of children in armed conflict.

“In executing council resolutions and effectively implementing the various programs, plans and initiatives for the protection of children, the role of the government in question is irreplaceable, ” he explained.

In this regard, he said the international community should make full use of the leading role of the government in question, support the government’s efforts and mobilize the international community to assist in overcoming financial and other difficulties as well as strengthening its capacity building.

In addition, Liu also called on all UN bodies to leverage their respective strengths and advantages so as to form synergy in the protection of children in armed conflict.

“The UN peacekeeping operations should comprehensively fulfill their mandate and increase their protection of children,” he said.

“Related agencies and institutions such as the United Nations Children’s Fund and World Bank should engage in close cooperation to support the countries in conflict to launch their peace- building efforts, promote economic and social development in these countries, guarantee children’s physical and psychological health and ensure that they have the rights and opportunities for equal access to education,” he added.

The Security Council held the open debate under French presidency with a particular focus on child victims of non-state armed groups, since acts of abducting children or recruiting children have become frequent tactics of extremist armed groups nowadays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GENEVA

>>  China voices support towards int’l community against terror, ISIL

By Nie Xiaoyang

China on Wednesday of March 25 stressed its ongoing commitment towards the international community in combating terrorist threats, proposing that “new measures should be adopted to counter the threats.”

During an interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Iraq, Ren Yisheng, Minister Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of China to the UN at Geneva, stated that China “strongly condemned the atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist groups against Iraqi minorities.”

Ren also reasserted China’s continued support towards Iraq in the country’s fight to safeguard its national sovereignty and protect its population in light of a deteriorating situation.

Flavia Pansieri, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, described the human rights violations in Iraq as being “shockingly widespread and extremely severe,” with a range of violations perpetrated by ISIL and affiliated groups on a daily basis against ethnic and religious minorities.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, 2014 was the deadliest year the country has witnessed since 2007. Crimes committed by ISIL include summary executions, sexual violence, forced conscription and indoctrination of targeted populations.

A total of three million Iraqis have had to flee their homes, among which two million were displaced in 2014 alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WINDHOEK

>>  Chinese embassy celebrates 25 years of diplomatic ties between China, Namibia

By Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa

The Chinese Embassy in Namibia has marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China- Namibia diplomatic relations during a ceremony held on Wednesday of March 25 in the capital Windhoek.

The event held at the Chinese Embassy was hosted by Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang and was attended by Namibia’s founding president Sam Nujoma, government ministers, Chinese business people and members of the diplomatic corps.

China and Namibia established diplomatic ties on March 22, 1990, a day after the Southern African nation gained independence from South Africa.

China-Namibia friendship was forged during Namibia’s struggle for independence, and continued after independence.

Xin Shunkang said the friendship between the two countries was built upon the basis of equality, mutual benefit and common development.

“In the past 25 years, thanks to the good care given by the two national leaders, generation by generation, our friendship has strode over radical changes of international situations and has become a model of South-South cooperation, with continuous deepening of mutual-beneficial cooperation and people to people exchanges,” Xin said.

Trade between the two countries has continued to increase over the past 25 years reaching 863 million U.S. dollars in 2014, a 16. 78 percent increase from 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOBITO, Angola

>>  Chinese company donates classroom building to Angolan orphanage

By Wang Bingfei

China Harbor Engineering Company, a key player of the reconstruction of harbors in the once war-torn African country, has donated 300,000 U.S dollars to build a two-storey classroom building for the Benguela Orphanage.

The donation agreement was signed on Tuesday in Benguela by Director of the orphanage Maria da Conceicao da Cruz and Zhuang Huaqiang, project manager for the Lobito harbor which was reconstructed by China Harbor Engineering Company.

The new facility in the orphanage will comprise six classrooms to improve the living conditions of some 100 children there, orphaned by diseases, accidents or abandonment.

The ceremony was attended by Valodia de Castro Sardinha, Director of Children’s Welfare for Benguela province, Nelson Conceicao, Director of Education for the province, and Maria Jose Garcia, Assistant Mayor of Bengela.

Maria Jose Garcia said the southern Benguela province is one of the most economically dynamic provinces as well as an important sector of the national education campaigns in Angola. The official thanks China Harbor Engineering company for its donations to the Benguela Orphanage, one of the largest orphanages in the African country.

The ceremony was also addressed by Song Linfu on behalf of the China Harbor Engineering Company, which has established a long- term cooperation with the orphanage to make charity contributions to local kids. Song said the donation of the classroom building reflected the willingness of his company to shoulder its social responsibilities and pay back to local societies while taking part in the economic development of Angola.

China Harbor Engineering Company has built 16 harbors in Angola since 2006 when it first entered the African country to take part in its postwar reconstruction process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

N’DJAMENA

>>  China offers anti-malaria medicines to Chad

By Huang Yanan

Chinese Ambassador to Chad Hu Zhiqiang delivered on Wednesday of March 25 anti-malaria medicines to Pharmaceutical Purchasing Center (CPA), the public institution responsible for the purchase, storage and wholesaling medicines in Chad.

Valued at 500,000 U.S. dollars, “these products are timely to alleviate the suffering of our people,” Mahamat Annour Wadak, secretary general of the Chadian ministry of public health.

“These medicines will go directly in the treatment of malaria which is very common in Chad,” he added.

Apart from medicine donations, China also provides Chad with laboratory diagnostic techniques. A Chinese medical team also operates in Chad-China Friendship Hospital in capital N’Djamena.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON

>>  Chinese investments pour into U.S.

By Zheng Qihang,  Jiang Yujuan and Gao Pan

Chinese investors have been in the limelight during the just concluded 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC.

“Fuyao has three investments in the U.S. state of Michigan, Alabama and South Carolina, with good profits. Since 2013, we have made new investments in the state of Ohio and Illinois,” said Fuyao Glass Industry Group Chairman Cao Dewang during the two-day Summit.

Fuyao Glass Industry Group is the largest automotive glass supplier in China with about 70 percent of the market share. In 2014 Fuyao set up a new American subsidiary in Moraine, Ohio and bought a factory in the state of Illinois, expanding its glass production with 200 million U.S. dollars.

Similarly, many Chinese enterprises have begun or expanded their investment in the U.S. in the last few years, at an average annual growth rate of 41 percent from 2009 to 2013, according to data from the Commerce Department.

China tops the list of delegations for the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit which concluded Tuesday, with about 150 investors coming from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. The U.S. federal, state and local governments have been doing their best to attract these investors’ attentions through all kinds of incentives and receptions.

Sindy Yeh, senior manager of Arlington Economic Development, told Xinhua that 65 Chinese companies were invited for an Odyssey dinner cruise on Sunday to explore the potential investment opportunities in Arlington, Virginia, an urban county close to Washington D.C.

In 2013, the state government of South Carolina provided incentives from 4-million-dollar cashback to tax credits to secure the 218-million-dollar investment from textile company Keer, John Ling, managing director of the Asia office of South Carolina’s commerce department, told Xinhua.

Huge market, advanced technology, robust legal system, lower financing costs as well as high returns are the major reasons for investing in the United States, said Chinese real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, in a video broadcast at the Summit.

Wang said Wanda’s first investment in the United States acquiring AMC Entertainment in 2012 has made a profit of nearly 400 percent, as AMC was listed on the NASDAQ after the acquisition and its share price has doubled now.

Wanda will make further investment in the United Stated and encourage other Chinese entrepreneurs to explore the potential of the U.S. market and make investments, Wang said.

Nonetheless, investing in the U.S. is not all roses. There are risks as two countries have different political, business and cultural environment. Chinese enterprises have lost 36.8 billion dollars from 2005 to 2013, according to China Global Investment tracker jointly launched by American Enterprises Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

“I’m not sure there’s much understanding of our political system, and they (Chinese entrepreneurs) need to build relationships with policymakers when they invest here,” Nancy McLernon, president of the Organization for International Investment (OFII), an association representing the interests of U. S. subsidiaries of global companies, told Xinhua.

“Investing in the U.S. market is a big trend, but you must make very good market research beforehand, or you will lose money here, ” Victor Yuan, senior vice president of Sany Heavy Industry Corporation, told Xinhua.

Sany Heavy Industry Corporation, a leading construction company in China, has built a manufacturing base in the state of Georgia in 2007 with an investment of 60 million dollars.

Yuan said when Chinese entrepreneurs come to invest in the U.S., they have to change their mind about how to do business. In China, government plays a quite important role for the development of enterprises, while in the U.S. the role of the government is quite limited. “To solve a problem here you need to look for help from the market instead of a mayor,” Yuan said.

To manage a company in the U.S. is also quite different from in China. “The U.S. companies advocate the importance of individual, while Chinese companies put more emphasis on the collective and authority,” said Yuan.

High labor cost and limited financial resources for small and medium enterprises from China which do not have enough money also put great pressure on Chinese investors to succeed in the U.S..

Labor cost here is still too high for manufacturers compared with in China. “To avoid this disadvantage, some important parts of the construction equipment that Sany produces in the U.S. are still imported from China,” said Yuan.

Cao Dewang, chairman of Fuyao Glass, also drew attention to the credit system here in the U.S.. “At present our company’s credit stand is 2A+, which makes our finance cost quite low, at 3.5 percent. However, if your company can’t get an A score, you may have to face loan interests of 10 to 15 percent, which is too high to bear,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOBITO, Angola

>>  Chinese company actively involved in flamingo migration route protection

By Wang Bingfei

A Chinese company is actively involved in preserving the west lands in the southern harbor city of Lobito, a key part of the migration route of flamingos from neighboring Namibia to Kenya.

Thousands upon thousands of flamingos can be seen on the wet lands during peak time of migration though only hundreds of flamingos stopped by the wetland during the past week due to torrential rains, said Zhang Huaqiang, a project manager of China Harbor Engineering Company (China Harbor).

China Harbor, a key player in the reconstruction of harbors in the once war-torn African country, joined hands with local volunteers and governmental environmental protection organizations in safeguarding the wet lands, removed dustbins and levelled the banks of the two lakes to provide a better environment for the migrating birds.

The Chinese company also organized on-spot awareness campaigns on the wet lands to educate local residents and Chinese expatriates working in Lobito on the breeding, growth and habits of flamingos and joined local volunteers to patrol the wet lands to guard against poaching of the birds, which were a symbol of Lobito city.

Zhang said his company entered Angola in the year 2006 and constructed or rebuilt 16 harbors for the African country, and the protection of flamingos and conservation of the wet lands in Lobito is part of his company’s efforts to shoulder its social responsibilities and pay back to local societies.

China Harbor is not only actively involved in the post-war reconstruction process but also becomes a part of the local society, and his company is willing to share the dividends of economic development with the local population, Zhang said.

China Harbor is now building a new oil tanker terminal at Lobito with an investment of 120 million U.S. dollars from the Angolan government after reconstructing the container terminal and the terminal for bulk minerals at Lobito, 550 kilometers south of the capital city of Luanda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VANCOUVER

>>  Chinese master cherishes Wushu as life-long gift

By Jiang Yaping

For nearly 30 years, Shou-Yu Liang has stood watching over his students at his martial arts school in the east side of Vancouver, which is not far from the well-known Chinatown.?

The school has become a hub in the community, standing guard over the gritty streets. Inside, Liang — a native of Sichuan province in southwest China — uses his 60 years of martial arts training experience to teach his students the keys to their own defense — fitness, determination and discipline.

He’s not the kind of man who likes to discuss his own achievements, but his daughter Helen Liang, who has succeeded her retired father as the president of Shou-Yu Liang Wushu Taiji Qigong Institute, knows well his effect on the community.

In a recent interview with Xinhua in the school, Helen recalled her father’s teaching life here in Vancouver and said proudly that her father’s story was almost like a legend.

“You know, his stories, his background and how he established the school here and how he taught Wushu his whole life have won him a good reputation. And the students here can see how even now, in his mid-seventies, he’s still doing it everyday. So it’s a great role model for all of us.”

Master Liang’s martial arts ancestry goes back five generations in Sichuan. He started learning Wushu at the age of five and has competed, won, coached, and judged for the rest of his life. In 1987, he opened this school in Vancouver, where his students study and train in several Wushu disciplines, led by instructors are unpaid volunteers.

Helen said her father’s whole world is this school, but his reach has extended much further. Since 1985, he has trained most of the top-ranked North American Wushu competitors, and many of his students have become instructors themselves.

“My father always says that he doesn’t know anything besides martial arts, or Chinese Kong Fu. So that’s his focus. And since the very beginning to now, he’s never lost that passion to learn and teach.”

Over the years, Master Liang has won countless awards. He’s produced videos and written 13 books about martial arts, some of these books have been translated into 13 languages. But his number one job remains his students.

Svetta Chen, who has been here since she was six years old, said Wushu has taught her discipline, confidence, determination, etc. “So really, anything I need to get done I always think off a Wushu model, and everything has been shaped by what I do here.”

Another middle-aged student Anna Tikina told Xinhua that Mr. Liang and the school has been a real inspiration for all the students.

“I have been here for about 10 years, and I brought my daughter who has been here for about two years, and my son is too young to join, but we hope he’ll be here soon enough.”

When Liang, now 73 with grey hare, is asked to share his greatest pride from his decades spent in this gym and countless others, he said it was his determination and persistence that came to his mind.

“I still keep. I never change my career. In China, I taught Wushu for 17 years. And here in Canada, even though I’ve come across many difficulties, I never give up. I know I can only succeed if I keep going and keep going,”Liang said, with a gentle smile in his face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIENTIANE

>>  China U-23 team warms up in Laos for AFC qualifiers

By Steven Cleary

The Chinese U-23 men’s football team is in Laos’ capital for AFC qualifying matches against the host nation, Mongolia and Singapore in Group J.

According to qualification rules, 10 teams who top their group will advance to the final in Qatar next year. They will be joined by five second-placed squads who have best result during the qualification round.

The Chinese team had its first training session at Vientiane’s National Stadium on Wednesday afternoon of March 25.

Four members of the 23-man Chinese squad are from their clubs abroad, while others play in China’s Super League.

The line-up is set to feature both Liu Binbin and Li Ang who competed in the recent 2015 Asian Cup held in Australia.

The team had already geared up in a week-long training camp in Guangzhou, China.

Team leader Guo Bingyan expressed confidence in the team’s ability.

“Of course the target is to qualify for the final stage of the tournament,” Guo said.

He dismissed the Southeast Asian nation’s high temperature and humidity as an issue.

“They’re all professional players so they know how to get themselves ready,” Guo added.

China plays its first match against Mongolia in Vientiane on March 27, before meeting Singapore on March 29 and hosts Laos on March 31.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONDON

>>  London’s first Chinese money market ETF to be traded on LSE

By Wu Xingtao

London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday of March 25 announced that it welcomed the first London listed Renminbi (RMB) dominated money market Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) — “Commerzbank CCBI RQFII Money Market UCITS ETF” to be traded on the bourse.

The new ETF is the first to offer both institutional and retail investors exposure to money market instruments which invest in China’s inter-bank market. It will be settled in RMB, Great British pound (GBP) and euro (EUR), said LSE in a press release.

The listing is also the first of its type in any European market, noted the bourse. And CCB International Asset Management Limited is acting as its fund manager.

CCB International Asset Management is a subsidiary of CCB International (Holdings) Limited, which is a Hong Kong-based arm of the China Construction Bank.

Jin Xu, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Britain, said: “Today, we witness a further achievement on building off-shore RMB center in London, which we hope to see more in the future. I do believe, with passion and innovation, the UK can continually play an important role in the RMB internationalization.”

Andrea Leadsom, Economic Secretary to the Treasury of Britain said: “The launch of this innovative new product, which will provide further opportunities for British and other global investors to invest directly into China, underscores Britain’s position as the western centre for offshore RMB and a global centre for asset management.”

Xavier Rolet, chief executive officer at London Stock Exchange Group, said: “This is a landmark listing for London and an important sign of the market’s openness to new RMB product development. We are fully committed to supporting the efforts of the Chinese and the UK Governments in developing an off-shore RMB market in London through innovation and partnership.”

Data showed that there are currently four RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) ETFs listed on London Stock Exchange and since the first London listing in January 2014, RQFII ETFs have traded over 1.5 billion pounds (or 2.4 billion U.S. dollars) in value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYDNEY

>>  Australian MP claims Labor state election campaign jibe against Chinese investment racist

By Patrick Whiteley

One of Australia’s most senior politicians has back claims that the New South Wales (NSW) Labor Party leader Luke Foley was using racist tactics by criticizing Chinese investment in the state’s electricity sector.

Federal Liberal MP and “Father of the House” Philip Ruddock was critical of Foley’s comments regarding Chinese involvement in the proposed sale of NSW’s electricity companies.

The sell off of NSW’s electricity infrastructure is a key issue in the state election scheduled for Saturday, and the Chinese investment has become a political issue.

In a statement to Xinhua, Ruddock said Foley had “succumbed to inappropriate cheap popularism”.

“At a time when Australians have unanimously endorsed (former prime minister) Malcolm Frasers legacy of opposition to racial discrimination and commitment to multiculturalism it is disappointing to see that endorsement undermined by Luke Foley’s ( NSW Labor leader) comments on Chinese investment in Australia,” he said.

“Australia has always welcomed foreign investment with little complaint because it benefits the nation, the Chinese investment is modest in comparison.”

“But it should be just as welcome as any other. It is disappointing that in order to make a political argument Luke Foley has succumbed to inappropriate cheap popularism.”

NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance on Tuesday said an Australian union campaign against Chinese investment in local electricity assets was racist and puts trade relationship at risk.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is running an advertising campaign, attacking China’s State Grid Corporation which is the potential buyer of leases over the state’ s power network.

Constance said the union campaign was a “racist rant” and the ads were “despicable”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANBERRA

>>  Direct trade with China accounts for 5.5 pct of Australian GDP: report

By Xu Haijing

Australia’s direct trade with China, its largest trading partner, has accounted for 5.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, according to a report on bilateral trade which was launched in the Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday of March 25.

Commissioned by the Australia-China Business Council (ACBC), the report finds that the benefits to ordinary Australian households from trade with China keep expanding, with the 2014 figure reaching 16,985 AU dollars (13,372 U.S. dollars), a five fold increase since 2009 when data collection began.

Based on an exclusive business survey of more than 200 Australian ACBC member firms, case studies from different industries, and a new data source, the World Input-Output Database, this report demonstrates that, as in the preceding years of the resources investment boom, Australian governments, firms and households continue to benefit significantly and increasingly from Australia-China trade through growth in GDP, tax revenue, employment and real wages.

The report also finds that Australia’s trade with China as a share of total trade has risen from 8 percent in 2003 to 23 percent in 2013.

When launching the report, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she believes “the best days of the Australia-China relationship lie ahead of us”.

One in 58 Australian workplaces is involved in direct exports to China. Nearly 200,000 Australian jobs are sustained by direct exports to China. The three largest sectors are mining (72,000), hotels and restaurants (38,000), and agriculture (18,000).

Australian non-resources exports to China are growing in agriculture, manufacture and services. Twenty percent of Australian non-resources exports go into Chinese final consumer markets.

The survey finds that Australia-China trade is complementary. Firms that do well in China have a higher tendency to stay in Australia and expand their Australian workforce.

This Australia-China Trade Report breaks new ground by providing the first close analysis of the impact of bilateral trade between Australia and China on Australia’s business and economic integration with global value chains.

As for the future, Australian businesses are generally positive about the opportunities offered by an FTA with China, while noting longer term challenges, such as the ability to deal in Renminbi, the Chinese currency, and opening of industries for foreign participation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYDNEY

>>  China Eastern Airlines says partnership with Qantas to improve services for customers

By Patrick Whiteley

China Eastern Airlines said on Wednesday of March 25 that its partnership with Qantas is designed to provide a better level of service to cater for increased travel demands as the result the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Australia.

The comments followed a preliminary ruling by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to reject a proposed coordination agreement between Qantas and China Eastern on flights to China.

The ACCC said it was concerned that Qantas and China Eastern Airlines control 80 percent of the Sydney-Shanghai route, and the proposed agreement would allow them to limit capacity and potentially lift prices on that route.

“They are the two major airlines on the route and the only airlines offering daily flights, and so the major competitive constraint on each other,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. ” Competition between them will be greatly reduced under the proposed agreement.”

Submissions from interested parties in response to the ACCC’s draft decision are due by April 8.

China Eastern Airlines Oceania Region said in a statement to Xinhua that there was already strong competition in the Australia- China market.

The company said there are already more than 20 airlines offering daily flights between China and Australia with stop overs via Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Singapore, and expect more airlines to follow.

“China Eastern Airlines and Qantas will follow up this issue and actively communicate with the ACCC and we hope that cooperation between the two companies will help determine a positive outcome to this matter,” the statement said.

“Air travel is key to facilitating the increased traffic flows that will result from the Free Trade Agreement, and our proposed partnership with Qantas is about coordinating in order to provide a better level of service.”

In November last year, Australia and China reached a free trade agreement (FTA) that will further promote the exchange of personnel and business between China and Australia and through close consultation, China Eastern Airlines and Qantas announced a joint marketing partnership program at the same time.

China Eastern Airlines said it was cooperating with Qantas in order to cater for an increasingly large amount of public and business travelers. It wants to provide individual visitors to open more direct routes to and from Australia, and to “provide the best moments, the best service, and the most excellent transit services”.

“Both sides will be committed to providing richer and more consistent air transport services for passengers to and from China and Australia through cooperation between the two countries.”

It is estimated that by 2020, Chinese tourists to Australia will bring 9 billion Australian dollars in revenue annually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DJIBOUTI

>>  Chinese company to construct Djibouti Free Trade Zone

Djibouti and China Merchand Holding on Tuesday of March 24 signed an agreement for the construction of Djibouti Free Trade Zone, an official source has said.

The agreement was signed by the president of Djibouti Ports and Free Trade Zones Authority Aboubaker Omar Hadi and the Director of China Merchand Holding Li Xiaopeng, in the presence of Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh.

Besides the construction of the biggest free trade zone in the country, the agreement included the construction of a shipyard, a highway and expansion of Doraleh port.

The free trade zone will be used for various commercial activities that will include manufacturing, air and sea transportation, electronics trade and regional distribution, conference facilities and international exhibitions, cruise ship terminal, residential and entertainment installations, hotels and tourism centers and a petroleum industrial park.

This mega project that will be constructed continuously for the next ten years, will cost 7 billion U.S. dollars.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Hadi said the project will considerably boost his country’s economy as it will act as the economic catalyst for Djibouti’s future.

Hadi recalled that in January 2013, Djibouti signed with China Merchand Holding an agreement for construction of two ports : Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port and Damejog port that is currently under construction.

He said the signing of the current agreement propels China Merchand Holding to the position of Djibouti’s first economic partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SANTIAGO

>>  Chilean wines to woo Chinese customers at China Food and Drinks Fair

By Leng Tong

Some 26 Chilean wineries will showcase their wines for the Chinese market at the China Food and Drinks Fair, to be held on March 26-28 in Chengdu, southwest China ‘s Sichuan Province, according to the country’s export promotion agency ProChile.

Chile, the world’s fourth largest wine exporter, has a long tradition of producing wines, said Hernan Jaramillo, director of ProChile in Guangzhou, southeast China’s Guangdong Province. “Our history with the product dates back to the arrival of the Spaniards in 1520.”

Starting this year, Chinese consumers will have access to more and better quality Chilean wines at a preferential price, since China eliminated tariffs on Chilean wines in keeping with a free- trade agreement signed with Chile.

“The growth of the Chinese market has been spectacular in recent years,” said Alvaro Arriagada, Fairs Manager at ProChile.

China, currently the fourth largest market for Chilean wine, imported more than 88 million liters, 149 million U.S. dollars’ worth of wine from Chile in 2014, according to ProChile figures.

A total of 174 types of Chilean wine are available in China, allowing consumers to pair wines with traditional Chinese dishes, such as Carmenere with Cantonese pork spareribs, and Merlot or Pinot Noir with Peking duck.

Chile, which lies along South America’s Pacific coast, has ideal geographic and climatic conditions for growing grapes for wine production. Its 1,200 km of vineyards running north to south benefit from a Mediterranean-like climate and a wide variety of soils. Sunny weather and moderate temperatures allow the slow and full ripening of the grapes.

Its vineyards are also protected by natural barriers, such as the world’s driest desert to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, Pacific Ocean breezes to the west, and the ocean and Patagonian ice to the south, making Chile one of the few countries that are free of phylloxera, a common grapevine pest, and helping Chile secure the phytosanitary certification required for exports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROME

>>  Italian banks join hands with Alibaba to help Made-in-Italy products enter China

By Wang Xingqiao

An initiative launched jointly with China’s Alibaba Group will offer key help to made-in-Italy products in entering the Chinese market, managers at Italian top banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit said on Wednesday of March 25.

“The goal is to create an easy access solution to facilitate Italian exports of small and midium-sized companies (SMEs) to China via e-commerce that has seen notable growing sales volumes in the Asian country,” Francesco Francioni, Head of Global Transaction Banking Italy at UniCredit, explained to Xinhua.

In the near future the two banking groups will establish a storefront on Tmall Global, an overseas platform and an extension of Alibaba Group’s B2C Tmall business in China, to sell the best-in-class Italian products.

The initiative, named “E-Marco Polo,” will provide Chinese consumers the direct access of selected Italian brands from the fashion, food and beverage, beauty and other sectors through cross-border e-commerce and without the need for physical operations.

The partnership with a leading e-commerce player like Alibaba was a “fundamental element” in order to be present efficiently in a market of great potential such as China, Francioni said.

The initiative followed up the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Alibaba Group and the Italian government in June 2014.

The Chinese market has surpassed the United States in terms of total retail sales via online channel and has shown a double digit growth rate over the last year as regards the online purchase of foreign goods.

“The e-commerce allows SMEs to enter the Chinese market in a certainly more cost-effective way compared to traditional channels and reach a continuously growing target of hundreds of millions of e-shoppers,” Stefano Favale, Head of SME at Intesa Sanpaolo, told Xinhua.

Favale underlined that the initiative, also thanks to the two banks’ privileged relation with SMEs, will sustain these “real engines” of the Italian economy on their path to internationalization in China, an extremely important market for them.

International brands on Tmall Global, launched in February 2014, benefit from the exposure to the hundreds of millions of visitors on Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com who have access to a variety of branded products sourced and fulfilled from overseas countries outside of China.

Intesa Sanpaolo is among the top banking groups in the euro zone, with a market capitalization of 51.8 billion euros (56.8 billion U.S. dollars). It is the leader in retail, corporate and wealth management in Italy and has a presence in central eastern Europe and middle eastern and North African areas.

UniCredit is a leading European financial group serving more than 30 million clients and with commercial banking operations in 17 countries. It has the largest presence of banks in central and eastern Europe, with nearly 3,500 branches and assets of 146 billion euros (160 billion U.S. dollars).

 

 

 

 

 

 

BANGKOK

>>  Bus crash kills 3 Chinese tourists in Thailand

By Zhang Chunxiao, Li Ying and Chen Jiabao

Three Chinese tourists, two females and one male, were killed after a bus crashed in Thailand’ s Phuket Island on Wednesday morning of March 25, China’s consular office in Phuket said.

At around 11:40 a.m. local time, a tour bus, which was carrying 18 Chinese tourists, a local guide and a driver, rolled over and plunged into the valley after its brakes failed, according to the office.

Three of the 15 injured Chinese tourists were severely wounded and advised to remain in the hospital for further observation while the others were slightly injured.

Those three suffered external injuries and need not be under intensive care, the office added.

This is the first day in Phuket for the tour group from northwest China’s Shaanxi province, the office said, adding families of the deceased have been notified.

The office said it would help the bereaved families come to Thailand as soon as possible and also help them negotiate with relevant parties regarding compensations.

Phuket, a most popular tourist destination in Thailand which attracts nearly 1 million Chinese visitors annually, is quite prone to accidents involving tourists.

In the first two months of this year, a total of 361 major accidents occurred in Phuket, resulting in 388 injuries and eight fatalities, local media said, citing figures from the Thai Road Safety Culture organization (TRSC).

In 2014, 4,643 accidents occurred in Phuket, causing 5,410 injuries and 78 deaths, according to the TRSC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s tourism watchdog reacts to tourist deaths in Thailand

By Zhan Yan

The China National Tourism Administration launched an emergency program in response to an accident that killed three Chinese tourists in Thailand on Wednesday of March 25.

As part of the program, the administration will send representatives to Thailand to discuss tourist safety.

Three Chinese tourists, two females and one male, were killed after a bus crashed on the island of Phuket Wednesday morning, China’s consular office in Phuket said.

At around 11:40 a.m. local time, the tour bus, which was carrying 18 Chinese tourists, plunged into a valley after its brakes failed. The other 15 Chinese tourists survived but sustained injuries, according to the consular office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  Hong Kong chief executive to attend Boao Forum annual conference

By Wang Xiaoni

Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-Ying will visit Hainan on Friday and Saturday to attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s news website said on Wednesday of March 25.

Leung will attend a discussion session on Friday as one of the panelists, on opportunities for multinationals and the role of Hong Kong in “One Belt and One Road”.

On Friday evening, he will attend the “Global Economic Outlook 2015: A Dialogue with BFA Board of Directors” dinner reception, and meet student volunteers from Hong Kong.

Leung will attend the opening plenary of the annual conference on Saturday morning, and return to Hong Kong in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  HK stocks close 0.53 pct higher

By Wang Xiaoni

Hong Kong stocks ended up 0.53 percent on Wednesday of March 25, with the benchmark Hang Seng index rising 128.63 points to end at 24,528.23 points, after trading between 24, 377.92 and 24,613.69. Turnover totaled 83.59 billion HK dollars ( about 10.77 billion U.S. dollars).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 36.11 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 11,968.91.

Four sub-indices all gained ground, with the Properties sub- index rising the most by 1.48 percent, followed by the Commerce and Industry 0.55 percent, the Finance 0.31 percent and the Utility 0.26 percent.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, closed up 0.4 percent to 67.35 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank rose 1.7 percent to 141.20 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEX decreased 0.6 percent at 179. 80 HK dollars.

Local developers Hang Lung Properties fell 0.5 percent to 21.35 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, climbed 1.3 percent to 54.10 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka- shing, went up 2.2 percent to 154.70 HK dollars.

As for mainland-based financial stocks, China Construction Bank, the country’s second largest bank which accounts for the third largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, retreated 0.2 percent to 6.37 HK dollars. ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, slid 0.2 percent at 5.57 HK dollars. Bank of China lost 0.2 percent to 4.40 HK dollars.

PetroChina, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, was up 1.3 percent to 8.28 HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.761 HK dollars)

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  Gold price closes higher in Hong Kong

By Wang Xiaoni

The gold price in Hong Kong went up 30 HK dollars to close at 11,030 HK dollars per tael on Wednesday of March 25, according to the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society.

The price is equivalent to 1,193.14 U.S. dollars a troy ounce, up 3.25 U.S. dollars at the latest exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar against 7.76 HK dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Mainland, Taiwan in communication on cross-Strait chiefs’ meeting

By Cheng Zhuo

Chinese mainland and Taiwan are in communication on arrangements for a meeting between the two cross-Strait affairs chiefs, a mainland spokeswoman said on Wednesday of March 25.

Fan Liqing, spokeswoman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office (SCTAO), made the remarks at a regular press conference.

SCTAO head Zhang Zhijun and Wang Yu-chi, mainland affairs chief in Taiwan at the time, were originally scheduled to meet on February 7-8 in Kinmen. The meeting was postponed as the two sides focused on the aftermath of a TransAsia Airways plane crash in Taiwan on February 4, where more than 40 people, including both Taiwanese and mainlanders, were killed.

Wang later resigned from his post after his former deputy’s alleged involvement in confidential information leaks. The future meeting with Zhang will be conducted by his successor, Andrew Hsia.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Fan said the negotiating bodies of the mainland and Taiwan– the mainland-based Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taiwan– are also arranging the next round of talks between the two organizations’ leaders, which is scheduled to be held on the mainland.

Fan also reiterated Taiwan personnel participation in mourning the passing of former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew needs to be handled in a proper manner with adherence to the one-China principle.

Fan made the remarks in response to inquiries about Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou’s activities in Singapore.

Lee always upheld the one-China policy while he was alive and did a lot of work to improve relations across the Taiwan Strait, the spokeswoman said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Taiwan opposition party should stick to “1992 concensus”: mainland official

By Hu Longjiang

A mainland spokesperson called on Taiwan’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to uphold the “1992 consensus” and oppose “Taiwan independence” on Wednesday of March 25.

The most important reason for continuous peaceful development of mainland-Taiwan relations since 2008 is that the two sides have adhered to the two principles, said Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference.

Fan was commenting on DPP chair Tsai Ing-wen’s remarks that cross-Strait relations must be peaceful and stable and no efforts would be spared (by DPP) to maintain the status quo.

The “1992 consensus” was an agreement reached in 1992 with a core of acknowledging that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China.

“Parties or groups won’t have obstacles for exchanges with the mainland as long as they recognize the principle,” Fan said.

Fan said a series of important achievements have been made based on the 1992 consensus and she hoped the two sides will make joint efforts to maintain the trend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Mainland welcomes Taiwan’s participation in ceremony for legendary Emperor

By Li Huizi and Qian Chunxian

All walks of life from Taiwan, especially youngsters, are welcomed to participate in an elaborate ceremony to pay homage to Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, an official said on Wednesday of March 25.

The legendary Emperor is considered the founder of the Chinese civilization and ancestor of all Chinese people, said Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference.

The annual gathering at the emperor’s mausoleum in Huangling County of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, occurs on Tomb-Sweeping Day, a traditional festival when Chinese mourn their deceased family members, on April 5.

The grand annual ceremony is an occasion for descendants of the Yellow Emperor both at home and abroad to “show respect for their ancestors and carry forward national ethos,” Fan said.

Taiwan’s participation will promote cross-Strait cultural exchanges, she said.

Yok Mu-ming, chairman of the New Party in Taiwan, will head a group of Taiwan ethnic minority youths to attend the ceremony for the fourth consecutive year. Previously, Taiwan political figures such as Lien Chan, Wu Po-hsiung, James C.Y. Soong and John Chiang also led Taiwanese delegations to the ceremony.

Each year at the annual ceremony, a drum is struck 34 times, once for each provincial-level region, including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Then a bell is rang nine times, symbolizing the highest Chinese honor for the Yellow Emperor.

Li Jianhua, Party chief of northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, began his week-long visit to the island on Tuesday, with a focus on trade cooperation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>> China to bid for 2019 Military World Games

By Liu Lu

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has applied to host the 2019 Military World Games (MWG) at Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, according to the PLA on Wednesday of March 25.

The MWG, organized by the International Military Sports Council (IMSC), is held every four years. More than 8,000 contestants from about 100 countries take part in 24 categories of sports events, with the games usually lasting seven to 10 days.

The first MWG was held in Italy in 1995, and the sixth will be held in the Republic of Korea in October.

The IMSC is the biggest organizer of sports events for countries’ armed forces. The PLA joined the IMSC in 1978.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  Sri Lankan president leaves for China on state visit

By Jamila Najmudeen

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena left for China on Wednesday of March 25 on a four-day state visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the President’s Office here said.

The visit will be Sirisena’s second official overseas tour after assuming office following a win in presidential elections in January.

President Sirisena was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

On Thursday, Sirisena is scheduled to hold discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping after which the two sides are expected to sign several key agreements, an official from the Foreign Ministry in Colombo said.

“Since the establishment of full diplomatic ties in 1957, Sri Lanka has continuously maintained close and friendly relations with China. The two countries have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements. China has emerged as one of Sri Lanka’s key development partners in the recent years,” the government said in a statement.

Sirisena is also expected to attend the Boao Forum in China’s Hainan Province before returning to his country on Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  Sri Lanka’s tourism earnings grow 6.6 pct helped by Chinese arrivals

By Uditha

Sri Lanka’s tourism earnings kicked off the year with moderate 6.6 percent growth posting 248.7 million U.S. dollars in January 2015 from 233.3 million U.S. dollars in the same period last year, official data released by the Central Bank said here on Wednesday of March 25.

Tourist arrivals grew at a healthy rate of 6.6 percent year-on- year, to 156,246 in January 2015 from 146,575 in January 2014.

India, Britain, China, Germany and Russia were the top five sources of tourist arrivals accounting for 43.3 percent of total arrivals in January 2015, the Central Bank added in its latest report.

China outstripped Britain to become the second largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka growing by 85 percent in February when compared with the previous year.

Chinese tourist arrivals of 21,098 in February 2014 expanded to 39,160 in 2015, which is an increase of 85.6 percent. Latest data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Board (SLTDB) showed Chinese arrivals comfortably outstripping British tourists of 28,622 in the same month.

Overall the month recorded 165,541 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 141,878 arrived in February 2014.

“In the first two months of this year, 321,787 tourists visited the island, an increase of 11.6 percent compared to the same period in 2014,” the SLTDB said.

Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka kicked off the New Year positively growing by 8.9 percent in January.

In the first month of 2015 Chinese arrivals grew to 11,735 from 10,779 in January 2014.

Chinese tourists to the tiny island in the Indian Ocean have risen rapidly over the last two years with 2014 ending at an all- time high. In 2013 only 54,288 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka but the numbers ballooned to 128,166 by the end of last year growing an impressive 136.1 percent, according to the SLTDB.

Only tourists from India outstripped numbers from China. China already has the highest growth rate of any country.

Since the end of a three decade war in 2009 Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have boomed reaching over 1.5 million last year and attracting earnings of 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Central Bank.

The tropical island is aiming to attract 2.5 million arrivals by 2016, buoyed by fast increasing numbers from China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese VP, senior security official meet Thai legislative leader

By Xiong Zhengyan

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and senior security official Meng Jianzhu met with President of Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly Pornpetch Wichitcholchai on Wednesday of March 25.

Li reviewed the long-standing friendship between the two countries, saying China and Thailand have always respected and supported each other and worked together productively.

Li called on the two countries to make best of the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand relations, implement leaders’ consensus, enhance practical cooperation and bring China-Thailand all-round strategic partnership to a new high.

Meng, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, reviewed the smooth cooperation in law enforcement and security cooperation between the two countries in recent years.

Meng said China would like to work more closely with Thailand on fighting against drug, cracking down on cross-border organized crimes and stepping up cybersecurity.

Pornpetch said Thailand-China friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

Pornpetch said Thailand expects stronger cooperation with China in railway, infrastructure and other fields and more benefits for the two peoples.

Pornpetch pledged the positive role of Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly in boosting cooperation.

Pornpetch held talks with top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang on Tuesday.

Pornpetch and his delegation will conclude China visit on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China, Russia vow to step up anti-corruption cooperation

By Liu Dongkai

China is ready to strengthen anti-corruption cooperation with Russia, China’s anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan said here on Wednesday of March 25.

Wang, head of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, made the remark as he met with Oleg Plokhoi, head of the anti-corruption department of Russia’s presidential executive office.

Wang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said strictly governing the CPC in a comprehensive way constitutes the fundamental guarantee for realizing the strategic goals unveiled by the Chinese leadership with Xi Jinping as the General Secretary.

The strategic layout, known as “four comprehensives”, refers to a political concept initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which comprises comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepening reform, comprehensively advancing the rule of law, and strictly governing the Communist Party of China in a comprehensive way.

Wang said strengthening self-supervision is a must for the CPC to address various risks and challenges while remaining in power for the long run. He said the CPC has the confidence to ensure its leadership through self improvement, purification and innovation.

Plokhoi said Russia is ready to exchange experience and deepen cooperation with China on the fight against corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  China,Greece vow to advance pragmatic cooperation

By Cui Wenyi

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in Beijing on Wednesday of March 25, pledging to advance pragmatic cooperation.

Wang said the two countries trust and support each other, which is the foundation of the China-Greece comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two sides should make the Chinese-run project at the Greek port of Piraeus “a paradigm of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Greece,” Wang said.

Wang spoke highly of the positive role Greece plays in the ties between China and Europe.

Kotzias said Greece attaches great importance to the Piraeus port project and is willing to play positive role in the construction of the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line.

Kotzias said the Greek government hopes to sign cooperation plans with China for the medium-and-long term to promote cooperation in various fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Xi stresses boosting public confidence in judicial system

By Tian Ying

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that public confidence in the judicial system should be the ultimate gauge of the effectiveness of reform in this sector.

The president was speaking during a collective study session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee’s Political Bureau on deepening judicial reform on Tuesday afternoon of March 24.

Xi said that building a fair, efficient and authoritative judicial system is integral to the modernization of the state governance and governance capabilities.

He acknowledged that malpractice still existed, citing injustice and wrongful convictions. He added that if these problems were not addressed in a timely manner, they would hinder the progress of the rule of law, and damage social fairness and justice.

The country will not falter in advancing judicial reform and realizing social justice, he said.

The people have the final say on the effectiveness of judicial reform, Xi said, adding that the reform was supposed to boost public confidence and to solve problems. Public confidence and satisfaction are the evaluation criteria.

Xi identified the judicial accountability system as being crucial to reform. Judges and prosecutors must be held accountable for cases they handle for their entire lifetime, and their power should be checked and supervised.

He urged the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee and other authorities to meticulously plan and implement concrete and effective reform measures.

Xi also urged localities and departments to implement measures, and to ensure reviews are undertaken to identify potential flaws.

Moreover, Xi underscored the Party’s authority as the leadership represents the basic characteristics and political advantages of the socialist judicial system.

“With judicial reform, we are still walking the road of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics,” he said.

Xi also warned against copying the judicial systems of other countries, while acknowledging the need to learn from them.

Judicial reform should reflect the principles of coupling power with responsibility, checks of power, transparency and justice, as well as respect for procedures, Xi said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China targets police graft in welfare-linked ID system

By Zuo Yuanfeng

A total of 176 police officers and 57 temporarily contracted staff have been punished for issuing illegitimate ID certificates for citizens seeking extra government entitlement, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The violators, including 64 who were criminally charged, were uncovered during a three-year campaign launched in 2014 to clean up duplicated ID numbers and multiple residence registrations, according to a Wednesday statement.

“Some were honest mistakes from manual errors or separated police management systems in the past, but others were the result of police officers illegally using professional privilege to seek benefits for their connections,” Vice Minister Huang Ming told Xinhua.

In China, various social benefits, such as medical insurance and access to basic education, are allocated based on ID certificates and residence permits, also known as “hukou” and supposed to be unique and updated in line with a citizen’s long-term work and living locations.

For instance, one who has registered an urban hukou without having the previous rural residence permit written off gets to keep farmer-exclusive benefits such as land for cultivation while also enjoying full city welfare programs.

“Police officers abusing their positions to issue counterfeit IDs or hukous will be dismissed from their posts, without exceptions,” Huang said.

Addressing the fact that other people’s ID cards have been used to commit crimes, Huang noted that a database of lost or stolen ID cards will be shared between financial, telecommunications, railway and aviation organizations by the end of 2015 in a bid to seize anyone using such IDs.

The campaign saw the number of citizens having the same ID numbers reduced to 486 from 1.68 million in 2009, and 2.5 million hukous that were either duplicated or invalid have been liquidated.

Police detained 313 suspects and lodged 238 cases involving production and sale of counterfeit hukous during the campaign, Huang said.

He called for an intensified crackdown on the trade and unlawful use of “phantom IDs.”

“Our aim is to ensure a unique ID number and a single residence registration for each and every citizen by the end of 2016,” Huang said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China to boost “Made in China 2025″ strategy

By Zhan Yan

China’s State Council pledged on Wednesday of March 25 to boost the implementation of the “Made in China 2025″ strategy, which will upgrade the manufacturing sector.

Accelerated industrialization is supported by the manufacturing sector, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The “Made in China 2025″ strategy proposed in this year’s government work report can empower the manufacturing sector, while boosting “innovated in China,” it said, adding that this will help the country achieve a medium-high-level economic growth.

On March 5, Premier Li said China will implement the “Made in China 2025″ strategy alongside an “Internet Plus” plan, based on innovation, smart technology, the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things.

Following this, informatization and industrialization will be unified and priority will be given to the development of ten particular fields, including information technology, new materials and agricultural machinery, the statement said.

More efforts will be made to boost the integrated growth of productive services and the manufacturing sector, and improve the levels and core competition of the manufacturing sector, the statement said.

Favorable policies will be mapped to help forge an upgraded version of the manufacturing sector, it said.

Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said intelligent manufacturing would shift China from a big manufacturing country to a strong one.

Su Bo, vice minister of industry and information technology, said industrial restructuring faced the problem that companies do not own core technologies to innovate, thus, to achieve “Made in China 2025″ more innovation was needed.

Meanwhile, industrial companies must improve its competition with the help of Internet technology, Miao said.

Small companies and start-ups drove innovation and they needed more favorable policies, Miao said.

The meeting also discussed the merging processes of the two high speed rail manufacturers — China North Railway and China South Railway.

The merger should follow market rules and the enterprises’ will to ensure stable company operation and improve performances, the statement said.

The meeting also vowed to boost state-owned enterprise reform and tackle problems like repetitive construction and over competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China closes 31 websites for blackmail, fraud

By Ren Ke

China’s Internet regulator on Wednesday of March 25 issued a list of 31 websites that had been shut down for illegal acts, such as blackmail and profiting from deleting posts.

An unnamed Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) official said the websites were linked to serious violations, such as a lack of registration procedures and extortion.

Some of the websites masqueraded as authorities and web portals to facilitate their illegal acts, the official said.

The special campaign against online blackmail started on Jan. 21. This is the second batch of websites closed as a result of the campaign.

The official gave credit to informers and called on more of the public to help the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s environment watchdog to exit from evaluation services

By Wang Xiaopeng

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has called for its affiliated organizations to cease commercial environmental evaluation services by the end of 2016.

Eight organizations directly under the ministry are required to break away from providing such services for construction projects by the end of the year, according to a statement from the ministry on Wednesday of March 25.

Organizations under western China’s provincial environmental authorities and those affiliated with all levels of authorities in the east and central parts are asked to pull out of the evaluation market by June 2016.

The deadline for western municipal and county authorities is the end of 2016 due to the low number of evaluation services in that part of the country.

Cheng Lifeng, head of the ministry’s department of evaluation of environmental impact, said the plan was aimed at avoiding corruption and conflict of interest in environmental evaluation and ensuring a healthy development of the sector.

In addition, the statement said employees of the organizations affiliated with the ministry are not allowed to be involved in evaluation services for construction projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JINAN

>>  Chinese court accepts first lawsuit from environmental organization

By Fang Ning, Liu Baosen, Yang Weihan and Xiao Haichuan

A commonwealth organization has demanded an industrial polluter in Shandong Province receive hefty penalties when filing the country’s first environmental lawsuit under a new law that came into effect on January 1.

On Wednesday of March 25, the Intermediate People’s Court in Dezhou City, east China’s Shandong Province, confirmed it accepted the lawsuit lodged by the All-China Environment Federation. In it, the federation demands 30 million yuan (4.8 million U.S. dollars) compensation for damages from air pollution discharged by the Zhenhua Co. Ltd., an affiliated branch of Dezhou Jinghua Group.

The case arose after Zhenhua Co., which produces glass, neglected warnings by environmental watchdogs that they were emitting excess sulfur and dust.

The company was placed on a blacklist by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in October last year after failing to treat the emission.

Experts from the federation received several strong complaints from residents living near the company’s plant, which regularly discharges foul-smelling yellow smoke.

“Neither fines by the local environmental watchdog nor the blacklist warning by the ministry pushed the polluter to take effective measures in the pollution control. The litigation is a new attempt to check headstrong violators like Zhenhua,” said Ma Yong, a litigation director with the federation.

It is the first case after amendments to the environment protection law were enacted by China’s national legislature in April 2014. The new law makes it much easier for environmental NGOs to file lawsuits against polluters for public good.

The new environment law must be a powerful, effective tool to control pollution instead of being “as soft as cotton candy”, Premier Li Keqiang said while speaking at a press conference following the annual national legislative session which concluded last week.

Fu Qiang, a lawyer with the Shandong Pengfei Law Firm, said big industrial polluters are often protected by the local government, which makes pollution control difficult. Non-governmental organizations will play a bigger role in representing public interests for environmental cases in the future.

The federation’s involvement has also triggered more government efforts.

The Dezhou municipal government urged Zhengzhou Co. to immediately overhaul emission treatment facilities to meet pollution control requirements before the end of the month. Otherwise, it would be ordered to suspend production on April 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Fujian vice governor removed for alleged violations

By Ren Ke and Hua Chunyu

Xu Gang, vice governor of Fujian Province, has been removed from his post for suspected serious disciplinary and legal violations, the Organizational Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee said on Wednesday of March 25.

The decision was taken by the central authority and necessary procedures are being followed, the department said.

China’s top anti-graft body said Friday that Xu is being probed for alleged serious violation of Party discipline and laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  New free trade zones on track to pilot reforms

By Cheng Jing, Wu Weihong and Wang Pan

More than a year after the successful launch of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), additional FTZs are preparing to open as China pursues reforms to invigorate the slowing economy.

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Tuesday of March 24 approved plans for three experimental FTZs in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, signaling a countdown to their launch.

The Shanghai Securities News cited anonymous sources as saying the launch date for all three has been “basically” set for March 31.

Related shares rose across the board on Wednesday, with Tianjin Port Co. up 4.26 percent to close at 21.8 yuan (3.5 U.S. dollars) per share.

The move came more than a year after the launch of the Shanghai FTZ in September 2013 to test a broad range of economic reforms, including interest rate liberalization and fewer investment restrictions.

The three new FTZs are expected to tap their unique geographical and industrial strengths. Although the details of the plans are yet to be unveiled, analysts said the Guangdong FTZ will carry out programs for economic integration with Hong Kong and Macao. Fujian is expected to stress unified development with Taiwan, while Tianjin will focus on coordinated growth with Beijing and Hebei Province.

FTZs are part of government efforts to test reform policies, especially in the service industry, to better integrate the economy with international practices in a landscape where China’s old export-reliant model is no longer sustainable.

Dragged down by a housing slowdown, softening domestic demand and unsteady exports, China’s economy logged its weakest annual expansion in 24 years in 2014. Authorities have dubbed the slower growth China’s “new normal” and called for more opening-up policies to drive growth.

“China’s previous round of opening-up centered on attracting foreign investment, technology and business orders, while the new round will focus more on going out to engage in international rule-setting,” noted Zhang Guangnan, an expert with the Center For Studies of Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta at Sun Yat-Sen University.

The Guangdong FTZ will emphasize a more open and convenient set of international trade rules.

According to local authorities, the Guangdong FTZ has set up a service center for overseas investment to support domestic firms in going global.

Unwilling to be left behind, local governments have expressed a desire to ride the wave. During China’s annual parliamentary session this year, regional delegates proposed inclusion among the next set of FTZs. They raised proposals for an FTZ along the Yangtze River in central China’s Wuhan and an FTZ for the Silk Road Economic Belt in Shaanxi Province.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China reports surge of Internet banking transactions

By Zhu Shaobin and Li Yanxia

The number of personal Internet banking users in China hit 909 million at the end of 2014, up 150 million compared to a year before, the latest data showed.

The increase in users led to a surge of Internet transactions totalling 60.85 billion in 2014, up 22 percent year on year, according to data released on Wednesday of March 25 by the China Banking Association.

With more people using the Internet and ATMs, 67.88 percent of transactions were conducted off the counter, up 4.65 percentage points from a year ago, the data showed.

Banks expanded coverage by adding nearly 6,800 service outlets across the country last year, bringing the total to 217,100, the data showed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China vows scaled-back coal industry

By Rong Jiaojiao

The National Energy Administration (NEA) vowed on Wednesday of March 25 to continue scaling back the coal industry in a drive to encourage use of renewable energy.

China will continue to eliminate excess production capacity in the industry and curb its blind expansion, as the country targets a switch to greener energy sources, according to a circular issued by the NEA.

It vowed to “spare no effort” to reduce air pollution and improve environmental protection through efficient use of coal and cutting emissions.

Coal consumption accounts for about 66 percent of China’s primary energy consumption, 35 percentage points higher than the world average, according to the NEA.

The government plans to slash coal consumption by 160 million tonnes in the next five years, and to reduce energy intensity, or units of energy per unit of GDP, by 3.1 percent in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Bank of China net profits up 8 pct in 2014

By Zhu Shaobin

Bank of China (BOC), one of China’s four major state-owned banks, reported a net rise in profits of 8.1 percent year on year to 169.6 billion yuan (27.6 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014.

The growth rate slowed sharply compared to the more than 12 percent in profit gains recorded in 2013. The slowdown for traditional banks has come amid the rising popularity of Internet finance services offered by companies such as Alibaba and Tencent.

The Agricultural Bank of China, another leading state-owned lender, also announced on Tuesday that its net profit growth had slowed to 7.9 percent in 2014, down from 14.5 percent in 2013.

According to the BOC’s annual business report, the bank’s net interest income totaled 321.1 billion yuan last year, up 13.2 percent year on year, and non-interest income totalled 135.2 billion yuan, up 9.12 percent. Non-interest income accounted for nearly 30 percent of the bank’s total business revenues.

Meanwhile, service charges and commissions totalled 91.24 billion yuan, up 11.1 percent, the bank said.

The bank’s total assets hit 15.25 trillion yuan at the end of 2014, up 9.93 percent year on year.

In the Shanghai stock market, Bank of China shares fell 3.15 percent and closed at 4.3 yuan per share on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s 2014 loan for agriculture hits 23.6 trln yuan

By Zhang Xu, Wu Yu and Wang Peiwei

China’s loan for agriculture stood at 23.6 trillion yuan (3.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2014, up 13 percent year on year, according to a central bank’s report released on Wednesday of March 25.

The volume took up 28.1 percent of the country’s year-round total loans, and its growth rate is 0.7 percentage point higher than the average growth speed of other loans, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said.

Lu Lei, head of the PBOC’s research department, said the two cuts to reserve requirement ratio (RRR) have greatly boosted development in rural areas.

The RRR was cut twice last year for banks engaged in lending to agriculture, by 2 percentage points in April and 0.5 percentage points in June.

The central bank will encourage commercial banks to provide more credit to small businesses without a sharp expansion in total loan volume.

Lu said supporting rural finance should include payment and settlement networks, rural bank cards, property records and mobile connectivity.

“One of the major problems is lack of information and Internet,necessary in developing modern agriculture,” Lu said.

More institutions and companies are expanding their coverage to achieve mobile transactions without banks or ATMs, he said.

“Fewer outlets cut costs for both institutions and customers.” Lu explained. “This will boost Internet finance.”

He said there is no conflict between traditional financial institutions and Internet enterprises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese stocks close mixed after weak PMI data

By Wang Hongjiang and Zhao Xiaohui

Chinese stocks ended mixed on Wednesday of March 25 as a negative impact from the weak HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) sank in.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.83 percent, or 30.68 points, to finish at 3,660.73 points, while the Shenzhen Component Index dipped 0.34 percent, or 44.11 points, to close at 12,757.1 points.

The Hushen 300 Index, which samples about a fifth of the total stocks listed on the two bourses, slipped 0.82 percent, or 32.63 points, to close at 3,940.41 points.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, gained 1.15 percent, or 27.05 points, to end at 2,385.01 points.

The ChiNext Index reached a record high on Wednesday, despite the Shanghai composite index ending its 10-day winning streak with a slight fall, said Chen Wei, an analyst with CITIC Securities.

The fall was led by heavyweight stocks in the banking and securities sectors, dampened by weaker-than-expected HSBC flash manufacturing PMI data.

China’s manufacturing activity in March fell again to an 11-month low of 49.2, according to HSBC’s preliminary PMI released on Tuesday, signaling weaker growth momentum and pressure on policy makers to ease policies.

The HSBC flash manufacturing PMI for March, the lowest since May 2014, came after a reading of 50.7 in February and was much weaker than the market consensus of 50.5.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that represents contraction.

Chinese aviation stocks also closed lower on Wednesday following Tuesday’s fatal crash by Germanwings flight 4U 9525.

The board of aviation industry shares had dipped 2.13 percent as a whole after Wednesday’s trading.

An Airbus 320 plane operated by German budget airline Germanwings crashed in southern France on Tuesday while en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, killing all 150 people on board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese aviation stocks dampened by Germanwings crash

By Wang Hongjiang

Chinese aviation stocks opened lower on Wednesday of March 25 following Tuesday’s fatal crash by Germanwings flight 4U 9525.

By 10 a.m. local time (2 a.m. GMT), the board of aviation industry shares had dipped 2.19 percent as a whole after half an hour’s trading.

Air China, the Chinese flag carrier, was hit hardest, decreasing 4.26 percent from the previous close of 9.86 yuan (1.61 U.S. dollars).

Stocks of Chinese carriers China Eastern, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines all retreated over 3 percent.

Shanghai-listed budget carrier Spring Airlines was down 3.316 percent.

An Airbus 320 plane operated by German budget airline Germanwings crashed in southern France on Tuesday while en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, killing all 150 people on board. Germanwings is a subsidiary of parent company Lufthansa.

Chinese stocks otherwise opened mixed on Wednesday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 10.46 points, or 0.29 percent to open at 3,680.95.

The Shenzhen Component Index opened at 12,776, down 25.2 points or 0.2 percent.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, opened 6.97 points or 0.29 percent higher at 2,364.94 points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China dealing death blow to funeral pollution

By Wu Chen

An official report has documented how local governments are pumping millions of yuan into making funeral services less polluting.

Cremation is a major source of air pollution, so governments are upgrading cremation equipment to lower its emissions, according to the report, released on Wednesday of March 25.

It said that Fujian, Shaanxi and Hebei respectively invested 62.5 million yuan (about 10 million U.S. dollars), 20 million yuan and 14.54 million yuan to upgrade their facilities in 2014. Beijing, Jiangsu and Henan also improved their cremators.

Li Bosen, editor in chief of the report, said governments are also discouraging residents from the traditional practice of building large, extravagant tombs for deceased family members and instead encouraging them to choose more environmentally-friendly practices such as tree burial.

The report was jointly published by the 101 Research Institute of the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Social Sciences Academic Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARBIN

>>  Car collision kills six in northeast China

By Zhong Qun and Cheng Zilong

Two cars collided on a highway in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province on Wednesday of March 25, killing six people and injuring two others, local authorities said.

The accident occurred at around 6:45 a.m. on the Suiyuan Highway in Zhaodong City, according to the local publicity department. The injured have been rushed to hospital.8 Police are investigating the accident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  7 missing after fishing boat capsizes off north China sea

By Fang Ning and Li Junyi

Seven people went missing after a fishing boat capsized on sea off the estuary of Luanhe River in north China’s Hebei Province on Wednesday morning of March 25.

There were 8 crew on board the locally-registered boat. One of the them has been rescued by people on a passing vessel, which also reported the shipwreck at around 8 a.m. for rescue.

The North China Sea Maritime Rescue Center has dispatched 11 vessels and a helicopter in search for the missing.

Rescuers said the boat has already sunk under the water. No life sign has been detected in the cabin. Frogmen have been called for to salvage the sunk boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUNMING

>>  China’s Yunnan reports another H5N1 bird flu human case

By Zhong Qun and Wang Yan

Southwest China’s Yunnan Province reported a new human infection of the H5N1 strain of bird flu on Wednesday of March 25, two days after another human case was reported.

The patient, 17, lives in Wuhua District in Kunming, the provincial capital, according to the provincial health authority. The teenager showed symptoms on March 13 and tested positive for avian flu Wednesday.

On Monday, a 34-year-old man in Kunming was found to be infected with H5N1. He is in a stable condition.

The potentially fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu is highly contagious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGSHA

>>  Workers remain trapped following central China mine flood

By Zhong Qun and Yuan Ruting

The six workers trapped in a flooded shale mine in central China have still not been rescued more than 40 hours after the accident occurred Monday night, local authorities said on Wednesday of .

The flood happened at about 9:40 p.m. Monday in Muxia Village, Sangzhi County, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province, according to the city’s publicity department. The city government has sent representatives to the mine to oversee the rescue.

Two pumps are extracting water, while rescuers are still trying to clear mud and fix the drainage system. A new pump was set up at the site Wednesday morning to help with relief efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

>>  5 fishermen missing in South China Sea

By Yao Yuan, Ma Xiaocheng and Tian Jianchuan

Rescuers are searching for five fishermen whose boat capsized in the South China Sea on Tuesday night.

The ship, registered in south China’s Guangdong Province, capsized and sank with six people on board at about 9:30 p.m. near Shanwei City in Guangdong, the province’s maritime safety administration said on Wednesday.

Rescuers have pulled one fisherman to safety.

Local authorities have deployed a helicopter to join the rescue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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