China eases tax rules for home sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Xi congratulates Uzbekistan’s Karimov on reelection as president

By Sun Ruijun

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday of March 30 sent a congratulatory message to incumbent Uzbek President Islam Karimov on his reelection as the head of state of the Central Asian nation.

In the message, Xi said that since Karimov took office, Uzbekistan has enjoyed political stability, economic development, and improvement of people’s livelihood, with continued promotion of the international status and influence of the country.

He voiced his belief that under the leadership of Karimov, Uzbekistan will make new and greater achievements in the cause of national development.

China and Uzbekistan are sincere good friends and partners of mutual-trust, he said, adding that bilateral relations have always maintained a sound momentum of development since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries 23 years ago, with all-round promotion of mutual political trust, mutually-beneficial cooperation and strategic coordination.

Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of China-Uzbekistan relations, and expressed his willingness to join hands with Karimov to push forward the China-Uzbekistan strategic partnership toward operation at high levels, in the greater interest of the two countries and two peoples.

Earlier in the day, the Uzbek central election commission announced that preliminary results showed Karimov has won over 90 percent of the votes in the country’s presidential election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China calls for early resolution on Iranian nuclear issue

By Liu Dongkai

China has called for a balanced and comprehensive deal on the Iranian nuclear issue at the earliest possible date, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said here on Monday of March 30.

Hua told a daily press briefing that the negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue is making major progress.

The Chinese side hopes that all parties will seize the opportunity to push for a breakthrough in the current round and reach a just, balanced, mutually beneficial and comprehensive agreement on the earliest possible date, she said.

As one of six parties involved, China maintains an active and constructive position, working for a comprehensive, long-term solution, she said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has flown to Switzerland to attend a foreign ministers meeting on the issue.

As the March 31 deadline approaches, delegates continued intensive negotiations to pave way for the final resolution.

The Russian, Chinese and British foreign ministers joined the negotiations on Sunday, following French and German foreign ministers’ Saturday arrival in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

During a one-hour bilateral talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Wang Yi called for flexibility and strong political will.

All parties seem to agree that reaching an understanding by the end of March is crucial to signing a final agreement by the June 30 deadline.

According to a senior diplomatic source, key sticking points at this point include the details of when and how the lifting of UN and bilateral sanctions should be arranged in return for Iran’s assurance to curb nuclear-related activities.

Iran’s nuclear research, development ambitions and its nuclear enriching facilities also remain a critical dispute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

>>  China air force completes drill in west Pacific

By Wang Cong and Zhang Zewei

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force completed a military drill for the first time in the airspace above the west Pacific Ocean on Monday of March 30, a military spokesperson said.

According to Shen Jinke, spokesperson with the air force, PLA aircraft flew over the west Pacific via the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan on Monday.

They returned to base later the same day, having successfully completed the drill which aims to “level up the PLA Air Force’s mobility and combativeness” over the high seas.

This is the first time that the PLA Air Force conducted such drills in an airspace far offshore from Chinese coastlines, Shen said, but added that similar drills were a common practice among major world powers.

The spokesperson stressed that the drill is a routine exercise included in the air force’s annual training plans and is “in line with international laws and practices.”

“The drill is not targeted at any certain country or targets and carries no threat against other countries and regions,” Shen said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Xinhua, AP to cooperate in social media

By Huangyi Jiazi

China’s Xinhua and The Associated Press (AP) of the United States, the world’s two leading news agencies, have agreed to strengthen cooperation in social media.

To deal with the challenges of a transforming media environment, Xinhua laid eyes on social media where traditional news outlets are losing competitiveness, Xinhua President Cai Mingzhao told his AP counterpart, Gary Pruitt, on Friday of March 27.

Xinhua has been turning out new-media products integrating text, photo and video, on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to meet the new demands of its clients, Cai said.

Pruitt, after touring Xinhua’s newly established Social Media Operation Center, said he was impressed by Xinhua’s input in this sphere.

Pruitt said his news agency also attaches great importance to social media, and that Xinhua and the AP should share what they do.

Xinhua officially unveiled its global social media presence on March 1, after rebranding its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts under the unified name “New China.”

As of Monday, its Facebook account got 928,692 “likes” while 1,496,998 people followed Xinhua on Twitter. Its YouTube account attracted 48,807 “views.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

JERUSALEM

>>  Israel, China launch task force to boost economic ties

By Fan Xiaolin

Israel and China on Monday of March 30 launched a joint Israeli-Chinese Task Force to boost business cooperation between the two countries in Tel Aviv.

The Israel-China Task Force, led by Israel’s Prime Minister Office and Israel Export Institute, aims to expand bilateral economic ties with the goal of doubling Israeli exports to China within five years to about five billion U.S. dollars per year.

The task force will advance a three-tier multi-year plan, according to a statement released by the Task Force.

The first tier deals with building a business climate, including developing Israeli professionals with a Chinese orientation, expanding tourism links, facilitating the issuing of entry visas to Israel and strengthening government representation in China.

The second tier deals with providing support and government sponsorship for major projects, including advancing joint business projects, providing financing and assistance, and initiating joint projects with the Chinese government.

The third tier focuses on investments and technology development, including activities to expand investments from Chinese companies in Israel.

“The expansion of bilateral economic relations will have far-reaching macro-economic effects on the Israeli economy,” National Economic Council and Israel-China Task Force Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel said.

The year of 2014 saw “a dramatic increase” in Chinese investments in Israel, and this trend is expected to continue in 2015, he said, adding that “it led to the establishment of new Israeli companies, the creation of new industries and sectors in the local economy, the development of products for the Chinese market and the establishment of Israel’s status as an enterprising and innovative force in Asian markets.”

Meanwhile, Israel Export Institute Director General Ramzi Gabbay said that the Chinese market is a strategic target for Israeli exporters.

“China’s need to continue upgrading its technology infrastructures offers an opportunity for Israeli companies especially in fields the Chinese government has set as development targets such as: water technologies, medical equipment and high-tech industrial equipment,” said Gabbay.

China is Israel’s fourth largest export target in the world and the largest in Asia.

According to data by the Israeli Export Institute, Israeli trade volume with China in 2014 was approximately 8.52 billion dollars, a four percent year-on-year increase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LUSAKA

>>  Zambian leader wants best services, contracts from China

By Peng Lijun

Zambian president has called on people tasked with the responsibility of procuring services and contracts from China to get the best because the Asian nation has the capacity to offer whatever is demanded, the Times of Zambia Daily reported on Monday of March 30.

Lungu, who is in China for a state visit, told Zambian reporters that China was an interesting country because of its current state where a range of products and services of both high standard and low value could be found.

His government, he said, was not going to allow procurement of services and contracts that were not giving the country value.

“By value contracts, I mean give us contracts, which will provide services to the people of Zambia, which services are sustainable,” he was quoted as saying by the paper.

“It is up to those tasked with the responsibility of procuring services and contracts to ensure that they get the best out of China,” he added.

The Zambian leader further said contracts could only be sustainable if their pricing was good, competitive and includes backup services and training programs for Zambians who will be responsible for those services once they are brought to the country.

The Zambian leader was in the Chinese city of Sanya where he attended the the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) conference.

He said he got valuable experience in Sanya where he found Chinese people with good hospitality and was impressed with the experience of the tourism industry in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanoi

>>  China, practitioner for sustainable development: NPC vice chairman

By Zhang Jianhua

China is a practitioner for sustainable development and has implemented the strategy of sustainable development insistently, said Chen Zhu, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi.

Chen made the remark in his four-day visit to Vietnam till Monday while attending the ongoing 132nd Assembly of the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in capital Hanoi.

The post-2015 development agenda of the United Nations should address poverty elimination and development promotion as key tasks, said Chen in his speech in the general debate of the Assembly on Sunday focusing on the Assembly theme “Sustainable Development Goals: Turning Words into Action.”

With sustainable development as the basic goal, the mode of development should be diversified while countries of various development levels take common yet different responsibilities, said Chen, adding that NPC will work together with legislatures from the other countries to sustain a harmonious world with economic development, social justice and environmental friendliness.

During his stay in Hanoi, Chen exchanged opinions on the preparation work for the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments with IPU President Saber Chowdhury and IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong. He also met Nguyen Sinh Hung, chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly, and IPU delegates from Pakistan, Russia, and Venezuela among others, to discuss bilateral relations, especially communication between legislatures.

Over 1,300 delegates from members and associate members of IPU joined the IPU-132 and related meetings in Vietnam, which last from Saturday to Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOFIA

>>  Bulgaria, China mull measures to boost tourist flow

By Marian Draganov

Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova and her Chinese counterpart, Li Jinzao, discussed measures here on Monday of March 30 to increase the number of Chinese tourists travelling to the Balkan country.

Angelkova informed Li that her ministry had prepared a draft action plan and would send it to the Chinese government for coordination and jointly outline specific steps and time horizon for its implementation.

The establishment of a Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Tourism and inviting leading Chinese media and tour operators to Bulgaria to get acquainted with the local tourist product and make recommendations on attracting more Chinese tourists were among the ideas of her ministry, Angelkova said.

Angelkova also said Bulgaria wanted to benefit from Chinese social programs for sending people abroad, such as pensioners, because the conditions offered by her country in this regard were quite high, especially spa and health centers, she said.

The minister said Bulgaria was also ready to discuss possible options for easing the procedures regarding tourist visas.

Meanwhile, Angelkova said she had discussed creating joint products for Chinese tourists with neighboring countries such as Turkey and Romania.

In turn, Li, who is head of the China National Tourism Administration, said he wholly supported and accepted these suggestions.

He added that Bulgaria would be more competitive as a tourist destination if it offered a unique tourist product which combined spas, skiing, cultural and historical tourism.

Li also suggested placing signs in Chinese in the main tourist sites, providing more guides who speak Chinese, and offering Chinese television channels in the country’s main hotels. Furthermore, offering Chinese dishes in the hotels would help attract more Chinese tourists, Li said.

He also invited Bulgaria to participate in tourism fairs in Xi’an and Kunming in June and November respectively.

Angelkova promised she would lead the Bulgarian delegation to Xi’an and hoped that the bilateral tourism action plan would be signed there.

In 2014, the number of Chinese visiting Bulgaria was 16,000.

Last Thursday in Budapest, China and Central and Eastern European countries officially launched a year-long event to promote tourism cooperation between the two sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEXICO CITY

>>  Mexico’s rising bicycle demand boosts imports from China

By Liang Junqian and  Zhang Tuo

Mexico’s growing demand for bikes in recent years has attracted Chinese bicycle firms to enter Mexican market.

According to data released by Mexican authorities, there has been a fourfold increase in imports of bicycles in Mexico, that is, from 75,774 units in 2010 to 318,272 units in 2014.

Moreover, Mexico’s bicycle imports have also grown by six times in value from 6.2 million U.S. dollars in 2010 to 39.2 million in 2014.

China can be described as a big winner in this rapidly growing market. Data showed that China is Mexico’s largest supplier of bicycle. It is said that about 90 percent of Mexico’s imported bicycles came from China.

Benetto is a well-known bicycle chain store in Mexico. Although the chain brand is from Italy, the bikes sold there are mostly from China.

According to the manager of Benneteau University Avenue store, the parts and components of the bikes sold in the store are imported from China, and assembled in Mexico. Sales of the store rose by about 10 percent last year.

“A lot of parts are imported from China, since the use of parts made in Mexico will raise costs,” said the manager whose first name is Enrique.

The Mexican government has for years taken various measures to encourage the use of bicycles in transportation in a bid to reduce congestion and carbon emissions.

In the capital of Mexico City, the government has set up 44 bicycle sites and provided 5,500 free bicycles for 150,000 people through the project of “Ecobici” or literally green bike. Up to now, the project has been launched for five years and reduced a total of 1,395 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

With the initiative of green travel advocated by the government, the popularity of bicycle has increased greatly in Mexico. Data showed that about 37 percent of Mexicans have their own bikes now.

In February, the 2015 World Bicycle Forum in Medellin, Colombia, brought together more than 4,000 attendees from across the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities of urban cycling.

Cycling activists and city leaders said at the forum that cities and citizens are turning to the bicycle for good reasons. The bicycle offers a healthy form of mobility that cuts the need for car travel and reduces emissions. But there remains a major obstacle to establishing cycling as a key mode of travel: designing safer infrastructure that all people feel comfortable using.

Similarly, a study named “Biciciudades,” literally meaning “Bike cities”, released in 2013 by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has triggered rising interest in cycling across Latin America, where people see it as a more economical, healthy and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation.

The IDB’s project, which aimed to help Latin American and Caribbean intermediate cities learn from the success and failures of their larger neighbors, focused on the use of bicycles, based on surveys sent to municipal governments and social groups from 18 of the 21 emerging cities and six of the largest cities in the region by population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAN MARINO

>>  Confucius Institute opened in San Marino

By Wang Xingqiao

China and San Marino opened a Confucius Institute here on Sunday of March 29 in a bid for bilateral cooperation on education.

The institute is to be managed by both the University of San Marino and Beijing City University, which specially offers instruction in Chinese medicine and treatment.

At the opening ceremony, Li Ruiyu, the Chinese ambassador to Italy and San Marino, said the Confucius Institute was established under a memorandum of understanding signed by China and San Marino in November 2013.

The ambassador said the two universities wanted to set up a Confucius Institute characteristically for the combined study of the Chinese language, cultural exchange, and teaching and researching on Chinese medicine and treatment, in order to open a new chapter of educational cooperation between China and San Marino.

The Confucius Institute in San Marino will arrange various courses for learning Chinese and will open the first overseas museum of Chinese medicine, Beijing City University dean Liu Lin said, adding the institute would allow people to reap the benefits of traditional Chinese culture and medical culture in particular.

The institute will also organize different activities around Chinese culture in an effort to help people of San Marino better understand China, the dean added.

The Confucius Institute, under the University of San Marino, is the first of its kind in southern Europe which has set up courses for Chinese medicine and treatment, and Chinese culture. It is also the first one set up in cooperation between China’s privately-run vocational college and a foreign university.

An enclave state surrounded by Italy, San Marino is one of the oldest republics in Europe. Its territory covers 61.2 square km and the population is little more than 30,000. The official language is Italian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BERLIN 

>>  City of Hanover receives gift ordered by Jack Ma using facial recognition payment

By Tang Zhiqiang

The city of Hanover Germany has received a gift from Chinese Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma ordered by way of a new technology which uses facial recognition to make a payment.

The city said the gift, a commemorative stamp of the second Hanover Messe in 1948, arrived at its city hall on Thursday of March 26.

On March 15, at the opening ceremony of CeBIT 2015, the world’s leading IT trade fair, Jack Ma ordered this stamp with his smartphone using a new facial recognition payment technology called “Smile to Pay.”

This technology, Ma said, would make it easier to buy things online. Instead of typing in a password, consumers could authorize the payment by scanning their faces with smartphones.

According to Alibaba, this technology is being tested and will be used in its global payment system in the future.

“Smile to Pay” was one of the cutting edge technologies and products that Chinese exhibitors unveiled at this year’s CeBIT exhibition. As a partner country of the trade fair which showcased the digital economy this year, China presented its ideas and vision about the future development of information and communications technology, receiving favorable feedback from industry insiders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BANGKOK

>>  Book on history of Thai-Chinese launched

By Zhang Chunxiao

“A History of the Thai-Chinese,” an illustrated book that tells the story of the Chinese impact on Thailand’s development, social fabric, economy, politics and more, was launched here Monday.

The history of Thai-Chinese told in the book dated back to the mid-14th century. For centuries, Chinese migrated to many ports, cities and provinces of Thailand as traders, skilled laborers, adventurers and the near destitute who dreamed of a better life.

Over time, they came to form one of the largest and most influential diasporas in the world. Some Chinese would advise Thai monarchs and be accepted at the Thai court. Many intermarried, became nobles and ran businesses integral to the economy. From tin mining to railway-building to rice trading, their skills helped the country develop and prosper. One son of a Chinese father and a Thai mother even became king, according to the book.

The book, co-written by Jeffery Sng and Pimpraphai Bisalputra, tells a story of how a people and a country embraced the opportunities provided by each other, a tale that ultimately left the identities and success of both inextricably linked. “When the Chinese came here..they were seeking a land..of the free and opportunities, and they found it, and they made use of it, with their industriousness, their adaptability and..skills, they have made such great contribution to the life, the development and the progress of this country, for which we are and will remain ever grateful, Anand Panyarachun, former Thai prime minister who was a fourth-generation Chinese, said at the book launch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MILAN

>>  China makes positive impression in Bologna fair’s children’s book market

By Marzia de Giuli

China’s growing presence in the world of publishing children’s books is on display at the 52th Bologna Children’s Book Fair that kicked off on Monday of March 30.

A team of Chinese representatives is showcasing their work at the annual fair in the Italian northern city from March 30 to April 2.

On Monday, China’s 21th Century Publishing Group was awarded “best publisher of the year for Asia.”

China’s representative group is formed of as many as 88 professionals, including authors, publishers and experts on promoting children’s books.

The China Children’s Press & Publication Group (CCPPG) said Chinese representatives plan to complete over 300 sales of copyright during this year’s fair, twice as many as last year.

A total amount of 3,418 books will be presented at the fair, including originals.

“We have seen an explosion of China’s presence in the children book’s world, both from the qualitative and quantitative points of view,” Elena Pasoli, project manager at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, told Xinhua.

“Chinese editors are very good at talent scouting not only in the East but also in the Western world,” she said.

“When Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello won the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award — one of the oldest and most prestigious international awards in children’s literature — a Chinese publishing house had already released his book,” Pasoli noted.

She stressed how “innovative” China’s editorial production is, with “smart ideas that are often avant-garde compared to Western counterparts.”

“We have seen extraordinary Chinese books at our international bookstore, often rich with Chinese cultural elements but also in accordance with the imaginative contents of children’s books from all over the world,” Pasoli added.

The fair featured a forum about children’s books in China and an exhibition of outstanding works from Chinese illustrators.

By the end of the fair, Chinese representatives will donate over 2,000 books to the International Library for Juveniles and Children and the Chinese school in Bologna.

Ranking among the most important international fairs for children’s books, the Bologna Children’s Book attracts publishers, copyrights agents, authors, illustrators for children’s books, booksellers, distributors, librarians and printers from over 70 countries and regions all around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PARIS 

>>  Legendary maxi trimaran IDEC now called “Qingdao China”

By Zhang Han

Chinese skipper Guo Chuan, who holds the world solo circumnavigation record of Class 40 monohul, renamed his recently acquired IDEC Trimaran as “Qingdao China” at La Trinite sur Mer, France on Monday of March 30.

Two weeks ago, also at the French harbor, the Mecca of offshore sailing, Guo represented the maxi trimaran’s new owner based in Qingdao to take over it from the former skipper Francis Joyon.

Renamed after Guo’s birthplace Qingdao, a leading sailing city on China’s eastern coast, the former French boat is legendary for holding four world records, including one of the most prestigious marks created by captain Joyon in 2008 when he piloted it to world’s fastest solo non-stop circumnavigation record of just over 57 days.

This is the third Qingdao sailboat that the 50-year-old Guo has skippered.

In November 2012, Guo set sail in a Class 40 Akilaria monohull named Qingdao to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation and returned to Qingdao in 138 days, triumphantly creating a new world record.

Guo’s first Qingdao boat carried his mission as an Olympic messenger in 2004 to 2005 along the Chinese coastal line to promote the city’s commissioning as the sailing venue of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

“I owe my sailing achievements to the support from Qingdao city and am proud of naming the Trimaran after my birthplace,” Guo said. “My mission is to achieve a new world record for Qingdao with this trimaran.”

The 50-year-old Qingdao native has been planning to conquer a new routine of the Maritime Silk Road later this year, following Zheng He’s footprints 610 years ago in commanding expeditionary voyages after navigating across the Arctic Ocean for new record.

Joyon, who has been training with the Chinese skipper over the past three weeks, hailed Guo’s objective and ambition.

“With the Qingdao boat becoming ever bigger, so is Guo Chuan’s ambition to his next sailing,” said the Frenchman. “I am glad to see his skills are quickly growing to match that ambition.”

A congratulatory message from the Qingdao government indicated the city’s pride of becoming the country’s leading city of sailing.

“Qingdao city hosted the sailing events of the 2008 Olympic Games. The naming of ‘Qingdao China’ is not only a great continuation of the Olympic legacy but also the city’s contribution to China’s sailing adventures,” read the message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZHENGZHOU

>>  Direct flight links China’s Zhengzhou with Osaka

By Cao Kai and Ma Yichong

A direct air route between Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province, and Osaka, Japan’s second-largest city, began operation on Sunday of March 29.

The maiden flight took off on Sunday at noon and arrived in Osaka three hours later.

The flight will depart every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from Zhengzhou, a central transportation hub, according to Chunqiu Airlines, China’s first low-cost airline company.

A ticket costs as cheap as 299 yuan (48.6 U.S. dollars).

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Robertson stunned in snooker China Open

By Lu Yuchen and Wang Yong

Former world champion Neil Robertson was bundled out of the China Open snooker tournament in the first round here on Monday of March 30.

Robertson was 4-2 ahead before his Thai opponent Dechawat Poomjaeng managed back two frames including a 74-point shot.

Robertson once again missed a key long-shot black to see Poomjaeng snatch back the victory at 69-64 in the last frame.

“It’s a good result, or I can go home and prepare for the worlds,” said Robertson.

“For me, the result is winning the tournament. I don’t really care about the final or semifinals or trying to get a good round before the World Championships.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  China’s Hong Kong bans import of poultry meat from parts of U.S., Netherlands

By Xie Xiyu

The authorities of China’s Hong Kong on Monday of March 30 announced that they had banned the import of poultry meat and products (including poultry eggs) from three counties of the United States and one province of the Netherlands.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) of Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said, in view of a notification from the U.S. authorities about outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in Stearns County and Lac Qui Parle County, State of Minnesota, and low pathogenic avian influenza in Crawford County, State of Kansas, and a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) about outbreaks of low pathogenic H7 avian influenza in the Province of Friesland, the Netherlands, it has banned the import of poultry meat and products from the four areas concerned with immediate effect for the protection of Hong Kong’s public health.

A CFS spokesman said that Hong Kong imported about 267,000 tonnes of chilled and frozen poultry meat and about 530 million poultry eggs from the United States and about 15,000 tonnes of frozen poultry meat and about 12.3 million poultry eggs from the Netherlands last year.

“The CFS has contacted the U.S. and Dutch authorities concerned over the issues and will closely monitor information issued by the OIE on avian influenza outbreaks in the countries. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation,” the spokesman said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG 

>>  HK stocks close 1.51 pct higher

By Jiang Tingting

Hong Kong stocks closed up 368. 92 points, or 1.51 percent, to 24,855.12 points on Monday of March 30.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 24,725.52 and 24, 949.35. Turnover totaled 140.8 billion HK dollars (about 18.17 billion U.S. dollars).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 3.43 percent, or 408. 71 points, to close at 12,306.56.

Three out of the four sub-indices gained ground, with the Finance rising the most by 1.74 percent. The Commerce and Industry increased 1.5 percent, and the Properties added 1.25 percent. However, the Utilities retreated 0.16 percent.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, closed down 0.59 percent at 66.95 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank fell 0.14 percent to 140.40 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEX jumped 7.94 percent to close at 193 HK dollars.

Local developers Hang Lung Properties rose 0.23 percent to 21. 45 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, climbed 1.23 percent to 54.60 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, went up 2.03 percent to 160.5 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, added 1.74 percent to 6. 42 HK dollars. ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, closed 2.73 percent higher at 5.65 HK dollars. Bank of China gained 3.24 percent to 4.46 HK dollars.

PetroChina, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, was up 2.04 percent to 8.51 HK dollars. Sinopec, another leading oil refiner, ended at 6.12 HK dollars, up 1.49 percent. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.761 HK dollars)

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAIPEI

>>  Germanwings crash prompts Taiwan cockpit rule revision

By Chen Siwu

Taiwan’s aviation authority ordered stricter cockpit regulations from Monday of March 30 following reports that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 appeared to deliberately crash, killing all 150 aboard.

Air carriers in the island are required to have at least two crew members in the cockpit at all times, one of whom must be a pilot, according to the revised safety guideline.

The new regulation came after investigators blamed Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot, for locking the captain out of the cockpit and crashing the plane directly into a mountain.

Airlines must immediately adopt the new safety standards, according to the aviation regulatory agency.

Before the revised guideline, some airlines in the island had voluntarily introduced such measures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  Taiwan stocks close 0.19 pct higher

By Jiang Tingting

Taiwan’s share prices closed up 0.19 percent on Monday of March 30 with the weighted index up 18.15 points at 9,521.87, according to news reaching here from Taipei.

Turnover totaled 90.16 billion new Taiwan dollars (about 2.88 billion U.S. dollars) during the trading session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese premier meets Zambian president

By Hao Yalin

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Zambian President Edgar Lungu here on Monday of March 30.

Hailing the development of China-Zambia ties, Li said China was ready to work with Zambia to push forward the bilateral relations to a new high.

Li said China was ready to carry out production capacity cooperation with Zambia, and help its companies invest in areas including transportation infrastructure construction and electricity.

He also vowed to work with Zambia and Tanzania on a railway connecting the two countries.

Speaking highly of the development achievements of China and its adherence to a peaceful development path, Lungu said Zambia hoped to learn from China’ s experience and wanted to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in such areas as trade, investment as well as infrastructure construction of railway and road, and expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

The president also welcomed Chinese companies to invest in Zambia.

Lungu was invited by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for a state visit. He also attended the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia, held in south China’ s Hainan Province.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China, Britain to strengthen military ties

By Pan Jie

China and Britain pledged to strengthen bilateral military ties, as vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) Xu Qiliang and visiting British chief of the defence staff Nicolas Houghton met in Beijing on Monday of March 30.

Recalling his first visit to China four years ago, Houghton said the relationship between China and Britain has become closer, as has the relationship between the two armies.

Xu said bilateral military ties have developed well, with more exchanges and cooperation in different fields and levels.

China and Britain cooperate in such fields as army force building, college education and personnel training. High-level officials of the two armies have maintained close contact and the bilateral exchange mechanism has been smooth.

Xu hoped the two sides would continue working together to contribute to the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Britain.

Houghton also met with Fang Fenghui, chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Anti-graft “Sky Net” frightens fugitive officials

By Liu Lu

The new anti-graft “Sky Net” campaign helped return two suspects back to China on Saturday of March 29.

Pang Shunxi, a former tax official and An Huimin, a former trade company general manager, are both suspected of bribery.

They fled to Laos after prosecutors started investigating them in December last year. They turned themselves in after the Chinese and Lao police initiated an intense manhunt.

Following last year’s “Fox Hunt 2014,” “Sky Net” aims to carry out better international cooperation to capture corrupt officials who fled overseas.

“Sky Net” is an upgrade to administrative procedures, including setting up a 24-hour tip-off website and increasing international cooperation.

The latest campaign has once again made it clear that corrupt officials have no place to hide and will be hunted and punished even if they fled to the ends of the earth.

In January this year, President Xi Jinping reiterated the country’s resolution to hunt fugitive officials with more corruption eradication efforts.

“Xxdaguo,” a public account on messaging app WeChat Sunday posted an article, calling on fugitive officials to return.

“There is no heaven overseas, but only a sky net to hunt those at large,” said the article.

China has signed extradition treaties with 39 countries and criminal judicial assistance treaties with 52 countries.

Moreover, it has signed 124 agreements or memoranda with 91 countries, regions or international organizations, according to the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

In a move to boost international cooperation to fight corruption, the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption was adopted at the APEC meeting in November last year, unveiling more transnational collaboration in weaving the net to catch the fugitive suspects.

The declaration suggested that the APEC members eliminate corruption through extradition and judicial procedure, with more flexibility in recovering the proceeds of corruption.

Wang Guoqiang, an escaped corruption suspect who turned himself in last year, said in a written article that he and his wife were afraid of being caught by using their passports.

Wang, a former chief of the Communist Party of China of Fengcheng City in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, said during his two years and eight months in the United States, he and his wife did not dare use their passports, see doctors, contact their relatives in China or visit their friends in the U.S.

In the “Fox Hunt 2014″, 680 fugitives suspected of economic crimes were repatriated to China from July to Dec. 31 last year. More are expected to be trapped by “Sky Net” this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China to punish judicial officials for illegal interference

By Wang Di

A regulation was unveiled on Monday of March 30 that will see judges, prosecutors and police officers blacklisted and punished for illegally intervening in investigations and court proceedings.

The document was adopted by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with the aim of safeguarding judicial independence.

According to the 15-article rules, any judicial official who looks into cases will be put on record and those who interfere in investigations or court proceedings will be named publicly or held accountable.

Violations identified include interceding for litigants, asking personnel handling cases to meet with litigants or their defenders privately, as well as handing over case-related materials, inquiring about cases and tipping off litigants.

Judicial officials who retaliate against personnel handling cases or whose interference creates further problems shall be given disciplinary penalties and even criminal penalties if their behavior constitutes crimes.

The regulation requires that judicial personnel should keep the whole process faithfully recorded no matter who is involved, otherwise they will be punished.

Some judicial officials have taken advantage of their position or personal connections to interfere in the handling of judicial cases, seriously harming judicial fairness.

Also on Monday, another regulation banning officials from interfering in judicial cases was also released by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, in the latest effort to advance the rule of law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China configs “firewall” against official meddling in judicial cases

By Guo Likun and Luo Sha

Chinese officials who meddle in judicial cases could now find their names in a newly created blacklist by the central authorities.

China rolled out measures on Monday of March 30 to record all officials who interfere in judicial cases and name violators publicly to hold them accountable in the latest effort to ensure judicial independence and transparency.

According to new rules issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the General Office of the State Council, judicial personnel should keep the whole process faithfully recorded no matter who is involved.

Violations identified include interceding for the litigants, asking personnel handling cases to meet with the litigants or their defenders privately, or overstepping their authority to make tendentious suggestions or directions on handling of cases by means of hearing reports, holding coordination meetings or issuing circular.

Officials who retaliate against judicial personnel involved in the recording or whose interference creates further problems or influences a case shall be given disciplinary penalties and even criminal penalties if their behaviors constitute crimes, according to the rules.

Judicial personnel who fail to record the interference shall receive disciplinary punishment.

The rules are a part of a broader legal reform package adopted by a key session of the CPC Central Committee in October to advance the rule of law in an all-round way.

The rules are deemed pertinent to steering Party and government officials clear of judicial investigations and trials as officials around the country have been criticized for meddling in cases which greatly impair judicial credibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Five local-level officials probed for suspected corruption

By Tian Ying and Luo Sha

Five Chinese officials are under investigation after being suspected of taking bribes, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) announced on Monday of March 30.

Cui Lifu, former deputy director of Jilin provincial human resource and social security department, was arrested and being investigated for corruption by the Changchun municipal procuratorate in northeastern Jilin province.

Wuhan municipal procuratorate in central Hubei province placed Lin Guosheng, former Communist Party chief of the Wuhan federation of trade unions, under investigation for suspectedly taking bribes. He is under “coercive measures” which include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest in accordance with China’s criminal procedure law.

Three former officials in southern Guangdong province have been placed under investigation and “coercive measures” by the Guangdong provincial procuratorate for suspectedly taking bribes.

The Guangdong procuratorate is investigating Huang Jianjun, former Party chief of the Guangdong Grid Co. Ltd., Cai Guangliao, former deputy Party chief of Guangdong public security department and a major general in the military, and Liang Yimin, former Party chief of Maoming city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

>>  China Southern Power Grid leader under probe

By Hu Longjiang and Ye Qian

Qi Dacai, senior executive of China Southern Power Grid, has been put under investigation for suspected serious violation of discipline, the Guangdong provincial discipline authorities revealed on their website on Monday of March 30.

Qi was the vice general manager and a member of the board of the electricity giant, one of China’s two national power grid operators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China mulls rules for stem-cell research

By Wang Sibei and Liu Tong

China is soliciting public review of a set of new rules on stem-cell research.

According to a document published by the National Health and Family Planning Commission and China Food and Drug Administration, stem-cell clinical trials refer to transplantation of stem-cells for the purpose of disease prevention or research.

The document proposes that all clinical records of stem-cell providers and subjects should be kept for at lease 30 years.

Subjects should be observed after clinical trials to assess long-term safety and effectiveness of the research, said the document.

The document also proposed that stem-cell researchers should help subjects understand the goal of research as well as its risks. It also said subjects should be insured and research should stop once adverse reactions emerge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China eases tax rules for home sales

By Zhang Zhengfu and Zhu Shaobin

Sales of homes purchased over two years ago will be exempt from business tax, which is 5.5 percent of the contract price of the house, Chinese authorities said on Monday of March 30.

Currently, sales of homes purchased over five years are exempt from the tax.

The new rules are meant to “promote the healthy development of the housing market,” Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation said in a joint statement.

Earlier on Monday, mortgage rules were relaxed, cutting down payment levels for second home buyers to 40 percent from the current 60 to 70 percent.

Down payments for second homes using public housing funds will be cut to 30 percent from the current 60 percent, said a statement jointly published by the central bank, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and China Banking Regulatory Commission.

China’s property sector took a downturn in 2014 after years of boom that saw home prices rocket to levels out of the reach of ordinary wage earners. Sales and prices are now falling and investment slowing.

According to an official survey of 70 cities, new home prices dipped in 66 of the cities in February. On a year-on-year basis, the prices dipped in 69 of the cities.

Last week, China’s land and housing authorities announced measures to regulate land supply for residential building, asking local governments, in cities or counties with excessive home inventories, to “significantly” reduce the land supply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Beijing introduces new air pollution response

By Han Xiaojing and Ni Yuanjin

Beijing introduced new rules to deal with air pollution on Monday of March 30.

According to the city’s environmental protection bureau, the new heavy air pollution emergency response program will replace the current version, launched in October 2013.

Four-tier alerts–blue, yellow, orange and red–will be issued on “heavy pollution” days. Red alert, the highest, will be issued for heavy pollution that is expected to last more than three days. An air quality index of over 200 is defined as “heavy pollution”.

Orange and red alerts will be issued 24 hours before the heavy pollution days, according to Yao Hui, deputy head of the bureau.

Drivers with odd and even license plates will be allowed on alternating days during red alerts.

Heavy vehicles including construction vehicles will be banned from the roads during orange or red alerts.

When an orange alert is issued, all the industrial factories will be closed except those necessary to maintain the operation of the city. Construction sites will be shut down.

In 2014, Beijing issued blue alert 11 times, yellow alert five times, and orange alerts twice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NANJING

>>  China gets high-end LCD production line

By Zhu Shaobin, Gao Kang and Zhang Xinxin

China is on course to join international competition in the high-end LCD market with the launch of an advanced production line for power-saving and high-resolution screens.

State-owned China Electronics Corp. (CEC) said on Monday of March 30 that the production line, using 8.5 Generation IGZO, or indium gallium zinc oxide display technology, has been put into action by the company’s Panda Electronics subsidiary in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province.

With an investment of 29.15 billion yuan (4.75 billion U.S. dollars) from Panda Electronics, the production line is designed with an annual output capacity of 720,000 glass substrates, which will be applicable for cell phones, notebooks, laptops, monitors and televisions.

IGZO is a world-leading display technology. The CEC said the new products will have a pixel density up to 700 pixels per inch (ppi), compared to the 403 ppi pixel density of Apple’s latest iPhone models. Meanwhile, the new displays will also use less power, with power endurance up to seven times that of traditional displays.

CEC vice general manager Lai Weide said the technological breakthrough could propel China into one of the world’s largest production hubs for high-end flat panel displays.

Ouyang Zhongcan, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said despite China’s increasing production capacity of display products, high-end display products will still be in great demand, especially in emerging markets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China sets goal for hospital bed-citizen ration

By Liu Tong and Hu Hao

China has for the first time set a goal for hospital beds per 1,000 citizens, a key indicator measuring a country’s medical service level.

According to a healthcare service plan (2015-2020) published by China’s cabinet on Monday of March 30, the country will aim to provide six hospital beds per 1,000 of its citizens by 2020. This compares to 4.55 in 2013.

The goal has taken into account several factors, including an aging population and the level of members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Pledging more support for hospitals funded by private and foreign investment, the plan said the ratio of hospital beds available in private and foreign hospitals should be no fewer than 1.5 by 2020. Foreign ownership of hospitals will be loosened, it added.

The plan also considers training more doctors and nurses and aims to increase the ratio of medical workers per 1,000 citizens from one in 2013 to 1.25 in 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Joint social efforts urged for students’ safety

By Zuo Yuanfeng

A senior education official has called for joint efforts from schools, officials and parents to ensure students’ safety as China marked the annual students’ safety day.

“To reduce tragedies, schools need to enforce full safety measures with local governments as supervisors, parents fulfilling their duties as guardians, and the media promote safety knowledge and awareness,” said Vice Minister of Education Liu Limin on Monday of March 30.

Monday was the country’s 20th National Safety Day for Primary and Middle School Students and schools organized various safety-themed activities, including evacuation drills.

While noting a regular annual drop in both accidents involving students and fatalities, Liu said that 97 percent of deaths of primary and middle school students occur outside school premises.

Poorly built school buildings and substandard school buses are a perennial concern.

A stampede in a primary school in southwest China’s Yunnan Province resulted in the deaths of six children in September last year, leading to the sacking of seven government officials.

The last Monday of every March was designated student safety day in 1996. Online safety knowledge contests and TV programs offering safety guidance and promoting awareness are part of this year’s edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHANGHAI

>>  China Pacific 2014 net profit up 19 pct

By Cao Kai and Wang Tao

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co., Ltd., the country’s third largest health insurance provider, on Sunday of March 29, announced 11 billion yuan (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) of net profit in 2014, up 19.3 percent year on year.

The Shanghai-listed company had business revenue of 219.8 billion yuan and earnings per share of 1.22 yuan in 2014, up 13.8 percent and 19.3 percent year on year respectively, according to its annual report.

The company, which has a joint venture with German insurance giant Allianz, delivered steady growth in both life and asset management business.

But its property casualty business reported underwriting losses for the first time in six years, with the combined ratio reaching 103.8 percent, according to the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese shares surge 2.59 pct Monday

By Zhang Xu and Zhao Xiaohui

Chinese stocks surged on Monday on Sunday of March 29 over strong property, financial and infrastructure shares.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index soared by 2.59 percent to finish at 3,786.57 points.

The Shenzhen Component Index went up 2.48 percent to close at 13,193.32 points.

Combined turnover on the two bourses expanded to 1.22 trillion yuan (198.59 billion U.S. dollars) from 950.25 billion yuan the previous trading day.

China unveiled on Saturday the principles, framework, and cooperation priorities and mechanisms in its Belt and Road Initiative in a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future together.

Related shares of infrastructure, water conservation and transportation all ended the trading day with outstanding performances as 15 shares hit the daily increase limit of 10 percent, including Power Construction Corporation, China Communication Construction Company, China West Construction Group and Xinjiang Urban Construction.

Meanwhile, property and financial shares led the gains with sub-index up 3.39 percent and 3.08 percent, respectively.

Poly Real Estate Group, one of China’s property heavyweights, surged 10 percent to close at 11.85 yuan per share. Industrial Bank gained 8.82 percent to 18.5 yuan per share. Huatai Securities jumped 6.63 percent to 28.79 yuan per share.

Bucking the trend, the software sector reversed previous strong momentum with five shares slumping over 9 percent.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, lost 1.44 percent to end at 2,290.48 points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NANNING

>>  Police bust cross-border drug ring in south China

By Cheng Lu and Huang Haoming

Police in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region said on Monday of March 30 that they have caught 23 suspected drug traffickers.

On March 23, a joint operation by police in cities of Chongzuo, Pingxiang and Fangchenggang seized 24 kilograms of heroin, and confiscated more than 400,000 yuan (about 65,000 U.S. dollars) and six vehicles.

Police had observed a gang ferrying drugs from Chongzuo, which borders Vietnam, to other cities in Guangxi, and to the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan. Most suspects are from the same family.

Based on a tip-off, police caught nine suspects on March 23 at the China-Vietnam border. Another 14 suspects were apprehended in raids.

Some border cities and counties in Guangxi, “transfer stops” between China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, have serious drug problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUIYANG

>>  At least 4 injured in SW China earthquake

By Zhong Qun, Huang Yong, Yang Hongtao and Li Qianyu

At least four people were injured and more than 13,000 affected after a 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck Jianhe County in southwest China’s Guizhou Province on Monday morning on Sunday of March 30.

One of the injured, a woman from Xinliu Village, Nanjia Township, was hit by falling tiles and is receiving treatment in a local hospital.

Some 3,100 rooms suffered minor damage in the tremor, though there have been no reports of houses collapsing or livestock deaths.

In the worst-hit Nanjia Township, roads were damaged but traffic is moving. Communication and power supply in the county is operating as normal.

Xinliu Primary School, which is close to Nanjia, suspended classes.

Governments at various levels have sent representatives to the quake-hit area to oversee rescue work.

The quake, which was Guizhou’s biggest in terms of magnitude since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, hit at 9:47 a.m. at 26.6 degrees north latitude and 108.8 degrees east longitude with a depth of 7.0 km, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The most recent fatal earthquake in the province occurred in January, 2010. The 3.4-magnitude quake killed six people and injured nine others in the border area of Guanling, Zhenning and Zhenfeng counties.

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Ludian County of neighboring Yunnan Province on Aug. 3, 2014, claiming more than 600 lives and destroying over 80,000 homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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