Headlines from China

Subscribe to Headlines from China feed
Shanghai Daily Nation
Updated: 8 hours 44 min ago

Silver surfers enjoy getting into music sharing, apps and emojis

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 08:01
When most of his friends are working in the fields, 53-year-old Jiang Licun is living a life of fame — on the Internet.Putting on a headset, Jiang records a popular song on a singing app on his mobile phone and uploads it. Within a few minutes, the song has more than 20 comments and some listeners give him virtual flowers as encouragement.“I like reading the comments, and I usually reply one by one,” said Jiang, a rural resident in east China’s Anhui Province.The music sharing is Jiang’s favorite rest and probably sums up the lives of many the vast aging population in China.This demography is considered the “unconnected group” in the Internet age, as many of them struggle with the devices and processes needed to gain access online.But that might no longer be the case. According to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center, by the end of last June, of China’s 751 million online population, 24.7 percent were aged 40 or above.For many, online music platforms such as Tencent’s WeSing has created a new stage.On the platforms, they can find songs produced in the 1980s and 1990s, connect with other “singers” that share similar tastes, and even sing together with a complete stranger.“I have uploaded 133 songs, and I have 442 followers on WeSing,” Jiang said. “My daughter said that I use the app much better than she does.”By the end of 2016, more than 230 million Chinese were above the age of 60, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.The government predicts the country’s elderly will account for about a quarter of the population by 2030. In an era of information accessibility, many elderly people are beginning to explore the Internet to enrich their lives, particularly the popular messaging app WeChat.Among the elderly who use WeChat, 98.5 percent chat, but about 70 percent also make videos, 40 percent pay phone bills, and 30 percent shop online, according to a report by Tencent and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.Many also know how to make and send “Hongbao,” red envelopes, on WeChat.“I had a video chat with my grandson yesterday,” said Pan Xuelan, 60. “He looked fatter than last time.” Pan’s daughter bought a smartphone for her and taught her how to use WeChat.Elderly WeChat users have even created a series of special emojis that have various big characters and bright colors, and are usually filled with “positive energy,” according to a report by Tencent. These emojis, which carry very traditional messages, such as “Wish you every success” and “Have a wonderful morning” are considered out of date by many young people, but appeal to some due to their retro feel.But as many elderly become more interested in the Internet, their children have expressed concern.“My father is addicted to surfing the Internet these days,” said Jiang Licun’s daughter. “His eyesight is not every good, and I worry that replying messages on the singing platform will be bad for his health.”Zhao Jie, a professor with Anhui University, said that the need for emotional communication and for socializing has prompted many elderly to explore the Internet.“Their children should spend more time with them, and encourage them to go out rather than staying at home,” Zhao said.“Their lives will become more abundant with more companionship, and they will rely less on the Internet.”

Over 2,300 apply to join HK police

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 08:01
The Hong Kong Police Force received 2,304 applications at its winter recruitment exercise on Saturday.Jobs as probationary inspectors, recruit police constables and police constables (auxiliary) were on offer at Police Headquarters.The number of applications was the second highest ever received for the winter Police Recruitment Day.Applicants included graduates from local and overseas tertiary institutions, people in other jobs and non-ethnic Chinese citizens.According to the application numbers and recruitment targets in the past three financial years, an average of 40 applicants competed for a probationary inspector vacancy, and about 10 for a recruit police constable vacancy.The Police Recruitment Day provides a one-stop service to applicants, shortening the time required for recruitment process. Successful applicants will undergo training at the Hong Kong Police College in March.To let applicants learn more about the force’s professional training, officers at the Hong Kong Police College set up display panels on site to introduce the foundation training provided to probationary inspectors and recruit police constables as well as the corresponding accreditation standards under the qualifications framework. The vision of Hong Kong Police Force is to maintain the Special Adminstrative Region as one of the world’s safest societies. The Hong Kong Police Force has an establishment of 29,880 disciplined officers supported by 4,556 civilian officers.

Xi calls for creation of elite combat force

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping has ordered the creation of an elite combat force through real combat training, digitization, innovation and reform. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks during an inspection of a division of the People’s Liberation Army ground force in the Central Theater Command on Wednesday. Xi, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC, extended New Year greetings to all personnel from the PLA, armed police, the militia and reserve forces. During the inspection, Xi boarded China’s latest self-developed main battlefield 99A tank, known as the “king of the land battle,” and the Red Arrow-10 anti-tank missile launching vehicle, to learn about armaments used in the army. He also visited a reconnaissance company to watch training conducted by snipers, and asked about the fighting system for individual soldiers. Xi talked with new recruits who were receiving training on their scouting and combat skills, encouraging them to sharpen their skills and strive to become reconnaissance heroes. Xi also visited a simulation training center and met officers of the division. He then visited the division’s history exhibition center. After hearing a report of the division, Xi urged the army to enhance military training oriented at combat readiness and focus on combat wholeheartedly while strengthening research on digitized troops. He asked about innovating concepts and tactics of battle, and improving real combat training and war-winning capabilities. Xi stressed the importance of coordination among various forces and systems, demanding increased efforts in the creation of an information system and data on battles. Underscoring the importance of innovation and reform, Xi called for enhancing the sci-tech attainment of officers and soldiers by better application of sci-tech devices. “Efforts should be made to implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and ensure the armed forces always follow the instruction of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC,” Xi said. “High attention should be paid to digitization so as to foster more high-quality military talent,” he said. Xi said officers and soldiers “should be cared for warm-heartedly while undesirable work styles and corruption should be contained resolutely.”

Snow blankets large swaths of China

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
THE first snow of the new year has hit large parts of central and east China, and some train services have been canceled in Shanghai today. At least three airports were shut and nine others were experiencing extensive delays because of heavy snowfall, Chinese aviation data provider VariFlight said yesterday. Local meteorological stations said yesterday that east China’s Anhui Province has been hit by a blizzard since Wednesday night. In worst-hit Mingguang City, snow reached a record 30 centimeters around 10am yesterday, and more than 30 counties and cities in Anhui saw heavy snow of over 10cm. Some primary and middle schools in Xinyang City in central China’s Henan Province suspended classes yesterday and today. In Hubei and Hunan, several sections of expressways were temporarily closed or banned heavy-duty vehicles from entering. The meteorological authorities in Hunan said snow and rain are expected to continue until Sunday. And rain or snow are forecast across China’s central and eastern regions next week. China’s national observatory late on Wednesday updated its alert for snow to the second-highest level. In addition to Anhui, parts of Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, Shandong and Shanxi can also expect up to 30cm of snow, the National Meteorological Center said. The center has activated a level-III emergency response for severe weather, urging local authorities to take precautions regarding roads, railways, electricity supply and telecommunications. Some highways were shut due to snow in Henan Province and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Snowfall in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, also led to the delay of many high-speed trains. VariFlight said Hefei Xinqiao International Airport and Fuyang Xiguan Airport in Anhui Province, and Jining Qufu Airport in east China’s Shandong Province had been shut. Some runways at other airports had been closed, causing delays, it said. Beijing Capital International Airport, one of China’s busiest, was also experiencing some delays, it said. In Shanghai, 16 trains departing from the Hongqiao Railway Station will be canceled today due to the heavy snow, according to local railway authorities. Passengers who possess tickets for the canceled trains can get a full refund via the 12306 app or website, or go to the refund window with their printed tickets.

Rules eased for top talent visas

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
China announced easier visa per­mits for foreign professionals and highly skilled workers yesterday, as part of its effort to bridge the talent gap. Applicants will be expanded to those who qualify as top talent in the Categories of Foreigners Work­ing in China, including scientists, entrepreneurs and leading figures in technology-intensive sectors, according to new rules unveiled by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. The expiration date of the visa could be extended to five to 10 years after issuance, with multiple entries and 180-day stays for a sin­gle entry, the administration said, adding that the categories could be adjusted based on the country’s changing demand for talent. Spouses and children under 18 of the applicants could gain the same visa, as early as the day after filing applications. Foreign talented professionals could get their confirmation of qualification in five working days. All the ap­plicants are given a visa fee waiver, even for urgent applications. Premier Li Keqiang said in Sep­tember that as the world’s largest developing country, China was at a critical stage of economic restruc­turing and upgrading, adding “a more open policy for foreign ex­perts” was needed.

A sight to behold in winter

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
People visit the Harbin Ice and Snow World, part of the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin in Heilongjiang Province yesterday. The festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, officially opened today.

6,000 sites closed due to erotic content

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
The Chinese government closed more than 6,000 websites and WeChat accounts containing erotic and indecent content in 2017, said an annual government report yesterday.The campaign to create a clean and healthy cultural environment made notable progress in 2017, said the report from the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.Several influential streaming websites were closed and a number of streaming show hosts were detained for producing erotic content, the report said.More than 4.5 million erotic posts were deleted from the Internet at the office’s request during the year, while online service providers removed about 20 million similar posts themselves, the report said.Authorities cracked a serious case of spreading erotic videos through WeChat, which involved more than 100,000 people in more than 20 provincial-level regions, including underage people.The public took an active part in the campaign, providing more than 120,000 leads to the office, according to the report.

New green tax to crack down on polluting firms

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
Chen Maozhe owns a garment dyeing factory. As the new year began, he wasted no time buying equipment that will substantially reduce waste water discharge.Chen runs Fujian Futian Textile Printing and Dyeing Company in Fujian Province. Every year, close to 20,000 tons of textiles are dyed at his factory, which employs 300 workers. The new equipment will cost Chen almost a year’s profits, but can reduce waste water discharge by 40 percent, he said.“Starting this year, reduced emissions will be turned into tax breaks, so now is a good time for companies like us to revamp production technology and cut emissions,” he said.China started collecting a new type of tax — the environment protection tax — aimed at protecting the environment and cutting pollutant discharge from Monday.Companies and public institutions that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment will pay taxes for producing noise, air and water pollutants as well as solid waste.“The new tax will benefit companies that have been committed to cutting emissions and saving energy. It will spur the companies to turn green,” said Liu Jianmin, director of the local taxation bureau at Jinjiang City in Fujian.To prepare for tax collection, taxation and environmental protection departments have established a database of companies eligible for the tax.“Those that discharge more will pay more, and those that discharge little will pay little,” said Cai Zili, an official with the State Administration of Taxation.Tax rates are higher for pollutants that are more hazardous, Cai said. For example, the tax rate for formaldehyde is about 24 times that for smoke and dust.Under the law, local governments will keep the tax revenue and will have the right to set tax rates. Regions that are under heavy environmental pressure, such as Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin, have adopted higher rates than others, said Cai.“The environment protection tax is an important step to build a green taxation system in China. It is not merely a source of government revenue — it has larger social implications,” said Cai.

Chinese food able to help in fitness workout

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
To eat, or not to eat? That’s always a tough question for people interested in fitness, and it is even more true in China. Chinese food, although diverse, is high in fats and features a great deal of fried fare. Many Chinese bodybuilders nowadays prefer western style food like boiled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli rather than Chinese food due to its often deep-fried cooking methods, heavy amounts of soy sauce and sugar coated items like lemon chicken. It is fair to say that many of these foods are caloric bombs waiting to destroy your physique.“I think Chinese food tastes fantastic but is something of a guilty pleasure, while Western fitness food is much cleaner and physique-friendly,” a fitness amateur surnamed He said. Although China’s various regional cuisines contain unhealthy dishes, not all Chinese food is marked by unhealthy cooking. There are plenty of options that are fairly healthy and lean by most standards. For example, Chinese cuisine treats vegetables as meals rather than add-ons, as in the case in many types of western cuisine. This creates a number of culinary opportunities for those interested in cooking and eating healthy food. “There are lots of foods that can influence workouts, and the most fundamental task is educating people to make correct choices,” said Wang Ru, vice dean of the School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sport.“There is a common saying that carbohydrates are the culprits of all chronic diseases. But that depends on the types of carbohydrates, not all carbs are bad,” Wang said. “For example, there is a rich variety of cereals in China which are very healthy carbohydrate sources with a large portion of dietary fiber. Such kind of cereals can reduce toxin absorption, lower blood sugar, increase feelings of satiety, and promote gastrointestinal motility,” Wang continued Wang added that China has some foods that are high in carbohydrates such as roujiamo, the Chinese-style burgers that are roughly analogous to hamburgers in the west. “Therefore, healthy eating depends on the food itself, and it should not be designated according to different dietary habits in western and eastern countries. The basic rule to avoid misdirection is that healthy eating should not go against the basic human needs,” Wang said.Zhou Zhijia, a Chinese restaurant boss, says in his daily diet he opts for fresh instead of fried foods, forgoing fried rice and opting for steamed vegetable dumplings, or steamed brown rice.“Braised beef brisket with tomato is a good choice and boiled fresh fish or steamed fish head can also provide quality protein with low saltiness,” Zhou said. Some people go vegetarian with their Chinese meals just to try to keep the calorie count down, but the absence of protein could set you up for a sharp blood-sugar spike, encouraging fat gain and increased hunger.Wang Xuan, CEO of a company called Dream Muscle School, said that as long as balanced meals are provided and fat contents are kept low, fitness gurus can still enjoy Chinese food.Fats also play a major role in the ideal bodybuilding diet. Dietary fats help us absorb important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, D, and A.

Tibet’s environment protection lagging

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:01
A national inspection has found that environmental protection work in Tibet did not meet the requirements of the central government and public.Tibet was among eight provincial-level regions under a one-month review by inspection teams dispatched by central authorities in August.The inspection team said on Wednesday that as of October 31, Tibet had resolved 1,020 cases highlighted by the team; a total of 882 companies and departments were ordered to make improvements; and 784 cases were punished with total fines of 27.9 million yuan (US$4.3 million).Tibet detained two people for environmental problems and held a total of 148 people accountable.The local government failed to follow regional environmental protection regulations strictly, giving passes to seven counties that did not meet the requirements in 2016.Construction of 242 rural road projects were started without acquiring environmental protection approval, and the majority of scenic spots did not have sewage treatment facilities.In addition, construction of urban sewage treatment works and pipe networks were behind schedule, affecting water treatment efficiency in many cities. Management of hazardous solid waste was also problematic.

Beijing and its neighbors are breathing much cleaner air

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
AFTER five years fighting air pollution, Beijing and neighbors are breathing noticeably cleaner air, with sales of anti-smog mask down markedly. The average density of the hazardous to health PM2.5 particles in Beijing was 58 micrograms per cubic meter last year, meeting the target and 20.5 percent less than in 2016, said Liu Baoxian, deputy director of Beijing’s environmental protection monitoring center. Densities of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM10 also dropped by 20 percent, 4.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively. The 226 good air days in 2017 were 28 more than in 2016, while the number of heavy-pollution days fell from 39 to 23. A plan to improve air quality issued by the State Council in September 2013 ordered Beijing to reduce its PM2.5 density from 90 in 2013 to around 60mg per cubic meter by the end of last year. Among pollution controls were demolition of coal-fired boilers and the phasing out vehicles with high emissions, according to Li Xiang, of Beijing’s bureau of environmental protection. Li said small coal-fired boilers had almost vanished, replaced by gas or electricity, and all districts in the city proper had stopped coal use. Since 2013, Beijing has shut down six cement plants and closed or upgraded nearly 2,000 companies in printing, casting, furniture manufacture and other sectors, she said. Air quality has also improved in the neighboring Hebei Province. The smog-prone province reported fairly good air quality for 66 percent of days since October 1, the best record in five years, environmental protection authorities said. Improved air quality has cut sales of masks. At Gukang Pharmacy in Yuhua District in Shijiazhuang, Hebei’s capital, sales of smog masks dropped by 60-70 percent this winter compared with the same period in 2016. Beijing and nearby areas, however, are far from pollution-free — air quality there is still worse than the national average. The region is home to half of the 10 most polluted cities across the country.

Stamping their paws for lunar new year

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
A set of zodiac stamps ready to be issued for the upcoming Year of the Dog is seen in Weifang, east China’s Shandong Province. China Post will issue a set of the two special stamps tomorrow for the Chinese Lunar Year of the Dog, which starts from February 16. Each stamp will bear a face price of 1.2 yuan (18 US cents) and they are due to be released nationwide. One stamp shows a male dog, while the other depicts a female with a puppy. The stamps have been designed by Zhou Lingzhao, a retired professor from Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Younger generation find solace in a ‘Buddha-like’ attitude in daily life

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
Life’s tough for China’s younger generation. Finding jobs or spouses, and settling down in a sometimes tough and cruel world often lend itself to either giving up outright, or detached ironic posturing. Many of China’s youth of today have opted for the latter and refer to themselves as the “Buddha-like” generation.Zhang Min, 23, is one of this generation. He is just about to graduate and has been informed that he has failed yet another job interview — he has already sent out over 60 applications and attended 20 job fairs, but they all came to nothing, and he has no choice but to be philosophical.“(Failure) does not bother me as much as before,” Zhang says. “Whatever will be, will be.”The phrase “Buddha-like youth” recently went viral after a popular WeChat article used the term to describe China’s post-1990s generation.“Having seen everything and keeping a casual and calm mindset toward life and career under mounting social pressure,” the article wrote, “it’s fine to have something or not. There is no need to pursue or win anything.”Young Chinese, perhaps ironically, have been quick to label themselves as Buddha-like youth. A Buddha-like relationship is, apparently, one of forgiveness, never forcing your better half to make changes, and accepting things as they are.A Buddha-like career means employees no longer concern themselves with promotion or office politics, but simply getting on with the job in hand instead.But there has been a backlash against the Buddha-like mindset, particularly among the older generation. They argue that such an approach is one defined by pessimism, indolence and sloth, leading to a reduced work ethic, lack of self-motivation and apathetic demeanor.“A rapidly developing China brings about many reforms and changes, which inevitably create challenges and great pressure to its younger generations, notably in career and life,” says Tian Feng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “It’s understandable that such a self-mocking subculture is buzzing on China’s Internet and prevalent among youngsters.”Far awway from her hometown in Anhui Province, Li Xiao, 22, works in an architectural design company in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province. Last year, she failed the graduate-study admission exam because she was unprepared due to lots of overtime in her job.After taking this year’s exam, Li says she has little hope about the result. “I’ve tried and participated, that is what counts,” she says, sounding every inch a Buddha-like youth.The difficulties faced by the post-1990s generation lead them to describe themselves in mocking tones as, “prematurely balding,” “monks or nuns,” “divorcees,” or the “middle-aged obese.” Though they are nowhere near these things, they certainly feel like they are. Life has simply ground them down.“Saying ‘It’s OK,’ or ‘All right it doesn’t matter’ is just a disguise we put on in the face of the rigors of life,” says Zhang Li, who works as a product manager in a Beijing-based Internet company.She says the Buddha-like generation appear casual about minor matters but spare no efforts on things that really matter.

1,613 held accountable for harm to ecology

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
A total of 1,613 people in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have been held accountable for environmental problems, after a national inspection.Xinjiang was among eight provincial-level regions that underwent a one-month review by the inspection teams dispatched by the central authorities from August to September.The inspection team to Xinjiang said on Tuesday that as of October 31, the region had resolved 2,905 cases highlighted by the team; a total of 2,182 companies were ordered to make improvements, and 548 companies were punished with total fines of 68.2 million yuan (US$10.5 million).The region has had 25 people detained for environmental problems and a total of 1,613 people were held accountable.Xinjiang, reliant on energy resources exploitation for economic growth, still faces some prominent environmental issues, such as inadequate attention to environment, insufficient cuts to outdated production capacity, and inadequate treatment of air and water pollution.Some cities, including regional capital Urumqi, have seen their air quality deteriorate over the past few years.Small coal mines as well as sand and clay mines closed down in the region have damaged 2,165 square kilometers of land and only 3.77 percent of it has been treated.Some factories lack adequate environmental protection procedures or pollution control facilities.Pollution and inadequate environmental controls have also been found in places under the jurisdiction of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and semi-military body stationed in the region.

Son to repay mom for contract breach

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
Taiwan’s top court has ordered a dentist to pay his mother around NT$22.33 million (US$744,000) as reimbursement for the money she spent raising and educating him.The court on Tuesday upheld a previous ruling that the 41-year-old, identified by his family name Chu, should honor a contract he signed with his mother 20 years ago promising to refund her.The plaintiff, surnamed Lo, divorced her husband in 1990 and raised their two sons on her own.Worried that nobody would look after her when she got old, Lo signed the contracts with her sons after they both turned 20, stipulating that they must pay her 60 percent of the net profit from their incomes.Lo accused her sons of ignoring her after they both started relationships, saying their girlfriends even sent her letters through their lawyers demanding her not to “bother” her sons.She filed the lawsuit eight years ago when they refused to honor the contracts. The older son eventually paid her NT$5 million to settle the case.Her younger son claimed that the contract violated “good customs” as raising a child should not be measured in financial terms, and went to court against his mother.Lo appealed all the way to the top court after lower courts ruled in favor of her son.The top court said the contract was valid as Chu was an adult when he signed it, and that as a dentist he was capable of repaying his mother.

Box-office revenue takes off

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
China’s box-office revenues surged in 2017 after slowing sharply the preceding year, as the world’s second-largest movie market edges closer to overtaking the US.Ticket revenue grew 13.5 percent to 55.9 billion yuan (US$8.6 billion) on the mainland in 2017, more than triple 2016’s growth rate, Xinhua news agency said late Tuesday, citing data from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.China’s box-office grew just 3.7 percent in 2016, dramatically slower than 2015’s 48 percent growth.Over half of 2017’s ticket revenue came from domestic films, with record breaking patriotic action blockbuster “Wolf Warrior 2” collecting 5.7 billion yuan, topping the year’s box office list. The American action thriller “The Fate of The Furious” came in second, with box-office revenue of 2.7 billion yuan.International films — most of which were made in the US — grossed 25.8 billion yuan and took up 46 percent of 2017’s total revenue, compared to 19 billion yuan and 42 percent in 2016.Hollywood is eying keenly China’s potentially lucrative movie market, although the government caps the number of foreign films that can be released in Chinese cinemas.

Hebei officials punished for abusing relief

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
CHINA has punished several senior officials in the city of Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, over poverty-relief violations, the top discipline inspection agency of the Communist Party of China announced yesterday. Major irregularities were found, including incomplete implementation of decisions made by the CPC Central Committee, failure to rectify existing poverty-relief problems and lax supervision or administration, according to a statement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. At least 11 officials in Zhangjiakou have been held accountable for the violations. Hui Jian, Party secretary of Zhangjiakou, and Mayor Wu Weidong were asked to make self-criticisms, while Liu Baoqi, deputy Party secretary of the city, and Vice Mayor Yan Wanglin were given warnings. Party and government chiefs as well as disciplinary agency heads in Yuxian and Kangbao, two counties in Zhangjiakou, were also punished with a measure of Party discipline or with administrative sanctions, including warnings or dismissals. Investigation during September and October found 441 items of evidence that suggested violations in poverty-relief work in Zhangjiakou, while the leading group for poverty relief in Yuxian had not held a single meeting in a year, according to the statement. Fifteen towns and villages in Kangbao County retained or embezzled poverty-relief or agricultural funds for their own “small coffers,” money that is secretly stored and should not be used privately. The CCDI urged various local governments to step up supervision and punishment, learn a lesson from Zhangjiakou, carry out policies and decisions made by the CPC Central Committee and take political responsibility on poverty eradication. The penalties came as China is moving closer to becoming a moderately prosperous society and eliminating poverty by 2020. Ensuring the quality of poverty reduction was made a top priority at the central rural work conference last week.

Xi emphasizes real combat training

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping yesterday instructed the armed forces to strengthen real combat training and improve their war-winning capability. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while issuing an order at a mobilization meeting held by the commission. It was the first time for the commission to hold a mobilization meeting for the whole armed forces. Xi urged the armed forces to implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and the CPC’s thought on building a strong army in the new era. At 10am, Xi ascended to the review stand in military uniform at the main venue where more than 7,000 armed officers and soldiers, as well as nearly 300 sets of armaments, formed up in line at a range of the Central Theater Command. Elsewhere, over 4,000 branch venues were designated to listen to Xi’s instruction. Xi urged the army at all levels to enhance military training oriented at combat readiness and put military training at a strategic position and as the central work with effective results. Leading officers should take the lead and play an exemplary role, Xi said, calling for real combat training and joint combat training according to rules in strict governance. The armed forces should conduct training in fine work style, innovate method and improve support to training, tighten up supervision, and hold events of mass training, said Xi. He called on the armed forces to enhance targeted and adversarial training, improve military real combat ability, and firmly grasp the capability to win battles. Commanders and personnel should firmly implement the decisions and instructions by the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission with a fighting spirit of fearing neither hardship nor death, Xi said. They should also train hard in a scientific way, be brave to overcome difficulties and create an elite and powerful force that is always ready for the fight, capable of combat and sure to win in order to fulfill the tasks bestowed by the Party and the people in the new era, he added. After the meeting, Xi reviewed an assembly of soldiers on the site and training of various troops via televised devices.

State Council’s boost for doing business

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
THE State Council made arrangements to optimize the business environment to stimulate market vitality and social creativity, at an executive meeting yesterday. Premier Li Keqiang, who chaired the meeting, called for universal use of a negative list of sectors and businesses off limits to foreign investment to control market entry. Optimizing business environment would help productivity and competitiveness, he said, adding that business environment is the foundation for developing a modern economy and ensuring high-quality development. “Greater efforts should be made in streamlining administration, compliance oversight and offering better services. An internationally competitive business environment would have equal treatment for domestic and foreign enterprises and stimulate market entities and social creativity,” he said. China was ranked the 78th in ease of doing business, according to a 2017 report by the World Bank, up from 96 in 2013. The government will cut red tape, reduce taxes and slash fees for enterprises. It was decided at the meeting that more efforts will be made to reduce or cancel fees paid by enterprises, including operational and service fees and fees charged by sectoral associations and chambers of commerce. Costs for customs clearance will be lowered. The government will further simplify the procedures of administrative review and speed up approval procedures for business startups, tax payments, application for construction permit and water, electricity and gas services, and real estate registration. Cutting electricity prices will also be a priority. A new oversight mechanism characterized by integrity and information disclosure will be established at a faster pace. A unified punishment mechanism for breaches will be improved. An evaluation mechanism for business environment will be established, and rolled out nationwide over time. Special sectoral measures will be unveiled to facilitate the application for construction permits and cross-border trade. “There is still much more that we can do to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve services. We should foster a more enabling business environment to incentivize a visible improvement in the ease of doing business for entrepreneurs, market entities and the general public,” Li said. A series of measures have been taken by the government to cut red tape, reduce corporate burdens and improve the business environment. It has canceled or delegated administrative approval by the State Council bodies on 697 items, which account for 45 percent of the total. The government also shortened the list of intermediary services for administrative approval by 323 items, or 74 percent of the total, and canceled professional qualification and certification requirements for 434 items, more than 70 percent of the total. The meeting also agreed to deepen reform of the science system. The country will enhance integration of basic science and application study, stimulate enterprises, universities and institutions to increase investment on fundamental research.

In the bleak midwinter

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 08:01
People walk along snow covered streets in Xiangyang City, central China’s Hubei Province. The national observatory yesterday continued to issue an orange alert for snowstorms, which are expected to blanket the country’s central regions today. Parts of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei and Anhui are braced for heavy snowfall — up to 20 millimeters in some areas — the National Meteorological Center forecast. It advised residents to stay indoors and urged local authorities to take precautions regarding roads, railways, electricity and telecommunications. It added central and eastern provinces could expect widespread rain or snow during the next 10 days.