Archive for ‘China alert’

03/09/2015

China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan – BBC News

China has held a lavish parade in Beijing to mark the defeat of Japan in World War Two, showcasing its military might on an unprecedented scale. President Xi Jinping in his opening speech paid tribute to “the Chinese people who unwaveringly fought hard and defeated aggression” from Japan. He also said the People’s Liberation Army would be reduced by 300,000 personnel, but gave no timeframe.

Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march at the beginning of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, 3 September 2015

China’s growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions. China has several territorial disputes with neighbours in the South China Sea, as well as with Japan in the East China Sea. Ahead of the parade, the US said five Chinese ships had been spotted in the Bering Sea off Alaska for the first time. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the world’s largest military, with 2.3 million members. China also has the second biggest defence budget after the US.

Source: China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan – BBC News

31/08/2015

Fewer crimes to be subject to death penalty|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

China’s top legislature has adopted an amendment to the Criminal Law removing the death penalty for nine crimes and limiting the ability of those convicted of corruption from continually seeking reduced sentences. The revisions, passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Saturday, will take effect on Nov 1.

Crimes that will no longer subject to the death penalty include: ・ smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currency; ・ counterfeiting money and fraudently raising funds; ・ arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution; ・ obstructing military personnel from performing their duties; ・ fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime. When the law takes effect, the number of crimes subject to capital punishment will be reduced to 46.

Since the late 1990s, there has been a consistent move to reduce the use of the death penalty and gradually reduce the number of capital crimes, said Lang Sheng, deputy head of the Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee. Lang said the decision to abolish the death penalty in the nine crimes was made after thorough research. “After deliberation on the sentencing of the nine crimes, we found the death penalty was rarely applied,” he said. In other cases, few crimes of that type were prosecuted. The revision reflects the changing views of society and the legal community, Lang said.

The legislature also sought to restrict the ability of people convicted of corruption to repeatedly seek reduced sentences. Currently, those who are convicted of serious corruption offenses might receive a death sentence with a two-year reprieve. During the suspended death sentence period, felons typically apply for sentence reductions, often leading to sentences of life imprisonment. The law allows them, thereafter, to appeal for further reductions-commutation of their sentences, parole or non-prison sentences. The amendment changes that, allowing the courts to decline further sentence reductions. “Courts will be allowed to pass a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of commutation or parole in corruption cases,” the Law Committee said in a report to the NPC.

The amendment to the Criminal Law also changed rape laws so that sex with girls under 14, whether consensual or not, is rape. The change comes amid public outrage over recent offenders who were charged with lesser crimes in such cases.

Source: Fewer crimes to be subject to death penalty|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

27/08/2015

Why India Stands to Benefit From China Slowdown and Global Reaction – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s economy has been insulated from the turmoil in emerging markets by a long-standing handicap: It isn’t an export powerhouse. For years, growth in India has been fueled more by domestic demand—not, as in China, by manufacturing goods for sale abroad. Now India’s resilient consumer spending is an advantage as demand decelerates almost everywhere else. It is luring companies to produce in India and, the government hopes, can help spark a belated industrial revolution in the country of 1.2 billion.

Jayant Sinha, India’s minister of state for finance, said this week the Chinese slowdown and its world-wide fallout could provide a chance for India to “take the baton of global growth.” Mumbai’s benchmark stock index ended Wednesday down 1.2%, having slid 8.5% in total since the People’s Bank of China moved to devalue the yuan on Aug. 11. The rupee has lost 3.4% since then. India hasn’t been rattled as badly as Brazil, Russia or South Africa. Its international reserves are ample, and it isn’t highly dependent on foreign capital to fund imports.

Source: Why India Stands to Benefit From China Slowdown and Global Reaction – India Real Time – WSJ

26/08/2015

The World Struggles to Adjust to China’s ‘New Normal’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s leaders have warned their people they need to accommodate a “new normal” of economic growth far slower than the rate that propelled the economy into the world’s second-largest in the past two decades. As WSJ’s James T. Areddy and Lingling Wei report:

Now, the rest of the world also needs to get used to the new normal: a China in the midst of a tectonic shift in its giant economy that is rattling markets world-wide.

The slowdown deepening this year is part of a bumpy transition away from an era when smokestack industries, huge exports and massive infrastructure spending—underpinned by trillions in state-backed debt—powered China’s seemingly unstoppable rise. Today, debt has swelled to more than twice the size of the economy, and some of those industries, such as construction and steel, are reeling.

Instead of them, China is pushing services, consumer spending and private entrepreneurship as new drivers of growth that rely less on debt and more on the stock market for funding.

via The World Struggles to Adjust to China’s ‘New Normal’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

24/08/2015

Are the Best Days Over for China Tech Startups? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Over the past year, China has seen a boom in its startup scene, thanks to plenty of capital flowing into the sector.

But some investors and entrepreneurs say that could be changing as Beijing struggles to restore confidence in its economy and faltering stock market.

In Shenzhen, hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors gathered on Sunday at an event called Big Salad, where local startups talked about their business ideas, including high-tech underwear and affordable smart glasses. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and the mood was upbeat throughout, but some of them were also bracing for tougher times.

“Raising new money is difficult now,” said Mosso Lau, vice president of Shenzhen-based Firebird Institution, which runs funds that invest in early-stage startups while also serving as an incubator that helps startups develop their business ideas.

Firebird set up its last investment fund two years ago by collecting 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) from local businesses and wealthy individuals. It invested that money in tech startups such as mobile apps for food delivery and massage services.

As Firebird is now preparing to set up a new fund for next year, Mr. Lau expects it will be a lot harder to collect money this time, because potential investors have been hit by the recent stock market turmoil. “From last year until this June, there was so much money in venture investment. It was unusual,” he said.

Last year, venture-capital investments in China’s tech sector more than doubled to $6 billion from $2.8 billion in 2013, according to Hong Kong-based AVCJ Research, with both foreign and domestic funds putting in more money than the prior year. Total early-stage funding for Chinese tech startups surged to nearly $2 billion last year from $313 million in 2012 as deals increased to 299 from 172, according to AVCJ.

In January, when Jerry Dai founded a startup in Shenzhen that operates a crowdfunding platform similar to Kickstarter, there was nothing but optimism.

Entrepreneurs around him who had already raised capital told Mr. Dai that fundraising for his new venture wouldn’t be a problem because angel investors — individuals or funds that provide capital for early-stage startups before formal investment rounds — were financing just about any business idea.

But now, just as his startup is trying to find an angel investor, things are looking tougher.

“There are still many angel investors, but they are getting more selective,” he said. “Some investors think there is a bubble in China that may break in one or two years.”

Mr. Dai said he expects the process of securing funds to take longer than it would have several months ago.

“Last year was crazy. There was so much money in China,” said Heatherm Huang, a cofounder of MailTime, which makes emails easier to use on smartphones. Even though his startup is based in San Francisco, it raised much of its early funds from Chinese investors. “In some ways, things are going back to normal now.”

via Are the Best Days Over for China Tech Startups? – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

21/08/2015

China’s love for Chariot’s Of Fire hero Eric Liddell

A clutch of elderly Chinese pensioners, three Canadian women in their 70s and 80s and a British film star gathered in the courtyard of a school in the obscure industrial town of Weifang on Monday to witness the unveiling of a statue of a running man.

Statue of Scottish Olympic running hero Eric Liddel

The athlete immortalised in bronze in China is Eric Liddell, the legendary Olympian whose achievements were marked in the 1981 fi lm Chariots Of Fire.

The Canadians were there because Liddell was their father and the presence of the actor, Joseph Fiennes, was because he plays the Scottish sprinter in The Last Race, a new movie about his life to be released in March.

But why would the Chinese authorities be interested in venerating such a man? The truth is that Liddell is as much Chinese as he is Scottish.

Born in Tianjin in 1902 he went on to spend more than half his life in the country as an evangelical Christian missionary. And so while he is known as the Flying Scotsman in the UK in China he is remembered as the country’s first Olympic champion.

It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known

Eight years before Beijing sent its first team to the Olympics, Liddell won a memorable gold medal in the 400m as part of the British team in the Paris Games of 1924. His victory was all the more poignant because he had been forced to pull out of his best event the 100m as soon as the timetable for the Games was announced.

Liddell, the son of Scottish missionaries, was such a devout Christian that he would not countenance breaking the Sabbath to take part in heats held on a Sunday. Aware this meant he wouldn’t be able to participate in the qualifying rounds for the sprint Liddell devoted all his energy to training for the 400m.

As he took to the starting blocks for the final a masseur with the American Olympic team is said to have slipped a piece of paper into his hand with the Book Of Samuel quotation: “Those who honour me I will honour.”

The fates were certainly on Liddell’s side that day.

He not only won but broke the existing Olympic and world records with a time of 47.6 seconds.

His sporting success did not divert him from his chosen course however and within a year he travelled to China to take up a posting as a missionary teacher in Tianjin’s Anglo-Chinese College, a school popular with the local elite.

The missionaries believed that by teaching Christian values to the children of the wealthy they might promote them later when they reached positions of influence.

Liddell also got involved in the sporting curriculum and even advised on the construction of Tianjin’s Minyuan Stadium.

He proposed an exact copy of the then football ground of Chelsea FC, said to have been his favourite running venue in the UK. He met and married a Canadian woman called Florence, also a child of missionaries, and they had daughters Patricia and Heather.

When Florence was pregnant with their third, war broke out and, with the Imperial Japanese Army sweeping through China, Liddell insisted she and the girls leave for Canada .

Typically Liddell refused to leave his beloved China in its hour of need and was interned and placed in a camp in Weifang, where he dedicated himself to the welfare of fellow inmates.

One of these, Langdon Gilkey, a 19-year-old American who went on to became a prominent theologian, said of Liddell: “Often I would see him bent over a chessboard or a model boat or directing some sort of square dance – absorbed, weary and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the imagination of penned-up youths.

“He was overflowing with good humour and love for life with enthusiasm and charm.

“It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.”

Liddell even turned down the opportunity to return to Britain after the prime minister Winston Churchill brokered a deal for his release. True to form Liddell arranged for a pregnant woman from the camp to take his place. His tireless efforts on behalf of both the children of the camp and the older generation took its toll to such an extent that in early 1945 he had to be admitted to the camp hospital.

A few days later he sat up in bed and wrote to his wife in Canada: “… was carrying too much responsibility… had slight nervous breakdown… much better after a month in hospital. Special love to you and the children, Eric”.

But in fact he was not much better. He had a brain tumour and within an hour of writing the note he was gone.

His friend and colleague Anne Buchan reported that he uttered the words, “It’s full surrender”, before lapsing into a coma from which he would never recover. He was just 43.

via China’s love for Chariot’s Of Fire hero Eric Liddell | History | News | Daily Express.

21/08/2015

China gets Chariots of Fire sequel up and running

The much-loved British film Chariots of Fire about the Scottish runner and missionary Eric Liddell is getting a sequel thanks to his many fans in China.

Ian Charleston as Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire

Joseph Fiennes will play Riddell in a new movie filmed in China, co-written and directed by the Hong Kong director Stephen Shin with Canadian director Michael Parker.

It will be distributed by the Hong Kong-based Alibaba Pictures, who this morning also announced that they are to back the fifth Mission Impossible film.

Chariots of Fire, which won four Oscars in 1982, starred Ian Charleson as Liddell, a devout Christian who had to choose between his sport and religious beliefs at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Months before the Olympics took place, Liddell had to drop his plans to enter his preferred 100m race because the heats took place on a Sunday. Instead, he trained for the 400m and succeeded in taking the gold medal for Great Britain.

The Independent reports that the Chinese-born Liddell is regarded as a hero in China, partly for his sporting prowess but also for his actions in the Japanese internship camp where he died aged 43. Liddell was thought to have organised the smuggling of food in to prisoners.

Born in China to missionary parents, he returned to that country after his Olympic victory to continue his parents’ work. In 1934 he married fellow missionary Florence Mackenzie with whom he had three children.

Liddell remained in China after Japan invaded in 1937. In 1943, he was held in an internment camp in Weifang, and died of a brain tumour two years later, aged 43. In 2008, shortly before the Beijing Olympics, it was revealed that Winston Churchill had negotiated his release through a prisoner swap, which Liddell turned down so that a pregnant inmate could gain freedom instead.

China allows only 34 non-Chinese films to be shown in its mainland cinemas each year. Alibaba Pictures says that it “should” get such a release.

Such a focus on religion is unusual for a film in China, where the Communist government promotes atheism.

via China gets Chariots of Fire sequel up and running.

15/08/2015

China Eastern to buy 15 Airbus jets for $3.6 billion | Reuters

China Eastern (600115.SS)(0670.HK), the country’s No.2 airline by market value, plans to acquire 15 Airbus (AIR.PA) jets for about $3.6 billion to meet booming demand for air travel.

The logo of Airbus Group, Europe's largest aerospace group, is pictured in front of the company headquarters building in Ottobrunn, near Munich February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Airbus is scheduled to deliver seven A330s in 2017 and a further eight in 2018, China Eastern Airlines Corp (CEA.N) said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange.

“The company is purchasing 15 Airbus A330 planes to help to replace older planes that will retire over the next few years. It will also help to meet rising passenger demand for mid and long routes,” China Eastern said.

China will be the world’s largest air passenger market by 2034, according to the International Air Transport Association, attracting interest from foreign airlines.

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) is poised to become the first U.S. carrier to own part of a Chinese peer, announcing plans last month to buy a 3.55 percent stake in China Eastern for $450 million and gaining an “observer” seat on its board.

In a separate statement on Friday, China Eastern reported first-half net profit up sharply to 3.56 billion yuan ($557 million) from only 15 million yuan a year earlier, citing lower fuel prices and strong travel demand.

via China Eastern to buy 15 Airbus jets for $3.6 billion | Reuters.

14/08/2015

‘Car suit’ keeps vehicles high and dry during floods, Chinese inventor says | South China Morning Post

A man in eastern China has invented a “suit” for cars he claims protects them from water damage during the floods that regularly inundate the mainland’s coastal cities, an online newspaper reports.

The cover consists of a copolymer thermoplastic material and waterproof zippers. Photo: SCMP Pictures

More than 3,000 vehicles were flooded when Typhoon Soudelor hit Taizhou in Zhejiang province on August 8, Thepaper.cn reports. One photo of the storm that has drawn particular interest online shows a car wrapped in a heavy, water-proof material.

The man behind the idea is Huang Enfu, a businessman who deals in car parts. “News about damaged cars during urban floods regularly appears. Our costal city often sees such floods. That’s why I invented the suit,” Huang was quoted as saying.

The cover consists of a copolymer thermoplastic material and waterproof zippers. A car owner puts the suit down in an empty space, parks the vehicle over top, pulls the sides up and zips it closed.

Huang said he spent more than 1.6 million yuan (HK$1.93 million) and two years coming up with the idea. He has patented the design and sells them for between 1,500 yuan and 2,500 yuan

Residents in mainland cities have long complained urban sewage systems cannot cope with heavy rainfall during the wet season. Drains easily become overloaded and the water levels on flooded main streets can quickly rise past people’s waists.

Huang says his invention will even allow a properly zipped-up car to float if the water levels become too high. Owners can secure the car suit by tying the four attached ropes to a stationary object.

via ‘Car suit’ keeps vehicles high and dry during floods, Chinese inventor says | South China Morning Post.

12/08/2015

ChemChina, Camfin to launch tender offer for rest of Pirelli | Reuters

An investment vehicle controlled by China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) said it will launch a mandatory tender offer for remaining shares in Pirelli (PECI.MI) after on Tuesday taking control of the Italian tyremaker through a deal struck in March.

A Pirelli's tyre is pictured at the headquater in Milan, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

ChemChina in March agreed to become the majority owner of the world’s fifth-largest tyre manufacturer as part of a 7.3 billion euro ($8 billion) deal.

On Tuesday, Marco Polo Industrial Holding, a company created to facilitate the Chinese takeover, concluded its acquisition of a stake in Pirelli from Italian holding company Camfin, triggering the mandatory takeover bid.

A Camfin spokeswoman said the tender offer was expected to be launched in September.

State-owned ChemChina holds a 65 percent stake in Marco Polo, with the remainder in the hands of Camfin investors, who include Pirelli boss Marco Tronchetti Provera, Italian banks UniCredit (CRDI.MI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), and Russia’s Rosneft (ROSN.MM).

The tender offer will be launched at 15 euros per share with the goal to acquire all of Pirelli’s share capital and de-list the tyremaker from Milan’s stock exchange. Marco Polo also decided to launch a voluntary tender offer on Pirelli’s savings shares.

In a separate statement, Tronchetti Provera, who will remain Pirelli’s chief executive, said Camfin would invest more than 1 billion euros in the tender offer and will keep a central role in the tyremaker’s future shareholder structure, along with ChemChina.

He reiterated the Chinese investment would boost the company’s international growth, particularly in the industrial tyre sector.

“In this segment, the integration with ChemChina will allow immediate growth in volumes and market share that Pirelli alone would have taken years to achieve,” he said.

via ChemChina, Camfin to launch tender offer for rest of Pirelli | Reuters.

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