Posts tagged ‘China’

21/11/2014

Four regions to scrap urban-rural ‘hukou’ distinction – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

In a long-awaited reform, four Chinese provincial regions have removed the rural/urban distinction in the household registration system, or “hukou“, making things fairer for residents, chinanews.com reported.

Four regions to scrap urban-rural '<EM>hukou</EM>' distinction

The four regions are Henan, Heilongjiang and Hebei provinces and Xinjiang Ugyur autonomous region, said the report.

The regions stipulated there will be no more rural hukou and urban hukou, with both rural and urban dwellers registered as “residents”.

They are the first provinces to put into action a State Council document on reform of China’s household registration system, which was released on July 30, urging officials to scrap the urban-rural distinction.

Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province said the distinction was removed since Nov 1 this year, and people can now change their hukou at local public security stations. For example, dwellers with a “rural hukou” can change it for one that just reads “resident”.

Southwest China’s Guizhou province and East China’s Jiangxi province also introduced drafts of reform plans, and the public’s feedback is being solicited on the drafts.

Guizhou’s draft schemes propose that from Jan 1 next year, households will no longer be labeled as “urban or rural” but as “collective households or family households”. The collective households refer to those who register under an organization, such as a workplace.

Set up in 1958 in order to control mass urbanization, China’s hukou system effectively divided the population in two – urban households and rural households.

Under the system, rural citizens have limited access to social welfare in cities and are restricted from receiving public services such as education, medical care, housing and employment, regardless of how long they may have lived or worked in the city.

via Four regions to scrap urban-rural ‘hukou’ distinction – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

21/11/2014

China Stocks Up on Oil While It’s Cheap; Tanker Companies Profit – Businessweek

With oil prices off about 30 percent since June, China is importing record amounts of crude to build up a strategic reserve. Cheap fuel is giving tanker companies their best profits in years.

via China Stocks Up on Oil While It’s Cheap; Tanker Companies Profit – Businessweek.

21/11/2014

China Plans to Move Factories Abroad to Cut Smog – Businessweek

Even as northern China, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province, continues to suffer from hazardous air—“people with respiratory issues are advised to stay indoors or wear protective masks,” the official English language China Daily advised earlier today, Nov.20—some relief may be on the longer-term horizon.

The Baosteel Group Corp. facilities in Shanghai, China

Chinese authorities in Hebei province, one of China’s largest steel-producing regions, announced they plan to relocate steel, cement, and glass factories overseas over the next decade. The many industrial factories that surround Beijing and Tianjin are known to be a major source of the lung-choking smog that periodically smothers much of northern China. Hebei province alone produces 200 million tons of steel annually, or about one-quarter of China’s total production.

“The initiative comes at a time when local steel, cement, and glass producers are struggling, with sluggish growth in the world’s second-largest economy crippling demand for their products. In many cases, it has led to severe overcapacity,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported Nov. 19.

By 2017, according to Hebei authorities, Hebei plans to move 5 million tons of steel production capacity, the same amount for cement, and 3 million “weight boxes” of glass production (a weight box is roughly 50 kg, the paper explained). Much more will be moved in the following six years, through 2023, including 20 million tons of steel, 30 million of cement, and 10 million weight boxes of glass production, Xinhua reported.

While steel manufacturers will be encouraged through unspecified preferential policies to relocate some production in Africa and Asia, cement and glass producers will go to those two regions, as well as South America and Central and East Europe.

“Hebei is a major source of industrial pollutants blamed for the notorious choking smog that often spreads to neighboring regions like Beijing,” Xinhua reported.

via China Plans to Move Factories Abroad to Cut Smog – Businessweek.

21/11/2014

How Indians and Chinese Study in the U.S. Shows Degrees of Development – China Real Time Report – WSJ

A record number of international students—close to 900,000 scholars–studied at U.S. colleges and universities last year and more than four out of ten of them were from India or China.

How the best and brightest from China and India choose their expensive American degrees demonstrates the differing levels of development between the world’s only billion-person economies.

Chinese students tend to choose undergraduate courses focused on business, while Indians opt for short graduate programs in more technical subjects like science and math.

A report from the Institute of International Education published this week has the figures. China continued to be the biggest exporter of students to the United States by far. It had more than 274,000 students stateside, which was a 17% increase from the previous year.

India was a distant second but still had more than 102,000 college and university students to America. That was a 6% increase from the year before, and the first rise in the number of students from the subcontinent in five years.

Back in the school year which ended in June 2010, China passed India as the biggest source of foreign freshman in the U.S.—a title India had held for years. China has been adding to that lead ever since.

China’s rise to the top—it had 200,000 more students last year to the U.S. than it did just eight years earlier—reflects the growing incomes and increasing globalization of the country’s citizens, analysts say.

Chinese students were much more likely to go to the states for undergraduate studies than Indian students. Only around 12% of Indians that study in the U.S. were there for undergraduate studies during the past school year, compared to 40% of Chinese students, the IIE study showed.

It makes sense, said Akhil Daswani, chief operating officer of OnCourse Vantage, an education consulting company in India, an undergraduate degree is a luxury few Indians can afford.

“If you are going to spend $250,000 over four years you have to have a considerable amount of disposable income,” Mr. Daswani said. “Undergraduate schools are marketing heavily (in China). It is the first place they want to go because they are getting so much business.”

When they go for an international degree, Indians prefer to get more bang for their rupee, they tend to go for two-year graduate courses that lead to high-paying jobs.

Close to 80% of Indian students in the U.S. last year were aiming to get technical degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, the study showed. That figure for China was 42%. Chinese students, meanwhile, leaned more towards business degrees. Around 28% of Chinese students were studying business compared to 12% of Indian students.

via How Indians and Chinese Study in the U.S. Shows Degrees of Development – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

20/11/2014

Fossil-hunting: Bone China | The Economist

A GIANT, pinkish femur juts out of the ground, longer than a person is tall. The area is littered with the fossilised vertebrae, leg and arm bones and skull of this Hadrosaurus. For 70m years it and other dinosaurs have lain buried here. Now the site in Zhucheng, in Shandong province in eastern China, is known as “dinosaur valley” for its more than 10,000 fossils found to date. The hunt for dinosaurs only properly began in China in recent decades. Already more species have been identified there than in any other country.

The bonanza is explained by China’s great expanses of rock from the Mesozoic era, when “fearful dragons”, as they are called in Chinese, roamed. In many areas rivers, floods, sandstorms and earthquakes buried the animals soon after they died, so preserving them. An unusually large amount of the rock from this era is now close to the surface, so the troves of bones, eggs and footprints have been uncovered comparatively easily. A recent discovery in Liaoning province, the Changyuraptor yangi, is the largest known four-winged flying reptile and marks another vital step on the evolutionary path from dinosaurs to birds.

A rise in science funding also lies behind China’s dinosaur bounty: rather like the Chinese economy, Chinese palaeontology is in its rapidly emerging stage, says Xu Xing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who himself has found more than 40 new species. Fossils are frequently uncovered at the country’s many construction sites, along the routes of new railways, for example.

Selling fossils is illegal in China. But many farmers now make far more money flogging fossils (including fake ones) on the black market than they do from their crops. Attempts to build a tourist industry around dinosaurs have been less lucrative. Farmers will have to be better compensated for their fossil discoveries if scientists are to win the battle of the bones.

via Fossil-hunting: Bone China | The Economist.

20/11/2014

China’s Water Supply Is Contaminated and Shrinking – Businessweek

China’s hazardous smog is an in-your-face and choke-your-lungs kind of problem—hard to miss, particularly when air quality soars to severely polluted levels, as it did in Beijing today (Nov.19). But an equally dire environmental threat is the alarmingly low quality of China’s water resources.

A polluted canal in Beijing

That was highlighted in an investigative report on China’s water crisis in the official Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Sixty percent of China’s groundwater, monitored at 4,778 sites across the country, is either “bad” or “very bad,” according to a survey by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Xinhua reported. Meanwhile, more than half, or 17 of China’s 31 major freshwater lakes, are polluted, at least slightly or moderately.

The report said that 300 of China’s 657 major cities also face water shortages, according to the standard set by the United Nations. A particularly severe problem is the dearth of water in the North China region, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the surrounding province of Hebei. Water per capita in that area amounts to only 286 cubic meters annually, much less than the 500 cubic meter minimum. Below that minimum is classified as “absolute scarcity.” (Xinhua says under 1,000 cubic meters per capita classifies as “scarcity.”)

With rapid urbanization an official economic priority, fears are that China’s crisis of degraded and inadequate water supplies could worsen. Meanwhile, about 3.3 million hectares of farmland—an area the size of Belgium—has become too contaminated to grow crops, China’s authorities revealed late last year.

“Experts blamed some local governments and businesses for recklessly pursuing quick money by developing projects that devoured resources and caused serious pollution,” the China Daily reported today, citing the Xinhua article on water scarcity.

via China’s Water Supply Is Contaminated and Shrinking – Businessweek.

20/11/2014

China Railway Construction wins $12 billion Nigeria deal: Xinhua | Reuters

China Railway Construction Corp (601186.SS) (1186.HK) has signed a deal worth nearly $12 billion with Nigeria to build a railway along the West African nation’s coast, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

The announcement comes shortly after Mexico abruptly scrapped a $3.75 billion high-speed rail contract with a consortium led by the Chinese firm over transparency concerns.

China is pushing to win railway construction projects around the world as part of plans to export its high-speed technology and lift its manufacturing sector up the value chain.

Beijing is also pumping money into the sector, with more than $100 billion worth of infrastructure projects approved in late October and early November in a bid to bolster slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy.

“It is a mutually beneficial project,” CRCC Chairman Meng Fengchao told Xinhua. He added the railway project will lead to equipment exports from China worth $4 billion, including construction machinery, trains and steel products.

via China Railway Construction wins $12 billion Nigeria deal: Xinhua | Reuters.

19/11/2014

More nuclear plants and renewable energy under new development plan | South China Morning Post

China will boost oil exploration, use less coal and more natural gas, build more nuclear plants and develop renewable energy under a new seven-year development plan.

nuclear.jpg

The State Council’s newly released plans for 2014-2020 marks the latest attempt by policymakers to limit the nation’s appetite for energy. Reflecting its rapid industrialisation and economic growth, China has become a voracious consumer of energy, changing global energy markets and the geopolitics of energy security.

The document sets out five strategic tasks for the nation’s energy development. The first is to achieve greater energy independence by promoting clean and efficient use of coal, increasing domestic oil production, and developing renewable energy .

China plans to develop new and existing oilfields in nine regions where it has large proven reserves – including in the northwestern, central and northeastern provinces as well as offshore fields in the Bohai Gulf and the East and South China seas.

The plan also calls for boosting offshore oil exploration though improved exploration trace analysis, promoting deep-sea bidding from foreign corporations to develop offshore sites and greater research and development in deep-sea oil discovery technology and equipment.

The plan’s second task is to curb excessive energy consumption and implement energy-efficiency programmes in urban and rural areas. The third task builds on this goal by cutting the proportion of coal used in the nation’s energy production while using more natural gas, nuclear power and renewable energy. The plan calls for more nuclear plants to be built along the coast “at a suitable time” while also studying the feasibility of inland nuclear plants.

The fourth task is to expand international cooperation in energy, establish regional markets and participate in global energy governance. The fifth is to promote innovation in energy-related technology.

via More nuclear plants and renewable energy under new development plan | South China Morning Post.

19/11/2014

Why India is doing better than most emerging markets | The Economist

INVESTORS have fallen out of love with emerging markets. Since the start of last year emerging-market stocks have trailed their rich-world peers. Currencies are falling. Worst-hit is the Russian rouble, which has fallen by 30% against the dollar this year. The currencies of other biggish emerging markets, such as Brazil, Turkey and South Africa, have also weakened. For such economies growth is harder to come by. The IMF recently cut its forecasts for emerging markets by more than for rich countries. But India is a notable exception to the general pessimism. Its stockmarket has touched new highs. The rupee is stable. And the IMF nudged up its 2014 growth forecast for India to 5.8%. That figure is still quite low: growth rates of 8-9% have been more typical. But in comparison with others it is almost a boom. Why is India doing better than most emerging markets?

In part optimism about India owes to its newish government. In May Narendra Modi’s Baratiya Janata Party (BJP) won a thumping victory in elections on a pro-growth platform. Since then the BJP has strengthened its position in some key states. So far reform has been piecemeal. Procedures for government approvals have been streamlined. The powers of labour inspectors have been curbed. Civil servants now work harder. That has been enough to sustain hopes of further and bigger reforms. Yet much of the continued enthusiasm about India is down to luck. The currents that sway the global economy presently—the dollar’s strength; slowdown in China; aggressive money-printing in Japan; stagnation in the euro zone and falling oil prices—are less harmful to India than to most emerging markets.

Start with the dollar, which has been buoyed by a resilient American economy and the prospect of interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve. Past episodes of rising interest rates and dollar strength (for instance in the early 1980s or mid-1990s) have not been kind to emerging markets. Bond yields rise and currencies fall as capital is drawn back to America. India has a bit less to fear from such a rush to the exits; its bond markets are tricky for foreigners to enter in the first place. India is also less harmed by slowdown in China, as only around 5% of its exports go there. It is not part of China’s supply-chain, which takes in much of South-East Asia. Nor is it a big exporter of industrial commodities, as Brazil is. And a weaker yen in response to quantitative easing by the Bank of Japan hurts Asia’s manufacturing exporters more than service-intensive India. The misery in the euro zone is of greater concern to Europe’s trading partners in Turkey and Russia than to faraway India. And the fall in crude-oil prices that hurts oil exporters, such as Russia and Nigeria, is a boon to a big oil importer like India. Indeed the deflation that is stalking large parts of the world is helpful to India, which has suffered from high inflation.

India is not impervious to bad news. Some of its recent economic data have looked a little soggy. Exports slumped in October. Car sales have fallen for two consecutive months and there is little sign yet of a meaningful recovery in business investment. This explains, in part, why there have been growing calls (including from the finance minister) for the central bank to cut interest rates soon in response to a drop in consumer-price inflation. The troubles in other emerging markets ought to counsel caution. Any sign that policymakers might be ditching discipline in favour of quick fixes might see India fall from investors’ favour. But for the time being, it is riding high.

via The Economist explains: Why India is doing better than most emerging markets | The Economist.

19/11/2014

Summitry: The Chinese order | The Economist

FOR the past week China’s state media have conveyed an almost imperial choreography playing out in the Great Hall of the People, in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leaders’ compound next to the Forbidden City in Beijing, and at Yanqi Lake just outside the capital. Every day, on television and in newspapers, President Xi Jinping (above, right) is portrayed receiving lines of grateful world leaders. And every day he is seen arranging prosperity, ordering peace or, in an agreement with Barack Obama, America’s president, (above, left) on carbon emissions, even saving the planet. It escaped no visitor that not since Mao Zedong has a Chinese leader conducted foreign affairs with such eye-catching aplomb. Yet this was not only Mr Xi’s moment, but also China’s—a diplomatic coming-out party of sorts.

On several fronts, a country known for a somewhat reactive diplomacy has made the running. China was host this week to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation—APEC, a regional trade gathering that rarely makes waves. Yet in quick succession China declared free-trade agreements with South Korea and Australia, two sizeable Asian economies, all but signed. It announced a breakthrough with America by promising at last to eliminate tariffs on information-technology products. And to the delight of Asian leaders and of Vladimir Putin, president of Russia (reviled in the West but made welcome in Beijing), Mr Xi announced $40 billion in investments to cement a new commercial “Silk Road” that will run overland through Central Asia and Russia eventually to Europe and by sea through South-East Asia to the Middle East and Africa.

Most strikingly, on November 11th Mr Xi urged APEC’s 21 members to move towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). The commitment to “study” the idea over the next two years is in effect to launch it, and for all that an eventual FTAAP is unlikely to be notable for its high standards, the announcement was intended to stand in contrast to the predicament of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, sponsored by America, which remains bogged down in negotiations between America and Japan despite earlier hopes of a breakthrough announcement at APEC.

On security matters, Mr Xi appeared to be making the running, too. There had been a “meeting of minds”, according to Benigno Aquino, president of the Philippines, over disputed reefs in the South China Sea. Most striking, though, was an agreement for China to resume high-level contacts with Japan. China has rationed these, and in 2012 began actively challenging Japan’s control of the Senkaku islands (known as the Diaoyu islands to China) in the East China Sea; ties had been frozen entirely since Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine last December. The shrine, honouring Japan’s war dead, has militarist overtones.

Yet on November 7th China and Japan announced a four-point agreement to reduce tensions (see article). The signal agreement was later sealed when Mr Xi met Mr Abe for the first time as president. Admittedly, the withering handshake and puckery expression he offered Mr Abe lent the impression of a dog owner obliged to pick up another pooch’s turd.

That breakthrough was downplayed in state media, perhaps because Chinese ultranationalists might perceive in it a climbdown from China’s hard line over the islands, and towards Japan in general. But given much more prominence was the summit between the Chinese and American presidents, their second full one after that at Sunnylands in California in 2013. Again, there were welcome breakthroughs in co-operation. One was the agreement on information technology, which should now clear the way for a World Trade Organisation pact on IT products. Another was that both sides agreed to find common confidence-building and other measures to help avoid misunderstandings or accidental military confrontations on or above the East China Sea and South China Sea, where the United States shadows China’s increasingly assertive military presence.

But the biggest surprise was the agreement on greenhouse gases. China and America are the two biggest polluters, together accounting for 44% of global carbon emissions. Without their commitment to cut emissions, any global target is meaningless. On November 12th Mr Obama announced a “historic” agreement in which America will cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels, while China promises its emissions will peak around 2030. It gives a big boost to getting a global deal on carbon emissions at a crucial gathering in Paris next year. For China, a huge guzzler of coal, setting a date for emissions to peak is a first, even though it is five years later than the Americans would have liked. To bring down emissions after 2030, it aims for a big growth in nuclear power and for a fifth of its electricity to come from non-fossil fuels.

via Summitry: The Chinese order | The Economist.

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