Archive for December, 2014

31/12/2014

Chinese diplomacy 2014

China made or re-established relationships or alliances in 2014 with 167 nations (a few multiple relationships); in:

  • January: Cambodia; Ghana; Bulgaria; Peru; Mongolia; Gulf States; Belarus; France; Taiwan; India; France; Germany; Viet Nam = 13
  • February: Fiji; Greece; Afghanistan; South Korea; Sri Lanka; Hungary; USA; Pakistan; Senegal; Afghanistan; Iraq; Vietnam = 13
  • March: Saudi Arabia; UK; Poland; Cambodia; South Korea; Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and EU; Kazakhstan; USA = 12
  • April: Israel; Namibia; Timor L’este; Myanmar; Laos: Australia; Brazil; Germany; Hungary; Syrian opposition leader; Malaysia; Cuba; Britain; Ghana; South Africa; Denmark; Brunei = 17
  • May: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya; Taiwan; Iran; Turkmenistan; Bulgaria; Portugal; France; Myanmar; Kyrgyzstan; Russia; Kazakhstan; Switzerland; Azerbaijan; Turkey; Pakistan = 18
  • June: Congo; Ukraine; Angola; India; Egypt; Denmark, Finland, Ireland ; Portugal; Russia; Afghanistan; Somalia= 12
  • July: Sudan; France; Azerbaijan; Switzerland; South Korea; Germany; USA; Brazil; Argentina; Venezuela; Cuba; Bulgaria; Portugal; Indonesia; Myanmar; Laos; Canada = 17
  • August: Egypt; Mauritania; at AEAN Summit (Vietnam; Korea; Myanmar; Malaysia; Thai, India); Hungary; Burundi; Uzbekistan; Mongolia ; Vietnam; Zimbabwe; Egypt; Czech; Turkmenistan; Turkey; Antigua & Barbuda; Croatia; Madagascar; Djibouti; Singapore; Croatia = 18
  • September: Russia; Romania; Poland; Malaysia; Cuba; Tajikistan; France;  Mongolia; Pakistan; Maldives; Sri Lanka; Zimbabwe; France; India; Indonesia = 15
  • October: Italy, Jordan, Kenya; France; Zambia; Afghanistan = 6
  • November: Indonesia; Pakistan; Iraq; Cambodia, Bahrain; Jordan; Australia; Finland; New Zealand; Nepal; Fiji; Slovenia; Columbia = 14
  • December: Uzbekistan; Australia; Pakistan; Maldives; South Africa; Ireland; Tonga; Cuba; Kazakhstan; Serbia; Republic of Korea; Cambodia = 12
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31/12/2014

$330,000 compensation for family of wrongly executed man – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

The parents of Hugjiltu, an 18-year-old who was executed after being wrongly convicted of raping and killing a woman in 1996, will receive 2,059,621.4 yuan ($332,116) in state compensation, the Higher People’s Court of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region ruled on Tuesday.

$330,000 compensation for family of wrongly executed man

The verdict has been delivered to Li Sanren and Shang Aiyun, parents of Hugjiltu, on Wednesday morning, the court said.

The parents of Hugjiltu said they respect the decision of the court.

Hugjiltu’s mother, Shang Aiyun, holds a photo of her son, who was wrongfully executed 18 years ago. [Photo by Guo Tieliu/for China Daily]

On Dec 15, 2014, the Inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court overturned Hugjiltu’s previous conviction and ruled he was not guilty of rape and murder, saying that the facts of his case were unclear and evidence was inadequate. It was 18 years after the man was executed.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Hohhot found Hugjiltu, a member of the Mongolian ethnic group, guilty of raping and fatally choking a woman in a toilet at a textile factory in Hohhot on April 9, 1996. He was sentenced to death and executed in June of the same year.

The case triggered controversy in 2005 when suspected serial rapist and killer, Zhao Zhihong, confessed to the murder after he was arrested.

Zhao allegedly raped and killed 10 women and girls between 1996 and 2005. He was tried in late 2006, but no verdict has been issued.

via $330,000 compensation for family of wrongly executed man – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

31/12/2014

Religion in India bubbles over into politics – Businessweek

In small-town northern India, Muslims are offered food and money to convert to Hinduism. If that doesn’t suffice, they say they’re threatened. Across the country, the Christmas holiday is canceled for hundreds of government servants who spend the day publicly extolling the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Powerful Hindu nationalist leaders — some with close ties to Modi’s government — say they intend to ensure India becomes a completely Hindu nation.

But Modi himself? He has remained silent as nationalist demands have bubbled over into day-to-day politics, and amid growing fears among minority religious groups of creeping efforts to shunt them aside.

“We told him we feel insecure and fearful,” said the Rev. Dominic Emmanuel, a Roman Catholic priest who was in a delegation of religious leaders who met a few days ago with Modi. “We told him, ‘If there were just two words from your side, prime minister, we would feel so much better.'”

via Religion in India bubbles over into politics – Businessweek.

31/12/2014

China’s Fraudbusters Crack Down on Fake Goods – Businessweek

Xu Dajiang spends at least three days a week in supermarkets in China scrutinizing products. He’s not shopping for bargains; he’s looking for any sign of flaws—an expired sell-by date, a forbidden ingredient, an exaggerated claim on a package, or outright counterfeit.

Juts Do It

Earning a living as a professional fraudbuster, Xu is a consumer turned consumer protector, searching for any wrongdoing by local and multinational companies that can be used to file a claim with a retailer and collect damages. “There will always be manufacturers who treat the law with indifference and flout it no matter how much you tighten the regulations,” he says. “That’s when fraudbusters like me have a role to play.”

Fraudbusting is flourishing in China, thanks to continued food and product safety scandals and a revised consumer protection law enacted in March that increases compensation for those who buy damaged or fake goods. The law allows consumers to try to recoup as much as three times the cost of the original product or service purchased. They can file class actions for the first time. The law also carries stiffer penalties for businesses that mislead shoppers.

via China’s Fraudbusters Crack Down on Fake Goods – Businessweek.

31/12/2014

China Adds the Equivalent of Malaysia’s Economy to its Output – Businessweek

China’s economy officially just got bigger. More important, it also became more balanced, a longtime priority of Chinese leaders and good news for the world.

China's Revised GDP Shows Rebalancing Success With Bigger Service Sector

China’s GDP revision, announced by the national bureau of statistics on its website today, shows the economy in 2013 was 1.92 trillion yuan ($303.8 billion) larger than previously thought. That’s 3.4 percent more and equivalent to adding the Malaysian economy to Chinese output, as Bloomberg News and others have noted. That puts last year’s GDP at about $9.61 trillion.

The 2014 figure will also be revised upward, although by not much, the statistics bureau says, probably early next year. And planned changes to how Beijing counts research and development costs and housing, will likely boost the size of the economy.

The revision follows the release earlier this week of data from China’s last economic census. Almost 3 million census takers polled more than 10 million companies and 60 million individual-owned private enterprises across the country for a three-month period last spring. The two previous censuses saw GDP revised up by 16.8 percent in 2004 and 4.4 percent in 2008.

“The relatively small upwards adjustment [this time], compared with previous [census] revisions, won’t make a huge difference to how the economy is viewed or to key metrics, such as China’s debt to GDP ratio,” writes Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at London’s Capital Economics, in a research note today. “Nonetheless, it does provide some positive news on rebalancing.”

The census revealed a bigger service sector, which in 2013 made up 46.9 percent of GDP, up from 46.1 percent before. Meanwhile, China’s often resource-wasting, pollution-generating industrial sector takes up a slightly smaller share of the economy, falling to 43.7 percent from 43.9 percent before the census.

via China Adds the Equivalent of Malaysia’s Economy to its Output – Businessweek.

20/12/2014

Chinese warm to Russia in the winter – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

Chinese travelers have been flocking to Russia in recent days to cash in on the weak rouble.

Chinese warm to Russia in the winter

Bitter weather means that winter is usually the offseason for Russian tourism, and some Chinese travel agencies even stop selling tours to the country from October to June.

But this winter, the ailing rouble has stoked Chinese traveler’s enthusiasm for heading north.

Online travel agency Tongcheng Network Technology Share Co, in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, recently launched winter tour services to Russia for the first time. The agency said it has received 113 percent more bookings in December than in November.

“The number of bookings and inquiries increased sharply as the rouble depreciated significantly,” said Liu Qing, chief executive officer of Tongcheng’s Outbound Tourism Department.

Ctrip.com International, the largest online travel agency in China, said inquiries about Russian tours rose by 100 percent month-on-month in December.

Dai Yu, marketing director of Ctrip’s Tourism Department, said winter tours to Russia are about 60 percent cheaper than summer ones and the cost has fallen further due to the weak rouble.

Group tours to Russia usually last for six to eight days, with recent prices quoted at between 5,000 and 8,000 yuan ($815 to $1,300), much lower than tours to Western Europe.

Zhang Jing, 32, from Beijing, said she plans to book a low-priced tour to Russia for her parents. “It is a good deal to go now,” Zhang said, adding that her parents will choose between leaving at New Year‘s or Spring Festival in February.

Travel industry insiders said Russia will be a popular choice for Chinese visitors during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday.

Some agencies have already sold Spring Festival tours, although most travelers will only make their plans in the next month.

Liu said, “We can’t estimate how many travelers will book tours for Spring Festival, but we have already seen a dramatic rise in bookings.”

China is the main source of tourists to Russia, with their numbers increasing by 10 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2014, according to the Russian tourism authority. The number of tourists from Russia, the third-largest source of inbound tourists to China, continues to fall and will worsen due to the weakening rouble.

via Chinese warm to Russia in the winter – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

19/12/2014

What could happen in China in 2015? | McKinsey & Company

It seemed harder to prepare my “look ahead” this year. On reflection, I believe this is because political and economic leaders in China have clear plans and supporting policies that they are sticking to. You can debate the pace at which actions are being taken, but not really the direction in which the country is traveling. This means a number of the themes I highlighted for this year will remain relevant in 2015:

Improving productivity and efficiency will remain the key to maintaining profitability for many companies, given lower economic growth (overall and at a sector level) and the impact of producer price deflation on multiple sectors.

The impact of technology as it eliminates jobs in services and manufacturing will become even greater (but still not in government).

As a result, the government will keep a sharper focus on net job creation and the quality of those new positions. Companies will hire even more information technologists to keep up in the race to exploit technology better than their competitors.

The push to lower pollution, and now carbon emissions, will lead to even greater investment in domestic solar and wind farms, boosting the global position of Chinese producers.

High-speed-rail construction will continue domestically and increasingly abroad, as Chinese companies become the builder of choice for high-speed rail globally.

Beyond these, there are several additional themes that will be important in 2015. I describe them below.

via What could happen in China in 2015? | McKinsey & Company.

19/12/2014

Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post

The former deputy chief of China’s Beijing Zoo – who claimed his 8 million yuan (about HK$10 million) fortune was earned from part-time jobs, including working as a taxi driver – was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Beijing court this morning.

Xiao Shaoxiang was jailed for life today after being found guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”. Photo: Xinhua

The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court found Xiao Shaoxiang guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”.

All his personal property would be confiscated, the Beijing-based newspaper, Mirror, reported on its official mainland microblogging Weibo website.

Prosecutors said six million yuan in cash, paintings and gold bullion from unknown sources were found in Xiao’s apartment – a cache worth a total of 8 million yuan, the court said during his trial in August.

He was charged with accepting bribes totalling more than 140 million yuan.

Xiao, 59, had denied all the charges during the trial.

He had defended himself by claiming that he had earned the money from moonlighting as an unlicensed cab driver after work at the zoo from 1991 to 1994.

via Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post.

19/12/2014

China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China will begin construction of seven million apartments under the affordable housing program in 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) announced on Friday.

MOHURD minister Chen Zhenggao revealed the target at a national conference on housing and urban-rural development. He said 4.8 million such homes should be completed next year.

The affordable housing program is aimed at providing cheap homes for eligible low-income earners. China began the construction of over seven million homes and completed 4.8 million in 2014.

Chen said China will also continue to push forward the shanty town renovation program extensively as “it can not only improve people’s livelihood but also spur economic growth“.

via China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

19/12/2014

China’s Animal Rights Movement Makes Gains – Businessweek

It’s getting a little easier to be an animal in China. The country’s fledgling animal-rights movement this week received a double boost, with a animal-welfare law in the works and a prominent zoo taking action to stop animal performances.

A tiger performs at Chongqing Safari Park in China

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Global Times, the tabloid affiliated with the official Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, reported that that the National People’s Congress is moving ahead on a plan to pass landmark legislation to protect animals, both in the wild and in captivity. Lawmakers have just completed a draft of the proposal, Chang Jiwen, vice director of the Research Institute of Resources and Environment Policies under the Development Research Center of the State Council, told the newspaper.

There’s still a long way to go before the proposal becomes law: China’s parliament isn’t likely to take up the amendment until late in 2015. But given China’s track record, we should take progress wherever we can get it. Or, as the Global Times reported, “Shi Kun, director of the Wildlife Institute at Beijing Forestry University, told the Global Times that China has long been criticized for not treating wild animals humanely, but with legal recognition of animal welfare, the country should be able to make progress on curbing phenomenon like overtime performance by zoo animals and harsh living conditions for wildlife on farms.”

via China’s Animal Rights Movement Makes Gains – Businessweek.

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