China unveils new individual income tax rules for exemption

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) — China Saturday announced specific rules concerning tax exemption to reduce the amount of individual income tax (IIT) paid on incomes earned overseas.

According to the rules jointly unveiled by the Ministry of Finance and State Taxation Administration (STA), individuals who have lived on the Chinese mainland for six consecutive years and have stayed there for 183 days or more each year will need to pay IIT on their overseas-sourced incomes. Otherwise, their incomes earned overseas will be IIT exempt.

The clock for the six-year period will be reset if the individual leaves the mainland for more than 30 consecutive days in a year, according to the rules.

The rules, coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, also stipulated that a stay of less than 24 hours on the mainland will not be counted as a day, and the count started from Jan. 1 this year.

The adjustment marked more generous tax exemptions on overseas-sourced incomes of foreigners and non-mainland citizens working in the mainland. The move will attract more foreign investment and overseas talent to work in the mainland, the STA said in a statement on its website.

Previously, the exemption was for tax residents who have lived on the mainland for less than five years.

Source: Xinhua


U.S., Chinese experts discuss opportunities, challenges in smart energy application

SAN FRANCISCO, March 16 (Xinhua) — A group of U.S. and Chinese scholars and experts met Saturday in Silicon Valley to discuss opportunities and challenges in smart energy application and building smart villages in the United States and China.

Representatives from Microsoft Corporation, the Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute (GEIRI) North America, and other professionals in energy industry shared their experience and expertise on developing smart energy at a seminar launched by the U.S.-China Green Energy Council in San Jose, California.

Chen Xi, Chief Information Officer of GEIRI North America, affiliated to the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), said the SGCC, the largest electricity utility company in China, boasts advanced electricity technology and abundant experience in construction of power networks in the country.

The United States has accumulated a lot of experience on power market, high efficiency and the ability of profit-making of utility companies, which can be learned by China in developing a better and more efficient power network in the future, Chen said.

The seminar held two panels for in-depth discussions on smart energy cooperation between the United States and China, present and future challenges, artificial intelligent (AI) technology in power development, business development and building smart villages.

Panel speakers included Scott Mauvais, director of Microsoft Cities, who talked on AI for sustainability, Zhiwei Wang, president of GEIRI North America, and Professor Tom Kosnik, a partner of FoundersX Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm dedicated to investment in AI and big data.

Source: Xinhua


Chinese vice premier addresses national spring agricultural production work conference in Xiangyang, China’s Hubei


China’s Jiangxi Province, Bulgaria’s Sofia Region sign MoU on education cooperation

SOFIA, March 16 (Xinhua) — China’s Jiangxi Province and Bulgaria’s Sofia Region signed here on Saturday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Educational Cooperation, the Sofia Region said in a press release on its website.

The memorandum aims to encourage and support respective educational departments as well as colleges and universities to conduct exchanges and cooperation.

“In order to train talents needed in bilateral cooperation so as to enhance mutual understanding and promote friendly exchanges and cooperation, Jiangxi Province plans to offer scholarship of Jiangxi Provincial Government to five students of Sofia Region in the second half of 2019,” the memorandum said.

“The specific matters concerning five students from Sofia Region coming to Jiangxi to study will be facilitated and supported by departments of foreign affairs and education of the two sides,” it said.

The memorandum was also signed with a view of promoting bilateral friendly exchanges and cooperation so as to further push forward the consolidation and development of sister province/region relationship, it said.

Source: Xinhua


Large indoor ski resort to open in southern China

GUANGZHOU, March 16 (Xinhua) — A 75,000 square-meter indoor ski resort will open in China’s warm south on June 15 amid the growing popularity of winter sports.

The ski park, located in Guangdong province’s capital Guangzhou, will be three times the size of the famous Ski Dubai and be able to accommodate over 3,000 customers at the same time, said Li Wanxiong, general manager of the project.

Li said the resort was building four ski slopes with different difficulty levels, with the longest one measuring 460 meters. The biggest vertical drop of the slopes will be 66 meters.

Tourists can also enjoy a variety of ice and snow activities, such as ice sculptures and bumper cars on ice, he added.

As the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, China is seeing an explosive growth in winter tourism and sports.

About 197 million visits were made by Chinese travelers for ice and snow activities in the 2017-2018 winter, a year-on-year increase of 16 percent, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Last August, construction started on a 227,000-square-meter indoor ski resort in Shanghai and is expected to open in 2022.

Source: Xinhua


Chinese university puts students to WeChat test to pass social media course

  • Class members must add more than 1,000 new contacts to make the grade
Students studying social media operations at one Chinese university must add more than 1,000 new contacts to pass the class. Photo: Shutterstock
Students studying social media operations at one Chinese university must add more than 1,000 new contacts to pass the class. Photo: Shutterstock
A marketing course has become a popularity contest with a university in central China requiring students to add more than 1,000 contacts to their WeChat account to earn a pass, according to Chinese media reports.
Students enrolled in Henan University of Finance and Economics’ course on social media operations must add 1,001 new contacts to pass and 1,667 to get a distinction, Shanghai-based news site Thepaper.cn reported on Sunday.
The course, run by the university’s school of communications, teaches students about marketing and promotion on social media, particularly WeChat, China’s biggest social media network with more than 1 billion users.

The app, operated by Chinese internet giant Tencent, is a conduit for games, shopping, news, payments and personal posts.

Market for bogus WeChat accounts still alive and well despite crackdown on illegal practice

Many students complained about the requirement online, saying the number was too high and there was no way they could meet so many new people and add them to their WeChat accounts.

Responding to the complaints, the university said the requirement had an academic purpose and staff discussed the issue last week with students who had signed up for the course.

Source: SCMP


As Xi heads to Italy, Vatican says China should not fear Church

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A top Vatican official says China’s government should not fear “distrust or hostility” from the Roman Catholic Church, writing amid speculation over whether President Xi Jinping will meet Pope Francis this week.

Senior Vatican sources have said Francis is willing to meet Xi and that intermediaries had made overtures to the Vatican, but the Chinese side had not yet formally asked for a meeting. Any encounter would be the first between a Chinese leader and a pope.

Xi’s visit, starting Thursday, is his first to Italy following a historic agreement in September between the Vatican and the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops in China.

Beijing cut diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1951 and has remained concerned that an independent Church in China could threaten its authority.

“The Holy See (nurtures) no distrust or hostility towards any country,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin writes in the introduction of a new book on China to be published on Tuesday. An advance copy of Parolin’s comments in the book, “The Church in China – A Future Yet to be Written” – were made available to Reuters.

Parolin, second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy, said the Catholic Church’s work in China “cannot be separated from a stance of respect, esteem, and trust towards the Chinese people and their legitimate state authorities.”


This appeared to be another attempt by the Vatican to allay Beijing’s concerns.

While the historic September agreement initiated an unprecedented direct dialogue between the Vatican and China, Beijing and the Holy See have not resumed diplomatic, relations.

Parolin wrote that the previously “inextricable knots” in relations between China and the Vatican could be untied through a new, unified approach involving a mix of “theology, law, pastoral work, and even diplomacy.”

It is routine for heads of state and government visiting Italy to also meet the pope. A Vatican source said it could be inserted into Xi’s schedule “at the last minute”. A Vatican spokesman said it is not on the pope’s schedule.

The September deal, in the making for more than 10 years, gives the Vatican a long-sought say in the choice of bishops in China. Critics, particularly conservative Catholics, have labelled it a sellout to the Communist government.

China’s approximately 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association. Now both sides recognise the pope.

Many believe the September deal is a precursor to resumption of diplomatic ties with Beijing.

That would mean severing relations with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province. The Vatican is the self-ruled island’s last remaining diplomatic ally in Europe.

Source: Reuters


India, Pakistan threatened to unleash missiles at each other – sources

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The sparring between India and Pakistan last month threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by U.S. officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events said.

At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”, according to Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington.

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the Kashmir region, which both claim and is at the core of their enmity, remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

The exchanges did not get beyond threats, and there was no suggestion that the missiles involved were anything more than conventional weapons, but they created consternation in official circles in Washington, Beijing and London.

Reuters has pieced together the events that led to the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, as well as the concerted diplomatic efforts to get both sides to back down.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

In their first such clash since the last war between the two nations in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Hours later, videos of the bloodied Indian pilot, handcuffed and blindfolded, appeared on social media, identifying himself to Pakistani interrogators, deepening anger in New Delhi.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a general election in April-May, the government was under pressure to respond.


That evening, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke over a secure line to the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asim Munir, to tell him India was not going to back off its new campaign of “counter terrorism” even after the pilot’s capture, an Indian government source and a Western diplomat with knowledge of the conversations told Reuters in New Delhi.

Doval told Munir that India’s fight was with the militant groups that freely operated from Pakistani soil and it was prepared to escalate, said the government source.

A Pakistani government minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad separately confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan. They did not specify who delivered the threat or who received it, but the minister said Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies “were communicating with each other during the fight, and even now they are communicating with each other.
Pakistan said it would counter any Indian missile attacks with many more launches of its own, the minister told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” the Pakistani minister said.
Doval’s office did not respond to a request for comment. India was not aware of any missile threat issued to Pakistan, a government official said in reply to a Reuters request for comment.
Pakistan’s military declined to comment and Munir could not be reached for comment. Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The crisis unfolded as U.S. President Donald Trump was trying to hammer out an agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi over its nuclear programme.

U.S. security advisor Bolton was on the phone with Doval on the night of Feb 27 itself, and into the early hours of Feb 28, the second day of the Trump-Kim talks, in an attempt to defuse the situation, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and the Indian official said.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also in Hanoi, also called both sides to seek a way out of the crisis.

“Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a briefing in Washington on March 5.

A State Department official declined comment when asked if they knew of the threats to use missiles.

Pompeo spoke to Doval, the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmood Qureshi, respectively, Palladino said.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson told reporters in Singapore last week that he had separately been in touch with the Indian navy chief, Sunil Lanba, throughout the crisis. There was no immediate response from Lanba’s office to a question on the nature of the conversations.

U.S. efforts were focused on securing the quick release of the Indian pilot by Pakistan and winning an assurance from India it would pull back from the threat to fire rockets, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and officials in Washington said.

“We made a lot of effort to get the international community involved in encouraging the two sides to de-escalate the situation because we fully realized how dangerous it was,” said a senior Trump administration official.

The Pakistani minister said China and the United Arab Emirates also intervened. China’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The government of the UAE said Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan held talks with both Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

India has not given details, but has said it was in touch with major powers during the conflict.

On the morning of Feb 28, Trump told reporters in Hanoi that he expected the crisis to end soon.

“They have been going at it and we have been involved in trying to have them stop. Hopefully that is going to be coming to an end.”

Later that afternoon, Khan announced in Pakistan’s parliament that the Indian pilot would be released, and he was sent back the next day.

“I know last night there was a threat there could a missile attack on Pakistan, which got defused,” Khan said. “I know, our army stood prepared for retaliation of that attack.

The two countries have gone to war three times since both gained independence in 1947, the last time in 1971. The two armies are trading fire along the line of control that separates them in Kashmir, but the tensions appear contained for now.
Diplomatic experts said that the latest crisis underlined the chances of misread signals and unpredictability in the ties between the nuclear-armed rivals, and the huge dangers. It still was not clear whether India had targeted a militant camp in Pakistan and whether there were any casualties, they said.
“Indian and Pakistani leaders have long evinced confidence that they can understand each other’s deterrence signals and can de-escalate at will,” said Joshua White, a former White House official who is now at Johns Hopkins.
“The fact that some of the most basic facts, intentions and attempted strategic signals of this crisis are still shrouded in mystery … should be a sobering reminder that neither country is in a position to easily control a crisis once it begins.”.
Source: Reuters

Chinese FM talks about issues of mutual concern with French counterpart on phone

BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) — Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about high-level exchanges and issues of mutual concern with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian over the phone on Friday.

The two sides agreed that China and France should strengthen their strategic communication and coordination, defend multilateralism, safeguard the tenets and principles of the UN Charter and jointly deal with the various global challenges in the face of the uncertainties in the international situation for the moment.

They also agreed to push forward the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level.

Source: Xinhua


China ready to continue to play constructive role in South Sudan: envoy

UNITED NATIONS, March 15 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy said Friday that China is ready to continue to play a constructive role in South Sudan.

“China is ready to continue to play a constructive role in achieving peace, stability and development in South Sudan,” Wu Haitao, the charge d’affaires of China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, told the Security Council after it adopted Resolution 2459 to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

“Since its deployment, UNMISS has played an important role in maintaining peace and stability in South Sudan,” he said.

“The international community should continue to support the mission in carrying out its mandate,” Wu added.

He also noted that the international community, especially the Security Council, should fully acknowledge the importance of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan signed between the government and major oppositions last September.

“UNMISS should focus on facilitating the implementation of the agreement in order to help sustain the current positive momentum in South Sudan,” he added.

The Security Council on Friday extended the mandate of UNMISS for an additional year till March 15, 2020.

The resolution, drafted by the United States, received 14 votes in favor from the 15-member Security Council and one abstention from Russia.

Source: Xinhua

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