Posts tagged ‘Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’

19/08/2016

The return of the Xia | The Economist

CHINA’S leaders are immensely proud of their country’s ancient origins. President Xi Jinping peppers his speeches with references to China’s “5,000 years of history”. The problem is that archaeological evidence of a political entity in China going back that far is scant.

There is some, including engravings on animal bones, that shows the second dynasty, the Shang, really did control an area in the Yellow river basin about 3,500 years ago. But no such confirmation exists for the legendary first ruling house, the Xia. Even inside China, some historians have long suspected that the country’s founding story—in which Emperor Yu tames flooding on the Yellow river (with the help of a magic black-shelled turtle, pictured), earns for himself the “mandate of heaven” and establishes the first dynasty—was either a Noah’s-Ark flood-myth or perhaps propaganda invented later to justify centralised state power. This month, however, state-controlled media have been crowing over newly published evidence in Science, an American journal, that at least the flooding was real. This, they say, has made it more credible that the Xia was, too. Not everyone is so convinced.

Catastrophic floods leave their mark on soil and rocks. Qinglong Wu of Peking University and others have examined the geology of the upper reaches of the Yellow river. In the journal, they conclude that a vast flood did take place in the right area and not long after the right time for the supposed founding of the Xia. Although their evidence does not prove the existence of an Emperor Yu or of the dynasty he founded, it does provide a historical context in which someone might have gained power with the help of flood-taming exploits.

According to Mr Wu, a vast landslide, probably caused by an earthquake, blocked the course of the Yellow river as it flowed through the Jishi gorge on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. For six to nine months as much as 16 cubic kilometres (3.8 cubic miles) of water built up behind the accidental dam, which, when it finally burst, produced one of the biggest floods ever. At its peak, the authors calculate, the flow was 500 times the normal discharge at Jishi Gorge. Mr Wu reckons the ancient flood could easily have been felt 2,000km downstream in the area of the Yellow river said by Chinese historians to have been the realm of the Xia.

At about this time, either coincidentally or (more probably) because of the flood, the river changed its course, carving out its vast loop across the north China plain. The significance is that, while the river was finding its new course, it would have flooded repeatedly. This is consistent with old folk tales about Emperor Yu taming the river not through one dramatic action, but by decades of dredging.

The ancient flood can be dated because the earthquake that set the catastrophic events in motion also destroyed a settlement in the Jishi gorge. Radiocarbon dating of inhabitants’ bones puts the earthquake at about 1920BC—not 5,000 years ago but close-ish. Xinhua, a state news agency, lauded the study as “important support” for the Xia’s existence. Xu Hong of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences challenged this, saying the scholars’ findings had not proved their conclusions. The first dynasty has gone from myth to controversy.

Source: The return of the Xia | The Economist

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04/12/2015

Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s policy makers have long accepted the need for workers to delay retirement to ease social and fiscal pressures from a rapidly aging population. Few, however, could agree on how to do it.

This week, state-backed researchers fueled fresh debate on the issue with a new proposal on how to coax more productive years out of China’s silver-haired generation. They called for gradually extending the country’s statutory retirement thresholds over the next three decades, culminating in a flat retirement age of 65 years. But their plan is proving unpopular. It is particularly striking a nerve among some women, who in China can retire between five and ten years earlier than men. The statutory retirement age for men is set at 60 years.

On social media, many female users mocked what they perceived as selective pursuit of gender equality. “In 2045, would there be equal pay between men and women? Would men be able to give birth?” a user, who identified as female, wrote on the popular Weibo microblogging service. “Chinese society, in reality, is rife with gender inequality; why bring about gender equality in retirement age?” another user wrote.

In an online survey, the state-run China National Radio found nearly 80% of respondents objected to setting a flat retirement age for men and women. “Delaying retirement is understandable, but setting the same retirement age for men and women isn’t compatible with our country’s conditions,” CNR quoted a Weibo user as saying. “Men would only have to work five more years, while women would have to work ten years longer. And women still have to face family pressures, so it’s clearly unsuitable.”

The proposal from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences comes amid a longstanding debate in government and academic circles on how to implement a much-needed but deeply unpopular policy. Beijing has said it will gradually raise retirement thresholds starting in 2022, though the policy would only be finalized in 2017. Under rules unchanged since the 1950s, China allows most female workers to retire when they turn 50, while women in public-sector jobs can do so at 55 years of age. To change this, the CASS researchers proposed that the government could in 2017 set a flat retirement age for women at 55 years, eliminating the distinction between private and public-sector workers. Authorities could begin extending retirement thresholds—for men and women—at a fixed pace, starting in 2018.

CASS researchers suggest adding a year to the female retirement age every three years, while doing so for men every six years. Beijing could also allow flexibility for workers to bring forward or delay their retirement by up to five years, on the condition that their pension payouts would be adjusted accordingly, CASS said.

Source: Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

21/10/2015

Time to end China’s one-child policy urgently: government advisers warn of demographic crisis ahead | South China Morning Post

Government advisers have strengthened calls for China to further ease its stringent one-child policy urgently, ahead of a meeting this month during which the Communist Party’s decision-making body will set the tone for national economic and social development for the next five years.

Newborns receive vaccines in a hospital in China. Photo: Reuters

In a report recently submitted to the authorities, China’s top think tanks urged Beijing to immediately relax restrictions on the number of children couples are allowed to have, according to an academic with knowledge of the matter.

The report was based on a survey jointly conducted by several institutes including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Renmin University and a think tank under the national family planning office, said the academic, who did not want to be named.

“There is already a consensus among China’s demographers that the limits should be relaxed,” said Wang Feng, a demographer with the University of California, Irvine, and a guest professor at Fudan University. “It’s … already too late to be doing so.”

While the survey’s contents were not made public, an earlier report by the China Business Network, a consultancy group, said it included predictions of the population trend and when it would peak. The survey had been commissioned by the decision-making authorities, highlighting the likelihood of a revision in the policy, the group said.

Source: Time to end China’s one-child policy urgently: government advisers warn of demographic crisis ahead | South China Morning Post

17/07/2014

With Tensions Rising, Japanese Investment in China Plummets – Businessweek

Another consequence of the worsening Sino-Japanese relations: Japanese investment into China dropped by nearly half in the first six month of 2014, according to a new report by China’s Ministry of Commerce. As recently a 2012, Japanese investment posted growth of 16.3 percent, reaching $7.28 billion. The decline actually started last year, with a 4.3 percent drop.

Zhang Jifeng, director of the Japanese economy department in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the China Daily that Japan’s entrepreneurs are “waiting and watching.” He added: ”They’re profoundly aware of the connection between the political climate and their commercial performance [in China]. They don’t want to put their assets at risk.”

English: Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

English: Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China and Japan are in a dispute over the ownership of the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe further angered Beijing in December when he visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni shrine, a temple that honors Japanese soldiers but also its war criminals. Earlier this month Japan’s cabinet passed a resolution reinterpreting its pacifist constitution so its military can defend its allies.

via With Tensions Rising, Japanese Investment in China Plummets – Businessweek.

13/05/2014

Zhuhai Bests Hong Kong as China’s Most Livable City – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Hong Kong is no longer China’s most livable city.

It’s been knocked out by Zhuhai, which lies on the southern coast of Guangdong province across the border from Macau, according to the latest rankings from the government-affiliated Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Factors such as a large proportion of college students, a variety of dining and shopping venues and ample green space gave the city its edge, says Ni Pengfei, the director of the academy’s Center for City and Competitiveness.

Hong Kong and Haikou on Hainan Island placed second and third, respectively, while Shanghai ranked 10th. Beijing came in at 41st out of 294 cities, with the report attributing its low ranking to air pollution and high housing prices.

via Zhuhai Bests Hong Kong as China’s Most Livable City – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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07/05/2014

China detains five activists before 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown | Reuters

China on Tuesday detained five rights activists, three lawyers and a rights group said, after they attended a weekend meeting that called for a probe into the suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Chinese lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (R) speaks to journalists outside a courthouse in Chongqing municipality, December 28, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Among those held was Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent free-speech lawyer, who has represented many dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei and an activist of the “New Citizens’ Movement”, a group that urges Chinese leaders to disclose their assets. He was detained on a charge of “causing a disturbance”, two lawyers said.

He has also opposed the system of forced labor camps, which the government has abolished, and featured prominently in state media for that campaign – unusual for a government critic.

Also detained were dissident Liu Di and Xu Youyu, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank, rights lawyer Shang Baojun said, citing conversations he had with family members of Liu and Xu.

Shang said he did not know what charge Liu and Xu would face as the families have not received their detention notices.

Dissident Hu Shigen and Hao Jian, who teaches at the Beijing Film Academy, were also detained, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a China-based rights advocacy group.

The detentions raised the stakes in a crackdown on dissent and underscored the sensitivity of Chinese leaders to criticism ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crushing of demonstrations around Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

via China detains five activists before 25th anniversary of Tiananmen crackdown | Reuters.

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21/02/2014

* Even China’s Economists Are Singing the Blues – China Real Time Report – WSJ

It’s all relative.  To any developed nation, a GDP growth of just over 7% would look absolutely marvellous!

“China’s state media have long accused foreign analysts of being too bearish on the Chinese economy. Those analysts looking in from the outside are often said to be too eager to be “chanting decline”—chang shuai—when it comes to the economy’s prospects.

This time around, China’s own economists seem to be chanting a pessimistic tune about growth prospects. Perhaps they are not quite as negative as those pesky foreign counterparts—who according to at least one report China’s state media are being told to avoid—but they are increasingly outspoken about slowing growth and rising financial risk.

“We are now in a painful stage,” economist Wang Luolin told a seminar this week.  “Let’s not try to dress things up,” said the consultant to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank.

Yu Bin, a senior researcher at the influential Development Research Center under the State Council, took a similarly pessimistic view.

“The fact is, China’s economic growth is facing substantial downward pressure,” he said. “I don’t think we should get our hopes up for this year’s growth.”

China’s growth has been slowing amid a recovering global economy coupled with weak domestic demand. The days of double-digit expansion are long gone. Economic growth slipped to 7.7% in the fourth quarter of last year from 7.8% in the third – and many economists see a further slackening ahead.

“We expect the economic growth rate to be just above 7% this year, and that’s about it,” Mr. Yu said. That would be well below the 7.7% expansion in all of 2013.

Mr. Yu added that all three big drivers of China’s growth — investment, consumption and exports— are looking weak.”

via Even China’s Economists Are Singing the Blues – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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11/01/2014

China parents count cost of sending children to overseas universities – FT.com

Jack Ma, one of China’s best-known entrepreneurs, thinks business success in China has nothing to do with prestigious foreign degrees: “When you want to judge whether a person . . . is excellent or not don’t look at whether they went to Harvard or Stanford,” he is famous for saying.

More and more Chinese parents apparently disagree with the co-founder of internet company Alibaba: they are increasingly spending three or four years’ annual family income to send their only child for foreign study. Some are now asking whether it is worth the investment.

The number of Chinese studying overseas has more than tripled in the past decade and continues to shoot up. The rise has been particularly dramatic among lower-middle-class families: according to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, up to the end of 2009 students from such families made up only 2 per cent of all those who studied overseas, but by the end of 2010 the proportion had risen to 34 per cent.

For many Chinese families with children overseas, money is no object. But many lower middle-class and working-class families are counting on their only child to support them in their old age.

Foreign universities also increasingly rely on fees from Chinese students to ​boost their income. But is it worth spending Rmb1m-2m ($165,000-$330,00) on preparing for and completing an overseas degree, only to return to a job market where seven million graduates cannot find jobs?

According to Chinese recruitment agencies and human resources professionals, people who have studied overseas – known as “haigui”, or sea turtles, because they have one foot on land and one in the sea – command little if any salary premium when they start entry-level jobs back in China.

via China parents count cost of sending children to overseas universities – FT.com.

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09/01/2014

* At 97m and growing, China has most outbound tourists – Chinadaily.com.cn

China had the highest number of outbound tourists and amount of overseas spending in the world last year, according to a report released on Wednesday.

At 97m and growing, China has most outbound tourists

Ninety-seven million Chinese traveled abroad in 2013, beating the 2012 mark by roughly 14 million, according to the China National Tourism Administration. The number is expected to surpass 100 million this year.

The report released on Wednesday by the Tourist Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that China\’s tourists have had the world\’s strongest purchasing power since 2012. They overtook German and US tourists as the world\’s biggest-spending travelers in 2012, spending $102 billion overseas, a 40-percent increase from 2011.

Most Chinese tourists traveled to Asian and European countries, the report said, accounting for 75 percent of overseas tourists in those countries.

Song Rui, director of the center, said the 2013 figures for overseas spending have yet to be released, but there will \”definitely\” be a new record by Chinese tourists.

\”Chinese tourists spend so much abroad that some foreigners are calling us the \’walking wallets\’, \” Song said, who added that Chinese travelers who purchased luxury products during the 2012 London Olympics led Britons to coin the term \”Peking Pound\” for Chinese spending power.

The report said Chinese tourists spent on average $7,107 per person during their trips in the US in 2011. The average amount of spending by a tourist in the US that year, according to the US Commerce Department, was $2,440.

With increased spending and traveling by Chinese travelers, more travel service providers in foreign countries are adjusting their business models. Hotel groups, including Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, have designed new services specifically for Chinese customers.

via At 97m and growing, China has most outbound tourists – Chinadaily.com.cn.

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25/12/2013

Mao’s achievements outweigh mistakes: state media poll | South China Morning Post

More than 85 per cent of respondents in a Chinese state media survey said that Mao Zedong\’s achievements outweigh his mistakes, as the country prepares to mark 120 years since the \”Great Helmsman\’s\” birth.

English: Portrait of Mao Zedong at Tiananmen G...

English: Portrait of Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate Español: Retrato de Mao Zedong en la Plaza de Tian’anmen Polski: Portret Mao Zedonga na Bramie Niebiańskiego Spokoju w Pekinie. 中文: 天安門城樓上的毛澤東肖像 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mao\’s legacy remains mixed in China, where he is revered for the 1949 founding of the People\’s Republic but authorities have called for restraint in commemorating the anniversary.

Mao is blamed for the deaths of tens of millions due to famine following his \”Great Leap Forward\” and the decade of chaos known as the Cultural Revolution.

Since his death in 1976, the Chinese Communist Party\’s official line has been he was \”70 per cent right and 30 per cent wrong\”.

But participants in the survey conducted Monday and Tuesday by the Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling party, seemed to hold an even more favourable view of Mao.

Asked \”Do you agree that Mao Zedong\’s achievements outweigh his mistakes?\” 78.3 per cent of respondents in the Global Times survey said they agreed, 6.8 per cent strongly agreed and only 11.7 per cent disagreed. About three per cent said they did not know.

Nearly 90 per cent of those surveyed said that Mao\’s \”greatest merit\” was \”founding an independent nation through revolution\”.

China\’s ruling Communist Party heavily censors accounts of Mao\’s 27-year-long rule, and there has never been a full historical reckoning of his actions in the country.

Younger and better-educated Chinese were more likely to be critical of Mao, the Global Times said, while older respondents and those with a high school or vocational school education were more likely to revere him.

One potential reason for the Mao nostalgia among older and less-well-educated respondents could be China\’s widening wealth gap, the paper suggested.

\”Fairness being the second most popular of Mao\’s merits makes sense as it\’s part of the reason that people miss the Mao era, because the wealth gap was not as big as now,\” Zhao Zhikui, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

via Mao’s achievements outweigh mistakes: state media poll | South China Morning Post.

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