Posts tagged ‘Dalian’


China registers 92 million people in poverty – Xinhua |

China has identified 128,000 impoverished villages and 92 million people living in poverty, said a senior poverty alleviation official on Saturday.

According to Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council leading group office of poverty alleviation and development, poverty has declined substantially in China, but the country still has 832 poor counties and districts

About 116,600 work teams with 466,000 cadres were dispatched to the villages for poverty alleviation, he told a seminar in central China’s Hubei Province.

“Almost all underprivileged households have a cadre responsible for poverty alleviation work,” he said.

He pointed out that more work should be done to improve people’s lives in poor areas in all respects, including education, finance and housing.

He also disclosed that in 2015, China will help about 500 impoverished villages through tourism.

Li Jinzao, head of the China’s national tourism administration who attended the seminar, said that China has so far lifted more than 8 million people out of poverty by developing tourism.

Along with overall GDP growth targets, the government is focusing on raising the income of the country’s population with a current goal to double per capita income from the 2010 level by 2020. To expand the safety net for those in poverty, the national poverty line was increased from 206 yuan in 1986 to 2,300 yuan per annum in 2011 (33.5 to 374 U.S. dollars).

via China registers 92 million people in poverty – Xinhua |


Height discrimination: The rise of China | The Economist

WHEN two security guards in Dalian in north-east China got their first month’s pay packet earlier this year, they questioned why each received different amounts for identical work. The company responded that one man was 5cm (two inches) taller than his peer. Workers over 180cm earn more, they said, because bigger guards make people feel safer.

Stature is often a desirable attribute of guards, but in China height requirements are routinely specified for jobs which seem to have no need of them. To study tourism and hotel management at Huaqiao University in Fujian province, men topping 170cm are favoured, and women over 158cm. A post as a female cleaner in Beijing is advertised to women of at least 162cm. Many companies are less explicit about such demands than they used to be, but candidates often list height (and weight) on their curricula vitae.

The height premium is most pronounced for women, according to a study from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. It found that each centimetre above the mean adds 1.5-2.2% to a woman’s salary, particularly among middle- and high-wage earners. A group at China University of Political Science and Law is working on a draft law against employment discrimination for height and other physical characteristics.

Ever more Chinese are rising above such constraints, however. A 45-year-old man in China today is around 5cm taller than 30 years ago, according to the RAND Corporation, a think-tank. Soldiers are growing too tall for the diminutive tanks favoured by the People’s Liberation Army; in 2010 the government raised by 10cm the height under which children in China travel free on trains (a rare scheme that benefits the small).

Greater heights mostly reflect greater incomes. Richer people tend to eat more and live in cleaner, better homes. Meat consumption per person has increased more than fourfold since 1980. Infant mortality is less than a tenth of what it was 60 years ago. Household size has also helped. Historically people from big families have been shorter (not just in China) because food supplies must stretch further. In China the birth rate fell sharply from the 1970s nationwide.

But there are differences across the country which partly reflect the uneven benefits of the economic boom. Eighteen-year-olds from the richest cities are on average 7-8cm taller than those from the poorest ones. The height gap between prosperous and impoverished rural areas is similar. Southerners have long been shorter than northerners. Although the difference between rural and urban heights has narrowed since 1975, other discrepancies persist. The World Health Organisation says around 20% of children in poor rural areas are “stunted”, a common indicator of chronic malnutrition. This compares with 2.5% of city children. Employers’ preference for high and mighty staff exacerbates that inequality. It is time they grew up.

via Height discrimination: The rise of China | The Economist.


China’s wealthy increasingly attracted to Britain’s elite secondary schools

SCMP: “A decade after Bo Guagua, grandson to a revolutionary hero and son of fallen Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, became the first Chinese to attend Britain’s elite Harrow School, agencies promising access to Britain’s top independent schools are expanding rapidly to cope with rising demand from the growing pool of high-net-worth individuals from China.


The London-based education consultancy Gabbitas opened its first office in Shanghai in 2009. Four years later, it also advises well-off parents in Guangzhou, Wenzhou and Dalian on how to get their children into secondary schools once reserved for British and continental European aristocracy.

Within five years the agency plans to open another 12 branch offices, said Sofie Liao, director of Gabbitas in China. Schools like Eton and Harrow “are getting more and more enquiries from Chinese families,” she said, anticipating annual growth rates of 10 to 15 per cent.

Liao’s biggest challenge is to lower parents’ expectations, she said. Parents “have to be realistic,” she said. They “tend to think, you register with Eton and then you need to pack your luggage and go there next year.”

These schools “have royalty, they don’t care how much money you have in your bank account or how many listed companies you have,” Liao said.

She said parents are signing up their children to join the UK’s exclusive schools at a younger age to increase their chances of being accepted. “The youngest students we have are pre-prep school age, two to three years old. They have to wait another 11 years before they can get in.”

“It’s a very long selling cycle,” said Jazreel Goh, director for education marketing at the British embassy in Beijing, adding that such agencies are unlikely to be challenged by the average Chinese rivals.

“The market is a very niche and specialised service. The bar for being a good boarding school agent is set quite high – you have to have the network of boarding schools and you have to know which might suit the applicant,” she said.

Goh estimated that there are about ten professional boarding school agencies in China. The trend she has seen is more upper-middle-class parents signing up with agencies to send their children to the UK.

Students from China, including Hong Kong, make up by far the largest group of foreign students studying at British independent schools, according to a census in January this year surveying more than a thousand schools by the British Independent School Council. Among the 25,912 foreign secondary school children in Britain, 9,623 or 37.1 per cent came from China.”

via China’s wealthy increasingly attracted to Britain’s elite secondary schools | South China Morning Post.


Reading Li Keqiang’s Tea Leaves at the World Economic Forum

In my opinion, this is another important article to read. It complements the Reuter’s piece: see –


WSJ: “What’s the outlook for growth and the plans for reform of China’s economy? China Real Time planned an exclusive interview with Premier Li Keqiang to get the lowdown.

Unfortunately there wasn’t a time when both of us were free. So instead we read the transcript of Mr. Li’s question and answer session with executives at a closed door session at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, Tuesday.

Mr. Li’s remarks on everything from the role of government to the importance of financial reforms contained little in the way of new commitments. But coming ahead of a November meeting of senior Communist Party leaders – billed as the decisive moment for shifting China’s economic model – they raise expectations of concrete progress.

Here are the edited highlights of what Mr. Li said, and what we think it means.

“First, I think we need to get the relationship between government, the market and society right, that’s the key to economic reform, let the market do what the market should do, society do what society should do, and the government do what the government should do.”

A theme Mr. Li hit at his first press conference as Premier back at the National People’s Congress in March, and again here, is the need to get the roles of government and the market right. One of the main criticisms of Wen Jiabao – Mr. Li’s predecessor – was that he allowed the state to grow its role at the expense of a dynamic private sector. The hope among many economists is that Mr. Li will push back in the other direction.

“When there’s downward pressure on growth, one choice is to adjust economic policy, increase deficits, relax monetary policy. That might have a short-term benefit, but may not be beneficial for the future.”

Another criticism of Mr. Wen’s approach was that every hiccup in the economy was greeted with a credit- and investment-fueled stimulus. That helped keep growth buoyant and employment high, but also left a legacy of high debt and industrial overcapacity. Mr. Li is signaling he wants to focus on long-term reform rather than short-term stimulus.

“We will continue to liberalize interest rates… we eliminated the floor on lending interest rates. This is a step forward in the process of making interest rates market based, and we will keep moving forward.”

China’s artificially low government-set interest rates channel funds from household savers to business borrowers – contributing to lackluster consumption and overdone investment. Mr. Wen struck an early blow to liberalize interest rates toward the end of his administration by raising the ceiling on deposit rates and lowering the floor on loan rates. Mr. Li has continued in the same direction, with loan rates now set entirely by the market. The next step is further liberalization of deposit rates – good for savers but bad for banks, which would see profit margins fall.

“We will continue to open up the financial markets – to internal and external competition. For example… we are moving ahead with making the yuan convertible on the capital account.”

Mr. Li says he wants to allow a greater role for private firms in the financial system, and a more open capital account. Both would increase the efficiency of capital allocation. But some economists worry that with China’s state banks overextended from years of breakneck lending, rapid reforms could lay weakness bare and precipitate a crisis.

“We want to create a market environment of fair competition… Enterprises of different ownerships should all enjoy fair opportunities and conditions to compete in the market.”

Low productivity in state-dominated sectors of the economy is a key barrier to sustaining growth. Mr. Li stops short of any specific proposals, but the hope is that areas like telecoms, banking and logistics will be increasingly open to competition.

With an audience of foreign executives, Mr. Li also threw in a reference to protecting intellectual property, a key concern for multinationals that fear their technology and know-how will be pilfered by Chinese rivals.

“I can also tell you all, a few decades ago I was a farmer. That experience has helped me a lot as Premier. If the managers of this building have the experience of ‘cleaning the toilet,’ I believe they can better manage this complex.”

China’s domestic media have focused attention on this line, where Mr. Li nods to his experience as a farmer in the 1970s in inland Anhui province.The message is aimed partly at China’s students.  Anticipating close to 7 million university graduates nationwide this year, the government has been trying to encourage realistic expectation on employment prospects. High ambitions are good, but starting at the bottom is OK.

via Reading Li Keqiang’s Tea Leaves at the World Economic Forum – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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Bo Xilai on trial: Settling scores

The Economist: “IN A heavily guarded courthouse in the eastern city of Jinan, the trial began on August 22nd of a politician who was once one of China’s most powerful figures. Bo Xilai, who is 64, has been accused of receiving bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power. His downfall in March 2012 caused the greatest political shock of its kind in decades.

That the trial is under way at last is a sign that Xi Jinping, who took over as China’s leader eight months after Mr Bo disappeared from public view, is confident that he can handle its ramifications. Mr Bo, like Mr Xi, is the son of one of Mao Zedong’s fellow revolutionaries. He remains popular in the parts of China where he has served, including as Communist Party chief in the 29m-strong region of Chongqing in the south-west. He is an icon of diehard Maoists and members of the “new left” who decry China’s move towards money making. Handling Mr Bo’s case without upsetting powerful families and arousing public ire (whether of Mr Bo’s fans or of the many Chinese who are aggrieved at widespread official corruption) has been Mr Xi’s challenge. As the trial began, dozens of supporters gathered nearby. Police dragged several away.

Mr Xi and his colleagues wished to choreograph the proceedings—which at the time of going to press were expected to last just a day or two—with great precision. But Mr Bo, with a characteristic feistiness, queered the pitch from the outset. He denied a charge of bribery involving payments of more than 1.1m yuan ($180,000) from a businessman in the north-eastern city of Dalian. His response to the other charges, including millions of dollars in other kickbacks, are not yet known. Foreign journalists were barred from the trial.

The allegations, even if disagreeable to Mr Bo, would have been tailored to suit all factions—including, to some extent, his own, for Mr Bo had powerful backers, including within the security forces. Speculation has also centred on whether the state tried to secure Mr Bo’s co-operation by promising not to go after his 25-year-old son, Bo Guagua, who was expensively educated in Britain and is now studying in America. The younger Mr Bo may hope one day to to avenge his father’s downfall.

via Bo Xilai on trial: Settling scores | The Economist.


China plans world’s longest sea tunnel at $42 billion

Reuters: “China will invest 260 billion yuan, or about $42 billion, to revive a long-stalled plan to build the world’s longest undersea tunnel across the Bohai Strait linking the country’s eastern and northeastern regions, state media said on Thursday.

The 123-km (76.4-mile) tunnel will run from the port city of Dalian in northeastern Liaoning province to Yantai city in eastern Shandong, the China Economic Net website said.

The report did not say when the project will be completed.

China announced plans in 1994 to build the tunnel, at a cost of $10 billion, and set to be completed before 2010. But more than 20 years on, the project remains stuck in the planning stage, the website said, without elaborating.

At the time, state media said the tunnel would shorten the travelling distance between the two regions by 620 miles.

The costs could be recouped in 12 years, said Wang Mengshu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who estimated annual revenues from the tunnel at around 20 billion yuan, the website said. “Freight is very profitable,” Wang said.”

via China plans world’s longest sea tunnel at $42 billion -report | Reuters.

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* Ice train begins trial operations

China’s investment in infrastructure continues relentlessly.

China Daily: “Railway built to withstand extreme cold prepares to welcome travelers

A high-speed railway linking major cities in Northeast China began trial operations on Monday, ahead of its launch at the end of the year.

Ice train begins trial operations

The new line, which links Dalian, a port city in Liaoning province and Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, is the world’s first high-speed railway built to withstand extreme cold weather conditions, according to a statement by Harbin railway authorities.

A test train departs from the Dalian North Railway Station, a terminus of the new Harbin-Dalian High-Speed Railway, in Dalian, Nnortheast China’s Liaoning province, Oct 8, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

A test train departed Harbin on Monday morning, arriving in Dalian three-and-a-half hours later. The journey takes nine hours on an ordinary train.

The new line will make 24 stops and connect 10 cities, including the capitals of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

Construction of the 921-kilometer line began in 2008. It is designed to reach a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, but will travel initially at a maximum of 300 km/h, railway authorities said.

The line has to withstand extreme temperatures as low as -39.9 C in winter and as high as 40 C in summer, which poses major challenges to the trains and railway construction.

Zhang Xize, chief engineer of the Harbin-Dalian high-speed railway program, said the low temperatures in Northeast China could threaten the roadbed and rail track and ice could also disrupt the power supply and signal system.

“We researched the experiences of high-speed railway line construction in relatively cold areas of Germany and Japan and took reference from road, water conservancy and electric supply projects in frigid areas,” Zhang said.

The railway is fitted with special facilities to remove snow and ice from the line and to protect its power supply systems from the elements.

“We have used all the measures that we can come up with to ensure the safety of this project,” said Zhang.

The line could provide a boost to the tourism industry in Harbin and Dalian, both major vacation destinations.

Harbin is notable for its beautiful ice sculptures in winter and its Russian legacy, and Dalian is well known for its mild climate and multiple beaches.

“The railway comes at the right time as I was planning to take my daughter to see the ice lanterns in Harbin this winter,” said Liu Yan, a 38-year-old resident of Dalian.

The new railway is also expected to ease pressure on the current rail system during peak holiday times.”

via Ice train begins trial operations[1]|


* Bo Xilai expelled from CPC, public office

China Daily: “Bo Xilai has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and removed from public office, according to a decision made at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday.

The meeting also yielded the decision to transfer Bo’s suspected law violations and relevant evidence to judicial organs for handling.

The decisions were made after attendees at the meeting deliberated over and adopted an investigation report on Bo’s severe disciplinary violations, which had been submitted by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

At a meeting held on April 10, members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee were briefed on the investigation into the incident in which former Chongqing Vice Mayor Wang Lijun entered the US Consulate General in Chengdu without permission as well as the reinvestigation into the suspected murder of British citizen Neil Heywood by Bogu Kailai, Bo’s wife.

Based on Bo’s mistakes and responsibilities in the two cases, as well as evidence of his other discipline violations uncovered during the investigations into the two cases, the CPC Central Committee decided to suspend Bo’s membership in the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and the CPC Central Committee and the CCDI filed the case for investigation.

Investigations have found that Bo seriously violated Party disciplines while heading the city of Dalian, Liaoning Province, and the Ministry of Commerce and while serving as a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and as Party chief of Chongqing Municipality.

Bo abused his power, made severe mistakes and bore major responsibility in the Wang Lijun incident and the intentional homicide case of Bogu Kailai.

He took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family.

His position was also abused by his wife Bogu Kailai to seek profits for others, and the Bo family accepted a huge amount of money and property from others.

Bo had or maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women.

He was also found to have violated organizational and personnel disciplines and made erroneous decisions in the promotion of personnel, resulting in serious consequences.

The investigation also uncovered evidence that suggests his involvement in other crimes.”

via Bo Xilai expelled from CPC, public office[1]|

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