Posts tagged ‘State Council of the People’s Republic of China’

04/12/2014

China bolsters support for farm sector with tax breaks | Reuters

China is increasing its support for agriculture by renewing select tax breaks that have expired, the government said on Wednesday, in another move to support the real economy.

A farmer plants paddy on a terrace field in Suichuan county, Jiangxi province May 20, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer

China’s stumbling economy this year has pared banks’ tolerance for risk when they lend, further reducing the supply of loans to small-time borrowers who are usually ignored by banks because they are deemed to be high-risk borrowers.

Financial companies do not have to pay a business tax on the interest earned on agricultural loans worth no more than 100,000 yuan ($16,260), the Chinese cabinet said after a weekly meeting.

Their corporate income tax would also be discounted by 10 percent to “muster the enthusiasm of financial institutions when it comes to lending to farmers”, the cabinet, or State Council, said in an online statement.

The tax breaks, previously in place but had expired, would be reinstated and are effective until the end of 2016.

Insurers that sell insurance to crop and livestock farmers would also get a 10 percent discount on their corporate income tax, the government said.

A tax break that cuts the business tax to three percent for financial firms working within counties would also be extended until the end of 2016, the cabinet said.

Buffeted by a slowing housing market and slowing domestic demand and investment, China’s economy is forecast by some analysts to be sliding towards its worst downturn in nearly a quarter of a century this year.

Annual growth in the world’s second-largest economy could fall to 7.4 percent, a Reuters poll showed in October.

To rejuvenate the real economy, China announced a cut in interest rates of 40 basis points on Nov. 21 in a move that the central bank said was aimed at lowering borrowing cost.

via China bolsters support for farm sector with tax breaks | Reuters.

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25/11/2014

China considers tougher tobacco controls: Xinhua | Reuters

China, the world’s biggest tobacco market, is considering a draft regulation that would ban indoor smoking, limit outdoor smoking and end tobacco advertising, the state-run Xinhua news agency has reported.

Girls stand next to a ''No Smoking'' sign at a park downtown Shanghai April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The draft, published by the legislative affairs office of the State Council, or cabinet, and open for public consultation, included plans to curtail smoking scenes in films and TV shows, Xinhua said in a report published late on Monday.

China faces a smoking-related health crisis, with more than 300 million smokers and hundreds of millions more exposed to second-hand smoke each year. However, cigarettes are part of China’s social fabric and advocates of tougher smoking regulations have faced difficulty pushing through controls.

The government’s heavy dependence on tobacco taxes has been a major impediment to anti-smoking efforts. Last year, the tobacco industry contributed more than 816 billion yuan ($131.70 billion) to government coffers, an annual rise of nearly 14 percent.

Sources told Reuters in September that intense lobbying by the powerful state tobacco monopoly had resulted in the weakening of controversial legislation that had meant to introduce a complete advertising ban.

The draft regulation would ban indoor smoking in public places and outdoor spaces in kindergartens, schools, colleges, women’s and children’s hospitals and in fitness venues, Xinhua said. The draft also prohibits selling cigarettes to minors through vending machines.

It urged civil servants, teachers and medical staff to take the lead in tobacco control, saying teachers and medical workers would not be allowed to smoke in front of students or patients.

via China considers tougher tobacco controls: Xinhua | Reuters.

20/09/2014

China approves plan to combat climate change – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

The Chinese central government on Friday approved a plan that maps out major climate change goals to be met by 2020.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, gave a green light to the plan, which was proposed by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s economic planner. A statement released on the State Council’s website urged the NDRC to carry out the plan.

China has pledged to reduce its carbon emission intensity, namely emissions per unit of GDP, by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. It will also aim to bring the proportion of non-fossil fuels to about 15 percent of its total primary energy consumption.

Other targets include increasing forest coverage by 40 million hectares within the next five years.

The government will speed up efforts to establish a carbon emission permit market, under the plan, which also calls for deepened international cooperation under the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” equity and respective capability.

The State Council said local governments and departments at all levels should recognize the significance and urgency in dealing with climate change and give higher priority to action on this issue.

China’s release of the action plan came just before a climate summit to be held at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will attend.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy chief of the NDRC and the country’s top official on climate change, told a press conference that the plan was concrete action by China to participate in the global process to tackle climate change.

By the end of last year, China had reduced carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 28.56 percent from 2005, which was equivalent to saving the world 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, Xie said.

At the end of 2013, China’s consumption ratio of non-fossil energy to primary energy stood at 9.8 percent. Forest growing stock had increased by 1.3 trillion cubic meters from 2005 to two trillion cubic meters, seven years ahead of schedule, according to the official.

In the first nine months of 2014, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 4.2 percent year on year and carbon intensity was cut by about 5 percent, both representing the largest drops in years, he said.

As a developing country, China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. With the plan, the country has showed its confidence in achieving its green goals.

via China approves plan to combat climate change – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

11/09/2014

The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek

On July 30, China’s State Council announced plans to abolish the old residence registration permit—or hukou—that distinguished rural from urban households. The move was long overdue.

Young Chinese children attend a kindergarten set up for migrant workers in Beijing

The hukou system was enacted in 1958 as away to limit movement between the countryside and cities. At that time, the Chinese Communist Party was explicitly anti-urban and antibusiness. After economic reform began in 1978, the hukou became increasingly anachronistic as millions of migrant workers left farms and villages for new jobs in factories and private companies in the cities. Yet they were penalized because, without local household registration papers, these migrants were denied access to public health care, education, and other social services.

The new system, however, will be only a partial fix. Discrepancies between rural and urban tax collection will gradually be phased out, but access to services will still be linked to location. While smaller cities may be willing to accept newly registered residents, the governments of China’s leading metropolises—including Beijing and Shanghai—are overburdened and still actively trying to discourage new residents (other than wealthy arrivals) from putting down roots.

via The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek.

01/09/2014

China imposes harsher punishment to ensure workplace safety – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China’s top legislature on Sunday adopted a revision to the Workplace Safety Law which imposes harsher punishment on offenders.

Members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the revision through a vote at the bi-monthly legislative session held from Monday to Sunday.

The amendment further increased fines for enterprises involved in serious workplace accidents from the maximum of 5 million yuan (810,000 U.S. dollars) proposed in its original draft to 20 million yuan.

The quadrupled fine cap is stated in an added article which stipulates fines ranging from 200,000 yuan to 20 million yuan, depending on the losses incurred in the accident.

Under the old Workplace Safety Law, fines for enterprises violating the law were no more than 100,000 yuan or below five times the income earned from illegal operation.

Managers in charge of such enterprises who are found to have failed in their duty to ensure safety will also now be fined between 30 and 80 percent of their annual income corresponding to losses in the accidents.

This is a massive raise compared with the former law, under which managers faced fines between 20,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan.

The revised law states that managers responsible for “serious” and “extremely serious” accidents will be banned from serving as principals in enterprises in the same industry.

The regulation on work safety issued by the State Council in 2007 defines “serious accidents” as those causing 10 to 30 deaths, 50 to 100 serious injuries, or direct economic losses of between 50 and 100 million yuan.

via China imposes harsher punishment to ensure workplace safety – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

02/05/2014

Freedom of information: Right to know | The Economist

IN THE summer of 2013 Wu Youshui sent an open government information (OGI) request to every provincial-level government in China. Mr Wu, a lawyer based in the eastern city of Hangzhou, wanted to know about the fines imposed on violators of the one-child policy. Each year provincial governments collect billions of yuan from couples who have too many children, but how this money is spent is not public knowledge. That leaves the system vulnerable to corruption, says Mr Wu. To expose misconduct and spur public debate, he used the legal mechanism of the OGI regulations, China’s version of a freedom of information act.

When the regulations took effect in 2008 it marked, on paper at least, the beginning of a profound change in how the Chinese government handles some kinds of information. A culture of secrecy had for decades been the mainstay of the authoritarian state. But in the modern era absolute opacity can cause discontent that threatens stability. The government’s failure to disclose information about the spread of SARS, a respiratory disease, in 2003 hurt its standing at home and abroad. A government operating in “sunshine”, as state media have put it, could regain citizens’ trust and, the party hoped, help ease tensions.

The OGI regulations set up two ways of accessing government information. Government offices at local and central level had to issue findings of interest, such as plans for land requisitions or house demolition. The information was to be published on official websites and community bulletin boards and in government journals. Departments also became answerable to citizens. A response to a public request had to come within 15 days. This created a new way for people to contact and monitor the government, says Jamie Horsley of the China Law Centre at Yale Law School. At the last nationwide count, in 2011, roughly 3,000 requests had been filed to central-government departments and 1.3m others to offices at the provincial level. Over 70% led to the full or partial release of information, on everything from pollution to food safety to the tax on air fares. “It is as if there has been a pent-up demand and now people are pushing for the information,” Ms Horsley says.

In an important case in 2012 the All-China Environment Federation, a non-profit organisation with links to the government, took an environment-protection bureau in Guizhou province to court. The bureau had twice failed to give a good answer to an OGI request about a dairy farm that was discharging waste. The court ordered the release of the information within ten days. Such rulings against government departments, once rare, are becoming more common. In 2010 the chance of a citizen winning an OGI-related lawsuit in Beijing was 5%, according to research from Peking and Yale Universities. In 2012 courts ruled with the plaintiff in 18% of cases.

On April 1st the State Council, China’s cabinet, issued new guidelines, requiring that officials pay more attention to disclosing information. The guidelines come as the government is curtailing freedom of expression online and in the press.

Inevitably, plenty of information remains off limits. Article Eight of the regulations says disclosure must not endanger state, public or economic security or social stability, an open-ended list that prompts utmost caution from compliers. State and commercial secrets—however vaguely defined—are out-of-bounds. Last June Xie Yanyi, a Beijing lawyer, applied to the public security ministry for information about the surveillance of citizens. He received a note saying such details were not covered by the law. China’s regulations are more restrictive than those elsewhere. In America a request in the public interest suffices. In China, people must prove a personal need.

Government departments, at all levels, still do not release everything they should. But Mr Wu, the lawyer, found they are less able to opt out without a good reason. Guangdong province’s Health and Family Planning Commission initially rebuffed his OGI request, saying “internal management issues” prevented compliance. Mr Wu tried again. On April 1st Guangzhou Intermediate Court ruled in his favour. The commission was ordered to reprocess his request. He awaits word of its decision.

via Freedom of information: Right to know | The Economist.

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26/03/2014

A $6.8 Trillion Price Tag for China’s Urbanization – Businessweek

China has finally put a price tag on its massive plan for urbanization, and it’s a big one. The cost of bringing an additional couple of hundred million people to cities over the next seven years? Some 42 trillion yuan ($6.8 trillion), announced an official from China’s Ministry of Finance last week.

Shanghai's potential future development modeled at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

“The flaws in the previous model, in which urban construction mostly relied on land sales and fiscal revenue, have emerged in recent years, and the model is unsustainable,” warned Wang Bao’an, vice minister of finance, on March 17. His comments came one day after China’s State Council and the Central Committee of the Communist Party released the “National New-type Urbanization Plan (2014-2020),” which aims to lift the proportion of Chinese living in cities to 60 percent by 2020, from 53.7 percent now.

A timely report issued by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of the State Council provides suggestions as to how to pay the big bill. Released today, Urban China: Toward Efficient, Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanization, is the second joint effort by the two organizations, coming just over two years after the publication of an earlier report on economic reform called China 2030.

via A $6.8 Trillion Price Tag for China’s Urbanization – Businessweek.

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17/03/2014

China pushes forward urbanizing migrant workers – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China pledged increasing efforts to help migrant workers win urbanite status, removing restrictions in towns and lowering threshold in big cities, said a national plan unveiled on Sunday.

The country promised to help migrant workers from countryside to settle down in cities, by fully eliminating restriction of household registration in towns and small cities and gradually easing restrictions in medium-sized cities, according to the 2014-2020 urbanization plan released by the State Council, China’s Cabinet.

Reasonable conditions for settling in big cities will be set, while population in mega cities will remain to be strictly controlled, the plan said.

The plan also granted city services and public welfare to the migrants.

In China, cities with population between three million and five million are defined as big cities, while those above five million are mega cities.

via China pushes forward urbanizing migrant workers – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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08/02/2014

* China increasing coverage of serious illness insurance – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China will expand a program that enables people with serious illnesses to get more compensation from medical insurance schemes to all the country’s regions in 2014.

According to a statement issued by the State Council medical reform office on Saturday, pilots of such programs should be launched in all the country’s provincial-level regions by the end of June this year.

The new move is aimed at reducing the number of cases in which people are reduced to poverty by the burden of medical fees, the statement said.

Six Chinese authorities issued a circular in 2012 on the program, stating that part of the funds collected in the current basic medicare insurance schemes for urban and rural residents could be used to purchase commercial medical insurance, so that a greater proportion of the medical fees of people with serious diseases will be covered.

A latest circular issued by the medical reform office said that local finance, human resources and social security, civil affairs, health and insurance authorities should collaborate for the expansion of the program, according to Saturday’s statement.

There should be more efforts to raise public awareness of the program so as to make the benefits easier for people to secure, it said.

The statement added that the quality and the expenditure of medical services should also be scrutinized to curb unreasonable medical treatments and fees.

via China increasing coverage of serious illness insurance – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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07/02/2014

* China to build unified pension system – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China will integrate the basic old-age insurance systems for rural and urban residents to allow people to have equal access to the pension scheme, according to an executive meeting of the State Council on Friday.

China’s separate systems for rural residents and retired company employees in urban areas have basically included everyone in the country, according to the meeting.

China will integrate the two systems and build a unified pension system covering both urban and rural residents, said the meeting.

The meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, said the move will facilitate population movement and build stable expectations for livelihood improvement.

It will also boost consumption and encourage more business start-ups, said the meeting.

via China to build unified pension system – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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