Posts tagged ‘Zhejiang’

16/02/2016

First train from China to Iran stimulates Silk Road revival – Xinhua | English.news.cn

First cargo train from China to Iran arrived in Tehran on Monday, indicating a milestone in reviving the “Silk Road,” which has opened a new chapter of win-win cooperation between China and Iran.

English: the Silk Road in Central Asia

English: the Silk Road in Central Asia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

silk road

The train, also referred to as Silk Road train, has passed through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran, travelling a distance of 10,399 kilometers. It had left Yiwu city in east China’s Zhejiang Province on January 28.

This train was carrying dozens of cargo containers, according to the deputy of Iran’s Road and Urbanism Minister, Mohsen Pour-Aqaei, who made a welcome speech after the arrival of the cargo train at Tehran Train Station on Monday.

As known to all, ancient Silk Road trade route had served as an important bridge for East-West trade and brought a close link between the Chinese and Persian civilizations.

The “Belt and Road” initiative was raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, which refers to the New Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China with Europe through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, connecting China with Southeast Asian countries, Africa and Europe.

“To revive the Silk Road Economic Belt, the launch of the train is an important move, since about 700 kilometers of trip has been done per day,” said Pour-Aqaei, who was present at the welcome ceremony of the train in Tehran’s Railway Station.

“Compared to the sea voyage of the cargo ships from China’s Shanghai city to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city, the travel time of the train was 30 days shorter,” he said.

Pour-Aqaei, also the Managing Director of Iran’s Railway Company, added that according to the plan, there would be one such a trip from China to Iran every month.

The travel of cargo train from China to Iran is part of a Chinese initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road used by the traders to commute between Europe and East Asia.

Tehran will not be the final destination of these kinds of trains from China, the Iranian deputy minister said, adding that in the future, the train will reach Europe.

This will benefit Iran as the transit course for the cargo trains from the east Asia to Europe, he said.

Chinese ambassador to Iran Pang Sen told Xinhua that as one of the cooperation projects after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Iran, the cargo train is playing a important role to promote construction of the “Belt and Road” initiative.

Meanwhile, the railway line from Yiwu to Tehran provides the two countries an express and efficient cargo trade transportation method, Pang said, adding that the countries along the railway line will furthur upgrade rail technology with the aim to make its transportation ability faster and better.

Source: First train from China to Iran stimulates Silk Road revival – Xinhua | English.news.cn

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01/02/2016

Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Whether it is the cold drizzle, factory economics or the annual exodus of migrant laborers ahead of Lunar New Year, Lin Xinge is selling fewer dumplings.

Ms. Lin is chief dumpling wrapper, waitress, cashier and dishwasher for Fujian One Thousand Li Fragrant, a tiny restaurant she owns with her husband in an industrial zone of Shanghai. Just over a fence, her neighbors include iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Group and other giant industrial groups that employ legions of workers she counts as customers.

“The workers earn less salary so fewer people come here and our restaurant isn’t doing well,” says Ms. Lin. She says that during the three years she has run One Thousand Li Fragrant, she’s had periods when every seat at her eight tables has been filled. Not lately.

Like her customers who come for $1.50 bowls of noodles and dumplings, Ms. Lin is a migrant worker. On a recent day she was sitting on an orange chair in the restaurant gripping a hand-warmer and thinking of her native Fujian province, where as a young woman she sang opera in the local dialect.

“Our Putian is more comfortable,” she says referring to the ancient city in Fujian where she was born. Though only 34 years old, Ms. Lin said singing in a traveling opera troupe is for the young and made less sense for someone like her, a mother of two.

In the Shanghai factory zone called Songjiang, One Thousand Li Fragrant was among the few restaurants that remained open ahead of the Feb. 8 Lunar New Year. Wind and cold rain whipped across tables placed on the sidewalk that would have been inviting in balmier times. Ms. Lin said the other dozen or so restaurants, also run by migrants and for migrants, had shut a few days before, as their owners departed for the holidays.

China’s mass people movement for Lunar New Year officially began a week ago. Beijing predicts 2.91 billion trips between January 24 and March 3. Ms. Lin’s family will join the throng in coming days.

Economists will be watching how China’s slowdown affects the mass migration. During past years of economic boom in China, until the mid-2000s, cash-rich factory workers returned to interior villages for the holidays, but quickly flooded back to the industrialized east, often along with family members willing to work for low pay. But in more recent years, the monotony of factory work has proved less of a draw, leaving employers to scramble to hold workers, with higher salaries or benefits. This year, jobs themselves are the concern.

Migrants interviewed outside factories in southern Shanghai and northern Zhejiang province this past week provided a mixed picture. Some suggested the economic slowdown is hitting factories. Some noted that workers were sometimes being encouraged to leave for holidays earlier this year while some factories shut outright. Truck traffic in the zones appeared light and some facilities were shut.

Speaking outside some factories, many veteran workers used the word for nothing special, “chabuduo,” to dismiss any suggestion they see dramatic changes this holiday season.

As heavy rain fell in the Zhejiang province industrial city Jiaxing on Friday, a group jostled and pushed an assortment of fancy suitcases, canvas bags and industrial buckets into the hold of a bus. The group was embarking on a 10-hour drive back home to the Henan province city of Nanyang. The mood was upbeat.

One woman, who works in a garment factory, said she was toting gifts for her family, including 100 rice balls. A worker, who said he drives on a construction site, reported he had a pretty good year. They said bonuses had been paid as usual.

Source: Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

08/01/2016

Three political questions looming over China’s leadership in 2016 – WSJ China Real Time

From: http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2016/01/08/three-political-questions-looming-over-chinas-leadership-in-2016/?mod=djemChinaRTR_h

Last year saw more attention to Chinese President Xi Jinping as China’s paramount leader, including what many observers have seen as a cult of personality. The economy may eclipse politics as a concern for Beijing in 2016, but in China the two are always closely intertwined. Here are the three major political questions that will loom over the Xi leadership in the months to come.

  1. Is it time for thelong-running anticorruption campaignto shift its focus?

In laying out a vision for his anti-corruption drive in 2013, Xi Jinping vowed to go after both high-ranking “tigers” and low-level “flies.” So far the campaign has been fueled by the takedowns of a procession of big cats – but there are signs that a change is in the offing.

There’s upside to an increased focus on local cadres and others at the insect level. For one, it would send a signal to doubters that the anti-graft campaign is genuine, not just a way to purge Xi’s political enemies. It would also help Xi score points with regular citizens and reform-minded officials outraged at the pervasiveness of corruption in China.

But there’s also a political risk. Already, the current crusade has compelled many officials to hunker down and sit on their hands to avoid attracting attention – a phenomenon that has slowed policymaking. Likewise, many developers remain wary of starting new projects that might aid an ailing economy because they’re still not sure what’s permissible in the new environment.

Broadening the anti-graft campaign could handcuff policymaking even further, because cadres will spend time looking over their shoulders, and entrepreneurs, wondering about political support, will wait until the dust settles before embarking on new commercial initiatives.

  1. What sort of politics does China want to practice?

Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agree on a great deal, but they have distinctive notions about how to build a better China.

Xi believes that China’s political future rests on a reassertion of the party’s rule, preventing potential challenges from social groups, and convincing citizens and cadres alike that the government stands for something more than just nationalism — that socialism is still relevant but needs to be recast in ways that appeal to society.

Li appears to see his political mission differently. In his eyes, ideological renovation is far less crucial to the country than administrative restructuring and being a more efficient and approachable government. It’s innovation, not rectification, Li argues, that will secure the Party’s legitimacy. From experimenting with new ways to measure China’s actual economic performance to making bureaucratic requirements easier for citizens to meet, Li has created a profile for himself that challenges the prevailing political course being set by Xi.

While Xi wants more control over society, Li argues for less oversight and regulation in China’s economy and bureaucracy–making it easier for businesses to start up and succeed as a way of preventing social pressure from becoming a political threat.

Thus far, the policy divide between Xi and Li hasn’t resulted in political warfare. But some lower-level cadres are increasingly perplexed about which template to follow: They’ve been quietly pressing for clarification about whether they should be focusing on being better Communists, or on building a more efficient and responsive government. It’s not clear how they can accomplish both, especially when they’re under the anticorruption microscope.

The economy could catalyze conflict here. If slower growth turns into a tailspin, Li and his allies will surely press to have their agenda for change adopted more widely, and argue that the current strategy of “politics before economics” championed by Xi isn’t working. Xi and his comrades won’t concede the political high-ground they currently occupy without a fight.

Xi and Li have been doing a fine job of sharing responsibility up to now, but the divide in their approaches is getting wider, and the challenges China faces will very likely compel one model to be adopted at the expense of the other.

  1. What happens if resistance to Xi’s reforms becomes active political opposition?

Xi’s efforts to centralize party control over the economy and society have been ruthless. Even the hint of organized opposition to party policies has brought out the truncheon swingers, with censorship or jail awaiting those who propose an alternative political path for China.

Observers who see Xi’s main opposition as coming from the Chinese street are looking down a now-empty avenue. They should be paying attention to disquiet within the ranks of officialdom.

The boldness and breadth of Xi’s reforms have led some in the party ranks to wonder privately about—and even openly question—whether his handling of China’s challenges has always been correct. For example, there are some who contend that the anticorruption campaign has placed too much power in the hands of discipline inspectors and unnecessarily disrupted the status quo (in Chinese).

Some of that scrutiny concerns Xi’s efforts to reinsert the Party more fully into economic and social life, a move that risks stoking discontent in a populace that has grown used to a certain level of leeway in recent decades. There are also those within the political apparatus who see Xi’s recent restructuring of China’s military as courageous but more aimed at quelling dissent from the armed forces than rejuvenating strategy and doctrine. Even Xi himself has noted in a recently released collection of internal speeches (in Chinese) that not everything he has been doing has been met with universal acclaim within the Communist party. Murmurs of discord have reached a level in recent months where a number of officials have been punished for “improper discussion” of Party policies.

Thus far, the angst, anxiety and antagonism within the government to Xi’s reforms remain unorganized. That’s because no one has proposed an alternative strategy for dealing with the nation’s many challenges that would unify the disaffected to act against Beijing. Social activists have little political support from above; annoyed cadres are afraid that any move to form a coalition could plunge the country into civil unrest.

Xi and his allies have been as determined as they’ve been daring in following their own reform path—and their success in getting their way politically has been remarkable thus far. The most pressing question for this new year is whether what has worked thus far will continue to do so—or whether the disaffected in China start believing that their leadership may have begun to run out of answers.

 

31/12/2015

2015 Chinese diplomacy: Reaching farther and wider – Xinhua | English.news.cn

2015 has been a productive year not only for China, but for its partners all over the world. The world’s second largest economy reached out farther and wider, through initiatives such as the “Belt and Road” and the “AIIB“. And President Xi Jinping led the way.

 

President Xi Jinping’s official state visit to the UK was full of pomp and pageantry and the occasional imbibing. Footage of President Xi and Prime Minister David Cameron enjoying a pint and some banter in an English pub went viral in China. And the rest is history. The consumer power of the world’s second largest economy has been felt fully by the British beer company. Just this time, it started with President Xi himself.

And in the year 2015, it’s been a recurring story. Wherever the Chinese president travels, Chinese investment and consumer power are his companions. From projects worth in the billions. There’s Chinese investment in the UK infrastructure and energy sector.

Chinese financing of Russian and Central Asian natural gas projects and China’s pledge of 60 billion dollars of development funds to African nations.

To a more personal touch, a visit, in the case of Boeing, by the President of the world’s largest airplane market, means shored up confidence for some 160-thousand employees, against the backdrop of a wobbly global economy, The president also brought Ping Pong diplomacy to a high school in Washington State while students there returned the favor by showing the well-known football fan, a different kind of football. And this viral photo of President Xi brought forward cutting edge research at the Imperial College London.

2015 has been a year when Chinese initiatives were taking root and taking shape on a global scale from the Belt and road initiative. To the AIIB, and the south-south cooperation fund. Economies reshaped and lives transformed or in the case of Greene King, a centuries old British beer finding a new Chinese following.

Source: 2015 Chinese diplomacy: Reaching farther and wider – Xinhua | English.news.cn

14/08/2015

‘Car suit’ keeps vehicles high and dry during floods, Chinese inventor says | South China Morning Post

A man in eastern China has invented a “suit” for cars he claims protects them from water damage during the floods that regularly inundate the mainland’s coastal cities, an online newspaper reports.

The cover consists of a copolymer thermoplastic material and waterproof zippers. Photo: SCMP Pictures

More than 3,000 vehicles were flooded when Typhoon Soudelor hit Taizhou in Zhejiang province on August 8, Thepaper.cn reports. One photo of the storm that has drawn particular interest online shows a car wrapped in a heavy, water-proof material.

The man behind the idea is Huang Enfu, a businessman who deals in car parts. “News about damaged cars during urban floods regularly appears. Our costal city often sees such floods. That’s why I invented the suit,” Huang was quoted as saying.

The cover consists of a copolymer thermoplastic material and waterproof zippers. A car owner puts the suit down in an empty space, parks the vehicle over top, pulls the sides up and zips it closed.

Huang said he spent more than 1.6 million yuan (HK$1.93 million) and two years coming up with the idea. He has patented the design and sells them for between 1,500 yuan and 2,500 yuan

Residents in mainland cities have long complained urban sewage systems cannot cope with heavy rainfall during the wet season. Drains easily become overloaded and the water levels on flooded main streets can quickly rise past people’s waists.

Huang says his invention will even allow a properly zipped-up car to float if the water levels become too high. Owners can secure the car suit by tying the four attached ropes to a stationary object.

via ‘Car suit’ keeps vehicles high and dry during floods, Chinese inventor says | South China Morning Post.

22/01/2015

China’s Communist Party Sounds Death Knell for Arrest, Conviction Quotas – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Former Chinese judge Jianwei Fang doesn’t mince words about the country’s practice of using arrest and conviction quotas to measure the performance of the country’s police, prosecutors and judges.

“It’s very stupid,” he says.

The Communist Party would appear to agree. This week, the party agency in charge of legal affairs, the Central Political and Legal Committee, called on the country’s legal institutions to “firmly abolish” the inclusion of goals for arrests, indictments, guilty verdicts and case conclusions in assessments of staff, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The demand from the committee appeared to reinforce a decision by the Supreme People’s Court in December to do away with court performance rankings based on quotas and lessen the importance of quotas in assessing performance.

Xinhua’s report drew a connection between performance standards in the Chinese legal system and a proliferation of wrongful convictions, including in death penalty cases. Some of those cases, it said, “were affected by the presumption of guilt, and were caused by an emphasis on confession over evidence, even torture.”

Mr. Fang, who worked as a junior judge in eastern China’s Zhejiang province in the mid-2000s, described the elimination of quotas as one of the most encouraging reforms to be announced following a major Communist Party meeting on rule of law in October.

“Different judges and different courts are competing based on these targets, which are highly unscientific and unreasonable,” he said. “They don’t mean anything.”

Conviction rates for criminal cases in China are well over 90%. It sometimes happens, according to Mr. Fang, that judges and prosecutors may suspect a defendant is innocent but still find him guilty and impose a suspended sentence in order to maintain good conviction numbers.

via China’s Communist Party Sounds Death Knell for Arrest, Conviction Quotas – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

12/01/2015

1 mln Chinese couples apply to have second child – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Nearly one million couples have applied to have a second child since China eased its one-child policy in 2014, allowing couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child.

The number of applications is in line with the estimate of less than two million annually by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, said Mao Qunan, a spokesman with the commission, at a press conference on Monday.

Since China’s one-child policy was eased in a pilot program in east China’s Zhejiang Province in January 2014, couples nationwide may now have a second child if either parent is an only child.

Mao said that the commission will put more effort toward improving the population monitoring mechanism and will stipulate relevant policies.

“We will also collect public opinion on health care for pregnant women and children in a timely manner,” Mao added.

via 1 mln Chinese couples apply to have second child – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

16/12/2014

China Wants its Nuclear Reactors ‘Made in China’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ

When a unit of North Carolina’s Curtiss-Wright Corp. won a roughly $300 million deal in 2007 to supply components for new reactors in China, industry officials trumpeted China’s nuclear boom as good for U.S. business.

Today, Chinese companies are competing for that business—and foreign companies risk getting left out. Meanwhile, Curtiss-Wright’s contract is caught up in a legal dispute, while Chinese authorities blame the company in part for the delay of a landmark nuclear project. As the WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:

U.S. and other foreign companies are now struggling to keep their hold in China, the industry’s biggest growth market and a rare bright spot more than three years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan put many of the world’s nuclear projects on hold. Yet China is increasingly turning to local companies to build crucial parts for multibillion-dollar nuclear projects, a result of Chinese industrial nationalism and frustration over U.S. supplier problems.

With the global nuclear industry focused on China, the Chinese government has used the heft of its huge market to secure transfers of key technology and gradually localize production. In the process, China is achieving a political aim to source sensitive manufacturing at home and satisfying a practical need to avoid complications posed by faraway suppliers.

One of those supplier issues has surfaced in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, where Pennsylvania’s Westinghouse Electric Co. is building the first of four of its most advanced, commercially available reactor, the AP1000, in China. Local authorities blame two-year delays in part on quality problems related to Curtiss-Wright. In a written statement, Curtiss-Wright said it has “refined and improved our design processes” as a result.

Still, despite the challenges, opportunities remain for international providers, said Rosemary Yeremian, president of Strategic Insights Inc., a Toronto-based consultancy. China is new to the global nuclear stage, and partnerships bring quality and other assurances, she said.

via China Wants its Nuclear Reactors ‘Made in China’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

07/12/2014

Best Buy to sell China business, focus on North America | Reuters

U.S. retailer Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) said on Thursday it will sell its struggling China business, Five Star, to domestic real estate firm Zhejiang Jiayuan Group in order to focus on its North American operations.

A Best Buy store is seen in Niles, Illinois  near Chicago, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

The world’s largest consumer electronics chain didn’t disclose financial terms of the sale of the 184-store network, announced in a statement.

Best Buy has struggled to fend off Chinese rivals in a crowded market, as other U.S. firms have complained that operating in the country has become more of a challenge.

“The sale of Five Star does not suggest any similar action in Canada or Mexico. Instead, it allows us to focus even more on our North American business,” Hubert Joly, Best Buy’s president and chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Joly added that Best Buy would continue to invest in its private label operation in the country. Best Buy’s China operations accounted for around 4 percent of its sales in the most recent financial year, ended Feb. 1.

via Best Buy to sell China business, focus on North America | Reuters.

05/09/2014

Chinese woman wrongfully jailed for theft given apology and payout 25 years after | South China Morning Post

Twenty-five years after she was locked up behind bars, a Guangdong woman on Thursday received more than 650,000 yuan (HK$818,000) in compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned – in the latest case of corrective measures for miscarried justice in China.

suspect_ap.jpg

Bai Chunrong was sentenced to eight years in prison for theft on July 28, 1989, and served time until she was released in 1996, the Guangdong province newspaper New Express reported.

Bai filed an appeal in March 1990 but the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court upheld the conviction. There were no further details about her crime given in the court announcement.

The same court reopened the case in late March and the judge declared her innocent on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Bai received the compensation from the Foshan court judge, who apologised to Bai for the wrongful conviction.

Bai, crying while kneeling on the floor and kowtowing to the magistrate, said: “I really thank the current court and judge for helping me get vindicated.”

Last month, in a rare acquittal, a court in southeastern Fujian province overturned the death penalty against a food hawker convicted of double murder.

via Chinese woman wrongfully jailed for theft given apology and payout 25 years after | South China Morning Post.

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