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4G market set to ignite hot competition
CED Monitoring BEIJING-Foreign telecom companies are keen to join China's fourth generation (4G) mobile network deployment with the country looking likely to issue the relevant licenses as early as this year. Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said the country is expected to award 4G licenses to domestic telecom operators by the end of 2013. Miao's words have helped fuel the enthusiasm of telecom industry players, both from China and abroad, to participate in the hunt for a sizable share in the world's largest 4G market where there are more than 10 billion cell phone subscribers. Global telecom equipment giants, including Ericsson AB, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent SA, as well as the world's leading chipset and device manufacturers such as US-based Qualcomm Inc and South Korea company Samsung Electronics Co, are preparing to do battle in China over the 4G market. It is easy to see how attractive the Chinese 4G market is after China Mobile Ltd, the nation's largest telecom operator, announced its capital spending would jump 49 percent year-onyear to 190.2 billion Yuan ($30.5bn) in 2013. More than half of the company's spending on networks - 42 billion Yuan - will go on 4G projects this year. High-level executives from two smaller wireless carriers - China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp - also revealed they are conducting 4G trials. The world's largest Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4G vendor Ericsson expressed an ambition to achieve a better performance in China this year. "We are not satisfied with the results Ericsson achieved in China Mobile's first-round 4G bidding last year," said Mats H. Olsson, senior vice-president of Ericsson Asia-Pa-
cific, during the 2013 Mobile World Congress held in Spain in February. "In the past Ericsson paid a lot of attention to countries including the United States, Japan and South Korea and mainly focused on the deployment of FDD LTE networks. Now we have turned our sights on China and TD-LTE technology," Olsson said. He expects China will become the world's biggest 4G market. Therefore Ericsson will ensure it is fully prepared and strive to lift the 4G market share in the country, he said. The Time-Division Long-Term Evolution (TD-LTE) technology and the Frequency-Division Duplex Long-Term Evolution (FDD LTE) technology are two variants of the LTE 4G standard. The TD-LTE technology is a Chinese homegrown 4G standard and is actively promoted by China Mobile. However, unlike the widerange adoption of FDD LTE technology, the deployment of TD-LTE commercial networks is still limited. Markus Borchert, president of Nokia Siemens Networks China, said 2013 is a very important year as eyes are turning to China and China Mobile's 4G activities.
Nokia Siemens Networks, based in Espoo, Finland, is the No 2 LTE player globally and No 1 LTE player in Asia by sales. "We are very happy to see the strong leadership role China Mobile is taking to drive the TD-LTE ecosystem. I think that is very good for the industry," Borchert told media. China Mobile is conducting large-scale 4G TD-LTE trials in 15 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology predicts an investment of 500 billion Yuan in trial network construction and more than 1 trillion yuan after commercial use begins. In addition to 4G benefits to telecom equipment makers, Bryan Wang, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, said the potential commercial rollout of the 4G LTE network has also lured networking vendors such as Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems Inc. "China's economic slowdown last year had a negative effect on international IT companies but 4G constructions is rising and has been a highlight," Wang said.
Rule change to benefit people with
BEIJING-The State Council solicited opinions from individuals and organizations on the revised Regulation on Education for Persons with Disabilities.
BEIJING-The State Council solicited opinions from individuals and organizations on the revised Regulation on Education for Persons with Disabilities. Compared with its predecessor, this revised regulation makes changes to ensure not only equal rights to education for people with disabilities, but also the quality of their education. One of the highlights of the progress is that inclusive education in regular schools for people with disabilities is specified as the primary choice when deciding education placement. Whether disabled people should attend regular schools or special education schools has long been controversial. Many people take it for granted that children with disabilities should go to special education schools, not only because of discriminatory social attitudes, but also because they believe that special education equates to education in special schools. In fact, special education includes placement in special education schools, special education classes in general schools, and also regular class in general schools. The principle of making choices should always respect the equal rights to education for children with disabilities and be based on the best interests of the child. The lack of screening and appraisal as well as a dispute-solving mechanism makes it difficult to judge what the best education choice is for children with disabilities and whom parents can turn to when their children with disabilities are refused by general education schools. Now, though, the regulation stipulates inclusive education as the primary choice, except proof could be provided to say that the child is not suitable for general schools. Moreover, the regulation
also calls for setting up a steering committee on education for people with disabilities at the district and county levels, the role of which is to appraise and advise on education placement for people with disabilities, and also to solve disputes between parents and schools. Inclusive education is about having an education system that recognizes and meets the learning needs of all students, whatever their differences are. Other than ensuring equal rights to education for children with disabilities, the deeper meaning of inclusive education lies in achieving the longterm goal of social inclusion for the disabled community. It's time for the education system to break down the barriers created by separating education in special education schools and education in general education schools. People who fear that the rapidly growing number of special education schools will grab more children with disabilities can relax: The regulation also renegotiates the role of special education schools. It's expected that special education schools, with their well-trained professionals on special education and equipment, should serve children whose special needs could not be met by general education schools. In addition, special education schools could play a supportive role in inclusive education in general education schools by engaging themselves in training general school teachers, assessing teaching practices, etc. In fact, special education schools should also reflect how inclusiveness should be integrated into the mission and curriculum. Many special education schools are still places that keep children with disabilities within their walls and are also not open to the communities. The goal of education is to
prepare children and young people for their future life. If the education in special education schools is isolating these future citizens more from the mainstream society, the mindset and practice should definitely be changed. Evidence both domestic and abroad shows that most children with disabilities could attend and retain in general education schools on condition that the education system is well-resourced and equipped. The argument that children with disabilities are suitable for general education schools therefore should be shifted to them if the education system is ready to meet their needs. To implement the revised regulation, there should obviously be an assessment of the education system, including the local education authorities, special education schools, and general education schools. Higher-education institutes that train professionals should be ready to accommodate these changes. Parents' rights to know what their rights are could also be stipulated as the obligation of local education authorities. In many circumstances, information on services available for families and individuals with disabilities do not reach out to them. Field research found that many parents, especially those in rural areas, do not know that children could go to general education schools, and they don't even know whether there is a special education school nearby. It normally takes years and many steps to turn the vision of a regulation into reality. Stakeholders are expected to take actions after the revised regulation is officially issued after this round of public comment. Eighteen years have elapsed since the regulation was first issued. Parents and children have been waiting for the regulation to be revised. They can't wait any longer.
Chinese TV series gaining popularity overseas
SHANGHAI -- Chinese TV shows that depict young people's lives in modern society are crossing the cultural divide and attracting a growing set of global audiences. One of the examples is the Chinese TV series "A Beautiful Daughter-in-law Era," a 36-episode light comedy about a modern Chinese couple. The TV series was first aired in Shanghai in November 2009. It was dubbed in Swahili and broadcast in east African countries in 2011. Kenyan actress Josephine Moeni Waweru and
actor Khamis Juma Swaleh were chosen to do voice dubbing for the two leading roles in the African version of the series. Wang Liping, screenwriter of the TV series, said she had doubts as to whether African audiences would be able to connect with the TV series. However, to her relief, it has at least proven to be a success in Africa. Tanzanians have said that they have been able to understand the series due to the emotional entanglement and personal relationships depicted in the show,
as they resonate with African people as deeply as they do with the Chinese. Kenyan Janet Nzomo said the tension between the show's mother-in-law and the daughterin-law also exist in Kenya. Kenyan people may be able to find ways to solve their personal problems by watching the series, she said. "The overseas market is eager to know young Chinese people's state of mind in modern times," Wang said. Although China is one of the
world's most prolific producers of TV series, its series are not particularly popular overseas. The popularity of "A Beautiful Daughter-In-Law Era" may serve as an impetus for Chinese TV producers who are seeking to bring their work to other countries. Chinese TV is typically limited to tales about ancient imperial life and kung fu in the global market, said He Xiaolan, president of the Shanghai-based WingsMedia. "But in fact, foreign markets are calling for more stories that depict the real lives of young Chinese," He said. Chinese TV shows with complicated storylines and historical settings are not popular among western audiences, as they prefer simpler stories about human nature, according to Cheng Chunli, a senior marketing director at the China International Television Corporation. In recent years, some TV shows that focus on the lives of urban Chinese have achieved some success in the foreign market. "Go Lala Go!," a TV series that details the adventures of a female office worker named Du Lala, has also started to reach global audiences. The series has been exported to Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and Canada. The series' export price per episode is about 10,000 U.S. dollars, paralleled only by "The Legend of Bruce Lee," a biopic about the kung fu icon. Exported series are typically "optimistic, modest and harmonious," according to He. Wang said she will continue to focus on the lives and dreams of ordinary people in her work, as well as make her work more appealing to both domestic and international audiences. "The Chinese dream will be more easily accepted by foreign audiences when it is manifested in small and touching stories," said Meng Jian, a professor at Fudan University. (XINHUA)
Coastal resort embraces surging Russian tourists SANYA -- Russian tourists are flocking to China's southernmost costal resort of Sanya in Hainan Province as they seek tropical beaches and get away from their country's winter chill.
The city of Sanya is the only tropical tourist destination in China, with annual average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius. It has seen a surge in Russian tourist numbers in recent years with about 190,000 in 2012, according to Zheng Conghui, Sanya Tourism Commission spokesman. In 2006, the number of Russian tourists to Sanya was 84,000, less than half the figure of last year. The 2012 figure of Russian visitors represented 42 percent of the city's total number of overseas tourists, which was 450,000. The rise in the number of Russian tourists is thanks to various convenient policies as well as other factors, Zheng said. Word-of-mouth recommendations among Russian visitors, increasing regular flights and tourist charter travel have all contributed to the surging inflow since 2007. Airlines link Sanya Phoenix International Airport with 15 Russian cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Irkutsk and Vladivostok. Russians are also taking advantage of a visa-free policy in Hainan that enables them to join tour groups and register with au-
thorities just one day before their scheduled departure date. The State Council, China's cabinet, gave Hainan permission to implement a duty-free program on a trial basis in April 2011 as part of efforts to promote the province as an international tourist destination. More importantly, the weather in Sanya is a significant contrast to that of Russia, with many visitors wanting a sunny beach vacation, said Zheng. Trofimova Olga is a 51-yearold engineer from Tyumen City, in West Siberia and is on holiday in Sanya. He said, "Amazing days in Sanya. I just lie on the beach with the sunshine and tender sea breeze." It is his third vacation to the city, and on this occasion Olga has signed up to a 14-day treatment
course with traditional Chinese therapy as he suffers from chronic disease in his leg. "I am refreshed after the treatment and my physical condition is improving," he said. Russian visitors are also attracted to the tourist, medical and recreation services because of their reasonable prices. Olga paid about 20,000 yuan (about 3,218 U.S dollars) on his vacation, including flights, accommodation and traditional Chinese therapy. "I have traveled to many cities in various countries. Sanya provides the most cost-effective vacation experience," Olga said. He added that the traditional medicine therapy was an "unexpected present" that he cannot enjoy in any other country. Other attractions for visitors is
that restaurants offer a Russian menu and employees working in the tourist industry can speak Russian. Some Russians liked Sanya so much they stayed. "It is like a leisure activity for me to cook Russian food in a beach restaurant," said Nezheleva, who did not want to give her surmane. She cooks in a Russian restaurant on Dadonghai Beach.
"In the peak season, we receive about 400 Russian tourists offering them authentic Russian dishes as well as Chinese food," said Nezheleva, who relocated after quitting her job in Russia's snowy far east region. Andre Ivanov, 57, is founder of Hainan Zhujiang International Travel Agency and was honored with the national Friendship Award in 2010 for his contribution in pro-
moting Sanya to Russians since 1994. He helped with the first charter tourist flight in 1997 when 100 Russian travelers from Siberia visited Sanya. "I established my own tourism business in Sanya and settled here with my Chinese wife. I am proud to bridge this Chinese resort city with my motherland," he said.(XINHUA)
Sinopecâ€™s net profit
falls by 14.8%
standards, the company said in a statement filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. By the Chinese reporting standards, Sinopec's net profit fell 11.4 percent to 63.5 billion Yuan last year, mainly driven by the prospecting and extracting operations. The refinery sector saw losses of 11.95 billion Yuan during the period, narrowing from the 37.61 bil-
BEIJING -- China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, the country's largest oil refiner, said on Sunday its net profits in 2012 dropped 14.8 percent year-onyear to 66.8 billion Yuan ($10.65 billion). Business revenues amounted to 2.73 trillion Yuan last year, an increase of 11 percent year-on-year as calculated according to the international financial reporting
lion Yuan in 2011, according to the report. In 2012, Sinopec produced 328.28 million barrels of crude oil, among which 306 million are from explorations in China. The company forecast it will produce 46.43 million tones of crude oil and 18.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas this year.(Agencies)
In 2012, Sinopec produced 328.28 million barrels of crude oil, among which 306 million are from explorations in China. 13
CPIC's net profit down by 39%
SHANGHAI -- China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd, or CPIC, has said that its 2012 net profit dropped by 38.9 percent year-onyear due to decrease of investment yield and slowdown of business growth. Its net profit hit 5.077 billion Yuan ($809.6 million) last year, down 38.9 percent from 8.313 billion Yuan in 2011, according to its annual report filed with the Shang14
hai Stock Exchange. Affected by slowdown of the overall economic growth, sluggish capital market and cyclical adjustment of the industry, the company recorded gross written premiums of 93.461 billion Yuan in 2012 from life insurance business, up 0.3 percent from the previous year, it said. Premiums from new policies amounted to 37.333 billion Yuan in 2012, representing a decrease of
20.5 percent over the same period of 2011 while premiums from renewed policies amounted to 56.128 billion Yuan, up 21.3 percent year-on-year, it said. Basic earnings per share dropped drastically from 0.97 Yuan in 2011 to 0.59 Yuan in 2012, it said. The Shanghai-based CPIC is a major insurance company in China. It is listed both in Shanghai and Hong Kong.(Agencies)
China Construction Bankâ€™s net profit up by 14%
BEIJING -- China Construction Bank, the country's secondlargest State-owned bank, said Sunday its net profit rose 14.13 percent year-on-year to 193.18 billion Yuan ($30.8 billion) in 2012. The bank's business revenue reached 460.75 billion Yuan last year, an increase of 16.03 percent from 2011, according to a report the bank filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The bank attributed the
profit gain to a modest expansion of interest-bearing assets and its strengthening cost management during the period. Net interest income grew 15.97 percent year-on-year to 353.2 billion Yuan. Affected by the year's tempered economic growth and regulatory policy changes, revenues from commission charges added a mere 7.49 percent to 93.51 billion Yuan, it said.
At the end of last year, the bank's capital adequacy ratio came in at 14.32 percent, while core capital adequacy ratio was 11.32 percent, up 0.64 percentage point and 0.35 percentage point, respectively, from the end of 2011. The bank's outstanding nonperforming loan stood at 74.62 billion Yuan, with the NPL ratio at 0.99 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the level at the end of 2011. (Agencies) 15
HK Airport wins green award
CED Monitoring HONG KONG - Hong Kong International Airport has been awarded the Airport Carbon Accreditation "Optimization" certificate, which turned it to be the first and only airport in the Asia-Pacific to achieve this standard. The certificate was awarded by the Airports Council International Asia-Pacific's Regional Director Patti Chau to Airport Authority Chairman Marvin Cheung at a ceremony here. Officiating at the ceremony, 16
Secretary for Transport & Housing Prof Anthony Cheung said the accreditation is an important milestone towards a sustainable future. "Environmental protection has always been an integral aspect of the airport's development, and this is also one of the policy priorities of the new government, so it is rewarding to see the airport become a pioneer in the Asia-Pacific region and an exemplar of environmental excellence," he said. The Airport Authority said the airport reduced carbon intensity
by nearly 14 percent in the last two years, and is on track to meet the goal it set in 2010 of a 25 percent reduction by 2015 on 2008 emission levels. Airport Carbon Accreditation was initially launched in June 2009 and expanded to the Asia-Pacific in November 2011. As the only institutionally-endorsed carbon management certification standard for airports, the program independently assesses airports with four progressive levels of accreditation, including "Mapping", "Reduction", "Optimization" and "Neutrality
Cop investigated for rape in Guilin CED Monitoring GUILIN-A police substation head has been suspended pending further investigation on suspicion of being involved in the rape of a 13year-old girl in Guilin city's Quanzhou county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. The victim, who is attending a junior high school, told police in January that she was raped by three men from Jan 17 to 19, after she was forcefully taken to three
hotels by three women and a young man. One of the women went to the same school as the victim but has left the school. After preliminary investigations, the unnamed police substation head was believed to be one of the men who raped the girl, and he was detained for a month. But local authorities later did not issue an arrest warrant against the police officer saying that they lacked evidence. The case has raised great
concern among residents as the police substation head, who was newly appointed to his post, had not received any punishment. On Saturday, the autonomous region's public security department said it will make further investigations and that the findings will be made public. Those who are found to have violated laws in the case will be severely punished, local media quoted authorities as saying.
'Ecosystem' plays pivotal role in city's IT success
CHENGDU-Li Jianfan, general manager of Teleca (China), often feels that he is in the epicenter of China's software service industry.
The Chengdu branch of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is next door to his company. Across the street is the ZTE Corp building. Both Huawei and ZTE are emerging global cell phone giants.
Li also routinely meets his clients and managers from the same industry in the numerous salons and conferences held within the Chengdu Hi-tech Zone. Teleca is a supplier of software solutions and engineering services to the mobile industry. Originally from Sweden, it now has more than 2,000 employees in 11 countries worldwide. Its clients are cell phone brands such as Nokia Corp, Sony Mobile Communications AB (formerly Sony Ericsson), Microsoft Corp and Motorola Mobility LLC. In 2005, Nokia, one of Teleca (China)'s major clients, decided to open its regional headquarters in Chengdu's Tianfu Software Park. Teleca (China) followed Nokia to Chengdu. "As a software service provider, we have to be where our clients are," Li said. Like Teleca (China), thousands of companies have followed their main clients to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. Chengdu is now home to 234 Fortune 500 companies. In the IT sector alone, the world's largest multinationals such as Intel Inc, Dell Inc, Lenovo Group Ltd, Foxconn Technology Group, Compal Electronics Inc and Wistron Corp have set up their operation in the city. 20
Li said that after he moved in, he came to realize that Chengdu was the perfect choice for his company. Numerous colleges and universities in Chengdu produce thousands of skilled and relatively cheaper employees every year. Li estimated the worker cost in his industry is 20 to 25 percent of workers in Beijing and Shanghai. Besides, as Chengdu grew to be a major software industry hub in China and the multinationals there matured, they cultivated many experienced software engineers and managers, which could be hired by Li's company. Xiong Jie, a manager of Thought Works, a software outsourcing company, also feels the benefit of Chengdu's quality talent pool. "Thirty-five out of 50 employees we currently have are from Chengdu. They are intelligent and diligent," said Xiong. He himself was attracted to Chengdu after working in a Beijing software company for several years. Both Xiong and Li said they are grateful to the zone's effort to organize collective hiring program. With just a few thousand Yuan, their companies could join campus recruiting as well as fly to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to hire workers. Organizing their own
campus hiring campaign individually could cost them much more money. Xiong and a number of IT companies China Daily interviewed said being in the "ecosystem" is very important for them, so much so that it is like breathing air. "They (my colleagues) can talk to each other. They can communicate with each other. They can learn from each other," Xiong said. "The zone organizes communication events every week. For example, in the mobile tech conference, we can easily talk to people in Tecent." For Xiong, another important reason for him to select Chengdu was its visionary officials. "Before we decided (to move into Chengdu), we talked to the officials of Chengdu, as well as other cities. I figured out that they (Chengdu officials) have a vision of the global economy and the IT industry. They understand how to encourage enterprises to be innovative." Li said his next goal is to develop domestic cell phone giants such as ZTE and Huawei to be his clients. Those companies' fast growth could boost his business. "They are so close to us. I think we can grow together," Li said.
Beijing buses to offer
Wi-Fi CED Monitoring More than 10,000 buses in Beijing will offer Wi-Fi service by the end of 2013. The service followed a deal signed in April last year between China Mobile and Beijing Bus Trans-
portation Group, which operates Beijing's bus system and will provide coverage on all routes within the Fourth Ring Road. More than 1,800 buses have wireless Internet access so far, allowing passengers with Wi-Fi en-
abled devices to connect to the Internet through China Mobile's network. Beijing has the broadest Wi-Fi coverage on buses in the country. China Mobile will offer 20hours a month free before June 30. 21
Carrier bets on
CED Monitoring SHANGHAI-China Mobile Ltd, the world's biggest telecom carrier by subscribers, plans to boost its data services to make up for a drop in revenue from short message services caused by the rise of chat applications. China Mobile and carriers across the world are being severely challenged by thriving instant messaging applications on mobile phones, such as WeChat and Whatsapp, which allow users 22
to send text messages, images and voice clips through mobile networks. An increasing number of smartphone users are choosing to use the applications over the carriers' short message and voice services to communicate with friends and family members as they are much cheaper. It costs at least 100 Yuan ($15.95) to send 1,000 text messages through the carriers' services, but only 3 to 5 Yuan to send the same number of messages
using the applications. Xi Guohua, China Mobile's chairman, told a press conference in Hong Kong on Thursday that the company's strategy to cope with the challenge posed by the chat applications is to step up its data services, partly through building its new 4G network, in the hope that a rise in data services revenue will make up for the inevitable loss in the traditional SMS and voice services. "Strengthening data services is our answer to instant messaging,"
said Xi, after remarking that China Mobile's net profit grew just 2.7 percent in 2012 to 129.3 billion Yuan, on a 6.1 percent increase in revenue to 560.4 billion Yuan. Revenue from short message and multimedia message services dropped about 5 percent to 44.2 billion Yuan. Revenue from voice services, mostly phone calls, was almost stagnant, increasing just 1.1 percent year-on-year to 368 billion Yuan. The weakness in the two traditional services was mostly compensated by a surge in revenue from wireless data traffic, which jumped 53.6 percent to 68.26 billion Yuan. Wireless data traffic volume grew 187.6 percent to 1,039 billion megabytes, a clear sign that
China Mobile's data services are taking off. Revenue from wireless data traffic accounts for 12.2 percent of the carrier's total revenue, up 3.8 percentage points from 2011. The proportion of short message and multimedia message services, in turn, dropped 0.9 percentage points, to 7.9 percent. "Wireless data traffic has developed rapidly and become a key driver of revenue growth," said Xi. The carrier's voice and short message service business may become even weaker as traffic on chat applications keeps ballooning. On a single day - Dec 31 - the number of outbound messages on WhatsApp hit 11 billion. In January,
Apple Inc said that users on its iMessage service were sending more than 2 billion messages a day, up from 1 billion in June. China Mobile hopes that the launch of its TD-LTE 4G networks will help bring in much-needed additional revenue. The carrier has set aside 41.7 billion Yuan this year to invest in its TD-LTE infrastructure, including building over 200,000 base stations nationwide. Last year, it spent around 5 billion Yuan to build 20,000 base stations to test the new technology and decided that TDLTE is mature enough for commercial promotion. The investment will account for a major part of the increase in its planned capital expenditure to 190 billion Yuan this year, up from 127 billion in 2012.
A girl checks her smartphone in Beijing. More and more smartphone users are choosing to use WeChat and Whatsapp to communicate with friends and family members 23
CED Monitoring BEIJING-BRICS members should create a free trade agreement to increase the power and voice of emerging economies in the world economy, Chinese experts say. "BRICS should consider proposing a free trade agreement at the summit, regardless of whether it's feasible right now," said Wang Junwen, chairman of the China Association of International Trade. Wang said the current cooperation of the BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - is "of more political significance than an economic one". "Despite challenges and competition, all five members of the group intend to increase their voice in the multilateral trading system, which is dominated by developed economies such as the US, the EU and Japan," he said. A bilateral FTA between the United States and the European Union is expected to start in June and conclude in 2014. Through the high-standard Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the US and the EU will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can
strengthen the multilateral trading system. Meanwhile, the US also has been advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP. "The TPP and the trans-Atlantic trade and investment pact, if introduced, will shape global rules as its members account for more than half of total global trade and GDP," said Sun Zhenyu, chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies (CWTO), a think tank of the Ministry of Commerce. "BRICS surely needs to strengthen cooperation, and better cooperation will bring about a greater role in global governance." CWTO Vice-Chairman Zheng Zhihai said China must take the lead in such efforts. "China is the leader of the BRICS. It can first start the FTA talks with South Africa and then advance the pact with India, because a feasibility study has already been concluded. The final goal is establishing an FTA of the BRICS countries," he said. A recent report from Standard Bank said that Intra-BRICS convergence is being led by China, and China plays a part in 85 percent of intra-BRICS trade. China is one of the top-three export destinations
of each of the four other BRICS countries. Zhao Longyue, director of the China Center for International Development, said: "China is now exerting more influence on world economic affairs, but has a much smaller role in global politics and international diplomacy. In order to be the leader of the BRICS, China should deliberately merge its own interests into the group's with a comprehensive guideline while the group still lacks a core." Wang Hui, a consultant of CWTO's foreign economic and trade advisory council, added that China's advantage in enhancing its role in global trade rules relies in its domestic market. To increase its economic power, BRICS should develop its infrastructure, for example setting up a secretariat, as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization did, as well as bringing in more members, such as Indonesia, South Korea and Mexico. "The growth of China and other members will easily lift the group's trade to $500 billion in three years. But that's not important and not attractive to other members," Wang said. "The future goal is building up an FTA of emerging economies," he said.
Oil pricing system gets adjustment
CED Monitoring BEIJING-Fuel costs to see short-term decline under market-oriented measures China has launched a more market-oriented oil product pricing system to better reflect costs and adapt to fluctuations in global oil prices. A system introduced in 2009 to adjust prices when Brent, Dubai and Cinta crude oil prices change by more than 4 percent over 22 working days, will be abandoned. The new system will shorten the adjustment period to 10 days and remove the 4 percent limit, allowing for swifter reaction to increases or cuts in fuel prices, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner. The composition of the basket of crudes to which oil prices are linked will also be adjusted. The 22-working-day cycle has triggered complaints about the pricing system, as it often failed to reflect fluctuations in the international market. China has also cut gasoline and diesel prices for the first time this year. From Wednesday, the maximum retail prices of regular gasoline and diesel will be cut by 310 Yuan ($48.30) and 300 Yuan per ton. The benchmark retail price of gasoline will fall by 0.23 Yuan per liter and diesel by 0.26 Yuan per liter. After the adjustment, the retail gasoline price will drop to under 7 Yuan per liter in most cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Operators can determine their own retail prices based on supply and demand and by referencing the regulated prices, according to an official in the commission's price department. A more market-based pricing mechanism is good for consumers' interests through market competition, said Wen Guifang,
an economist at the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Wen said in the long run, oil prices will continue to rise. As the world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States, China has seen increasing dependence on imported oil, which has threatened its energy security. That dependence is expected to reach 59.4 percent in 2013, according to a report released by the Economics and Technology Research Institute of China National Petroleum Corp. Many analysts said the commission has acted quicker than expected. Zhang Ping, the former chairman of the commission, said this month that China is moving to reform the oil pricing mechanism. Han Jingyuan, an energy analyst with JYD Online, a bulk commodity consultant based in Beijing, said it is better to launch the new system when oil prices are low. Crude oil prices on the international market continued to fall in the past few weeks, and the international oil price is likely to keep dropping, she said. The 22-day moving average price of Brent, Dubai and Cinta on Monday was 5.12 percent lower than the level when China last adjusted fuel prices, said Han. Eased domestic inflationary pressure also means it is a good time for the commission to launch the new system. Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with Industrial Bank Co Ltd, said inflation is not an immediate problem and he forecast growth of the Consumer Price Index will continue to fall to about 2.2 percent in March. The index rose 3.2 percent in February year-on-year. A 10 percent cut in oil prices usually leads to a 0.1 percent fall in the index. Since February 2011, China has adjusted fuel prices 13 times, with seven increases and six cuts.
Trade continues rapid growth
CED Monitoring BEIJING-Fuel costs to see shortterm decline under market-oriented measures China has launched a more market-oriented oil product pricing system to better reflect costs and adapt to fluctuations in global oil prices. A system introduced in 2009 to adjust prices when Brent, Dubai and Cinta crude
oil prices change by more than 4 percent over 22 working days, will be abandoned. The new system will shorten the adjustment period to 10 days and remove the 4 percent limit, allowing for swifter reaction to increases or cuts in fuel prices, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner. The composition of the basket of crudes to which oil prices are linked will also be adjusted. The 22-working-day cycle has triggered complaints about the pricing system, as it often failed to reflect fluctuations in the international market. China has also cut gasoline and diesel prices for the first time this year. From Wednesday, the maximum retail prices of regular gasoline and diesel will be cut by 310 Yuan ($48.30) and 300 Yuan per ton. The benchmark retail price of gasoline will fall by 0.23 Yuan per liter and diesel by 0.26 Yuan per liter. After the adjustment, the retail gasoline price will drop to under 7 Yuan per liter in most cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Operators can determine their own retail prices based on supply and demand and by referencing the regulated prices, according to an official in the commission's price department. A more market-based pricing mechanism is good for consumers' interests through market competition, said Wen Guifang, an economist at the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Wen said in the long run, oil prices will continue to rise. As the world's second-largest oil consumer after the United States, China has seen increasing dependence on imported oil, which has threatened its energy security. That dependence is ex-
pected to reach 59.4 percent in 2013, according to a report released by the Economics and Technology Research Institute of China National Petroleum Corp. Many analysts said the commission has acted quicker than expected. Zhang Ping, the former chairman of the commission, said this month that China is moving to reform the oil pricing mechanism. Han Jingyuan, an energy analyst with JYD Online, a bulk commodity consultant based in Beijing, said it is better to launch the new system when oil prices are low. Crude oil prices on the international market continued to fall in the past few weeks, and the international oil price is likely to keep dropping, she said. The 22-day moving average price of Brent, Dubai and Cinta on Monday was 5.12 percent lower than the level when China last adjusted fuel prices, said Han. Eased domestic inflationary pressure also means it is a good time for the commission to launch the new system. Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with Industrial Bank Co Ltd, said inflation is not an immediate problem and he forecast growth of the Consumer Price Index will continue to fall to about 2.2 percent in March. The index rose 3.2 percent in February year-on-year. A 10 percent cut in oil prices usually leads to a 0.1 percent fall in the index. Since February 2011, China has adjusted fuel prices 13 times, with seven increases and six cuts.
China's economy boosted by intra-Asia trade
CED Monitoring SHANGHAI-The country's economic growth will rise to 7.9 percent, beating the government's target of 7.5 percent, fueled by China's increased intra-Asia trade, said Douglas McWilliams, an economic adviser at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, a London-based accounting association. "Global growth as a whole was low last year, but Chinese exports rose by around $150 billion. Around two-thirds of that was increased exports to Asia, which already accounts for about half of foreign sales for China," McWilliams said. He pointed out that the rise of Asia, Africa and Latin America has effectively made Western economies less crucial for China's economy. For instance, the share of Chinese exports to the EU, Japan and NAFTA regions fell from 17 percent in 2000 to 7 percent in 2012, a downward trend that will continue for years to come. The use of investment as a policy tool, supported by surging consumption among ASEAN
nations, has meant China's growth remains well ahead of global trends, according to the latest quarterly report on China's economy compiled by the institute. The study suggested that investment has become the key policy tool for boosting growth and it has been deployed successfully in the last quarter of 2012. Inland provinces are receiving a greater boost than coastal areas, and lower capital stock levels mean that they can make better use of resources. However, McWilliams warned that bad loans may come back to haunt Chinese banks and could even threaten a credit crunch without government intervention. "Since investment is primarily financed by bank loans, they need to be paid back from cash flows generated by the investments. Currently, loan losses are increasing in China compared with a year ago. Uneconomical investment in the past can cause a drop in future investment via the banking system," he said.
Global growth as a whole was low last year, but Chinese exports rose by around $150 billion
Govt departme more locally
ents purchasing y made cars
CED Monitoring SHANGHAI-Government departments across the country are buying locally manufactured cars in greater numbers in accordance with the latest government guidelines, carmakers said. Reacting to the government's call for frugality, and in an effort to boost the fortunes of local car manufacturers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published a draft catalogue last year of 400 types of cars available for official use. All the cars are either Chinese brands, or internationally branded cars that were manufactured in partnership with Chinese companies in the country but some previously popular official car brands were omitted, such as Audi, Volkswagen and Toyota. Domestic carmakers, including China FAW Group Corp, SAIC Motor Corp and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, were highlighted on the list as producing high-quality cars that can meet the demands of government departments. According to Xu Xianping, general manger of China FAW Group Corp, government buying has increased as a result. "Thirteen Red Flag H7 premium sedans manufactured by our group were purchased by the Jilin provincial government at the end of February, while more than 10 provinces and central government departments have purchased large batches of Red Flag H7 cars," Xu told media Cui Dayong, deputy manager of FAW Car Co Ltd, a subsidiary of FAW Group, who is in charge of selling Red Flag, Besturn and Mazda cars, said: "The launch of the Besturn B90 in 2012, targeted at the government car market, has received positive results. "Seventy-two Besturn B90s 34
were purchased by the Fujian provincial government last year." The share prices of China's car manufacturers have also benefited from the policy. Shares in FAW rose by the 10 percent daily limit in Shenzhen trading on Wednesday, and were poised to hit their highest point since Nov 2008. And there have been other notable orders received by local carmakers. The Trumpchi, produced by Guangzhou Automobile Group, is now being used as the official car by the governments of Guangzhou and Fuzhou, while the Roewe 950, produced by SAIC Motor, is reported to have picked up orders from officials in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces. Yang Yan, the legal representative of the Wenzhou Transportation Group, appointed to supply rental services for government officials in the city, said: "More than 200 cars made available by the company for government departments to rent were all made by Chinese manufacturers, including models from SAIC Motor." Buying local brands as official government cars is a common practice in many countries, said Zeng Zhiling, director of Asia Pacific Forecasting with LMC Automotive. "It is a good method of promoting domestic brands, and increasing the confidence of buyers in local products," said Zeng. However, Feng Shiming, an auto analyst at Menutor Consulting, said more needs to be done by the government to open up the official car market to more successful small and mediumsized, and privately owned car manufacturers, as well as Stateowned manufacturers. "To promote domestic brands, the government could offer more opportunities for private carmakers, like Geely, BYD and Great Wall to supply government cars," Feng said.
Chinese-built railway aids Tanzania's trade aspirations CED Monitoring BEIJING-Tazara was not the first construction work China carried out in Africa, but the symbolism of China-Africa friendship during hard times created by this railway is irreplaceable and has been treasured by the two peoples for nearly half a century. It played a vital role in breaking the economic isolation of the east African country and building bridges between countries at the time, but it also suffered a negative effect later because of the country's controversial mismanagement. "We could see the significance the railway could play in the future and we have never left," said Wang Lei, general manager of China Civil Engineering Construction Corp in East Africa, whose predecessor was the foreign aid office of the Ministry of Railways of China in the 1960s and 70s, which built this railway over a 10-year period. He said 15 training programs have been accomplished since the completion of the railway in 1976. His workers have conducted maintenance work, including installing spare parts, providing carriages and funds, transferring technology as well as training staff. Several leading companies and research institutes have been appointed by the Chinese govern-
ment to investigate the current condition of the railway with a view to updating it. Today, not far from the terminal of this railway in the streets of Dar es Salaam, Chinese and Tanzanian flags hang along the roads and huge signs are set up with a Chinese man's portrait and the word "Welcome" in Swahili. He is the man who might bring in more Tazara railways and also more investment and opportunities to this region over the next few years â€” the newly elected Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is making his first visit to three African countries as president. Visiting Africa has been a tradition for a new Chinese leader to show friendship and comprehensive interconnectedness, but this time Xi is not just coming as a gesture but with a program to tackle many challenges that lie ahead for the two nations. Integration, industrialization, peace and security, as well as sustainable development, are all buzzwords in African countries. They also could be the guidelines for China's engagement in Africa if China wants its interests there to be more efficient and sustainable. Luckily, China has never been the sole dominant force in this relationship and has
shown a strong willingness to support Africa's own agenda. But where this relationship is leading depends on the extent to which both sides can achieve mutual benefit across all fields. China is not the only international player in Africa. Traditional players from the West still have a huge impact on Africa's social progress. Competition also comes from emerging markets such as India and Brazil, which is a good thing for the continent because it gives Africa more leverage in choosing what really benefits it. To solidify its achievement and role in Africa, China should continue being a strong supporter of African home-grown solutions and "African dreams", say observers. For instance, as deeper integration among African countries utilizing a more connected continental transportation network has risen to the top of the agenda of many governments that want to enhance intra-border trade and communications, China and Chinese companies are eager to join these efforts to further support Africa's aspirations. "We have signed three Memorandums of Understanding with the Tanzanian Transportation Ministry to build other railway arteries in this country," said Wang.
It played a vital role in breaking the economic isolation of the east African country and building bridges between countries at the time 37
Economic powerhouse shows cultured side
CED Monitoring SHANGHAI WHEN it comes to the Pudong New Area, most people tend to focus on its booming economy and financial achievements. However, after 20 years of astonishing economic development, Pudong is now establishing itself as a cultural powerhouse, too, and showing the world a brand-new "culture name card." Recently, it selected its "10 Best" - including architecture, culture and creative industries, historical resources, public performances and more. 38
Hundreds of subjects were considered in this event, creating a wonderfully diversified, often eye-popping selection. In May 2012, the "10 Best" selection began with members of the public posting photographs of their favorite cultural attractions in the district on the official weibo (Chinese version of Twitter) account. While the local government had an input - through civic vote and discussions by professionals the public played a major role through votes. At the end of February this
year, the account had more than 20,000 followers accounts and tweets were forwarded more than 30,000 times, reported officials. Some residents literally got on their bikes to participate. Hong Jinlong, who is in his 70s and lives in Zhangjiang area, rode his bicycle to a post office just to cast his vote. "Pudong has been developed for more than 20 years, yet I've often heard it still described as a 'cultural desert'," he says. But through the "10 Best" selection, Hong was surprised to see so many outstanding attractions. "This means that our area has
been developing better and better culture, and I'm thrilled about this," says Hong. "And it's not only for me, my daughter-in-law and grandchildren all voted for the 10 Best. Pudong culture will only flourish and if we all become involved." With some input from academics and civic opinion, on Saturday night, the long list of public nominations was whittled down to the top 10. Included in the Pudong New Area's "10 Best" are the China Art Museum; Shanghai Science and Technology Museum; Pudong Library; Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival; and Shanghai Nanhui Peach Blossom Festival. An official from the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture Radio, Film and TV told Shanghai Daily that the "10 Best" selected are popular with the public and "many have rich histories." This event was also an opportunity to take a grand panoramic view of Pudong's stunning development. From a fishing village to one of the most recognizable skylines in the world, it has come a long way. And the top 10 list reveals that within Pudong in 2013 lies an astonishing diversity of attractions. Here are some options for a one-day cultural trip in Pudong: Begin your cultural extravaganza absorbed in the scientific charms of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, within walking distance of Metro Line 2 Century Park Station. Or immerse yourself among the books at Pudong Library, while the latest IMAX blockbuster might be available from its video hall. Later on, you can head for to Yuanshen Sports Center, which has one of Shanghai's most established gyms, and enjoy a reasonably priced workout in an unpretentious community atmosphere. If all that exercise has left you wanting a bit more culture, head to the China Pavilion-turned-China Art Museum in the Expo Park to view artworks, the Himalayas Cen-
ter for amazing artefacts and designs, or perhaps learn something new at the China Maritime Museum. As night approaches, fans of everything from classical music, opera and ballet to pop, should check out who's playing at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center and Mercedes-Benz Arena and enjoy an audio-and-visual feast. And after all this activity, wandering along Bingjiang Avenue is a relaxing option, looking at the picturesque and spectacular view of the Bund and other landmarks reflected in the Huangpu River. Of course, Pudong has much more in addition to these suggestions. Indeed, it is estimated that residents only have to walk for 10 minutes to find a culture spot. Among nominations for the "10 Best" are cultural teams, cultural figures and public performances. These help bridge the distance between high art and ordinary Pudong residents, bringing a cultural feast to residents within their local communities. Hundreds of performances are "delivered" to communities while almost every sub-district - including rural areas - can provide
high quality "local cultural shows." Meanwhile, the culture industry economy in Pudong is booming, too. Zhangjiang Cultural Industry Park gathers animation, media and other companies in the sector, which pays off handsomely through the year. Substantive trade volume and incredible annual increase of more than 100% is proof of the flowering of Pudong's culture industry and its vital role in contributing to the area's GDP. Throughout its development, Pudong has always upheld the ethos that cultural construction and economic development should proceed and promote synchronously. "Economic hardware" and "cultural software" ought to be enhanced simultaneously, and Pudong is coming up with strategies for "more humanities and culture in the new area," according to the Pudong New Area's media department. The success of the "10 Best" initiative in getting residents to contribute, together with the healthy state of the sector is confirmation that the Pudong New Area is creating its own strong cultural identity. 39
Real Estate experts bet on housing prices BEIJING -- Although it has become somewhat fashionable for Chinese property tycoons and experts to bet on home prices, their predictions are often contradictory and sometimes downright bizarre. Guo Jianbo, a Shenzhenbased industry insider, said last December that if home prices in major cities didn't drop in March, he would go for a naked run in downtown Beijing. Others have made sky-high predictions about the industry's prices. Dong Fan, a real estate researcher at Beijing Normal University, said average home prices in Beijing will hit 800,000 yuan (127,389 U.S. dollars) per square meter in 25 years, 40 times higher than the current average price.
Some industry experts, however, think prices are more likely to fall due to government intervention. "Quickly sell your spare homes, as their prices will fall due to continued tightening policies," said Andy Xie, a former senior manager at Morgan Stanley. Some industry insiders have taken to criticizing each other for their predictions. Outspoken property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang said home prices will rise even faster than income growth in March if land supplies for housing do not increase significantly. But Cao Jianhai, an economics researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, criticized Ren and others for using their
predictions to create hype and generate sales. "People say I am a good actor. But the reality is, if I do not attract enough attention, who will know me and buy my homes?" said Pan Shiyi, a friend of Ren's and another real estate tycoon. Amid the heated and often self-contradictory predictions, the country's housing prices are generally increasing. Of a statistical pool of 70 major Chinese cities monitored by the National Bureau of Statistics, 66 cities saw home prices increase by a margin of no more than 3.1 percent in February from a month earlier, when 53 cities reported a growth margin of no more than 2.2 percent.(XINHUA)
City property prices in monthly surge
CED Monitoring BEIJING-Most major cities reported a sharp monthly rise in property prices in February, fueled by demand outstripping supply, analysts said.Of the 70 major cities monitored by the National Bureau of Statistics, 66, led by Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, saw prices rise month-on-month. January, by comparison, saw 53 of the monitored cities register property price increases. Measures rolled out by the government at the beginning of March to curb rising property prices have still to kick in, analysts said. Wenzhou in Zhejiang province was the only city to experience falling property prices in February. A majority of cities also saw property prices rise over the year with 62 cities registering annual increases, compared with 53 in January. The largest increase was 8.2 percent in Guangzhou, almost double the rate in the previous month.
Beijing came next with 7.7 percent, Shenzhen with 5.8 percent, and Shanghai with 4.1 percent. "The key reason triggering this round of price hikes is limited supply," said Tao Hongbing, president of Gaoce Real Estate Brokerage. Just nine projects opened for sale in Beijing in the first 10 days of March, down 30 percent for the same period of the previous month, according to Yahao Real Estate Selling and Consulting. The strong rebound in the property market led to a government response on March 1 that targeted speculative property sellers. Homeowners who sell their homes within five years after their purchase will face capital gains tax of 20 percent. Before the new measure, the tax levied was 1 percent of the sale price. The details for the implementation will be released shortly. The measure, targeting speculation, resulted in further price hikes in the new housing market, especially in key cities as buyers opted for new properties.
A real estate project on Beijing's North Fifth Ring Road increased its sale price by almost 4,000 Yuan ($644) per square meter within 20 days. But there were still more than 1,300 potential customers seeking 184 units. Sino-Ocean Land, a Hong Kong-listed property developer, set its sales target for 2013 at 35 billion yuan ($5.6 billion), up 15 percent year-on-year. Longfor, a Hong Kong-listed property developer, reported a net profit of 54 billion Yuan in 2012, an increase of 19.4 percent yearon-year, the company said on Friday. "Residential developers in China are starting to rebuild,'' said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Bei Fu. "Financing conditions and liquidity have improved while refinancing risks have moderated. That's why we recently revised our outlook for the Chinese market to stable from negative. But smaller Chinese developers could still struggle to raise funds or overcome stiff competition." 41
CED Monitoring BEIJING-The First Beijing Agriculture Carnival kicked off in Changping district at the Strawberry Expo Garden in Xingshou township. The carnival, which will continue til May 12, highlights the latest technological advances and key projects. Visitors can see an array of produce in all shapes and sizes. Fruit and vegetables, including thumb-sized cucumbers, pumpkins weighing more than 50 kilograms, as well as produce grown in space, will be displayed. Nearly 300 enterprises from home and abroad will attend the event, and up to 800,000 visitors are expected. The carnival is expected to bring about 400 million Yuan ($64.4 million) in direct economic returns for the district. Tang Ai, 32, and her husband, drove their two daughters from Haidian district. The family started the tour around 1 pm before heading toward the amusement park for children at 4 pm. "My younger daughter is only 6. She was amazed by so many different kinds of tomatoes," Tang said. Chen Yu took a bus ride together with his 4-year-old son and his mother-in-law to the carnival.
After they arrived at 1 pm, they went to the strawberry fields. Chen said he knew about the carnival from news reports. "My son finds the exhibitions very interesting," Chen said, while playing a video game that simulates the operation of aerial seeding carried out by helicopters. One booth invites people to paint cartoonlike images, such as the angry birds, with grains in different colors. Each family can participate and take their finished art home after a payment of 25 yuan. At another booth, Zhi Xuhong, 25, presents his sculptures created from food products. He can carve a turnip into a flower within 10 minutes and the God of Longevity was created from a sweet potato. Zhi used to work for high-end restaurants but is now passing on his skills as head of a carving training school. "People approached me, especially adults. Some asked me to teach them. They are interested because they saw in real life the things they had known only from TV," Zhi said. Another popular booth showcases machines that can test the level of harmful substances, such as pesticide residue in food products.
Leng Xizhuan, 32, is a project manager from Paide Science and Technology Development Co. They offer solutions to agricultural modernization via precise computer-based management and mechanization. Precise management uses computer-based monitoring and remote sensing systems to help crops grow under optimal conditions of light, water, temperature, humidity and irrigation, Leng said. Leng said his company has signed partnership deals with largescale agricultural producers in Heilongjiang province and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. "It is unlikely that we will find potential partners at the carnival, because most visitors are Beijing residents. We want more people to know the hottest trends in agriculture and bring some practical knowledge back home, such as household and office greening tips," Leng said. Changping, located in northwest Beijing, is well-known for its hot springs and the Great Wall. Strawberry cultivation and production has been a leading industry in the district. The carnival also features a photography competition, which will receive submissions until April 25 43
Keeping the rural areas safe
CED Monitoring BEIJING-During the rapid process of urbanization, the government must take measures to avoid damaging the countryside, a decline in agricultural output and the marginalization of farmers, said Chen Xiwen, Deputy Director of the Party's leading group on rural work. China imported more than 60 billion kg of grain in 2011 - including more than 52.4 million tons of soybeans. The country also imported 6.27 million tons of vegetable oil, 3.3 million tons of cotton, 2 million tons of sugar and 500,000 tons of pork. China's self-sufficiency in food has dropped below 90 percent, according to Chen, speaking at an international forum on urban44
ization in Shanghai last year. A large number of young farmers born in the 1980s and 1990s have left the countryside to work in the cities and few wish to return to their hometowns. Without a younger generation of laborers, the countryside is going downhill. During the past 10 years, approximately 900,000 villages have disappeared, said Feng Jicai, vice-president of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. As resources, labor and capital all move to city-based industries, the question of how the country can prevent agriculture from declining has been brought into sharp focus, Chen said. In recent years, the government has found it increasingly difficult to control the price of
agricultural products. One of the reasons behind the price fluctuations is the fall in the number of small piggeries and henhouses, which has resulted in increased dependence on the international market for food supplies. The government must be prudent and prevent the decline of the agricultural sector and the countryside, because they form the foundation of the urbanization process. China has suffered severe food shortages during its history and has learned a good lesson. If the government does not devote more resources to the development of farmers and the countryside, the country could eventually encounter serious problems in feeding the population, said Chen.
Communist farmer leaves behind inspiring legacy NANJING, -- Thousands of people have paid their final respects to Wu Renbao, a communist farmer who rose to fame by leading his fellow farmers to prosperity with a distinctive development model. Wu, the retired Communist Party of China (CPC) secretary of Huaxi Village in east China's Jiangsu Province, died of cancer recently. He was 85. Wu was elected Party chief of Huaxi Village in 1961, when the impoverished village had a population of 667, collective assets of 25,000 Yuan (about 4,000 U.S. dollars) and debts of 15,000 Yuan. Wu, a bold reformer, made the village the richest in China through its own industrialization, which began with the construction of a hardware factory in the 1960s. Boosted by industry, commerce, tourism and other sectors, in 2012, the sales revenue of the village reached 52.4 billion Yuan and its per capita income reached 88,000 Yuan. "Our old village Party secretary has gone, but he left us rich material and spiritual legacies, especially
his principles of 'common prosperity' and 'to work as long as you live,'" said Wu Xie'en, the fourth son of Wu Renbao and current Party secretary of Huaxi. "The collective economy featuring common prosperity is the key to Huaxi's success. We must adhere to the principle," said the younger Wu, who was elected to his current post in 2003, when his father opted to retire. Among the mourners was Qiu Wanquan, Party secretary of Xinhua Village in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, an area that has been underdeveloped due to tough natural conditions. Xinhua Village was part of Wu Renbao's efforts to help more povertystricken people in other places change their fates. In the mid-1990s, Wu decided to establish another "Huaxi Village" in the suburbs of Yinchuan by relocating 5,000 impoverished people from mountainous areas. With financial support and technological guidance from Huaxi Village, the per capita net income of
Xinhua Village has increased to 5,000 Yuan from less than 1,000 Yuan in the past, and people there now rely on planting cash crops and developing husbandry. "The most important thing that Huaxi Village and old Secretary Wu Renbao brought us are the improvement of people's qualities and the change in their mindsets," said Qiu. "Without the establishment of 'Huaxi Village' in Ningxia, I would be in my former village and living a far poorer life than now," said Wang Quanshan, a resident of Xinhua Village. Amid rapid industrialization and urbanization, China's agricultural and rural development have entered a new phase. In an effort to support large-scale farming, the government will create policies to speed up rural land transfers and offer more subsidies for family farms and farming cooperatives. Huaxi Village has been dubbed China's "No. 1 village" for its great success. Several other villages, like Nanjie Village in central Henan Province, have also spurred eco45
nomic booms by developing the local economy. However, these villages are just a tiny fraction of the 680,000 villages across China. The poverty-stricken population in rural areas stood at 98.99 million at the end of 2012, official statistics show. Rural people with an annual per capita net income of 2,300 Yuan or less are classified as poor under the current poverty standards adopted in 2011. Wu Renbao and Huaxi Village also dazzled the country with a feature film named for him last year and the construction of a 328-meter-tall building in the village several years ago. As the Chinese work to realize a well-off life and the great rejuvenation of the nation, the country's leadership has vowed to narrow the wealth gap, a major source of public complaint, by striving for 46
common prosperity via development and reform. Over the past several months, the country initiated a frugality campaign and vowed to fight corruption. Long before any efforts had been launched, however, Wu Renbao had already set an example in this respect. When fellow villagers moved into new villas, Wu Renbao continued to reside in his house that was built in the 1970s. After retiring and aging well into his twilight years, he continued to work hard for the development of the village. The elder Wu had said he believed in socialism and regarded common prosperity as one of its characteristics. "I lived a poor life in the past. I feel sad when I see people live a poor life. My biggest wish is to make poor people live a good life. Communists should seek happiness for
the majority of the people," he once said. Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday that Chinese people should enhance their confidence in socialism with Chinese characteristics and make persistent efforts to realize the "Chinese dream." The Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation "is a dream of the whole nation, as well as that of every individual," he said, adding that all Chinese deserve the same opportunities to enjoy a wonderful life. Currently, Huaxi Village covers 30 square kilometers and includes 16 surrounding villages, with a total population of 35,000. "If we truly understand the meaning of Chinese characteristics, there will be tens of thousands of Huaxi Villages to emerge in China," said Wu Xie'en.(Agencies)
Communist farmer leaves behind inspiring legacy
CHENGDU-- A local official said Monday that rotten ducks found floating in a river in Pengshan County of southwest China's Sichuan Province have been disposed of safely and will pose no threat to human and livestock along the river banks. More than 1,000 ducks had been fished out of the Pengshan section of the Nanhe River as of Monday morning, said Liang Weidong, an official with the county's
publicity office. Tucked in some 50 plastic woven bags, the corpses were disinfected and buried three meters underground in a designated area, according to Liang. The dead birds have been handled safely, posing no threat to local residents and livestock, the official added. Local authorities have not identified the cause of their death, and further investigation is under way to identify any farm responsi-
ble for the dumping. The incident comes after the discovery earlier this month of thousands of dead pigs floating in the Huangpu River in Shanghai, an incident that has sparked great panic as well as satire among the public. The Nanhe River, along the middle reaches of the Minjiang River in Sichuan, is not a source of drinking water, according to the local authorities.(XINHUA) 47
Fish fry released into Chaohu Lake, China's Anhui Some 500,000 fry of various breeds were released into the Chaohu Lake Tuesday in a bid to increase the lake's fish stocks. Chaohu Lake, about 13,000 square kilometers in size, is one of China's five largest freshwater lakes.