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Writer sues Google for copyright infringement Page 5 VOL . 29


BOC chairman vows credit will grow in new year Page 13

No. 9246

New life breathed into old opera Page 18

W E D N E S DAY D E C E M B E R 1 6 , 2 0 0 9


Wen off to Oslo as summit heats up Premier will take part in crucial two days at Copenhagen meeting climate initiatives. China, meanwhile, called on the US to set a more ambitious Premier Wen Jiabao will leave target for emissions reduction for Copenhagen this afternoon, after Washington promised to hoping to help seal a fair and ef- cut them by around 4 percent fective climate change deal for by 2020 from the 1990 base. the planet and secure China’s Developing countries had urged the US and wealthy emission rights. Wen will join world leaders, countries to slash emissions including US President Barack by 40 percent. Experts have called on the Obama, at the United Nations climate change conference in Oslo US and China to narrow their differences in a bid to ensure for its crucial last two days. Foreign Ministry spokesper- the conference is a success. Experts played down the son Jiang Yu yesterday said he is likely to meet state leaders likelihood of the world achievfrom India, Brazil and South ing an ambitious global treaty in Copenhagen but said Africa, among others. Wen will defend “China, as a deChina’s status veloping country, as a developwill make its ing country due contribuand protect tion to the UN its right to conference,â€? economic said Jiang. expansion in It is not Copenhagen: the future. yet known Jiang said whether Wen Getting it done the summit and Obama will has seen both meet on the fringes conf licts and of the conference but achievements. he has worked the phones She said the main stumbling relentlessly in the past 10 days, calling as many as 10 world block to real progress has been leaders and UN chief Ban Ki- the reluctance of developed namoon in an attempt to secure tions to hand over funding and technical support to developing a workable agreement. Chinese officials have also nations that they promised in had important meetings in re- earlier agreements. “If they abandon the princicent days with negotiators from many countries, including rep- ples of the Bali Road Map and resentatives from the United the Kyoto Protocol, it will have a negative impact and hamper Kingdom and Germany. But during the past 10 days, the conference,â€? Jiang said. She added that China supChina and the US have not held any official meetings at ports the contention that some any level in respect to climate smaller developing island countries and African countries are change. If Wen and Obama do get the in the most urgent need of chance to meet, they will likely funding support and should have lots to talk about — the US get help first. recently urged China to accept Chances, Page 2 a binding carbon reduction tar• Solutions Page 9 get and said it will not provide financial support to Beijing for • More Page 10 By Fu Jing and Ai Yang

An Afghan national police officer stands in front of the Heetal hotel in Kabul, after an apparent suicide car bomb yesterday killed at least eight people and wounded dozens. • Story Page 12


Audience with emperor ‘set to boost ties’ By Li Xiaokun

Vice-President Xi Jinping sat down yesterday with Japanese Emperor Akihito, thanks largely to the efforts of the Tokyo government. The meeting attracted controversy because it broke a decade-old palace rule that said audiences with foreign dignitaries must be scheduled at least a month in advance. After the government in Tokyo lobbied the palace, the meeting was finally arranged, but it did not pass off without controversy — protesters gathered outside the palace to complain about the abandoning of protocol. Chinese experts said the efforts of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will have been noted in Beijing and closer ties between the nations are likely. China’s Central Television last night showed the meeting between Xi and Akihito during its prime time news slot, carrying images of the men shaking hands inside the moated Imperial Palace prior to their 20-minute conversation.

Japan’s Jiji Press quoted Xi as telling the emperor: “I am deeply grateful you have given me the opportunity to meet you, despite your tight schedule.� Xi also offered his congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the emperor’s enthronement and thanked him for his compassion follow ing t he 2008 Sichuan ea r t hq ua ke, t he agenc y said. Emperor Akihito was quoted as saying: ‘‘I hope your visit this time will further enhance the relationship of understanding and friendship between the two countries.� The Imperial Household Agency initially turned down the request but Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reportedly called on the palace to think again. Several influential figures from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) attacked the DPJ for “political use of the emperor�. Hatoyama said Xi deserved special treatment because of the importance of the relationship with China. The Japanese prime minister yesterday questioned the value

Vice-President Xi Jinping is welcomed at a reception in Tokyo yesterday. Reuters

of the one-month limit, saying it was not beneficial to block proposed meetings because of bureaucratic rules. And DPJ secretary-general Ichiro Ozawa yesterday called for the resignation of a senior bureaucrat at the palace who had criticized the meeting, according to the Kyodo news agency. Hatoyama, who took office in

September, has said he wants closer ties with China and other Asian neighbors. His stance earned a warm response from Beijing yesterday, where Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China had noticed that “Japan prepared a lot for the visit�. Su Hao, an expert in East Asian affairs at the Beijing-based

China Foreign Affairs University, said Hatoyama went out on a limb to support China. “Though Japan’s opposition party is using the chance to criticize the ruling party and the rising role of Beijing in Japan’s foreign policies, the resolute stance the DPJ adhered to in the process will greatly benefit their future cooperation with Beijing. Zheng Hao, a commentator with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, said the ruling DPJ did not use the emperor for political gains as much as the opposition party used him to create a political row. Japanese writer and commentator Kato Yoshikazu told China Daily the dispute boils down to the different way people do business. Xi is making official visits to Japan, the Republic of Korea, Cambodia and Myanmar. The tour began on Monday and will end on Tuesday. He became the first highranking Chinese politician to meet the Japanese emperor since President Hu Jintao did in May 2008. Ai Yang contributed to the story

Climate Change

Chinese businessman shoots for stake in NBA’s Cavaliers By Li Tao

HONG KONG: Mainland-born businessman Albert Hung is about to become the secondlargest shareholder of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, a Michigan investment firm confirmed yesterday. Hung’s planned purchase of a 15 percent stake would give


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him a slice second only to Dan Gilbert, said David Katzman, the Cavaliers vice-chairman. Katzman said Hung’s buy-in will be an all-cash affair. It is likely to be approved by the end of the year. Details of the deal have not been disclosed. The announcement that Hung will become a major new investor in the NBA followed speculation earlier this year that another

In this issue: Nation ............................ 4, 5 Insight ..................................6 China Scene .........................7 Comment .............................8 Opinion .................................9 International ....... 10, 11, 12 Business............................. 13 Business China........... 14, 15 Business Intl ................ 16,17 Life ................. 18, 19, 20, 21 Sports ................... 22, 23, 24 

Albert Hung

mainlandborn financier, Kenny Huang, wanted a piece of the team. The NBA has been growing quickly in popularity in

China. Teams, including the Houston Rockets and New Jersey Nets,

have major Chinese stars and other big-name NBA players, including Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who have been frequent visitors to China. The NBA has held its pre-season games in the last two years — in Beijing and Guangzhou — to further popularize what is already its largest overseas market. The NBA had 51 broadcast

partners in China during the 2007-08 season. Among the 16 NBA marketing partners during the 2008-09 season, six were from China. Three Chinese companies were among the NBA’s promotional partners. Albert Hung keeps a low profile but has a lot of influence. Born in Fujian province in 1948, he moved to Hong Kong

Protest looms over island talks

Work on third-generation nuclear plants gears up

The threat of a large-scale protest of nearly 100,000, employing flash mobs and remote-controlled planes, was announced by Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in an attempt to thwart the anticipated cross-Straits talks next week. Page 4 


with his mother at age 11. He started out poor but became powerful in political, economic and social circles after building a fortune in the real estate, finance, hospitality, hi-tech, and new energy sectors. Hung is a well known philanthropist and has donated more than 100 million yuan ( $14.7 million) to charities. There have recently been

China’s first third-generation nuclear power plant, the Sanmen project, will provide more than 10 percent of the country’s total nuclear power capacity. The plant will have six reactors with a total capacity of 7,500 mW by 2020, a source close to the project said yesterday. Page 13   



several Chinese takeovers of major overseas sports teams. The world’s biggest soccer club, Manchester United, reportedly came close to being a takeover target but an offer from a group of Chinese entrepreneurs was rejected by the Glazer family that owns the club. Tang Yue in Beijing contributed to this story

Suspect’s ‘suicide’ is questioned Family members of a suspected burglar found dead on Saturday at a police bureau are waiting for autopsy results, claiming that police torture caused his death. Police in Kunming said the man committed suicide by hanging himself in a room used for interrogation. Page 5 





No glitch in computer-sales regulations: China Govt purchase rules not form of trade protectionism, says ministry China yesterday defended rules that foreign companies claim lock them out of the multibillion dollar market of selling computers and office equipment to government departments. Beijing stipulates that sellers of hi-tech goods must have them accredited based on “indigenous innovation” — meaning they must contain Chinese intellectual property — to be included in a government procurement catalogue. Accredited products will be favored, according to the

More t ha n 30 indust r y g roups f rom t he Un ited States, Ca nada, Europe, Japan and South Korea last week lodged a protest with the ministries responsible for the measures, claiming they were “restrictive and discriminatory”. The rules “impose onerous and discriminatory requirements on companies seeking to sell into the Chinese government procurement market and contravene multiple commitments of China’s leadership to resist trade and investment protectionism,” the groups said in a letter dated Dec 10. “The very restrictive and discriminatory program cri-

policy, which foreign firms say effectively excludes them from the process. “The indigenous innovative product accreditation project is in line with ... international rules,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a fax statement. The measure “abides by and accords with relevant WTO (World Trade Organization) rules” and “treats both domestic- and foreign-invested enterprises equally and without discrimination.”

“There is particular concern regarding the lack of transparency in the drafting process of this accreditation system, as well as the impossibly short application period,” the letter said. The deadline for filing an application for accreditation was Dec 10 — less than a month after the rule was posted on the science and technology ministry’s website. Government procurement was worth 599.1 billion yuan ($87.7 billion) in 2008, up 28.5 percent from the previous year, according to official data. The dispute comes amid growing concerns about protectionism as the world recovers

teria would make it virtually impossible for any non-Chinese supplier to participate — even those non-Chinese companies that have made substantial long-term investments in China.” The letter was addressed to the heads of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission, which jointly issued the rule. A separate letter sent by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China on Monday called on Beijing to delay the introduction of the rule to allow for “expert dialogue on its implications”.

from its worst economic crisis in decades. China has accused its trading partners, including the US, of using protectionist measures against its products. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the new hi-tech policy “encourages all enterprises in China to carry out innovative activity and supports enterprises to increase their investment in research and development”. “All products that meet the conditions can be accredited. Enterprises of all kinds will be treated equally,” said spokeswoman Jiang. AFP

The indigenous innovative product accreditation project ... abides by and accords with relevant WTO rules and treats both domestic- and foreign-invested enterprises equally and without discrimination. JIANG YU

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman

Firm farming rice technique to world By Lin Shujuan

The world’s attention is on Copenhagen. For Rabesoa Maximin, an agricultural official from Madagascar, this is only half right. For Maximin, who is taking a three-week training course on China’s hybrid-rice cultivating technique in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan province, climate change may be an urgent challenge but the global food crisis has been more devastating to a developing country like his. Since 2008, a growing shortage and the rising price of food have put many developing countries, especially those in Africa, in dire need of more grain. Once a rice exporter, Madagascar transformed into a rice importer in 2008 due to its expanding population, shifting climate and the country’s still primitive rice-cultivation technique. Hybrid rice, a technique invented by Chinese academician Yuan Longping and the application of which has helped Chinese farmers harvest 300 million tons more in aggregate output during the past two decades, has become

two years and become a rice exporter soon.” At present, the average rice yield in Madagascar is 2.3 tons per hectare in comparison with China’s average yield of 7.2 tons per hectare for hybrid rice and 5.6 tons per hectare for inbred rice. “I can’t wait to go back home to spread the technique as rice has become a grain crop of strategic importance to our national economy,” said an excited Maximin, whose training course comes to an end today. The training course Maximin attended was offered by the Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture, a State-owned company named after “the Father of China’s Hybrid Rice”. It is one of more than 30 training courses the company has been offering since its establishment in June 1999. The company aims to train 5,000 foreigners, establish 10 breeding centers and expand overseas cultivation bases to 10,000 hectares in 10 years so that countries receiving China’s technical assistance in hybrid rice could breed new crop varieties and reap harvest on their home turf, said Wang Xiusong, director

Without skilled technicians and well-informed government officials, hybridrice breeding and cultivation techniques could not be spread far across the world, let alone ease global grain crops shortage. WANG XIUSONG

Official with Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture

the most sought-after technique for agro-technicians and government officials from developing countries. Maximin is one of the best examples. “Madagascar has a perfect environment for rice cultivation,” said Maximin on the sideline of his training courses, attended by 43 other agricultural officials from 27 developing countries. “If we adopt a hybrid rice technique nationwide, we expect to see our rice production double in

of the company’s international exchange center. “Without skilled technicians and well-informed government officials, hybrid-rice breeding and cultivation techniques could not be spread far across the world, let alone ease global grain crops shortage,” said Wang. By September when it was designated as China’s first training base for the spread of hybrid rice breeding and cultivation technique by the Ministry of Commerce, the company has trained more than 2,000 government officials and agro-technicians from 50 countries through more than 30 training courses, Wang said. The training course Maximin attended is the sixth offered by the company this year, Wang said. “If the acres under hybrid rice reach half of the total rice planting area, the world’s total rice output could increase by 150 million tons a year, enough to feed 400 million more people,” said Yuan, the revered 80-year-old Chinese agricultural scientist to the boisterous applause of Maximin and other trainees on Friday during his keynote speech in English.

Yuan Longping, the revered 80-year-old “Father of China’s Hybrid Rice”, meets trainees from developing countries at the Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture training center in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan province, on Thursday. Lin Shujuan


Central Meteorological Observatory


December 16-17

‘Slim’ chances for effective deal >WEN, From Page 1


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Cheng Guangjin and Li Jing contributed to the story

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But the spokesperson stressed that developed countries have a legal obligation to help all developing countries. Huang Shengchu, president of the China Coal Information Institute, said the fact that Wen will be in Copenhagen shows the determination of the Chinese government to secure a good deal. Zhang Haibin, an environmental politics professor at Peking University, said the presence of leaders such as Wen will inject hope that a deal can be found. “It demonstrates the leaders’ will to take up the responsibility to rescue the whole of human kind,” said Zhang. “However, because of the nature of world politics, the chances of reaching an effective and ambitious agreement, in the end, are slim.” John Sayer, director of Oxfam Hong Kong, said many developing countries, including China,

India, Brazil and South Africa, have voluntarily offered to cut emissions. China recently said it will reduce its carbon intensity by between 40 and 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 base level. However, as Zhang pointed out, some US experts, instead of welcoming such offers, have called on China to let international organizations verify that emissions are indeed falling. Daniel Dudek, chief economist with the US Environmental Defense Fund, said the world seems to be unsure about whether China is serious about cutting emissions and achieving a good post-Kyoto deal. “I think that people want to be reassured that China wants to achieve an agreement at Copenhagen and that China values moving forward on climate change more than winning its negotiating positions,” he said.


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Major bridge begins construction World’s largest cross-sea bridge Connecting lives Designed speed: 100 km per hour

Zh uh ai

Link for three main regions poised to be world’s longest at 50km


Number of lanes: 6 Life span: 120 years Travel time: Hong Kong - Zhuhai: half hour (now 4 hours)

Two artificial islets: each 2.62 sq km


HONG KONG: Construction of the 50-km Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMacao Bridge, expected to be the world’s longest sea bridge, kicked off in Zhuhai of Guangdong province yesterday. Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, among several other top officials including Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Donald Tsang, the Governor of Guangdong province Huang Huahua, and Chief Executive of the Macao SAR Edmund Ho, was present at the ceremony to commence construction of the project, which is expected to be completed by 2016. Zhang Xiaoqiang, the deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning body, said the commencement marked a step forward in China’s plan to boost its transport infrastructure. Zhang said he believes the bridge will help boost development on the west side of the Pearl River. “Through a more convenient and fast transport network,

By Wang Jingqiong

1983: Gordon Wu, the chairman of Hong Kong-listed Hopewell Holdings Ltd, proposes the idea of a bridge for the three regions. 2003: The central government supports the idea. 2003 ( July): Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, heads to Beijing to meet central government officials about the bridge.


By Guo Jiaxue


2003 (August): The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Advance Work Coordination Group is established. Shenzhen Unit: billion yuan

Zhuhai Hong Kong Macao

15.73 from central, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao governments 22 from bank loans

Hong Kong’s finance, tourism, trading, logistics and professional services can better reach the west of the pan-Pearl River Delta area,” Tsang said at the groundbreaking ceremony. The bridge is expected to reduce travel time between the west side of the Pearl River and Hong Kong to three hours. It will take only 20 minutes to cover the distance between Hong Kong and Macao, Tsang said. Tsang added that no efforts

would be spared to maximize the economic benefits of the project, including keeping toll charges as low as possible to encourage people to use the bridge. The Y-shaped bridge is being built at a cost of more than 72 billion yuan ($10.54 billion). The project is financed by the central government together with the regional governments of Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong. The main 35 km of the bridge include a 29.6-km

2008 (August): The central government as well as the governments of Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macao agree to finance 42 percent of the total costs. The remaining 58 percent will consist of loans (about 22 billion yuan or $3.23 billion) from Bank of China. 2009 (December): Construction of the bridge commences. Source: China Daily

oversea pass and a 6-km harbor tunnel under the South China Sea. Two artificial islands will connect the tunnel and bridge on either side. Reclamation projects to create the artificial islands in Macao and Zhuhai ports are part of the first phase of construction. Each city will have a port, which its own government will build. “The Hong Kong SAR government is making every effort to

Card fraudsters land jail terms

Graphic by Tian Chi

promote the project, in the hope of completing it at the same time as the main bridge,” Tsang said. Some 50 million yuan has been budgeted for landscaping, which includes the addition of sightseeing areas for tourists to enjoy the spectacular view of the South China Sea and white dolphins cruising nearby. The six-lane bridge is expected to remain in good shape for up to 120 years.

Six convicted criminals were jailed seven to 11 years on charges of credit card fraud yesterday in Beijing. The verdict by Xicheng district court in Beijing said Chen Zhengˈ Tian Fuhao, Gao Zhigang, Zhuang Yan, Liang Shuai and Liu Wenbo forged foreign credit cards and deposited more than 1.4 million yuan ($205,000) from Nov 6 to 29, 2008. They violated the Criminal Law by forging credit cards and withdrawing cash, and are liable for criminal penalties, the verdict said. With such cases becoming more popular, China yesterday also announced punishment standards against credit card related crimes in a bid to fight “increasingly rampant” frauds. The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) yesterday announced a judicial interpretation that clarifies several Criminal Law articles concerning credit card fraud. The interpretation becomes effective today. Xiong Xuanguo, vice-president of the SPC, said credit card fraud has been on the rise in recent years as bank card services expanded rapidly in China. “Card fraud, such as using a fake ID to apply for a card or withdrawing a large amount of money with fake cards, has

become so rampant that it even develops as an industry,” Xiong told a State Council Information Office press briefing yesterday. Offenders could face more than 10 years in jail or even life imprisonment, as well as a fine as high as 500,000 yuan, if a case involves more than 25 fake credit cards, according to the legal document. Card users could be charged for “malicious overdraft”, which means someone intentionally overdrafts and delays payment three months after the second notice from the bank arrives. “If the cardholder pays all the money back before the hearing, the court will consider a light punishment or an exempt penalty,” said Sun Qian, viceprocuratorate of SPP. According to Sun, China has become the country with the most bank card users. By end September, more than 2 billion bank cards had been issued in China, with 34 percent of consumption paid by cards. But risks with credit cards have also been rising, with some criminals committing frauds using high-tech methods. “The crimes are becoming more organized and specialized,” Sun said. Latest figures from the People’s Bank of China show that by the end of September, banks nationwide had issued 175 million credit cards, up 33 percent over the same period last year.

Protest looms over island talks By Xie Yu

The threat of a large-scale protest of nearly 100,000, employing f lash mobs and remote-controlled planes, was announced by Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to possibly thwart the anticipated cross-Straits talks next week. Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will meet Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), for the fourth round of talks Dec 21-25 in the city of Taichung. ARATS and SEF, semi-official bodies set up to deal with cross-Straits issues, resumed negotiations in June 2008 after a 10-year suspension of talks. The DPP, the island’s

opposition party, has warned of a mass protest because it is against the ruling Kuomintang’s (KMT) push for closer ties with the Chinese mainland. Protest organizers plan to assemble 100 taxis to cut off transportation around the venue for the talks. Fifty remote-controlled model planes could hover over the venue, the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported. What the planes would do was not detailed. Late last year, Chen’s appearance on the island sparked violent protests in the streets of Taipei when he visited for talks. Chen and Chiang are expected to sign four crossStraits agreements on fishery cooperation, inspection and quarantine of agricultural products, industrial standard measurement authentication

and avoidance of double taxation. In anticipation of Chen’s visit, the DPP had initially announced a march on Dec 20 in Taichung to protest the proposed signing of a cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). The DPP decided that the demonstration will be extended to cover the first three days of Chen’s stay in Taichung, to highlight the “unreasonableness” of the talks, DPP officials said yesterday. Although none of the issues for the talks appear to be politically sensitive, the DPP seems to be gathering momentum against the proposed ECFA, saying it is a conspiracy by the KMT and Chinese mainland to harm Taiwan’s interests and “sovereignty”. The DPP has warned that the agreement, which could be signed next year, will cost

1.6 million jobs, or nearly 15 percent of the island’s total labor force. However, the KMT has argued that the agreement will speed up exchanges with the Chinese mainland and help lift the economic growth of the island. Ties across the straits have improved markedly since last year after Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT became the island’s leader. SEF chairman Chiang Pinkung has called for a calm response to the upcoming talks. Chiang said issues to be discussed during the talks are closely related to the health and benefit of people in both regions, adding that he hoped agreements could be reached to improve the foundation of relations. Xinhua contributed to the story

Fueled by ‘now or never’ view By Wang Ying and Lu Junting

SHANGHAI: The rush to purchase property in the fi nancial hub of the country, whipped into froth by the prophecy of short supply, has probably never been greater. A flood of investment earlier this year, triggered by easy credit and expectations of progressive currency revaluation, has fueled a persistent surge in property costs. With potential homebuyers fearing prices might soar to greater heights in the months to come, purchasing an apartment has become a craze of sorts. Waiting in a serpentine queue at a property agent’s office in central Shanghai, a man in his 30s said it would be foolish to “wait and see” any longer. “It’s now or never,” he said of his plan to purchase an apartment, which costs 27,000 yuan per sq m, up from 20,000 yuan six months ago. “I am kicking myself for not buying earlier,” he added. The city’s property developers, who seem to be dictating supply, are exploiting homebuyers’ fears of further surges in costs with what is being known as “widespread hoarding”. Xu Youran, a 25-year-old secretary at a multinational company, is certain property prices in Shanghai are about to increase further. “I can’t afford to buy any

property in Shanghai right now,” she said, adding that together with a friend, she was pulling together all their savings to make the down payment for a mortgage loan to buy a small apartment in the outskirts. Of course, the developers are laughing all the way to the bank. All but two apartments in one of the blocks in the Pengli Sea View complex in Pudong district were sold out on the day sales opened. “The two vacant units were penthouse duplex apartments costing more than 100 million yuan each,” an agent told China Daily. “Both the penthouses were sold later that week.” An agent at Biyun Xintiandi, another complex under development in Pudong, urged potential buyers still trying to make up their minds to hurry up. “Don’t expect anything will be left tomorrow,” he told a young couple. “All units will be sold out by the end of the day.” Meanwhile, many property developers have held back sales of units in newly completed complexes, hoping to reap even bigger gains in future. “We are not in a hurry to sell,” an executive of the Shanghai Ruilong Property Development Company told State broadcaster CCTV. “We’ll put the units in Time Europe Apartments (which completed construction in 2004) on sale when we’re ready,” he said.

In the open

Firefighters rescue a worker who was trapped in a collapsed tunnel in the city of Liupanshui in Guizhou province on Monday. The worker was hospitalized and is in stable condition. Pan Yuanli

Facing a capital surge By Cheng Yingqi

Crowds form at a real estate transaction office in Shanghai over the weekend amid rising property prices. Yong Kai

Since 2004, the average price of property in the area has gone up from 9,000 yuan to 28,000 yuan per sq m. From January to October this year, Shanghai’s commercial residential construction fell by 8 percent, newly launched commercial residential housing dropped by 15.4 percent, while completed commercial residential buildings decreased by 16.5 percent. In contrast, sales of commercial housing during the same period soared 56.6 percent to 2.49 million sq m. According to a recent EHouse (China) Holdings Limited study, the supply of commercial housing in November amounted to 1.26 million sq m. However, the trading volume surged 11.3 percent to 1.67 million sq m, leaving behind a gap of 41 million sq m between supply and demand. As a result, the average price of commercial housing touched a record high of 18,686 yuan per sq m in November, up 15 percent in comparison to

October and up 32.7 percent year-on-year. Chen Sheng, director at the China Index Academy, said Shanghai’s housing supply can only meet the demand within two months. “It will further push up the price.” Chen also attributed the property craze to the expectations that the yuan is likely to strengthen against the US dollar next year. “The Chinese currency is undervalued, which is why so many people are purchasing assets, such as housing, to maintain their property value,” Chen said. Premier Wen Jiabao said at Monday’s executive meeting of the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, that the price surge in some cities demanded greater attention. To control the surging prices, officials proposed four steps, including raising the low-priced commercial housing supply and the public rental housing land supply.

Beijing’s soaring real estate market could put a crimp in Wei Wei’s wedding plans. “I have to buy an apartment if I want to marry my fiancee,” said the sales manager of a German-based company. “Even though the price is already too high for me, I’m not sure if it will continue to surge in 2010, and if it rises more I won’t be able to afford it.” That kind of pressure pushed him to make one of the most expensive decisions of his life — buying a home. “I simply couldn’t wait.” He is not alone. Real estate experts say a realestate bubble is posing a danger to the market. “Speculation is running wild in the market, but solid demand for housing is often overlooked in its effect on driving up housing prices,” said Qu Weidong, a professional in real estate economics and management of Renmin University of China. “But there are also things the government can do to promote a healthier real-estate market.” In a normal housing market, prices float at 20 to 25 times annual rent. But the average housing price has risen to 30 or 40 times the yearly rental fee of an apartment in Beijing, Qu’s research has shown. “The real estate market is different from the stock market. Speculators will choose to wait and see when the market is nervous, like it is in Beijing these months,” Qu said.

Mo Jun cannot agree more. Mo sold his apartment in Beijing to Wei last week. “If I didn’t sell it now, the purchasers would look on from the sidelines next month when the real estate policy changes.” Those changes include a tax to encourage or restrain the secondhand housing market.

I have to buy an apartment if I want to marry my fiancee ... I simply couldn’t wait. WEI WEI

Beijing homebuyer

According to the latest data released by the Beijing Bureau of Statistics, the turnover on Beijing’s secondhand housing fluctuated around 8,000 sales a month during March and October. Yet November has seen a sudden increase surpassing 13,000 transactions. As for housing prices, notable surges took place in March, September and October. “Why does sharp price volatility arise both at the beginning and at the end of this year? Because government policies change at those times, and people adjust their expectations according to housing prices,” Qu said. “Housing prices in Beijing will keep on rising, but the radical changes reflect an irrational market which is quite

dangerous,” Qu said. The danger lies mainly in the non-transparency of the market, which “makes the rich get richer while the poor get poorer”. A China Daily reporter visited several leasing agents and a land agent surnamed Liu said some of the purchasers buy new houses with the sole aim of selling them later. “There is a house owner who bought an apartment two years ago in Shi Ji Cheng housing estate. He sold it last week. The apartment hasn’t been decorated since he bought it. The owner hadn’t even rented it to anyone, and he and his family had never lived in it,” Liu said. “The real estate industry features an imbalance of access to information and rationality. This is true not only in China but also worldwide,” Qu said. “Now people have neither access to policy intentions, nor to up-to-date statistics. The only thing they can use to learn about the current market is to listen to agents who monopolize the information,” Qu said. This can partly explain the reason why the policy changes caused so much panic when the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, announced its plan to raise the cost of secondhand housing transactions in the coming year. “Macro regulation and control shouldn’t be radical,” Qu said. “The major problem of the Chinese real estate market is the market fluctuations.”





Google sued over copyright issue Chinese author claims search giant scanned her entire novel By Chen Jia and Xie Yu

A Chinese female writer accusing Google China of copyright infringement has filed a lawsuit against the company in a Beijing court. Mian Mian, a well-known Shanghai-based novelist, said the Haidian District People’s Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the case on Dec 29. “Google earlier argued that they didn’t violate copyright law as they only displayed a small amount of text of my book, but I think their move has seriously hurt Chinese writers’ rights,” Mian Mian told China Daily yesterday. Mian said Google scanned her entire novel, titled Acid Lover, published by the Shanghai Joint Publishing Company, without notifying her or paying her for copyright permission. Google China deleted Mian’s Acid Lover from their website on Nov 15. But she said a Google keyword search still brings up passages of her book. “This is a brutal way to introduce my literary work, because the incoherent passages seen online ruin my story,” she said. “I also want to ask Google why they only show respect regarding copyright protection to famous American publishing houses,” Mian Mian said. Google only scanned the cover picture of another of Mian’s novels, titled Candy, published by Little Brown Publishing House under Time Warner.

Mian Mian

Mian asked Google to delete all texts about her book and make a public apology to her. The author is also demanding 60,000 yuan ($8,785) for economic and mental compensation. Sun Jingwei, Mian Mian’s lawyer from the Beijing-based Yingke Law firm, said yesterday he has prepared evidence for the case, even though the book has been deleted. “Mian is the first Chinese writer who accuses Google for copyright in the name of herself, and the case could encourage more Chinese writers to get involved in copyright protection,” he said. Late last month, the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), which protects Chinese writers’ copyrights, said Google has scanned 18,000 books by 570 Chinese writers without authorization, for its library, Google Books, which is available only to Internet users in the US. Google agreed on Nov 20 to provide a list of Chinese books

it had scanned to publish in its digital library, but the company still refused to admit having “infringed” copyright laws. Zhang Hongbo, deputy executive director-general of the CWWCS, said Mian Mian’s lawyer informed him of the news a week ago. “If Mian Mian wins this lawsuit, it helps our negotiations with Google,” Zhang said, noting that an individual writer suing Google should not be confused with the official negotiation. Chen Qirongˈspokesman for the Chinese Writers Association (CWA), said the writer’s individual lawsuit does not contradict the official negotiation organized by CWA and CWWCS, but could work together to put more pressure on Google. “The CWA and CWWCS is not doing enough to protect the writers’ copyrights, which should be strengthened in future,” he said. He also said the CWA approves of and appreciates Mian Mian’s lawsuit to safeguard her interests. Google Books has faced copyright criticism across the world. According to earlier reports of AFP, Google and US authors and publishers reached a settlement last year over a copyright infringement suit filed against Google in 2005. Under the settlement, the Internet search giant agreed to pay $125 million to resolve outstanding claims and establish an independent “Book Rights Registry,” which would provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitize their books, it reported.

The father of suspected burglar Xing Kun is helped out of the mortuary after an autopsy on his son yesterday.

Suspect’s ‘suicide’ questioned By Yan Jie in Beijing and Guo Anfei in Kunming

Relatives of a suspected burglar who was found dead early Saturday at a police bureau are waiting for autopsy results, claiming that police torture caused the man’s death. Local police in Kunming, capital of China’s Yunnan province, insisted that the man committed suicide by hanging himself in a room used for interrogation. Police said no torture was used during the interrogation. The procuratorate department is now in charge of further investigation into the case in accordance with China’s judicial system and procedures. The incident happened at a time when detention centers and prisons are drawing huge

Laws on pet attacks urged By Lan Tian

A legal practitioner has called on authorities to improve the country’s laws on pet attacks, saying that in most cases owners bear no criminal liability even if their animals cause someone’s death. The issue has come to the forefront after three pet wolf dogs attacked and killed a 4year-old boy in the Liujuniu village of Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, on Nov 26. “As far as I know, the country does not have any specific laws on pet attacks,” Wang Yi, a lawyer with the city’s Hede Law Firm, said yesterday. “I think the present legal system is imperfect and needs to be improved.” Xiao Wei was bitten to death by the wolf dogs right outside the house of a villager surnamed Kang, who owns the dogs, China Youth Daily reported yesterday. Xiao’s mother had gone look-

ing for him when she spotted the dogs biting her son, who was lying motionless in his own pool of blood. “I picked up my son in my arms and begged Kang to drive us to the hospital, but he refused,” Xiao’s mother Zhao was quoted as saying. Kang has been in criminal detention for “endangering public security” since the fatal attack. According to villagers, Kang often organized gambling sessions at his house and the “dogs would bark to signal an alarm if the police arrived”. All efforts by China Daily to contact the victim’s family or the local police failed. A local regulation forbids residents from raising large dogs like wolf dogs since 2005. But lax supervision encourages similar incidents, lawyer Wang Yi said. “What will happen now is, the dogs’ owner will only bear civil liability as he didn’t instigate his pets to kill the boy,” Wang said.

Liu Puli

attention across the country for occasional harm and even death coming to suspects being held. District- and city-level officials from Kunming’s procuratorate departments yesterday conducted a fourhour long autopsy at a city funeral parlor in the presence of the family of Xing Kun, the 29year-old burglary suspect, the man’s father Xing Caifang, 60, told China Daily on the phone. The results of the autopsy are not yet known. Officials from local police also came to the funeral parlor but only stayed outside, the father said. “Officials from the procuratorate departments did not tell me when the results will be released and how I can reach them,” Xing said.

“So I can’t do anything about it but wait at home.” An official from the information office of the city’s public security bureau said officials will hold a press conference when the results are released. According to the police, Xing had been imprisoned four times in the past 13 years for burgling. He was last released in September 2008, after serving four years in prison. Xing was captured last Friday for allegedly stealing video game consoles worth 50,000 yuan ($7,300) from a local store in early October. Xing’s father said he does not believe his son would commit suicide. The room where Xing was held is equipped with a video surveillance system, but Xing hanged himself in a spot not covered by the camera in

the room, police said. Still, the incident has raised the concerns of one of the country’s top prosecutors. “Detention centers and prisons should bear responsibilities for unnatural deaths and suicide cases there,” Sun Qian, the deputy Prosecutor-General with the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, said yesterday at a separate press conference in Beijing. “State agencies have the right to investigate possible crimes and they also have the obligation to ensure the safety of suspects,” he said. He disclosed that policemen at dozens of these places have been accused of negligence in the past few years. He also pledged to improve and reinforce the regulation of detention centers and prisons.

Baby girl found dead By Chen Hong

A relative of Xiao Wei, who was bitten to death by pet dogs, shows the boy’s bloodstained clothes last month. Chen Yinnan

“Yes, the families of the injured or the deceased are compensated, but no compensation can bring back the dead,” he said. In 2006, a 6-year-old boy was bitten to death by two wolf dogs in Shanxi province.

The dogs’ owner surnamed Cui was released after he paid 350,000 yuan ($51,000) to the boy’s parents. “Our legislators should keep trying their best to improve laws to better protect victims’ interests,” Wang said.

the Tibet autonomous region, have resumed their businesses, information portal reported yesterday. Tibet’s Department of Human Resources and Social Security has distributed more than 34 million yuan ($4.96 million) worth of compensation to 883 owners of stores that suffered damage in the riot and to 10,755 jobless people who worked in the private sector and had been laid off in the aftermath of the violence. Businesses affected in the riot have restored their operations and the unemployed have new jobs with assistance from local authorities, the report said.

from his duty for his random decision to bestow the honor of “martyr” to an officer who died after drinking too much alcohol. The police reiterated that Xie did not get official approval to make that designation. However, the family of the dead man still argued with the bureau that the officer died in the line of duty.

DONGGUAN: Police in Houjie town of this southern manufacturing city are investigating the abnormal death of an abandoned 1-month-old girl. She was found dead in front of an vacant flat on Tianxin street about 7:30 am on Monday, wrapped up in a thin blanket and covered by a piece of a deep green factory uniform, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. “The preliminary examination found that she died from disease, but has no obvious connection with the H1N1 virus. “The legal medical experts are still examining the body to further verify the cause of death,” said an official, surnamed Wang, with the police bureau of Houjie town. He said Shaxi police station, which is in charge of the area where the baby died, has carried out an investigation to find the parents. Witnesses said bloodstains could be seen over much of the baby’s body.

Nobody saw who put the baby down during the bustling Monday morning. “My husband did not spot the baby at 6:40 am when he left for work,” said a woman who runs a supermarket on the city’s street. “But less than one hour later she was found.” Most of the residents who rent the apartments on the street are migrant laborers working in the factories of the surrounding area, according to the report. A woman said the baby was not from this community. “We know each other well and I can’t remember such a little baby,” she said. W h i le show i ng g reat sympathy for the perishing of such new life, people expressed indignation against t he irresponsible parents through online forums and called on the government to establish a salvation system for children who are seriously sick. This is the second dead child found in the province within a week. Last Wednesday, a 3-year-

old boy was found dead and abandoned in a dry ditch in Guangzhou. He had earlier been treated for serious complications from H1N1 flu but was discharged from the hospital at repeated requests from his family members. Xiong Yuanda, spokesman for the health bureau of Guangzhou, said last week that his parents may have insisted on having him discharged for financial reasons. The boy’s four days at the children’s hospital reportedly cost more than 19,000 yuan ($2,800) and the family had only paid 13,600 yuan when they left. The hospital carried out its duty, but more efforts are needed from the whole of society to help financially disadvantaged patients, especially those from outside the city, Xiong said. The city government of Guangzhou set aside some funds days ago for hospitals to assist needy patients from outside the city, but the maximum help for a patient is 7,000 yuan, he said.

in 2001, when the former State-owned company was transferred to a shareholding company.

year-old intern teacher might have some mental problems, the report said.

ACROSSCHINA BEIJING Maritime rules enforced China’s maritime authority will send ships or aircraft to stop foreign commercial ships that violate laws and try to escape, according to a new rule issued by the Ministry of Transport. The rule targets foreign commercial ships that break maritime transport safety laws or anti-pollution laws in China’s waters, and ships that carry out unauthorized construction, exploration and surveying in China’s exclusive economic zones. Cold leads to delays Temperatures plummeted in Beijing and other Chinese provinces yesterday, causing flight delays and highway closures. The temperature dropped below freezing and wind speeds rose to 21.6

km an hour in Beijing, said an official of the municipal meteorology bureau. The temperature is expected to drop to -10 C by Friday, but it should rise after the weekend, experts said. The airport in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, was closed at 9 am due to snow, an airport official said. Almost 1,000 passengers were stranded at the airport, the official said. Snow and rain also began late Monday in Jiangsu province and were expected to last for the next two days, according to the provincial meteorology bureau. A new front of cold air will arrive on Friday and Saturday, experts said.

TIBET Riot victims resume work Businessmen who suffered losses in last year’s March 14 riot in Lhasa, capital of

GUANGDONG Death not ‘martyr’ status The traffic police bureau of Shenzhen has suspended Xie Feiyong, a traffic police captain in Baoan district,

Beverage officials jailed Three former executives of China’s once biggest beverage maker, Jianlibao Group, have been jailed for stealing from the staff welfare fund, said a court official in Guangdong province yesterday. A spokesman for the Intermediate People’s Court of Foshan City said Yang Shiming received an 18-year sentence and Li Qingyuan and Ruan Juyuan were each sentenced to 14 years. They were also

fined 150,000 yuan ($20,000) each. All three — former vice-presidents of the group — have filed appeals. The spokesman said the court had suspended the hearing of Li Jingwei, the former group chairman, who was supposed to be tried with the other three sentenced, because the 70-year-old was “gravely ill” in hospital. They were charged with embezzling 11 million yuan from the employee welfare fund to buy insurance for themselves and Li and another former vice- president, Yu Shanfu, in June 2000. Li’s life insurance alone cost 3.3 million yuan. The court also heard Yang took bribes worth 100,000 yuan in 1997, when he was in charge of the renovation of the company’s office building. He was convicted of embezzling 130,000 yuan of the corporate fund

CHONGQING Girl forced to eat phlegm A little girl in a local kindergarten was forced by an intern teacher to eat her own phlegm on the ground, Chongqing Evening News reported yesterday. The 5-year-old girl whose nickname is Sisi said in an interview that one day not long ago, she spat on the ground because of a cold and her intern teacher told her to lick the ground and eat the phlegm, threatening to rip her mouth if the girl refused to do so. The leader of the kindergarten confirmed Sisi’s words on Monday and apologized for the suffering the girl underwent. Psychologists said the 18-

SHANXI Satellite launched China sent into space a remote-sensing satellite “Yaogan VIII” from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center Tuesday morning, according to the center. The satellite, which was aboard a Long March 4C carrier rocket, was launched at 10:31 am Tuesday, a source with the center said. Also on board is a mini-satellite, “Hope I,” which will be used to help the country’s young people experience aerospace science and technology. “Hope I” has already been put into orbit. China Daily-Xinhua-Beijing News





HAKUNA MATATA, MACAO! This gambling paradise has witnessed rapid growth ever since its integration with the mainland, Huang Xiangyang reports

Macao’s checkered past 1557 The Portuguese settle down in Macao

1887 Unequal treaties are signed between Portugal and the Qing government trying to legalize the occupation of Macao and its two outlying islands

1961 Gambling is legalized

1972 China’s representative to the UN declares that the country shall, when conditions ripen, properly resolve the Hong Kong and Macao issues through peaceful means. Before that, it will maintain the status quo of the two regions

1974 The Portuguese government admits Macao is Chinese territory

1975 The last batch of Portuguese troops leaves Macao

Feb 8, 1979 China, Portugal establish diplomatic relations, and agree to solve the Macao issue through negotiations

April 13, 1987 Joint declaration is signed after four rounds of talks, stipulating China will exercise sovereignty over Macao from Dec 20, 1999

March 31, 1993 The Basic Law of Macao is passed by the National People’s Congress

Dec 20, 1999 Macao is handed over to the motherland


hotels and casinos has enabled Macao to grow the exhibitions sector at a fast clip. Antunes of the Tourist Office believes Macao’s exhibition space is now twice that of neighboring Hong Kong’s. The Venetian alone has 75,000 sq m of exhibition space, half the floor area of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Macao held nearly 700 conferences and 36 large-scale exhibitions in the first half of this year, numbers comparable to last year’s despite the global financial crisis. The sector’s growth has helped the tourism and services sectors, and “brought in a new breed of tourists to Macao”, Sou says.

t is a dazzle of light and color as one strolls along the tropical tree-lined boundaries of the grand Performance Lake. Shooters and nozzles eject into the air streams of water, which dance to both classical and popular music. Bursts of flame, the effect of pyrotechnics, erupt from beneath the surface of the Lake. There is a fleeting feeling of intense heat, quickly followed by a sense of passion, and pure bliss. Surely, this is a place that knows no night. Macao is a temptress few can resist — and, the world capital of excess. Not far from Wynn resorts, with its splendid performance lake, are other posh casinos — Sands, StarWorld, Grand Lisboa, MGM Grand Macao and The Venetian — that are open round-the-clock, luring visitors with their endless array of slot machines, baccarat tables and other games of chance. Dame Luck is what brings most tourists to this gambling paradise in hopes their stars will twinkle and make their wallets bulge. This year, however, there has been a slight decrease in the number of tourists, but those who do visit are staying longer in hotels, which together offer more than 20,000 rooms, says Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, director of Macao’s Tourist Office. No trace of the global financial crisis can be seen here — growth rate is forecast to increase by 3-4 percent, beating an earlier estimate of a 2-percent decline. In short, it has never been this good. The situation is in sharp contrast to the first years after this former Portuguese colony was handed over to the mainland on Dec 20, 1999. Then, visitors to Macao were parsimonious, bringing their own food and not renting rooms. As a special administrative region of the motherland now, Macao “is much more immune to the financial crisis”, Antunes says.



acao is strategically located — at the southwestern tip of the Pearl River Delta. That is a boon to mainlanders who can, within hours, fly in from just about anywhere. The real boost to tourism however came after 2003 when the central government loosened travel restrictions. The individual travelers’ scheme allowed mainlanders to visit Macao on their own instead of in groups. Ever since, Macao’s economy has been closely tied to that of the mainland. More than 32 million mainlanders have toured Macao so far, each spending on average 3,000 yuan, or $440, not including the money they gambled away. Of the 23 million who visited Macao last year, more than half were from the mainland — and many ended up gambling at its famed casinos. In fact, its gaming expense jumped seven-fold last year from what it was in 1999, the Tourist Office records showed. Macao’s gaming industry grew exponentially after it was liberalized in 2002 and licenses were granted to Wynn resorts, Galaxy-Las Vegas Sands and the local Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM). Business was so good that Sands Macao, the first American-owned and operated casino in the city, reportedly recouped its investment with its first-year profits. Now, 33 casinos operate under 6

Mainland tourists visit the Ruins of St. Paul’s, a major tourist attraction in Macao. More than half of the Photos by Huang Xiangyang visitors to the special administrative region are from the mainland.

I am confident the diversification efforts will succeed, even though the gaming industry would be its pillar for many years to come. EDMUND HO Outgoing chief executive of Macao

licenses and sub-licenses. Macao’s outgoing Chief Executive, Edmund Ho describes the industry as the “cash economy” whose push has been felt across sectors within a short period. “The industry has undergone fundamental changes, both in terms of quantity and quality,” says Ieong Wan Chong, director of the One Country Two Systems Research Center. Macao’s transformation after the handover has been “unprecedented”, Ieong says. Its gross domestic product has increased by more than 15 percent each year over the last ten years;

population has grown by 27 percent and territory widened 38 percent. “You don’t see such things happen anywhere else in this world, do you?” In 2006, Macao surged past Las Vegas to become the world’s largest gambling destination. Two years later, revenue from gaming had crossed 100 billion patacas, or $12.5 billion. The sector paid taxes worth 30 billion patacas, or three-quarters of the government’s income that fiscal year. “This is a super-high level” considering that non-gambling revenue exceeds gambling proceeds even in Las Vegas, Ieong says.


he gaming industry’s stranglehold over the economy is, however, a double-edged sword. Money can be made quickly and easily, but is also risky. The sector’s fortunes are directly related to tourist numbers, which could be capricious. Gambling’s negative impact on society too can never be ignored. In recent years, many corrupt officials from the mainland have been found gambling away their ill-gotten

wealth at Macao’s casinos. The rapid growth of Macao’s gaming industry has come at “extremely high social cost”, says Bai Zhijian, head of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macao. Beijing is understandably concerned. The central government has urged Macao to diversify its economic structure and promote other industries. “Macao’s fast economic growth over the past decade has laid the foundation for it to seek a more diversified economic structure step by step,” Edmund Ho says. “I am confident the diversification efforts will succeed, even though the gaming industry would be its pillar for many years to come,” he says. A government blueprint aims to develop the city into a global tourism and leisure hub, with the exhibitions, culture and creative industries as the engines of growth. The exhibitions sector “is new in Macao”, and it has seen fast development only over the past few years, says Sou Tim Peng, director of Macao Economic Services. Massive investment in luxury

eidi Ho, director of Macao Cultural Affairs Bureau, says the government can also play a major role in promoting the city’s rich cultural heritage. The cultures of the East and the West have been assimilated for over 450 years in Macao. The UNESCO put the Historic Center of Macao on its World Heritage List on July 15, 2005. The settlement encompasses architectural legacies interwoven in the midst of the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and piazzas. These major urban squares and streetscapes provide the linkage for a succession of over 20 monuments, including the A-Ma Temple, Mandarin’s House, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, and Lou Kau Mansion. In 2001, the government bought and started restoring the Lou Kau Mansion, which was built by a prominent Chinese merchant in 1889. When the two-story, traditional grey-brick courtyard house opened to the public in 2003, it drew a lot of visitors, many of them local residents. Recalls Ho: “One local visitor told me — I have lived in this area for years but never realized that there was such an important historical venue nearby.” Macao has also set up a Center for Creative Industries to promote the “Created in Macao” concept. The center is giving a fillip to creativity and innovation in areas such as advertising, architecture, craft design, film, designer fashion, music, and visual arts. “The creative industry will be a shining point in Macao’s development,” Edmund Ho says. Yet, jumping onto the cultural bandwagon will not be a smooth affair. One drawback is the low educational level of the local populace. According to Ieong, nearly a third of Macao’s workers have received education only up to the secondary level — a situation he describes as “disproportionate” to their per capita GDP of $39,000. Limited landmass, lack of resources and a shortage of talent are other major disadvantages on Macao’s road to a diversified economy. Even so, Macao has found the right direction for growth, Bai Zhijian says. China has drafted a grand development blueprint for the Pearl River Delta area, especially in the western part of Guangdong. Plans have been approved for the development of Hengqin Island —just a few hundred meters away from Macao but three times larger— and a cross-sea bridge linking Macao with Hong Kong and Zhuhai. “These are opportunities that Macao shall never miss,” Bai says.

‘Far better’ life, greater sense of security By Huang Xiangyang

For Macao resident Chiang Peng Kuan, the pre-handover days were the hardest, as gang wars were the order of the day. “They (the gangsters) used to open fire at random. We didn’t dare go outside after ten in the evening,” the 59-year-old bus driver, who works for the local branch of China Travel Service, recalled. Ten years after Macao’s return to the motherland however, Chiang has nothing to complain about. He described

the security situation as “far better” than earlier. “Now, if you go outside at night, there will be no problem,” he said. There is a greater sense of security and life has become easier. Finding a job is no longer as difficult as during the pre-handover days. Salaries too are much higher now, Chiang said. The unemployment rate is a low 3.4-3.6 percent despite the global financial crisis, and the average salary is 8,500 patacas ($1,060). The unemployment rate was 6.4 percent and median salaries were 4,900 patacas

before the handover, according to official statistics. Chiang now earns about 10,000 patacas a month. His wife Leong Sok Kam, who works at a garment factory, earns around 2,000 patacas. “I get paid by the number of clothes I sew, but I get another 2,000 patacas from the government to meet the minimum income threshold of 4,000 patacas,” said Leong, also 59. This year, the couple received a government handout of 6,000 patacas, credited into their bank accounts. To help local residents sur-

vive the global financial crisis, the SAR government launched a massive cash handout program last year, starting with 5,000 patacas for each Macao permanent resident. For Chiang’s family of four, the handout was no small amount. Chiang has paid off the mortgage on his 70-sq-m apartment in the densely populated North District. He said worries were few thanks to the social welfare program. “Government subsidies mean the cost of visiting a doctor is low, and we (Macao residents) don’t have to pay for the treatment of chronic

diseases,” he said. Chiang’s daughter, a 32year-old teacher, got married last year and moved out, but his 27-year-old son, who works for the government, still lives with them as “housing prices are too high”. Chiang’s chief grouse is against the booming gaming industry. “There are too many casinos here,” and some even operate from the neighborhood, he said. Most native Macao residents, who are simple and honest, are averse to gambling, which

Chiang believes undermines family harmony. The illusion of making quick and easy money also discourages the youth from finding a job, especially in the handicrafts sector, for which Macao had once been famous, he said. As for his plan to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Macao’s return, Chiang, a key member of the local transport workers’ union, said proudly that he has received an invite from the government to attend an official celebration. “Before that, we will have a big family banquet.”

Macao resident Chiang Peng Kuan and his wife Leong Sok Kam



From widely read Chinese media CENTRAL Man in coma wakes up on 58th birthday A resident of Liuyang, Hunan province, who had been in coma for four months regained consciousness on his 58th birthday last week. Zhou Xibang suffered from apoplexy and went into coma this summer. Doctors had instructed Zhou’s family to feed him through a syringe every four hours, massage him once every hour and call out his name every half an hour. When one of his relatives called out his name last week on his 58th birthday, Zhou reacted. He has been recovering well ever since. Changsha Evening Newspaper

Cleaner returns bag full of 400,000 yuan in cash

arrested in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, last week. The four accused got into a taxi after robbing 1,029 yuan ($151) from an Internet café on Nov 29. During the ride, the accused asked to borrow the driver’s cell phone with which they made a call to an accomplice. The driver went to the police after hearing about the robbery and gave them the phone number the suspects called. The police managed to trace the suspects with that number.

Man says he murdered to get the death sentence A man arrested for the murder of two people last week told the police he committed the crime so that he could be sentenced to death. The accused, surnamed Bin, 20, a resident of Jiangmen, Guangdong province, allegedly strangled two strangers to death on Dec 1. Following his arrest last Wednesday, Bin said he had failed to land a job and killed those two people, hoping to be sent to the gallows, as he didn’t have the courage to end his own life. Nanfang Daily

A man who accidentally left behind 400,000 yuan ($58,582) in cash inside a bag at a hotel in Hankou, Hubei province, returned hours later only to be handed over the bag by the hotel staff, with all the cash intact. Wu Feng, a junior at the Huazhong Normal University, who sweeps at the hotel to make an extra buck, found the bag and handed it over to the hotel reception. The hotel’s owner, impressed with Wu’s honesty, promised to make him a waiter at one of the restaurants.

Man to pay for selling fake cigarettes to friend

Robbers dig own grave after looting Net café Four robbers who used a taxi driver’s cell phone to make a call after the crime were

Nervous driver injures five on busy street A new and terribly nervous driver struck and injured five people with her car after stepping on the gas instead of the breaks in Beijing on Saturday. The accident occurred in Sanlitun, one of the busiest areas of the capital, when the woman’s car went out of control and drove onto the pavement. All the injured were rushed to a hospital. All of them are said to be out of danger. The woman promised to bear the medical expenses of all the wounded.

Cop saves suicidal woman from freezing water A police officer in Dalian, Liaoning province, rescued a woman who had jumped into the icy water of a reservoir in a bid to commit suicide last week. Cai Shi rushed to the spot after getting a report that a middle-aged woman had jumped into the reservoir. Cai saw the woman struggling in the freezing water and jumped in without thinking. He swam at least 50 m to reach the woman and pulled her to safety. The woman is currently lodged in a local hospital. Police are still waiting to know why she jumped into the water.


A court in Lingshan county, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, ordered a man to pay 5,000 yuan ($732) to his friend, whom he sold fake cigarettes in February. Chu bought 10 packets of cigarettes worth 5,000 yuan from Zhu. The cigarettes turned out to be fake, after which Chu filed a lawsuit against Zhu.

Police in Daqing, Heilongjiang province, had to shoot dead a 6-month-old female mastiff after the dog “bit off” its owner’s head on Saturday. Zhang Ming, 59, was feeding the mastiff, when it apparently attacked him. Zhang’s son saw his father lying motionless in the verandah of their courtyard, while the dog was eating away the deceased’s head. Police arrived on the scene and fired two shots at the dog.

Beijing Evening News

Changjiang Daily

Peninsula Morning Post

WEST A resident of Dalian, Liaoning province, tied the knot with a woman he met one year ago, when he recharged her cell phone with 100 yuan ($14.65) by mistake. He called the number he had mistakenly recharged, and the girl on the other end “was ever so courteous.” “I fell in love,” the man said in a speech at his wedding last week. Liaoshen Evening News


Mastiff who ate owner’s head shot dead

NORTH When a prepaid phone card charged a love story


‘Poor’ parents sell infant for snazzy mobile phone A 21-year-old man and his 19-year-old girlfriend sold their illegitimate son for 2,500 yuan ($366) and bought a flashy mobile phone with that amount in Chongqing municipality. The one-month-old infant was last week rescued from a trafficker who was about to

Getting into the head of a character

Students of Beijing’s Caihefang Primary School learn to paint Peking Opera masks in class on Monday. Shou Yiren

sell off the baby for 10,000 yuan. Li, the father, a migrant worker, said his girlfriend Xin gave birth recently, but they didn’t have money to take care of the baby, which is why they decided to sell him off. “When I got 2,500 yuan for the baby, I thought I might as well buy the phone I always wanted,” Li said. Li and Xin have been detained. Chongqing Times

Couple jailed for blackmailing boss

fortune, has gambled away 10 million yuan ($1.46 million) in six years. After graduating from university in 2001, Ying inherited his father’s business, which he expanded using his talent and knowledge. Two years later, however, he made some new friends who lured him into gambling. Ying soon became an addict. In August this year, he borrowed a rented car from a friend and sold it for money to gamble. After losing that money, Ying tried to flee but cops caught up with him. He is currently lodged in a detention house. Qianjiang Evening News

A court in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, sentenced a man and his wife to seven and six months in jail respectively for blackmailing the former’s female boss. Tong, along with wife Guo, created nude photos of his boss using Photoshop. They mailed some of the photos to the woman, who gave them 3,000 yuan ($439) to destroy the pictures. After realizing the photos were fake the woman phoned the police, who arrested the couple.

SOUTH Brainy graduate gambles away father’s fortune A 32-year-old businessman in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, who inherited his father’s

Troubled 19-year-old thief asks cops to kill him A 19-year-old boy in Chuzhou, Anhui province, begged the police to shoot him to death after he was caught stealing last Sunday. Xiao said he migrated to rural Chuzhou with his parents when he was 13. Since his parents could not afford his education, he had to drop ut of school and work in various provinces, doing odd jobs, to survive. “Earlier this year, my girlfriend, whom I loved very much, spent all the money I had saved and left me. I tried killing myself twice after that. “Now, I don’t have the patience to save that money all over again.” Xin’an Evening News To comment or alert us to a story, e-mail






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Pin the housing bubble


hinese policymakers difficulties. But it is actually nothmust move faster to ar- ing compared with the dramatic rest the excessive rise surge in housing prices in several in housing prices lest major cities. It has been reported asset bubbles compro- that prices for commercially built mise the country’s chances of sus- new residential units in Beijing, taining its economic recovery. Shanghai and Shenzhen have The State Council said on jumped above 50 percent so far Monday that the government was this year, outpacing the growth considering measures and policies of local economies by more than to cool down soaring house prices 5 times. in some cities. The announcement The executive meeting of the is a sharp departure from the gov- State Council affirmed that as the ernment’s previous favorable poli- market recovers, housing prices in cies to encourage the growth of the some cities are soaring too fast, property market with tax breaks which deserves “great attention”. and cuts in interest rates. The central government is full As a key source of investment aware of the danger of a property growth, the unexpected boom in bubble that can either continue the housing market to expand to inhas undoubtedly flate the national played a crucial economy or go The central role in helping bust to derail the government is full lift the national ongoing economic economy out of the aware of the danger recovery. worst global reces- of a property bubble Hence, it is sion in decades. necessary for that can either While the housing the government markets in some to expedite and continue to expand major developed to inflate the national expand construceconomies were tion of housing economy or go bust projects for lowstill suffering bitterly from the dire to derail the ongoing income families, consequences of especially as economic recovery. bursting bubbles, soaring prices China’s housing have made comsector returned to positive growth mercially built residential units on a month-on-month basis in more expensive than ever for most March this year thanks to record people. It is also necessary for the lending and policy support boost- government to do so because its ing property-related investment. efforts to improve the living conIf there is anything more ditions of poor families have long spectacular than the amazing fallen behind schedule. V-shaped recovery of the Chinese The policymakers have to race economy this year, it must be the against time to provide affordable jump in its housing prices which, houses for a huge number of lowafter dipping for a while, are income families if they want to breaking records in many cities. prevent the housing bubble from Statistics show that real estate ballooning further and hurting prices in the country’s 70 major the overall economy. cities rose by an average 5.7 perThe executive meeting promcent year-on-year last month, the ised to expedite construction of fastest pace since July 2008. Such housing projects for low-income an increase in housing prices on a families, aiming to help 15.4 milnational scale may itself be hard to lion more poor households solve believe in a year full of economic their housing problems by 2012.

Absurd logic for drinking


t is weird. A police officer possible investigation from higher drank himself to death at a authorities into the cause of death. banquet after work but his What a nice trick! The logic is as absurd as an work unit has claimed he died at work, and has applied interpretation of regulations to the higher authorities to grant about workplace injuries recently amended by the higher people’s him a posthumous honor. Surprised as readers are after court in Chongqing municipalreading the news, the head of ity, which stipulates that deaths the traffic police detachment in caused by drinking should be Shenzhen said that there was treated as workplace accidents nothing wrong in them doing so if the officials are sent by their as they want the officer to leave bosses to drink for business. In both cases, those involved in behind a glorious legacy and his family to get more money in ben- making the decisions have lost the sense of what is right and what is efit payment. The police officer did not die wrong. In the first one, the police ofat his post and neither did he die during work ficer attended a banquet arranged hours, his boss admitted, but argued by leaders of a loEven if it was just cal village. Even that they did just a friendly dinner what most other if it was just a friendly dinner work units would without anything do — to get more sinister behind it, it is without anything death benefits for sinister behind against rules to apply it, it is against employees. How ridiculous! for workplace-death rules to apply for But both the benefits for someone workplace-death family of the dead benefits for somewho drank to death one who drank to police officer and death after work. the police detachafter work. ment will benefit. If life is really The family will difficult for the ofcertainly get more money in ficer’s family, the detachment may compensation from the State and apply for financial aid or find some the police detachment will spare other proper ways to help. How can itself the trouble of negotiating it play with rules? with the family for the amount of In the second case, a judicial money it will have to pay for the department like the local court death. The more money the family should have had enough sense gets, the better it is for both sides to know that drinking during since compensation will be paid work hours is forbidden. Even if a by the State. person is sent by his or her leader In addition, the posthumous to drink for whatever reason, it honor will help cover up the hu- should be the leader rather than miliation the death of the police the State that should pay for such officer has brought to the detach- death. And leaders whose deciment. Making someone a martyr sions have caused such deaths in this case may also help avert a should be punished.


Ending long history of hukou By Yao Yang


his year’s Central Economic Work Conference could be historic. If its decision were effectively implemented, the halfcentury-old hukou system could be history. Set up in 1958 as part of the communization drive, the hukou — or residential registration system — has prevented rural residents from migrating freely to cities. In the official statement released after the meeting, the central authorities pledged to “push for urbanization in an active and steady manner” and to “solve the hukou problem of migrant workers”. In an official conference held immediately after the central authorities’ meeting, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced a plan to study and form a policy next year for migrant workers’ hukou. It is interesting to observe this change amidst the current global financial crisis. The hukou system has long been criticized for its pervasive negative effects on people’s welfare and economic efficiency, but has nevertheless remained intact except for sporadic and partial reforms. Then, why the change today? It has a lot to do with the government’s plan of structural adjustments for China’s growth model. It is well known that China’s economic growth in recent years has relied





Anti-counterfeit tickets not the solution Since Dec 10, an upgraded version of train tickets have been sold at China’s railway stations. The new tickets, with anti-counterfeit features, are expected to rein in counterfeit ticket makers and peddlers. Though the new tickets may benefit passengers by preventing them from buying fake tickets, the move does not help resolve the most severe problems in China’s rail system.

ited. Giving them heavily on exterCHINA hukou will allow nal demand. VariFORUM them to have lonous estimations place the contribution of exports ger time horizons in the city so that to China’s growth in the range of they can bring their families with 30-40 percent. The financial crisis, them. If half of the migrantsbrought however, shows that this model — if one more family member each to the not unsustainable — is prone to dam- city, China’s urbanization rate would age from external shocks. China’s rise above the global average. This export volume dropped by about would significantly increase domes20 percent due to shrinking world tic consumption. Currently, an averdemand, which means that China’s age urban resident consumes 1.6 GDP growth rate would have been 2-3 times more than his rural counterpercent in 2009 if the government part. If the 140 million migrants and had not launched the large stimulus their newly-added 70 million family members raised their consumption package. Urbanization is one of the struc- to the urban level, China’s domestic tural adjustments aimed at reducing consumption would increase by China’s reliance on external demand. 16 percent, which would make up China’s rate of urbanization lags be- for the loss of external demand in hind other countries with similar 2009. But that is not the end of the story. levels of income. Including the 140 million rural migrants living in the A faster pace of urbanization would city without urban hukou, China has also increase the demand for ser46 percent of its population living in vices, infrastructure and housing, cities whereas the world average is which may create extra benefits above 50 percent. If the 140 million in addition to increasing domestic rural migrants were granted urban demand. One of those benefits is an hukou, domestic consumption would increase in the share of household insubstantially increase for several come. In the last decade, the share of household income in national income reasons. A direct effect of accelerated dropped by 16 percentage points, a urbanization is that the current significant reason for the slow migrants will increase spending. growth of domestic consumption. Many of them come to cities alone, One of the causes for this dramatic leaving their families back in the vil- drop has been capital concentration lage. They stay in company-provided in the Chinese economy, which is dormitories and have company-pro- primarily caused by the slow growth vided meals so their spending is lim- of the service sector dominated by





First, there is the persistent plight of rail passengers: It is almost “mission impossible” to buy tickets home around the Chinese New Year. Passengers are desperate to buy tickets home to join their families and have to go to extraordinary lengths to get them. The new tickets are barely relevant to this big problem. Second, passengers have to resort to ticket brokers and scalpers to buy tickets at higher prices. In fact, most of the tickets sold by them are authentic. It is widely believed that some employees of the railway system collude with the brokers and scalpers to line




their pockets. So it is much more urgent for the Ministry of Railways to deal with this internal mess. Real-name tickets, similar to flight tickets, are a much better solution. Third, passengers wish the railway system improves its service. Everyone who goes to the ticket offices at railway stations has to endure the indifferent attitude and the bad temper of the ticket

small- and medium-sized enterprises and hires more workers than the manufacturing units. Urbanization will lead to the expansion of the service sector and ultimately increase household income. Another extra benefit is the increase in domestic investment. Many people believe that external imbalances are the major contributor to China’s burgeoning official foreign reserves, but the other side of the story is that domestic investment has not caught up with the growth of domestic savings. A faster pace of urbanization increases domestic investment and thus eases China’s external imbalances. To be sure, the hukou problem will not be solved overnight. The NDRC has only pledged to study the problem; concrete policies are still awaited. A complete abolition of the hukou system is highly unlikely in the short run. Migrants may need to provide proof of continuous residency in a city plus stable income and rental housing to get urban hukou, and large cities may have more restrictive policies than small- and medium-sized cities. The key, however, is the motion of change has set off and the country is on the track rolling toward the end of a piece of history. The author is associated with the China Center for Economic Research & National School of Development under Peking University.





sellers. We hope at least we are not humiliated any longer when buying tickets. In a word, anti-counterfeit tickets are not the key. If buying tickets is still a herculean task for passengers, the effects of anti-counterfeit tickets will be in vain. Wang Shichuan

Readers’ comments are welcome. Please send mail to Letters to the Editor, China Daily, 15 Huixin Dongjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100029 China. Send faxes to (86-10) 6491-8377. Send e-mail to or or to the individual columnists. China Daily reserves the right to edit all letters. Thank you.

The way anti-corruption fiction is written ZHU YUAN


nti-corruption fiction (fantan xiaoshuo in Chinese) is a popular catchphrase now. But there was no such expression in the early 1980s and it was impossible for such fiction to be published at the time. There could be episodes about a fight against corruption in a particular novel, but it would have been politically problematic for an entire piece of fictional work to be focused on the topic. But it became a genre in Chinese literature about a decade ago when the fight against graft turned out to be an issue that the central authorities could not afford to ignore. This fact itself points to the dramatic change that has taken place in the country’s politics. On the one hand, the big cases involving senior government officials and the rising number of cases have become a reality to which the central authorities could no longer turn a blind eye. Communist Party

authorities reiterate time and again that the fight against corruption is of significance to the fate of the Party and the government. On the other hand, readers are interested in such fiction and they sell well in the market. The promising market has propelled more novelists and publishers. The distinction is striking between the works in the 1990s and their current counterparts. The early ones were based on big cases which were cracked and the story line focused on how the corrupt officials embezzled public money or took bribes by abusing their power. They were more like detective stories. Among other things, they were very balanced when it came to the portraying of corrupt officials and their upright counterparts. It was always the vice-directors, vice-mayors or someone in similar positions who were corrupt. In contrast, top leaders were depicted as upright. The message behind this formula was that justice would finally prevail despite the rampant corruption within the government and Party. There were always those in top positions who placed the interest of the Party and of the people before everything. Because of their resolve against cor-

ruption, there was always hope that the battle against corruption would finally succeed. Such stereotypes were obviously out of political considerations. A novelist could not draw a pitch-dark picture of officialdom, which would make readers lose heart. And heroes would be, of course, top leaders who represented the right leadership of the Party and government. With more and more senior government officials nabbed as corrupt elements and furthering of the fight against abuse of power in recent years, novelists are not satisfied with the old stereotype, and they try to delve deep into the inner world of not just corrupt officials but all officialdom. By depicting how some officials climb up the ladder of hierarchy by currying favor with their immediate authorities or playing safe by doing everything tactfully, novels such as The Color of Blue and Yellow and Memoirs of Civil Servants point to the bad ecology of officialdom that makes it hard for an upright and honest official to have his or her way. Rather than just portraying how greedy or dictatorial a particular corrupt element is, as their counterparts did in the early 1990s, they try to describe the depraved

and decadent side of officialdom from the angle of human nature and a flawed system. By doing so, they send a message that the fight against corruption is much more complicated than we can possibly imagine. And apart from punishing as many corrupt elements as possible, it is even more important to improve the ecology of officialdom and build a system that can effectively supervise the use of power. Compared with their old counterparts who made readers happy and excited with all corrupt elements arrested and punished in the end, they tend to make readers think with their insight into the whirlpool of officialdom and subtle exposition of the defects in system. If we get from the former a conviction of a promising future, we are given a warning from the latter that something must be done to thoroughly cleanse officialdom and the system, and foot-dragging will be disastrous. The trajectory from the birth of this literature genre to the change in the way it is written now reflects how far this country has traveled in the direction of becoming a pluralistic society.




‘Invisible man’ finds power in modesty By Jin Canrong and Dong Chunling


Tilt the profit balance in farmers’ favor


an Ki-moon has entered the second half of his tenure as the UN secretary-general when the world is still grappling with the financial crisis, climate change, A/H1N1 flu virus, the Korean nuclear issue, the Palestinian question and other important matters. But despite making every effort to resolve these issues, Ban has fallen foul of the Western media. The Wall Street Journal has called him the “UN’s invisible man” and criticized him for lacking the charisma of his predecessors. The Economist has assailed him for his supposed lack of managing skills. And the Foreign Policy has said he has fallen short of providing global leadership, and even ridiculed his English pronunciation. Instead of hitting back at his critics, Ban has said he will accept their criticisms with modesty. He, however, has urged the Western media to understand Asian values such as modesty and moderation, as well as the UN’s principles. Ban, former top diplomat of the Republic of Korea, is the eighth UN secretary-general and the second from Asia. As the supreme executive official and the primary representative of the UN, the secretaries-general enjoy a very high status in the international community. But because they are always in the spotlight, they become the target of criticisms and bitter remarks. Since the UN is a world body consisting of sovereign states, its secretary-general’s personal functions and powers are limited. The UN is not a global government, and the secretary-general is not the leader of the world. The UN Charter and the reality of international relations restrict his power, and the world body’s organizational structure and culture limit his resolutions. On the world stage, the UN secretary-general is a “dancer in chains” with limited role and function. To assume that the UN could resolve all the international issues and its secretary-general can play the role of world leader is simply wishful thinking. The secretary-general’s job is one of delicate diplomacy. He has to be a visionary, use his moral power to temper the confl icts over



Luo Jie

national interests and raise the level of awareness among people across the world. He also has to be skillful at coordinating relations among member states, especially big powers, seeking consent to the maximum extent, and be able to resolve issues with the support of the majority of the international community. Ban, fully aware of his limited role, has done a pretty good job on all these fronts. In 2007, he completed the reform of the UN’s peacekeeping and armscontrol departments. The UN peacekeeping force is now more than 100,000 strong and has become more effective. In December 2007, he presided over and coordinated the UN climate change conference that drew the Bali Road Map, a significant document after the Kyoto Protocol that ushered in a new stage in the UN’s fi ght against climate change and paved the way for the ongoing Copenhagen summit. In 2008, he flew more than 400,000 km

Govt needs to check realty sector growth China’s real estate market already has a huge bubble, but it still continues to grow at a breakneck speed. It is high time the government dealt with the issue by issuing explicit macro-guidelines and effecting adjustments, says an article in China Business News. Excerpts: In the wake of the global fi nancial crisis, China’s real estate industry assumed the responsibility of maintaining economic growth. It is true that the realty industry can fuel economic growth; it can grow to a size equal to dozens of related upstream and downstream industries. But the real estate boom has now created a huge bubble. Since the property industry enjoys a special status in the economy, it is crucial that the government came up with more explicit macro-guidelines and adjustments. The boom is directly related to the significant easing of real estate policies. At the end of last year, home sales got a boost from the government’s preferential real estate policies, which were issued to encourage growth

to visit 35 countries and attend more than 700 meetings. From the quake zone in Sichuan, China, to the typhoon-battered areas in Myanmar, and from African villages and towns where the UN is involved in poverty relief work to the negotiation tables in the Middle East, he has fulfi lled the duty of the secretary-general with great care and always maintained a low profi le. Compared with the coordination mechanisms of the big powers such as G8 and G20, the UN is more inclusive and comprehensive. Hence, it should be the center of global governance in the future. Ban’s active engagement in the fight against climate change indicates that he is a visionary. He has made immense efforts to resolve this global issue because he wants to raise the UN’s authority, introduce global governance functions to and pave the way for a stronger and abler world body. He believes that handling international relations today needs moder-

FROMTHE CHINESEPRESS through tax exemptions and discounts on loan interests. But now, a large number of people have realized the risks and started to worry whether the bubble would sink the industry. And they are calling for adjustments in the preferential real estate policies to cool off the market fever. The government should get rid of the original mode, too, which is over-reliance on real estate. The problem of extraordinarily high housing prices can be solved only if the government transforms the residential real estate industry into one that fulfi lls people’s basic necessity.

Help poor students cope with reality Yang Yuanyuan, a 30-year-old postgraduate student of Shanghai Maritime University, committed suicide on Nov 26 because

ate mediators and not bullies, and has developed a new paradigm to resolve thorny international issues. Nurtured by Asian values such as modesty, moderation and harmony, he has made great efforts to balance all the forces, handle discords, coordinate with countries in matters of their national interests and taken appropriate action with the support of all the stakeholders. The Asian diplomatic and organizational culture that he has introduced in the UN enshrines action rather than words, respects diligence and pragmatism, advocates unity between knowledge and practice, and deals with international confl icts with the “maximum extent of cooperation, compromise and flexibility”. This is very important, because as a family of 192 countries the UN’s chief canon should be harmony in diversity. Ban may not appear charismatic to people who had gotten used to the personality of his predecessor Kofi Annan. But

the university refused to provide housing for her mother. The tragedy highlights the mental condition of students struggling in poverty, says an article in Changjiang Daily. Excerpts: For many poor students, education is the only path to a better future. Yang Yuanyuan, a 30-year-old postgraduate student who killed herself on Nov 26, was one of them. Yang was born in a poor single-parent family. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Wuhan University, which reportedly also offered accommodation to her mother because she was too poor to pay for her separate lodging as well as her daughter’s tuition fees. Following her graduation, however, Yang realized that the gap between her expectations and reality was formidable. After failing to get a job, she decided to continue her studies and get a higher degree, which could heighten her prospects in the employment market. But after enrolling in Shanghai Maritime University, her dreams were shattered when the university refused to provide a bed for her mother in its dormitory. A dejected and depressed Yang then

they should know that in the long run, Asian diplomatic culture would become a precious asset for the UN. A UN that accommodates and fuses Western and Eastern cultures will definitely be more vigorous and competent. As ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu has said: “The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to”. This morality associated with water, which is beneficial to others but seeks no reward or praise, is venerated by Eastern civilizations. It is also the state that the UN secretary-general from Asia is seeking to reach — to do things well, share the credit with others but accept the blame alone, not to haggle over personal benefit and reputation, and be an “invisible man”. Doesn’t such a personality deserve respect and appreciation? The authors are researchers at the School of International Studies of the Renmin University of China.

committed suicide. After her death, her brother, cousin, uncle and grandmother visited the university to seek an explanation and about 350,000 yuan ($51,264) as compensation to buy an apartment for her mother. The question is: If Yang had so many relatives, why hadn’t any of them invite her mother to stay with them? The core problem with Yang was her dependence on her mother. Returning to college or university is not the best choice for a poor student such as Yang. She could have looked after her family had she got a job. Apart from not accepting reality, Yan, according to her relatives, could not stay away from her mother. She didn’t communicate with other people. Some people think it’s cruel to turn down the request for compensation that could help such an ill-fated family. But the question here is the mental state of millions of poor students. They should not be guided the wrong way to take advantage of their condition and seek economic benefits. What needs to be done urgently is to take steps to improve their mental health and self-controlling ability.

Looking to the land for climate change solutions By Alexander Müller

The high alpine grasslands in the heart of Asia have been home to yak and sheep herders for centuries. But they are starting to disappear from much of this vast area. One major reason is overgrazing and depletion of the soil. Some parts of the grasslands are now called the “Black Beach” — a parched moonscape that has had its nutrients sucked out of the earth. Largely gone, too, is the land’s ability to hold large amounts of carbon. It’s no small loss. The depleted grasslands here and around the world, along with degraded farmlands, are an open wound not only because of the loss of productive land but also because they are a lost opportunity to slow and reverse climate change. With negotiators in Copenhagen trying to work out a new global cli-

mate deal, a key question is whether transforming the use of agricultural land, such as those in the alpine Asian terrain, will be included. Negotiators need to look to farmers — and the use of farmland — for help. There should be no doubt today that climate change, agricultural land and food production are inextricably linked. There is no separating these powerful factors that are elemental to our survival. First, let’s think about food. The world’s population is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050 — a 50 percent increase. It means we’ll need to produce 70 percent more food by then. How do we do that? The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that $210 billion is needed in agricultural investments every year in order to produce the required amount of food. But investments in agricultural practices that promote soil carbon capture can make agriculture part of the solu-

tion in the fight against climate change, rather than part of the problem, while increasing production and improving the livelihood of small-scale farmers. Now, agriculture is one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions producing, according to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, roughly 12 to 14 percent of all emissions. But healthy soils, like trees, can be great carbon capturers. Farmers and herders need to use new practices — or adapt centuries-old practices — to put more organic matter in the soil, and then keep it there. More organic content holds more carbon; and more carbon in soils boosts agricultural production by creating higher levels of nutrients in plants and retaining greater amounts of water. This is where the Copenhagen climate change negotiators need to step in. The question now doesn’t involve science – we understand the

value of better soils for food production and to capture more carbon. The question in Copenhagen should be how to fi nance needed innovations in agriculture to unleash these multiple benefits. What’s needed is a way to create a carbon-financing scheme in which new funding streams are literally put back into the land — funneled into wise agricultural investments to improve farming and agro-forestry practices that increase food production as well as combat climate change. Part of the beauty in this is that this change won’t take years. This isn’t like developing alternative energy sources that require huge infrastructure investments, or installing new technologies to reduce emissions from current energy sources. Instead, this new green agricultural movement can begin right away. There are several entry points.

One is a massive effort to help farmers and herders build up organic matter in soils. It could mean taking herds of sheep or goats off overgrazed grasslands for several years. It could mean more careful measuring of carbon in soils to determine successes and failures and to decide where to focus efforts. And it could mean that farmers till the soil less and apply more organic fertilizers such as manure and mulch. In many of the world’s degraded agricultural lands, much has been lost. Now it’s time to bring life back to these lands. Not only do we need better soils for food production, but also we need the soils to lock up carbon. Better soils will give life. The author is assistant directorgeneral of the Natural Resources Management and Environment Department of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

here have been two pieces of news about dramatic price fluctuation of agricultural products recently. One is the 20-fold year-onyear rise in the price of garlic, and the other is about banana price in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region falling to 0.4 yuan from last year’s 1.5 yuan a kg. The People’s Daily reported on Monday that traders purchased garlic from farmers in Shandong province at 4.4 yuan a kg while the price was 0.6 yuan a kg in May. Normally, I do not pay much attention to fluctuations in grocery prices because I am not the cook in my family. So to find out about the price changes, I did a small investigation yesterday at a supermarket near my home. I found that garlic sold for 12 yuan and bananas for 4 yuan a kg. As a consumer, I certainly dislike any price rise. But the thought that my rural cousins (I have worked and lived in the countryside for 10 years) could benefit from the higher prices of farm products soon put my mind at ease. My heart would not ache if the extra money I paid ended up in my fellow countrymen’s wallets. And I believe most urban consumers would accept the burden without too much grievance. The problem, however, is whether the money really finds its way into the farmers’ pockets. We urban residents want to know. According to the People’s Daily report, most garlic glowers disposed of their products when the price rose to 2 yuan a kg. And that was exactly the production cost. Given this fact, we can conclude that the intermediate traders between the producers and consumers grabbed the largest part of the extra profits generated from the rise in the price, with only a small number of farmers making a little more money. Although the traders paid the costs for purchasing, transporting and processing the garlic, it is inarguable that they took the lion’s share of the profits, too. Since China took to the road of market economy, there has been no consensus on whether the middle links between producers and consumers have pocketed most of the profits. Two years ago, when I wrote a column on the same topic, I felt frustrated at the lack of authoritative data on the problem. Early last year, finally some departments began investigating the matter. In May 2008, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture conducted a “close follow-up” investigation into the profit distribution of nine products flowing from the field to the market. According to media reports, the investigation concluded: “In general, the profits made by the wholesale and retail links are excessively high.” An investigation conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture before the joint probe had reached a similar conclusion. But more noteworthy is the conclusion reached by the joint investigation team from the three government departments, which states: “While farmers suffer from the fluctuation in the prices of farm produce, the middle links enjoy a relatively stable profitearning. For instance, chili growers began to make profit this year after suffering a 31 percent loss last year. But the profit rates of the wholesale and retail agents have remained between 28.7 and 34.1 percent, while that for supermarkets has been between 89.5 and 96.8 per cent.” This means that although farmers can make some profit from rising prices, the profit in general is limited if the losses they have suffered previously are taken into account. But the middle agents have a guaranteed income both on sunny and rainy days. In other words, farmers take the risk while traders count the money. Something has to be done to change this situation. The responsibility rests on the government. It has made a good beginning by conducting an earnest investigation into the profit distribution. Now it needs to reverse the unfair trend to bring real benefit to farmers, who are the largest potential force to propel domestic spending.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.



Last chance to take our bilingual survey China Daily is conducting a survey of Chinese people’s awareness of global climate change and low carbon emissions in association with the Environmental Defense Fund during the ongoing UN climate summit in Copenhagen. Respondents have a chance to win the bilingual book Evolution of Green China , published by New World Press and China Daily, or a set of CDs entitled China Addresses Climate Change, coproduced by the Department of Combating Climate Change with the National Development and Reform Commission and the Environmental Defense Fund. We will tabulate the results at the end of teh day today, and China Daily will publish the survey results at the end of the Copenhagen conference. So get online today: You can find the survey at

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All-night talk as time runs out Summit leaders say ‘still not there’ when it comes to commitments By Li Xing and Sun Xiaohua

COPENHAGEN: Ministers will have to continue to work round the clock to remove at least five stumbling blocks to ensure that the ongoing United Nations Climate Conference (COP15) delivers a successful outcome, Connie Hedegaard, the conference’s president said yesterday. They’d already worked late into the night, but “it is very clear that the ministers have to be extremely busy and focused in the next 48 hours if we want to make the success we are trying to make,” said Hedegaard, who is also Denmark’s former energy and environment minister. The impasse revolves around not only the emission reduction targets that will be set for developed countries, but also the actions that emerging economies must deliver

to contribute to global effort to slow down the global warming. “We are still not there when it comes to commitments,” she said. “One should not underestimate the complicated but very important issue of how to measure, report and not the least verify what developed countries and developing countries are going to do,” she said. These are very crucial parts where there are “redlines to different parties,” she said. Meanwhile, the issue of securing long-term finance in helping developing countries to adapt to global warming has also remained contentious, as developed countries have only promised for short-term financing. “We will not get enough substantial finance on the table unless we have some innovative ideas,” she said. There is also controversy over the

governance structure for the finance. Voices have become louder to include aviation and transportation into the global-mitigation legally binding plan. Nicknamed “bunker fuel”, the aviation and transportation are considered one of the main greenhouse gas emitters but were left out of the Kyoto Protocol. Ever since the conference started eight days ago, the negotiations have seen a continuous roller-coaster ride, with the media complaining about the increasingly complicated nature of the negotiations. Hedegaard said that there has been a determination to bring negotiations to an end “or it could continue endlessly more complicated.” “This process is not about ramming the interests of the few down to the throat of many,” said Yve de Boer, the UN’s top climate official. National interests are diversified, with small island countries concerned with the survival of their homes as the sea levels rise, oil producers worried about the future of their economy and major industrialized nations afraid of

losing their jobs. “You have major developing countries whose overriding concerns are economic growth and povertyeradication,” de Boer said. People talk about emission reductions in emerging economies, but “400 million people in India don’t even have access to electricity,” de Boer said. “How do you switch off the light bulbs you don’t have?” China is resolute about its targets of reducing carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, Xie Zhenhua told a press conference late yesterday. Xie also reiterated other actions that China has promised to take to help slow down global warming, such as technological innovation and ensure the use of clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, Chinese delegates have also repeatedly stressed that emission reduction targets are not legally-binding for developing countries such as China under the Kyoto Protocol. And China has stood by the Kyoto Protocol.

What would YOU say to world leaders now? leaders may choose the conference to move their reduction targets to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, which may be a good move to unlock Swedish environmentalist Dennis the negotiation gridlock. “I don’t expect to hear anything Pamlin has been digging through history: the Stockholm Conference substantial in the leaders’ public of 1972, the Rio Summit of 1992, the speeches – their work in the negotiations will be more important,” 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Vitelli said. In each summit, he Hua ng Shengchu, found that rich, developed president of China Coal countries promised to Information Institute, support poor countries The extra said the US is more though money, better effort that EU active now than before trade rules and transfer proposes to but it can take concrete of technology. measures and a shar“But again and again, make could ing of responsibilities rich countries have form the core with other developed failed to live up to these of innovative nations. promises,” Pamlin told Daniel Dudek, chief China Daily. “There are financing for economist with the US many reasons for the developing Environmental Defense failures and it doesn’t Fund, said Copenhagen mean anything to blame nations if well is a real test of global anyone, especially since structured. governance and UN very few at the conference has made some success in Copenhagen were DANIEL DUDEK before, considering part of these historic Chief economist with the US Environmental the case of CFCs and summits.” Defense Fund stratospheric ozone However, when leaders depletion. such as United States “But is the community President Barack Obama step into the Bella conference centre of nations up to agreeing on the conin Copenhagen, they should keep in trol of a similar threat but with more mind the gap between promises and far reaching economic consequences especially during a global economic delivery, he said. “This is my message to the leaders recession?” questioned Dudek of the UN’s abilities. from rich countries,” said Pamlin. He said climate change is a real He added that developed countries, which have emitted so much during problem whose control is supported their developments, should make the by the majority of the EU’s population and the union has already committed first move. “We have seen very little of this and to significant reductions in the short we need to see not only targets, but term with a promise to do more if also measures that ensure delivery,” other nations do so. “The extra effort that EU proposes Pamlin said. “Developing countries have already begun measures to to make could form the core of reduce emissions and these measures innovative financing for developing nations if well structured,” said will increase.” He noted that where the per capita Dudek. For Obama’s role in the Copenhaemissions are the highest, living gen summit, Dudek dismissed his standards are also the highest. John Sayer, director of Oxfam Hong effect at Copenhagen as the US is Kong, also said the European Union in the midst of a key period of the and the US should no doubt take the next election cycle and the clock lead in cutting their emissions by a is ticking on legislation that has dramatic amount, in developing the passed by the nation’s House of technologies that are necessary, Representatives. in providing finances for both Given the central importance of adaptation and mitigation, and in US legislation to global control of greenhouse gas emissions, Dudek transferring the technologies. Alessendro Vitelli, from London- asked Obama: “ What do you plan based IDEACARBON, expects leaders to do to accelerate Senate action on to step up political pressure to reach climate change legislation before the a deal at Copenhagen. He said EU mid-term elections?” By Fu Jing, Cheng Guangjin and Li Jing

Island on the brink

An aerial view shows a resort island in the Maldives this week. Maldives has a population of some 400,000 islanders, whose livelihood from fishing and tourism is being hit by climate change. Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed said last month that a warming of just 2 C would risk swamping the sand-rimmed coral atolls and islets, dotted with palm trees and mangrove clumps, that form his small country. Delegates of island nations have been among the most vocal at the climate change summit in Copenhagen, insisting that prompt global action is needed to save their lands and cultures. Reuters


The challenge: telling the story By Sun Xiaohua

Although it is my third time to cover the UN climate change conference, I still feel confused about how to give a full picture of what is going on and make complicated negotiations understandable to readers. Above all, how do I make my reports interesting and attractive — competing with the historically biggest number of journalists coming from China – about 100 members. Studying all the Chinese- language reports about the conference, I find out that the most eye-catching stories are not about the negotiation process nor about the core issues. Taking one of the most viewed stories last week, for example. It is about the head of Chinese delegation, Xie Zhenhua, who three times had trouble passing through the security check. When Su Wei, deputy head of the official delegation, complained about the treatment that Xie received during the plenary meeting, most of the Chinese media reported that as a piece of big news to show that China’s rights and interests are notably neglected. As the story was published on the country’s web portals such as and, there seemed to be widespread public dissatisfaction. And Su Wei became a hero overnight, even though the issue is not so relevant to the talks. However, the reason Xie was blocked by the security personnel is that there was no picture on his badge. Considering the security for an international conference with more than 47,000 possible participants, the guards had to double-check. And the contribution made by Su Wei to the climate talks is not showing his anger in this incident. Su has been engaged in climate talks for nearly two decades. He has shown his wisdom and firmness in guarding China’s national interest at the negotiation table, where many media reporter seldom go. The so-called biggest news is really nothing compared with what Yve de Boer, the UN’s top climate talks official, called “the real big picture: the draft texts of LongTerm Cooperation Action (LCA) and Kyoto Protocol (KP) released Friday. The nations must now work almost round the clock in the consultations before the country leaders arrive in Copenhagen to produce a positive outcome of the conference. However, few journalists sent back the story about the two draft texts, let alone the explanation of them, as soon as they were accessible. A few stories that did appear even misunderstood what the drafts were about. For instance, in the LCA draft, it is said “the increase in global average temperature above the pre-industrial levels ought not exceed {2 C}{1.5C}”. The brackets mean a choice in the text; however, one report explained that it was a range from 1.5 C to 2C. Following the UN climate change conference needs teamwork with knowledge about the UN climate change convention framework, international law, scientific facts, national and international climate policies, as well as foreign affairs. It is hard for a single reporter to cover the huge conference — it is even hard to offer comprehensive reports by a team without professional knowledge. As for how to write an interesting story but explaining a technical issue in an understandable way, or how to catch up the latest consultation progress by meeting the deadline with jet lag, it is all about professionalism as a journalist.

Not every country has adapted to the notion of ‘adaptation’ By Li Xing

COPENHAGEN: Contention has surrounded a few “crunch” issues at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, according to Connie Hedegaard, the president of the meeting. Hedegaard says targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of money that developed countries should be sending in the form of aid to developing countries are the two biggest crunch issues. But Hedegaard said there are also “deeper layers” of contention that go beyond politics and arouse serious concern among delegates and representatives from international and non-government organizations. One of those “layers” is “adaptation”, one of the biggest catchwords among those gathered inside the Bella Center, where the conference is taking place. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate

Change, which the nations adopted in 1992 as an international environmental treaty, “adaptation to climate change is vital in order to reduce the impacts of climate change that are happening now and increase resilience to future impacts”. In the draft amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, the word “adaptation” is used 15 times — twice as much as the word “mitigation”. So much so that Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF’s global climate initiative, said on Monday that “climate change adaptation mechanisms and measures and especially finance … is an issue starved of attention, commitments and funds.” “With climate impacts already severely impacting those countries least able to cope with them, we have examples of wealthy countries who have made commitments on adaptation support and finance in the past but consistently failed to fulfill their promises,” he said during a press conference.

To Wilson A. Songa, Kenya’s agriculture secretary, the way the adaptation mechanism is spelled out in the final documents will mean a lot to people in his country and other poor countries in the developing world. “I am most concerned about how much money from the climate change fund will go to programs for adaptation,” he told China Daily. At present, the proposed climate change fund is $10 billion. A World Bank report said last year $10 billion is too little to help the billion people who are surviving on less than $1 a day. But the draft document tabled to set further objectives for the Kyoto Protocol lists three options, from 0.5, 2 to 8 percent of the proposed fund. Even if the highest percentage is adopted, the amount, $800 million, will be far too little to satisfy the needs of Kenya and other poor and developing countries, Songa said. He fears that a lot of money will go to technology transfer, even though developing countries like Kenya may

not need the technologies in the short term. “Technologies can favor nations such as China and India,” Songa said. However, countries like Kenya are already facing increasing challenges as the global average temperature rises, he said. His country needs funds to build new irrigation systems, develop a diversified range of drought-resistant crops, inexpensive fertilizers and certified seeds, not to mention building services and maintaining and strengthening infrastructures, he said. Apart from agriculture, health problems are also increasing, Songa said. For instance, incidences of malaria are now occurring in highland regions in Kenya, where malaria was not a problem years ago. Tourism is also likely to suffer because wildlife will be hit hard by global warming. Last season eight elephants died in one week in Kenya’s famous Masai Mara national park. In

other parks, rangers have seen losses among families of giraffes. “The elderly in the herd obviously didn’t survive the drought,” Songa said. “When we lose the animals, we lose tourism industry as well.” Water management

While Songa sees enormous needs in his country, several non-government organizations expressed their dissatisfaction that draft climate change documents are not giving enough thought to water management. As a result of climate change, some regions are having to endure more serious floods and severe storms, while other places are experiencing continual drought. “The failure to recognize the role of water management in adapting to climate change has numerous and multifaceted repercussions for people’s lives,” said Karin Lexen, of the Stockholm International Water Institute. “It means that national water

suppliers will not have access to sanitation systems that are resilient to flooding or unexpected weather events. It means that farmers will not have adequate information or resources to ensure that they can cope with diminishing rainfall. It means that new pressures will be put on already strained relations between neighboring states who depend on shared water resources,” she said. People in developing countries are eagerly waiting to see what will be done to improve the adaptation mechanism and how much will be devoted to programs. “While there are some limited offers for short-term adaptation funding on the table, there is little longer term vision or commitment,” said Carstensen. “We need to ensure that Copenhagen does not become the venue where getting some initial pledged money for adaptation takes precedence over setting up a secure international framework for adaptation.”



Berlusconi joins long list of targets hospital in Milan said Berlusconi is still in pain, but his condition is not worrisome. A mentally unstable man bloodied Berlusconi’s face on Sunday with a souvenir statuette of Milan’s Duomo cathedral as the leader ventured into the crush of a political rally in the northern Italian city. Italy’s debate follows a familiar pattern: How much security is necessary when politicians seek to mingle with their public? “The security failed because, as usual, Berlusconi did what you should never do: Seek direct contact with the crowd,” said Andrea Nativi, a researcher at the Rome-based Military Center for Strategic Studies. Public appearances and leaders who walk the streets


Premier’s attacker apologizes

Politicians try to strike balance between security and access ROME: The souvenir-flinging man who attacked Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi joins a long list of gatecrashers, shoe-throwers and other security breachers who have embarrassed, bruised and even killed leaders worldwide. As Berlusconi remained hospitalized with a broken nose and two broken teeth, officials pledged to review security measures while deflecting mounting criticism of the premier’s bodyguards. Hospital officials said yesterday that Berlusconi must stay in the hospital until at least Wednesday and recommend that he cancel all public activities throughout the Christmas season. The medical bulletin issued yesterday by the San Raffaele



A girl holds a statuette of Milan’s Duomo gothic cathedral, similar to the one which hit Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in downtown Milan on Monday. Reuters

unprotected are a magnet not just for terrorists but for political protesters, publicity seekers and people with psychological problems. US President Barack Obama has acknowledged “a screw-up” last month when two uninvited guests managed to get into a White House dinner and came into contact with the US leader. Three uniformed Secret Service officers have been placed on leave while the security breach is investigated. Last year’s attempt by an Iraqi journalist to hit US President George W. Bush with his shoes has been copied around the world. Victims include

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who was targeted by a student during a speech at Cambridge University. The quality of security at the European Union was called into question last week when the environmental group Greenpeace managed to gatecrash a summit of the 27-nation bloc’s leaders in Brussels. And in March an environmentalist threw a green liquid at Britain’s Peter Mandelson, then the business secretary, as he arrived for a conference aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Other breaches have proven deadly.

ROME: An Italian man who broke Silvio Berlusconi’s nose and teeth by striking him with a souvenir model has apologised to the Italian prime minister for his “cowardly and rash act”, the attacker’s lawyers said. Tartaglia, who has a history of mental illness, acted alone and without any political or militant interests at heart, his lawyers said in a brief statement released late on Monday. In a letter sent to Berlusconi, Tartaglia expressed his “heartfelt regret for a superficial, cowardly and

In the Netherlands, security around government officials was tightened following the assassination of populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002. A year later, the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh raised concerns over whether politicians should still feel free to stroll the streets of Stockholm with their families. The Swedish Security Police did increase bodyguards for politicians. In 1990, Germany’s thenInterior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was shot by a psychologically disturbed man during a political rally. Schaeuble, who today is

rash act in which he did not recognise himself”, the statement said. Berlusconi’s allies have portrayed the attack as the fruit of a “climate of hate” swirling around the premier. A popular but divisive figure, Berlusconi has for much of the year battled allegations of an improper relationship with a teenage model and parties with escorts and now faces the reopening of several trials against him.

IRAN 3 Americans will be tried Iran said on Monday a court will try three Americans who wandered across the border from Iraq last July and became ensnared in an increasingly bitter standoff with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki did not say when the trial would begin or even what the Americans were charged with, other than that they had “suspicious aims.” Last month, Iran’s chief prosecutor said they were accused of spying.


Germany’s finance minister, was left paralyzed from the waist down. Nativi said that in Italy, which suffered waves of terrorism and political violence in the 1970s and 1980s, bodyguards should know better than to allow Berlusconi to wade into a cheering crowd as the premier often does. “There is no high-ranking official who has enough authority to tell him: You shouldn’t do that,” Nativi said. Lawmakers said that security arrangements would be reviewed.

in cephalopods. “I mean, I’ve seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I’ve never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.” Octopuses often use foreign objects as shelter. But the scientists found the veined octopus going a step further by preparing the shells, carrying them long distances and reassembling them as shelter elsewhere. That’s an example of tool use, which has never been recorded in invertebrates before, Finn said. “What makes it different from a hermit crab is this octopus collects shells for later use, so when it’s transporting it, it’s not getting any protection from it,” Finn said. “It’s that collecting it to use it later that is unusual.” The researchers think the creatures probably once used shells in the same way. But once humans began cutting coconuts

in half and discarding the shells into the ocean, the octopuses discovered an even better kind of shelter, Finn said. The findings are significant, in that they reveal just how capable the creatures are of complex behavior, said Simon Robson, associate professor of tropical biology at James Cook University in Townsville. “Octopuses have always stood out as appearing to be particularly intelligent invertebrates,” Robson said. “They have a fairly well-developed sense of vision and they have a fairly intelligent brain. So I think it shows the behavioral capabilities that these organisms have.” There is always debate in the scientific communit y about how to defi ne tool use in the animal kingdom, Robson said. The Australian researchers defi ned a tool as an object carried or maintained for future use. AP

a T-shirt was unveiled in the downtown park on Thursday last week. Heru Nugroho, the group’s creator, said he would use the support on the popular social networking website to demand that Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo remove the statue. “Everybody knows that Obama is a world leader, but he is not our national hero who deserves to be awarded a statue,”

Nugroho said. “This has hurt our national pride because there are many Indonesian figures who gave worthy service to this nation but no statue has been built for them,” he added. Many Indonesians are proud of the fact that Obama lived in Jakarta from 1967 to 1971 with his American mother, his Indonesian stepfather and his half-sister.

Base decision delayed Japan needs several more months to decide on the relocation of a major US military base on the southern island of Okinawa, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said yesterday, a delay likely to frustrate Washington. The US had hoped for a resolution by year-end, but Hatoyama said a hasty decision would be irresponsible.


This photo received from Melbourne’s Museum Victoria shows an octopus wrapped around the shell of a coconut and using it to protect itself on the seabed floor. AFP

Ron Mullers, a Jakarta resident who came up with the idea of the statue and raised money for it, said it was supposed to inspire local children to follow their dreams. “It’s ridiculous. I’m shocked,” Mullers, chairman of the local nonpolitical Friends of Obama Foundation, calling the move against the statue political. AP

NATO chief hopes for hand from Russia By Lei Xiaoxun and Peng Kuang

On his first trip to Russia as NATO’s new chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen is trying to rebuild trust with Russia and to garner support from Moscow to help NATO with the current dire situation in Afghanistan, Chinese experts said. Although analysts described NATO’s search for support for its troubled operation in Afghanistan as likely to top the agenda, Moscow’s 2008 war in Georgia and the joint NATO-Georgia drill in May have dampened the prospect of Rasmussen’s Russia visit. Quick and substantial short-term progress are out of question from Rasmussen’s meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, which are scheduled today. “The relationship between NATO and Russia is important and needs attention, but this

NEWS ANALYSIS is a question of process,” said Andrew Monaghan, an analyst at the NATO Defense College in Rome. “The good sign is that both sides finally found the meeting as an entry point to thaw the icing bilateral relations,” said Wang Yizhou, a researcher on world economic and political studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “But it’s only a sign of tendency.” At a recent NATO foreign ministers meeting, Russia participated and discussed a range of issues including NATO’s eastward expansion, bilateral cooperation and joint efforts in tackling the rising insurgence in Afghanistan. On the sidelines of the meeting, Rasmussen disclosed that 25 of the 28 NATO countries promised to dispatch 7,000 troops by 2010, but specifics were unavailable.

The Kremlin has pledged more support in the struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and its ambassador to NATO said last week that Russia was willing to do “anything, except sending our troops”. “It is possible that two sides cooperate on Afghanistan,” said Xing Guangcheng, a senior scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “But the cooperation is depended on NATO’s strategic behaviors.” “It is intolerable for Russia if NATO insists on including Georgia and Ukraine in its eastward expansion,” he said. Given its experience in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Russia also recognizes that NATO’s failure could lead to a spread of Islamist insurgency in Central Asia, where Russia holds profound political, economic and military stakes. NATO diplomats said that despite positive rhetoric, NATO sees Russia’s support for the Afghan mission as “lukewarm”.

Blast kills 22 A suicide car bomb exploded in a market close to the home of a politician in Pakistan’s most populous province yesterday, killing 22 people and wounding 70 others. The blast in the Punjabi town of Dera Ghazi Khan was the latest in a series of attacks that have killed more than 500 people in Pakistan since October.


Barack Obama statue attacked by Facebook critics JAKARTA, Indonesia: A statue of President Barack Obama as a boy erected in a Jakarta park has been targeted in a Facebook campaign by thousands who say it should be removed. The Facebook group named “Take Down the Barack Obama Statue in Taman Menteng Park” had attracted more than 10,000 members by yesterday since the 110-cm statue of 10-year-old Obama dressed in shorts and



Australian scientists find coconut-toting octopus SYDNEY: Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 20 meters, and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. Julian Finn and Mark Norman of Museum Victoria in Melbourne observed the odd activity in four of the creatures during a series of dive trips to North Sulawesi and Bali in Indonesia between 1998 and 2008. Their findings were published yesterday in the journal Current Biology. “I was gobsmacked,” said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes

Picture defacers arrested Iran has arrested several people over the tearing up of a picture of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during anti-government demonstrations last week, a senior official said on Monday. The detentions came a day after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave a stern warning to the proreform opposition, accusing it of violating the law by insulting the memory of late revolutionary leader Khomeini.

A NATO official said the alliance would like to see Russia provide more helicopters for the Afghan armed forces and weaponry including assault rifles and artillery, saying the equipment should be a donation rather than a sale of arms. “This a priority for NATO,” a senior NATO diplomat said. The diplomat said the alliance welcomed Russian cooperation in transit of supplies and training of counter-narcotics forces, but NATO also wanted to see Russia donating funds to support the build-up of Afghan forces. It could also donate fuel, he said. Tatiana Parkhalina, director of the Center for European Security in Moscow, said Rasmussen’s visit should be seen as positive in itself after a year and a half of frozen relations. Monaghan said that while short-term assistance in Afghanistan was important, the longer-term aim in NATO-Russia ties had to be to get cooperation mechanisms working properly.

Grammy winner sang at drug cartel’s party TEPOZTLAN, Mexico: When drug cartel were detained, and soldiers raided a drug cartel’s $280,000 in cash and 16 autoChristmas part y south of matic rifles were seized, the Mexico City, they found 16 navy said. automatic rifles, $280,000 in Stray bullets shattered the cash — and a Latin Grammy windows of a nearby home winner. where Maura Cristina Lopez The presence of the Texas- works as a maid. She said she based norteno singer Ramon was shocked at the violence Ayala at the gathering in the bucolic in a wealthy, gated-comneighbormunity and the lavish hood, where festivities showed the troops in audacit y of Mexico’s tr ucks padr ug cartels amid a troled on government crackdown Monday. that has sent thousands “It’s always of soldiers and police to been quiet,” track them down. she said. A spokesman for “This the federal Attorney scares me.” General’s Office said on Tepotzlan, Monday that Ayala was just south of released af ter being Ramon Ayala Mexico City, questioned because auis popular thorities found no grounds for with foreign and Mexican charging him with a crime. tourists because of its cobbleMexican norteno bands stone streets and the ruins of a often sing about drug traf- pre-Columbian pyramid built ficking and v iolence and atop a mountain. many have been rumored to Ayala, a Mexican accordiperform at drug traffickers’ onist and norteno singer who weddings and other parties, lives in Hidalgo, Texas, has but few have been caught in a large following along the the public spotlight. Mexico-US border and has Ayala and his norteno band, won two Latin Grammys. Los Bravos del Norte, were perEach year, he hosts a Christforming in a gated community mas festival in Hidalgo, a free of mansions outside the moun- event that includes music, tain town of Tepoztlan when food and the opportunity for sailors raided the house and a impoverished children to line shootout ensued before dawn up at Ayala’s home to receive on Friday, said the official, a ticket for a free gift. who was not authorized to be The Hidalgo city website quoted by name. said Ayala was scheduled to Three gunmen were killed host the event on Wednesday. and 11 others suspected of working for the Beltran Leyva AP

Massacre suspects fight Fighting broke out between troops and an armed group believed involved in the massacre of 57 people in the southern Philippines last month, officials said yesterday. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo temporarily placed Muslim-dominated Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao under military rule after the massacre. The move was widely criticised, but she defended her decision. “This action was consistent with my obligation to our nation,” Arroyo said yesterday. “No one will ever be allowed to bring rebellion to this country, let alone murder, and go free.”

TURKEY 2 dead in Kurdish protest A rifle-toting shopkeeper killed two people and wounded six others yesterday after stone-throwing Kurds damaged his textiles shop during nationwide protests in support of a banned proKurdish party, the town’s mayor said. Turkey’s Constitutional Court last week ordered the disbandment of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party on charges it supports the major outlawed rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. Kurds responded with nationwide violent protests.

MIDEAST Forum: Stop settlements A forum of six Arab states plus Turkey has urged Israel to halt all settlement activity so Mideast peace negotiations can resume. Yesterday’s meeting in the Syrian capital Damascus comes at a time when Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government is trying to balance an emerging role as a voice for Muslims with a continuing alliance with the West and with Israel. AP-Reuters-Xinhua



W E D N E S DAY D E C E M B E R 1 6 , 2 0 0 9

AROUNDTHE WORLD CUBA Castro doubts US intent Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama’s “friendly smile and African-American face” are hiding Washington’s sinister intentions for Latin America — more evidence of a new cooling in U.-Cuba relations after a thaw had seemed possible just months ago. In a letter to Hugo Chavez that the Venezuelan president read at the close of a summit of leftist Latin American nations on Monday, Castro said the US “empire is on the offensive again” in the region. Globes ‘Up in the Air’ The recession-era tale Up in the Air led Golden Globe film contenders yesterday with six nominations, among them best drama and acting honors for George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. Other drama picks were the space fantasy Avatar, the Iraq War tale The Hurt Locker, the World War II saga Inglourious Basterds and the Harlem drama Precious: Based on the Novel `Push’ by Sapphire. The musical Nine ran second with five nominations, including best musical or comedy and acting slots for Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard.

RUSSIA Interior official fired The Kremlin says President Dmitry Medvedev has fired a senior Interior Ministry official allegedly connected to the fraud case of a lawyer who later died in prison. Medvedev fired Anatoly Mikhalkin from the tax crimes department at Moscow police. The death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky caused a public uproar last month because of his alleged prison conditions.

POLAND Solidarity marches again Thousands of workers from the Solidarity trade union are marching this week in the Polish capital to demand government protection for industrial jobs. The workers rallied yesterday in front of Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s office in central Warsaw, carrying the white and red flags of the Solidarity trade union, blowing on horns and setting a pile of tires on fire. They are demanding that government protect unemployment benefits for people laid off from shipyards. They also want Warsaw to throw more support behind the ailing shipbuilding, armament and railway industries.


Capital blasts rock Iraq, Afghanistan Explosions shake Baghdad and Mosul, killing at least nine civilians BAGHDAD: Car bombs and other explosions ripped through Iraq’s capital and a major northern city on Tuesday, killing nine people and showing again the ease with which insurgents manage to slip past security. The explosions in Baghdad and Mosul came exactly a week after suicide bombers killed 127 people and wounded more than 500 in a series of five bombings in the Iraqi capital. At least three blasts yesterday came within minutes of each other near the heavily protected Green Zone, which houses the US Embassy, the Iraqi parliament and other government offices. The attacks raise fresh questions about Baghdad’s ability to protect itself and its citizens as US forces prepare to leave Iraq. “There were two military checkpoints using detectors at the beginning of the street, how can such car bombs manage to enter and explode?” said a woman who identified herself as Um Ali, her cheeks smeared with blood as she screamed at

Bomber strikes near home of VIP and hotel used by Westerners

reporters, echoing frustrations voiced by many Iraqis. The explosions came exactly a week after suicide bombers killed 127 people and wounded more than 500 in a series of five bombings across the capital — three of which appeared to target government buildings. Suicide bombers on Aug 19 and Oct 25 also targeted government ministries and buildings in a series of horrific bombings in which more than 250 people were killed. Two of yesterday’s car bombs detonated near the Iraqi government’s Foreign and Immigration ministries; a third went off near the Iranian embassy, two police officials said. It was not clear whether those buildings were the targets. The Foreign Ministry is still under construction after being hit in the August bombing. Thick clouds of black smoke could be seen lingering over the area. Firefighters and neighborhood residents worked to put out fires, while Iraqi security forces fired their guns to disperse growing crowds. “I had just left my house to go to my school when the big explosion took place,” said 12-year-old Mohammed Hussein, who lives nearby. “My father shouted at me to go back home. There is no need for school today.” AP

A woman hugs her children after a bomb attack in central Baghdad yesterday. Reuters

KABUL: A suicide car bomber struck a heavily guarded neighborhood yesterday near the home of a former Afghan vice president and a hotel favored by Westerners, killing 20 people according to one report and wounding dozens, officials said. The Afghan Interior Ministry said the target of the bombing was unclear, but security officials at the scene said the bomber was going after the home of former first vice president, Ahmad Zia Massoud. He is the brother of legendary anti-Taliban hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed by Al-Qaida two days before the attacks on Sept 11, 2001. “Of course we were the target,” said Shah Asmat, an aide to the former vice president. “Before, the Taliban killed Massoud. Now, they tried to kill his brother.” Afghan President Hamid Karzai, during a speech he was delivering at a conference on corruption, said two of Massoud’s guards were among

those killed in the explosion. “This terrorist attack, which killed and wounded innocent civilians, was an attack on humanity and Islam,” Karzai said in a prepared statement later. Ministry of Interior spokesman Zemeri Bashary said four men and four women died in the midmorning blast. He said about 40 others were wounded. “It was a suicide attack,” Bashary said. “We are investigating. We don’t know the target of the attack.” The explosion, in Kabul’s congested Wazir Akbar Khan district, slightly damaged the Heetal Hotel, which is owned by the son of Burhanuddin Rabbani, who served as president of Afghanistan from 1992 until 1996. Three policemen were killed in a bomb attack on their patrol on Tuesday in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province in northern Iraq, a provincial police source said. Two British soldiers working for the NATO-led force and two Afghan soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province yesterday, an Afghan military official said. A US soldier was also reported killed in the region in a separate attack. AP-Reuters-Xinhua

Setting a date next step to bring DPRK to Six-Party Talks By Zhang Jin and Peng Kuang

Jingle bells are welcoming US special envoy Stephen Bosworth, who is flying back home after a week-long Asian trip. The 70-year-old has a good reason to celebrate. During his visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the country said it is willing to rejoin the Six-Party Talks, although the timetable is still up in the air. To push Pyongyang back to the negotiating table, which it walked away from in April, Washington made at least one compromise. It agreed to resume discussions on a peace treaty, a deal that Pyongyang has long wished for. But that discussion has been shelved since 1999. So far so good, but things have just returned to square one, experts said. Bosworth’s “ice-breaking” visit brings an end to nearly a year of the political tension on the Korean Peninsula, coupled with saber-rattling

CHINA VIEW and economic sanctions, Liu Jiangyong, a professor of DPRK studies at Tsinghua University, told China Daily. The first official encounter between Pyongyang and the Barack Obama government “is a good beginning in the right direction”, he said. The outcome came after trump cards from both sides — nuclear tests by the DPRK and sanctions by the US — failed to work earlier this year, said Shen Shishun, a senior researcher at China Institute of International Studies. Both nations then started testing the waters and reapproaching each other amid domestic and international pressure. The last round of Six-Party Talks, which groups the DPRK, the US, China, Russia, the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK), was held in Beijing late last year. Apart from the US, the ROK has also signaled goodwill to the

DPRK recently, a change of its hard-line policy since President Lee Myung-bak took office last year. The two countries last week sent a joint team to survey industrial parks in China and Vietnam, as part of the efforts to enhance the operation of their joint industrial park in Kaesong. Seoul will send antiviral drugs worth more than $15 million this week to help Pyongyang fight an outbreak of H1N1 flu, officials said yesterday. The DPRK has agreed to receive the supplies at a border road crossing, the ROK’s unification ministry said. “All parties came to know tit-for-tat cannot solve the problem,” Liu said. “Six Party Talks are likely to resume sometime next year,” said Liu, who believed talks participants may have already begun to consult on a date. However, not all are optimistic. “Uncertainty always looms on the peninsula,” said Yang Xiyu, an expert of DPRK studies at

China did a lot to lobby the DPRK back to the negotiating table, and its role as a coordinator should continue. LIU JIANGYONG A professor of DPRK studies at Tsinghua University,

China Institute of International Studies, especially when peace treaty negotiations begin along with Six-Party Talks. A peace agreement would replace an armistice to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War. The treaty talks included Pyongyang, Seoul, Beijing and Washington. “It’s now a matter of two sets of talks. Things get complicated, and we really cannot tell when talks could be restarted,” Yang said. Another researcher said the good will between the US and the DPRK could only be temporary. “Both are buying time,” said Shi Zhan, from China Foreign Affairs University. Washington is grappling

with the financial crisis, the contentious healthcare reform and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Pyongyang is dealing with domestic tension resulted from its currency reform to increase control on its economy. Earlier this month, the DPRK revalued its currency, the won, to tame inflation, which some analysts said could hit up to 30 percent. But residents complained the revamp, which asked them to swap limited amount of old bills at 100:1, wiped out their savings. The incident appeared to help push the DPRK to soften its tone. But “if things go in favor of any one of them in future, it could turn tough against the

other”, Shi said. “Major differences remain between the US and the DPRK,” said Zhang Liangui, an expert on the DPRK at the Central Party School in Beijing. Washington wants to denuclearize the DPRK, but the DPRK wants the US to sign a peace pact. “The matter of which comes first will push the talks into deadlock again,” he said. “The talks will be tortuous,” he said. Experts urged China to play a role to narrow down the differences. “China did a lot to lobby the DPRK back to the negotiating table, and its role as a coordinator should continue,” Liu said. He was referring to a flurry of visits made by Chinese officials including Premier Wen Jiabao and Defense Minister Liang Guanglie to the DPRK since the latter declared the Six-Party Talks was “dead” earlier this year. “Now China’s job is to work with others to fix a date of the talks and try to avoid another breakup,” he said.

New protests over division Businesses and schools were shut yesterday in parts of Andhra Pradesh as part of a general strike protesting the government’s plan to split up the southern Indian state. The government said last week it would carve out a new state called Telangana from the northern portion of Andhra Pradesh. The decision sparked celebrations among supporters and protests from opponents. Twenty of the state’s 34 ministers and nearly 140 of 294 lawmakers have resigned, demanding the federal government reverse its decision.

EU Fish limits debated European Union negotiators are arguing this week over new national limits for catching the dwindling supply of Atlantic fish, seeking a balance between preserving species and keeping fishermen in business. Diplomats say Spain, France and Europe’s other fishing powers have yet to agree on how much anchovy, sole and ling they each can catch in 2010. Scientists are seeking deep cuts in most quotas to reverse the steep drop in fish stocks over the past 30 years. Earth graphics by Google Earth


Almost 10,000 families fled the ash and molten lava yesterday.


Thousands flee erupting volcano MANILA: The Philippines’ most active volcano oozed lava and shot up plumes of ash yesterday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and face the possibility of a bleak Christmas in a shelter. State volcanologists raised the alert level on the cone-shaped, 2,460-meter Mayon volcano overnight to two steps below a major eruption after ash explosions.

Dark orange lava fragments school buildings and public glowed in the dark as they trick- gymnasiums, where local led down the mountain slope government officials set up overnight. Renato Solidum, food and relief centres. head of the Philippine Institute “We have enough food for all of Volcanology and Seismology, these people for only a month,” said the activity could get worse said public safety official Cedric in coming days. Daep. Humanitarian groups “It’s already erupting,” Soli- have pledged to send food, dum said. water, medicines and blankets. Fleeing residents were All information provided by the Central Meteorological Observatory being temporarily housed in AP-Reuters

Villagers living on the slopes of the Mayon volcano climb on a truck after evacuating their houses in Camalig, Albay, 500 km south of Manila yesterday. Reuters

Citi chief has 617 billion reasons to worry

Greek, Austrian worries take toll on Europe stocks


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W E D N E S DAY D E C E M B E R 1 6 , 2 0 0 9

BOC pledges credit growth in 2010 By Wang Bo

A journalist inspects the construction site of the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant. The plant will have six reactors with a total capacity of 7,500 mW by 2020. Feng Li

Work on nuclear plants gears up Third-generation reactors to fuel nation’s clean energy dreams By Wan Zhihong

China’s first third-generation nuclear power plant, the Sanmen project, will have six reactors with a total capacity of 7,500 mW by 2020, a source close to the subject said yesterday. They would provide more than 10 percent of the country’s total nuclear power capacity, the source said, without elaborating. Construction of the second reactor, which has a capacity of 1,250 mW, started yesterday. Work on the first reactor with the same capacity started in April. More than 40 billion yuan is being invested in the first two reactors. The first reactor is scheduled to start generating power in August 2013, and the second one in June 2014, according to the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC), which is building the Sanmen project. Both reactors have used the AP1000 technology developed by the US-based Westinghouse Co. The Sanmen nuclear power plant is also the world’s first

plant using the technology. “Compared with second-generation nuclear power plants that have already come into operation, the safety standard of the Sanmen project is much higher,” said Zhong Yingqiang, an executive with Sanmen Nuclear Power Co, the project’s operator. High safety levels are one distinct advantage of thirdgeneration nuclear power projects. They also have a longer life cycle compared with second-generation projects, said analysts. Besides Sanmen, the thirdgeneration technology has been used at two other nuclear power projects — Haiyang in Shandong and Taishan in Guangdong. The Haiyang nuclear power plant also uses AP1000 technology from Westinghouse. The first phase of the project was the construction of two reactors. The building of the first reactor started in September. The Taishan nuclear power plant uses another third-generation technology, the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) technology developed by French nuclear power company Areva. Construction of the two 1,700-

mW reactors is scheduled to be completed in 2014, according to the French company. China, the world’s secondlargest energy consumer, has put an increasing focus on the construction of third-generation nuclear reactors in recent years. In 2007, the country set up SNPTC, which is mainly responsible for the domestic development of nuclear power using advanced third-generation technology from overseas. “Development of nuclear energy, a clean energy, fits well with the country’s efforts in building an environmentally friendly economy,” said Fu Manchang, a nuclear power analyst. According to an industry plan drawn up by the National Development and Reform Commission, China plans to increase its nuclear power capacity to 40 gW by 2020, accounting for 4 percent of the nation’s total power capacity. However, in line with the rapid development of the sector, the target was reportedly revised to 70 gW. As well as building nuclear projects in the coastal areas, China has also started developing them at inland sites. Three areas, in Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, have been chosen as the first batch of inland nuclear projects.

Realty curbs take sheen off mainland property stocks

Property prices in the 70 major cities rose by 5.7 percent year-on-year in November. By Hu Yuanyuan

Shares in China’s major property developers suffered a big drop yesterday after the central government announced a plan to curb soaring real estate prices in some cities. The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.86 percent to close at 3274.460 points, with property stocks performing particularly badly. Vanke, the country’s biggest developer by market value, fell 3.39 percent to 11.39 yuan. Another industry heavyweight, Poly Real Estate Group Co, slumped 3.38 percent to 23.75 yuan, falling for the sixth day. “The poor performance of property stocks was definitely triggered by the government’s latest plan to rein in the fastgrowing real estate prices in first-tier cities, but this is very unlikely to prevent house price rises next year due to the lack of detailed measures,” said Carlby Xie, an associate director at Col-

liers’ North China Division. “I expect it may take the government two years to initiate a more detailed plan.” China’s State Council, the cabinet, released a statement on Monday that revealed the government was discussing measures and policies for the healthy development of the country’s real estate sector because house prices in some cities are rising so fast. It is the latest indication of the government’s growing concern over the issue. Last week, the government said it would re-impose a sales tax on homes sold within five years to curb speculative purchases. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, property prices in the country’s 70 major cities rose by 5.7 percent yearon-year in November. But in some key cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, they have jumped by more than 50 percent this year, fueling concerns that a property bubble is building up.


China is not likely to take “heavy-handed policy measures” next year because “any sharp correction in the property market may hamper overall economic growth”, Fitch Ratings said in a report yesterday. “However, there may be some fine-tuning measures from the middle of next year when economic conditions are likely to have reached a point of greater stabilization,” said Michael Wu, director of the agency’s Asia Pacific corporates team. The policy objective of the central government is to deflate potential bubbles and send early warning signals to investors and property developers, he added. Fitch notes that without substantial tightening policy measures, market sentiment should be relatively stable, and that property prices are likely to move within a tight range. However, a strong performance in sales and profit margins is unlikely to recur in 2010. • More, Page 15

Bank of China (BOC), the nation’s third largest lender, will maintain relatively rapid credit growth in 2010, but the amount of new loans to be issued is likely to be lower than that of this year, Xiao Gang, chairman of the bank, said yesterday. “This is in line with the government call to keep a moderately loose monetary policy next year,” Xiao told China Daily on the sidelines of the 2009 China Environmental Protection Industry Development Summit. The practice of maintaining a relatively fast lending pace was applicable to the entire Chinese banking industry because it was necessary to retain a relatively sizeable liquidity in the market next year, the chairman said. Bank lending has been critical to reviving the country’s slowing economy this year. Chinese banks advanced a record-breaking 9.21 trillion yuan in new loans in the first 11 months of this year, with

BOC topping other banks by extending nearly 1.1 trillion yuan in fresh loans during the period. However, the brisk credit growth has also strained the capital positions of many Chinese banks, spurring a number of mid-sized lenders to raise funds through bond issuance and share sales this year in a bid to shore up their increasingly thin capitalization. In response to the wide market interest in how major State-owned lenders plan to replenish capital, Xiao said the bank’s plan was still under discussion, but noted the lender would look at adjusting its assets structure as an important task next year in order to improve capital efficiency. “Moderately controlling the lending pace can be another way to shore up finance,” the chairman added. As of the end of the third quarter this year, BOC’s capital adequacy ratio stood at 11.63 percent, against the latest 11 percent requirement set by the nation’s bank regulator for large State-owned banks.

Xiao Gang

During the pivotal Central Economic Work Conference that ended last week, the government pledged to stick to the expansive fiscal and eased monetary polices next year, but would put more effort into restructuring the nation’s industrial landscape by promoting environmentally friendly and energy-efficient economic growth to the top of its agenda. In response to the government call, BOC is regarding the environmental protection industry as a promising sector that it could tap into. At yesterday’s summit, the bank inked a

cooperative memorandum with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the first of its kind between the ministry and a commercial lender, promising to give more financial support to domestic enterprises engaged in the environmental protection industry. “The environmental protection industry could be the new growth engine for the economy in the future, and the bank will adhere to its green credit policy and offer more diversified fi nancial services to support the development of domestic environmental protection companies,” Xiao said.

INBRIEF Import duties lowered China will lower import duties on more than 600 products next year, including coal, naphtha and phosphate ore, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. At the same time, it will end its existing lower import tariffs on refined oil products and wind power equipment, the ministry said. It will also raise its import tariff on fuel oil. Shipbuilding orders fall Chinese shipbuilders’ new orders in the first 11 months fell 61 percent to 22.94 million

deadweight tons, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. The country finished building 36.54 million deadweight tons of vessels in the first 11 months, 41 percent more than the same period last year, the ministry said. New platform for, China’s third largest video website, plans to invest more than 200 million yuan next year to buy copyrighted content and large bandwidth, in an effort to build a copyrighted high-definition video platform. The platform will ap-

pear as a new website, separate from the present, in the first half of 2010. Shengli raises HK$1.58b Shengli Oil & Gas Pipe Holdings Ltd, a Chinese supplier of energy pipelines, and shareholders raised HK$1.58 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering, Bloomberg reported. Shengli and shareholders including Apollo Asia Opportunity Master Fund LP sold a combined 720 million shares, or a 30 percent stake in the company, at HK$2.2 each, said the report.

PetroChina new refinery PetroChina Co received approval from the National Development and Reform Commission to build a 7-billion-yuan oil refinery in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. The company will build a crude distillation unit with a capacity of 5 million tons a year, a 2.6 million-ton-a-year catalytic cracker and a 600,000 ton reformer, parent China National Petroleum Corp said. The facility will start production in September 2011. Agencies - China Daily





Vale charts big plans for China

Yuan 25 20 15 10 Source: Reuters

Graphic by Shen Wei

By Zhang Qi

By becoming a strategic partner in the Selwyn project, Chihong expects to open up the Asian markets for project financing.

Bloomberg News

Chihong forms JV with Selwyn Chinese firm likely to invest $94m in Canadian mining project By Hou Qingyang and Guo Anfei

Zinc maker Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium Co Ltd (Chihong) will invest $94 million to set up a joint venture with Canada’s Selwyn Resources Ltd (Selwyn) to operate the Selwyn zinc-lead mining project. Chihong and Selwyn will hold identical stakes of 50 percent each and have equal board representation in the venture, the Chinese company said yesterday in a statement. The Chinese company plans

to raise the $94 million for the venture from bank loans and cash reserves. The funds would be used for advanced exploration, engineering, and for initial construction activities, including the preparation of a feasibility study. Selwyn, on its part, would transfer its mineral and other assets associated with the Selwyn project in Northwest Canada to the joint venture, according to a statement issued by the Canadian company on Monday. Harlan Meade, CEO of Selwyn, said in the statement

that the formation of the joint venture is a major step towards advancing the Selwyn project to production. “Chihong becoming a strategic partner for the Selwyn project opens up the Asian markets for project financing, which is seen as strategically very important in the evolving financial markets for financing resource development,” said Meade. “The Selwyn project has immense potential to become a major zinc-lead mine. The successful development of the project can bring significant growth to both Chihong and Selwyn,” said Ying Dong, chairman of Chihong. The Selwyn project, located in eastern Yukon, Canada, is

one of the largest undeveloped resources of zinc and lead in the world. Preliminary explorations conducted by Selwyn have defined 15 mineralized zones with high-grade zinc-lead resources. Feasibility studies have, however, not been carried out at the site. Analysts said the project would boost Chihong’s mineral reserves, but production would not start in the short term. “It is an undeveloped project in its initial stages, and it is too early to calculate the cost and revenue,” said Wang Xiaodan, an analyst with China Merchants Securities. Closing of the transaction is targeted for May 2010 and is subject to completion of nontechnical due diligence and

formal documentation, including regulatory approvals. According to the statement from Chihong, upon completion of the transaction, the joint venture will undertake initial underground development and advanced exploration of the deposits. Chihong is an integrated lead and zinc producer with total assets of 6 billion yuan. Based in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, the company has several operating mines and smelters in China. Yang Weihua, international cooperation manager of Chihong, said in phone interview yesterday the company is also eyeing other smaller projects abroad, mainly in Canada and Australia.

Brazilian mining company Vale SA has signed independent ore contracts with Chinese steel mills for fixed freight charges to further expand its presence in the mainland, ahead of next year’s benchmark iron ore pricing negotiations. Some Chinese companies are believed to have signed three to four year price contracts with Vale for fixed freight charges which are 20 to 30 percent lower than normal rates, said an executive with a Stateowned steelmaker. Vale is also believed to be bringing forward a series of plans like output expansion, a new distribution center and the construction of 16 large ore carriers to reduce transportation costs between China and Brazil. The executive, however, refused to disclose any further details on grounds of confidentiality. Vale’s distribution center for the 400,000-ton ships may be established at Qingdao. The port has already started work on four 400,000-ton terminals, the first of which is likely to be completed by the end of next year, according to Chinese newspaper National Business Daily. Unlike BHP and Rio, which ship ore from Australia, Vale needs to transport iron ore from Brazil, resulting in much higher freight costs. Freight costs from Brazil to China were around $35 per ton yesterday, while the spot price of Brazilian iron ore was 850-

Noodle king eyes food companies Taiwanese billionaire Wei Ingchou, whose “Master Kong” brand built Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp into China’s largest maker of instant noodles, said he may buy mainland food companies and expand his real estate holdings before retiring in four years. Tingyi may target companies that produce beverages and baked good on the mainland, and its largest shareholder may buy and manage office property in Taipei and Shanghai, Wei said on Monday during an interview at company headquarters in Tianjin.

“In this world there’s no brighter place than the Chinese mainland,” Wei said. “We won’t give this place up. The pursuing of other markets will be for my sons to do.” Wei plans to leave the company in four years when he turns 60, aiming to ease investor concerns on management succession at the family-controlled firm. His replacement will be one of the company’s current executives, he said without identifying the candidates. Wei Hong-ming, the chairman’s eldest son, is a manager in the company, while Wei

Hong-chen, his third son, is an assistant manager. Wei Ingchou has three sons. “It’s good to have leadership planning and would be good for the company and its shares,” said Albert King, who manages $10 million as chief executive officer at Prophet Capital Inc in Taipei. “Still, this is a family business. We have to observe if the chairman still wields influence after stepping down.” Wei Ing-chou started transforming Tingyi from an oil and grease company founded by his parents in 1958 into China’s biggest maker of packaged foods in

the early 1990s, when he says he foresaw growing demand for fast meals as more Chinese moved from the countryside to the cities for factory work. He opened his first noodle factory in Tianjin in 1992. Sales of “Master Kong” surged 500-fold since production began, helping make Wei Taiwan’s fifth-richest man with an estimated wealth of $3.2 billion, Forbes Magazine reported in July. Tingyi sold 15 billion yuan of instant noodles last year, compared with 30 million yuan in 1992. The company also makes tea,

860 yuan ($125) per ton. To help reduce transportation costs, Vale plans to build the 16 huge carriers that are expected to trim costs by 30 percent compared to other small ships. “The move underscores the interdependence between Vale and China,” said Yu Liangui, senior analyst from consultancy firm Mysteel. “As a long-term strategy, Vale needs to stabilize its exports by reducing transportation costs to grab more market share in China from its rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.” Jiangsu Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, a shipbuilder based in eastern China, will build 12 of the carriers for Vale by the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011, local media reported. Macquarie Group Ltd and JPMorgan Chase & Co have raised their forecast for annual iron ore contract prices after a surge in demand from China. Australian benchmark iron ore prices may rise 30 percent, Macquarie analysts led by London-based Jim Lennon said yesterday in a report. That compares with their previous estimate for a 10 percent gain, according to media reports. China increased iron ore imports by 12 percent last month to cater to the rising demand from makers of cars and appliances, it said. Iron-ore demand from the United States and European steelmakers will also increase next year, the Brazilian company said recently.

Overseas M&A deals peaking, says PwC By Hu Yuanyuan Wei Ing-chou

mineral water and juices and sells bakery products. “He is the king of instant noodles,” said Anita Hwang, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co in Hong Kong. Ting Hsin International

Group, Tingyi’s biggest shareholder with a 36.6 percent stake at the end of 2008, is controlled by Wei Ing-chou and his three younger brothers. Bloomberg News

Chinese companies may increase overseas mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by 40 percent next year while outbound deal value may hit a record high of $30 to $35 billion this year, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) said in a report yesterday. With the global financial crisis making overseas assets more attractive, the value of Chinese companies’ announced outbound M&A deals might triple this year over 2008, said the report. The major risk for Chinese companies in fostering overseas M&A deals is the insufficient risk analysis capabilities, particularly in fi nancial and legal aspects, said Wang Xiaogang, a partner at PwC China. “Integrating the business after an M&A is also a daunting task for Chinese companies,” Wang said. Despite the impressive growth this year, the value of overseas M&A deals is still only a third of the domestic and inbound transactions values. According to PwC, domestic M&A activity may increase by 20 percent next year. Domestic and inbound M&A deal volumes in China (including Hong Kong and Macao) in the second half of 2009 are also returning to robust 2008 levels, indicating that the impact of the global economic downturn on Chinese M&As seems to be short lived. More than 1,800 domestic transactions are likely to be recorded in the second half of this year, for a total of about 3,200 deals for the full year. That compares with 2,000 deals for the second half of 2008, and 3,797 deals for 2008, according to the report. The financial services sector has the highest announced deal value in 2009, followed by the real estate sector. Foreign strategic deal activities, however, continued to decline, with only 400 deals for the whole of this year, representing a 40 percent drop from 2008 levels. Foreign buyers have been sorting out problems in their home markets and this has shifted focus from acquisitions.





Shanghai zeros in on London

COMMODITIES Shanghai Futures Exchange Commodities Aluminum Copper Rubber Fuel Oil Zinc Gold Wire Rod Rebar





16460 55110 21715 4309 18605 248.31 3828 4394

-0.42 1.06 1 0.94 0.7 0.12 -0.23 0.23

Dalian Commodity Exchange Commodities




Soybean #1 Soybean #2 Soybean Meal Corn Soybean Oil LLDPE Palm Oil PVC


4013 4250 2981 1797 7848 11595 6898 7575

1.11 0.59 1.84 0.28 0.67 1.62 1.17 -0.39

Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange

City may soon become world’s second biggest financial center By Zhou Yan

was facing a challenge from Shanghai in terms of its financial role on the global stage, based on a surge in confidence among corporate bosses in the Chinese city. Most respondents said New York would continue to hold the top position as the most important global economic center. According to London-based Eversheds, 91 percent of senior businesspeople in Shanghai are confident of their economic outlook over the next 12 months, mainly based on signs

SHANGHAI: China’s financial hub will overtake London as the world’s second-largest financial center after New York in 10 years, according to a recent survey conducted by law firm Eversheds. The survey, which interviewed 600 senior business decision-makers in the cities of London, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates, revealed that London

of growth and a pick-up in business. That compares with London where only 22 percent are confident, the lowest figure among the five cities. “Confidence in the economy is a clear advantage for Shanghai — our research shows there is a clear divide between the more established centers of the West and the emerging economies of the East,” said Stephen Mok, a partner at Eversheds. The report showed that 87 percent of business leaders across the globe said the recession has significantly changed the structure of the world economy, and the established financial centers face a growing challenge from the emerging

economies of the East. “The high level of confidence in Shanghai is set against a backdrop of significant government stimulus to boost the domestic economy,” it said. China, ahead of the US and Europe, has heralded signs of a recovery from the global financial crisis on the back of the central government’s 4 trillion yuan stimulus package. In March the State Council sanctioned turning Shanghai into an international financial hub by the end of 2020. “There’s little doubt that Shanghai would emerge as an important global financial center within the next decade given that the Chinese economy

will become No 1 or No 2 in the world and because of the growing global status of the yuan,” said Hubert Tse, managing director and head of international business at law firm Yuan Tai. A total of 29 percent of businessmen in Shanghai said there was “too much regulation affecting business”, while 33 percent said “there’s not enough regulation to protect business”. Challenges affecting Shanghai’s claim as a global financial center include the timing of when the yuan will become fully convertible and whether (and how effectively) adequate laws and regulations and a regulatory regime would be put in place, Tse said.

Asian stocks to extend bull market, says JPMorgan Adrian Mowat wrote in a report yesterday, representing a gain of 29 percent. The MSCI index rose 0.4 percent on Monday to 409.58, taking its gain this year to 66 percent amid speculation that the worst of the global recession has passed. The measure is poised for its best year since 1993, when it advanced 80 percent. “The ‘three steps to heaven’

SINGAPORE: Asian stocks outside of Japan may extend a bull market into 2010, helped by declining risk premiums, a recovery in economic and earnings growth, and low interest rates, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The MSCI Asia-Pacific excluding Japan Index may climb to 530 by the end of next year, JPMorgan analysts led by


KOSPI 10083.48 -0.22%

South Korea

1665.85 +0.06% 1666



10075 10055 9:00










2800.61 +0.04%


16968.9 -0.75%











CHINA INDEXES Shanghai Composite 3274.46

Shanghai B shares







255 254.6

3276 9:30






Shenzhen Component

Shenzhen B shares









13840 9:30



CSI 300

632 9:30



Hang Seng









3588 9:30



Market digest

Losers Unchanged

439 412 28




Shanghai Shenzhen Gainers

21840 9:30

430 349 23

Hong Kong 312



Change %

Hang Seng A+H



SME Composite



SSE Fund






588 250

regional index may rise to 450 by the end of this year. His forecast for the index next year compares with Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s prediction of 540. The global economy should grow 3.4 percent next year, benefiting demand for the region’s exports, according to the report. Still, the second half of the year may be more challenging

Hang Seng declines, realty shares slide


bull market continues,” the analysts wrote. “Early 2010 conditions should continue to be very favorable for Asian equities with strong growth, positive earnings estimate revisions, acceptable inflation, and ongoing rally in credit markets.” Mowat, JPMorgan’s chief Asian and emerging-market strategist, said in August the

HONG KONG: Shares in Hong Kong fell, pressured by property and banking plays, on renewed fears that the central government measures to cool the mainland’s red-hot real estate market could extend to the financial sector. The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 1.23 percent to 21813.92. Property shares fell as the central government said it would take steps to cool the mainland property market. China Overseas Land fell 5.89 percent to HK$17.26, while Shimao Property was down 5.3 percent at HK$15.72. “Any policy moves will move the market significantly,” said Belle Liang, research head at Core Pacific-Yamaichi. “People are worried that there will be further measures to control the property market.” China’s latest move also heightened fears among investors that the government may soon implement measures to cool a lending binge to property companies, sending shares in lenders lower. China Construction Bank

fell 2.19 percent to HK$6.7, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China slipped 1.39 percent to HK$6.38, and Bank of China was down 2.58 percent at HK$4.16. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slipped 1.4 percent to 12966.99. Turnover in Hong Kong fell to HK$68.4 billion, from Monday’s HK$70.01 billion. “The market is relatively sluggish and investors are very cautious,” said Jackson Wong, investment manager at Tanrich Securities. “If the market closes at 22000 at the end, it will have been be an extremely good year,” he said. “I don’t think there will be a major move from here, unless there’s more big news from Dubai.”, China’s largest e-commerce company, bucked the overall weakness, rising 1.8 percent to HK$18.12 after its chief executive David Wei said he was confident the company’s 2010 profit would beat this year’s. Reuters

for Asian shares because of a “less favorable base effect” for inflation and a potential slowing in earnings-estimate upgrades, the analysts said. “Risks are high for Year One of the recovery,” the analysts wrote in the report. “In Asia, inflation is the main threat to the bull market.” Bloomberg New





Wheat SG Wheat Cotton #1 White Sugar PTA Rape Seed Oil Early Rice


1987 2197 16070 5438 7872 8348 2143

-0.1 0.27 2.26 1.15 0.23 0.41 0.28


Copper pares gains as demand cools SINGAPORE: Copper pared gains in Asia as the dollar’s rebound made raw materials priced in the US currency less attractive to investors. “More recently, the dollar’s performance has been driving metals and this looks likely to continue in the near term,” said Yuan Fang, a trader at Shanghai East Asia Futures Co. Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange traded little changed at $6,925 a metric ton in afternoon trade in Singapore, after gaining as much as 0.5 percent earlier. The contract for March delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was barely changed at $3.1555 a pound. March-delivery copper on the

Shanghai Futures Exchange ended the day little changed at 55,110 yuan ($8,071) a ton, after earlier climbing as much as 0.6 percent. The metal more than doubled this year as the global economy recovers from its worst postwar recession. Copper imports by China, the world’s largest metals user, rebounded from a nine-month low in November even as stockpiles shrank to a two-month low last week. “It is mainly China’s demand that has fueled the rally in prices,” said Yuan. “This is widely expected to continue into next year and along with expectations of a recovery in demand from users outside of China, we may see higher prices yet.” Bloomberg News




Wall St bonus culture ready to rest in peace

Citi chief has 617 billion reasons to worry

Lender repays TARP cash but Citi Holdings remains major burden NEW YORK: Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, emerging from a US bailout with higher capital levels and loan-loss reserves than any peer, still has a $617 billion reason to worry. That’s the amount of assets left in Citi Holdings, the division that Pandit (pictured above) set up to strip his bank of unprofitable businesses, troubled loans and securities. While the bank has unloaded almost $100 billion of the assets so far, getting stuck with the rest may hinder earnings for years, analysts said. “I wouldn’t say that all of their issues are completely behind them,” said Bill Tanona, an analyst at Collins Stewart Inc in New York who rates Citigroup “hold”. “We still have a soft economic environment and high unemployment, so losses are likely moving higher in the short term.” Citigroup joined Bank of

America Corp on Monday in exiting a taxpayer bailout program. Both lenders received “exceptional financial assistance”, according to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Citigroup plans to raise capital and repay $20 billion of US funds as the government unwinds a stake in the bank. Wells Fargo & Co, which wasn’t in the special category, said yesterday it will raise money to repay a $25 billion bailout. Citigroup fell 6.3 percent in New York Stock Exchange trading on Monday to $3.70. The stock has tumbled 45 percent this year, valuing the New York-based lender at about $85 billion. The bank earned $101 million in the third quarter, a fraction of the $3.59 billion of net income that JPMorgan Chase & Co reaped in the same period, and expects to lose $6.4 billion this quarter on the bailout repayment.



ondolences to Wall Street’s finest. The huge cash bonuses they have longed for and savored are

Winding down Citi Holdings carries its own risks, because many of the assets, such as loans, are still producing interest income. In a research note, Sanford C. Bernstein LLC analyst John McDonald estimated that the bank’s overall revenue may decline by 16 percent in the next two years to $78.9 billion as Citi Holdings assets get sold or retired. Bad-loan costs

By 2011, Citigroup may post a $9.36 billion profit, McDonald estimated, as bad-loan costs decline by half to $21.9 billion. That compares with an estimated net loss of about $1.7 billion this year and is less than half the $22 billion that Citigroup earned in 2006. Any profit the bank does make will be spread among more shareholders. By selling at least $20.5 billion of common stock and equity units, Citigroup’s common shares outstanding will increase to about 28.5 billion, according to Edward Najarian, an analyst at International Strategy and In-

vestment Group in New York. That’s up from 22.9 billion as of Sept 30 and 5 billion at the end of 2007. “They had a desire to no longer be regarded as an exceptionally assisted financial company, but they clearly paid a steep price for that,” Najarian said. “Shareholders already got diluted hugely once. Now they’re getting diluted by another 25 percent.” Tier 1 ratio

After the share sale and repayment of bailout funds, Citigroup will have a Tier 1 common equity ratio of 9 percent, Richard Staite, a London-based analyst at Atlantic Equities LLP, wrote in a note yesterday. That compares with 8.2 percent at JPMorgan as of the end of the third quarter and 8.4 percent at Bank of America after its share sale to repay the US. Pandit has stuck to the strategy he set in January 2009 to sell or wind down businesses outside consumer banking, investment banking, trading, corporate cash management

and securities custody. The businesses he’s keeping, grouped under the name Citicorp, had a combined $13 billion of income from continuing operations in the first nine months of the year, up 12 percent from the same period of 2008. Of 16 geographic business segments in Citicorp, only one has lost money so far this year. That segment, European consumer banking, had a loss of $166 million during the period, compared with an $87 million profit the prior nine months. The rest, grouped under Citi Holdings, includes the CitiFinancial personal-lending, CitiMortgage and Primerica lifeinsurance units, along with about $182 billion of Citigroup’s riskiest mortgages, auto loans, commercial real estate and credit-card loans. Citi Holdings had a loss of $6.79 billion in the first nine months, narrower than the $21.3 billion loss reported for the same period of 2008. Bloomberg News

a year ago, when Wall Street eliminated the payouts after those horrendous losses on mortgage-related securities. Then this year, Goldman began earmarking a percentage of its history. Goldman Sachs Group Inc, 2009 profit, which has been the profit king of the securi- large, for bonuses. For the first ties business, has made sure of nine months of this year, the that. Goldman last week said amount was $16.7 billion. There were outcries from its 30 top executives will get their traditional year-end bo- Washington to Walla Walla nuses in stock instead of cash from folks who thought Gold— and the shares have serious man, as a recipient of government bailout money, should restrictions. Recipients won’t be able to have been more circumspect. The firm tried to justify sell the stock for five years, though it vests in three. And the resurrection of bonuses they might lose the shares if by claiming repeatedly that it hadn’t needed Goldman dea rescue. That termines later EXPERT’S was nonsense, that the execuVIEW in light of the tives earned facts. them by taking heedless Goldman got a $10 billion risks. Goldman investment shareholdDAVID PAULY from the govers now will also be allowed to vote on the ernment under the Troubled company’s pay, though their Asset Relief Program, which yes or no won’t be binding on it has repaid, and has sold debt management. guaranteed by the Federal DeBonuses per se aren’t dead. posit Insurance Corp. Goldman and rivals Morgan Perhaps more important, it Stanley and JPMorgan Chase also raised about $16 billion by & Co will dish out $29.7 billion selling preferred and common in 2009 bonuses, analysts esti- shares. mate. Some of that should be in Bonus-happy securities cash, and the stock handed out firms are under the gun elsewill, with luck, be worth a nice where. The UK last week said sum years from now. that banks there must pay a But the time-honored bonus one-time tax of 50 percent on culture featuring large cash discretionary bonuses exceedpayments needed to end. Even ing 25,000 pounds ($40,500). a Goldman Sachs director Nicolas Sarkozy, the president admitted that the day before of France, said he too would tax the firm’s new bonus arrange- bonuses this year. French offiment was announced. William cials said the levy would be on George, who is also a professor payments of more than 27,000 at Harvard Business School, euros ($39,400). said the practice “has got to Funny thing is, banks are move on”, and that compensa- hurrying to pay back governtion needs to be closely tied to ment investments to escape long-term performance. curbs on their pay imposed by Instead of 60 percent of politicians. Bank of America investment firm pay coming Corp sold $19.3 billion of new from year-end handouts, more securities to help repay $45 will be in salary. And there may billion to the US. be less of that too, because of The bank diluted its perthe pressure on banks from the share earnings base, only to government and myriad critics find the day of huge bonuses to become sounder institutions gone. by raising capital and taking fewer risks. That will reduce David Pauly is a Bloomberg profit and the ability to pay. News columnist. The opinions The bonus era seemed over expressed are his own.

Bonds boom in Europe as banks hoard cash LONDON/MADRID: Abertis Infraestruturas SA, Spain’s largest highway operator, has 20 years of revenue growth and an “excellent” risk profile from Standard & Poor’s. Yet of the last 10 financing proposals it received from banks, none was for a loan. “I’ve never in more than 15 years in business seen banks so unwilling to lend,” said Jose Aljaro, chief financial officer at Barcelona-based Abertis. The company turned to the bond market, selling 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of seven- year notes in September. For all the cash provided by the European Central Bank to ease the worst seizure in credit markets since World War II, financial institutions in the region are unwilling to lend, using the money instead to invest in the safest, most liquid government securities. Bond investors are offering money like never before as returns on corporate debt reach as much as 70 percent this year, according to Merrill Lynch & Co indexes. The result is corporate bond sales in Europe are exceeding the amount raised through bank loans for the first time, with issuance by non-financial companies doubling to a record 337 billion euros this year. Syndicated loans, or debt underwritten by a group of banks which they then sell to investors, fell 46 percent to 279 billion euros, data compiled by Bloomberg show. European banks, which have lost or written down $561 billion in the credit freeze, are awash with cash after governments approved $5.3 trillion of aid, more than the annual gross domestic product of Germany, European

Union data show. “The global banking system is going through a government-mandated deleveraging of its balance sheet, so lending to corporates has been severely reduced,” said Louis Gargour, the chief investment officer at hedge fund LNG Capital LLP in London. Financial institutions increased their holdings of government debt to 1.51 trillion euros in October, from 1.19 trillion euros at the end of 2007, ECB data show. The situation is similar in the US, where bank investment in such securities has risen by 25 percent to $1.39 trillion since 2007, according to the Federal Reserve. Banks are also cutting back on other types of corporate loans. In Europe, a net 8 percent of lenders reported a tightening of credit in the third quarter, compared with 21 percent in the previous threemonth period, the ECB said in its Euro-Area Bank Lending Survey on Oct 28. Commercial and industrial lending fell 18 percent in the US to $1.35 trillion as of Dec 2 from a record high a year ago, Fed data show. ‘Shut their doors’

KSB AG, the Frankenthal, Germany-based pump maker, bypassed banks when it sought debt financing in October on concern that lenders “will shut their doors on us when we do need the money”, said Heiko Boes, the company’s head of finance. KSB raised 100 million euros of so-called Schuldschein debt, a type of promissory note issued privately under German law, Bloomberg data show. The company increased the sale by 33 percent after investors offered

the borrower more money than it initially sought. AP Moller-Maersk A/S, the largest container shipping line, sold 750 million euros of fiveyear notes in October in its first bond offering, Bloomberg data show. It chose to sell notes rather than raise loans to diversify its funding and because of a surge in demand for fixed-income securities, said Jan Kjaervik, the Copenhagen-based company’s head of group finance and risk management. “The European bond market looks like it’s becoming a larger and more important source of funding,” Kjaervik said. First-time bond issuers sold at least 21 billion euros of debentures this year, four times more than in 2008, Societe Generale SA data show. While the bankdebt market has diminished there’s still demand, according to BNP Paribas SA, the top arranger of syndicated loans in Europe this year as measured by Bloomberg data. “You will find during times of uncertainty, such as the early 1980s, the Russian crisis or Sept 11, the bond market becomes very ineffective because investors can disappear overnight,” said Julian van Kan, the global head of loan syndications and trading at BNP in London. While banks retrench, bond investors can’t lend enough to companies as the economy emerges from recession. High-yield, high-risk corporate bonds have returned 72 percent this year, including reinvested interest, after losing 33 percent in 2008, according to Merrill Lynch. Bloomberg News

People enter and exit the headquarters of Wells Fargo & Co in San Francisco. The bank plans to return all of the $25 billion that taxpayers invested last year. Bloomberg News

Wells Fargo unveils share issue SAN FRANCISCO: Wells Fargo & Co, seeking to wipe away the tarnish of US government bailout funds, kept pace with rival banks by announcing a $10.4 billion share sale to help repay the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The San Francisco-based bank plans to return all of the $25 billion that taxpayers invested last year, according to a company statement. The exit from TARP would put Wells Fargo on the same footing as Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, its largest competitors, which have already paid back the US or announced plans to do so. Wells Fargo and its peers are lining up to repay TARP

“because of the stigma of having the money”, said Blake Howells, an analyst at Becker Capital Management in Portland, Oregon, who spent 13 years at Minneapolis-based US Bancorp. “Some bankers who had their TARP and paid it back early got positive reaction from their clients and saw deposits increase.” Wells Fargo, whose largest shareholder is billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, rose 8 cents to $25.49 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading on Monday before the announcement. It has fallen about 14 percent this year. “We’re ready to fully repay TARP in a way that serves the interests of the US taxpayer,

as well as our customers, team members and investors,” Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said in the statement. Prior to the announcement, Stumpf had repeatedly vowed to pay off TARP in a “shareholderfriendly” way. Wells Fargo, which ranks fourth by assets and deposits in the US, also said it will pay cash to buy a 23 percent stake in its retail brokerage business from Prudential Financial Inc, according to a separate statement. Wells Fargo said in the past the stake could be acquired for cash or shares. The bank didn’t say how much it will pay. In the share offering announced on Monday, Wells Fargo didn’t price the common stock

and didn’t say when the sale might take place. Underwriters including Goldman Sachs Group Inc have an option to buy $1.56 billion in additional shares. The Tier 1 common equity level will increase to 6.2 percent after the share sale from 5.2 percent in the third quarter, Wells Fargo said. Repaying TARP will reduce income available to shareholders by $2 billion in the fourth quarter, and will be “accretive to earnings” in 2010, according to the statement. The bank also plans to raise $1.35 billion in part from a share sale to its benefit plans, and $1.5 billion through the sale of assets, according to the statement. Bloomberg News





Did Abu Dhabi lifeline come with strings? Neighbor may increase influence over Dubai’s flagship companies ISTANBUL: Four days before Dubai World sought to delay $26 billion of debt repayments last month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum set out to race his horse, Al Ayed, across 120 km of Persian Gulf desert. He had to withdraw when the mount became fatigued. Now Sheikh Mohammed must prove that the transformation of Dubai from fishing village to global business hub isn’t also running out of steam. He has to find a way for oil-poor Dubai to cover at least $80 billion in debts and liabilities, a sign of the gap between his ambitions and the resources to fund them. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, who threw the state holding company a $10-billion lifeline yesterday, has no such concerns. He controls 8 percent of the world’s oil and one of its biggest sov-

ereign wealth funds. He’s also Sheikh Mohammed’s kinsman and, as president of the United Arab Emirates, his boss. Abu Dhabi’s support may come with a price that undermines Sheikh Mohammed’s go-it-alone vision for Dubai. “This isn’t no-strings-attached money,” said Jim Krane, author of City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism. “This is the big chance for the Al Nahyan family to dragoon its maverick cousins back into the union. Most of all, Abu Dhabi wanted to avoid the embarrassment of Dubai looking outside for its bailout.” Dubai is using $4.1 billion of the Abu Dhabi money to pay off Islamic bonds of Nakheel PJSC, the Dubai World unit that’s building palm tree-shaped islands off the emirate’s coast. The rest will help meet Dubai World’s costs as it negotiates with creditors. The

company announced on Nov 25 it was seeking a six- month “standstill” on its debt. Dubai’s eventual bill may be higher than the $26 billion announced on Dec 1. “It’s not going to stop and go away,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “There’s still debt that needs to be settled in 2010 and 2011.” Dubai must repay at least $55 billion in the next three years, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said. Abu Dhabi may increase its influence over Dubai’s flagship companies, such as Emirates Airline and port operator DP World Ltd, said Emad Mostaque, a London-based Middle East equity-fund manager for Pictet Asset Management Ltd, which oversees more than $100 billion globally. They “are likely to become UAE strategic assets rather than Dubai strategic assets”, he said. Khalifa’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was the prime mover behind the

formation of the seven-emirate UAE from a group of UK-allied sheikhdoms, and became the new state’s fi rst president in 1971. He died in 2004. Abu Dhabi’s rulers may see

This isn’t no-stringsattached money. This is the big chance for the Al Nahyan family to dragoon its maverick cousins back into the union. JIM KRANE Author of “City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism”

covering Dubai’s debt as “a small price to pay if in the long term the goal is integration of Dubai into the federation,” said Christopher Davidson, professor of Middle East studies at the UK’s Durham University. Sheikh Mohammed’s press office declined to comment on

details of the bailout. “What Dubai has is for Abu Dhabi and what Abu Dhabi has is for Dubai,” because the two sheikhdoms “are one and we will stay as one,” he told investors at a Nov 9 Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference in Dubai. That version of the relationship, never enshrined in contracts, was taken for granted by the banks that lent Dubai billions to fund Sheikh Mohammed’s projects, said Chris Turner, a former director of risk and asset management at Istithmar World, Dubai World’s investment arm. “It was just a general assumption,” Turner told Bloomberg TV on Dec 8. “It’s how business is done in Dubai. One does not push the government for specific pieces of paper.” Sheikh Mohammed’s public image suggests a man of action more than a paper-pusher. Endurance city

He often spends weekends racing horses at Endurance

City, a desert course 30 minutes from the city center. As he and his son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, speed away, an entourage of white four-by-fours drives alongside, the occupants waving and cheering. The course has chalets for friends and family to eat and relax after each race leg. At Sheikh Mohammed’s Zabeel Palace in Dubai, a statue of white horses greets visitors and pheasants walk the grounds. The sheikh holds dinners there to break the Ramadan fast, cracking jokes and quoting his own poetry to guests. He often attends thoroughbred auctions in Newmarket, England, to add to his stable of racehorses, the world’s largest. In October, wearing reading glasses, a blue cap and MBT trainers, he flicked through sales catalogues and spoke to his bloodstock advisers, sometimes wandering into the auction ring when his agent was bidding.

Greek, Austrian worries take toll on Europe stocks LONDON: European stocks fell yesterday and the euro slid to a two-and-a-half month low against the dollar on worries about the Greek government’s debts and the financial health of Austria’s banks. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 39.93 points, or 0.8 percent, at 5,275.41 while Germany’s DAX fell 15.25 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,787.01. The CAC-40 in France was 9.93 points, or 0.3 percent, lower at 3,820.51. Alongside the fall in stocks, the euro continued to slide, falling 0.7 percent to $1.4551. Analysts said worries about Greece and Austria, two of the 16 countries that use the euro, continued to dog the currency as well as stocks. In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou sought to calm frayed nerves about the shaky state of the country’s public finances by announcing a package of spending cuts as part of a drive to bring borrowing down from over 12 percent of economic output to under 3 percent by 2013. “Whether or not a debt crisis can be avoided in Greece

remains to be seen, but the whole affair has once more raised questions about the political and structural mechanisms of the eurozone,” said Neil Mellor, an analyst at Bank of New York Mellon. As if Greece’s problems weren’t enough, investors are also beginning to fret about the exposure of Austria’s banks to Eastern Europe, where the recession has been particularly acute. On Monday, Austria nationalized Hypo Alpe Adria, a unit of German public-sector bank BayernLB, the move was designed to prevent the bank from sliding into a bankruptcy fueled in part by bad loans, much of them in Eastern Europe. There was also talk yesterday that other banks may face a similar fate having notched big losses too. Austria’s Die Presse newspaper said the country’s three banking supervisory bodies have put OeVAG, the country’s fourth largest bank, under surveillance. “Just as fears about Dubai fade somewhat, the last thing

TUI profit increases TUI AG yesterday reported a 9-month net profit of 333.3 million euros ($485.1 million), up from 33.7 million euros for the same period in 2008. The German travel company said the increase was mostly due to the sale of the majority stake in shipping company Hapag Lloyd AG, but also because of an increase in earnings by the company’s tourism branch. The company still owns a 44.3 percent stake in Hapag Lloyd. Tourism earnings rose by 5 percent to 696 million euros.

A stockbroker gestures as he sits at his desk at Shore Capital Markets in London. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 39.93 points. Bloomberg News

the market needs is to find a fresh source of worry in the European banking system,” said Kit Juckes, chief economist at ECU Group. Worries last month over state-owned Dubai World’s ability to pay its debts caused jitters about government finances generally, but Dubai’s troubles appear to have eased

with a $10 billion bailout from Abu Dhabi. “These banks are not of themselves a huge threat to Austria’s finances but there will naturally be fears about the wider potential for Eastern European losses among European banks and this will just add to concerns about the final extent of the bailout bur-

den for European countries,” he added. Elsewhere, investors will be watching closely what the US Federal Reserve says after its rate-setting meeting to see if the accompanying statement is slightly more hawkish than before following a string of better than expected US economic data, particularly

related to jobs. Investors are also fully aware that gains could well peter out as this is the last full trading week of 2009 and investors may use the opportunity to bolster their portfolios by locking in gains made over the last nine months. AP

Founder’s son gets key Samsung post

The entrance to Lyondell Chemical Co’s Bayport Choate plant in Pasadena, Texas. The firm plans to reorganize by repaying its $8 billion bankruptcy loan in full. Bloomberg News

the company doesn’t need its rights offering sponsors. Reliance, an oil refiner and energy explorer controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is seeking assets abroad to reduce the risk of investing mostly in India, where it is battling a lawsuit over naturalgas supplies with a company owned by Mukesh’s estranged brother, Anil Ambani. Acquiring LyondellBasell would give the Mumbai-based company chemical plants, two oil refineries and access to the US fuel market, the world’s biggest “Reliance needs to have assets in the US and Europe if they are to become a global energy company,” said Juergen Maier who manages 750 million euros ($1 billion) of assets

Bloomberg News


Lyondell plans to shake up company NEW YORK: Lyondell Chemical Co filed a plan to reorganize even as it evaluates an offer from Reliance Industries Ltd, pitting India’s biggest company against lenders in a battle for the bankrupt chemical maker. Lyondell plans to reorganize by repaying its $8 billion bankruptcy loan in full and giving an equity stake in the new company to lenders, including sponsors of a $2.8 billion rights offering. The plan, outlined in US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, “won’t preclude Reliance from making a bid if it chooses to do so,” said Lyondell spokesman David Harpole. As creditors try to figure out whether to accept the plan, and weigh how much stock in a new, reorganized Lyondell could be worth, Reliance has yet make public the value of its bid for the company’s Netherlandsbased parent, LyondellBassell Industries AF. Reliance spokesman Manoj Warrier declined to comment on the reorganization plan or say when the offer details may be unveiled. “This looks like a fight over who will ultimately control the company,” said Lorraine McGowen, a lawyer at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP not involved in Lyondell. She said the unsolicited bid may mean

Sheikh Mohammed’s returns were the lowest among the 18 biggest buyers of oneyear-old thoroughbreds at US auctions from 2004 to 2006, according to data compiled by The Blood-Horse MarketWatch. Sheikh Mohammed, 60, says speed is central to his governing style, and cites the influence of his father, Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who died in 1990. “I follow his example,” Sheikh Mohammed says on his website. “He would rise early and go alone to watch what was happening on each of his projects. I do the same. I watch. I read faces. I take decisions and I move fast. Full throttle.” Abu Dhabi’s rulers are more inclined to apply the brakes. Sheikh Khalifa, born in 1948, is “more your typical sphinx-like ruler who’s wellrespected but doesn’t say much in public”, Krane said.

at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna. Houston-based Lyondell was formed in a 2007 deal financed with $22 billion in debt in which it was bought by Basell AF, a unit of billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings LLC. Creditors have alleged the buyout crippled one of the world’s largest polymers, petrochemicals, and fuel companies, causing it to seek bankruptcy. Access and Apollo

Access and Apollo Management LP, named in the creditors lawsuit, have affiliates that are backers of the company’s rights offering, and might not get an equity stake in the new compa-

ny if Reliance’s offer succeeds. Ares Corporate Opportunities Fund III is a third sponsor of the rights offering, according to the court documents. Reliance may pay as much as $12 billion for a controlling stake, Victor Shum, a Singapore-based senior principal at energy consultant Purvin & Gertz Inc said last month. “LyondellBasell and its advisers continue to evaluate this proposal,” lawyers for the company said in court documents. If the deal goes ahead, a breakup fee for sponsors of the rights offering won’t be required, according to court documents. Bloomberg News

SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co promoted Lee Jae-yong, son of the former chairman, in a reorganization investor activists said was part of a succession plan to place the scion at the helm of South Korea’s largest industrial group. Asia’s largest maker of chips, flat-screens and mobile- phones, yesterday said it promoted the 41-year-old Lee to executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Choi Gee-sung, 58, replaces Lee Yoon-woo, 63, as chief executive officer, parent Samsung Group said in a statement yesterday. Lee’s ascent comes less than four months after Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s largest carmaker, promoted the chairman’s son. The International Monetary Fund cited the family-run chaebol business model and its debt-driven practices as part of the reason the Asian country’s economy fell into financial crisis at the end of 1997. “Today’s announcement signals a reversal of reforms and a return to the chaebol,” said Kim Sang-jo, head of activist group Solidarity for Economic Reform, which opposes the involvement of companies’ founding families in management. “I don’t think he has learned enough to get promoted.” Chaebols were widely credited with South Korea’s economic success until the Asian fi nancial crisis, which

revealed cross-shareholdings and hidden debts that forced the collapse of the Daewoo and Hanbo groups and led the nation to seek an International Monetary Fund bailout. Hyundai Motor in August named Chung Eui-sun, the 39-year-old son of Chairman Chung Mongkoo, as vice-chairman. “The promotion shouldn’t be connected with the issue of Lee’s succession,” Rhee Inyong, executive vice president of Samsung Group’s communications team, told reporters yesterday. Lee’s father Lee Kun-hee headed Samsung since 1987, taking over from his father and company founder Lee Byung-chull. Lee Kun-hee resigned in 2008 after he was convicted for tax evasion and causing company losses. The Suwon, South Koreabased company in October reported profit tripled to a quarterly record of 3.72 trillion won ($3.1 billion), helped by a rebound in chip prices and a weaker won that boosted the value of overseas sales. “By appointing Lee as COO, the company is trying to build up a good track record for him at a time when it is poised to do well financially,” said Kim Sunwoong, head of the Center for Good Corporate Governance, an independent group monitoring governance system of the chaebol. Bloomberg News

Airline losses forecast The world’s airlines are set to lose $5.6 billion next year, more than previously estimated, with rising fuel costs offsetting a rebound in both passenger and air cargo, the industry group IATA said yesterday. In its latest outlook, the International Air Transport Association reaffirmed its projection of a $11 billion loss in 2009, a year its chief Giovanni Bisignani called “an Annus Horribilis” for the highly cyclical sector. Glencore stake buy Glencore International AG agreed to pay $233 million for 50.8 percent of Chemoil Energy Ltd, the world’s biggest independent supplier of marine fuels, to expand its trading operations and gain storage assets in Singapore. Glencore’s indirect wholly owned unit, Singfuel Investment Pte, agreed to buy about 656.7 million Chemoil shares for 35.52 cents each, according to an offer document from DBS Bank Ltd on behalf of Singfuel. That values the company at $459 million. The purchase price is an 18.3 percent discount to Monday’s close at 43.5 cents. Kraft to press on Kraft Foods has vowed to maintain discipline in its pursuit of British chocolatier Cadbury, suggesting the US group will resist raising the price of its hostile bid. In a rebuttal of Monday’s aggressive defence statement from Cadbury, the maker of Ritz crackers and Philadelphia cheese said a combination of the companies would deliver “substantially more value than Cadbury could achieve on its own”. Kraft’s offer is worth 729 pence per share but many analysts believe it will need to pay 820 to 850 pence in order to be successful. Fund buys into Hyatt Abu Dhabi’s biggest sovereign wealth fund has bought more than 10 percent of the Hyatt Hotels Corp shares floated by the iconic hotelier last month. Chicago-based Hyatt disclosed the sale on Monday in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal was made public on the same day oil-rich Abu Dhabi agreed to pump $10 billion in bailout funds into its struggling neighbor Dubai. AP-Reuters-Bloomberg News





A five-year feast The on-going Kunqu Opera Culture Week at Peking University kicks off a five-year project on Kunqu Opera, co-launched by Peking University, Suzhou Kunqu Opera Company, Kenneth Pai Hisen-Yong — and sponsored by Coca-Cola China. In the next five years, Peking University will regularly hold international symposiums and seminars about Kunqu Opera; establish a digital database to record, collect and preserve Kunqu Opera performances; open classes on appreciating the opera; collaborate with opera schools to train young performers; and set up a foundation to finance student Kunqu Opera societies and communities. During the annual culture week, leading companies will perform new productions of classic repertoires and renowned artists will give lectures at campuses.

China Daily

Du Liniang played by Shen Fengying and her lover Liu Mengmei by Yu Jiulin in a scene from The Peony Pavilion.

Author Kenneth Pai is back in the mainland with two Kunqu Opera productions that breathe new life into the ancient art form. Chen Jie reports

File photo

Old roles, new look K

unqu and Peking Opera maestro Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) gave a famous performance at Shanghai’s Majestic Theater in 1946. Among the audience of celebrities and officials were the Kuomintang general Bai Chongxi (Pai Chung-hsi) and his family, including 9-yearold son Kenneth Pai Hsien-yong. That night, Mei and artist Yu Zhenfei enacted a scene from The Peony Pavilion (⠵Ѝҁ) called The Interrupted Dream (␌ು᚞Ṻ). It was a memorable night. “I think it was fate. I did not know what it was. I did not understand it. But it haunted me,” says 72-year-old Kenneth Pai, in his hotel room near Peking University. When Pai recalls his first encounter with Kunqu Opera there is excitement in his big, expressive eyes, even though 63 years have passed. It was the beginning of a love affair with old opera and especially The Peony Pavilion, which turned out to be an “interrupted dream” throughout his life. Pai’s childhood in Shanghai ended in 1949 when the Kuomintang Party was defeated and the family settled in Taiwan, where he studied English literature at Taipei University and became an author. At university he came across the scripts of The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu (1550-1616) and he returned to the story many times as a writer. Inspired by the opera, he wrote a short story titled The Interrupted Dream in 1966. In 1982, he adapted this into a stage play. A year later, he produced two acts of the original opera, The Interrupted Dream, in Taipei. “But it was not until 1987 when I returned to the mainland for the first time in 38 years to see a Kunqu Opera in Shanghai that my passion for the opera was lit again,” Pai says. As a guest professor, he was invited to Shanghai Fudan University to give classes for three months. On the day before leaving, he got a ticket to see The Palace of Eternal Youth (䭓⫳ ↓) performed by the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Company.

“I was overwhelmed,” he says, “jumping and clapping even after the rest of the audience had left. In Taiwan I heard that Kunqu Opera was forbidden during the ‘cultural revolution’ (196676) and it was dying in the mainland. But that night, I saw a wonderful performance by the leading artists, Cai Zhengren and Hua Wenyi. I saw the art revived, with my own eyes.” After the show, Pai went backstage to meet the performers and they invited him to join the after-show dinner. Then fate played another trick. When Pai arrived at the restaurant, at No 150 Fenyang Street, he found it was where his family had lived in Shanghai, before they left in 1949. “How incredible! Life is a drama! All the memories of my boyhood in Shanghai flashed back and I felt it was indeed a ‘dream interrupted’,” he says, his eyes sparkling. The actors told him how they had struggled to revive Kunqu Opera. Pai decided: “If they can do this, I must help them. If this art form could survive the ‘cultural revolution’, it must go on.” After returning to Taiwan, Pai resumed his dream of staging his own large-scale Kunqu Opera production. In 1992 he produced a three-hour show in Taipei, but felt it was “not that good”. “I want to do a more beautiful production, a production that caters for young audiences in the 21st century,” says Pai, who says the opera is facing two main problems. First, the maestros are aging and no longer fit enough to play the roles of young men and women in the various Kunqu Opera love stories; while the young actors just get a few supporting roles. The second main problem is that the audience comprises usually old people. He also points out that Taiwan and the mainland have different problems. Taiwan has a wide audience base who appreciate Kunqu Opera, but less well-trained performers. The mainland, on the other hand, has the best performers but a shrinking audience and low income for the performers.

A breakthrough came in 2002, Pai was invited to give lectures about Kunqu Opera to middle school students in Hong Kong. “It was the biggest challenge of my teaching career: How to attract some 1,500 teenagers who speak Cantonese and have probably never heard old opera to concentrate for two hours. I asked the organizer to get some performers to give a demonstration at my lecture,” says Pai. Yu Jiulin, in his early 20s, from Suzhou Kunqu Opera Company, performed a scene from The Peony Pavilion and convinced Pai he was the perfect Liu Mengmei, the leading male role in the play. “Everybody in the lecture hall watched his performance carefully. Nobody walked out, nobody used their cell phone and nobody talked during the demonstration. I thought since these kids speak Cantonese and can appreciate it, why not those in Jiangsu, Shanghai or Beijing?” Soon after, Pai went to Suzhou Kunqu Opera Company where he discovered Shen Fengying, “a young girl with charming eyes that bespoke shyness, tenderness and love”. In Pai’s eyes, she was the perfect Du Liniang, a leading female role in The Peony Pavilion. Then Pai collaborated with Suzhou Kunqu Opera Company, getting two Kunqu maestros Wang Shiyu and Zhang Jiqing to work with Yu and Shen to create what he calls the “Young Lovers’ Edition” of The Peony Pavilion, a lightly modernized production. Since its premiere in 2004, the nine-hour, three-night show has been performed over 180 times in the mainland, Taiwan, United States and Europe, to great acclaim. The main reason for this success is the blending of tradition with innovation, thus giving Kunqu Opera aesthetics a new direction. “What challenges us most is how to combine tradition and modern aesthetics, how to revive the 600-year-old art on the 21st century stage,” Pai says. “My practice is to follow tradition. But it is not limited by tradition and has a correct

modern interpretation. It is like you cannot add or change any stroke in a piece of ancient calligraphy, but you can mount it in a nice frame to hang on the wall in the right light. With Kunqu, we use modern lighting, costumes and settings but the acting, narrative and singing retains a traditional style.” Pai’s second “Young Lovers’ Edition” Kunqu Opera play The Jade Hairpin (⥝ㇾ䆄), also performed by Yu and Shen, premiered last night at Peking University Hall and again demonstrates his concept of modernized Kuqnu Opera. To Pai, The Peony Pavilion is an epic love story while The Jade Hairpin is more exquisite and a typical play between the sheng (male role) and dan (female role). Based on a well-known Ming Dynasty (13681644) story, The Jade Hairpin by Gao Lian (1527-1609) is a passionate love story between the young scholar Pan Bizheng and the Taoist priestess Chen Miaochang. It is one of the earliest romantic plays that deals with sexuality. The young lovers defy the conventions of puritanical Confucianism and religious abstinence to unite in secret. Director Weng Guosheng from Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Company takes another big step toward simplicity and freedom in expression. The linear beauty of Chinese calligraphy occupies a central place on stage. Dong Yang-Tzi’s calligraphy, and Hsi Sung’s paintings create an “ink-wash” world on stage. The costumes designed by Wang Tong have an understated elegance. This production endeavors to raise the aesthetics of Kunqu Opera to an even higher level of poetic expression. The Jade Hairpin is on tonight and The Peony Pavilion will run from Dec 18 to 20 at Peking University Hall. The performances are part of Kunqu Opera Culture Week, co-launched by Pai and Peking University. Aside from the performances, Pai is also giving lectures at Peking University, Peking Normal University, Tsinghua University and China Europe International Business School Beijing Campus.

Home is where Kunqu is By Chen Jie

Kenneth Pai Hsien-yong, promoter of Kunqu Opera, is also one of the foremost writers of modern Chinese literature. Jiang Dong

In the past five years, Kenneth Pai Hsienyong has become widely known in China as a promoter of Kunqu Opera, overshadowing the fact he is one of the foremost writers of modern Chinese literature. Few know he once dreamed of being an engineer. Pai was born on July 11, 1937, the eighth child in a wealthy family of 10 kids, in Guilin, Guangxi. His father was the Kuomintang general Bai Chongxi, whom he later described as a “stern, Confucian father who can recite Records of the Historian (৆䆄)”. “People know my father was a wise and tough general but at home it was my mother who took care of the family, including dozens of relatives,” says Pai. “During war time, we drifted from Guilin to Chongqing, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong and fi nally settled in Taiwan in 1952. Mother was the mainstay of the family. Once the family had to move to Chongqing. She led the family of more than 80 members, from 90-year-old grandma, to my youngest brother, who had been born that month.” His father often called home from the frontier

to ask about his children’s studies and those who achieved good marks would win their father’s favor. Aside from school, his father would invite old scholars to teach them Chinese literature, history, the Four Books and Five Classics — the authoritative books of Confucianism in China written before 300 BC. In 1946, the family moved to Shanghai and Pai was diagnosed with tuberculosis so he had to live in a separate house from his siblings. But his mother often took him to theaters to watch Peking and Kunqu Operas. She had such a crucial impact on him that when she died aged 59, in 1962, Pai felt so depressed at the funeral he felt “a part of my own life was buried”. Soon after that, the grieving Pai left Taiwan for the United States to pursue his studies. “That day, father sent me to the airport and for the first time, he walked with me, to the steps of the airplane to see me leave. I never saw my father cry but at that moment, he was all tears,” Pai recalls of his last meeting with his father. Four years later, the general died of heart disease in Taiwan. After settling in Taiwan, the smart and hardworking Pai studied at Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School and in 1956 he went to National Cheng Kung University. He chose to

major in hydraulic engineering, because he wanted to participate in the Three Gorges Dam Project. “I had a romantic dream that if I could work on the Three Gorges Dam, I could appreciate the amazingly beautiful natural scenes of the Yangtze River, as well as write romantic poetry and stories,” Pai says, describing his unrealistic teenage dream. But the next year he gave up studying engineering and passed the entrance examination to enter the foreign literature department of Taiwan University and study English literature. “I did not tell my parents until I got the admission notice. They supported me with my engineering studies because my traditionminded parents thought it was a way of building the country. But luckily, my parents were openminded. They did not blame me for wasting a year and the school fees, but respected my choices,” says Pai. He took to literature like a duck to water. In September 1958, after completing his freshman year, he published his first short story Madame Ching (䞥໻ཊཊ) and two years later, he collaborated with several classmates to launch the magazine Modern Literature, in which many of his early works were published.

After his mother’s death, Pai left Taiwan for the US to study literature theory and creative writing at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned his MA degree. After graduation, he became a professor of Chinese literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has resided there ever since. “My life is full of ups and downs and I’ve drifted from one place to another. Where is my home? I often ask myself. Home does not simply mean the place where you live. I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for decades and it is a paradise city. I plant flowers in the garden, read books and enjoy life here, but I don’t think it is my home,” Pai says. “Later, in Kunqu, I found my spiritual home. Listening to Kunqu Opera I feel like returning home.” In the last two decades, Kunqu has occupied most of his time and energy. He has put on modern productions, discovered young talents, supported Kunqu schools and companies, initiated a project on Kunqu in universities and promoted the 600-year-old Chinese art abroad. Now, the 72-year-old wants to return to writing and intends to finish the biography of his father by the end of next year.





Of mothers and daughters F Author of Daughter of the River follows up this harrowing autobiography with its muchawaited sequel that she calls her redemption. Yang Guang reports

Hong Ying’s Good Children of the Flowers is a compelling selfportrait of the writer.

or almost her entire childhood, British-Chinese writer Hong Ying spent nights conversing with stains on the ceiling of her attic and hearing bats beating their wings against the wall in the darkness, convinced she would be a storyteller one day. She shot to fame in 1997, with the fearlessly honest bestseller Daughter of the River (伹体ⱘཇ‫)ܓ‬, a widely translated autobiography that recounts her wrenching coming of age. But she prefers to be called a storyteller instead of a writer, because “good storytellers can be good writers, but not vice versa”. In November, she finally came up with the long-awaited sequel Good Children of the Flowers (ད‫ܓ‬ཇ㢅, currently in translation) that tells “the story of me and my mother, the love and darkness accumulated in my heart all these years”. She sees the sequel as a difficult self-redemption, and never hesitates to admit she’s a maverick, and is sometimes proud of it. Born to a sailor’s family in Chongqing, on the southern bank of the Yangtze River, in 1962, “Little Six” endures great poverty and hunger and always feels she doesn’t belong to the family. Mother is strangely indifferent; her siblings treat her like an outsider. A history teacher at school awakens her emerging womanhood. Nearing 18, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery. From “big sister”, she learns of mother’s first marriage to a triad man, her escape from him, her encounter with father, and the famine that shaped the lives of the family. She fi nally learns the truth of her birth on her 18th birthday, and even as she grapples with it, her life is thrown asunder by other wrenching events and harrowing experiences. She leaves home, swearing never to return. “I was all rebellious and was determined to leave, at all costs,” she says, “only years later did I realize that one is sure to get lost, if there’s no home in one’s heart.” She escapes into dancing, drinking, parties and casual sex, with writing being the only constant in her life for the next 10 years. “Life was all topsy-turvy,” she recalls. “It was like performing thrilling acrobatics on a precarious string separating life from art.” It was then that Chen Hongying (which means “red hero”) chose to call herself Hong Ying, or “image of the rainbow”, inspired by the following lines from the ancient Chinese Book of Songs: “There is a rainbow in the east, and no one dares to point to it. When a girl goes away (from her home), she separates from her parents and brothers.” Looking back, she says her years “on the road” were invaluable in expanding her horizons and liberating her body and soul. After a brief stint at the Lu Xun Literature Academy in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai, she moved to London in 1991 with her first husband, a university professor. Before leaving China, she went back to Chongqing to visit her mother. They waved goodbye and she saw tears in her mother’s eyes, despite her efforts at smiling.

I never imagined I would write another book about mother and me, but I was always aware that only after doing this, could I find myself. HONG YING Writer

Yan Geling’s The Banquet Bug.

Chinese writer’s English book back in translation

Hong Ying never hesitates to admit she’s a maverick, and is sometimes proud of it.

“I knew what was on her mind. On the one hand, she felt happy for me because I could finally be away from the place that hated me and hurt me; on the other, introverted and hard-to-please as I was, she was worried about what and how I would suffer in the brave new world,” she says. Her mother was right. Although successful with her writing, she was not happy in marriage. Worse still, she suffered from severe depression, something she fi ghts to this day. “When you feel lonely and depressed, you have no one but yourself to turn to,” she says. “Hunger in my childhood has taught me the power of perseverance. As long as I manage to survive today, I’m sure one day I will be better off than I am now.” She found London and Chongqing similar, both blanketed with fog.

She once dreamed of crossing the Yangtze River and leaving Chongqing. Finding herself in a similar fog (in London), she wanted to come back. Her unhappy marriage ended in a divorce and she returned to Beijing in 2000. Her mother’s death in 2006 prompted the writing of Good Children of the Flowers, which, according to Xu Gang, associate professor with University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign, “connects two seemingly different periods and tells us about continuities” through “a compelling, compassionate, candid, and often shockingly revealing story about the mother-daughter relationship that endured through the years”. The new autobiography begins with the entire family gathering for mother’s burial ceremony, leaving readers hungry to learn how

Ling Daijun

mother spent her last days and how the writer ended up separating with her husband. Fragmented memories and present realities inter weave, consummating in the final poignant climax: Despite the muchimproved financial condition of the family, her mother was never able to shake off memories of the extreme hunger she once endured. She simply refused to believe that those days of utter deprivation were a thing of the past. “I never imagined I would write another book about mother and me,” she says, “but I was always aware that only after doing this, could I find myself”. Hong Ying is now married to British writer and businessman Adam Williams and lives in Beijing. She is currently working on a fairytale for her 2-year-old daughter.

Compelling book of a tumultuous decade By Chitralekha Basu

The year 2009 has been a year of good harvest for Chinese writers in terms of international recognition. Besides Su Tong who won the Man Asian Literary Award for The Boat to Redemption (⊇ኌ˅ , Leslie T Chang bagged the Asian American literary award for Factory Girls and the poet Duo Duo received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Amid all this, Li Yiyun’s Guardian First Book Award for her novel, The Vagrants, has gone relatively unnoticed. Li — who stumbled into writing after attending a writers’ workshop at Iowa, where she had gone to attend a PhD program in Immunology after graduating from Peking University, in 1996 — has been quietly picking up the awards ever since she began to get published. Her fi rst collection of short stories — A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, 2005 — won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Hemingway Foundation/ PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction. In 2007, she was included in the influential Granta Best of Young American Novelists anthology. Li is today easily one of the most prolific contributors to The New Yorker, writing essays, posts from her blog, personal history and fiction, it seems, with both hands.


The Irish writer Colm Toibin says he is taken in by what he calls Li’s “darkness of touch”. Her felicity with handling the grim, unsparing certainties on the horizons of a China, slouching toward a new dawn in the immediate aftermath of the “cultural revolution” (1966-76), in The Vagrants is awesome. But at the end of the day, it’s her ability to appreciate and acknowledge human beings as flawed creatures of circumstance that stands out. Li’s empathy for her characters can disarm even the most skeptical critic, saturated with literature based on or taking off from the “cultural revolution” years. Li can invest the most typical roles in her fictional world with an individualism (however bizarre) and a human culpability that transcends the limits of time and space in which the story is set. Be it Gu Shan, the high-profile young Red Guard who in the first flush of youthful wrong-headedness thinks nothing of kicking and mauling pregnant women, or her father, the soft and refined Teacher Gu, who cannot come to terms with the fact that teaching Tang poetry to his only child has been a futile exercise, or Kwen, the middle-aged undertaker who rapes and mutilates Shan’s already much-clobbered corpse — Li’s novel is peopled with characters who are inherently vulnerable and twirled around fortune’s little finger.

Set in 1979, The Vagrants is a story about what happens to some of the residents of the industrial town Muddy River, after the execution of Gu Shan is expedited. The preexecution public denunciation draws almost the entire population of the town — Bashi, the sex-obsessed village idiot; Kai, the beautiful radio broadcaster married to a highly-placed government official; Tong, the boy who aspires to a career as a “young Communist pioneer”; Nini, born with a partially paralyzed hand and a deformed face and hence treated by her own indigent parents like an “unpaid maid”; the elderly and childless Hua couple, who raised seven girls they found abandoned while sweeping the roads, now claimed by government-run homes. The people who come back from that meeting, and the one that follows soon after to mourn and vindicate Gu Shan’s “martyrdom”, find their lives dramatically altered, hurtling toward a dark, relentless destiny. Li once conceded in an interview that her fiction is marked by a fatalistic overtone — one that is derived from a Chinese adage which says that whether or not human beings get to enjoy the fruits of their labor is determined by a heavenly superpower. The lives of the ordinary people in her stories are put through intense and tumultuous reversals — not unlike the heroes in a Greek tragedy.

Li Yiyun won the Guardian First Book Award for her novel The Vagrants this year.

Renowned Chinese writer Yan Geling’s first English novel, The Banquet Bug, returns to the author’s motherland in simplified Chinese, and is creating quite a buzz among her fans. It has made it to bestseller lists online as well as at bookstores. “The translation by Taiwanese professor John Chiang-sheng Kuo is longer than I expected,” Yan says. “I didn’t translate it myself because I do not like to repeat myself.” Yan says every novel that she has written, especially after moving to the United States in 1989, adopts a different approach. She earned her Master’s degree in fiction writing from Columbia College, Chicago, and shot to fame with The Lost Daughter of Happiness and Xiu Xiu: The SentDown Girl, and their film adaptations. She currently lives in Berlin with her American diplomat husband. Based on a news story, The Banquet Bug (䍈ᆈ㗙) explores the world of fraud in Chinese society at the turn of the millennium. “Reserve worker” Dan Dong is mistaken as a journalist and invited to banquets where he not only eats for free but is also paid “for his trouble”. Having tasted the high life, Dan continues his assumed identity and starts leading the life of a “banquet bug”, until he ropes in his wife as his partner in cheating. Yan says she wanted to expose the bigger scams in society through the trickster Dan. “I was quite excited when writing the novel for it brought many new challenges to me: writing in English for the first time and centering on a male protagonist.” Yan is currently working on several book projects, including the online serial Buyu’s Village Inn (㸹⥝ ቅሙ), about a kind-hearted woman Zeng Buyu who runs a village inn, and its guests. Mei Jia

Literary journal puts authors abroad in focus People’s Literature, China’s prestigious monthly literary journal, has dedicated its December issue to new overseas Chinese literature, with three novellas, one novel, one short story, one essay and a collection of poems. According to editor Xu Zechen, all the contributors are those who left the Chinese mainland to go abroad after China’s reform and opening up in 1979. For instance, Chen Qian, author of Looking for the Wild Goose Flying South (ᳯᮁफ亲䲕), went to the United States in 1989 to earn her Master’s degree in electrical engineering and worked for a long time in the chip design industry, before becoming a freelance writer. Her novella focuses on the identity of new immigrants, with a particular emphasis on the awakening of women’s consciousness. Instead of merely assisting her husband and educating her child at home, its protagonist seeks to make her mark in society, even at the cost of her marriage. Yuan Jinmei, currently a philosophy professor at Creighton University, looks at more metaphysical issues, such as comparisons between Eastern and Western cultures, in Lao Kang’s Philosophy (㗕ᒋⱘ૆ᄺ). “These writers find themselves in brand-new cultures and living conditions, [but at the same time] carry with them memories of contemporary Chinese history and literature,” Xu says. “They’ve seen and experienced what we [Chinese readers] haven’t, which imbues their writings with special significance and value.” “Given the distance, they observe China from a different and more incisive perspective,” says Xu, adding that overseas Chinese literature complements and inspires domestic literary circles. Yang Guang




Get onboard By Lin Shujuan

China has one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world, and trains link almost every town and city. A Chinese train journey is an experience in itself. Here is some basic information to help you plan your train travel in China.


A newly opened D3012 express train from Wuchang, Hubei province to Shanghai, passes the scenic Huanghelou Pavilion.

An English translation of a little book has been making travel that much easier for countless foreigners. Lin Shujuan reports

Zhou Guoqiang


ROHIT WADHWANEY House hunting is like gambling. Till you’re not doing it, you’re safe. You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle. I recently completed a year of my life in Beijing. And after one year, I’ve just begun to feel I live in China, the land that houses the most humans in the world. The more the people, the more the poor; the more the poor, the more the ones that want to get rich; hence, the more who compete, trying to outplay your sensibilities in order to make your money theirs, trying their best to keep it “legal”. I wouldn’t call them frauds. After all, it’s not a crime, at least not yet, to post online fake pictures of an apartment you’re trying to rent out for your client. Sell the house to the tenant, who’s well aware it’s not the house in the photographs, and you get one month’s rent as commission. It’s a fair game. Picture this. I like a house. I agree to rent it the minute I see it. The landlord, a self-confessed “rich public servant”, notices my enthusiasm and raises the rent stated in the online ad by 1,000 yuan. I storm out. The agent messages me on MSN, saying she can bring the rent down if I pay her half a month’s rent. That’s when it hits me: I am in China. I better act like it. When in Rome huh! I was born in a bordering country that’s second only to China in terms of population. If I’ve played moustache-twirling agents there, I’m sure I can play the charming, soft-spoken ones out here.

Train schedules: Visit for information in English Get a downloadable China train timetable in Chinese at For Duncan Peattie’s Quick Reference timetable in English for trains running between the biggest cities (see main story), visit Find a map of Chinese railways in English at china/chinarail.html Categories of train: Chinese train numbers usually start with a letter, which indicates their speed and service. The better the speed and service, the higher the fares. C and D trains are topquality high-speed trains with ultra-modern air-conditioned coaches. Some are 200300km/h daytime electric trains, while a few D-trains are 200km/h sleeper trains. The previous top-quality sleeper train, the “Z” trains, also have very modern, airconditioned coaches. The T trains are the “extra fast” ones, while K trains are “fast”. Ticket reservation: Reservations for the best D, C or Z-category express trains open 10-20 days before departure, but reservations for other trains open just 5-10 days before departure. You cannot buy tickets before reservations open. Tickets are best booked at least 2-3 days in advance, except during for the peak periods (Spring Festival, May Day and National Day holidays) when they should be booked as soon as reservations open. Where to buy: At the station: It is easy to buy your tickets at the station, but remember to take your passport with you. In big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai you should look for the special ticket window for foreigners. But generally you can only buy a ticket for a journey starting at that station, not for journeys starting elsewhere. Through agents: There are usually many train ticket agents in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, who charge an additional 5 yuan for each ticket. Most locals should be able to put you in touch with one, or you can ask your hotel to book it for you. Some agents can also organize a home delivery of your ticket/s, at an additional charge. Reservations online: You can visit www.chinatripadv, www.chinatrainti,, or, who sell train tickets for Beijing-Shanghai, Beijing-Hong Kong and Shanghai-Hong Kong. Kowloon-Guangzhou Railway Corporation (local trains in Hong Kong plus through trains HK to Beijing and Shanghai):

To feel the pulse of a city, go house hunting

Right on track D

uncan Peattie from Kingston upon Thames, England, reads and speaks little Chinese. But since 2001, he has been doing a Chinese-English translation — at least once a year — of a little book that has benefited hundreds, if not thousands, of travelers from across the world. Armed with little more than the names of cities in language skills, he has been producing regularly updated English translations of the Chinese railway timetables. A railway signal testing engineer since 16, Peattie was based in Hong Kong, from 1997 to 2000, but now splits his time between Thailand, Australia and his home country, the United Kingdom. He claims to knows every rail line in China and every new improvement and addition to one of the world’s most dynamic rail systems. Based on the Chinese timetables put out by China Rail Publishing House (CRPH), Peattie’s English version isn’t merely a translation, but a recompilation that is more user-friendly especially for a foreigner who doesn’t read or speak Chinese. Peattie calls it “a labor of love”, one that he is quick to share with whoever is interested. His timetables comes in two formats — a downloadable PDF file version, which is a free, “quick reference” summary of express trains between main stations, the only trains most foreign tourists will ever take, and a complete, national timetable for sale if you are getting off the main lines as part of a more complex travel plan. The schedules are linked to the

Quail China Railway Atlas, which is also available in print, and can be invaluable in finding connections along various routes. The timetable’s sixth edition (based on the April 2009 Chinese timetable and including major changes over the past year) is out, and now routinely referenced by various guidebooks and websites. But some still wonder why anyone would go to the great lengths that Peattie does to produce a timetable. “Some have called it an obsession, but surely it’s a harmless one,” says Peattie, by phone from Australia. He adds that his fascination with trains goes back to when he was 3. “You know, mothers usually take their children to see art or enjoy music or experiment with science, to help discover their interest and potential as early as possible,” says Peattie. “This is what my mother did after running out of options — she took me to the train station near our house.” The year was 1959. Both mother and son would stand mesmerized as the steam trains puffed in and out of the station amid the glittering signals. As an assistant to his electrician father since his early childhood, Peattie also developed a strong interest in electricity. That led naturally to his becoming a rail signaling test engineer. He worked for British Rail for nearly 20 years before moving overseas for work, mostly in Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong. One thing he loves about working for the railways, Peattie says, is that he used to get three train tickets for free each year when he was back in UK. “I used every single ticket I got

Riding a train in a foreign country is often quite a journey in itself. It’s also much safer and reliable when compared to travel by air or car. DUNCAN PEATTIE

Railway signal testing engineer

because I love traveling, especially by train,” he says. “Traveling by train means you don’t have to worry about driving and traffic as you do when you travel by car, and can enjoy the beautiful scenery outside. Riding a train in a foreign country is often quite a journey in itself. It’s also much safer and reliable when compared to travel by air or car.” When he landed in Hong Kong in 1997, he got on the through train between Hong Kong and Shanghai as soon as it was introduced, embarking on the first of many explorations of the country by train. “I was very excited to see a food trolley pulled along the platform selling drinks and snacks. I’d never seen services like this before,” recalls Peattie. He still remembers the delicious eggs boiled with tea and soy sauce he bought then. “What a good choice of snack for a train traveler!” When he arrived in Shanghai, he wanted to continue his explorations and started to look for timetable information. There was a lot, but all in Chinese. “I decided to make my own timetable even though it took a long

time. My Chinese language skills were zero, and are still not good, but I have developed the ability to read place names.” The first complete edition was ready in April 2001. “Having completed it I realized that it was a bit silly to keep it to myself, so I turned it into something fit for publication,” he says. Peattie says he usually sells a few hundred copies for each complete edition of 176 pages, which is currently priced at $20. But, he adds, profit has never been the purpose of his project. “I share the view of CRPH that there isn’t a commercial market for a detailed English language Chinese railway timetable. However, there is a significant demand for such information.” While rail services in China have improved significantly in the past decade, “not many people know much about these. I believe if they knew, they would like to travel by train”, says Peattie. Peattie says he is looking forward to his next China trip next year. “Since my last trip to China in 2007, many new lines have been added. “I can’t wait (to experience them).”

Neighbors brought together By Lin Shujuan

For residents of Wenzhou, a city in East China’s Zhejiang province with the highest number of overseas Chinese, discussions about the hottest holiday trip at the moment is not about a romantic sojourn through Europe or a relaxing stay at a tropical island, but a weekend trip to cities in neighboring Fujian province, like Fuzhou. Despite their well-known desire to explore the world outside their hometown, few Wenzhou residents have visited Fuzhou, although they may have traveled to Europe, Africa or Australia. Separated by walls of high mountains, residents of the two cities have long lived like they belong to two different continents, despite their geographical proximity. Travel by air was too costly, by bus too tedious and by train, too long. As a Fujian native, I remember that it took me nearly 14 hours in 1997 to go from my hometown to Zheijiang by the fastest train. But a newly opened express railway line has shortened the travel time between Fuzhou and Wenzhou to just 90 minutes.

I chanced on this information by sheer luck. I was visiting Wenzhou two weeks ago for an interview. When I mentioned my hometown, people responded excitedly saying, “then you might as well go visit your hometown. It is now just 90 minutes away by train!” While overjoyed to hear this, I could not shake off a lingering doubt. My last memory of train travel in China was a tedious, long, crowded and sleepless 27-hour journey in a stuffy compartment from Shanghai to Xiamen, on the fastest train available between the two cities in 1997. While I had heard much about the continuous upgrading of the country’s nationwide railway system, I didn’t have the desire or interest to check it out until that day in Wenzhou. Ultimately, the temptation of being able to see my parents was too much to resist. The journey has completely altered my perception of train travel. My ears throbbed with the changes in air pressure as the train raced through one tunnel after another. But in general, the train was clean and comfortable and the service, good. I set out at

New express railway lines have shortened the travel time between places that people used to find tedious and long. Chen Li

about 7 pm and by 8:30 pm, I was with my childhood classmate, waiting at the station at Fuzhou. Her mother was more eager to hear about my trip. With three children settled in three different cities, namely Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Xiamen, her delight at the possibility of visiting any of them after an hour-long train trip, was palpable. When I mentioned my past memories of train travel, she brushed me off impatiently. “Don’t even mention it, that experience belongs to the last century.”

Pang Li

So, I contact another agent from the previous agent’s office, promise to give her half a month’s rent in commission if she gets me the same house for the same rent advertised in the ad. Not 1,000 yuan more. Not even 10 yuan more. Bang on! I play a bluff and it works. The landlord agrees. Obviously, because he now only pays half the month’s rent as commission to the agent. I pay the other half. The agent doesn’t care where the commission comes from as long as it comes. Meanwhile, I contact another agent to find me an apartment. I’m still playing fair. It’s well within my legal rights to do so. Let me assure you, all of this is happening within a matter of hours. If I want the house for which the landlord has agreed to “bring the rent down”, I must sign a one-year tenancy contract “immediately”. I find an apartment two blocks away from the complex I fell in love with at first sight. The landlord is a company that builds residential apartments and then rents them out. They agree to exchange a crappy TV for a plasma on condition that I pay 200 yuan extra every month. Technically, I rent the near 6,000-yuan plasma for 2,400 yuan a year. I’ll lay it down for you: 5,700 yuan a month for a massive apartment of 140 sq m. I have a flat-screen television with satellite cable, a restaurant/bar on the 21st floor, a heated swimming pool on the fifth and two really angry agents who’ve given me more than 100 missed calls in the past week (obviously, the previous landlord and his real estate agency aren’t finding the right tenant to dupe). What’s the one thing I know about China a year after being here? It’s true you can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle… but you can’t win much either. In China, sometimes, the pot is a stack of honesty. To comment or contribute, e-mail





































HOROSCOPE By Bernice Bede Osol

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Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

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Black-box operations (especially politics). To do something stealthily by using one’s power in order to seek huge profits. Ő&#x;Ë–ĐŽŃšä°†â„śă’˜ă’›ă—™ä–Żă¸ áąŤă†…áŞĄÔ°ËˆŕťťäŒŻă’˜ŕž¨ÓŽâĄ?ă˜ŹÝ€ä†•ŕ¨ŹŕŚ–Ď˘â†Ł ŕ´Žâ†¨äŒŻËˆá‡?ŕťťäŒŻä–Żă¸ â˛Ľâ´ˇÇ„ In order to prevent black black-box operations the organizing committee of the competition has invited registrars to take part in every game and supervise the whole process.


People born in the 1980s, or post-80s generation. Ő&#x;Ë–ä–­á´€Đşâą˜Ô°ă—™á°ƒâŒ?äŽ—ŕłźá­›ŕ´ŻĎžâą˜ৢ‍ݭ‏á &#x;Ëˆá ”Ňšä´˛á?ŒŕŚŤá‘ˆä•? ä‡?ă—™âą˜âƒśä–˘Ç„ The author of this book is a writer active in literary circles and was born in the 1980s, so this makes him popular among young readers. Popular Chinese Expressions, Sinolingua Press

China Daily with contributions from Popular Chinese Expressions, Sinolingua Press

Better English

⺇‍ޣ‏Ἄ carbon emission reduction Emission reductionáˆ…á°ƒáŁ›Ä€â€ŤŢŁâ€ŹáĽŚÄ Ëˆŕłźä–­äž ß­â€ŤÝ‹â€ŹÔ§áŁ›carbon emission reduction(⺇‍ޣ‏Ἄ)ËˆáĽťŕ Šgreenhouse gas emission(â?˝á…¸â‡¨Ô§áĽŚáŹ’ )Ëˆä°ĄÔ˘GDP per capita energy consumption(GDPऊԥ㛑㗍)Ëˆĺ“§ŕ˘…lowcarbon lifestyle(Ô˘âş‡âą˜âŤłâŒ?áŽ?á“Ł)Ç„ For example: China’s commitment on carbon emission reduction is scientific and practical, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said at a news conference following the China-EU summit. ŕłźĐ âƒťá‹„ÓŽă’§á´łŕ§˘âą˜áŽ„äŻ?থá?—ÓŽĎžËˆâ?˝á†Šá…ąá˜?â§šâż„ËˆĐ ŕł‘á ”â€Ťâş‡âą˜ŘŽâ€Ź â€ŤŢŁâ€ŹáĽŚáĄ“ä‡Žá°ƒâžĽá„şŕŠ á…˛ä°™âą˜Ç„ ŕłź2003ᑈă&#x;‡2008á‘ˆäŻˆËˆâŹ…Ń˘energy-intensive industries(㛑⑤ᆚ䲚 ŕľ&#x;ѝώ)âą˜ä–™âŁŻŕŚĽáˆŠËˆŇšŕŚženergy demand(ă›‘â‘¤äł”âˆ–)ĎĄáŽ ŕš˛ä­“Ëˆá&#x;Ľŕł‘âą˜ energy consumption(㛑⑤â?œäŒ?)Ď”âłˆŇšĎ¸ÔĄá­„âą˜ä—łá‘şŕš˛ä­“Ç„

To learn more hot words, please log on to



Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19) You can substantially enhance your possibilities for success by relying more on yourself than on anybody else. Establish your own goals, means of achievement and timetable. Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 19) Two endeavors you’ve devoted considerable time to, will begin to show results that send you fresh signals of hope today. Jump onboard immediately. Pisces (Feb 20-Mar 20) Turn your attention to friends or other relationships of importance, because much satisfaction can be realized right now, sharing time with those who really care about you and your interests. Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19) Follow your inclinations for acting independent of others today, especially if you are attempting to do something totally new. Once all the bugs are out of your idea, share it with the world.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 20) Broaden your horizons by studying or engaging in something brand new that holds an interest for you. Any learning experience will widen your perspective. Gemini (May 21-Jun 20) You are much more in touch with the newand-different than you are the tried-andtrue. Explore the world of fresh thinking when it comes to anything important to you.


Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22) Be willing to share control with a counterpart, and you will find life far easier for you than usual today. Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22)


It’s an excellent day to examine some problem and responsibilities dumped in your lap. Your focus will be effective and efficient, making every technique and procedure you use very success.

By Phillip Alder

Jeff Rubens, who edits The Bridge World magazine, has somehow found the time to write a 400-page book on declarer play: “Expert Bridge Simplified� (Bridge World Books). The subtitle is “Arithmetic Shortcuts for Declarer.� There is a chunk of information about probabilities at the beginning, which is easier to understand than most descriptions. However, the reader could skip all of that mathematics without a problem. The essence of the book is numerous declarer-play problems where you must decide between two or (rarely) more possible lines of play. Rubens explains how to choose the best line without resorting to complicated calculations. In this example, how would you play in six no-trump after West leads the spade 10?

The auction was simple and quantitative. You have 10 top tricks: three spades, three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. It should be clear that you ought to go after four club tricks. If the suit is splitting 3-3, everything will work. If the division is 6-0, you will go down; if it is 5-1, you will probably fail. So worry about 4-2, specifically four with West. (If West has only two clubs, hope he has an honor.) You cash the club king and lead your second club, seeing only low cards. Should you rise with dummy’s ace or fi nesse the nine? East can have six low doubletons: 8-7, 8-5, 8-4, 7-5, 7-4 and 5-4. But he can have eight honor doubletons: Q-8, Q-7, Q-5, Q-4, J-8, J-7, J-5 and J-4. So, go up with dummy’s club ace.

KAKURO A Kakuro consists of a playing area of filled and empty cells similar to a crossword puzzle. Some black cells contain a diagonal slash from top left to bottom right with numbers in them, called “the clues�. A number in the top right corner relates to an “across� clue and one in the bottom left a “down� clue. The object of a Kakuro is to insert digits from 1-9 into the white cells to total the clue associated with it. However no digit can be duplicated in an entry.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22) You are not necessarily interested in dominating others, but you will want to set your own priorities and run the show today.












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Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 23) The need to be your own person and to have a safe place from which to operate is vital to you at this point in time. For most of you, this will mean a secure home base and/or being with someone you trust. Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22) This could be a fun day spending time being with friends or making new social contacts. Get out and mingle as much as possible if you can, or at least find time to contact those you like.

Yesterday’s solution

5 9 4 6 5 7 9 3 1 6 1 3 2 4 5 8 7 2 6 7 9 8 5 3 5 6 1 3 7 4 8 9 4 3 9

7 4 5 8 4 1 6 1 2 2 6 5 6 7 1 3 5 4 7

Sagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 21) General trends and influences that affect your material wellbeing will be quite favorable for you. It is an excellent time to dedicate yourself to endeavors that could be profitable.





Pierce leads Celtics to 11th straight win

INBRIEF CRICKET India clinch 3-run win RAJKOT, India: India survived a thrilling Sri Lanka run chase to clinch a three-run win in the first-one day international as the teams piled up more than 800 runs between them yesterday. Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan smashed a career-best 160 off 124 balls to lead the chase after counterpart Virender Sehwag notched 146 to help India post their highest one-day total of 414 for seven after being put in to bat. The visitors were restricted to 411 for eight after looking good to pull off the second-highest ODI run chase ever and then needing 11 runs in the final over and six off the last two deliveries. Sehwag, whose 12th one-day hundred was studded with 17 fours, put on added 153 for the first wicket with Sachin Tendulkar (69) and 156 for the second with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who struck 72 after promoting himself to No 3.

Boston claim League best record with tough 110-105 victory over Grizzlies

SOCCER Compper, Ba out with swine flu BERLIN: Hoffenheim players Marvin Compper and Demba Ba will miss the Bundesliga club’s final league match of the year against VfB Stuttgart on Saturday after contracting the H1N1 virus, the club said yesterday. Striker Ba and defender Compper will return to training on Jan 3. The Bundesliga resumes on Jan 15. Hoffenheim are in seventh place on 25 points, seven from the top. Sacked coach sues club BRISBANE: Former Australia coach Frank Farina is suing Brisbane Roar for A$325,000 ($296,800), alleging the A-league club had “significantly damaged” his reputation in the way it handled his sacking after a drinkdriving charge. Farina, who was sacked as coach in October, days after being charged for his second drink-driving offense in less than three years, also said statements by club officials had hurt his employment prospects, according to court documents local media reported. The legal action will come as another headache for the Queensland team, among a number of clubs suffering from plunging crowds and financial troubles. Van Nistelrooy tonsillectomy MADRID: Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is to have his tonsils removed after medication failed to cure a recurrent problem. “When I realized how serious it was I had to sit down and drink a glass of water because it was a huge shock,” the Dutchman told the club’s website ( on Monday. Real, who are second in La Liga, play their last game before the twoweek winter break at home to Real Zaragoza on Saturday.

WINTER SPORTS Lebedev to miss Vancouver MOSCOW: Russia’s Olympic bronze medalist in the freestyle skiing aerials, Vladimir Lebedev, will miss February’s Vancouver Games with a knee injury. “He’ll be out for at least six months after injuring knee ligaments in training,” Russia’s head coach Alexei Pokashnikov said. Lebedev was Russia’s best hope for a freestyle skiing medal in Vancouver after surprising favorites to snatch the bronze in the men’s aerials at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

CYCLING Evans to race 2010 Giro MILAN: World champion Cadel Evans will race in May’s Giro d’Italia as well as next year’s Tour de France. “Finally I am returning to the Giro. I have concentrated on the Tour in recent years but I think I am able to race two grand tours at a high level,” the 32-year-old Australian told Gazzetta dello Sport, which runs the Giro. The BMC rider last raced the Giro in 2002.

BASEBALL Yankees face Sox in opener NEW YORK: The champion New York Yankees will face the Boston Red Sox in Major League Baseball’s season opener on April 4, officials announced on Monday. They have met only once before in a stand-alone game to open a major league season. That was in 2005 in Yankee Stadium after the Red Sox had won the 2004 title. New York Yankees and Red Sox are archrivals.

Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen (right) shoots under pressure from Memphis Grizzlies center Hasheem Thabeet (left) during the first half of their NBA game in Memphis, Tenn, on Monday. Reuters

GAME NOTES Hasheem Thabeet, the second pick in the 2009 draft, grabbed a careerhigh eight rebounds to go with four blocks for Memphis. G Lester Hudson, the only rookie on the Celtics, played college ball at Tennessee-Martin, about 140

miles north of Memphis. Hudson has played in 13 games, logging a total of 49 minutes and averaging less than a point per game. He did not play against Memphis. Rivers said Hudson will be a good player but is stuck behind veterans. “We’re

going to send him down pretty soon to the NBDL for a week or two to get him some games,” Rivers said. “I don’t like our young guys going these long stretches without playing. Then we’re going to bring him back.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn: Down the stretch half sent Memphis to the lockerthe Boston Celtics’ experience meant room with a 55-54 lead. Gay had 17 the difference against the youth of the points for the Grizzlies, while Mayo Memphis Grizzlies. scored 11. Paul Pierce scored 19 points, Ray Rondo had 12 points for Boston, Allen and Rajon Rondo added 18 while Pierce scored 11. The Celtics shot apiece and the Celtics won their 11th 54 percent in the first two periods. straight game, beating the Grizzlies The Grizzlies scored 52 points 110-105 on Monday night. in the paint, compared to 46 for “We’ve been in this situation and Boston. we don’t get rattled on the road,” “We didn’t do our best, obviPierce said after Boston improved to ously,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers 12-1 away from home. “I think it is all said. “Our defense was not very about experience, bottom line.” good. They made shots. They beat Rasheed Wallace added 15 points us on the hustle board and in a lot while Kendrick Perkins and Kevin of areas. Other than that, we had Garnett each scored 13. Rondo had some good execution down the nine of Boston’s 25 assists. stretch.” Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with Boston got effective inside play 23 points and OJ from Wallace, Mayo had 21. Zach who had 10 points Shanghai Sports, BTV-6, CSPN Randolph added in the half — most SPORTS Dec 17, Thursday 9:00 am 20 for Memphis, WATCH of them when he (Beijing time) who have lost two was guarded by Lakers vs Milwaukee of three. Randolph. The game was By the end of tight throughout, the third there with Boston holding their biggest had been 14 ties and 18 lead changes. lead at 103-95 after Rondo’s layup Neither team had led by more than with 2:49 left. Memphis answered five points. with six straight points, including But the Celtics were able to put a pair of baskets from Mayo to get some distance between them and the within two with 1:29 to go. Grizzlies as Memphis appeared to tire But Garnett’s 21-foot jumper from late in the third. Allen connected on a the top of the key stopped the rally and 3-pointer with 1:41 left in the quarter, Allen sealed it for the Celtics by hitting helping Boston carry an 85-81 lead a 3-pointer as the shot clock was run- into the fourth. ning out with 17.5 seconds left. “I think that was physical fatigue Officials reviewed Allen’s basket to and just settling,” Memphis coach Lioconfirm it was a 3-pointer and occured nel Hollins said of the third quarter. “I before the shot clock expired. got on them about it and we got back “We improvised a little bit,” Allen to attacking the basket.” said of gathering up the ball with But down the stretch, Boston were about 4 seconds left on the shot clock. able to make the key plays. Still, the “Then I looked up (at the basket) and it Celtics noted improvement from Memwas like 3 (seconds) and I said: ‘This phis teams of the past. has got to go up’. That’s one of those “They’re right on out heels, man,” things where when you are aware of Pierce said. “If they grow together the clock, you know what kind of shot and continue to play together they’ll you’ve got to get up.” be right there. Boston shot 53 percent on the night “It’s unfortunate that they’re in the to Memphis’ 51 percent. The Celtics Western Conference. If they were in were 10 of 20 from beyond the arc but the East they would probably be a the Grizzlies made only one of their top-four seed right now.” 13 long-range shots. The difference between the teams Boston commited 12 turnovers is experience and familiarity. compared to 10 for Memphis. “We’ve been together,” Rivers said. “We couldn’t get stops at the end,” “That’s our advantage. It’s been the Randolph said. “The last 2 or 3 min- same starting five for the past three utes they made plays and we couldn’t years. We have veterans coming off get stops.” the bench. We’ve played a lot of games Marc Gasol scored 15 points for the together. There’s a great confidence Grizzlies while Mike Conley and Sam that if the game is close, we can win Young had 11 apiece. the game.” Conley’s 16-foot jumper with less than a second left in the first AP

49ers deny sloppy Cardinals NFC West crown NFL SAN FRANCISCO: The Arizona Cardinals lost their discipline and a chance to clinch a second straight NFC West crown. They threw the ball away, and they fumbled it even more. Alex Smith (pictured) threw touchdown passes after two of Arizona’s seven turnovers, Frank Gore ran for 167 yards and another score and the San Francisco 49ers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a dominanting 24-9 victory on Monday night. “I don’t think it’s anything they did,” Arizona tackle Darnell Dockett said. “We lost this game ourselves.” With a relentless defensive attack, San Francisco forced the sloppy Cardinals into five first-half turnovers and kept Kurt Warner from finding a groove. Warner threw two interceptions in the opening half after going 130 passes without a pick. Arizona (8-5) can still clinch the division by winning two of their final three games. “Getting a win against a team playing great ball that had a chance to clinch the division, we came out and dominated,” Gore said. “They let me get in the zone. Any back who gets in that zone, it’s hard to stop them.” Gore had his most productive game since Week 2, running over a defense that held Adrian Peterson to 19 yards in a win over Minnesota last week. Gore was

GAME NOTES Fitzgerald will be re-evaluated today. San Francisco opponents have 11 turnovers in the Niners’ two primetime games. The 49ers swept the season series after Arizona did so in 2008.

certainly motivated for a big night after getting only 30 yards on 22 carries in a season-opening victory at Arizona on Sept 13. Smith, coming off a loss at Seattle last week in which he threw for a career-high 310 yards, connected on TD passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree and finished 19 of 35 for 144 yards. The 49ers (6-7) answered coach Mike Singletary’s challenge to make a statement on the national stage against the reigning NFC champions. The Cardinals matched the NFL high for turnovers this season

with their second game with six or more in 2009, much to the delight of the sellout crowd at Candlestick Park. They had seven last season against the Jets in a 56-35 loss. The 49ers forced seven turnovers for the first time since getting eight against New Orleans on Sept 14, 1997. They had a franchise-record five forced fumbles, two by safety Dashon Goldson. “I don’t think clinching the division was ever that big of a thing,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We were wanting to play against an opponent that had beaten us earlier this year and it was on Monday Night Football and we had an emotional game against Minnesota the week before. We were excited and we lost our discipline and that’s something you cannot do.” Not long ago, San Francisco hoped this game would be for the division title but the Niners had lost six of eight following a 3-1 start. They showed up for this one, on a night former San Francisco stars Steve Young and Jerry Rice worked the pregame show for ESPN on the sideline. “I can’t really express to you how proud I am of our team,” Singletary said. “That was the thing we talked about all week: ‘Let’s go out and see how good we can be without killing ourselves’.” Warner followed the best four-game stretch of his career with a dud — going 16 of 29 for 178 yards and getting sacked four times. Warner joined Johnny Unitas as the only quarterbacks to post a passer rating of at least 120 in four straight games.

Manning: Giants backs against wall NEW YORK: The New York Giants can still qualify for the NFL playoffs but will have to win all of their remaining games, quarterback Eli Manning has said. “We’ve got three games to play and it starts ... with Washington (next) Monday,” he said. “So we’ve got to take care of our business starting with this one. Right now every game is a must-win.” The Giants (7-6) could have moved into a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East on Sunday but lost 45-38 to the Philadelphia Eagles at Giants Stadium. Philadelphia (9-4) lead the division while the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) are in second and it appears the Giants are going to have to scramble to grab a wildcard berth. Manning, however said they would need to concentrate on their own performance when they meet the Redskins and not worry about other results. “All we can do is worry about ourselves,” said Manning. “You can’t get into, ‘we need some help’. We’ve got to handle our business. We’ve got to win all three games. “That is what our focus is this week, right now, on Washington. We’ve got a big game. They are playing well. We’ve got to go into their place and find a way to get a win.”

Japan’s ‘Godzilla’ Matsui set to join Angels: father BASEBALL TOKYO: Japan’s World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui, is set to join the Los Angeles Angels on a one-year deal subject to passing a medical. The 35-year-old’s father, Masao, told Japanese television a deal to take the New York Yankees slugger dubbed “Godzilla” to the Angels had been agreed. “I feel relieved,” said Masao Matsui yesterday. “I didn’t think it would be decided so quickly. I’m eager to see him play in a new environment and can’t wait to see the new Matsui.” The New York Times reported on Monday the Major League Baseball teams had agreed to a trade worth $6.5 million. Matsui batted .274 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs for the New York Yankees last season, the last of his four-year $52 million contract with the Bronx Bombers. The powerful left-hander was voted World Series MVP last month despite starting only three of the six games against Philadelphia. Matsui went 8 for 13 (.615) with three homers and eight RBIs, tying a Series record by driving in six runs in Game 6. The designated hitter had expressed his hope to remain a Yankee but has undergone surgery on both knees, slowing him to the degree that he no longer plays in the outfield.

Reuters AP






Gunners aiming to build on turnaround Wenger’s side pushing for league glory after victory over Liverpool at Anfield BURNLEY: This has been a season of unrelenting surprises in the English Premier League and has the shock therapy been more acutely felt than Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s side has lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous with bewildering frequency this term, its inconsistency indicative of a division which has shed much of its reputation for predictability. From title race deadbeats two weeks ago, after a home defeat by Chelsea, Arsenal now find themselves grasping eagerly at a lifeline thrown by their rivals. An 11-point deficit has been slashed to six, courtesy of Chelsea and Manchester United leaking unexpected points, and Arsenal still have a home game against Bolton in hand. The north Londoners have done their bit too, of course. Stoke were brushed aside with relative ease at Emirates Stadium before a more notable statement of intent was made at Anfield on Sunday when they came from a goal down to defeat Liverpool despite missing a clutch of first team regulars. Another victory at Burnley on Wednesday and the talk of a genuine title challenge would swell from quiet murmurs to an excited chatter. Wenger is already struggling to contain himself. “We feel that we have sent out a message to all the people who wrote us off after we were beaten at home by Chelsea,” the Frenchman said.

We have got ourselves back very close to the leaders — just six points away from Chelsea with a game in hand. ARSENE WENGER Arsenal manager

“We have got ourselves back very close to the leaders — just six points away from Chelsea with a game in hand. “We have come back at them in a very short space of time since they beat us in late November. Even I did not expect that to happen. We have shown we have mental strength. For us, we are back into contention following the other results from Saturday.” On the face of it, there can be no arguing with that assessment. Yet the sceptics who discounted Arsenal from the championship race will not be penning their apology letters just yet. For all Arsenal’s upturn in form, the doubts remain: can a defense which has kept just three clean sheets in its last 15 games really serve as a solid foundation for a title tilt? Can a team expecting to win the league seriously invest all of its faith in a goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia,

whose confidence appears to have imploded? And, most pressingly of all, how can Wenger hope to cope without Robin van Persie? The Dutchman is out for the next fi ve months with ankle ligament damage that required surgery and Arsenal’s options in his absence are thin. Andrey Arshavin has been deployed as a lone central striker in the past two Premier League games and, while he has scored in both, it still smacks of a short-term measure. The Russian does not enjoy a role which can often leave him isolated and pining for possession. The imminent return of Nicklas Bendtner from injury will provide some more beef to a forward line overburdened with small, scampering forwards but the Dane, while much improved since his hapless early days at Arsenal, is simply not in van Persie’s class. The trip to Turf Moor will serve as a litmus test of Wenger’s ability to find solutions. The aversion of his team to north-western outposts such as this is well known but it cannot afford a slip-up against Owen Coyle’s side, which has lost some of its earlyseason swagger in recent weeks. The Clarets have failed to win any of their past five matches and, remarkably, were subjected to the odd jeer by disgruntled home fans after the 1-1 draw with Fulham last weekend. That provides proof of how expectations have sky-rocketed in east Lancashire. AFP

Carvalho wants Chelsea stars to stick together LONDON: Ricardo Carvalho has told his Chelsea teammates they must stick together in Wednesday’s clash against Portsmouth to avoid any more of the costly blunders that threaten to derail their title challenge. After moving five points clear at the top of the Premier League on the back of five successive cleansheets, culminating in a ruthless 3-0 win at Arsenal late last month, the previously impenetrable Chelsea defense has been leaking goals at an alarming rate. Carlo Ancelotti’s rearguard has been breached 10 times in four games in all competitions, with Everton taking advantage of more sloppy play by Carvalho, John Terry, Petr Cech and company in Saturday’s 3-3 draw. While Manchester United’s defeat against Aston Villa allowed Chelsea to extend their lead over the champions to three points, there is a growing sense of unease over the chaotic nature of the league leaders’ defending in recent weeks. Those goals were the first conceded by Chelsea at home in the league since the opening day of the season but the jeers that echoed around Stamford Bridge stands at the weekend reflected

a fear Ancelotti’s men could blow a golden chance to win the title through a lack of concentration. Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech has come in for the most criticism and his nervous displays have undoubtedly forced the backfour to defend too deep of late, giving opposition attackers the chance to force more mistakes. But Portugal centerback Carvalho (pictured), who should make his 200th appearance for Chelsea at the Bridge on Wednesday, insists the team is just going through the kind of freakish patch of bad luck where every error is punished by a goal. “Right now every mistake we make, we concede a goal,” he said. “We are playing well but we have to be more compact, especially at freekicks and corners. “When someone makes a mistake you have to be there to help him. Against Everton one goal came from a throw-in and the other two from freekicks. “I think I am playing well, however I

SCOREBOARD GOLF World rankings NEW YORK: World rankings on Monday (US unless stated, last week’s positions in brackets): 1. (1) Tiger Woods 15.20 average points 2. (2) Phil Mickelson 8.54 3. (3) Steve Stricker 6.89 4. (4) Lee Westwood (GBR) 6.76 5. (5) Padraig Harrington (IRE) 5.75 6. (6) Jim Furyk 5.70 7. (8) Paul Casey (GBR) 5.55 8. (7) Henrik Stenson (SWE) 5.54 9. (11) Rory McIlroy (GBR) 4.97 10. (9) Kenny Perry 4.91 11. (10) Sergio Garcia (ESP) 4.88 12. (12) Ian Poulter (GBR) 4.75 13. (13) Martin Kaymer (GER) 4.64 14. (14) Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 4.63 15. (15) Stewart Cink 4.38 16. (16) Sean O’Hair 4.36 17. (17) Ernie Els (RSA) 4.27 18. (18) Ross Fisher (GBR) 4.14 19. (19) Retief Goosen (RSA) 4.06 20. (20) Lucas Glover 3.95 2009 PGA Tour money list NEW YORK: Leading money winners on the 2009 PGA Tour on Monday (US unless stated): 1. Tiger Woods $10,508,163 2. Steve Stricker $6,332,636 3. Phil Mickelson $5,332,755 4. Zach Johnson $4,714,813 5. Kenny Perry $4,445,562 6. Sean O’Hair $4,316,493 7. Jim Furyk $3,946,515 8. Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) $3,866,270 9. Lucas Glover $3,692,580 10. Yang Yong-eun (KOR) $3,489,516 11. Retief Goosen (RSA) $3,232,650 12. Nick Watney $3,221,421 13. Brian Gay $3,201,295 14. David Toms $3,047,198 15. Dustin Johnson $2,977,901 16. Hunter Mahan $2,941,349 17. Stewart Cink $2,821,030 18. Rory Sabbatini (RSA) $2,752,291 19. Kevin Na $2,724,825 20. Padraig Harrington (IRE) $2,628,377 European Tour Race to Dubai money list DUBAI: Leading money winners on the 2010 European Tour Race to Dubai on Monday (British unless stated): 1. Pablo Martin (ESP) 158,500 euros 2. Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 115,000 3. Anders Hansen (DEN) 69,200 4.= Robert Rock 38,825 4.= Richard Sterne (RSA) 38,825 4.= Gareth Maybin 38,825 4.= Dale Whitnell 38,825 8.= Michael Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 21,933 8.= Shiv Kapur (IND) 21,933 8.= Damien McGrane (IRE) 21,933 11.= Ignacio Garrido (ESP) 17,900 12. Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 15,700 13.= Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 13,950

13.= Pelle Edberg (SWE) 13,950 15.= Sion Bebb 11,712 15.= James Kingston (RSA) 11,712 15.= Ernie Els (RSA) 11,712 15.= Michiel Bothma (RSA) 11,712 15.= James Kamte (RSA) 11,712 15.= Julien Guerrier (FRA) 11,712 15.= Shane Lowry (IRE) 11,712 NBA NEW YORK: NBA results on Monday (home team in CAPS): ORLANDO 106 Indiana 98 PHILADELPHIA 117 Golden State 101 Boston 110 MEMPHIS 105 DALLAS 94 New Orleans 90 Minnesota 110 UTAH 108 DENVER 102 Oklahoma City 93 LA CLIPPERS 97 Washington 95 Standings Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Boston 20 4 .833 -Toronto 11 15 .423 10 NY Knicks 8 15 .348 11 1/2 Philadelphia 6 18 .250 14 New Jersey 2 22 .083 18 Central Division Cleveland 17 7 .708 -Milwaukee 11 11 .500 5 Detroit 11 12 .478 5 1/2 Chicago 8 14 .364 8 Indiana 8 14 .364 8 Southeast Division Orlando 18 6 .750 -Atlanta 17 6 .739 1/2 Miami 11 11 .500 6 Charlotte 9 13 .409 8 Washington 7 15 .318 10 Western Conference Northwest Division Denver 18 7 .720 -Utah 14 10 .583 3 1/2 Portland 14 11 .560 4 Oklahoma City 12 11 .522 5 Minnesota 4 21 .160 14 Pacific Division LA Lakers 18 4 .818 -Phoenix 16 8 .667 3 Sacramento 10 12 .455 8 LA Clippers 10 13 .435 8 1/2 Golden State 7 17 .292 12 Southwest Division Dallas 18 7 .720 -San Antonio 12 9 .571 4 Houston 13 10 .565 4 New Orleans 10 13 .435 7 Memphis 10 14 .417 7 1/2 Tuesday’s games New Jersey at Cleveland New York at Charlotte Toronto at Miami LA Lakers at Chicago Detroit at Houston

can’t enjoy it because we’re drawing or losing. I’m a little bit frustrated.” If Chelsea could have hand-picked the opposition for a game they desperately need to win to steady the nerves, then rock bottom Portsmouth would surely be top of the list. Pompey boss Avram Grant brings a team to Chelsea for the first time since being sacked by the Blues in the aftermath of the 2008 Champions League final defeat to United in Russia. But for Terry’s penalty shootout slip in the the Moscow rain, Grant would be a European champion and likely still Chelsea’s coach. Instead he is facing the prospect of a five-month struggle to keep Portsmouth in the top flight against a background of financial uncertainty that has already seen the club fail to pay their players’ wages twice this season.

AFP Guangdong Sports Dec 17, Thursday, 4:00 am (Beijing time) (live) Chelsea vs Portsmouth Shanghai Sports Dec 17, Thursday, 4:00 am (Beijing time) (live) Liverpool vs Wigan


San Antonio at Phoenix Sacramento at Portland NBA leaders through Dec 13 Scoring G FG Anthony, DEN 24 253 James, CLE 24 240 Durant, OKC 22 211 Bryant, LAL 22 230 Nowitzki, DAL 24 232 Wade, MIA 22 195 Ellis, GOL 23 221 Granger, IND 17 130 Bosh, TOR 26 213 Gay, MEM 22 178 Roy, POR 25 183 Jennings, MIL 22 172 Johnson, ATL 23 188 Arenas, WAS 21 154 Boozer, UTA 23 189 Harrington, NYK 23 167 Evans, SAC 21 155 Iguodala, PHL 23 161 Williams, UTA 21 155 Lopez, NJN 24 173 FG Percentage FG Perkins, BOS 107 Howard, ORL 136 Gasol, MEM 123 Oden, POR 92 Hilario, DEN 120 Horford, ATL 126 Bynum, LAL 138 Landry, HOU 142 Lee, NYK 168 Garnett, BOS 151 Rebounds G OFF Wallace, CHA 22 51 Howard, ORL 23 87 Bosh, TOR 26 96 Noah, CHI 22 86 Boozer, UTA 23 48 Camby, LAC 22 60 Haywood, WAS 21 92 Randolph, MEM 23 109 Lee, NYK 23 52 Duncan, SAN 19 56 Assists G Nash, PHX 24 Paul, NOR 14 Williams, UTA 21 Rondo, BOS 23 Kidd, DAL 24 James, CLE 24 B. Davis, LAC 22 Arenas, WAS 21 Westbrook, OKC 22 Duhon, NYK 23

FT 201 173 174 131 173 185 111 102 193 93 133 68 76 91 90 90 100 98 76 122

PTS 728 692 623 612 655 594 568 414 625 468 530 462 482 435 468 463 421 452 411 468

FGA 163 211 199 152 206 218 240 247 293 267 DEF 218 194 213 173 204 177 131 126 182 137 AST 267 146 213 218 215 193 154 143 149 144

AVG 30.3 28.8 28.3 27.8 27.3 27.0 24.7 24.4 24.0 21.3 21.2 21.0 21.0 20.7 20.3 20.1 20.0 19.7 19.6 19.5 PCT .656 .645 .618 .605 .583 .578 .575 .575 .573 .566

TOT 269 281 309 259 252 237 223 235 234 193

AVG 12.2 12.2 11.9 11.8 11.0 10.8 10.6 10.2 10.2 10.2 AVG 11.1 10.4 10.1 9.5 9.0 8.0 7.0 6.8 6.8 6.3

NFL NEWYORK: NFL result on Morday (home team in CAPS): Arizona at SAN FRANCISCO Standings American Conference AFC East W L T PF PA PCT

Ding Junhui poses with the UK Championship trophy and kilos of pies after winning the title on Sunday. Besides the trophy, Ding was awarded 276 pies. CFP

Chinese champion donates pies to homeless SNOOKER China snooker star Ding Junhui yesterday donated 276 meat pies to the Homeless and Rootless at Christmas (HARC), a Sheffield voluntary group which looks after homeless people over the festive period. Ding beat John Higgins 10-8 in the final of snooker’s second-biggest ranking event, the UK Championship, on Sunday and part of his prize was 69 kilos worth of pies — his body weight. “We all wanted to win those pies and when we weighed up we all wore more clothes and I even wanted to put some balls in my pockets but they were found,” Ding joked. “I’ve have lived in Sheffield for the past few years and I love the city. The least I can do is try to help some of those less fortunate than me at Christmas by donating

New England 8 5 Miami 7 6 NY Jets 7 6 Buffalo 5 8 South x-Indianapolis 13 0 Jacksonville 7 6 Tennessee 6 7 Houston 6 7 North Cincinnati 9 4 Baltimore 7 6 Pittsburgh 6 7 Cleveland 2 11 West San Diego 10 3 Denver 8 5 Oakland 4 9 Kansas City 3 10 NATIONAL CONFERENCE East Philadelphia 9 4 Dallas 8 5 NY Giants 7 6 Washington 4 9 South x-New Orleans 13 0 Atlanta 6 7 Carolina 5 8 Tampa Bay 1 12 North Minnesota 11 2 Green Bay 9 4 Chicago 5 8 Detroit 2 11 West Arizona 8 5 San Francisco 6 7 Seattle 5 8 St. Louis 1 12 x-clinched division

0 0 0 0

.615 .538 .538 .385

348 292 275 215

234 306 211 271

0 0 0 0

1.000 .538 .462 .462

359 235 293 311

217 287 323 273

0 0 0 0

.692 .538 .462 .154

264 319 278 158

217 218 244 315

0 0 0 0

.769 .615 .308 .231

362 256 155 206

259 230 316 342

0 0 0 0

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373 296 341 234

273 233 331 251

0 0 0 0

1.000 .462 .385 .077

466 302 225 190

274 305 282 356

0 0 0 0

.846 .692 .385 .154

389 344 247 209

243 243 291 406

0 0 0 0

.615 .462 .385 .077

306 269 250 146

258 242 301 361

NHL NEW YORK: NHL results on Monday (home team in CAPS): Florida 7 NY ISLANDERS 1 Atlanta 3 NY RANGERS 2 Nashville 5 COLUMBUS 3 Philadelphia 3 BOSTON 1 TORONTO 3 Ottawa 2 DETROIT 3 Phoenix 2 Buffalo 4 MONTREAL 3 VANCOUVER 3 Los Angeles 1 Standings EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Division W L OT Pts GF GA New Jersey 22 8 1 45 91 68 Pittsburgh 22 10 1 45 105 87 Philadelphia 15 15 1 31 90 88 NY Rangers 14 15 3 31 88 96 NY Islanders 12 14 7 31 84 107 Northeast Division Buffalo 20 9 2 42 85 68 Boston 16 10 6 38 84 80 Ottawa 16 12 4 36 92 96 Montreal 15 16 3 33 88 99 Toronto 12 14 7 31 97 116 Southeast Division Washington 20 7 6 46 118 94 Atlanta 17 11 3 37 99 90

these pies — hopefully there are enough pies to stop people going hungry,” Ding said. A spokesman for HARC said: “This is a fantastic gesture and we are so grateful for the generosity of Ding and Pukka Pies. “The donation is a great help to us in feeding those who come to us because they have nowhere else to go as we are the only Sheffield organization which is open to help the homeless over Christmas and New Year.” Tournament sponsor Pukka Pies’ marketing and business development controller, Peter Mayes, said; “Ding was a very worthy winner of the UK Championship and we are delighted with his wish to help the HARC at Christmas. “We hope the delivery of pies will bring some early Christmas cheer to the homeless in Sheffield.” China Daily

Florida 13 14 7 33 95 112 Tampa Bay 11 12 9 31 77 94 Carolina 7 19 6 20 77 117 WESTERN CONFERENCE Central Division Chicago 20 8 3 43 92 67 Nashville 19 11 3 41 88 91 Detroit 17 11 5 39 92 89 Columbus 14 13 6 34 99 117 St. Louis 13 12 5 31 74 82 Northwest Division Colorado 19 10 6 44 103 99 Calgary 19 9 4 42 93 77 Vancouver 19 14 0 38 104 85 Edmonton 15 13 4 34 98 100 Minnesota 15 14 3 33 84 93 Pacific Division Los Angeles 21 11 3 45 107 104 San Jose 19 8 7 45 111 92 Phoenix 19 12 2 40 81 75 Dallas 14 8 10 38 93 94 Anaheim 12 13 7 31 91 103 NOTE: Two points for a win, one point for overtime loss. Tuesday’s games Philadelphia at Pittsburgh Tampa Bay at Nashville Calgary at St. Louis Columbus at Minnesota Los Angeles at Edmonton Washington at Colorado NHL scoring leaders through Dec 13 GP G Joe Thornton, SJ 34 7 Marian Gaborik, NYR 29 22 Henrik Sedin, Van 32 14 Sidney Crosby, Pit 32 20 Alex Ovechkin, Was 25 21 Dany Heatley, SJ 34 21 Corey Perry, Anh 32 16 Anze Kopitar, LA 34 16 Brad Richards, Dal 30 10 Nicklas Backstrom, Was 33 10 Dustin Penner, Edm 32 18 Ryan Getzlaf, Anh 32 6 Zach Parise, NJ 31 15 Patrick Marleau, SJ 34 20 Paul Stastny, Col 35 8

A 37 19 27 18 16 16 21 21 27 27 18 30 20 14 26

PTS 44 41 41 38 37 37 37 37 37 37 36 36 35 34 34

SOCCER Argentine championship Results and standings from the Argentine championship on Monday: Godoy Cruz 0 Arsenal 0 Atletico Tucuman 1 Gimnasia-La Plata 0 Sunday, December 13 Velez Sarsfield 1 Rosario Central 2 Boca Juniors 2 Banfield 0 Newell’s Old Boys 0 San Lorenzo 2 Racing Club 0 Chacarita Juniors 2 Tigre 0 River Plate 2 Saturday, December 12 Lanus 0 Independiente 0 Argentinos Juniors 5 Huracan 1 Standings W D L Gf Ga Pts Banfield 12 5 2 25 11 41 ------------------------Newell’s Old Boys 12 3 4 26 15 39 Colon (Santa Fe) 10 4 5 27 16 34

Independiente 10 Velez Sarsfield 10 Argentinos Juniors 8 San Lorenzo 9 Estudiantes 9 Lanus 8 Rosario Central 8 Boca Juniors 7 Arsenal 7 Atletico Tucuman 6 River Plate 5 Chacarita Juniors 5 Racing Club 4 Godoy Cruz 3 Gimnasia-La Plata 3 Huracan 2 Tigre 2 1: Copa Libertadores

4 4 8 5 4 7 7 6 6 4 6 4 5 7 4 5 2

5 5 3 5 6 4 4 6 6 9 8 10 10 9 12 12 15

30 29 29 28 28 26 21 28 20 24 23 18 17 18 16 12 18

20 21 20 20 19 17 14 24 24 32 26 25 26 28 29 34 42

34 34 32 32 31 31 31 27 27 22 21 19 17 16 13 11 8

TENNIS Men’s world rankings NEW YORK: Men’s tennis world rankings on Monday (previous week’s rankings in brackets): 1. (1) Roger Federer (SUI) 10550 points 2. (2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9205 3. (3) Novak Djokovic (SRB) 8310 4. (4) Andy Murray (GBR) 7030 5. (5) Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 6785 6. (6) Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 4930 7. (7) Andy Roddick (USA) 4410 8. (8) Robin Soderling (SWE) 3410 9. (9) Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 3300 10. (10) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 2875 11. (11) Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 2870 12. (12) Radek Stepanek (CZE) 2625 13. (13) Gael Monfils (FRA) 2610 14. (14) Marin Cilic (CRO) 2430 15. (15) Gilles Simon (FRA) 2275 16. (16) Tommy Robredo (ESP) 2175 17. (18) David Ferrer (ESP) 1870 18. (17) Tommy Haas (GER) 1855 19. (19) Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 1690 20. (20) Tomas Berdych (CZE) 1655 Women’s world rankings MIAMI: Women’s tennis world rankings on Monday (previous week’s rankings in brackets): 1. (1) Serena Williams (USA) 9075 points 2. (2) Dinara Safina (RUS) 7800 3. (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6141 4. (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 5875 5. (5) Elena Dementieva (RUS) 5585 6. (6) Venus Williams (USA) 5126 7. (7) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 4820 8. (8) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 3965 9. (9) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 3560 10. (10) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 3450 11. (11) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 3415 12. (12) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 3150 13. (13) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 3045 14. (14) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 2820 15. (15) Li Na (CHN) 2541 16. (16) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 2385 17. (17) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 2375 18. (18) Kim Clijsters (BEL) 2340 19. (19) Virginie Razzano (FRA) 2300 20. (20) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 2220



W E D N E S DAY D E C E M B E R 1 6 , 2 0 0 9

Ferrari will not block Schumacher deal Star’s ‘comeback’ with Mer given green light by former t ROME: Ferrari will not stand in Michael Schumacher’s way if the seven-time Formula One world champion decides to come out of retirement and race for Mercedes, president Luca di Montezemolo said on Monday. The 40-year-old German has worked as a consultant for the Italian team since retiring at the end of 2006 but reports say he is close to signing with Mercedes, who have taken over world champions Brawn.

The Mercedes team is run by Ross Brawn, the former Ferrari and Benetton technical director who helped Schumacher to all his titles. Schumacher announced in September he would work as a consultant for Ferrari for another three years.

Guo’s gold hopes enhanced by IOC changes to events CYCLING

her front wheel slipped in her decisive semifinal heat. It was re-run and, although Guo By Tang Yue won, she was adjudged to have fouled on the final lap and her For Guo Shuang it was almost opponent, Anna Meares of business as usual as she put on Australia, went through to the her red suit, helmet and goggles final ride-off for gold. “I have to say it was really for her daily 2 1/2-hour training a pity. I was so eager to win session. The only difference for the in front of so many Chinese 2008 Olympic bronze medalist fans,” Guo said. “But it’s also when she hit Beijing’s Laoshan the most precious lesson I have velodrome yesterday was the ever learnt in my career. I have fact that her chances of winning gained rich experience from gold at the 2012 Games in Lon- my fi rst Olympic Games and I will be more don had ben mature three substantially I missed my chance years from increased. now.” When she last summer. Now Her golden turned on her there are more dream in LonTV last Friday don is wholly morning she (chances) in London. supported by learned the Song Xiang, International GUO SHUANG Chinese cyclist the captain of Olympic the national Committee (IOC) had agreed to eliminate team. “Our goal in London remains endurance events in track cycling and add team sprint unchanged – the gold. It is and keirin events at the 2012 crucial to have more people pay attention to the sport, Games. The Inner Mongolia native which is still not very popular won the women’s keirin at in China,” Song told China Daily the World Championships in at the training center. “But it remains a difficult Pruszkow, Poland, in March. She also claimed bronze in the task — even after the event individual sprint at last year’s adjustments. All of the top Beijing Games and, at 23, is teams will fight for (gold), among the most promising especially the host British team.” candidates for gold in London. “Every athlete sees the Olympic gold medal as the highest goal; I missed my chance last summer. Now there are more (chances) in London,” Guo told China Daily yesterday in her dorm at China’s cycling and fencing training center in Shijingshan, Beijing. “But the chances are just the same for other teams. The competitors are very strong, especially England, Australia and the Netherlands,” she said. “As a developing country in cycling we still have a lot to learn from the European countries, it is not easy to make the breakthrough. I have to double my efforts to reach my dream.” China, with millions of bicycle riders, is undoubtedly the riding capital of the world. However, that has not translated into success on the competitive stage where the country has never won Olympic gold. Chinese cyclists didn’t reach the Olympic podium until 2000 in Sydney when Jiang Cuihua won a bronze medal in the women’s 500m time trial. Her compatriot, Jiang Yonghua, won silver in the same event four years later in Athens. On a more positive note, 13 Chinese cyclists qualified for 11 events at the Beijing Games, China’s Guo Shuang compared to six cyclists in four races to victory in events in Athens. the women’s Keirin Guo was expected to win at the World Chamgold on home soil but she came pionships in March in down the bank too steeply and Pruszkow. AFP

Asked if Ferrari would enforce the deal, Montezemolo said: “No, not binding.” “It’s clear that if he decides to take another road our (consultancy) agreement will no longer be valid, that is logical. You can’t work

with a competitor and with us at the same time,” Montezemolo said. “I still haven’t spoken to him about it. He is only a dear friend, not a team member. He is a consultant for our road cars.” Schumacher was forced to abort plans for a F1 comeback with Ferrari because of fitness concerns in August. Neck injury

He was due to replace the injured Felipe Massa but pulled out following medical checks on a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle accident earlier this year

It’s clear that if he decides to take another road our (consultancy) agreement will no longer be valid, that is logical. LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLO Ferrari president

which caused him pain during testing. Ferrari had talked about including him in their 2010 lineup as a possible third driver

but those plans came to nothing with the arrival of new teams and the expansion of the starting grid from 20 to 26 cars. Germany’s Bild newspaper reported on Saturday that Schumacher was close to a deal with Mercedes, whose sportscar team he raced for before entering F1 in 1991. Mercedes GP chief executive Nick Fry said last week that a Schumacher comeback would be good for F1 while German driver Nico Rosberg, who has signed for Mercedes for next season, said he would welcome him as a teammate. “I hope that my teammate will be sorted out pretty soon

and at the moment the rumors are very strong for Michael Schumacher,” he said in a promotional video for Mercedes filmed in Abu Dhabi on Monday. “I have no idea if it is true or not but obviously if he would join that would be an absolutely fantastic move,” said the 24-year-old, who overlapped for one season with Schumacher in F1. “It would be a big challenge, a great experience and so I think it would be a good thing,” he said of how it would feel to race against Schumacher. Reuters

Morelon seeks French connection By Tang Yue

Daniel Morelon and Christian Bauer have much in common. They are both French, they are former world champions in their respective disciplines, they have coached Olympic champions and are now mentors of Chinese national teams. However, the neighbors and countrymen have followed drastically different paths since last year’s Beijing Games. While Bauer became a household name in China after helping Zhong Man win the country’s first men’s Olympic fencing gold in individual saber, Morelon remains unknown

Guo Shuang (left) is accompanied by Daniel Morelon during the Beijing Olympics last AFP year. throughout most of the land. Guo Shuang claimed a bronze in the women’s sprint, a fine achievement, but apparently not good enough to meet fans’ expectations. However, the cycling guru believes he has a great opportunity to make his mark at the London Games thanks to the change in events. The IOC announced last Friday the men’s and women’s individual pursuit and points races and the men’s Madison will be dropped for the 2012 Games. Instead, the men’s and women’s keirin, team sprint and five-race omnium event will be included. “We had only one chance in Beijing and we lost it. Now we have three chances in London,” Morelon told China Daily. Guo is a threetime World Cup keirin winner and 2009 World Championships winner. She is also expected to be strong in the sprint event. Meanwhile, China’s sprint team also has gold prospects with Guo and Gong Jinjie, a World Cup bronze medalist in the keirin, leading the charge. Morelon came to China in July 2007 with the goal of an Olympic gold. “I don’t want to end my career with failure. I’m planning to retire after gold in London,” he said. “I hope all the Chinese people will know me after 2012.”

Heads down

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (right) scores a touchdown after catching a five-yard pass from quarterback Alex Smith during the first quarter of their NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in San Francisco on Monday. At left is Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson. The 49ers won 24-9. • More Page 22 AP

US to meet Iran at World Champs BASKETBALL ISTANBUL: The United States will face Iran and Greece will take on Turkey in a pair of politically charged group games at next year’s World Basketball Championship. The Americans and Iranians were drawn in Group B on Tuesday along with Croatia, Brazil, Tunisia and Slovenia for the Aug 28-Sept 12 competition in Ankara, Kayseri, Istanbul and Izmir. The US and Iran have never met before in a top level men’s or women’s FIBA competition. The 24 teams at the men’s tournament were drawn into four groups of six, with the top four from each advancing to the knockout round. Greece, who will also face China, Russia, Puerto Rico and Cote d’Ivoire in Group C, appear to have drawn the toughest opposition. The Greeks reached the 2006 final but lost to Spain. In other groups, defending champions Spain will lead Group D against Lithuania, Lebanon, France, Canada and

Groupings Group A: Argentina, Serbia, Australia, Germany, Angola, Jordan Group B: United States, Slovenia, Brazil, Croatia, Iran, Tunisia Group C: Greece, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Russia, China, Cote d’Ivoire Group D: Spain, France, Canada, Lithuania, New Zealand, Lebanon.

New Zealand and Argentina will face Serbia, Australia, Jordan, Germany and Angola in Group A. The Argentines are the topranked team in the world, but the US won the Olympic gold medal last year in Beijing. The winner of the worlds automatically qualifies for the 2012 London Olympics. The US and Iran have had some memorable moments in other sports. In January 2007, the United States sent 20 wrestlers to Iran to participate in the Persian Gulf Cup. That tour-

nament marked the first time American wrestlers had been to Iran since president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. At the 1998 World Cup of soccer in France, the US and Iran played each other in Group F. The Iranians won the match in Lyon 2-1, but both teams failed to advance to the knockout round. In basketball, Iran haven’t been much of a threat to the US but Hamed Haddadi has made it to the NBA, playing center for the Memphis Grizzlies. Last month, two Los Angeles Clippers television broadcasters were suspended for one game for their comments about Haddadi. Longtime announcer Ralph Lawler and partner Michael Smith made the off-the-cuff comments during a telecast from Memphis. The on-air banter, which included remarks to Borat actor Sacha Baron Cohen, offended a viewer who e-mailed Fox to complain.

China cautious on ‘lucky’ draw China Basketball Association vice director Hu Jiashi sent a warning to the national team after its seemingly lucky draw for the 2010 World Championships in Turkey. China have been drawn in Group C with Greece, the runners-up at the last championships, hosts Turkey, Russia, Puerto Rico and Cote d’Ivoire. The top four will advance to the next round. It is considered a lucky draw for China as Greece are regarded as the weakest of the top four seeds while the other four are not regarded as world heavyweights. “I don’t share the opinion of the media, which considers it a great draw,” Hu said. “At the 1996 Atlanta Games and 2004 Athens Games we were in the socalled ‘group of death’ but we advanced. However, when we have been in some ‘good positions’ we have lost,” he said.

China Daily AP

Water world Shunyi residents store water before price increase Page M2

METRO W E D N E S D A Y, D E C E M B E R 1 6 , 2 0 0 9









Under pressure More Beijingers seek psychological help Page M4

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Jam will lead to more pollution: Experts By Cui Xiaohuo

Beijing’s traffic management authority says the growing number of registered vehicles in the city will worsen congestion.

Wang Jing

4 m cars to bring problems Experts say it is too late to solve the city’s growing congestion problems By Cui Xiaohuo

Wan Huaiyu said he does not care whether his second car would become Beijing’s historic fourmillionth vehicle. “It’s my car. I have a real need to own it, whether it is the four millionth or the five millionth,” the 30-yearold businessman told METRO as he steered his parents and sister into a brand new 110,000-yuan Beijing Hyundai Elantra at the largest auto market in Beijing last Sunday. The Beijing traffic management bureau yesterday put the city’s car population at an unprecedented 3.99 million as of last Sunday, predicting the number would break four million before the weekend. The news came with a warning though, that roads in Beijing would continue to suffer from congestion if the same growth rate continues. However, few car buyers seemed to believe in the government’s latest words of caution. In fact, the opinion of many is that the government

wants them to contribute to the world’s largest auto industry and the nation’s GDP growth. Wan said that congestion would not stop him from adding another car to his collection. The central government decided last Wednesday to increase the vehicle purchase tax for lowemission cars from Jan 1 next year by 2.5 percent to further boost economic growth. The move immediately sent thousands of buyers after last-minute bargains at Yayuncun auto market. Last week’s car rush pushed the number of cars in the city up another 10,000 and increased Beijing’s new drivers up 12,000 to 5.66 million, official numbers showed yesterday. The two figures were 3.5 million and 5.1 million at the same time last year, a stunning annual growth of 14 percent for new cars and 10 percent for new drivers. And the obvious impact of a sudden influx of cars and drivers has led to a rise in traffic collisions this year, traffic police said. “If new drivers could realize they

The public is paying the price after sacrificing air quality and road efficiency for fast economic growth. OU GUOLI

Economics professor with Beijing Jiaotong University

are not steering bikes but actually four-wheeled cars, many collisions might be avoided,” Zhang Chenjun, deputy director of the Beijing traffic police command center, told METRO in an interview this week. “But as a matter of fact, minor accidents like scrapes and rear-end collisions have increased this year and subsequently caused more congestion,” Zhang said, without providing statistics. “The public is paying the price after sacrificing air quality and road efficiency for fast economic growth,” Ou Guoli, an economics professor with Beijing Jiaotong University, said yesterday. “The auto industry has benefited from the car rush, but the cost is too high,” he added.


The municipal committee of transport, which draws up the transportation policies for the city, also told METRO in an interview earlier that the city’s car rush has grown beyond control in recent years. However, the government has no obvious plan to ditch its current car ownership policies, which include tax discounts and cheap license fees. Experts admitted it was now too late to control Beijing’s car population from exploding. “There is no point in controlling the ownership of cars, because Beijing’s limited roads were already overrun when it hit the three-million mark,” Mao Baohua, a Beijing-based government advisor on transportation policies. “The car rush is a result of an expanding middle class. The only choice now is to use financial policies such as issuing high emission taxes and parking fees,” he said. Beijing authorities are considering whether to raise parking fees in downtown areas next year and are predicted to implement a congestion tax, following the example of notoriously congested cities like Singapore and London.

Despite success in slashing the number of heavy pollution days in the city this year, Beijing still faces an environmental debt from its mounting traffic congestion, air pollution specialists warned yesterday. Zhu Tong, an environment professor at Peking University, said it was too early to reach positive conclusions about Beijing’s air quality because the car population is about to hit four million this week. “Beijing’s air looks to be improved from the government numbers after the Olympics,” said Zhu. “But research should also be conducted to assess how the increased congestion from the growing car populations have contributed to the car emissions and air pollution.” The more time motorists spend on pulling their vehicles through heavy congestion on the roads, the more emissions they produce, he told METRO yesterday. The government last month made a statement that Beijing still had “more room” for the car population to grow after the environmental protection bureau removed more than 100,000 heavily-polluted vehicles from the roads, whose emissions are equivalent to two million conventional cars. Beijing’s four million cars will put out about one million tons of pollutants each year, taking up half of the city’s total emissions. Despite using a controversial air pollution monitoring system used for more than a decade, the city last month announced Beijing’s

Court rejects herbal tea claim for cash Zhang Yan

A visitor looks at a sculpture during an award presentation ceremony for ceramic design at the Great Hall of the People yesterday. China News Service

air quality had reached its highest level in decades after meeting its annual target for blue sky days one month ahead of schedule for two consecutive years. However, an air pol lution monitor station set up by the US embassy in downtown Beijing has recorded the city’s air quality as “unhealthy” for most of the days so far this year. Zhu, who chaired an academic panel to monitor Beijing’s air pollution during last year’s Olympics, has repeatedly urged authorities to include the index for pollutants such as ozone, a key pollutant from car emissions, in its air pollution monitoring. Zhang Jianyu, China program head of the US-based Environmental Defense Fund, said it is difficult to estimate the impact of cars on Beijing’s air quality. “It’s very hard to estimate a number saying how many cars the city of Beijing can hold up in terms of air pollution,” he told METRO. “But it ’s high time for the Beijing government to take the U-turn.” Experts said restricting car ownership is not the answer to reducing the city’s car emissions and congestion. They suggested taxing fuel or utilizing cleaner energy for cars. Zhang said only by adding a fuel tax would the government succeed in “guiding motorists away” from the roads and changing to public transport. “Apart from accelerating public transport efficiency, switching to zero-emission vehicles should be the ultimate goal for all drivers in Beijing,” said Zhu. “But that is just an ideal model, which still seems pretty surreal in the Beijing we now see.”

A man who attempted to sue movie star Chen Daoming and a herbal tea company has lost his legal battle in Xuanwu district court. Wang Shunhu, 51, from Shanxi province, said he was diagnosed with a spleen and stomach disorder, known as cold syndrome, after drinking several bottles of Heqizheng herbal tea a day in August. He said he bought a box of 30 bottles of the herbal tea, promoted by Chen, for 108 yuan at Carrefour Maliandian supermarket in Xuanwu district on Aug 13. After being diagnosed with the stomach condition, he found the tea included the ingredients of jidanhua and xiakucao, two kinds of Chinese traditional medicine elements. Wang said that according to food safety law, the ingredients are not permitted in food, and therefore the herbal tea is illegal. In late August, Wang sued the producer of Heqizheng herbal tea, Dali Company in Jinan, capital city in Shandong, the Maliandao

Wang Shunhu says Chen Daoming (pictured) should also be partially responsible for misleading the public with the advertisement.

Carrefour supermarket, Carrefour Cha i n super ma rket g roup i n Beijing and Chen Daoming. He demanded the return of 108 yuan, 1,080 yuan in compensation, and another 618.28 yuan to cover the cost of his medical expenses and loss of income. Chen sa id t he adver t isi ng was not misleading and that the product d id not cla im to help prevent illness. “I have checked all the relevant docu ments presented by t he ad m i n ist rat ive gover n ment, such as the product checking, inspection and quarantine, and sale permission,” he said.

“The advertisement wording of ‘clea r up i nter na l heat ’ is generally identified as having some advantage to body function, but not specific to certain parts of the body.” T he cou r t sa id t he Wa ng ’s med ica l records showed t hat “ Wa ng ’s i l l ness is caused by having too many cold drinks, poor diet and poor sleep.” In rejecting Wang’s claim, the court found that Jinan Dali company is a qualified producer of the drink, and Heqizheng herbal tea is a safe product through the examination. It is a matter for the government, not the court, to decide whether the addition of medical ingredients to beverages violated the law, the court found. From Jan 1, actors and celebrities will be forbidden to appear in health advertisements. Hou Yaohua, a famous Chinese comic star, recently apologized for his appearance in 10 fake or unregistered medicine commercials. Zhao Zhongxiang, the veteran CCTV host, has also apologized for sta r r ing in fa ke med icine commercials.





Three expats caught in gambling den by police Fourteen arrested and 5,000 yuan confiscated in midnight raid at casino Three foreigners were arrested on Sunday in Wangjing for gambling, the Beijing public security bureau said yesterday. Altogether five workers at the illegal casino and nine gamblers were arrested. A dozen gambling machines and bets of more than 5,000 yuan were confiscated, the police said in a press release. A man surnamed Kim, 40, and another man surnamed Lim, 35, who held foreign passports, were among the workers. Another foreigner surnamed Sin, 20, a student at a Beijing university whose name was not disclosed, was also caught gambling. All three lived in Wangjing, Chaoyang district, the police said. They would be detained for five days according to Chinese regulations. The police said they received a tip off at the beginning of the month that an amusement arcade in Wangjing was operating as a casino. After investigation, they discovered that the location was deserted in daytime but came alive with people at night. They raided the casino center on Sunday at midnight and found a dozen crowded games machines. They were being used for gambling. A worker surnamed Liu with the center told police that the business

had been open for a couple of months but attracted few customers. They decided to install gambling machines. Sin said he had heard of the place from other foreign students, and had lost several hundred yuan on Sunday. He told police he knew gambling in China is illegal and regretted taking part. The Beijing No 1 Intermediate Court said last month that 58 percent of crimes committed by foreigners in Beijing were from students. Almost 20 cases of foreign students have been handled at the court. The crimes committed by foreign students rose 50 percent in 2008 year-on-year and another third already this year, Guo Jingxia, a press officer of the court said yesterday. She said most of the criminals or suspects are very young, usually in their 20s, and the crimes or offenses are very light. Most foreign students do not know much about Chinese laws and regulations, she said. They forget that while some offences are normally punished with fines in their home countries or regions, they might be treated more severely under Chinese law. METRO

Urban administrators find three giant iron tanks at a car washing plant in the Fangzhuang area of Beijing yesterday. News of upcoming water price hikes has prompted some individuals to save water. Mirror Evening News

Shunyi residents store water before price hike By Meng Jing

Residents in Shunyi district are queuing up to buy 500 cu m of water, the maximum allowance for a single family, as a government-run debate on a water price increase begins in Beijing today. It was announced by the Beijing government earlier this month two pricing options, which include a onetime increase from 3.7 yuan to 4.6 yuan per cu m and a 0.30 yuan annual increase from 2009 to 2011, will be discussed by 25 delegates today. A man, who works for the Vanke Sijihuacheng property management company in Shunyi district, said a


lot of people were rushing to buy hundreds of tons of water, far above their normal daily purchase. “I queued up for 40 minutes outside the Shunyi water supply company on Monday to buy 300 cu m of water,” a man, who didn’t want to be identified, told METRO yesterday. “I’ve never seen so many people at the water supply company before. I didn’t want to wait but I was told next time it would be even longer if I left empty-handed today,” he said. Zhang Hongyan, an employee at a neighborhood committee in Shunyi district, said she bought 100 cu m of water for herself and 200 cu m for her parents last week. “I’m fine with the increasing

A man surnamed Li is interviewed yesterday after a court session in which he sued the Beijing Subway Company for failing to inform customers about how to use its travel tickets. He accused the company of failing to inform him that tickets could only be used once at the same station within the same day. The court is yet to deliver its verdict. Mirror Evening News

out money at the early stages of growth in small companies they don’t have enough money to fi nance R&D projects. Ultrapower, the ‘cash collecting king’ from the newly emerged Growth Enterprises Board, as well as Beijing BaseSoft Information Technology Inc and Northland Biotech Co are among the beneficiaries.

Small companies to have R&D The science & technology commission of Haidian district has invested 140 million yuan in 29 research and development projects since June 2008. The commission aims to ‘offer fuel in snowy weather’ by handing

Two arrested for porn sites Two suspects were arrested for using websites to spread pornography as part of a national crackdown, the Beijing police said yesterday. The police said a man surnamed Li was the fi rst person to be ar-

A policeman from Chaoyangmen distributes cards with lyrics that offer advice on staying safe to students at a primary school for the ethnic Hui people yesterday. China News Service

rested in Beijing for publishing porn novels on websites accessible by mobile phones on Dec 1, in his hometown in Baoding, Hebei province. Police have already arrested 25 suspects for spreading porn content on the web this year, and have shut down 600 websites. Dodgy police chief in court A man who pretended to be a police chief in Beijing and made 630,000 yuan through scams has been charged with fraud at Haidian district court, the court said on Monday. The man surnamed Cheng told victims in Tangshan, Hebei province in May he was the police chief of Beijing and could help them solve any issues. He earned 30,000 yuan from these victims. In the same period, he cheated 100,000 yuan from a woman with a promise to get her husband released from jail. He also pretended to be a senior official with the Ministry of Public Security and claimed he could help victims in Beijing fi nd a job at the ministry. He took 500,000 yuan on May 1. Woman kills boyfriend A woman who killed her boyfriend was sentenced to 15 years in jail at the Beijing No 1 Intermediate Court on Monday. The woman stabbed her boyfriend when he was asleep on May 10 in a hotel in Haidian district. She then tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide. Her family called the police, which

and exceptional business environment from Beijing and the first-class innovative ideas from Taiwan, the deepening collaboration from the two sides will help boost the creation of animation or comic Chinese characters in the future,” he said. In order to achieve that, the two sides should create a character with Chinese characteristics, experts said. Max Huang, head of Taiwan-based Asia Manga Cultural Association, said that there is no need to create new cartoon characters, as there are three images that have already achieved global recognition, like the Monkey King, the panda, and Bruce Lee, the late Jeet Kune Do master. “We should fully use these identity cards of Chinese culture and develop them into global icons,” he said. But in order to catch up with the US counterparts regarding what they have achieved, it could take at least 20 or 30 years, he said.

Animated comedy Kung Fu Panda is humiliating for China because it successfully sold Chinese culture to the world but was created by Hollywood, an animation forum has been told. Ouyang Yibing, vice-chief of China Animation Association, said Kung Fu Panda, which was a global hit with audiences, was the perfect example of how successful a Chinese animated figure could be. The Zhongguancun Forum of Animation and Comic Industry between Beijing and Taipei was told that China lacks a cartoon figure that has global appeal, like Mickey Mouse in America or Hello Kitty in Japan. “Unfortunately, it is our US counterparts, and not us, who made this terrific presentation and showed their deep understanding of Chinese culture. It is a humiliation,” he said. Fennie Chen, secretary-general of

the Taipei Animation and Comic Alliance, said the mainland and Taiwan were collaborating on the creation of a Chinese animated character. Fennie said 10 companies in Taiwan were involved in the project and would open offices in Zhongguancun, China’s “Silicon valley”, next year. “One of their missions is to collaborate with Beijing counterparts to make a successful cartoon figure,” she said. “These companies and more from Taiwan will start their own creation, and we will select the best from them,” she said. The cultural and creative industry has become one of the pillar industries in Beijing, contributing 11.4 percent of the city’s GDP in 2008. Gou Zhongwen, vice-mayor of Beijing municipal government, said the animation and comic industry is one of the city’s most vibrant strengths. “With the sufficient talent pool

was later deemed by the court as evidence she had turned herself in. The woman compensated the man’s family and was given a lesser sentence for her actions.

Motorist detained for hit-and-run in Haidian


New Year’s Eve party A new year countdown ceremony will be held in Shimao Tianjie Square in Chaoyang district, the district cultural bureau said yesterday. The ceremony starts on Dec 31 at 6 pm and lasts until midnight. The ceremony will contain a dance and singing performance and floats will be on display.

prepay for their water. They usually have their water meters checked every two months and are required to pay for water used. The Shunyi water supply company refused to comment officially on the issue, but an employee surnamed Zhang said the purchasing maximum for every family has been 500 cu m since 2002. This was the year Shunyi started to use water-purchasing cards. “I don’t think we have more customers than usual these days,” Zhang said. It’s reported that an average Beijing resident uses 3 cu m water per month. 500 cu m would be enough for a threeperson family, for 4 years.

Kung Fu Panda ‘humiliating’ By Qin Zhongwei

water price because my salary will also go up at the same time. But my retired parents who are very moneyconscious asked me to buy them water and save some cash,” Zhang said. A spokesman surnamed Luo at the Beijing waterworks group believes that buying huge amount of water in advance is the same as “stealing from the government”. “The 0.90 yuan water price increase includes 0.48 yuan per cu m for water and 0.42 yuan for sewage treatment. The more money they save, the more the government loses,” Lou said yesterday. According to Lou, Shunyi district is an exception from other areas in Beijing. Most Beijing residents cannot

Used goods market to open The largest second-hand goods marketplace will open on Dec 31 in Yaojiayuan, Chaoyang district, the Beijing Evening News reported yesterday. The four-floor market will sell everything from lighters and brand name leather bags to tourism souvenirs. The market also has a white-collar gallery and vendors can apply for free stalls on public holidays. Birds causing trouble Ravens are causing trouble for people passing Dongdan sports center along Chang’an avenue, the Beijing Evening News reported yesterday. Hundreds of ravens flock to the trees near the sports center at dusk because the temperature is higher in the city that the suburbs. The excretion of the birds is causing trouble for people and passing vehicles. Free offer crashes site The website of the National Grand Theater crashed as thousands of people logged on to get 5,000 free tickets on Monday, the Beijing Evening News reported yesterday. More than 80,000 applicants logged on the website at the same time, which overloaded the server, the report said.

By Zhao Yanrong

A hit-and-run driver was caught at a KTV bar 10 days after a road incident that caused one death, the Beijing police website posted yesterday. The man surnamed Feng admitted the November hit-and-run in Haidian district after capture on Dec 2. Feng was driving a new and unlicensed silver BMW Z4 on the side road of the West Third Ring Road near Suzhou Bridge just past midnight on Nov 22. He hit a passer-by surnamed Liu at high speed and did not stop. “I didn’t see his brake lights flash when it happened,” a witness surnamed Wang told the Beijing Youth Daily yesterday. “I didn’t know people could be so indifferent.” Wang said the Z4 drove along the inside lane to pass his car. Liu had climbed over the safety guards and was trying to cross the main road, the newspaper reported. “The person was smacked straight up in the air to about 7 m, almost as high as the pedestrian bridge,” Wang

said. “He was spun around and some of his clothes fell off. Then he hit the ground.” Liu died before the ambulance arrived, the newspaper reported. As Haidian police were taking evidence from the area, they noticed an unlicensed white Audi TT visit the crime scene three times. The Audi driver, 20, was said to be unable to answer the police questions sufficiently. The police tracked the Audi driver’s last phone call to Feng, the owner of the silver BMW Z4, right before the incident took place. Haidian police said they also checked the surveillance cameras in Feng’s community and discovered he had returned home with a broken windshield at 2 am that night. The police located the BMW Z4 parked in an underground garage. Although the windshield had been changed, there were indentations on the hood. Beijing police have banned 203 Beijing drivers for life because of hit-and-run cases that killed.

CAR PLATES WEATHER Motor vehicles with these last numbers are not allowed on roads: Today: 5 and 0 Thurs: 6 and 1

BEIJING Today Thurs

1/-7 -3/-7




City issues

All I want for Christmas is... Joseph Christian When I walked through the doors of the cafe near Wudakou, my friend was already sitting at a table quietly drinking a cappuccino. He acknowledged me with a nod of his head and a wry smile, but the slump of his shoulders and the dark circles under his eyes told me he had had a long day. “Any luck,� I managed in the most sympathetic tone possible. “No,� he responded, “I have been running around all day ... Joseph I am exhausted.� We both sat for a moment in silence as he blankly stared out the cafe window. Finally, he turned to me and said, “All I want for Christmas is a visa.� At some point in our journey through the Middle Kingdom, every foreigner has had to worry about how to get or extend a visa. For some it’s an easy task thanks to their connections or employer. For others, who are between jobs or searching for one, it can be a hellish experience. The

stress headaches, paperwork, bureaucratic hurdles, and unscrupulous visa agents are enough to wear out even the most determined visitors. My friend’s problems had begun a few weeks earlier. He was hunting for the quickest and cheapest way to get a visa; he walked straight into the trap of an unscrupulous visa agent. “F visa no problem,� promised the agent. “But don’t I need an invitation letter from a Chinese business,� my friend questioned. “Yes no problem,� the agent replied, beginning to sound like a broken record. “But I don’t have an invitation letter and don’t know where to get one,� my friend said. “Listen, no problem, you just pay us the money and we will take care of everything else,� the agent said. After a few more questions a deal was sealed and to ease any remaining nerves the agent ended in a five-minute speech about how his visa agency was like a Mercedes-Benz - reliable and trustworthy. Too bad it wasn’t. A few weeks later my friend got a call. “Sorry sir, regulations have changed and we can’t get you an invitation letter.� Now instead of relaxing with a visa in hand, my friend was

spending his days rushing about Beijing trying to get his paperwork in order and his evenings in local cafes trying to recuperate from the jumbled mess. As I watched him wearily rub his fingers across his brow I leaned forward and said, “It’s enough to ask yourself if you really want to stay here, isn’t it?� He paused, then looked me straight in the eye and said,

“You and I both know this is the place to be.� He’s right about that. Even in the face of the ongoing economic crisis, China has continued to grow while most other countries slip into recession. My friend realizes this and so I am sure he will not let a trip home for Christmas turn into an exile from China. He will find his place at the table, it’s just a shame that

Santa can’t process visas. The lesson is simple. If you are going to use a visa service stick with the ones that encourage you to get your own invitation letter and that clearly let you know your responsibilities in securing a visa. Don’t waste your time and money. Life in a foreign land can be difficult enough, so don’t let a visa-vendor take you for a ride.

My point

Once again, it is time to select a Chinese character that summarizes most of the happenings in the pop culture throughout the year. The National Language Resources Monitoring and Re-

Comment from press

Officer who died of drinking binge shouldn’t be named as a martyr Xie Feiyong, leader of a traffic police detachment in Shenzhen, really knew how to care for his subordinates. He recently invited his officers to dinner and after one died of drinking, his detachment reported the officer as dying in the line of duty and named him as a candidate for the honor of a martyr. When questioned by the press, Xie said: “There was nothing unusual about it.� “Martyr� is a noble and sacred word. However, because of Xie, it has become a tool of corruption. Any educated Chinese knows what “martyr� means. It would be difficult for anybody to associate it with a police officer who died of binge drinking. Xie believed that drinking is part of an officer’s job. As he said: “For our work, we must maintain good relations with village heads, we often went for a drink with them. There is nothing wrong about it.� However, he had probably forgotten that as law enforcement officers, they needed to follow strict rules for their behavior. For example, who had paid for the dinners hosted by the village heads? Were they paid using public funds or their own money? Was it correct for the officers to dine and wine with village heads from their own police districts? This was not the first such incident. In February last year, an official in Henan province died after drinking in a recreational center. The local government posthumously named him as an “Outstanding Communist Party Member�. It seems the superior officials take good care of the dead. But in reality, they were trying to cover up some embarrassing entertainment activities and corruption practice. Otherwise, more people could have been implicated in scandals if the families of the dead were not appeased and decided to make the cases known to more people. Xie probably believed he could decide who had died in the line of duty, without following rules. If so, he was not alone. Such mentality and practice have been common in some places. It pains people to be aware of such thoughts and behaviors. Those real martyrs would have never tolerated such phenomena if they were alive. Wu Yan

‘Tweet’ should be character of the year Cui Xiaohuo


search Center and the Commercial Press, which selected “inflation� and “harmonious� for two previous selections, have yet to release the candidates this year. However, bloggers have made their own choices. On top of the list is “bei�, the character for the passive voice in Chinese. It’s used to refer to the vulnerability of disadvantaged groups, shortly after job-hunting college graduates told the media in July they were “registered

as employed� in an attempt to make school graduation records look better than they

really were. Other candidates include “cup�, the homophonic pun for “tragedy� in Chinese, and “gate�, the term inspired by the Watergate scandal to represent government or corporate scandals this year. I have noticed that one blog-

ger suggested the character “tui� as a candidate and I think it is great. The character, which stands for “push� or “spread� in its original meaning, is also the direct translation from perhaps the hottest Internet keyword of our time — “tweet�. Following the popularity of micro-blogging in China, the character has become a symbol of the rise of the online community in China. With the development of social networking sites like Kaixin001

and Renren, Chinese bloggers have grown used to sharing pictures, messages and comments through online “tweets�. Social networking accelerated this year with the launch of 3G technology in March which enabled bloggers to “tweet� their messages 24 hours a day via smart phones. Time Magazine selected all Internet users as the Person of the Year in 2006. This year, Chinese who “tui� their messages should also get a place of recognition.

(Excerpts of a commentary that appeared in Beijing Times on Dec 15.)

To comment... METRO welcomes your responses. For publication, please e-mail Comments are edited for accuracy, clarity and length. Articles about your life and work in Beijing should be fewer than 700 words. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of METRO. You can also text your comment or story tip-off in the style: VOICE+comment, to: 106 5750 2100 6011

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What’s on STAGE Modern drama

Jane Eyre returns to stage at the National Center for the Performing Arts, following the success of its June run. This classic novel by Charlotte Bronte has been adapted by playwright Yu Rongjun and has Chen Shu and Wang Luoyong in the lead roles. Chen is a popular actress, whose simple persona is perfectly suited to the character of Jane Eyre. Wang has been a leading performer in many Broadway musicals and is now active as an actor, director and playwright in China. 7:30 pm, until Dec 23. 180580 yuan. National Center for the Performing Arts, west of Tian’anmen Square. 66550000 ŕł‘á†Šŕťťŕ ťä°ś, ŕť˝á…?䎟ᑓഎ㽓

tal flavor. However, he says he draws inspiration from traditional Chinese culture. The exhibits on show cover three series, Remote Mountain, Flower Shadow and Tree Shadow, and are strongly reminiscent of the landscape and flower-and-bird paintings of the Song and Yuan dynasties. The mottled color scheme in blue, green and brown, evoke a strong imagery. 10 am - 6 pm, until Dec 17. New Millennium Gallery, 2F Diyang Plaza, east of Sanyanqiao, Chaoyang district. 8453-6193 ŕ¤—á‘ˆáŻŠäŻˆâŹ?á’ž, ᳹䰇ऎĎ?‍ܗ‏ϰ Ḛϰ, ä–žä°‡ŕťťŕĽşŃ áˆ– Strokes of melody

Classical music

Cellist Zhang Yingying and pianist Guo Xiang will present a joint concert and perform Schumann’s Reverie, Brahms’ Intermezzo, Tchaikovsky’s Nocturne, Saint-Saens’ Swan and Dvorak’s Rando. Zhang has been praised by critics for his rich musical expressions, while Guo is known for his delicate performing style and penetrating strength. 7 pm, Dec 20. 40 yuan. Peking University Hall, inside Peking University, Haidian district. 6275-1278/2278 ŕŁŤŕťťâą’á‘ˆä††ŕˇ–ËˆŕŁŤŇ€ŕťťá„şâ€ŤÝ™â€Ź

EXHIBITIONS Oils with flavor of past

Oil painter Li Qi’an’s works are full of a strong experimen-

Oil painter Zeng Yong’s latest solo show is titled Rhythm on Paper, reflecting the artist’s passion for music, especially rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. For Zeng, painting is like performing music with a brush. His portraits and still-life works seem to sing with melody and rhythm. Many of them show his subjects playing an instrument or intoxicated by music. 10 am-5 pm, until Dec 18. Dandeli Art Space, 3 Guangqu Lu, Chaoyang district. 67708966

activity, Energy & Environment Roundtable (BEER), is on tonight at The Bookworm. 8 pm, Dec 16. Free. The Bookworm, Building 4 The Village at Sanlitun, Courtyard 19, Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang district. 6586-9507 ᳹䰇ऎĎ?äž á‰ƒä?ƒ19ো䰜Ď?䞠ቃ Village 4োá˝?

LIVE MUSIC Meeting of virtuosos

Hailed as“The King of Samplingâ€?, Carl Stone is a pioneer of live electronic music. He has used computers in live performances since 1986. Often referred to as “one of the best composers living in (the US) todayâ€?, his works have been used by numerous theater directors and choreographers. Yumiko Tanaka, as a shamisen-player and vocal musician, covers several genres of music, from traditional Japanese music to contemporary, free jazz, new music, dance and theater. Pipa player and composer Min Xiao-Fen, known for her fluid style, is a world-recognized virtuoso in terms of orchestral and underground projects. The three formed an ensemble to present stunning improvised performances. Fei Bo and Lao Gu will make a guest appearance at the dance and tea ceremony on Dec 16. Wu Na and Yan Jun will play guqin and electronic music on Dec 17. 8 pm, Dec 16 and 17. 80 yuan. (120 yuan for a two-day ticket package). Red Power Theater, 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng district. 6400-0199 ϰජमáŽ?ᆊ㚾ৠ46ো㑜áŽ?ŕ ťŕ´Ž Improvised music

EVENTS The green party

The Beijing Energy Network (BEN) is a grassroots organization trying to promote networking and collaboration in understanding and tackling China’s energy and environmental challenges. BEN’s flagship fortnightly

Li Daiguo is an improvisor, composer and street musician, currently living in Chengdu,

Sichuan Province. He has an expansive repertoire and draws on sources as diverse as American contemporary, African improvised jazz scat singing and voice beat-box pyrotechnics, as well as a good dollop of Chinese classical and contemporary sounds., Dec 16. 30 yuan. Yugong Yishan. East Courtyard, site of Duanqirui Government, Zhangzizhong Lu, Dongcheng district, 6404-2711 Ď°ŕś˘ŕ¤Žá“´ăžžá–´ä?ƒ3-2ো↉⽎⨲ á ťáŹ“á‘°áŽťŕ´”ă˝“ä°ś Rock live show

Four-piece Sound Fragment, comprising vocalist Ma Yulong, guitarist Li Wei, bass player Yin Yong and Percussionist Wang Gan, was formed in March 2001. They were noticed at the Midi Festival in May that year. In 2002 their first album, The World is a Noise Garden, was released. The group is on its first tour across China, stopping by to play at Mao Live House. 8:30 pm, Dec 16. 50-60 yuan. Mao Live House, 111 Gulou Dongdajie, Dongcheng district. 138-1179-9436 Ď°ŕś˘ŕ¤Žĺ“§á˝?ϰ໻㸫111ো Jazz goes oriental

Three top-notch jazz musicians in Beijing, including guitarist Liu Yue, organist Xia Jia and percussionist Xiao Dou, make this well-loved group. The band is named after Liu Yue, better known as Cui Jian’s guitarist. The group combines multiple elements of modern jazz styles with those of Chinese music. There is a strong oriental flavor to their music. 9:30 pm, Dec 16. 30 yuan (include one drink). Luce, 138

Jiugulou Dajie, Dongcheng district. 8402-4417 ä?ƒâ‘žËˆĎ°ŕś˘ŕ¤ŽáŽťĺ“§á˝?໻㸫 138ো


09:30 Nature & Science 09:55 Chinese Civilization 10:00 CCTV News 10:15 Sports Scene 10:30 New Frontiers 11:00 Biz China 1130: Around China 12:00 News Hour 13:00 Dialogue 13:30 Travelogue 14:00 Biz China 14:30 Culture Express 15:00 CCTV News 15:15 Learn to Speak Chinese 15:30 Nature and Science 15:55 Chinese Civilization 16:00 CCTV News 16:15 Sports Scene 16:30 New Frontiers 17:00 CCTV News 17:30 Documentary 18:00 Biz China HBO

7:00 The Game 9:15 Wanted 11:00 Jury Duty 13:00 The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2 15:00 Where’s Marlowe? 17:00 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps 19:00 Wanted 21:00 Mr. Woodcock 22:25 Tmz 127 23:00 Sex And The City S201: Take Me Out To The Ballgame 23:25 Sex And The City S202: The Awful Truth ESPN STAR sports

08:00 Live 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Match: Gardner-Webb vs. Duke 10:00 First Air Sportscenter Right Now 2009 10:01 Repeat US Open 9-Ball Championship 2009 11:00 Repeat Bupa Great Australian Run Melbourne 11:59 Repeat Sportscenter Right Now 2009 12:00 Repeat UEFA Champions League 2009/10 Match: Sevilla vs. Rangers 14:00 Repeat Sportscenter Right Now 2009 14:01 Repeat UEFA Champi-

ons League 2009/10 Match: Dynamo Kiev vs. Barcelona 16:00 Repeat Planet Speed 2009/10 16:30 Repeat Sportscenter Right Now 2009 16:31 Repeat US Open 9-Ball Championship 2009 17:30 Repeat 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Match: Gardner-Webb vs. Duke 19:30 Live Sportscenter Asia 20:00 First Air Global Football 20:30 First Air Tiger World Of Football 21:00 Repeat Cev Beach Volleyball European Championship Tour - Spanish Masters 22:00 Repeat Sportscenter Asia 22:30 Repeat UEFA Champions League 2009/10 Match: Atletico Madrid vs. Porto


humanist angle and profound social significance. His film Hero was the first blockbuster in Chinese film history. Now that his first comedic thriller, A Simple Noodle Story, has hit the big screen, he talks to CRI about why he thinks detective and horror films are also worth a shot. 07:00-07:30 News & Reports 07:30-08:00 People In the Know 08:00-11:00 EZ Morning 11:00-12:00 China Drive 12:00-14:00 Third Wheel 14:00-17:00 EZ CafĂŠ 17:00-19:00 China Drive 19:00-20:00 Sunset Blvd. 20:00-22:00 The Pulse 22:00-23:00 All That Jazz 23:30-24:00 In the Spotlight + Chinese Studio 00:00-03:00 China Now

FILMS Films showing at cinemas

CRI highlight

At 23:30, In the Spotlight will focus on China’s New Year film season. Since the 1990s, winter has been a prime season for films of all genres to hit the big screen in China. From 2002, when the Chinese film industry entered its blockbuster era, the race to register bigger sales at the box office is tremendous. The New Year film season this time is packed with more than 50 films. Watch out for the charttoppers. World-renowned filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s Red Film Trilogy is known for a deep

A Simple Noodle Story The Treasure Hunter Hua Mulan The Storm Riders II (The above films are Chinese with English subtitles) G-Force (English) Twilight (English) 2012 (English) District 9 (English) Star City

BB65, Oriental Plaza, 1 Dongchang’an Jie, Wangfujing east side of Oriental Plaza. 8518-5804 Ď°ä­“á…?㸍ϔোâĽ&#x;á‘°ŃŠĎ°áŽ?á‘“ ŕ´Žŕ´„Ď&#x;Ď”áˆ–ă„€Ń¨ă¸Ť%%





Keys to beating holiday stress By Todd Balazovic

The holidays usually mean a barrage of stress for most expatriates. Shopping for presents, planning gatherings and sending Christmas cards along with the strain of everyday life can deflate the cheer out of the holiday season. For 25-year-old Australian Sally Victoria Benson, the most stressful part of the holiday season is being away from family and friends. “I’m trying to get parcels home to Australia, I’m trying to work out what my family wants and what I’m going to

do,” she said, adding that the cold weather doesn’t help. She said that when celebrating Christmas at home she doesn’t have to worry as much because her family helps shoulder the burden. “Here I have to worry about things like what I’m going to do for Christmas, whether or not I’m going to get a Christmas tree, and what to buy as gifts,” she said. “At home my mother takes care of most of that.” This stress is multiplied for expats living overseas who, along with regular stresses of the seasons, must learn to cope with the holiday in a foreign environment. “During Christmas time we put pressu re on ou rselves to have f u n a nd sat isf y everyone else’s expectations,” said Dr Albert Chambers, a family therapist at the Beijing

United Hospital. “The stress may not even happen when you first move to a new country, it can take as long as three years to set in.” Even when removed from a stressful situation, he said, the stress can continue. “Stress can stay at higher levels even after the situation that caused the stress has changed,” he said. Living abroad in unfamiliar surroundings puts a lot of pressure on expats, but there are ways for them to cope. Chambers also emphasizes that stress is a natural, normal and important aspect of human nature. “It activates our bodies and minds, similar to how adrenaline works, helping humans focus when the situation calls for it,” he said. The best way to reduce anxiety in a stressful situation is by simply taking a deep breath, relaxing your body a nd focusi ng you r eyes. In addition to taking

a moment to clear the mind, heavy exercise and engaging in social situations are of ten usef u l met hods for eliminating stress, said Dr Chambers. It’s this combination of exercise and clearing the mind that helps American Jon McLeod cleanse himself of daily stresses. McLeod works as an English teacher at an international school during the day and runs the Circle of Iron martial arts school by night. For him the everyday stress of being in a crowded city, something the Californian is not used to, is dispelled through the discipline and deep thought involved with martial arts training. “You stress out all day and you carry that stress in your muscles, but ma r t ia l a r ts helps stretch out you r muscle and release all

your tension,” he said. Before each class, he instructs students on how to clear their minds through meditation. “We t r y to t hin k about nothing at all,” he said. “For most people it works really well.” Though physical exercise is one of the most commonly subscribed ways of fending off stress, German Claudia Berkowski says exploring a new realm of Beijing and reconnecting with her affection for China is what gets her by when she is feeling overwhelmed. “I like to do something new, like go to a new restaurant or bar,” she said. “Either that or I do something Chinese, such as go to a teahouse, to help remind me why I’m in China.”

How do you deal with stress?

I call my mother on Skype and have a complaining session. After that, I just try not to think about whatever is stressing me out.

Sally Victoria Benson Australia Actress

To relieve stress I have taken two weeks off work for the holidays. I’ve been spending time with my family and going swimming.

Tuomo Falck Finland Software developer

There are so many fantastic restaurants here. I like to go out for a nice dinner and drink a good bottle of wine.

James Hutchinson Australia Wine seller

American Jon McLeod (left), who runs a martial arts school in Beijing, teaches a Chinese student.

Feng Yongbin

More Beijingers seek counseling service By Wang Wei

As people bear more pressure from city life, the demand of counseling has increased.


A 27-year-old consultant is sitting in a dark room, listening to a psychologist analyze her subconscious using the positioning of cartoon characters she placed on a board. The woman surnamed Liu became a frequent visitor of a stress management club established by the Beijing youth stress management service center, after her workload was significantly reduced due to the financial crisis. “Idling away time at work and doing nothing made me anxious,” said Liu, who works in the Beijing office of a Danish company. “Besides I had some problems with my boyfriend at that time. For the first time I felt I was wasting my life.” She was doubtful when she first joined the stress management club last year, but now she said her life has dramatically improved. “It helped me to better understand myself,” she said. “I learnt to think positive and how to achieve a balance between life and work,” she said. As young people bear more and more pressure from work,

But in two years, people have family and society, the demand of psychological counseling become more tolerant about is also expanding rapidly in psychological therapies. Many well-established company exBeijing. Dr Xiong Hanzhong, founder ecutives now come voluntarily and director of the Beijing to seek help. About 30 percent of visitors youth stress management service center, said it only took four to the center are middle and and a half years for the number high school students who have of members to grow from zero problems studying, and the remainder are to 500. mainly busiServices ness people at the center I hope one day who suffer includes stress pressure from management psychological work and life, club activities, counseling will according to psychological Xiong. counseling for be covered by the A white individuals, medical care system. paper on the stress managehealth condiment training XIONG HANZHONG tion of China’s for companies Founder of Beijing youth stress executives and promo- management service center released by tion of stress Beijing-based management newspaper Health Time shows 76 knowledge. Xiong said that in the begin- percent of people are threatened ning, most visitors were dragged by harmful conditions, primarily to the center by their relatives or the result of pressure. Xiong said the first type of friends, and many of them suffered from some psychological pressure is from work. Competition at workplace is fierce and problems. “It was a taboo to seek therapy many people worry they may at that time, people would think lose their job or have their salary you were crazy or had mental cut during the financial crisis. The other source of stress is disease,” he said.

from daily life. Many people cannot afford skyrocketing housing prices and also suffer marital problems. Without proper treatment, people with these problems can suffer from insomnia, indigestion and even cancer in some serious cases. Xiong said if people feel relieved after shopping, buy useless items or frequently eat and drink beyond normal levels, then it is a sign of great pressure. The most common way of dealing with stress in life is to lower the significance of the things that bother you, leave the environment which causes stress and do something you enjoy. Seeking counseling is also a good option, Xiong said. “Whenever I feel pressure I often play a sport I like table tennis or go to suburban area of Beijing during weekends,” he said. Xiong believed it is government’s responsibility to provide a conducive social welfare system to help people who surfer excessive stresses. “I hope one day psychological counseling will be covered by the medical care system, then people will have even better life,” he said.

Psychological training

Companies promote stress relief to recruits and veteran workers By Wang Wei

Stress management is becoming a vital part of a company’s training package to help staff cope with pressure at the workplace. More than 100 companies in Beijing, including State-run companies and multinationals, have received stress management trainings from Beijing

youth stress management service center, according to its director Xiong Hanzhong. Xiong said the classes use role play to analyze personality, as well as incorporating music and pictures. China Life Insurance Group, for example, has made stress management training part of the standard orientation program for new staff. A member of the company’s HR team

surnamed Jiang said that most of their new employees are university graduates who can feel overwhelmed by pressure from clients and sales quotas. “Those who cannot handle the situation often quit or waste time at work,” she said. They can be better workers after learning how to handle stress, Jiang said. Yu Yang, a saleswoman who has worked at China Life for two years, said she had attended four sessions of stress

management and learnt to care about the process instead of the final results. “It is helpful, I am more confident and positive both at work and life now," she said. For experienced employees, China Life provides stress management training sessions every six months, she said. It gives them a chance to understand their goals, at work and in life, she added.

Staff of Mercedes-Benz China receive stress management training in Beijing youth stress management service center. Courtesy of Xiong Hanzhong

ePaper, China Daily  

ePaper, China Daily

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