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NewsChina Chinese Edition

Oriental Outlook

February 4, 2013

January 29, 2013

Tragedy for Chinese Comedy

Chinese Heat up Overseas Property Unnerved by rocketing housing prices at home, a growing number of Chinese real estate investors are shifting to the overseas market. Despite warnings from experts that taxes, fees and higher loan rates for overseas buyers could result in diminished returns for Chinese buyers, the trend shows no sign of slowing. Media have revealed that non-naturalized Chinese people accounted for over 40 percent of total house sales in Vancouver last year, and that one third of new apartments in London’s ritzy Canary Wharf were sold to Chinese buyers, pushing up housing prices in the area by 5 to 10 percent. Many governments in Western countries have issued policies to curb price hikes, which experts believe will further increase investment risks for Chinese investors.

Attheendof2012,theChinesecomedyLostinThailand shockedthecountry’smovieindustrybypullinginnearly1.2 billion yuan(US$189m)attheboxoffice,despitehavingbeen madeonashoestringbudget.Criticshaveattributedthefilm’s successtoitssimplicity,atthesametimequestioningwhether suchslapstickcomedies,whilebereftofsocialcommentary, weretrulyrepresentativeofChinesecomedyculture.Insiders explainedthatChinesedirectorsgenerallybegintheircareers makingcomedies,beforeshiftingtoothertypesofmoviesafter havingmadeanameforthemselves.Atypicalcaseisthatof populardirectorFengXiaogang,whosesatiricalcomedieshave failedtowinhimasinglenationalaccolade,despitehisawardwinningoutputinothergenres.Criticshavealsoarguedthat thetruevalueofacomedyliesinlampooningsocialproblems, somethingChina’scensorsarehesitanttoallow.

China Economic Weekly

Century Weekly February 4, 2013

Fuel Standards Debate Pressured by public anger over heavy smog caused partly by vehicle emissions, this February Beijing implemented a new emission standard, the “Beijing Standard V,” on all new cars sold in the city. The new standard, which bans fuel with a sulfur dioxide content exceeding 10ppm, brings the city in line with the European standard, the “Euro V.” However, China’s State-owned oil companies argue that upgrading the country’s fuel processing equipment, currently designed to produce high-sulfur heavy oil, will require time and investment. As a result, the introduction of the new Beijing Standard V fuel will see no reduction in price, despite its being linked to enginer knock. Critics have questioned why consumers had no say in defining the standard, despite having to bear the cost.

January 28, 2013

Inland Nuclear Goes Silent The Chinese government’s ban on inland nuclear power plants in its 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015) has dashed hopes of restarting the three inland nuclear projects suspended in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Staff and businesspeople associated with the obsolete plants are moving elsewhere, plunging local economies into difficulty. The developer behind the Taojiang nuclear plant in Hubei Province, for example, complained that it had already invested nearly 4 billion yuan (US$625m) in preliminary construction, only to have the project canceled. Meanwhile, the Taojiang government, having invested heavily in supporting infrastructure, has been forced to shift its development focus to other projects. However, Taojiang claims it will never give up its “crucial” nuclear power ambitions.

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Economy & Nation Weekly February 7, 2013

Dubious Non-performing Loan Rate Despite the growing number of private enterprises going bankrupt due to the sluggish economy, official statistics show less than a 1 percent non-performing loan rate at China’s banks, a figure analysts have been reluctant to accept. Industry insiders have revealed that in the first half of 2012 alone, China’s 16 listed banks saw an almost 126 billion yuan (US$20bn) increase in the value of overdue loans, indicating an estimated non-performing loan rate of more than 5 percent, with some ailing industries like steel and solar power exceeding 10 percent. The questionable figures are believed to be due to falsified statistics from local banks, for whom non-performing loans can result in official sanctions. Analysts are calling for higher tolerance to non-performing loans, and the establishment of a credit system. CHINA WEEKLY I March 2013

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