The Lion Awakes
Daily News, Culture & Current Affairs about China
Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007
"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."
Premier sets 7% growth target
Environment 'must not be sacrificed for rapid development'
BEIJING - An annual growth target of 7 percent over the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) has been set to ensure sustainable development, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday.
"We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption," Wen said during an online chat with Internet users.
The target was lower than the 7.5 percent set for the previous five years, when the country's economy actually grew at an annual rate of around 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.
Premier Wen Jiabao chats with netizens at xinhua.net.cn on Sunday. It is the third consecutive year that the premier has conducted an online talk prior to the annual sessions of the top legislature and advisory body, scheduled for early March.
Higher tax threshold to assist poor on way
BEIJING - China will raise the threshold of personal income tax amid the rising cost of living, a move aimed at reducing the burden of middle and low-income people and expanding domestic consumption, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday.
China started to collect individual income tax in 1980 for monthly incomes more than 800 yuan ($122) when the average urban income was around 40 yuan per month. In 2008, the tax starting point increased to 2,000 yuan when residents' income in urban areas jumped to an average of 1,315 yuan per month.
Reforming the income tax has become one of the main concerns of the public in recent years amid rising inflation.
A survey by People's Daily and its website in January showed 65.9 percent of people surveyed called for a higher threshold of personal income tax, while 55 percent said higher taxes should be imposed on rich people.
Fight to tame inflation will be crucial: experts
BEIJING - In the 1980s, affluent people from Hong Kong traveled to neighboring Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong province to buy vegetables and food because they were much cheaper.
Now, the tide has turned and some Shenzhen residents are buying their daily necessities in Hong Kong.
They spend more time on the road than they do strolling neighborhood vegetable stalls, but, due to the surging prices on the mainland, they still think the trip is worthwhile.
"The prices in Shenzhen have risen fast since last year," said Wan Lili, who lives in the southern economic boomtown where she operates a small medical machinery sales company. She visits Hong Kong every two weeks.
"The cost of soy sauce, egg and bean curd as well as shampoo are all higher at home than they are in the Hong Kong market I go to."
China's consumer inflation rate rose to 5.1 percent in November, the fastest increase for more than two years. It eased to 4.6 percent in December but jumped again to 4.9 percent in January, posing a test for policymakers.
Property tax program to go nationwide
BEIJING - China is to accelerate its property tax pilot reform and gradually expand it to national level, the General Office of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress(NPC), the country's top legislature, said in an official statement Sunday.
The office, citing a report from the National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC), or the top economic planner, said China's policies to discourage property speculation and curb excessive home price growth in the past year had seen "positive results".
See Kaixin's - CHINA REAL ESTATE
China to review women's retirement age
BEIJING - The Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) will begin an extensive review of the retirement age for women, said an official statement Sunday.
The NPC committee further proposed that women be given the right to decide if they will retire earlier than the officially-set age.
The retirement age in China is generally 60 years old for men and 50 to 55 for women. Chinese scholars and the public have been debating whether to raise the retirement age as the country's elderly population rises.
Subsidized homes inventory building
BEIJING - China plans to build 36 million government-subsidized apartments in the coming five years, including 10 million in 2011, so more will be available for low-income residents, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday.
He made the pledge while responding to netizens' comments about the soaring cost of housing during an online chat.
"We have to contain the excessive price growth and keep housing prices at a reasonable level," Wen said.
Wen throws support behind efforts to help child beggars
BEIJING - Civil affairs and public security departments have been urged to take comprehensive steps to help children who are begging on the nation's streets and are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, Premier Wen Jiabao said during his online chat with netizens on Sunday morning.
Wen said he has paid close attention to the ongoing micro blog campaign that calls on concerned netizens to post snapshots of children seen begging on the streets in the hope that police will be able to rescue abducted children and return them to their families.
Wen said there are many reasons why children sometimes turn to begging, including poverty and family issues but he said none of those children should be without care.
And while it is a complicated task to help and rehabilitate child beggars, he said increased public attention and joint intervention from different governmental organs will help end the problem.
Medical service accessible to every citizen: Wen
BEIJING - China will increase investment in the country's medical insurance system and strive to enable medical service accessible to every citizen, Premier Wen said Sunday.
More than 90 percent of rural population are already covered by government-sponsored health insurance, while in urban area, the figure is 89 percent.
SASAC urges greater safety for workers
BEIJING - The State asset regulator on Friday urged central State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to increase protection of the country's workers, especially those working abroad, amid rising chaos in some Middle Eastern and North African countries.
"Central SOEs should strive to ensure their (workers) security, especially those working in overseas markets" and improving their well-being, in areas such as accommodation, said Huang Shuhe, vice-chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC).
In recent years, the number of Chinese workers employed abroad has been rising rapidly. The number of workers employed by China's central SOEs is currently 6.8 million, and most of them are working abroad, according to SASAC.
New law targets organ traders
Poor bear the brunt as illegal traffickers prey on their vulnerability
To crack down on human organ trafficking, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the country's highest legislative body, passed an amendment on Friday to the current criminal law that adds organ trafficking as a specific crime. Previously, traffickers were usually charged with operating an illegal business. The amendment also says that criminals convicted of "forced organ removal, forced organ donation or organ removal from juveniles" could face punishment for homicide, including the death penalty. The amendment will take effect on May 1.
CCTV Chinese Premier Wen chats online with netizens VIDEO
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has chatted online with netizens, which was jointly hosted by the central government website (www.gov.cn) and Xinhua News Agency website (www.news.cn).
Wen Jiabao said China's development blueprint for the coming five years will emphasize efforts on the improvement of people's livelihoods. Wen told netizens he wouldn't allow consumer prices to surge unchecked in the country, saying maintaining the stability of prices has always been the priority of China's economic development. To reduce the wealth gap, Wen Jiabao told Internet users that the State Council would discuss a plan to raise the threshold of personal income tax.
CCTV Job fairs crowded with 2011 graduates VIDEO
It's four months until this year's graduate season starts in China, but many have already begun job-hunting. With large-scale job fairs in Beijing and Dalian on Saturday, Dannielle Taff examines how both employers and graduates have become more open to the two-way selection process.
The snow didn't dampen their enthusiasm in the hunt for jobs. At Beijing's vocational counsel center, queues formed long before the fair opened its doors.
During the two day event for education majors, over 5-hundred vacancies were being advertised for elementary schools, high schools and kindergartens.
But the pressure was on for the grad students, as many postgraduates - who didn't major in education - were also on the look-out for teaching positions.
Employer of Beijing Bayi Middle School said,"We've received about seventy resumes, mostly from double-degree students in Beijing and master-degree from other provinces."
CCTV China's government steps up to curb inflation VIDEO
Questions concerning rising prices were put to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in his online chat. He told Internet users that he would not allow the consumer prices to surge unchecked in the country.
Premier Wen Jiabao said maintaining the stability of prices has always been the priority of China's economic development, as excessive increases in consumer prices would not only affect people's life but also hamper social stability.
The premier said China will take more measures to further constrain inflation.
The country's monetary policy has been shifted to a prudent one since the beginning of the year.
Several programs have been carried out to boost grain output. Price speculation is strictly forbidden. And farm produce transportation has been optimized.
To make the move even more effective, 4 billion yuan will be allocated for rural water conservation projects, with more funds ready depending on the development of drought.
CCTV Chinese evacuees from Libya arrive in Beijing VIDEO
More than 220 Chinese evacuees arrived just hours ago aboard a chartered flight from Libya. A total of 12-thousand Chinese nationals have been evacuated from the North African country since unrest broke out there. A second flight with Chinese evacuees will arrive in Beijing later on Friday.
After a 12-hour flight from Tripoli, the first Air China chartered plane touched down at Beijing International Airport in the early hours of Friday morning.
Most of the evacuees were engineers and technicians working in Libya as well as their family members.
Evacuees expressed their gratitude to the Chinese Embassy in Libya.
CCTV Studio interview: Effect on curbing demand of building subsidized homes VIDEO
For more analysis into the building of subsidized homes, let's again talk to our current affairs commentator, Professor Liu Baocheng, from the University of International Business and Economics.
Q1: It's estimated that the construction of 10 million subsidized homes will cost something like 1.4 trillion yuan. Where will such a huge amount come from?
Q2: Many say the government's latest measures have moved from curbing speculation to curbing demand. Do you think that's so, and will this massive building exercise help ease demand?
East Africa, China explore new areas of cooperation
NAIROBI, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The East Africa Community (EAC) and the Chinese government held talks on Wednesday to explore new areas of cooperation and boost trade between both sides.
A statement from the EAC Secretariat said China's Ministry of Commerce Director Department of West Asian and African Affairs Chai Zhijing held discussions with Secretary General of the East African Community Juma Mwapachu on bilateral cooperation. "The Chinese delegation were at the EAC Headquarters to explore areas of cooperation specifically trade and investment opportunities in areas such as agriculture, animal-husbandry, production and processing of mineral and other natural resources, manufacturing, commerce and logistics, and tourism," the statement said.
It noted that the delegation wants to know how China could support and facilitate cross-border infrastructure projects such as transport, communication and power.
The UK taught the world how to produce in the 19th century, the US showed the world how to consume in the 20th century, and China needs to demonstrate how to develop in a sustainable way in the 21st century.
Turbulent Mid-East disrupts the world
Faced with uncertainties stemming from ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, no country in the region can safely assert it would smile to the end.
The chaos there seems to supply much more libido to the media in the West than to their counterparts in emerging nations. For the first time in centuries, the pace of development in the emerging nations "embarrassingly" surpassed Western society. The unrest in the region might become a big turning point for Western countries.
It might be unfair to credit conspiracy theorists for the turmoil in the Middle East. Nobody would believe that Western forces did not play a role in the region either. Though the West has lost the strength to manipulate the political process in the Middle East, it is still strong enough to influence the political outlook in some countries.
Turmoil in China is wishful thinking
In the wake of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, popular protests have swept the Arab world. Some lost no time in hyping that the wave would make its way to China. Nevertheless, such a misjudgment would only lead to disappointment.
A few Western media outlets are seeking hints of a Chinese-style "Jasmine Revolution." With a colossal population, China inevitably has a few dissidents, who are energized by the public revolts in the Middle East and call for protests or even a revolution in China. Such people do exist, especially in larger cities.
Recently, a number of Western journalists gathered at an appointed place, watching a performance art version of the "Jasmine Revolution" given by several Chinese. The number of journalists and bystanders there overwhelmed that of the performers. However, some overseas media outlets reported this as a massive popular movement, and barely veiled their expectations for turmoil in China.
Their reports essentially became stage photography, rather than investigative journalism. Strictly speaking, such careless sensationalization was rather news forgery than journalism.
Anyone knowing about the Chinese society would never predict a Chinese-style "Jasmine Revolution." This society is now generally stable. This is not merely a reflection of the state of society, but a widely held public opinion.
Indeed, China has many problems and conflicts - imbalanced development and a wide poverty gap have incurred plenty of complaints. The nation has formed a political determination to address these problems, and possible solutions are being considered.
Chinese society has no interest in solving these problems through revolution. Many still vividly remember the social upheavals that occurred decades ago. They have more faith in the strengths of reform and development.
China is far more stable than some would think. Thousands of years of history have demonstrated the stability of Chinese civilization. The social complexity here has also help created a thorough social balance.
Most problems in China are by-products of the nation's growth. China is not a dumpsite full of problems - it is more like a wharf where both accom-plishments and problems are laid. As long as the nation still keeps the momentum of growth, these disappointments will not become a Gordian knot.
Success is the best theory - no wisdom could question success. China is seeing economic and social progress now. It has drawn worldwide at-tention during the first decade of the 21st century. No matter whether they are applauded or rebuked today, these achievements will turn out to be a great success in our history. And history's dustbin is always littered with those who aspire for China's collapse.
Unrest tests wisdom of world powers
Revolution in the Middle East may gravely disrupt global development and profoundly change the world's interest structure that was established over the past half-century. The consequences of these changes will not be evenly distributed around the world. As such, how China turns these risks into opportunities will be vital to its rise in the decades to come.
National competition in the era of globalization is more cruel than it seems to be. Changes in global positioning could once be achieved through internal development or regional adjustment, but they now require global "re-identification," which cannot be achieved in a short space of time.
Reading too much into a jasmine bunch
A few people in Beijing, Shanghai and several other Chinese cities attempted to mimic the "Jasmine revolution" Sunday, as highlighted by mainstream Western media. These people, however, are like beggars in the streets - they never fade away, while the rest of the country moves forward.
The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have spread in the Middle East, and some in the West want China to become "the next Egypt." This is simply impossible. China is huge and will always contain certain problems. But a few people chanting slogans or throwing jasmine flowers in the street will not slow the country's momentum.
China's government holds the support of the majority of society. Some people do complain - occasionally because they enjoy the thrill of standing up to authority and showing off their bravado - but Chinese society as a whole cannot be represented by these agitated few. There is no collective will for revolution in China.
The Middle East has a place for China
Social revolution is reshaping the Middle East, but China has remained a spectator of this revolution, reducing the diplomatic risks at play. In terms of shaping the future of the Middle East, there is little China can do. The changes in the Middle East do affect the global outlook, with China's interests at play.
Although the US has pretended to support street democracy in the Middle East, its real support lay in a different area to that which was claimed. The US has strongly promoted the expansion of street protests in Tehran, but has not commented on the police repression in Bahrain. The reason for this is that the former is an open enemy of the United States, while the latter is the home of the US Fifth Fleet.
Democracy is more colorful than imagined
The worldwide shift toward democracy is unstoppable. However, with globalization, democracy has become more like a Russian doll: you always see the one on top, but not those hidden inside.
From the perspective of history, the global wave of democratization will remove a Western-focused center of interest.
The beginning of the Egyptian revolution is like a constitutional revolution. There seems to be a wide gulf between Egypt and Western cultures, with some external influences blocked out and some allowed in.
In the future, the US-backed Egyptian military and democrats will compete with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is still too early to assert that Egypt and the Middle East will embark on an anti-American road.
But it is even more foolhardy to conclude that the Egyptian revolution was a victory for the West. The current world order is unfair, just as a nation's richest city is filled with affluent Western influences while many live on in poverty. They will ask: Why?
The late American scholar Samuel P. Huntington wrote in The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century that elections in non-Western countries often induce politicians to come up with the claims that can win the most votes. These often have racist, religious and nationalist hues and will aggravate divisions, leading to more support for anti-Western rhetoric and policies.
For some Muslim countries, Huntington's conclusion is that people there can only choose between anti-democratic secularism and anti-Western democracy.
A 30 Minute Current Affairs Programme on CCTV - 9 (In English) where current issues are discussed by experts from China and Internationally:
See Kaixin's - Tiger Mum - Amy Chua 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother'
International News Sources
The Wall Street Journal
Official Target to be 7% in Bid to Battle Inflation, Shift Focus From Exports
BEIJING—China's premier said the government wants slower economic growth to avoid inflation and to restructure the economy, even as much of the developed world is struggling to accelerate expansion.
See Kaixin's - ECONOMIC CHINA
Deepening Shadows Over Chinese Law
Chinese president Hu Jintao addressed a “study session” of leaders last week and called for new measures and policies of “social management.” His message foretells a tightening of controls over China’s population and over social protest. Although the speech may have been provoked by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, brutal treatment of dissidents was already ongoing. It has become more intense and it will continue. A prominent civil rights lawyer, Mo Shaoping, recently spoke at a conference in Beijing on the status of lawyers at which he said that “our current system and government is not one that relies on rule of law, rather it relies on the law of the party.”
The New York Times
Call for Protests in China Draws More Police than Protesters
BEIJING — A call for protests on Sunday in more than 20 Chinese cities resulted in a tiny turnout but an enormous law enforcement presence that led to police clashes with foreign journalists in Beijing.
Kaixin OpEd – Kaixin suggest two alternative headlines for this article:
‘What if you threw a party and no-one turned up?’
‘Flogging a dead horse’
Kaixin is gob-smacked, but resigned ….
As there was no-one to clash with, there had to be a clash with the journalists.
Jeez … don’t the NYT’s journalists every wonder why the world looks like their lower colon.
There was no-one there because no-one in China is interested.
That poor dead horse just wont move.
Articles of interest from the week's news
Xiaolin believes in truth through a lens
Walking through city alleys and field ridges in rural areas carrying his cameras, Xiaolin enjoys his time recording every element in life that most easily ignore.
"Going to different places to experience people's life makes me keep tranquil and rich in mind," Xiaolin says of the reward he gets from photography.
Starting from a love for Chinese painting as a child and as a requirement for his job after graduation as a graphic designer, Xiaolin decided to express the beauty frozen in a single frame through photography starting in 2003.
Xiaolin said he cherishes honesty and truth in every photo and considers it necessary for every photographer who wants his works unique.