I am honored to be included in Foreign Policy’s The Pacific Power Index: 50 people shaping the future of the U.S.-China relationship. It is quite the list of interesting people.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. China’s leadership warns of unprecedented national security risks – Xinhua | The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee warned that China was facing unprecedented security risks and should remain on alert. The bureau convened on Friday for a meeting on security, it was presided over by President Xi Jinping who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. A national security strategy guideline was adopted at the meeting. According to a statement issued after the meeting, risks were unpredictable so the country must always be mindful of potential dangers. // 中共中央政治局召开会议 审议通过《国家安全战略纲要》-新华网
Related: China’s leadership vows more pro-frugality measures – Xinhua at same meeting discussed above// The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee met on Friday to hear reports on the execution of the “Eight-point” regulations, which since the end of 2012 had banned extravagance and formalism among CPC officials and cadres. The meeting said the regulations had been implemented with satisfactory results and had brought the Party and the masses closer. However, some prominent problems still exist, the meeting concluded, as some officials abide by the regulations not willingly but just because they were under pressure. In addition, some violators had changed their modus operandi and sought alternate measures of banned behaviors in order to dodge punishment, and certain systems needed to be tweaked to be properly realized, according to the meeting. The work in 2015 will focus on the implementation of regulations on government receptions, offices, meetings and training programs, overseas business trips and secretaries of officials, their concurrent posts in social organization, and regulation on salaries of state-owned enterprises’ executives.
2. Xi stresses grassroots consolidation in building stronger army – Xinhua On his Yunnan inspection tour Xi visited the 14th Group Army, set up by Bo Xilai’s father Bo Yibo, likely sending a clear message to anyone who still has lingering doubts/has not been paying attention about who is running the show…wonder if Bo Xilai got to see a report of Xi’s visit from his home in Qincheng? // Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed strengthening grassroots units to build a stronger army, while he was addressing troops based in Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), told the soldiers that they should follow the instructions of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the CMC, and make efforts to consolidate the basis of army building and promote army building at grassroots level. Xi visited the 14th army group, and commended its achievements in recent years, adding that soldiers should fear neither hardship nor death. Next on the visit agenda was the military base of the second artillery corps, which is a strategic force of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
3. Chinese Chairman of Credit Suisse Venture Is Missing – Bloomberg Lei Jie, the chairman of China’s Founder Securities (601901) Co. and its joint venture with Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), can’t be contacted by Founder as the government questions executives at the company’s parent. Lei asked for a week’s sick leave Jan. 12 and the firm hasn’t been able to reach him since Jan. 19, Founder Securities told Shanghai’s stock exchange Thursday night. Lei couldn’t be reached on his mobile yesterday./ /very deep waters in this unfolding Founder corruption case
Related: Embattled Founder Securities ‘Cannot Reach Its Chairman’ – Caixin Beijing Zenith had earlier accused executives at Founder Group of embezzlement and stock manipulation. Founder Group responded by saying Beijing Zenith has suffered capital chain troubles, violated regulatory rules on information disclosure and broke a contract for an investment in Founder Securities in August. Several people at Beijing Zenith were asked to assist with investigations, sources close to the matter said. No official information has been released, and it is unclear who is conducting the inquiry.
4. Downfall of Party Internet Policeman ‘Helped Lead to National Cleanup Campaign’ – Caixin An official who worked for a Communist Party body set up to make the Internet more secure was detained by graft busters last year for taking huge large bribes, and the scandal was one of the reasons for a new campaign to stop a dirty business that involves companies paying to have negative reports about them taken offline. Gao Jianyun was taken into custody in September over allegations he abused his power for personal gain and took a huge amount of bribes, a government official said on January 21 at a press conference to launch the cleanup campaign. Peng Bo, a vice director of State Council’s Cyberspace Administration, said at the press conference that some officials involved in policing the Internet had been found to be profiting from their control of online information. // Internet censorship has been a goldmine for some, and of course a hotbed of corruption
Related: Fei Chang Dao: Caixin and Weibos Block Access to Report on Private/Public Cooperation in Internet Censorship partial translation of a Caixin story from 2013 // [Exclusive Report: The Post Deletion Business] Caixin reporters have discovered that “post deletion” has long-since moved beyond the crude models of earlier years, becoming inter-linked grey industry where senior levels in public relations companies and portal web sites, as well as some overseeing officials, work hand-in-hand. It costs thousands to delete a negative news article, hundreds of thousands in professional fees to get a key word blocked, and those asking to get posts deleted range from users and companies to government officials.
Related: 国平：整治网络乱象 打造管理铁军-中新网
Related: Rule to protect security ‘on the way this year’ – China Daily A cyberspace rule aimed at maintaining State security and protecting the public interest will be introduced later this year, an official at China’s Internet watchdog said on Wednesday. “We’re always pushing the rule, hoping it will be published and become effective as soon as possible,” Peng Bo, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said at a news conference in Beijing. The exact timing of the rule’s introduction is still uncertain, but Peng said it is expected to be published this year. In May, the cyberspace administration said China had decided to launch a security review targeting IT products, services and suppliers preparing to enter the country’s market.
Related: Foreign VPN service unavailable in China – Global Times the VPN blocking in Beijing at least was much worse during the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, as I wrote about at the time in my old Dealbook column. Most of my VPNs still work, I won’t name them here but if you use a service like Threema or Wickr I am happy to share. Hoping this is not the “new normal” // Cyber security analysts on Thursday defended China’s Internet management after an overseas VPN (virtual private network) company on Wednesday announced some of its users in China have been unable to use the service since an upgrade of the Great Firewall, China’s Internet infrastructure.
6. Your public account is history – China Media Project I think we can safely suppose that WeChat is very, very far from out of the woods. Readers might note two pieces in particular in the official People’s Daily, published today and yesterday in the “People’s Commentary” section on page five. Yesterday’s “commentary” is written by Xu Danei (徐达内), generally speaking a very credible Chinese expert and columnist writing on new media trends in the country. Xu’s piece begins by enumerating the welcome conveniences offered by WeChat, and then moves on to the dangers — rumours and unverified information. It’s an argument we’ve heard from Chinese officialdom over and over again, concerning news portal sites, then Weibo, and now WeChat: rumours are a scourge, a public health threat, and they must be mobilised against. Xu’s commentary concludes with a bootlicking caution that seems quite out of character:
7. China’s coal production sees first drop since 2000 – Xinhua China’s coal production dropped in 2014, the first time since 2000, the China National Coal Association said Friday. In the first 11 months of last year, China produced 3.5 billion tonnes of coal, 2.1 percent less than the same period in 2013, said Jiang Zhimin, vice president of the CNCA, during a media briefing. The CNCA estimated a 2.5 percent drop in production for the whole year. As of the end of 2014, coal stocks in Chinese coal companies stood at 87 million tonnes, up 2.6 percent from the beginning of the year. Coal stocks in major power plants hit 94.6 million tonnes, 17.1 percent higher than the beginning of the year, the CNCA said.
Related: Rethinking China’s Low-Carbon Strategy-Paulson Institute Le-Yin Zhang of University College London examines China’s efforts to pursue a low-carbon development strategy, proposing a rethinking of China’s underlying approach.
8. Guideline to regulate rural property rights transfer market The State Council General Office issued a guideline on Jan 22 to regulate the transfer and transaction market of rural property rights to ensure the healthy development of the platform. The move is integral to the bigger picture of reform and development taking place in rural areas, the guideline said. // 国务院办公厅关于引导农村产权流转交易市场健
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
China ready for deposit insurance – Xinhua China is ready to launch a deposit insurance scheme, a central bank official said Friday. “Preparation for the deposit insurance has ended, and it will be launched soon,” said Pan Gongsheng, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, at a media briefing…According to the draft, institutions will pay insurance premiums and an agency will manage the money. The fund will pay maximum compensation of 500,000 yuan (81,500 U.S. dollars) per depositor if a bank suffers insolvency or bankruptcy. Banks will pay indemnity with their own assets to those who deposit more than 500,000 yuan.
Economists React: China’s Manufacturing Sector Gets Slightly Stronger – WSJ As the first data point of the month, the HSBC HSBA.LN +0.73% “flash” purchasing managers’ index gets a lot of attention. Friday’s reading is the first chance to see how China’s economy performed in January, and it is good news – just about. The index rose to 49.8, up from 49.6 in December. But with any number below 50 indicating month-on-month contraction, that still leaves a lot more room for improvement. Economists weigh in
China Said to Plan Punishment of 4 Fund Firms for Front Running – Bloomberg China is cracking down on insider trading it seeks to lure foreign investors to invest in the stock market, which became the world’s second biggest after a 64 percent rally for the benchmark index over the past year. The CSRC this month said it has referred 125 individuals and three institutions to the police for insider trading since the second half of 2013. The four fund companies will be notified of the punishment this month, one of the people said. The CSRC said in a Dec. 26 statement that China Asset Management and HFT were among the 20 companies it was investigating for illegal trading.
Ratio of Chinese Banks’ Bad Loans Jumps Most in at Least a Decade – Bloomberg Nonperforming loans accounted for 1.29 percent of commercial banks’ total advances as of Dec. 31, up from 1.16 percent three months earlier, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement Friday. The bad-loan ratio for all banking institutions, including policy banks, stood at 1.64 percent at the end of last year, according to the CBRC. Bad loans may swell to 1.6 percent this year as economic growth weakens, adding pressure on Chinese banks to boost provisions, Bank of Communications Co. estimated last week.
China real estate loans see rapid growth – Xinhua Financial institutions had 5.63 trillion yuan (926 billion U.S. dollars)in outstanding loans to the real estate sector as of the end 2014, up 22.6 percent, the People’s Bank of China said in a report. Outstanding loans for housing development hit 4.28 trillion yuan, up 21.7 percent, while those for land development grew 25.7 percent to reach 1.35 trillion yuan. Loans for affordable housing programs totaled 1.14 trillion yuan, an increase of 57.2 percent. Loans made to individual house purchasers remained relatively flat at11.52 trillion yuan.
China Online Lending Shakeup Looms as Tiger Global Enters – Bloomberg Dianrong.com said last week that it sold an unspecified stake to Tiger Global Hong Kong Ltd., a unit of the $15 billion investment firm founded and run by Coleman. Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai & Co. invested last year.
China Provinces Cut 2015 Growth Targets as ‘New Normal’ Spreads – Bloomberg Of seven provinces, municipalities and regions that have so far published 2015 growth targets, six have cut the rates. Economists expect the central government will lower its national target to about 7 percent from last year’s 7.5 percent at the People’s Congress in March…Tibet, the only region of the seven that have announced growth targets and full-year data to meet its 2014 goal, held its 2015 aspiration at 12 percent. Local leaders cited railway construction as a boost to the mountainous region. // Lhasa was clearly booming when I was there last August
Ping An Acquires City of London Property for $482 Million – Bloomberg Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. bought Tower Place, an office property in the City of London financial district, for 419 million euros ($482 million). Ping An, China’s second-largest insurer, acquired the building from Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, the German company said in a statement today. The low-rise office and shopping complex near the Tower of London was valued at 369 million euros in a Deutsche Bank fund update in September.
China establishes e-commerce union to monitor, share quality information – Xinhua Zhang Qinrong, deputy head of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), said the union will connect e-commerce enterprises and rid the market of those that are dishonest or illegal. The e-commerce industry is booming in China, with online retail turnover hitting 1.8 trillion yuan (293.89 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2014, up 49.9 percent from a year ago.
Urbanisation: The great sprawl of China | The Economist Sprawl has resulted in populations becoming more thinly spread. China’s megacities are less dense than equivalents elsewhere in the world (see chart). Guangzhou could contain another 4m people if it was as packed as Seoul in South Korea; Shenzhen could be larger by 5m. Extending outward takes a toll: slow commutes from far-flung suburbs increase fuel consumption and cut productivity.
China Economic Watch | China Chart of the Week: China’s Real Effective FX Appreciation in Perspective The renminbi depreciated by 2.5% against the US dollar in 2014, reversing a multi-year trend of appreciation. This depreciation has led some to question whether China has abandoned their policy of allowing the RMB to appreciate against the dollar. As we pointed out in our recent post reviewing the government’s foreign exchange and capital account reform in 2014, this weakness is in large part due to the strength of the dollar. In real trade-weighted terms, the RMB appreciated by over 6% in 2014.
Tax Analysts — Experts Question Accuracy of New York Times Story on Chinese Taxation Some tax experts are questioning the accuracy of a recent New York Times article about China’s renewed focus on taxing its citizens’ worldwide income, including pointing out that the piece erroneously indicates that China is following the U.S. model of citizenship-based taxation.
离岸天堂不再？中国严打海外避税财经频道一财网 State Administration of Taxation going after tax evasion via offshore entities // 在全球大多数政府联合掀起的打击跨国企业避税浪潮下，已经踏上“
POLITICS AND LAW *
Davos Diary: The Strange Case of a Missing Chinese Journalist | Foreign Policy In Davos, the mood among Chinese I spoke with seems more one of resignation – that Rui is gone, and that, sadly, changes nothing. “In China we don’t have media freedom,” a Chinese CEO, who asked to speak anonymously, told me. “So it’s not like media personalities are irreplaceable” – even ones with as a big of a presence of Rui. “It’s a face and a voice,” the CEO added. “When he’s gone, you can always replace him.”
Vice-President Li Yuanchao in apparent move to deny online Founder Group rumours | South China Morning Post Vice-President Li Yuanchao has hit back at rampant speculation that he is poised to be the target of a corruption investigation, telling a gathering in Beijing that he is a victim of overseas online rumours. Li made the unusually direct remarks at a meeting in the capital of more than 400 delegates of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, according to Tian Bingxin, the former chairman of the Hong Kong-based Sing Pao Daily News and founder of news website hkmnews.com
陆武成被查 十八大后甘肃首位落马高官政经频道财新网 Lu Wucheng, vice-chairman of Gansu People’s congress detained, apparently linked to sketchy SOE acquisition, direct result of CCDI inspection tour of the province last summer // 曾任金昌和兰州市委书记，在主政金昌期间，陆武成曾遭到举报。
‘I Will Not Give Up’ Says Chinese Mother Who Can’t Find Anyone to Bribe for Daughter’s Schooling – Businessweek Beijing parents encountering similar issues, due to both corruption crackdown and school enrollment reforms that now give vast majority of spots to kids living in the school catchment area // In previous years, people with money or connections could bypass residency restrictions and send their kids to the most prestigious public schools. This school year officials aren’t rising to the bait, as education authorities take President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign to heart. “I will not give up,” said Chen, whose 12-year-old daughter attends another public school near home in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province. She said she’s prepared to offer as much as 100,000 yuan ($16,000). “There must be a way.”
Gun, explosives crimes in China at lowest level – Xinhua Crimes involving guns or explosives in China are at their lowest level for more than a decade, police said on Friday. The numbers of such crimes have dropped for 14 consecutive years, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security.
Official cars auction preview held in Beijing – Xinhua slideshow // People view the cars to be auctioned at the Yayuncun Automobile Trader Market in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 23, 2015. The central government has impounded 3,184 official vehicles and plans to auction the first 300 before the Spring Festival, said the National Government Offices Administration (NGOA) on Jan. 16.
Chinese “dama” join house demolition team – Xinhua Less than one month after an “AIDS demolition team” in China’s central Henan Province spurred huge controversy, another group of demolition personnel snagged headlines recently, this time featuring Chinese “dama”, or middle-aged Chinese women. In a surveillance video that went viral on the Internet lately, a group of middle-aged women, usually called “dama” in Chinese, can be seen storming into a house and punching the windows, sticks in hand. The attack took place in a make-shift house in Henan’s Zhecheng County during the wee hours of Jan. 7. The house owner reportedly refused to move out after failing to reach a compensation deal with the real estate developer, according to the China News Service.
傅政华在公安部排名前移 副部长中第六移至第四-地方频道-新华网 此前，
Arrests in China’s Xinjiang ‘nearly doubled in 2014’Muslim Uighurs – Telegraph Prosecutors in the far-western area, home to China’s 10-million-strong Turkic-speaking and mostly Muslim Uighurs, approved the arrest of 27,164 criminal suspects in 2014, up more than 95 per cent on the previous year, the China Daily newspaper said.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
China Reacts to Obama’s State of the Union: America is in Decline | The National Interest Blog One was to praise China’s commitment to cut carbon emissions. The second was to encourage American manufacturing executives to bring back jobs from China. The third was a call-to-arms to prevent China from writing the trade rules in the Asia Pacific. // that third mention is key, it appears to be the administration’s rallying point to Congress to get TPA/TPP passed.
Sri Lanka softens its stance on China port city deal | Reuters Sri Lanka’s new government said on Thursday it might renegotiate a $1.5 billion “port city” deal with China Communications Construction Co Ltd, softening its pre-election threat to scrap the project.
Body of senior Chinese military leader cremated in Beijing – Xinhua Former senior Chinese military leader Zhang Wannian was cremated on Thursday. President Xi Jinping, top legislator Zhang Dejiang, and senior leaders Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli attended Zhang Wannian’s funeral at Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in west Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang and former leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao expressed their condolence to his relatives.
Asia Unbound » Podcast: The United States, China, and the Asia Pacific This past week, renowned China scholars Bates Gill and Linda Jakobson from the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney visited the Council on Foreign Relations to share their views on emerging political and security dynamics in the Asia Pacific and U.S-China relations.
China harassing and imprisoning Chinese working for foreign news outlets – The Washington Post When asked about Zhang’s detention in October, China’s foreign ministry said Zhang had not been registered with the government as a properly accredited assistant for Die Zeit. Some news outlets have opted against registering their assistants to avoid a $100-a-month “management fee” and other even higher costs charged by the government, and out of concern that doing so might attract increased government surveillance. But others believe that this exposes news assistants to greater risk and has no effect on already ubiquitous surveillance.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *
Hong Kong Editor, Attacked Last Year, Expresses Hope for Future of News Media – NYTimes On Friday, Mr. Lau, still using crutches and hobbling almost a year after he was attacked, spoke about the future of the news media in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s closer ties with mainland China came with great risks, he said, but he also expressed hope in the future of new forms of media and in the public’s commitment to press freedom
TECH AND MEDIA *
Thousands at Huawei Came Forward in Push Against Fraud, Founder Says – NYTimes.com Mr. Ren said that 4,000 to 5,000 employees had come forward to admit to various improprieties as part of a “confess for leniency” program that the company set up last year, according to an interview that was streamed live from the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “The biggest enemy we’ve run into isn’t other people, it’s ourselves,” he said.
Apple steps up China expansion with another new store – Xinhua Apple will open its 14th Chinese mainland store in Hangzhou, in east China’s Zhejiang Province, this Saturday. The store is in the the coastal province’s downtown area by the West Lake. Apple VP retail real estate/development Bob Bridger told Xinhua that the new store was designed by the same architecture firm in charge of the company’s new headquarters in California. The new story has nearly 200 staffers including shop assistants, technical experts and business consultants, coming from 22 provinces and cities in the Chinese mainland, and speaking eight languages and 14 Chinese dialects. // hear Apple moving some senior talent to Shanghai to better capitalize on the market opportunities here. I still think they should release a sub-2000 RMB phone to quickly gain as many iOS users as possible in the current relatively benign environment…
Report: Apple agrees to Chinese security audits of its products | PCWorld Apple will allow China’s State Internet Information Office to run security audits on products the company sells in China in an effort to counter concerns that other governments are using its devices for surveillance, according to news reports.
China’s “Server Sinification” Campaign for Import Substitution: Strategy and Snowden (Part 2) | The Jamestown Foundation This article details the impact of external events on China’s import substitution program; most notably the effect of disclosures made by former National Security Agency (NSA) IT contractor, Edward Snowden, beginning in June 2013, which have proven useful to China in justifying import substitution on national security concerns. China also appears to be accelerating its activities in this area following diplomatic disputes with the United States, most notably in retaliation against the indictment of five alleged Chinese military officers on cyber espionage charges by the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2014.
China rebukes Outlook hacking allegation – Xinhua CAC spokesman Jiang Jun made the remarks in response to media inquiries after the China-based web monitoring group Greatfire.org claimed that Chinese Outlook users were victims of a “man-in-the-middle” (MITM) hacking attack. The accusation aimed to “incite dissatisfaction and smear China’s cyberspace management system,” Jiang said. Jiang brushed aside the claim as “unsupported speculation, a pure slanderous act by overseas anti-China forces,” while describing Greatfire.org as being run by foreign anti-China organizations. // wonder how hard they are trying to find out who runs greatfire.org
China leads the world in media corruption, says expert – China Media Project As much discussion of media corruption inside China centers on rotten journalists, as though the only relevant dimension is moral, Zhan Jiang’s interview is refreshingly frank. He explains why media corruption is endemic and, you might say, institutionalized.
15 of the best quotes from Jack Ma’s interview at Davos-TechInAsia Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma returned to Davos today for the first time in years for a chat. Interviewed by CBS’s Charlie Rose, Ma – chatty and eminently quotable as ever – talked about his early days as an entrepreneur, the origins of Alibaba, and some more contemporary issues as well.
Chinese Celeb Investors Betting on Tech Startups – TechNode Chinese A-listers Li Bingbing, Ren Quan, Huang Xiaoming last year launched Star VC, a venture capital firm focused on internet startups. The trio put in funding, test the products and personally back the companies they invest with their reputations. Before this, the three were already known as successful investors in restaurants, bars and clubs, among others. Thus far, Star VC has invested in internet startups like Weibo-backed short-video app Miaopai, Xingyun, a social networking platform for culture and entertainment industry, and Handuyishe, a fast-fashion brand vastly popular on Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace.
媚娘封胸谁之过观点频道财新网 Zhang Yuhan from Wuhan University has a long opinion piece on Caixin about media censorship regulations as shown by the recent censoring of the Empress Wu miniseries (which BTW is not bad; I am through episode 60). A very informative piece // 封胸事件既映射出当前影视作品靠“事业线”“裸露镜头”
Beijing undecided on Uber regulations, no timetable for decision-TechInAsia A Beijing Transportation Committee spokesman said on Friday that regulators still can’t come to an agreement about how to treat private car services in the city, and that there is currently no timetable for a decision.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
‘One is enough’: Chinese families lukewarm over easing of one-child policy – The Washington Post So far, a good number of Chinese families have been less than enthusiastic about the partial relaxation of the policy, choosing to stick with one child, often for practical and economic reasons, but also because decades of government propaganda have convinced them that one child really is best. Experts say this only underlines a looming demographic crisis in China: low fertility rates, a rapidly aging population and a shrinking labor force will inevitably put immense strains on the economy in the decades ahead, and on the government’s ability to pay people’s pensions.
党报：我国贫富差距仍高位徘徊 形成跨代贫穷新闻腾讯网 从2006年开始，
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
Ministry vows stricter air quality inspections – Xinhua The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on Thursday said air quality checks would be intensified in 2015. According to the MEP, 14 inspections were made by the ministry in 2014, including to the city of Tianjin; north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; and Hebei, Shanxi and Henan provinces. Follow-up surveys showed that air quality in those regions had improved remarkably, said Liu Changgen, a director with the ministry’s inspection department.
Gov’t Orders End to Sending Blood Samples Abroad for Fetus Sex Checks – Caixin Central government health officials have ordered a crackdown on taking blood samples of expecting mothers out of the country to determine the sex of the child she is carrying, as new data shows China continues to have far more boys than girls. The National Health and Family Planning Commission posted a notice on its website on January 21 requiring 14 government departments, including public security, customs and commerce agencies, to cooperate in the campaign.
China’s Record Russian Crude Imports Erode Saudi Market Share – Bloomberg China’s imports from its northern neighbor increased by 36 percent in 2014, the fastest pace ever, to 33.1 million metric tons, according to General Administration of Customs data e-mailed on Jan. 23. That’s about 665,000 barrels a day. Exports from Saudi Arabia, which remains the biggest supplier, totaled 49.67 million tons in 2014 or 997,000 barrels a day, the least since 2010. The kingdom’s share of China’s crude purchases dropped to 16 percent from 19 percent in 2013.
Capital Said to Plan Residence Permit System to Address Benefits Inequality – Caixin The Beijing city government plans to introduce a new residence permit system to address inequality resulting from the country’s household registration system, known as hukou. Zhou Jidong, a veteran government advisor on household registration reform, said that the residence permit will have some of the functions of hukou, giving its holders access to social welfare. “However, the door won’t be opened too wide,” Zhou said at the opening of Beijing’s annual political consultative conference on January 21.
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