Friday, October 10, 2008

Earthquake monitoring system to be built in MoGao Grottoes

The Dunhuang Academy China, Gansu Earthquake Bureau and Lanzhou Institute of Seismology, China Earthquake Administration reached a cooperation project recently, that the earthquake monitoring system, specifically for the significant cultural heritages, will be built in the Mogao Grottoes. The system will be built in October, and completed next year.

The monitoring system will incorporate a seismic array and a strong motion observation array in Mogao Grottoes and the surrounding areas. The system will be part of the Gansu Province seismic network to make real-time monitoring.

The monitoring system monitors the situation of seismic activities in the Mogao Grottoes and the surrounding areas, and it also provides early warning for the protection of Mogao Grottoes.

By People's Daily Online

China, Germany hold strategic dialogue in Berlin

China and Germany held the second round of strategic dialogue on Thursday, Chinese diplomats said, noting that the dialogue was "very fruitful."

Thursday's dialogue was jointly hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Assistant Wu Hongbo and Reinhard Silberberg, State Secretary of German Foreign Ministry.

The two sides exchanged views on the relations between China and Germany, the ties between China and Europe as well as the major international and regional issues of common concern, according to Chinese diplomats.

The two sides agreed that it is in the interest of both countries and both peoples to enhance the friendly cooperative relations between China and Germany, and it is also beneficial to world peace and development by doing so.

Both sides believed that the strategic dialogue was "very fruitful," said the Chinese diplomats, adding that both sides agreed to keep the dialogue process going on.

During the talks, Silberberg said Germany values the relations with China and will continue to adhere to the one-China policy. Germany is also willing to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in various fields.

The strategic dialogue between China and Germany was initiated by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2006.

The dialogue is aimed at increasing the communication and mutual political trust between the two countries, so as to boost the bilateral relations in an all-around manner.

In November 2006, the first round of strategic dialogue between China and Germany was held in Beijing.

Source: Xinhua

Three dead in northwest China coal mine accident

Three miners who were trapped in a coal mine flood Sunday have all been found dead, said authorities in northwest China's Shaanxi Province on Friday.

A tunnel of Chang'an Coal Mine, owned by Xundong Coal Industry Company in Xunyi, flooded around 6 p.m. Oct.5 while 16 miners were working underground.

Thirteen escaped unhurt the following day, but three remained trapped, said a local source.

The local government organized a rescue operation shortly after the mine flooded.

The remains of the last miner was found by the rescuers early Friday.

The cause of the flood has not been released.

Source: Xinhua

China steps up anti-graft efforts in past 30 years

China has beefed up the anti-corruption and discipline work since the country adopted the reform and opening-up policy 30 years ago, official sources said.

To ensure major policies of the central government to be faithfully implemented at various levels, the Ministry of Supervision , working with other relevant departments, has severely cracked down on defiant activities.

In October 2006, for example, the MOS and the Ministry of Land and Resources launched a campaign to overhaul cases involving the illegal use of land nationwide. As of June this year when it was concluded, 3,733 officials were punished, of whom 2,393 were prosecuted.

Government officials and heads of state-owned enterprises were punished for abuse of power or dereliction of duty. A campaign cracking down on these people buying shares in coal mines launched since August 2005 has punished 148 involving 709 million yuan .

To further curb corruption, the departments of supervision and land and resources have introduced public bidding mechanism for land use and mining rights since 2004.

China now has 3,224 supervision and discipline departments at various levels with 360,000 staff.

In last September, the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention was set up, which helped further beef up the country's anti-graft efforts.

Source: Xinhua

Seven dead, seven injured in south China mine gas blast

Seven miners died and another seven were injured after a coal mine gas blast on Friday morning in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a local safety official said.

The accident occurred at around 9:20 a.m. in a well of Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd in Heshan City, said Zeng Biao, the Laibin Municipal Work Safety Bureau deputy head.

Heshan is a city administered by Laibin City.

Less than 100 miners were underground at the time of the blast according to the company, Zeng said.

The bureau is verifying the exact number, he said.

In total, 91 miners were found. Eighteen miners were helping with the rescue work under the well and 66 got out of the well safely, he said.

Rescuers were still working in a shaft yet to be searched.

Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd is a joint venture with a Hong Kong investment company. It has the exploitation right and mining rights for 820 million tons of coal mine in three mines in Guangxiand neighbouring Guizhou Province.

It is the largest coal mine company in Guangxi with an annual production capacity of around 8 million tons.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Source: Xinhua

Chinese police arrest suspect producing largest amount of "protein powder" in milk scandal

Police in north China's Hebei Province arrested a suspect who produced the largest-ever amount of "protein powder" with the chemical melamine and caught eight other people who bought the powder, local authorities said on Friday.

Zhang Yujun, a resident of Quzhou County, Hebei Province, produced more than 600 tons of the protein powder, made of melamine and maltodextrin, from September 2007 to August 2008 in a village in Licheng District, Jinan City of eastern Shandong Province, a Hebei provincial public security department official said.

Zhang was caught in Handan City, Hebei.

Zhang first learned the method of producing the fake powder at his dairy farm in Hebei. With the pseudonym of Zhang Haitao, he began to produce the powder on a large scale later in Shandong, the official said.

The melamine, which could lead to urinary tract problems such as kidney stones, was first found in powdered baby milk produced by dairy giant Sanlu Group, based in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang.

Maltodextrin, easily digestible and absorbed as rapidly as glucose, is produced from starch and used as a food additive.

The police caught eight other suspects who bought the powder from Zhang in other parts of Hebei. They included food additive vendors, cattle farm owners and fresh milk purchasers.

Police have arrested 36 in total connected to the country's tainted milk scandal in Hebei, according to Xinhua's count.

The suspects were alleged to have produced, sold or added the chemical melamine into fresh milk to deceive protein tests.

Source: Xinhua

E China labor official gets death sentence, reprieve for bribery, fund embezzlement

A labor and social security official was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve at the first trial on Friday for taking bribes and embezzling public funds in east China's Jiangxi Province.

Tao Niangen, former Labor and Social Security Bureau director of Nanchang City, the provincial capital, had taken bribes of 5.67million yuan from five private construction companies since 1995 when he began to serve in the post, according to the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court.

The largest bribe, 5.12 million yuan, came from Tao Chunhua, Nanchang Xinhuaqun Co. Ltd general manager, in exchange for a 20-year right to run the Huanhu Hotel under the bureau's administration, the court said.

Tao's wife Chen Jinfeng, and his son Tao Ran, were convicted of accepting bribes worth 550,000 yuan in 1997-2000 in return for favorable treatment in construction projects or promotion.

The court also heard Tao embezzled as much as 68.9 million yuan in industrial insurance funds from 1993 to 2005 for construction projects. The funds had not been recovered.

Tao appealed to a higher court after the trial. Other defendants in the case had not been tried yet.

Source: Xinhua

Death toll hits 9 in south China mine gas blast

The death toll from a coal mine gas blast on Friday morning in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has risen to nine, a local safety official said.

The accident occurred at around 9:20 a.m. in a well of Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd in Heshan City, said Zeng Biao, the Laibin Municipal Work Safety Bureau deputy head.

Heshan is a city administered by Laibin City.

A total of 83 miners were underground at the time of the blast according to the company, Zeng said in a phone interview with Xinhua.

Nine bodies were found and the other 74 got out of the well safely, he said.

He earlier said 91 miners were found and 84 were saved.

Rescuers were still working in a shaft yet to be searched.

Heshan Coal Mine Co. Ltd is a joint venture with a Hong Kong investment company. It has the exploitation right and mining rights for 820 million tons of coal in three mines in Guangxi and neighboring Guizhou Province.

It is the largest coal mine company in Guangxi with an annual production capacity of around 8 million tons.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Source: Xinhua

Taiwan leader promises relax policy with mainland

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said on Friday that his government will continue to relax ties with the Chinese mainland to build a stable cross-Strait relations.

In a televised speech on the island's "National Day", Ma promised to adopt more open policies in terms of exchanges with the mainland for the benefit of the Taiwan people.

Such policies included promoting non-stop cross-Strait charter flights, attracting more mainland visitors to Taiwan and expanding direct cross-Strait links for mail, trade and transportation, Ma said.

Cross-Strait relations have changed rapidly since Ma took office on May 20, as Taiwan and the Chinese mainland resumed talks that had been suspended for 10 years.

Ma said the efforts have eased cross-Strait relations and stabilized the situation in east Asia, winning support from the international community.

He expressed his hope that both Taiwan and the Chinese mainland could shelve disputes and extend political reconciliation to the international stage.

Source: Xinhua

Senior official calls for closer friendship between youth of China, Vietnam

Chinese senior legislator Wang Zhaoguo Friday called on the communist youth leagues of China and Vietnam to make joint efforts to further enhance the understanding and friendship between the youth of both countries.

Wang, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, said he hoped the communist youth leagues of both sides will actively implement the proposals put forward by the leaders of both parties and continue to hold friendly meetings between the youth.

He made the remarks in a meeting with a Vietnamese youth delegation headed by Nguyen Hoang Hiep, secretary of the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union of Vietnam.

He told Hiep that the relationship between China and Vietnam has entered a new period of development, and both sides should continue to deepen friendship and cooperation, in a bid to make the two real "good neighbors, good friends, good comrades and good partners".

Hiep said he would make his own efforts to promote the exchanges and cooperation between the communist youth organizations and the young people of the two countries.

The 100-member Vietnamese youth delegation is here to attend the 9th Sino-Vietnamese Youth Friendship Meeting.

Source: Xinhua

China, African countries pledge to intensify press exchange

A senior Chinese official on Friday called for enhanced press exchange between Chinese and African counterparts.

Liu Yunshan, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China , made the remarks when meeting with the African press officials and media heads who were here for an information seminar.

Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said to cement and develop friendly ties with African countries is a key component of China's independent foreign policy of peace and a long-term strategy.

The further cooperation of China and Africa in the press sector could help to boost bilateral ties with respective African countries, Liu said.

"Our cooperation will also help safeguard the common interests of the developing countries amid international public voice and let the world know each of our countries in a more objective and comprehensive way."

In response, Adron Aledji Albada, head of the African delegation, said each participant was greatly impressed by the development of China and the hospitality of the Chinese people.

She added they hoped to have an in-depth exchange of views with Chinese counterparts.

The fifth seminar held by the Information Office of China's State Council for African press officials and media heads launched on Wednesday, drawing 30 officials from 17 African countries.

In the upcoming two weeks, the African press officials and media heads will attend lectures and discuss with Chinese press officials, journalists and experts.

The seminar, founded in August of 2004, aims at strengthening China-Africa press cooperation and cementing friendship.

Source: Xinhua

China's school running campaign hits public debate hurdle

A campaign to get China's schoolchildren running for their health over the winter has caused a public controversy since it was launched by the Ministry of Education on Sept. 28.

The campaign requires students to run every work day from Oct. 26 until the end of next April.

Primary schoolchildren must run 1 km per day, junior high school students 1.5 km, and senior high and college/university students 2 km.

Debate over the campaign has been running hot on the campaign.

Most teachers agreed with the campaign, saying that obesity and health problems were becoming common in schools.

A survey of Chinese students' health in 2005 showed that lack of physical stamina was a serious problem. The campaign was intended to improve children's endurance and team spirit, said a Ministry of Education official.

But a user of said it was impractical and difficult to implement all over the country. Not all students were capable of long-distance running and they should have right to refuse.

Liu Dong, a high school student in Beijing, said he was fond of playing basketball, but had little interest in running, and the campaign might be a burden. Many of his classmates agreed.

Xiong Bingqi, a specialist in education, said more options should be provided to students. "Only if students take on their favorite sports can their enthusiasm grow. The long-distance running could be futile."

The running tracks were also a focus of the controversy.

Many campuses had no big playgrounds for long-distance running, especially in rural areas. Even if they had, the scheduling of running for thousands of students could be a problem, said many Internet users.

Parents also showed their concern over the campaign.

A Beijing parent surnamed Chen said she was in a dilemma as on one hand, she hoped her middle school student daughter could have more time studying, but on the other, the exercise could improve her health.

A parent surnamed Wang staunchly supported the campaign, saying his daughter had such a heavy study load that she hardly took any exercise. He considered organized running good news.

Source: Xinhua

Zoellick: Globalization offers tremendous benefits

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Thursday that globalization is of great benefit to helping developing countries reduce poverty.

"If you look at countries that have been able to move people out of poverty, grow, offer new opportunities, the benefits are enormous," Zoellick said at a press conference here.

The World Bank chief said that he had visited those countries from China to Africa, from Brazil to India, and talked to younger people "who feel that this offers a tremendous opening of doors for them."

But for both developed and developing countries, Zoellick said, "You have to make sure that you broaden the benefits of that as much as possible, so in making it inclusive that you try to reach out to poor people to have opportunity, inclusive sort of communities, indigenous peoples."

In a statement, Zoellick said more attention should be paid to the vulnerable countries in the world.

"Some 28 countries are already fiscally highly vulnerable from the twin shocks of food and fuel," he said. "Currently, these countries, on average, are set to receive no increase in project and program aid."

He urged major advanced countries to increase their aid, fulfilling the commitments they made.

"We estimate that 44 million additional people will suffer from malnutrition this year as a result of high food prices," said Zoellick.

"And for the children among them, that means lost potential that will never be regained," he said, adding "We cannot let a financial crisis become a human crisis."

The World Bank and its sister institution the International Monetary Fund will hold their annual meeting here on Oct. 13.


China sets new standards for dairy industry

China's State Council issued a series of quality control regulations for dairy products on Thursday. The move was prompted by the country's contaminated milk scandal.

The regulations tighten control of how milk-yielding animals are bred, how raw milk is purchased and the production and sales of dairy food.

There will also be more severe punishment for people who violate safety standards and quality control departments that fail to fulfill duties.

Relevant officials will also be punished if dairy food safety incidents occur.

The regulations state that quality watchdogs will now be required to carry out regular inspections of dairy products. Law-breaking producers will be blacklisted and ousted publicly.

Health authorities under the State Council will now be responsible for setting up national safety standards for dairy foods. Those standards will limit pathogenic animalcule, pesticide residue, veterinary drug residue and other hazardous substances in dairy products. There will also be new hygiene requirements for dairy producers along with standardized national quality testing methods.

"Any non-food chemicals or hazardous substances are prohibited from being added into raw milk in its production, purchase, storage, transport and sales," the State Council said.

Raw milk-purchasing stations will now need approval from local authorities to operate. The regulations state that stations should be run by dairy food producers, milk-yielding animal farms or milk farm cooperatives. Other organizations and individuals are banned from collecting raw milk

The new regulations go into effect Thursday.

Also this week, the Ministry of Health issued new limits on melamine levels in dairy products. A maximum 2.5 milligrams per kilogram was allowed for liquid milk, milk powder and food products containing at least 15 percent milk.

Contaminated baby formula has killed at least three infants in China and left more than 53,000 children with urinary tract problems, including kidney stones.

So far, 27 people have been arrested over the scandal.


Chinese economic confidence continues to drop in Q3

China's entrepreneur confidence index plunged to 123.8 points in the third quarter this year. That is down 11 points from the previous quarter. Compared to the same period last year, it is down 19.2, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.

The index, a gauge of the understanding, views and projections of business people, has been declining all year. In the second quarter it was 5.8 points lower than the first quarter.

According to the NBS, Chinese entrepreneurs in all economic sectors were much less confident in the July-September period.

The property sector was the least confident. Its index plummeted to 96.4 points in the third quarter, a decrease of 22 points from that in the second quarter.

The confidence index of the manufacturing industry also fell notably in July-September to 119.3 points, down 13.6 points from the previous quarter.

On Thursday, the NBS said China's business climate index ,a key gauge of corporate performance, dropped to 128.6 points in the third quarter, down 16.1 points from the same period last year. In the second quarter the index fell 8.8 points from 137.4 points.

It was the first time China's BCI fell below 130 points since the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic in early 2003. The 100-point mark is seen as a definition between depression and prosperity.


Chinese shares plunge 3.81% in morning session

Chinese shares plummeted 3.81 percent in the morning session on Friday, echoing the heavy losses of global markets, with the Shanghai Composite Index ending at 1995.52 points, down 79.06 points or 3.81 percent from the previous close.

The smaller Shenzhen Component Index shed 367.38 points, or 5.44 percent to 6,390.84 points.

The confidence still remained weak despite the government's recent measures to boost the market, analysts said.

China's securities regulator on Thursday said publicly-traded companies must pay dividends in cash rather than stock over three years before submitting their refinancing applications, in a move to encourage long-term investment and reduce market volatility.

None of the top ten heavyweights have their shares rise in the morning session.

Sinopec trimmed 2.45 percent to 9.94 yuan, with 4.335 billion non-tradable shares of the Asia's top refiner freed-up on Friday. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, lost 1.4 percent to 11.97 yuan.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China dipped 1.23 percent to 4.01 yuan, while the Bank of China shed 5.12 percent to3.15 yuan. China Life, the country's largest life insurer, saw its shares drop 5.97 percent to close at 19.39 yuan.


Chinese analysts expect CPI, PPI to fall in Sept.

Analysts predict China's consumer price index and the producer price index to drop in September.

CPI is a key measure of inflation. PPI measures the average change in the selling prices received by producers for their output,

Taking in to account food prices and last September's 6.2 percent CPI increase, inflation in September 2008 is likely to drop for the fifth consecutive month, analysts said. Rising food costs are one of the primary factors leading to CPI inflation in China.

The PPI, which reflects manufacturing costs, was also expected to fall from a record high of 10.1 percent set in August, as a result of lower commodity prices on the international market.

Ha Jiming, chief economist of China International Capital Corporation Limited, forecast September's CPI would fall from 4.9 percent in August to around 4.5 to 4.8 percent.

The PPI reading in September was expected to drop to between 9.7 to 10 percent. The margin between CPI and PPI would continue to be maintained, he said.

Li Huiyong, chief analyst of Shenyin & Wanguo Securities, predicted the CPI for September would fall to less than 4.9 percent. He also forecast a two percentage point drop of the PPI, which would place it at 8.1 percent.

Industrial Bank Chief Economist, Lu Zhengwei, estimated the CPI reading for September would be somewhere between 4.6 to 4.9 percent and the CPI for the third quarter would be below six percent.

Lu said CPI inflation would continue to slowly drop in the coming months and the country's economy could possible encounter deflation in 2009.

As usual, the National Bureau of Statistics was expected to release September's CPI and PPI readings later this month.

According to the NBS, China's CPI rose 4.9 percent in August from a year earlier. The figure, compared with 6.3 percent in July this year, 7.1 percent in June and 7.7 percent in May, was lower than most forecasts.


Grain shortage fuels Chinese land conservation

In August, China's top land regulator urged local authorities to safeguard 1.8 billion mu of the country's farm land fearing a grain shortage. Thursday, local authorities responded to the request.

Xu Shaoshi, head of the Ministry of Land and Resources , called on provincial leaders to abide by the land use general outline in a letter dated Aug. 29.

On the the ministry's website Thursday, local government officials said they would protect arable land by strengthening management and by fighting land use malpractice.

They added that they would formulate scientific land utilization plans to improve efficiency and conservation.

On Aug. 13, China's State Council, the cabinet, approved a general outline for the country's land use plan during the 2006-2020 period. The goal is to ensure the proper use of farm land and guarantee a minimum of 120 million hectares of arable land, amid concerns about grain supplies.

In Sept. the MLR asked local governments to replenish farmland before allocating it for non-farming purposes.

China is facing a sharp conflict between land supply and demand. The area of arable land, shrank 610,100 mu in 2007 to 1.826 billion mu. That was only slightly above the governments minimum total goal.


First China-made regional aircraft to make maiden flight next month

China's first homegrown regional jet, the ARJ21-700, has entered final stage of pre-flight preparation and is planned to make its maiden flight before the end of next month, according to Zhang Qingwei, chairman of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. .

The plane entered the test station on August and is carrying out comprehensive ground testing. Two test crew, one for pilot and the other for co-pilot, have also been on duty.

After relevant examination by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China , the plane will conduct taxiing test, including braking, cornering, acceleration and deceleration, retractable landing gear and more. After that, the plane will make its maiden flight.

By People's Daily Online

Chinese shares dip 3.37% on weak market confidence

Chinese shares continued to plummet for five consecutive days on Friday dampened by weak market confidence amid the global turmoil.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 3.57 percent to end at 2,000.57 points. The Shenzhen Component Index closed at 6,385.35 points, down 5.52 percent.

Aggregate turnover rose to 54.08 billion yuan from previous day's 48.8 billion yuan. Losses outnumbered gains by 1,541 to 62.