News in review Friday, September 13 to Thursday, September 19
Updated: 2013-09-20 17:45
Friday - September 13
Toughest air-pollution rules put in place
China announced toughest-ever measures to fight its worsening air pollution, setting goals for the nation's 338 cities.
The Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan unveiled last Thursday aims for a marked improvement in air quality over the next five years.
The concentration levels of breathable suspended particles with a diameter of 10 microns - known as PM10 - or less, must fall by at least 10 percent by 2017 from the levels in 2012.
Tougher objectives have been set for some key areas.
For the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regional cluster, concentration levels of PM2.5 particles - those smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can penetrate deep into the lungs - must be cut by 25 percent by 2017 from the 2012 level, under the plan.(Photo 1)
Official says property bubble not in sight
It is too early to say if China's property market is in a bubble, according to an official with China's top planning agency.
"The property market is still doing fine despite some regional problems," said Li Tie, director of the China Center for Urban Development under the National Development and Reform Commission. He made his comments on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum "Summer Davos" in Dalian, Liaoning province.
China is still some distance away from a property bubble, Li assured an audience at a breakfast meeting on Thursday.
Li said some administrative regulations that have made it more difficult to get home loans, and failed to curb price rises, should be revoked, according to media reports. (Photo 2)
Monday - September 16
Lawmakers challenge chicken-processing plan
US lawmakers called on the US Department of Agriculture to take measures to ensure the safety of chickens processed in China and sold in the US after the department gave four chicken plants in China the go-ahead to send processed meat products to the United States,
Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York on Sunday called for on-site audits at the Chinese chicken processing plants. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauroof of Connecticut also raised doubts about the new approval.
The US Department of Agriculture on Friday gave four chicken plants in China the go-ahead to send processed meat products to the United States, possibly opening the way for China to eventually send its own bred chicken to the US market. (Photo 3)
US states praise ending of ban on hardwood logs
China's lifting of a total ban on hardwood logs from Virginia and South Carolina will "re-energize" log exports from that US region, industry officials said.
China had banned hardwood and softwood exported through the Port of Virginia and the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, in April 2011 after discovering nematodes - string-like worms that cause pine wilt - in a shipment. Even though the total hardwood ban was lifted last week, the ban on softwood logs remains in effect.
Rodney W. Oliver, interim executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, credited federal and state efforts to get the ban lifted. The ban's end "will reenergize this piece of export business," Oliver said in a statement. China is Virginia's second-largest export market and South Carolina's third. (Photo 4)
Tuesday - September 17
China-born population in US increases
The number of foreign-born Chinese Americans in the US doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a UN report, and experts attribute the increase in large part to China's growing middle class, who have left in droves to pursue education or business opportunities abroad.
Among approximately 3.79 million Chinese now living in the United States, 2.2 million were born in China, according to the report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).
"There has been an astronomical increase in Chinese students coming to the US, driven by economic growth in China, improved educational infrastructure and a continued uncertainty about China's trajectory," said Madeleine Sumption, a senior policy analyst and assistant director for research in the international program at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.
Increased government investment in China's education system has also contributed to a larger portion of the Chinese population being able to apply for study abroad, she said.
University asks students to sign suicide disclaimer
Freshmen at City College of Dongguan University of Technology in Guangdong province were asked by the school to sign a contract holding themselves responsible for suicide and injury.
The students have to bear all responsibility and any consequences if they commit suicide or injure themselves on campus, according to the contract. More than 5,000 freshmen signed the contract when they registered.
Local media reported that the contract came after a male student stabbed and injured a female schoolmate in a university dormitory after she refused to be his girlfriend last school term. A college official denied the contract has anything to do with the stabbing. The contract is just the "dormitory code of conduct", the official said. By having the students sign it, the college expects they will abide by the school's rules and take care of themselves, he said.
Wednesday - September 18
Purchase of US Treasuries boosted by $1.5 billion
China boosted its holdings of US Treasury securities by $1.5 billion in July to retain its lead as the United States' largest foreign creditor, the US Treasury said.
Japan, moving to keep the yen weak, was the biggest buyer of Treasuries for the month, taking $52 billion after a four-month selloff, and continued to trail China with $1.135 trillion in overall Treasury holdings, according to Treasury data released Tuesday. China's Treasury holdings for the latest month rose to $1.277 trillion, turning around a $21.5 billion drop in June.
Overall foreign holdings of Treasuries rose by $31.1 billion in July amid what analysts said was a general easing of market anxiety over the Federal Reserve's plan to wind down its monetary stimulus, blamed for a $67 billion plunge in foreign holdings of long-debt in June.
Number of female billionaires on the rise
China's richest woman of 2013 is Yang Huiyan, 32, with a fortune of 51 billion yuan ($8.33 billion), according to Hurun China's Women Rich List 2013.
Yang is the daughter of the founder of real estate developer Country Garden. She was first-ranked on the list in 2007, when she took over her father's stock holdings.
More than half of the world's richest self-made female entrepreneurs are from China, said the report by the Hurun Research Institute in Shanghai. On the 2013 list, 17 female billionaires have personal wealth surpassing 10 billion yuan, three more than in 2012. About 25 percent of the richest women on the list are from the realty development sector, while 18 percent are from the finance and investment sector.
Thursday - September 19
World Bank gets $3 billion for emerging markets
China is giving $3 billion to help emerging-market businesses develop economically vital infrastructure and housing, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.
"Ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a generation are ambitious goals and to meet these goals we need to be innovative in our work with development partners," Kim said in a statement Wednesday as he ended a four-day China visit.
The World Bank's Washington-based private-sector development arm, International Finance Corp, said China will provide the funds in IFC-originated senior loans to private businesses in emerging markets for six years. The goal is to "support private sector development in emerging markets", IFC said in the release.
Chinese art brings out buyers at US auction
Chinese art continues to be a draw at US auction houses, with a bronze figure from the Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty selling for $1.3 million at Bonhams New York.
The auction on Monday offered 208 pieces of art, 175 of which were sold for a total of $4,665,000. Other pieces sold at the auction include a bronze incense burner and cover in the shape of a goose that went for $326,500, a painting by Qi Baishi that sold for $122,500 and a snuff bottle by Ding Erzhong from 1906 that sold for $80,500.
"[The demand in Chinese art] is largely due to China's economic growth in the last 10 years," said Bruce MacLaren, senior specialist for Chinese art at Bonhams New York.
Next week, Christie's will hold its first auction in Mainland China in Shanghai.