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China intensifies environmental inspections

China’s central government has organized a second group of inspection teams to review environmental protection efforts in local governments. Inspection teams will be dispatched to seven provincial regions including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The strict supervision system for environmental protection was approved by the central government in 2015. According to the arrangement, central inspectors will visit all provincial-level regions by the end of 2017, strengthening supervision over key decision-makers.

The first round of inspections took place in Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Henan and Yunnan provinces, along with Inner Mongolia, Guangxi Zhuang and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Regions. Through the efforts of these seven teams, over half of all Chinese provinces will be inspected.

Inspection teams will keep a close watch over prominent environmental issues and potential mismanagement or inaction on the part of local governments.

Chinese market demands more quality goods: People’s Daily

A survey found that both Chinese and foreign businesses adopted double standards toward product quality for goods sold in the Chinese and overseas markets, according to a People’s Daily report on Dec. 2. Products in the Chinese market are usually of a lower quality compared to goods sold in the overseas market.

Experts explained that such difference can be attributed to industrial standards, market demand and incomplete supervision systems, among other factors. According to the report, Chinese consumers often “chase” high-quality products overseas, only to find that many are actually made in China. Over 99 percent of food exported from China passes industry standards, but food in the domestic market only has a 90 percent passing rate, despite management and regulations.

After coming to China, some international brands, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut, become more lax with their standards, leading to several food safety scandals in recent years. Some have even refused to recall products after quality issues emerged. For example, in September, Samsung recalled its Note 7 smartphones in the U.S. and Australia, excluding the Chinese market from its recall list. Toshiba did the same thing by opting not to recall defective notebooks, TVs and other products in China.

Zhao Ping, a researcher at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said that consumers are more focused on quality these days, but high-quality products in China cannot satisfy the current needs of consumers. Persistent double standards have aggravated supply and demand conflicts in China.

In addition to lower-quality products in the Chinese market, a supply and demand imbalance, overall supply and improper management have also contributed to dissatisfactory products in China, analysts believe.

On the other hand, the phenomenon of high-quality products being made in China but sold abroad can be explained by the fact that high prices suppress sales among Chinese consumers, so producers choose to seek profit in international markets instead.

Jing Linbo, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that the government cannot only rely on the market to make adjustments, but should encourage producers to pursue higher quality in case of market failure.

Price wars can no longer be the only point of competition between different enterprises; a good mechanism for product quality management must be established, the report stated.

China should raise its current standards in order to accomodate shifting demands. Furthermore, China should improve its protection of intellectual property rights in order to encourage more innovation among producers, the paper said, citing experts.

 

Expert warns against overreacting to RMB exchange rate fluctuations

Expert warns against overreacting to RMB exchange rate fluctuations

Guan Tao, a senior researcher at the China Finance 40 Forum, advised stakeholders to stay calm and rational about regular fluctuations of the RMB exchange rate.

As the RMB to USD exchange rate experiences fluctuations, the market has focused a great deal of attention on the movement. Guan believe such fluctuations are a normal economic phenomenon caused by the law of value. The ups and downs are understandable, since China is promoting the marketization of exchange rate.

Guan also pointed out that both market pessimists and optimists tend to interpret data as supportive of their own viewpoints regardless of the truth, seeing only what they want to see. Thus, the recent changes are more about attitude toward the market than real economic disruptions.

As for Chinese citizens’ tendency to hold U.S. dollars, Guan explained that the trend of asset diversification is unstoppable given the increased incomes of Chinese people. But he also reminded investors to act with caution in order to avoid groundless anxiety and systematic financial risks.

 

China to track all commercial flights

China to track all commercial flights

China will track and monitor all Chinese civil flights starting from Dec. 1, requiring them to report longitude, altitude and location every 15 minutes or less, according to a notice issued by China’s Civil Aviation Administration. The new guidelines are intended to enhance safety monitoring and strengthen the industry’s safety assurance system.

Transmission of such information to ground control is not a new policy. However, the new notice narrows the intervals of reporting and asks for more specific information.

An agreement was reached by 160 countries at the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva last November on the allocation of a radiofrequency spectrum for global flight-tracking. A total of 160 countries joined the agreement, promising to report locations every 15 minutes.

China plans to achieve seamless global tracking of its commercial flights before the end of 2020, and establish an aircraft tracking and monitoring system before the end of 2025.

 

China to build 100 modern agricultural manors by 2020

China to build 100 modern agricultural manors by 2020

According to a document released on Nov. 17 by the China National Tourism Administration and Ministry of Agriculture, China will build 100 modern agricultural manors by 2020, in order to form an economic belt of manors with scientific layouts, reasonable structures, distinct features and remarkable benefits.

The two departments said the move aims to push forward deep integration of agriculture and tourism, promote rural prosperity and better meet the growing need for high-quality and safe food. The document also specified basic principles for building the manors, along with conditions for state farms with regard to manor planning, location, environment, agricultural production, tourism, operation and management.

 

Inventor of famous American-style Chinese dish General Tso’s chicken passes away

Peng Chang-kuei, the Taiwanese founder of Pengyuan restaurants and the inventor of General Tso’s chicken, passed away on Nov. 30 at the age of 97, after a month-long hospitalization. According to Peng’s son, General Tso’s chicken brought annual profits of over 2 billion RMB to American-style Chinese restaurants.

Peng started out as an apprentice of Cao Jingchen, a famous early 20th-century Chinese chef. After his apprenticeship, he began developing his own takes on Hunan cuisine. According to his family, Peng first cooked General Tso’s chicken in 1952 for a banquet to welcome an American commander to Taiwan. However, it was not until the 1970s that the dish was named after General Tso.

Peng Chang-kuei

Peng immigrated to America in 1973. After Ieoh Ming Pei invited Kissinger to Peng’s restaurant, Kissinger became a regular customer – all thanks to Peng’s signature dish. Kissinger’s patronage soon made the dish famous, after ABC did a report on it. Before long, the dish gained popularity among Americans and began appearing on many Chinese restaurant menus around the country.

How long is the Great Wall? Exactly 21,196 km, announces China authority

How long is the Great Wall? Exactly 21,196 km, announces China authority

On Dec. 2, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) released a report on the protection of the Great Wall. In the report, SACH pledged to implement an overall protection plan by the end of 2017, intensifying the patrol and maintenance of relics and allocating financial support for less developed areas along the wall.

The Great Wall spans 15 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, and runs for 21,196 kilometers, according to the report.