China tightens supervision over civil servant liquor bans

Local governments have recently been stepping up their supervision over liquor bans applied to civil servants. From banning any drinking during work hours to prohibiting alcohol at official receptions, China is increasingly cracking down on alcohol consumption among government employees. A total of 30 alcohol violations have so far been reported by disciplinary inspection departments across the country this year.

In 2005, eastern China’s Anhui province issued a regulation banning civil servants from consuming alcohol while discharging their official duties. Events involving foreign affairs or those intended to attract investment were exempted.

In September 2016, northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region implemented an alcohol ban for civil servants at official receptions. According to the ban, civil servants in the region are banned from drinking alcohol at all official events, including dinners, no matter what individual or institution offers the drink.

Civil servants face fines and can be even dismissed from their positions if they consume alcoholic beverages during work hours, according to relevant regulations.

Most civil servants support the regulations. A town party chief in Jilin province said he feels relieved by the ban, which not only saves a lot of time spent dining, but also protects him from alcohol-related harm.

However, violations still exist. Some civil servants choose to drink alcohol in private places such as rural inns, and some drink after work or buy liquor with their own money.

 

92-year-old says selling zongzi has helped her live longer

Song Xuelan, a 92-year-old grandmother and recent Internet sensation, believes that her street snack business has helped to extend her life.

Song has been selling zongzi, a kind of rice dumpling, in Qingdao, Shandong province for more than 20 years. At 7 a.m. each morning, Song sets up her stand on Laiwu Street, with help from her youngest son. In the afternoon, she makes zongzi at home. Song’s two elder sons are retired, and the youngest is unemployed.

Ever since Song went viral online, she has been selling 100 dumplings an hour, compared with 50 previously. Song receives a monthly pension of 1,000 RMB ($145 ), along with her zongzi income.

“I can support myself with my own hands, so there’s no need to bother others,” Song said.

Apart from some hearing loss and the occasional backache, Song remains in good health.

Hong Kong man arrested for attempting to smuggle 22 air guns

Custom authorities in Huanggang, Shenzhen announced on Nov. 28 that they had arrested a man attempting to smuggle 22 air guns from Hong Kong into the mainland. Custom employees thought the man looked suspicious as he hurried through customs with a backpack on his shoulders. After stopping the man, employees seized 22 air guns, 6,347 lead bullets and other spare gun parts.

During the initial investigation, the suspect confessed that he was smuggling the firearms on behalf of other people. Arms and ammunition are prohibited from entering or exiting China. Once in the country, ammunition presents a huge danger for citizens and residents.

Chinese premier calls for a small business-friendly management

Li Keqiang speaks at the meeting on Nov. 21.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked grassroots government departments to think of the common people when carrying out bureaucratic tasks. He said administrations should aim for win-win interactions with the public, and that instead of being indifferent, government departments should be heartfelt.

Li delivered his message to senior officials from 11 provinces and cities at a meeting about simplifying administrative procedures and delegating power. The meeting took place on Nov. 21 in Shanghai.

The owner of A Da Scallion Pancake Shop.

Li’s remarks came after two popular but unlicensed shops in Shanghai had been shut down since August 2015. One was 34-year-old A Da Scallion Pancake Shop, and the other was a 20-year-old family wonton shop on Menghua Street. The scallion pancake shop gained a large following after it was featured in a BBC news story. The shutdown of the two shops caused a major stir in China.

Now, Li has asked relevant departments to reflect on how to stimulate the market by creating a friendly environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Li Keqiang chats with a staff member in a bookstore.

The premier has lately been focused on small businesses in China. On April 25, he made a visit to Width Alley in Chengdu, Sichuan province, where he bought several souvenirs and books and introduced a foreign visitor to Tsingtao beer.

Xi Jinping Meets with Incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres

On November 28, 2016, President Xi Jinping met at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse with incoming Secretary General António Guterres of the UN.

Xi Jinping congratulated António Guterres on his election as the next term of Secretary General of the UN, and stressed that China will firmly support António Guterres in fulfilling duties as the Secretary General. Xi Jinping pointed out that as the most universal, authoritative and representative inter-governmental international organization, the UN has played an irreplaceable role in addressing global challenges. The world has achieved peace and sustainable development in general since the end of the World War II more than 70 years ago, to which the UN has made undeniable contributions. As the international situation develops and changes, all countries hold higher expectation towards the UN and support the UN to play a greater role. The UN should take a clear-cut stand to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, actively safeguard international peace and security, consistently promote common development, and, in particular, well implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The UN should take care of developing countries’ interests, and give more voice and do more for developing countries.

Xi Jinping stressed that this year marks the 45th anniversary of China’s restoration to its lawful seat in the UN. Over the past 45 years, China and the UN have achieved fruitful results from bilateral cooperation through maintaining high-level exchanges, enhancing strategic communication and deepening practical cooperation. China has made positive contributions to the cause of the UN. The Chinese side will continue to join and back the UN cooperation in various areas, firmly support the UN work, staunchly practice multilateralism, and resolutely uphold the international order with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the core. We should facilitate China-UN cooperation to continuously reach new levels by giving full play to the leading role of high-level exchanges. We should also push forward the progress in implementing China’s various measures to support the UN cause, which I announced in 2015.

António Guterres thanked China for its willingness to offer valuable support to him in performing duties as Secretary General of the UN. He expressed that China has become an important pillar in the UN cause and multilateralism in the world today. When attending the series of summits marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the UN, President Xi Jinping pointed out that China will fully support the work of the UN and proposed a series of important measures to firmly support the UN’s causes of peace and development, which are inspiring. China has made important contribution to world peace and development by initiating the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, actively participating in UN peacekeeping operations and mediation for conflict resolution, as well as vigorously supporting and helping other developing countries. The UN is willing to conduct closer cooperation with China to commit to maintaining and promoting world peace, stability and prosperity.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi and others attended the meeting.

(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)

Li Keqiang Meets with Incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres

On the afternoon of November 28, 2016, Premier Li Keqiang met at the Great Hall of the People with incoming Secretary General António Guterres of the UN.

Li Keqiang congratulated António Guterres on his election as the new term of Secretary General of the UN. He expressed that the world economic and political landscape is undergoing profound changes. The international community should stick to the multilateral cooperation system with the UN as the core and the general direction of economic globalization and political multi-polarization. It is hoped that the UN could continue to staunchly safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, encourage member states to equally participate in global governance, enhance the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs, well implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and promote the settlement of disputes through political and peaceful manners.

Li Keqiang pointed out that this year falls on the 45th anniversary of China’s restoration to its lawful seat in the UN. China-UN cooperation has entered into a new stage. As the largest developing country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is willing to work with all parties to enhance cooperation, support the UN’s efforts in maintaining authority and strengthening capacity and better cope with all kinds of challenges, so as to advance peaceful, stable, sustainable and inclusive development of the world.

António Guterres expressed that China has achieved remarkable achievements in development, increasingly elevated its international influence and played an important role in the UN affairs. The UN appreciates China for actively implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is ready to intensify cooperation and jointly deal with challenges with the Chinese side, so as to facilitate economic globalization and inclusive development.

(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)

Li Keqiang Holds Talks with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos

On the afternoon of November 28, 2016, Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, who was on an official visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People.

Li Keqiang said that China and Laos are friendly neighbors that always trust and support each other. Bilateral relations have been constantly deepened and pragmatic cooperation has achieved steady progress. Both sides conduct sound communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. China will continue to uphold friendly policies towards Laos and firmly support Laos to follow a development path suitable to its national conditions. China is ready to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Laos to promote common development and safeguard regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Li Keqiang pointed out that China is willing to further integrate development plans and strategies with Laos to push cooperation in key areas for new progress. Both countries should give play to the leading role of major projects in areas such as railway, economic cooperation zone and comprehensive development zone and advance cooperation in production capacity and investment. China and Laos should strengthen cooperation and share experiences in such areas as agriculture, deep processing of agricultural products and poverty-reduction. Both sides should reinforce cooperation in finance, national defense, security and other areas, and enhance exchanges in people-to-people and cultural engagement and other aspects.

Li Keqiang noted that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. Holding the ASEAN presidency this year, Laos has successfully hosted the series of leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation, playing a positive role in advancing China-ASEAN relations. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN. China firmly supports the construction of the ASEAN Community and the ASEAN’s central role in regional cooperation. China will actively support and participate in relevant commemorative events of the ASEAN. It is hoped that Laos will continue to make unremitting efforts for the steady and healthy development of China-ASEAN relations.

Thongloun Sisoulith expressed that China is a sincere friend and brother of Laos. With frequent high-level exchanges and satisfactory progress from pragmatic cooperation, Laos-China relations are developing very well at present. Laos is willing to take the 55th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations as an opportunity to actively integrate development strategies and deepen cooperation in infrastructure, finance, agriculture, development zone construction and other areas with China. The Laos-China railway is of great importance to Laos, and Laos will spare no efforts in promoting cooperation in relevant projects. Laos is willing to continually make efforts in boosting the development of ASEAN-China relations.

Before the talks, Li Keqiang held a welcoming ceremony for Thongloun Sisoulith at the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Wang Zhengwei and others were present.

After the talks, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements on economy, trade and other fields

On the same afternoon, Thongloun Sisoulith went to the Tiananmen Square and laid a wreath at the Monument to the People’s Heroes.

(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)

Yang Jiechi Meets with Incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres

On November 28, 2016, State Councilor Yang Jiechi met at Zhongnanhai with incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres.

Yang Jiechi expressed that as the largest developing country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will continue to fully participate in UN’s work in various areas, deepen cooperation with the UN, firmly support the UN’s leading role in global governance, build a more fair, just, inclusive and orderly global governance system, lead all member states to pursue win-win, multi-win and joint-win situations, and make positive contributions to building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and forging a community of common destiny for mankind. He believed that after assuming the office of UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres will make greater contributions to safeguarding world peace, promoting common development and pushing for international cooperation.

(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)

Wang Yi and Incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres Jointly Meet the Press

On November 28, 2016, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres jointly met the press after holding talks in Beijing.

Wang Yi said that China welcomes Mr. António Guterres to visit China as the incoming UN Secretary General. Mr. António Guterres is a senior statesman with rich experience and outstanding capabilities and has held important posts in the UN for a long time. It is believed that Mr. António Guterres will definitely become an excellent Secretary General.

Wang Yi expressed that just now Mr. António Guterres and I have exchanged in-depth views on current international situation, the UN’s role, China-UN cooperation and other topics, reaching extensive consensus. We both propose to further safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, which synergize the precious experience obtained from war-induced chaos and turmoil in the human society. They are basic principles guiding contemporary international relations, and must be abided by unswervingly. The collective security mechanism established in the UN Charter is an important guarantee of eliminating the war and boosting peace, and must be safeguarded constantly.

We both advocate further giving play to the UN’s influence and role. When it comes to coping with increasing and various global challenges, no country can achieve victory by fighting alone. The UN is an effective platform to collectively deal with global challenges, and also a core mechanism for all countries to manage international affairs through cooperation. Facing the world with emerging chaos, all countries hold higher, instead of lower expectation towards the UN. The UN’s role should be reinforced, not weakened.

We both call for further improvement in the UN’s governance competence and efficiency. The UN should comply with the appeal of the international community, strengthen its capability for coping with global challenges, improve work efficiency and elevate the level of emergency response in a bid to enable the over 10 billion dollars of regular budget and peacekeeping assessments to be properly used as well as let more than 160,000 UN staff and peacekeeping personnel work to their full potential.

We all agree to further deepen China-UN cooperation. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of China in the UN. China-UN relationship is at a new historical starting point. We should make joint efforts to speed up the implementation of the important outcomes from President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the series of summits marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN last year and well manage all the follow-up works after Premier Li Keqiang’s attendance at the high-level meetings of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly this year, so as to elevate China-UN cooperation in various fields to another level.

In conclusion, as a founding member of the UN and permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will always firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, safeguard the UN’s authority and position and maintain its core role in international affairs.

(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)