Economist: China able to maintain 6.5 percent annual growth over next decade

It’s entirely possible that China will maintain an annual economic growth of 6.5 percent for the next 10 years, said Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist of the World Bank, China News Agency reported.

Lin made the remarks at a forum held at the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing.

China’s reform will always be on the road, Lin said. In the 40 years of reform and opening up, the country has followed its own path of economic development and become a medium-high income country.

The economist said China should continue deepening reform and give a decisive role to the market in allocating resources.

As new industries with higher added value will continue to emerge, the potential for a relatively high economic growth won’t change, Lin said. He added that through supply-side structural reform and optimizing industrial structures, China should expect to keep annual growth at around 6.5 percent over the next decade.

The economist believes the basis for mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between China and the U.S. will not change.

Chinese-built rail puts Ethiopia on higher development track

For Muftah, a medical student in the city of Addis Ababa, getting to school used to take a lot of time and money, as traffic jams were an integral part of the chaotic city.

Now it takes less time to reach his school on the China-built light rail, and it’s also a more enjoyable journey. As Muftah explains,“The train cabins are clean and comfortable. I sometimes read books on the train.”

The 34.25-km light railway, with 39 stations across the city, was built by China Railway Engineering Corporation, which currently operates the rail together with the Shenzhen Metro Group, another Chinese company.

The railway transported some 129 million passengers between 2015 when it opened to traffic at the end of May 2018. It has reduced commuting expenses from 2 to 6 ETB ($0.07 to 0.14) for a one-way ticket, which is much lower than taking a taxi or even a bus.

“The railway has become a name card of Ethiopia. Its punctuality, safety, rapid speed and convenience have made it a first choice for Addis Ababa citizens. In addition to relieving traffic burden, the rail has also improved functions of the city, said Ethiopian Minister of Transport Workneh Gebeyehu.

The rail is also a symbol of friendship. The two Chinese companies have created a complete system for rail operation and management and transferred techniques and knowledge to the Ethiopian side according to the contract. For instance, local employees have now been trained to carry out most of the driving work.

The Chinese side have so far held 16 sessions of training on institution construction, 19 rounds of light rail technique training, compiled more than 200 supporting textbooks and launched a training system for the rail company.

Under the training, 791 Ethiopian students have obtained work qualification certificates.

An Ethiopian employee said he has learnt a lot from his Chinese co-workers, such as how to drive a train safely, and they have also built deep friendship and understanding while working together.

The railway has changed the development outlook of the city, said Wang Wei, general manager of Shenzhen Metro Group. Before the rail opened, the city’s nightlife ended around 8 p.m., but as the rail is now open until 10 p.m., shops and restaurants have since prolonged their opening hours.

After getting their first Pizza Hut restaurant because of the railway, the city is now welcoming another in a district along the railway.

Under the guidance of the Chinese, the Ethiopian transport authorities have compiled an enterprise standard system and an emergency rescue standard system.

Elderly care services strengthened to cope with China’s aging population

According to statistics issued by the National Working Commission on Aging (NWCA), by the end of 2017, the population in China aged 60 and above hit 240 million, meaning that nearly four working people now have to support one senior. By 2020, that figure is projected to exceed 255 million, cctv.com reported.

That puts the traditional family-based support system for the elderly under enormous pressure. Normally, Chinese couples born after the 1970s who are the only child in their family have to shoulder the responsibility of supporting four seniors and raising a child.

The Chinese society is aging alongside societal changes such as urbanization, informatization and agricultural modernization, which adds to the fact that more children are financially unable or have little time to take care of their parents.

To cope with the aging population and implement a family-based support system, China is adopting new policies and fostering a social environment in which senior citizens are respected, cared for and can live happily throughout their golden years.

Li Zhihong, deputy head of NWCA’s policy research office, said the commission is working toward a number of targets, firstly that 30 percent of all nursing care beds should be for the elderly, a proposed 90 percent of elderly people will be covered by basic pension schemes and more than 95 percent of the elderly population are to be covered by basic medical insurance.

East China’s Shandong province has created a model that launches medical care at elderly care centers and opens old-age care centers within hospitals. Wu Lian, a county in Shandong, plans to build more than 120 health centers which will help around 150,000 people.

Taking care of a disabled senior costs a considerable amount of money for a family. Since 2016, China has piloted long-term elderly care insurance in 15 cities, covering 48 million people.

In Nantong in east China’s Jiangsu province, disabled seniors who are covered by social insurance are able to receive an allowance whether they live at a care center or at home.

Long-term elderly care insurance has already been introduced in Shanghai, Chongqing and Changchun, where 50,000 people are currently covered, with the reimbursement rate reaching 70 percent.

Set sail on a new journey with “Shanghai Spirit”

By Xiao Qinghua (People’s Daily)

The two-day-long 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is scheduled to open on Saturday in Qingdao, the renowned “capital of sailing” in east China’s Shandong province.

The Qingdao Summit is the first summit held by the SCO after its membership expansion. The great event marks a milestone in the history of the SCO as it sets the direction and goals for the organization and looks forward to its future.

Heads of state from the SCO members will gather in this beautiful coastal city to draw a new blueprint and set the SCO on a new journey.

Over the past 17 years, the SCO member states have followed the trend of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit and turned the two wheels of security and economy to move together.

They’ve also worked together to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism, safeguarded regional security and stability and boosted regional economic cooperation. The concrete efforts have produced fruitful achievements, benefiting all the member states and their peoples.

India and Pakistan’s accession to the SCO has broadened the organization’s development space, given it a wider stage to play its role and made it more influential.

The SCO has always kept the original aspiration in mind and advanced with the times with the “Shanghai Spirit” as a beacon.

The Shanghai Spirit, featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respecting diverse civilizations and seeking common development, remains the foundation and soul of the organization.

The set of values evolving with the times, which is upheld by the member states, has injected inexhaustible impetus into their development and provided useful practice for the construction of a new type of international relations and a community with shared future for mankind.

Standing at the new historical starting point, the SCO member states will continue to uphold the “Shanghai Spirit”, consolidate solidarity and mutual trust, deepen cooperation in various fields, work together to bring the SCO into a new era, make new achievements and contribute more to maintaining common security and promoting common development.

China and Kyrgyzstan, linked by mountains and rivers, enjoy time-honored friendship. They began friendly exchanges as early as 2,000 years ago along the ancient Silk Road.

As the SCO founding members, the two countries have conducted productive cooperation in many key fields, including politics, economy and trade, security, people-to-people exchanges and infrastructure construction, making due contributions to the organization’s overall development.

As important strategic partners, the two countries, in recent years, have been deepening political mutual trust, strengthening pragmatic cooperation, and joining hands on the construction of the Belt and Road.

They’ve also been advancing connectivity, beefing up cultural exchanges, and sharing development achievements to benefit the two peoples.

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov will pay a state visit to China before attending the Qingdao summit.

It is hoped that under the strategic guidance of both leaders and with joint efforts, the good neighborly relations and cooperation between China and Kyrgyzstan will reach a new high and the bilateral relations will turn to a new page.

(The author is Chinese Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan)

SCO makes remarkable achievements in economic and trade cooperation

By Wang Junling (People’s Daily)

Economic and trade cooperation between Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states has reaped eye-catching fruits since the SCO was established 17 years ago, a Chinese official told a recent press conference.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng summarized the SCO’s highlights in propelling regional economic cooperation ahead of the two-day-long 18th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is expected to kick off on Saturday in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province.

At the first summit after a SCO membership expansion, economic and trade issues are projected to be high on the meeting agenda.

In 17 years after the establishment of the SCO, its member states have realized comprehensive development in politics, security, economy, people-to-people exchanges, foreign affairs and instituational construction.

The SCO member states enjoy closer trade ties, said Gao, elaborating that China’s total trade volume with other members rose to $217.6 billion in 2017, a 19 percent surge from the previous year. In the first quarter of 2018, trade continued to maintain good momentum with an increase of 20.7 percent.

The structure of China’s trade with other SCO member states has been optimized step by step to include a growing proportion of mechanical and electrical products as well as mechanical equipment.

Development of the SCO has also brought fruitful investment and contracting projects, according to the spokesman. By the end of this March, Chinese investment to SCO member countries amounted to approximately $84 billion, with sound progress in many large-scale energy, mineral and industrial projects.

The turnover of China’s contracting projects in other SCO member states has amounted to $156.9 billion, and a number of highways, power stations, and pipeline projects have become demonstration projects.

Gao said positive progress has been made in interconnection and interoperability, such as the completion of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan road, the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, the construction of the China-Kazakhstan and China-Russia crude oil pipelines, and the regular and efficient operation of the China-Europe freight train routes.

The SCO has initially formed a complex infrastructure network including roads, railways, oil and gas, and communications within the SCO region, further strengthening ties among member states, Gao added.

At the upcoming Summit in Qingdao, China will join other SCO members to reach consensus, seek common development, and underpin the importance of improving global governance and enhancing the multilateral trade system, Gao said while talkng about the future of the SCO cooperation.

The country will also push forward a trade facilitation process, improve the mechanism and legal basis for trade facilitation, and inject new impetus into SCO cooperation, he added.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a major development opportunity for SCO’s member countries and has broad prospects. The SCO will promote positive docking of the initiative and development strategies of the member countries for common prosperity, SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov said.

The SCO is successful in consideration of its wide coverage, large population, economic volume of its member countries, and various mechanisms and platforms it has built, said professor Swaran Singh of the School of International Studies at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

If the SCO continues consolidating and strengthening the achievements and goals, it will sure to achieve important results at this summit, the professor added.

The “Shanghai Spirit” and the philosophy of the Belt and Road Initiative are highly consistent with each other, said Quan Heng, Director of the Research Institute of World Economy of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

In the future, the SCO will play an increasingly important role in promoting regional economic cooperation, economic globalization and peaceful development of the world, Quan noted.

China’s X-men actress at center of tax-evasion allegations

China’s X-men actress Fan Bingbing has recently found herself at the receiving end of tax-evasion allegations. It has triggered fury among netizens and has now prompted an investigation into tax evasion in the film and television industry by the Chinese tax authorities.

Last week, former anchor of China Central Television (CCTV) Cui Yongyuan posted several photos on social media of different contracts signed by a Chinese film star for the same job. In one of the documents, the contract was for 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) and in the other, Cui said the contract was signed for 50 million yuan. In the post, he did not name Fan directly.

Cui questioned what Fan had done with the 50 million yuan left unaccounted for, and said later that he had a drawer of such contracts that may involve multiple big screen stars.

“The State Administration of Taxation (SAT) has ordered local tax bureaus in Jiangsu to investigate and verify online allegations that certain television and movie actors evaded taxes by signing two contracts,” CCTV reported.

Last Sunday, Fan’s studio denied the accusation, saying it would fully cooperate with the relevant authorities. Whether Fan has evaded tax or has any connection to the highlighted contracts still needs further investigation, but “duplicate contracts” have already become an unspoken rule in the film industry.

A producer told national Chinese-language daily newspaper Guangming Daily in 2011 that almost every film house would prepare such contracts for the actors. One of them is presented to the tax authorities while the other is a private agreement between the investor and actors, the producer said, adding that the value difference between the duplicate contracts may be tenfold.

It is a basic social responsibility for every citizen to pay taxes, and as high-income earners with social attention, celebrities should never escape their obligation of rate payment, said People’s Daily in an article published on June 3. Those celebrities who violate the related laws and avoid taxes should not only be condemned by society, but also punished, the article added.

Tax evasion is never unilateral, and the “duplicate contracts” involve multiple parties including the actors, production companies, and investors, People’s Daily said, adding that every party should be held accountable. Therefore, to probe into this individual case and begin an all-round investigation is the anticipated next step.

China’s J-20 fighter jets will be serialized

J-20 fighter

China’s stealth fighter J-20 will be serialized to increase capabilities, said Yang Wei, chief designer of the warcraft.

J-20 is only the beginning, and it will bring more change and innovation in the future, Yang continued. The aircraft is not only a reliable weapon in war, but also a product that promotes the development of China’s electronics industry. Yang added that it indicates a path of China’s independent innovation, which is critical for the country’s future progress.

After the stealth fighter was commissioned as part of the country’s air force combat service, a number of excellent pilots, commanders, and combat support personnel have been trained.

According to Yang, older generations of the warcraft require a great deal of effort from the pilots to control, while the latest generations, with improved performance, allow the pilots to focus more on combat.

Chinese-made bamboo bikes to be exhibited at Paris Fashion Week

Bamboo bikes made by a Chinese man’s team will be exhibited at this year’s Paris Fashion Week, to be held from June 19 to 24, Chengdu Business Daily reported.

Abu, a local in Sichuan province whose real name is Ren Yao, introduced that the bamboo bikes have outstanding shock absorption and are strong enough to easily support an adult’s weight.

The bikes have already reached the European bicycle industry standard, Abu noted. In fact, he spent 30 days riding 2,500 kilometers on his bamboo bike from Chengdu to Lhasa.

“Compared with bamboo bikes seen before, nothing is as amazing as yours,” commented a global fashion expert who recommended the bikes be exhibited at the global fashion event.

“Through this exhibition, I hope to make more and more people around the world see Chinese-made and Chengdu-made products,” said Abu, adding that this exhibition is just the beginning.

Bamboo bikes made by the team have already been exported to many countries including the U.S., Britain, Singapore, Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Chinese people willing to buy more imported goods

With an increase of income, Chinese people now show a growing willingness to buy imported quality goods, the People’s Daily Overseas Edition reported on June 5.

A businessman from New Zealand introduces his dairy products to a Chinese buyer at an imported products expo held in Yiwu, China in 2018.

About 86.6 percent of Chinese consumers with a monthly household income of over 20,000 yuan ($3,121) say they have either already bought or plan to buy imported goods within the coming year, according to a survey recently conducted by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

Consumers show most interest in imported goods including food, clothing, shoes and cosmetics. The growing demand for imported goods reflects the insufficient domestic supply, the survey points out.

The survey also shows that consumers usually care more about safety, price and quality of imported products.

“Some imported goods are of better quality than domestic ones, and at a reasonable price,” said Li Xiao, an employee at a Beijing-based technology company.

Li added that consumers can occasionally buy fake products from purchasing agents, so they hope China will further expand its import of overseas high-end cosmetics.

Statistics indicate that China’s total retail sales of consumer goods reached 36.6 trillion yuan last year, making China the world’s second largest consumer market. It’s therefore necessary to expand imports to meet domestic personalized and high-end consumer demand.

Moderately expanding China’s imports will benefit more countries by improving total trade volume and optimizing trade structure, said Zhao Ping, director at the International Trade Research Department under China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

In addition, it will promote the industrial transformation and upgrade of consumption in relevant domestic industries, Zhao added.

Taking the household appliances industry as an example, China’s first ever color television, produced in 1970, was inferior to imported versions in terms of both quality and performance.

However, driven by imported products, the household appliance industry in China has seen rapid development over recent years, so much so that it is now a huge manufacturer and global supplier of household appliances.

The State Council recently said that China will further cut import tariffs for daily consumer goods starting July 1, involving products such as clothing, shoes, kitchenware, sports and fitness supplies.

China has 1,128 time-honored brands: MOFCOM

There are 1,128 time-honored brands in China with an average history of around 140 years, according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

The brands, such as the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Tongrentang, Chinese medicine maker Yunnan Baiyao, roast duck restaurant chain Quanjude and alcohol retailer Moutai Liquor, imply both Chinese traditional business culture and national history.

Criteria for evaluation of the brands are strict. A company must have been created before 1956, inheriting unique products, techniques or services, and be widely recognized by society.

The brands are distributed in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China, with most in coastal and inland developed areas. For instance, Shanghai has 180 time-honored brands, topping all areas across China, followed by Beijing with 117.

Some brands have been weeded out for reasons such as market competition, a backward marketing approach and lack of innovation, while others are actively adapting to cater for today’s market and consumers.

For example, many time-honored brands have already established their own websites or joined e-commerce platforms to promote and sell their products, which in turn help them attract lots of consumers, said brand expert Yin Jie.

In addition, the Chinese government released supporting policies to advance brand development.

A MOFCOM report indicated that China’s time-honored brands achieved a sales revenue of about 9.03 trillion yuan ($1.41 trillion) in 2016, a year-on-year growth of 6 percent, with a profit of 765.8 billion yuan.