Major revamp for neighborhoods near Shanghai Confucian Temple



Major revamp for neighborhoods near Shanghai Confucian Temple

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

The memorial gateway of the Shanghai Confucian Temple, or Wenmiao area, the core and original place of the city’s old town, dating back to over 700 years.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A girl skips rope on Menghua  Street behind the temple.


A new round of renovation has started on the city’s old town area around the Shanghai Confucian Temple to retain the its historic flavor while improving the living condition for residents.

About 2,000 illegal buildings, including those built by residents to make up for the limited living space, will be demolished by June around the landmark temple in Huangpu District.

Their houses will be renovated to have separate toilets or improved shared facilities by November, the Laoximen subdistrict said yesterday.

The area along Zhonghua and Wenmiao roads is the core and original place of Shanghai’s old town, dating back to over 700 years.

Some 120,000 square meters of old public and private houses stand around the Confucian temple, or Wenmiao. The temple was founded in 1291 during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and has been renovated or rebuilt several times.

Many locals also equate the temple with a popular wholesale book market opened in 1993 which moved elsewhere in 2013. A smaller scale second-hand book operates every Sunday in a part of the temple.

“The place kept many historic traces of Shanghai’s development and retained the traditional lifestyle of the city,” an official with the subdistrict said.

Over 5,500 households are living in the old town area, with 70 percent of their houses listed as the old residential lanes with the poorest living environment by the city government.

“However, the cramped living space and environment can hardly meet the standard of urban life,” the official said.

But the area is also home to eight traditional shikumen, or stone-gate, lanes which incorporates Chinese and western architecture as well as the city’s last remaining cigarette and paper stores.

“It used to be a prosperous region with collectors bargaining and trading old books and worshippers to the temple hope to have lucky reading,” said Ge Guoying, who runs an old-style zip repair store on the opposite side of the temple for over four decades.

Most house owners have rented the dingy rooms to out-of-towners who are lured by the cheap lease and downtown locations, while some locals are still living in the two-story houses.

Lu Zhenhua, 69, one of the original residents occupying an eight-square meter apartment, dreams “for decades to have an indoor kitchen and separate bathroom.”

Lu’s hope for renovation might be realized soon as the authority has mapped out over 40 projects to improve the residents’ living conditions as well as the environment of the area.

Gas will be connected through pipes to the first batch of 93 households like Lu’s who are still using liquefied gas bottles. Over 200 households with an extra space will have separate kitchens and toilets by the end of the year, according to the subdistrict.

For households which do not adequate space for a kitchen or toilet, the authority will build public ones with full facilities across the community.

Additional public facilities will also be built, such as public baths, pocket parks and small fire stations, to improve living conditions, the official said.

The authority will move the radial overhead cables across the area underground or rearrange them to improve the old town’s image to minimize potential risks.

China’s Leadership Will Never Tolerate Anyone Being Truthful



China probes foreign companies labeling China’s territories as independent countries


China’s aviation authority on Friday demanded an apology from Delta Air Lines for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, while another government agency took aim at Inditex-owned fashion brand Zara and medical device maker Medtronic Plc for similar issues.

The moves follow a regulator’s decision on Thursday to suspend Marriott International Inc’s Chinese website for a week to punish the world’s biggest hotel chain for listing Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a customer questionnaire.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China asked Delta to investigate the listing of Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, and called for an “immediate and public” apology.

The aviation authority also said it would require all foreign airlines operating routes to China to conduct comprehensive investigations of their websites, apps and customer-related information and “strictly comply with China’s laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening.”

In a statement, Delta apologized for making “an inadvertent error with no business or political intention,” saying it recognized the seriousness of the issue and had taken steps to resolve it.

Separately, the same regulator that penalized Marriott – the Shanghai branch of the state cyberspace administration – accused Zara of placing Taiwan in a pull-down list of countries on its Chinese website.

Medtronic had also put “Republic of China (Taiwan)” on one of its websites, the office said in a WeChat post.

Medtronic issued an apology via social media, saying it had updated the website. An executive who answered the phone at Zara’s Shanghai office was not able to immediately comment.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing on Friday that Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet were all part of China.

“The companies that come to China should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China’s laws, and respect the feelings of the Chinese people. This is the minimum requirement of any company going to another country to carry out business and investment,” he said.

Three injured following 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Tibet



Three injured following 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Tibet


Imagine china

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region at 6:34am Saturday.

Three people sustained minor injuries following a 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region at 6:34 a.m. Saturday.

The quake caused power failure and cracks in houses in a number of localities in Nyingchi City, according to the regional seismological bureau.

The epicenter was detected at 29.75 degrees north latitude and 95.02 degrees east longitude, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. The quake struck at a depth of about 10 km.

The quake was felt strongly in several counties in Nyingchi. As of 6 p.m., 227 aftershocks had been detected, including one with a magnitude of 5or higher.

Basang Cering, Party chief in Zhaxigang Village of Lunang Township, told Xinhua that he could not stand still in his house when the quake struck. Six houses in his village were damaged by the jolt.

Sources with the regional power grid said the power grids of both Tibet and Nyingchi are operating normally, though it had launched an emergency response mechanism.

The China Seismological Bureau has launched a third-degree emergency response mechanism and held a teleconference to monitor an investigation into the situation. A team of 32 experts has been sent to the quake zone.

The bureau observed that the highest seismic intensity of the quake affected an area of 500 square meters, which is sparsely populated.

The tremors triggered falling rocks, blocking a highway linking Nyingchi’s city proper with Tangmai, one of the quake-hit townships. Armed police transport troops are clearing the road.

The Fire Department of the Ministry of Public Security said fire fighters from Nyingchi are ready in Tangmai Township. Another team of rescuers will take a helicopter to Gyalha village in the epicenter since the road to the village was blocked by rocks.

The Ministry of Transport has also dispatched staff to investigate the safety condition of bridges in the quake-hit area.

The Tibet subsidiaries of Chinese telecom providers China Mobile and China Tower said that their networks are operating normally. But the Tibet branch of China Telecom reported the disruption of an optical cable for broadband service in Pome and Zayul counties.

Xi sees “new starting point” for China: Evidently Means A Total End Of Any Freedom For The People



Xi sees “new starting point” for China—but where does it end?

Aug 02, 2017

Shanghai changes faster than any place I know. Each time I return, I’m flabbergasted by the pace of development. Pudong’s financial district sprouts new skyscrapers. The Bund sports pricier restaurants. Huaihai Lu, once the Avenue Joffre in the old French Concession, is recolonized by a few more European luxury boutiques. Buildings, city blocks, entire neighborhoods seem to vanish and reemerge as something else. If I am away for more than six months, it feels like coming back to an entirely new metropolis: bigger, richer, sleeker, chic-er.

I have been thinking about the breakneck pace of growth in Shanghai while trying to parse the implications of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s declaration last Thursday that China’s development has reached a “new historical starting point.” Xi’s pronouncement was part of a major policy address he delivered in Beijing to provincial and ministerial officials ahead of this year’s 19th Party Congress. At that gathering, likely to be held in the next few months, Xi is expected to install a new generation of leaders and consolidate his position as the party’s “core” leader. The speech seems to signal Xi’s determination to double down in his second term on the authoritarian policies that have been the hallmark of his first five years in power: a zealous campaign against graft, expanded support for state-owned enterprises, and new measures to strengthen the party’s grip on China’s economy and society.

You can get a flavor of Xi’s remarks from these reports in Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. Alas, both those outlets are blocked in China. And so, no matter how stylish and seemingly cosmopolitan the lobby of my hotel, to access the global business press from it, I am obliged to rely on a “virtual private network” or VPN. In recent months, Xi’s push to bolster the party has included a sweeping crackdown on the use of VPNs and tightened party control over nearly all permutations of Internet use. In fact, TechCrunch reports today that Beijing has ordered Apple to purge all major VPN apps from the App Store in China. The move was first noted by ExpressVPN, a provider based outside of China—and, as it happens, the service I’m using to write this. The company says it received a notice from Apple that its app was scrapped because it “includes content that is illegal in China.”

This essay was originally published in our CEO Daily Newsletter. Subscribe.

Xi is also putting the squeeze on privately owned Chinese companies the government deems too aggressive in expanding outside China. In recent weeks, China’s state media has been filled with reports deploring the dangers posed by what pundits here are calling “gray rhinos“—large Chinese companies with murky ownership structures, high-debt ratios and extensive holdings overseas. It’s almost as if Beijing’s vaunted “Go Global” investment policy has been rebranded as “Go Home.”

Concerns about the risks over-leveraged firms pose to China’s financial system are well-founded. And yet, of the four gray rhinos China’s bank regulators have singled out for greater regulatory scrutiny in recent weeks, at least one, Dalian Wanda, was an established business with a coherent global strategy.

Shai Oster, a China tech correspondent for The Information, worries in a thoughtful essay published today that all the “euphoria” over the dazzling innovations in China’s tech sector in recent years masks the heavy-handedness with which Xi has dealt with private firms. If Xi himself can order the takedown of China’s most high-profile and politically connected property developer, no one is safe. “Even someone as famous as Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma could face increased political risks in the current climate.” Executives many of foreign firms operating in China say they feel equally vulnerable.

The optimistic view is that the many recent measures to tighten political control in China are temporary and that Xi will loosen up after the Party Congress once he has his ducks in line. It’s a comforting thought. If only there were more evidence to support it.

China Toughens Punishment For Stock Market Irregularities


China toughens punishment for stock market irregularities

CHINA’S securities regulator has toughened punishment on illegal market activities this year amid strengthened supervision, which handed out more fines in the first five months than the whole year of 2016.

From January to May, fines totalling 6.14 billion yuan (about 901 million U.S. dollars) were slapped on law violators in the securities sector, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

A total of 29 people were suspended from securities business in the five months, the regulator said.

In 2016, the CSRC punished 183 illegal market activities and handed out fines of 4.28 billion yuan, up 288 percent from the 2015 level. Some 38 people were barred from the securities industry.

While affirming improved market supervision, CSRC vice chairman Jiang Yang warned that the economic uncertainties, as well as new technologies,products and trading mechanisms, are likely to trigger new risks and challenge regulation.

The CSRC has been toughening supervision and punishment of illegal market activities such as insider trading and stock manipulation after the market rout in 2015 shattered investor confidence.

In March, the CSRC slapped a 3.47 billion yuan fine on a company chairman for stock market manipulation, a record high.

China: Explosion At Kindergarten, 8 Dead 65 Injured 9 In Serious Condition


At least eight people were killed and 65 were injured, including children, in a blast Thursday near a kindergarten in eastern China, according to Chinese state media.

Two people died at the scene and six died at the hospital, the Xinhua news agency reported. Nine are in serious condition, according to CCTV.
No kindergarten students or teachers are among the dead, the Fengxian government said on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter. Classes were underway when the incident happened, the government said.
The blast occurred in front of the gate of the Chuangxin Kindergarten at about 4:50 p.m., according to Fengxian police.
“The police and related departments rushed to the scene as soon as it was reported and conducted rescue and investigation work on the site,” police said on Weibo. “Currently, the investigation work is still underway.”
Authorities have not said what caused the explosion, but police were treating it as a criminal case and have targeted a suspect, according to Xinhua. The Fengxian communication department did not answer a phone call from CNN.
Graphic images purporting to show the chaotic aftermath of the blast have circulated on Twitter and Chinese social media.
A child with a bloodied face, stumbling back and forth in only her underwear, could be seen surrounded by children splayed out on the ground. Screams were heard in the background.
CNN has not been able to independently verify that the video is from this incident, but it’s been recirculated by various Chinese state media outlets.
Fengxian is in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, about 370 miles (595 kilometers) northwest of Shanghai.
It’s home to 1.2 million people, according to the government’s website.

Qatar insists it’s ‘business as usual’


Qatar insists it’s ‘business as usual’

QATAR tried to avoid an escalation of its feud with Gulf neighbors yesterday by telling their citizens they are welcome to stay, while boasting of “business as usual” for vital gas exports.

Iran also announced it had sent tons of vegetables to Qatar, which has seen food imports threatened.

Nearly a week after Saudi Arabia and several of its allies severed ties with Qatar in an unprecedented Gulf diplomatic crisis, there were no signs of the bitter dispute being resolved.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, an assertion since backed by US President Donald Trump.

Qatar strongly rejects the allegations and has said it is open to talks on ending the dispute, which also saw the three Gulf states order all Qatari citizens out of their countries within 14 days.

The crisis has raised deep concerns of instability in the region, and yesterday Kuwait’s foreign minister said his country would continue efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis.

Qatar said late on Saturday that it would not retaliate with such measures of its own. A statement carried on Qatari state media said Doha would “not take any measures against residents of Qatar who hold the nationalities of countries that severed diplomatic ties … on the back of hostile and tendentious campaigns against the country.”

The decision will come as a relief to the more than 11,000 people from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain living in Qatar.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of these measures on people who live in all the countries affected.

“For potentially thousands of people across the Gulf, the effect of the steps imposed in the wake of this political dispute is suffering, heartbreak and fear,” Amnesty International has said.

Despite the unprecedented sanctions, Qatar says that its crucial exports of liquefied gas have not been interrupted.

“Qatar Petroleum … is conducting business as usual throughout all its upstream, midstream and downstream businesses and operations, and in all activities across all of QP’s world-class facilities,” a statement read.

Gas has helped transform the tiny emirate into one of the richest countries in the world, fueling its rise into a major regional player and helping fund huge infrastructure projects such as the 2022 football World Cup, which will be hosted by Qatar.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said yesterday that he was confident the crisis posed no threat to the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar’s rivals have also accused Doha of being too close to the Sunni Arab Gulf states’ arch-rival — Shiite-dominated Iran — in claims that Doha has also denied.

Iranian officials said tons of vegetables had been sent from Iran to Qatar since the measures were taken against it.

Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi said five planes carrying around 90 tons of vegetables each had been sent to Qatar in recent days.

“We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand,” Noushabadi added, without saying if the deliveries were commercial exports or aid.

Three ships loaded with 350 tons of fruit and vegetables were also set to leave an Iranian port for Qatar, the Tasnim news agency quoted a local official as saying.

On Saturday, Moscow joined other nations in calling for a dialogue, after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to ease their “blockade” of Qatar.

Washington has sent mixed signals on the crisis, despite Qatar’s position as a key ally and host to the largest US airbase in the region.

While Tillerson and others have called for an easing of tensions, Trump said on Friday that Qatar had “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

Kuwait, which has not joined its neighbors against Qatar, has been leading mediation efforts and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled Al-Sabah said yesterday that would continue.

“Kuwait stresses the need for the dispute to be resolved within the Gulf framework,” Sheikh Sabah said in a statement quoted by the KUNA news agency.

Qatar has expressed readiness “to understand the concerns of its brothers and respond to the efforts of the emir (of Kuwait) to strengthen peace and security,” the foreign minister said.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have announced hotlines to help families with Qatari members, their official news agencies reported, after their cutting of diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar led to travel disruption.

Until the dispute, Gulf societies enjoyed close travel ties and many families are intermarried.

But authorities in the UAE and Bahrain have made praise for Qatar’s government a criminal offense, and some Gulf citizens have worried that the strong rhetoric on Qatar’s foreign policy would divide their peoples.

But the UAE said it drew a distinction between Qatar’s government and its people.

China: Outrage as accident victim left to die in middle of intersection


Outrage as accident victim left to die

A SPEEDING taxi knocks a pedestrian off her feet, sending her hurtling through the air. Dozens of people stand gawking or walk past, as if the young woman sprawled in the busy intersection simply doesn’t exist. A full minute passes, and another speeding vehicle, this time an SUV, tramples the prone woman. Her unconscious body churns under its large wheels like a lumpen sack.

After a grainy video of the incident in the city of Zhumadian surfaced on Chinese social media this past week, the initial reaction was one of outrage directed at the more than 40 pedestrians and drivers who passed within meters of the woman, all failing to offer help.

Many Chinese say they avoid helping people on the street because of widespread stories about extortionists who seek help from passers-by and then feign injuries and demand compensation — perhaps explaining reaction to the incident in central China’s Henan Province.

After the video surfaced last week, garnering more than 5 million views in its first 24 hours, local police were forced to disclose that the accident took place weeks earlier, on April 21.

The woman, Ma Ruixia, died, while the two drivers who hit her were held under investigation, police said, without giving further details.

The news swept through social media and even state media outlets.

The Communist Youth League, an influential Party organization, circulated the video on its Weibo account, urging its 5 million followers to “reject indifference.”

An opinion column on, a state media organ, asked citizens to “reflect” on the tragedy. Others used the episode as a starting point to vent about social ills.

A national debate flared up following a similar case in 2011, when an unattended 2-year-old was hit by a truck on a busy street in south China’s Guangdong Province and lay in a pool of blood without any help from bystanders for seven minutes. She later died.

In the following years, several cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, enacted Good Samaritan laws.

Examples of bystander apathy are worldwide, from the case of Kitty Genovese, a woman stabbed to death outside her New York apartment in 1964, to Chicago last year, where a man knocked unconscious in an assault was run over and killed by a taxi as bystanders walked away.

In India, a video showed a man unsuccessfully pleading for help following a road accident that killed his wife and child in 2013. That same year, passers-by refused to stop to help a naked, bleeding gang-rape victim after she was dumped from a bus onto a New Delhi street. The 23-year-old student died of her injuries.

But the Chinese have been particularly self-critical on the matter.

A 2014 state media poll found that Chinese thought “lacking faith and ethics” was the No. 1 social problem, followed by “being a bystander or being selfish.”

Many in China’s intelligentsia reject the idea that an ancient strain of Chinese culture that focuses on the immediate family explains tragedies like Zhumadian. Confucius, after all, taught the Golden Rule. And Mencius, another revered philosopher, urged disciples to love others’ children and respect others’ parents as they would their own.

China: Keeping the peace in Darfur


Keeping the peace in Darfur

Moody’s Downgrades China Over Worries About Its Growing Debt


SHANGHAI — Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its credit rating on China’s sovereign debt by a notch on Wednesday, saying that the steady buildup of debt in the Chinese economy would erode the country’s financial strength in the coming years.

In a bluntly worded statement, Moody’s said that the Chinese government remained committed to achieving high economic growth despite slowing productivity gains and a shrinking population of working-age adults. The only way for China to achieve that high growth is to allow its debt to continue to grow as a way to stimulate the economy, Moody’s warned.

”The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectation that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economywide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows,” the credit rating firm said.

Moody’s moved down China’s debt rating to A1 from Aa3, but changed its outlook for further ratings adjustments to stable, from negative.

Moody’s action is still likely to anger Chinese officials, who have tried hard to persuade the Chinese public and the international financial community that they have the country’s debt troubles well in hand.

Stock markets in China and Hong Kong opened slightly lower on Wednesday on the news. The Australian dollar, which is widely considered a barometer of investor sentiment about China because Australia sells so much of its raw materials to that country, weakened against the United States dollar.