China’s Catholic Church pledges loyalty to Party after Vatican deal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF YAHOO NEWS)

(THIS IS STUPIDITY AND IT IS PURELY EVIL, AS A CHRISTIAN YOUR ONLY PLEDGE OF LOYALTY IS TO GOD. IF YOU PLEDGE YOUR LOYALTY TO THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA YOU HAVE THEN MADE THEM YOUR GOD.)

China’s Catholic Church pledges loyalty to Party after Vatican deal

Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Catholic priest Liu performs holy communion in a make-shift chapel in the village of Bai Gu Tun, located on the outskirts of the city of Tianjin, around 70 km south-east of Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Catholic priest Liu Yong Wang performs holy communion in a make-shift chapel in the village of Bai Gu Tun, located on the outskirts of the city of Tianjin, around 70 km (43 miles) south-east of Beijing July 17, 2012./File Photo
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Catholic Church reaffirmed its loyalty to the country’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday, while welcoming a landmark deal struck with the Vatican on appointing new bishops.

The Vatican on Saturday signed an agreement giving it a long-desired and decisive say in the appointment of bishops in China, though critics labeled it a sellout to the government.

China’s around 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.

The Catholic Church in China said it would “persevere to walk a path suited to a socialist society, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.”

It “deeply loved the motherland” and “sincerely endorsed” the agreement, hoping relations between China and the Vatican would improve further, it added in comments on its website.

The Vatican has said the accord, a breakthrough after years of negotiations, was “not political but pastoral”, and hoped it would lead to “the full communion of all Chinese Catholics.”

But prospects of such an agreement had divided communities of Catholics across China, some of whom fear greater suppression should the Vatican cede more control to Beijing. Others want to see rapprochement and avoid a potential schism.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; editing by John Stonestreet)

Hong Kong holds opening ceremony for Express Rail Link to mainland

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI SHINE DAILY NEWS)

(THIS JUST GIVES BEIJING A FASTER WAY TO SHIP SHOULDERS INTO HONG KONG WHENEVER BEIJING WANTS TO SHUT DOWN ANY AND ALL ‘FREEDOM’ RELATED RALLY’S)

Hong Kong holds opening ceremony for Express Rail Link to mainland

Xinhua

Imagine China

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, (6-R), the Governor of Guangdong Province Ma Xingrui, (6-L) and other Chinese government representatives officiate at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, China, 22 September 2018.

The opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link was held Saturday at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, one day ahead of the official operation of the first high-speed train from Hong Kong to the mainland.

The opening of the XRL marks Hong Kong’s official connection with the national high-speed railway network, Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said at the opening ceremony.

On the B1 Level of the station, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Tung Chee-hwa, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Leung Chun-ying, Governor of Guangdong province Ma Xingrui, Director of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Zhang Xiaoming, Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR Wang Zhimin and other officials officiated the opening ceremony.

“Pearl of the Orient” and other songs played by Hong Kong violinist Yao Jue and Hong Kong String Orchestra as well as the video narrating the development of the railway in Guangdong and Hong Kong commenced the opening ceremony.

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Ma Xingrui, General Manager of China Railway Corporation Lu Dongfu and Chairman of the MTR Corporation Ma Si-hang delivered speeches at the ceremony.

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Ma Xingrui also unveiled a display embodying the official operation of the West Kowloon Station, the terminal of the cross-boarder high-speed rail trains between Hong Kong and the mainland.

China: People trafficker given 8 years 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

People trafficker given 8 years

A woman who trafficked 24 Filipino maids into China has been sentenced to eight years behind bars at Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court.

Liu ran a domestic helper agency and found it was lucrative to import Filipino maids, hailed as the best in the industry, to China, where the need for qualified domestic helpers is increasing.

She contacted two people in the Philippines and formed a people-smuggling network.

Between February and September 2017, they trafficked 24 maids from the Philippines to coastal cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Qingdao, on tourist visas.

 

When they arrived China, Liu picked them up and took them to in inland cities such as Beijing, Chengdu and Xi’an.

Employers said they contacted Liu via friends or ads posted on the Internet. Liu had a catalogue for them to choose from and she brought the maids right to the doorstep. They paid her a commission equal to several months of the maid’s salary.

According to the maids, their monthly income was 6,000 yuan (US$870), but for the first six or seven months, they made 2,000 yuan per month with the rest going into Liu’s pocket.

By charging commissions from both sides, Liu was able to earned 1.2 million yuan in only seven months.

According to the court, Liu cooperated with others to violate immigration rules. As she admitted her guilt, she was granted a lighter sentence. Besides eight years in prison, she was fined 200,000 yuan.

The court said it is risky to recruit illegal maids.

Employers can be fined up to 100,000 yuan and if they have disputes with foreign workers they will find it hard to defend their rights.

According to a report by Labor Daily, Filipino maids are highly-prized for their professionalism and there are about 7 million working around the world. In China, due to lack of standards and training, local domestic helpers cannot provide consistent, qualified service.

The newspaper said there are an estimated 200,000 illegal Filipino maids in China’s mainland where the pay is almost twice that they receive in Hong Kong.

Foreign domestic helpers were entirely banned in Shanghai until July 2015, when high-level foreign professionals living and working in the city were allowed to hire them, but such cases are few so far, according to Shanghai police.

China: New museums part of Yangpu’s ambitious plans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

New museums part of Yangpu’s ambitious plans

Ti Gong

The century-old Yangshupu water plant on the Yangshupu Road in Yangpu District.

A “museum cluster” will be built around the 150-year-old Yangshupu Road in Yangpu District to highlight the city’s industrial and cultural heritage.

The 5-kilometer-long road where Shanghai’s earliest water, gas and energy plants were located, is undergoing a renovation to develop it into a city history museum, said Li Yueqi, the Party Secretary of Yangpu.

Apart from the existing water museum, the China Rescue & Salvage Exhibition Hall and the museum at Shanghai Ocean University, the district plans to build a print museum and martial arts museum on the road. A world-skill museum has also been planned for the Yangpu waterfront area along the road, Li said.

“The road itself is an outdoor history museum featuring the city’s early industries and cultures,” Li said in an interview with the city’s radio station.

Yangshupu Road was once dubbed the “No. 1 Road in East Shanghai” because many of China’s earliest industries were located along the Huangpu River on the southern section of the road, and because of the pipelines for water, gas, electricity and sewage that ran underneath it.

To better preserve its historical ambience, the district government has revoked an earlier plan to widen the four-lane road, according to the Yangpu government. More space on both sides of the road will be kept for the protection of historical buildings.

Apart from the industrial relics, several major historical cultural venues will also undergo major renovations and open to the public, Li said.

They include the former Shanghai Library, an 80-year-old structure on Heishan Road, where the radio interview with Li was held yesterday.

Expansion work will be completed by the end of September to realize the original vision of its architect, Dong Dayou (1899-1973), Li said. The completed section of the library is expected to open to the public in October, he added.

The Yangpu grand theater, built around in the 1990s, is being converted into a modern stage art theater named YOUNG. It will offer a platform for young artists, creative designers and private art groups, the government said.

Furthermore, Yangpu also aims to highlight its innovation and new shopping experiences, Li said.

The district plans to set up a Yangpu overseas innovation center in the US’s Silicon Valley later this year. The center will attract foreign professionals and gather creative ideas to serve China’s national strategy of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The University of New South Wales yesterday opened its China center at the Changyang Campus Creative Park in Yangpu. The university’s China headquarters will take charge of recruitment, cooperation, scientific research and knowledge exchange with local universities and enterprises, according to the district government.

To create an innovative shopping experience, the Yangpu government has planned three shopping hubs, themed on “fashion,” “Shanghai flavor” and “international” in Wujiaochang, Kongjiang Road and west Yangshupu Road.

As another highlight, a dozen Soviet-style houses built in the early 1950s at the 228 block of Changbai Subdistrict on Yanji Road E. will be preserved and turned into innovative stores, offices and exhibition halls.

The city government built 2,000 such buildings in downtown Putuo, Yangpu, Xuhui and Changning districts to hold 20,000 households in 1952 and 1953.

Ti Gong

The former Shanghai Library, an 80-year-old structure on Heishan Road, will open to public in October as the Yangpu Library.

Ti Gong

The Changyang Campus, a major innovative park of the city which is home to a number of startup companies.

Chinese vice president pushes for closer partnership with Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA ‘SHINE’ NEWS AGENCY)

 

Chinese vice president pushes for closer partnership with Russia

Xinhua

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan wrapped up a productive trip on Sunday after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and addressing a plenary session of the 22nd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

During his stay in Russia’s “northern capital,” he reaffirmed China’s readiness to strengthen cooperation with Russia, called for a global effort against trade protectionism, and suggested that all countries build mutual trust and join hands for common development.

China-Russia partnership

Wang met with Putin on Thursday shortly after arriving in St. Petersburg in his first overseas trip as vice president. The two sides agreed to further boost bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both countries and the world.

In their meeting, Wang conveyed to Putin Chinese President Xi Jinping’s sincere greetings and best wishes, saying that Xi attaches great importance to China-Russia ties and cherishes his friendship with Putin.

The Chinese president, added Wang, looks forward to meeting Putin again to jointly chart the future course of bilateral relations as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is scheduled to hold this year’s summit in June in China.

The heads of state of the two countries have made painstaking efforts for and injected robust energy into bilateral cooperation, continuously steering the China-Russia relationship forward, said Wang.

He pointed out that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is of great significance not only to the two countries themselves but to the world at large.

The two neighbors, he said, respect each other, trust each other, cooperate on the basis of equality, and enjoy mutual understanding and support on major international affairs.

In so doing, they have set a model of major-country relations in the current world and made great contribution to safeguarding global strategic stability and building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, added Wang.

The Chinese vice president stressed that it is a choice both of history and of the people that China and Russia steadfastly pursue development paths that suit their respective national realities.

Now the Chinese people, under Xi’s leadership, are vigorously pushing forward the building of a socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, said Wang, adding that China’s development is making rapid and remarkable progress.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side firmly believes that under Putin’s leadership, Russia will grow stronger and more prosperous, said the vice president.

China, he added, resolutely supports Russia’s development, and stands ready to carry out strategic and long-term cooperation with Russia, lift the level and quality of bilateral practical cooperation more swiftly, and achieve a deeper integration of interests, so as to bring more benefits to the two nations.

Putin, for his part, asked Wang to convey his sincere greetings and best wishes to the Chinese president, saying he is confident that Xi will lead the Chinese people to new achievements in China’s development.

The Russian leader added that he is looking forward to visiting China and meeting Xi again.

Russia-China ties continue to develop at a high level, he said, noting that political mutual trust is deepening, bilateral practical cooperation is strengthening, the structure of economic and trade relations is witnessing a sizable improvement, cooperation on large projects is speeding up, and exchanges and cooperation in people-to-people areas and at the local level are gathering steam.

Meanwhile, it serves as an important stabilizer in the world that the two countries maintain close communication and coordination as well as mutual support on major regional and global issues, said Putin.

The Russian side, he added, is willing to work with China to further deepen all-around cooperation, cement mutual understanding and support on international affairs, and keep lifting the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a higher level.

Global development

Addressing a plenary session of SPIEF 2018 on Friday, Wang urged countries around the world to build trust and boost cooperation in order to tackle international challenges and cement the foundation for sustainable global growth.

Pointing out that no single country can cope with today’s challenges alone, Wang said building a trust economy that features equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit, inclusiveness and good faith between enterprises, markets and countries is an effective way to unleash the potential of global growth.

Building trust needs mutual understanding and mutual respect, and it also needs all parties to discover and solve their own problems and consolidate their self-confidence, he said at the event, whose key theme was “Building a Trust Economy.”

The Chinese vice president stressed that politicizing economic and trade issues and picking up the stick of economic sanctions at the slightest provocations will gravely impair market certainty.

No country should blame its own problems on others, and all countries should pursue development paths that suit their own realities and strive for common development through opening up and cooperation, Wang said.

He suggested that countries around the world join forces to chart the course forward with structural economic reforms and innovative development.

He also called for global unity in resisting trade protectionism and safeguarding the stable international economic order, particularly the authority of the multilateral trading regime.

Economic and trade disputes should be handled properly through communication and consultation, and different parties need to take care of each others’ major concerns, Wang added.

China, he said, is forging ahead under Xi’s leadership toward the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and will steadfastly stick to an opening-up policy that offers mutual benefits.

Other countries, he added, are welcome to take part in China’s economic development, share its market opportunities, and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, which has now become a new platform for international cooperation.

Hailing Russia as a constructive player in global economic governance, Wang said China highly appreciates the socioeconomic achievements Russia has made under Putin’s leadership and firmly believes that Russia will realize its development goals over the next six years.

He added that with annual bilateral trade approaching US$100 billion, China stands ready to work with Russia to deepen their all-around cooperation, strengthen their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and make new contribution to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Launched in 1997, SPIEF has become one of the leading platforms for global brainstorming on key economic issues facing Russia and the world as a whole, and is now often referred to as Russia’s Davos.

Besides Wang, this year’s event was also attended by Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

Before leaving for Minsk to continue his two-nation trip, Wang also met with Igor Sechin, CEO of leading Russian oil company Rosneft, and Dmitry Mezentsev, chairman of the Russia-China Friendship Association, among other Russian dignitaries, and inspected the Pearl of the Baltic Sea project, China’s largest non-energy investment undertaking in Russia.

New nano treatment gives cancer patients fresh hope

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

New nano treatment gives cancer patients fresh hope

The world’s first surgery using NanoGun technology — jointly developed by Chinese and French scientists — was performed on a lung cancer patient in Shanghai yesterday.

The new minimally invasive treatment, which can be used on patients deemed no longer healthy enough for chemotherapy, injects the radioactive element rhenium-188 covered with nano-particles, including nitroimidazole — an organic matter.

While engulfing the nitroimidazole, the cancer cells also take in the rhenium, which eventually kills the tumor.

The patient, 71, was in the terminal stage of lung cancer and was too ill for further chemotherapy.

“It usually takes three days for the rhenium to kill the cancer cells,” said Gao Yong, the doctor in charge of the operation at Shanghai East Hospital. “There won’t be any side effects (from the rhenium) as the element will lose its radioactivity after three days.”

NanoGun is a Shanghai-based technology developed from scratch. It won China’s top innovation award in 2016.

Yang Guanghua, one of the scientists who helped develop the technology, said that although rhenium had long been ideal to treat cancer, there had been no ideal medium for delivery. It often diffused throughout the body and was hard to be absorbed by the irregular shaped cancer cells.

It took Yang and his colleges almost 10 years to find the right coating material, nitroimidazole, which matches perfectly with rhenium to make sure it directly reaches the nidus, or “nest”, of the cancer.

“Diffusion of the element (rhenium) hindered the effectiveness of the treatment in the past,” said Dr. Sadeg Nouredine, one of the French scientists working with Yang.

The surgery, approved by the hospital’s ethics committee as part of the treatment’s clinical trial, was free.

“We are working on the next stage of the technology in the lab,” said Yang. “So that it can hit multiple niduses simultaneously.”

If the trial succeeds the treatment will be available by 2020, by which time Shanghai will have built a pharmaceutical factory and hospital in Songjiang District to provide rhenium.

Shanghai action plan to promote local culture

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Shanghai action plan to promote local culture

Shanghai Select

Shanghai has put in place a three-year action plan to develop the city into an international cultural metropolis by shaping the city’s rich culture and promoting it worldwide.

The city will encourage more original Shanghai creations, and pave the way for more cultural products to be displayed and promoted nationwide and worldwide.

With its rich culture, Shanghai will dig deep into its past like the traditional culture that is rooted in the region, “red culture” as the birthplace of the Communist Party of China, and as a pioneering city for reform and opening-up that started in the late 1970s.

It will offer more support to artistic talent, companies promoting arts and culture, and developing innovative ideas in the city.

The city also hopes to become a platform to stage art premieres and cultural exchanges.

For example, along with the development of Free Trade Zone, Shanghai will open its market completely for performances, video games, entertainment venues and printing.

It will set up cooperation mechanisms and develop alliances with countries along the Belt and Road for art and film festivals, art galleries, museums, music creation and performances, and intangible cultural heritage protection.

In addition, reforms will be carried out in some time-honored cultural platforms, Hu Jinjun, an official with the city government.

For example, the Shanghai Spring Music Festival will get more support in promoting ethnic music in China, discover Chinese musical talent worldwide, and spearhead the growth of art performances overseas.

Shanghai Select

The Great Wall Of China’s Repair Work Is Called “Brutal And Ugly” By Locals

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Chinese outrage over ‘ugly’ restoration of Great Wall

中国”最美野长城”被抹平引发众怒

CHINESE social media users were in an uproar Friday over restoration of a 700-year-old section of the Great Wall that has been covered in concrete, turning it into a smooth, flat-topped path.
Known as one of the most beautiful portions of the “wild”, restored wall, the eight-kilometer (five-mile) Xiaohekou stretch in northeast Liaoning province was built-in 1381 during the Ming Dynasty.
Photos posted online showed that its uneven, crumbling steps and plant growth had been replaced as far as the eye could see with a white, concrete-like cap.
“This looks like the work of a group of people who didn’t even graduate from elementary school,” said one user of China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. “If this is the result, you might as well have just blown it up.”
“Such brutal treatment of the monuments left behind by our ancestors! How is it that people with low levels of cultural awareness can take on leadership positions?” asked another. “Why don’t we just raise the Forbidden City in Beijing, too?”
Even the deputy director of Liaoning’s department of culture Ding Hui admitted: “The repairs really are quite ugly,” according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The Great Wall is not a single unbroken structure but stretches for thousands of kilometres in sections from China’s east coast to the edge of the Gobi desert.
In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometers, depending on whether missing sections are included. Despite its length it is not, as is sometimes claimed, visible from space.
Emergency maintenance was ordered for Xiaohekou in 2012 to “avoid further damage and dissolution” caused by “serious structural problems and issues due to flooding” and was completed in 2014, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage said in a statement on its website in response to public and media outcry.
The government body has begun an investigation into the approval, implementation and outcome of the maintenance work, stating that it would deal with work units and personnel found to be at fault severely, “without justifying their mistakes”.
Around 30 percent of China’s Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time as adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities — including stealing the bricks to build houses — erode the UNESCO World Heritage site, state media reports said last summer.
Under Chinese regulations people who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan ($750), but plant growth on the wall continues to accelerate decay, and tourism, especially to undeveloped sections, continues to severely damage the world’s longest human construction.

China’s trade surplus narrows 21.8% in Q1

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHINE NEWSPAPER OF SHANGHAI CHINA)

 

China’s trade surplus narrows 21.8% in Q1

Xinhua

Imaginechina

A cargo truck drives amid stacked shipping containers at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai on March 29, 2018.

China’s goods trade surplus shrank 21.8 percent in the first quarter of this year as the country saw a better balance of trade, customs data showed on Friday.

China’s goods exports rose 7.4 percent year on year in the first three months while imports grew 11.7 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 326.18 billion yuan (US$51.85 billion), according to the General Administration of Customs.

Total foreign trade volume expanded 9.4 percent to 6.75 trillion yuan in the first quarter from the same period last year.

Huang Songping, a spokesperson with the GAC, told a press briefing that the relatively fast trade growth was a result of a mild global economic recovery that has given rise to robust trading activities, as well as the sound development of the domestic economy, which has strengthened demand for imports.

Steady progress in the Belt and Road Initiative and stronger trading with emerging markets also supported the first-quarter growth, Huang said, as trade volume with Belt and Road countries jumped 12.9 percent in the three-month period, 3.5 percentage points faster than the overall increase.

Trade with countries along the Belt and Road reached 1.86 trillion yuan, accounting for 27.5 percent of China’s total foreign trade in the first quarter, according to Huang.

The European Union, the United States and ASEAN were the top three trading partners of China, which together accounted for 41.2 percent of foreign trade.

From January to March, trade between China and the United States rose 13 percent in dollar-denominated terms, with Chinese exports to the United States increased 14.8 percent and the China-US trade surplus standing at 58.25 billion dollars.

Chinese private enterprises played a bigger role in trade by contributing 38.3 percent to total trade, up 1.7 percentage points compared with the first quarter of 2017.

The country’s less developed regions, including central and western China, all outpaced the national average trade growth in the January-March period.

Huang said he sees rising pressure and challenges for the global economy and international trade in the second quarter stemming from global uncertainties and intensifying protectionism.

Fiercer competition in the global manufacturing sector will also pose challenges for China’s foreign trade, he said.

But Huang said he expects China’s foreign trade will maintain an upward trend as the country has pledged to take measures to further open up its market and expand imports.

Major revamp for neighborhoods near Shanghai Confucian Temple

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY: SHINE)

 

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.