Chian: Nanjing Road’s tales of the unexpected

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

 

Nanjing Road’s tales of the unexpected

On Nanjing Road Trail

I started writing a series about Nanjing Road in 2017 after I took interest in the route from a 1929 map of Shanghai that highlighted the market value of different zones in the city. A blue-toned, T-shaped zone of Nanjing Road all the way to the Bund was the city’s most expensive area that year.

Nanjing Road was constructed in 1851 as “Park Lane” — from the Bund to the racecourse on today’s Henan Road. It was widely called “Da Malu” in Chinese, which means “Great Horse Road.” The great horse road was extended to Zhejiang Road in 1854 and stretched further to Xizang Road in 1862 as the racecourse was relocated twice — the last one in today’s People’s Square.

English missionary Walter Henry Medhurst suggested that “the settlement road names should be made intelligible to the tens of thousands of natives who had crowded into the area for safety from the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64).” Thereafter, Park Lane was renamed Nanjing Road after the ancient Chinese capital city.

Bubbling Well Road

According to the book “The 140th Anniversary of Nanjing Road West (1862 to 2002),” Shanghai Race Club constructed a 2-mile-long road from today’s Xizang Road M. to Jing’an Temple in 1862. They named the extended road Bubbling Well Road after the renowned bubbling well fronting the temple, which had been filled up and buried underneath.

Archive of Shanghai Jing’an District / Ti Gong

Bubbling Well in front of Jing’an Temple in the 1940s.

Then muddy road was paved with stones in 1890, planted with plane trees in 1891 and finally included in the international settlement in 1899. In 1921, the road was further expanded to today’s Yan’an Road W.

In 1945, the local government renamed the former Bubbling Well Road as Nanjing Road W. — and the other end became Nanjing Road E. The entire stretch came to be known as Nanjing Road that stretched 5 kilometers. The street became so prominent that it came to symbolize old Shanghai, and nicknamed “Shi Li Yang Chang” or “10-mile-long foreign metropolis.”

Early last century the eastern part of Nanjing Road was upgraded to a world-class shopping street after Chinese merchants erected four modern department stores — concrete structures with modern equipment and high towers — along the street.

The western part also flourished with stylish shops, famous theaters and gorgeous garden villas built by foreign and Chinese tycoons.

According to Tongji University professor Qian Zonghao, author of the book “Nanking Road 1840s-1950s,” early Shanghai expatriates once said “if the Bund was like a bow, Nanjing Road was the arrow, flying westward which has been the direction that has guided Shanghai’s urban development for a long period of time.”

After exploring the bow-shaped Bund, I have followed “the arrow of Shanghai” and walked westward along Nanjing Road.

The first part of the journey focusing on the former Park Lane, today’s Nanjing Road E. (from the to Road) ends at The Sun Building, the youngest and most modern among the four big Chinese department stores on Nanjing Road.
Upon the much-exp four architectural gems around the square this October that happened to mark the 100th year of his arrival in Shanghai. four architectural gems around the square this October that happened to mark the 100th year of his arrival in Shanghai.

Now it’s time to walk further westward from the People’s Square to the ’an Temple along Nanjing Road W. Compared with Nanjing Road E., filled with shops using loud speakers to sell jade brocades and tourists speaking different languages and dialects, Nanjing Road W. seems to be more stylish and relaxing. ’an Temple along Nanjing Road W. Compared with Nanjing Road E., filled with shops using loud speakers to sell jade brocades and tourists speaking different languages and dialects, Nanjing Road W. seems to be more stylish and relaxing.

With the help of ’an District government and its four sub-district governments — Nanjing Road W., Road No. 2, Road and ’an Temple sub-districts along the former Bubbling Well Road, I plan to explore an amazing variety of historical buildings, ranging from clubs, hospitals, theaters, apartments, garden villas to the ancient temple and even the former cemetery park.’an District government and its four sub-district governments — Nanjing Road W., Road No. 2, Road and ’an Temple sub-districts along the former Bubbling Well Road, I plan to explore an amazing variety of historical buildings, ranging from clubs, hospitals, theaters, apartments, garden villas to the ancient temple and even the former cemetery park.

IC / Ti Gong

Nestled along Nanjing Road W. is Jing’an Temple, which literally means “Temple of Peace and Tranquility.” The temple has a history of more than 800 years.

During recent research, I’m more than happy to learn that some of the newest technologies and devices, such as drones and architectural monitors, have been used to prevent the region’s historical buildings from been destroyed. The local government has learned a lesson from last year’s illegal demolition of 888 Julu Road, a garden villa designed by Laszlo Hudec nearly 100 years ago. These sub-district governments have also organized volunteer teams comprising experts and local heritage aficionados to monitor the conditions of architectural gems.

When researching for the series, I was strongly moved by life stories of two expatriates who had left relics and legacies along Nanjing Road W.

One was British millionaire Henry Lester, who made a fortune from old Shanghai’s real estate but donated almost all his assets to Chinese education. A medical institution built with his money still stands a few minutes’ walk from Nanjing Road W. The Lester Foundation sponsors Chinese scholars studying in the UK to this day.

The other was a German doctor named Erich Paulun. The former German navy doctor traveled thousands of miles to Shanghai and built a charitable hospital to treat poor Chinese patients for free, which later evolved to be today’s Changzheng Hospital and Tongji University. Though the old hospital buildings along Nanjing Road W. have been demolished, Paulun’s legacy has a lingering influence in Shanghai, China and Germany. In March next year, it will be 110 years since he died.

Both Lester and Paulun, who must have worked and walked along the Bubbling Well Road, were both buried in the Bubbling Well Road Cemetery, today’s Jing’an Park.

Their spirits and stories, as well as that of the stylish Nanjing Road W. are worth telling and remembering. So let’s continue to follow the arrow of Shanghai.

Zhang Xuefei / SHINE

Covered in lush tree canopies, Nanjing Road W. is the main artery of excitement in the flourishing downtown area of Shanghai.

China: Winter is coming … So is air pollution

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

 

Winter is coming … So is air pollution

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Fog shrouds the city on Sunday morning.

Winter is coming and residents are warned to brace for seasonal air pollution.

Morning temperatures on Friday dropped to 9.1 degrees Celsius in downtown Xujiahui area and 3.8 degrees in suburban Jinshan District, making it the coldest morning of the autumn.

So far, there is no signs of entering winter (five consecutive days of below 10 degrees). This November, only three days were below 10 degrees, according to Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Meanwhile, fog shrouded the city on Saturday night due to weak atmospheric diffusion and it continued yesterday.

At 4:55am on Sunday, the weather authority released the first yellow alert for fog this autumn, the lowest of the three-tier system. In the early morning visibility in most areas dropped to less than 200 meters. The alert was lifted at 9:30am.

Today will be overcast, with some drizzle, and it will turn cloudy in the evening. Temperatures will range between 14 and 18 degrees, forecasters said.

Tomorrow and Wednesday are set to be cloudy and overcast, with temperatures steady. Sunny days will be back on Thursday, but the low is forecast to drop to 10 degrees.

There will be some light PM 2.5 pollution on Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents are warned to brace for pollution from November to January.

China: Achievements of 5-Year Plan Listed

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

 

Achievements of 5-year plan listed

The Shanghai government released an interim report yesterday that showed its progress in implementing China’s 13th Five-Year (2016-2020) Plan.

The city’s gross domestic product posted an annual growth rate above the expected 6.5 percent, and exceeded the 3 trillion yuan (US$433 billion) mark for the first time in 2017.

That took its global urban GDP ranking to seventh with 127,000 yuan per capita, which is 19.5 percent higher than at the end of 12th Five-Year Plan period and at the same level as some of middle developed countries.

The general public budget income also grew by 9.7 percent annually.

The industrial structure dominated by the service economy continued to be consolidated, with the service sector accounting for around 70 percent of the GDP. Manufacturing reversed the downward trend to account for 25 percent in overall GDP, and the value added output in strategic emerging industries increased by 14.1 percent from the end of the 12th plan.

The expenditure for research and development in the GDP increased from 3.7 percent to 3.9 percent, and patent ownership rose from 28.9 patents per 10,000 people to 44.5. Both indicators have exceeded expectations, indicating improvement in innovation.

The import and export scale hit a record high, with the total port trade value exceeding US$1 trillion, ranking first among the world’s cities. The total import and export of trade in services accounted for about 30 percent of the country.

Also, Shanghai’s financial market posted the direct financing value that accounts for 85 percent of the country. A total of 107 regional headquarters of multinational companies have been set up over the past two and a half years.

In the next half of the 13th Five-Year Plan period, Ma Chunlei, deputy secretary-general of the city’s government, said that Shanghai will further expand the opening-up, and broaden the market access for foreign capital into the banking, securities and insurance industries.

The average annual income of Shanghai residents at the end of 2017 was 58,988 yuan, topping all Chinese cities with an average year-on-year increase of 8.7 percent.

The average life expectancy at the end of 2017 was 83.4, up from 82.8 at the end of 2015.

Shanghai residents are breathing cleaner air than two years ago. The average density of PM2.5 in 2017 was 39 micrograms per cubic meter, a drop of 26.4 percent from 2015.

According to the report, the decrease of the pollutant PM2.5 has already hit the target set for 2020.

Meanwhile, the emission of other pollutants including SO2 and NOx in 2017 dropped 26.2 and 8.2 percent. The increased use of clean energy and transformation of industrial polluters contributed to the change.

The percentage of buses running on new and clean energy rose to 43 percent from 21.7 percent at the end of 2015, and electricity generated from wind and sunlight rose 16.4 and 134 percent as the use of coal dropped.

Public transportation in Shanghai continued to expand during the period with 62 kilometers of bus-only lanes built. At the end of 2017, 62 percent of all passengers using public transportation took the Metro, which ferried 14.4 percent more passengers during rush hours than at the end of 2015. The shortest interval between trains is within three minutes now.

Coal-fired power plants were transformed to ensure “super low emission” during the period with over 2,000 companies subject to volatile organic compounds management.

At the end of 2017, 94.5 percent of used water was handled properly, up from 92.8 percent at the end of 2015, while 100 percent of household waste was treated effectively to ensure they don’t harm the environment.

There was marked improvement in handling emergency patients and ensuring quality health care for the residents.

With one in five residents signing up to general practitioners, the number of patients seeking the best hospitals in Shanghai in 2017 increased only 0.7 percent from 2016.

Shanghai residents are also using the fastest fixed broadband Internet service in the whole of China with an average download speed at 20.52Mb per second at the end of 2017, a good 81 percent rise from the end of 2015.

The number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Shanghai in 2017 was 318 million and 8.7 million, an increase of 15.2 and 9.1 percent from the end of 2015. They generated 188.8 billion yuan and 448.5 billion yuan of added value and income for the tourism industry.

The legislators pointed out problems in the public services that needed to be addressed. They include lack of beds at the best hospitals, lack of children’s medical services at residential communities, lack of seniors housing with medical functions and heavy academic burden on students.

China announces roadmap for building stronger modern air force

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

 

China announces roadmap for building stronger modern air force

Xinhua

Xinhua

J-20 fighter jets are seen during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2018, in Zhuhai City, south China’s Guangdong Province, 11 November 2018.

The Chinese Air Force on Sunday announced a roadmap for building a stronger modern air force in three steps.

The building of a stronger modern air force is in line with the overall goal of building national defense and the armed forces, Lieutenant General Xu Anxiang, deputy commander of Chinese Air Force, said at a press conference on celebrating the 69th anniversary of the establishment of Chinese Air Force held in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province.

According to Xu, the first step is to, by 2020, build a strategic force that integrates aviation and space power, and strike and defense capabilities, in which the fourth generation of equipment serves as backbone and the third generation of equipment as mainstay. The systematic combat capabilities will be enhanced.

The second step requires the air force to improve strategic capabilities and modernize its theory, organizational structure, service personnel, and weaponry. The building of a modern and strategic air force will be basically completed by 2035, Xu said.

The third step will see the air force fully transformed into a world-class force by mid-21st century, according to Xu.

Underdeveloped African nations get a go at the China market

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

 

Underdeveloped African nations get a go at the China market

China International Import Expo

Dong Jun / SHINE

Visitors to the import expo check out the pavilions of African countries.

South Sudanese businessman Kuyu Dhel picked up a few Chinese phrases as he manned a stall at the first China International Import Expo.

Bu neng chi, or “not edible,” were the words he uttered most frequently, he said, as Chinese visitors perusing his stand of nuts, dried flowers and sorghum puzzled over gum in small, irregularly shaped blocks.

They were looking at gum Arabic, which is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of two species of acacia trees. Translated from Arabic to Chinese, it’s called a la bo jiao. Dhel tried to explain to curious visitors that the gum is used as a food stabilizer.

Dhel’s business card lists him as a consultant for Ramciel Multipurpose Co-operative Society, and the company’s address is on Chinese Friendship Hospital Road. The company’s presence at expo is all down to the Chinese government.

“The Ministry of Commerce helped facilitate everything including a free booth,” Dhel told Shanghai Daily at his busy booth. “To the best of my knowledge, we are the first South Sudanese to come tapping on China’s door for a new market.”

President Xi Jinping said two months ago that the least developed African countries would be exempt from exhibition fees. He also pledged to increase China’s imports from the region, especially non-resource products.

The United Nations lists South Sudan as one of the 47 least developed countries, based on factors such as gross per capita national income and adult literacy. According to China National Radio, about 30 of the 47 countries on the list are participating at expo, many from Africa.

“The expo has built a very good platform for companies around the world, including those from Senegal,” said Alioune Sarr, Senegal’s minister of trade, consumer affairs and medium-sized enterprises.

He also praised China’s decision to focus on further opening up its markets to foreign goods and services.

Senegal and Ethiopia, both on the list of least developed countries, have national pavilions displaying specialty goods. Underdeveloped countries are mostly in the agricultural and food halls, offering products like tea, coffee, cocoa and grains. African nations have also brought along colorful handicrafts, fabrics, gems and diamonds.

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years. By the end of 2017, the value of that trade was US$170 billion, 17-fold higher than that in 2000. Growth is expected to remain in double digits for the next five to 10 years.

Qian Keming, China’s deputy minister of commerce, told a media group in August that China exempts from duties about 97 percent of products from 33 less developed African countries.

When at home, Dhel watches the China Global Television Network (CGTN) program “Africa Live,” where he first learned about the import expo.

“President Xi’s idea of having this import fair in Shanghai is just great because this city has long been a commercial center,” he said.

Dhel, who speaks seven languages, studied and worked in Germany and traveled around Europe before returning to South Sudan to work on Ramciel food imports from Dubai, Kenya and Uganda.

“Our agricultural industry is new, but it is quickly growing,” he said of the young nation.

“I always thought of visiting China in terms of climbing the Great Wall, never thought of doing business here,” he said. “So many Chinese buyers have expressed interest in our products, and some were eager to do deals on the spot.”

He added, “I have been making observations and absorbing so that I can go home and digest all the information that will be useful for our business and for those companies that follow us into China.”

Dong Jun / SHINE

Zheng Qijun, a representative from a small private trading company in Guizhou discusses details of a purchase of nuts with South Sudanese businessman Franco Yousif Dobu.

Dong Jun / SHINE

The gum Arabic brought by Sudanese, which is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of two species of acacia trees.

Dhel’s colleague at expo, Ramciel Managing Director Franco Yousif Dobu, thinks it is also a good platform for Chinese traders.

“China has big opportunities for business with African countries,” he said. “Previously, people wanted to sell to America the most, but now many regard the China market on par with America.”

A Chinese buyer was eyeing Ramciel’s sample of nuts for sale as Dobu talked with Shanghai Daily. The two men quickly got into a serious business discussion, with the Chinese buyer expressing interest in purchasing one or two containers of the nuts. They discussed details of a letter of credit and transport through Mombasa port of Kenya.

“I have bought African products before because they are not genetically modified, but all through other traders,” said Zheng Qijun, who identified himself as a representative from a small private trading company in Guizhou. “I want to take advantage of this expo to see whether I can make some contacts and start some direct purchases.”

Zheng also got curious about gum Arabic. The South Sudanese explained to him that it is an African product that got its name from old Arabic merchants who were the first sell it globally.

Dhel asked Shanghai Daily, “What is tao jiao (peach gum)? Why are all the Chinese visitors asking me if gum Arabic is tao jiao?”

As the journalist explained that many Chinese women eat peach gum regularly as a beauty treatment, Dhel’s eyes lit up at a possible new business opportunity.

“I need to go back and see what we have,” he said.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Zambian participants bring high-quality gems to the expo.

Singapore, China conclude talks to upgrade free trade agreement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNA NEWS)

 

Singapore, China conclude talks to upgrade free trade agreement

 

Singapore, China conclude talks to upgrade FTA

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing (left) with Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce and China International Trade Representative Fu Ziying. (Photo: MTI)

SHANGHAI: Singapore and China have concluded talks to upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA), Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a statement on Monday (Nov 5).

This was announced following a meeting between Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Fu Ziying, who is China’s Vice Minister of Commerce and the China International Trade Representative, on Monday. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo.

Under the current CSFTA, there are no tariffs on 95 per cent of Singapore’s exports to China, while there are no tariffs on all Chinese exports to Singapore.

The upgraded CSFTA is expected to provide Singapore businesses with greater trade facilitation and investment protection in China.

It is also expected to provide Singapore businesses with improved market access and will cover cooperation in new areas, including legal and financial services, e-commerce and the environment.

Mr Chan said this development marks “an important step forward” for bilateral economic relations between Singapore and China.

“The upgrade signals our joint commitment towards greater economic collaboration and trade liberalisation. Singapore businesses can expect to enjoy greater access to the vast Chinese market and greater certainty in their investments when the upgraded CSFTA takes effect,” he said.

image: data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Singapore, China conclude talks to upgrade FTA

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (right) and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce and China International Trade Representative Fu Ziying meeting at the inaugural China International Import Exposition in Shanghai. (Photo: MTI)

The CSFTA was the Chinese government’s first such agreement with an Asian country.

Talks to upgrade the FTA, which entered into force in January 2009, have been three years in the making. They began after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Singapore in November 2015.

In September, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had said that the signing of the upgraded pact is expected when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Singapore for the ASEAN Summit next week.

READ: China-Singapore trade agreement upgrade to be concluded by year-end

Singapore and China enjoy close economic ties, with total bilateral trade between the two countries reaching S$137.1 billion in 2017.

China was Singapore’s largest trading partner, while Singapore was China’s largest foreign investor for the fifth consecutive year since 2013.

More than a third of outward investments related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative flows through Singapore.

Source: CNA/nh(ra)

 

China working hard to ensure ‘six stabilities’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S SHINE NEWS NETWORK FROM SHANGHAI)

 

China working hard to ensure ‘six stabilities’

Xinhua

Amid complicated international landscape and new changes in China’s domestic economy, experts around the world believe that the Chinese government has sufficient policy tools to tap its inherent dynamism so as to secure robust and resilient economic growth.

These remarks came following the Chinese government’s recent proposal of a target to “stabilize the employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment and expectations,” collectively known as the “six stabilities.”

Since the beginning of this year, despite fluctuations of certain economic indicators, the Chinese economy has registered stable growth, with the four major macroeconomic indicators of economic growth, employment, CPI and the international balance of payments basically meeting expectations.

In its latest World Economic Outlook report released on October 8, the International Monetary Fund kept China’s economic growth forecast unchanged at 6.6 percent.

IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld recently said that the Chinese economy saw robust performance in the first half of this year, and that the recent figures which might not be so ideal are still in line with expectations, considering that measures such as strengthening financial supervision and preventing risks would drag down economic growth to a certain degree.

Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific department, says the slowdown in growth is a result of the government’s initiative to deleverage and regulate the economy, which in fact produces a “high-quality” slowdown.

Rhee expressed confidence that the Chinese government has the policy tools to stabilize economic growth and offset negative impacts from the economic and trade frictions with the United States, but meanwhile, deleveraging should forge ahead to ensure more stable and resilient growth in the medium term.

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, a consultant with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries based in India, said China’s economy, which has started to shift from high speed growth to medium-high speed growth, has stepped into the deep waters of economic restructuring, where certain suffering and pain are inevitable.

The government embraces change and has a mature and sensible understanding of economic development, as indicated by its economic policy adjustments in recent years, he said, adding these adjustments will benefit China’s economy in the long run.

Even though the favorable international environment plays a role in China’s economic success, Bhattacharjee said, its achievements should be mainly attributed to the inner dynamism generated by its domestic policies.

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.