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: Martial arts are gaining popularity around the world

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

 

Martial arts are gaining popularity around the world

Xinhua

Aviendha Wang, 7, returned from the 2018 Los Angeles International Wushu (martial arts) Tournament this month with two gold medals in fencing and boxing.

In that competition, Aviendha was one of the 37 kids from Wushu Unlimited, founded by her parents Wei Wang and Jennifer Wang. Wushu Unlimited has around 120 students, one of the largest in Los Angeles.

About one-third of them are Chinese. Wei Wang has been working on simplified wushu for 15 years since he arrived in the United States.

Wushu is incomparable with other martial arts because it has so many styles and patterns. This makes it very exciting. But on the other hand, it creates more barriers to reaching a broader audience here,” Wang says.

Aviendha does the wushu movements to the rhythm of martial arts music in her class. Completing a standard form her coach assigned, her piercing eyes also illustrate the quotes hanging on the wall: “vigor, energy, spirit,” an English translation of the wushu spirit.

“I planned to start this school in 2015, but it was moved forward to 2013. Because at that time I was performing all over the world, I missed a lot of moments with my daughter, and she grew up so fast,” Wang says.

Xinhua

Wei Wang teaches around 120 pupils at his Los Angeles-based school, Wushu Unlimited. One of his keenest students is his 7-year-old daughter, Aviendha.

Wang was a wushu champion in China when he was young. “Half of the reason I established Wushu Unlimited is because of my daughter. I also wanted to make a difference and spread Chinese wushu culture in the US,” the 43-year-old coach said.

Like many other fathers, Wang feels he should be even stricter with his daughter but it is hard for him to do that. “Learning wushu is pretty hard and tiring, and I do not want to push her too much. But as part of a Chinese traditional sport, I think she has to at least be aware of it and learn something about that,” Wang says.

“She and her dad have this very strong bond. They train together, and they play together,” Jennifer Wang says. “She knows how to distinguish between her coach and her father.”

Soaking up this atmosphere every day after school, wushu is so riveting to Aviendha, and she does not think this sport is as daunting as it once was.

“It is not that hard anymore. It is pretty easy,” Aviendha says. “I like the weapons, all the cool forms, and the fun games.”

She even set herself the goal of winning first place in the Texas competition so that she can be selected for the US National Team.

The Texas competition is the biennial wushu national team trials organized by the USA Wushu Kungfu Federation, which was held in Texas this year.

Aviendha took part in this year’s competition in the 7-11 age-group category. She didn’t win but she performed very well, Wang says.

The Chinese champion father and his wife Jennifer have a bigger dream beyond their daughter’s gold medals. Growing up in San Marino, California, where more than half of the population is Chinese, Jennifer has been always interested in kung fu movies, which even took her far from her home to China several years ago.

Xinhua

Aviendha Wang enjoys her training at the school. She has just got two gold medals in fencing and boxing at the 2018 Los Angeles International Wushu Tournament.

From her perspective, she understands the core of Chinese culture as “balance.” With the background in education and experiences both in America and China, she tries to put the emphasis on “being well balanced” both academically and physically at their school.

But teaching wushu in China and here is quite different. “Here it is a hobby. If people find it is boring, they would leave, whereas in China people may spend six months only do kicking,” Jennifer says. “Wushu itself has to change in America, to be adaptable, so that people would stay interested.”

Wang agrees with his wife. He said the way he learned wushu at his daughter’s age is totally different from how his daughter learns today. For him, there were not many options. Based on the different cultural backgrounds and education methods, he thinks it is important to have the combination of both wushu’s form and practical application.

“One of the most beautiful times we have now is every time Jennifer and I talk about the future of our school,” Wei Wang says. “Although we sometimes have different opinions, it is a communication between the two different cultures, and we have the same goal to achieve.”

Xinhua

Wei Wang teaches simplified wushu movements at the Wushu Unlimited, a school he and his wife founded in Los Angeles five years ago.

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.

CHINA SNUBS TRUMP, SAYS RUSSIA TIES BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT IN WORLD

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

CHINA SNUBS TRUMP, SAYS RUSSIA TIES BEST AND MOST IMPORTANT IN WORLD

 

China’s envoy to Russia has praised the increasingly powerful relationship between the two countries as both the strongest and most important ties between two major states. Beijing’s man in Moscow also took the opportunity to offer a veiled slight at Washington.

Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui spoke Wednesday at a government news conference organized in response to the results of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in October. Russia and China, the two leading diplomatic and military rivals of the U.S., have pursued closer relations in past years while embarking on initiatives to modernize their forces and assume a more assertive role in international politics.

Related: U.S. and Western Europe could lose badly in a war against Russia without China’s help

“The Chinese-Russian relations of comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership are the most important bilateral relations in the world and, moreover, the best relations between big countries,” Li told the state-run Tass Russian news agency, which hosted the gathering.

“One can say that they are a classic example of the healthiest and most mature interstate relations and an important force to protect peace and stability throughout the world,” Li added.

RTX3MLVU Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Zhang Youxia, China’s Central Military Commission vice chairman, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on December 7. China has described its relationship with Russia as the strongest and most important in the world, leaving out the U.S. altogether.SERGEI KARPUKHIN/REUTERS

One of the key reasons the diplomat cited as being responsible for Russia and China’s success was that they “abandon the thinking of the Cold War” and a “zero-sum game” policy. Both countries have frequently criticized the U.S. for viewing the world in black-and-white, portraying Russia and China as enemies rather than partners in global affairs.

Moscow’s post-Soviet relationship with Washington has been tumultuous but was thought to have been salvaged with the election of President Donald Trump, who promised a reset after the administration of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, witnessed heightened tensions and historic military mobilizationsbetween U.S.-led Western military alliance NATO and Russia across Europe. Ongoing investigations into Trump’s alleged conspiracy to win the election with the help of the Kremlin and differing views between the Republican leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, have damaged the chance of a future U.S.-Russia alliance.

Russia has denied any interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race and has portrayed efforts of U.S. authorities to produce evidence of such a plot as being reminiscent of the anti-Communist wave of the 1940s and 1950s.

Unlike Russia, China was an early and frequent target of Trump’s and his allies’ both before and after the billionaire real estate tycoon took office earlier this year. The Trump campaign accused China of currency manipulation and stealing U.S. jobs. As he prepared to assume the role of secretary of state, Rex Tillerson suggested the U.S. should potentially use military force to deny Beijing its vast territorial claims in the disputed seas of the Western Pacific.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping expanded his nation’s sphere of influence, his country has accused the U.S. of portraying this rise as a malicious one. Trump has tried to boost cooperation between the two, but mostly in regard to the nuclear crisis between the U.S. and North Korea, during which China has appeared most eager to work with Russia to reach a political framework.

RTX3LKDSChinese armed police and Russian national guards take part in a joint counterterrorism drill in Yinchuan, the capital of China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region, on December 5. Both countries have criticized the U.S. for pursuing policies they view as destabilizing in the Middle East and contributing to a rise in extremist movements.STRINGER/REUTERS

China and Russia’s joint simulated anti-missile drills, geared at deflecting potential U.S. or North Korean missiles, on Monday were also the latest evidence of the burgeoning military cooperation between the two powers. The countries have been deeply suspicious of the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific, and although both Beijing and Moscow share Washington’s opposition to a nuclear North Korea, they have urged Trump to pursue direct talks and avoid provocative shows of force in the tense region.

China and Russia also have joined forces against the West in other parts of the world, including in Syria, where they both backed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against jihadist and rebels who received international support. Over the summer, Russia and China also launched their first joint drills in the Baltic Sea, near one of the tensest flash points between NATO and Russian forces in Europe.

As China and Russia empower their partnership as well as their respective militaries, the Rand Corporation noted in a report earlier this week that despite superior technology and defense spending, “U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight.”

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