August 2019

Competition hot for new govt jobs

Candidates review materials before the national civil servant exam at a test center in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu province, on Dec 10, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Competition more fierce than usual will characterize this year’s national civil service exam as the job vacancies shrank by almost half.

The annual recruitment effort offered 14,537 positions, compared with more than 28,000 last year.

More than 1.4 million applicants had registered for the exam as of the deadline on Wednesday, down by 15 percent year-on-year, according to Huatu.com, a leading training agency for the exam.

Applicants for civil service are competing for jobs in 75 central government agencies and 20 institutions under them, according to the State Administration of Civil Service.

“The steep drop mainly resulted from the sharp decline of taxation-related vacancies,” Li Manqing, president of Huatu.com, said during a livestream. “The big change in tax-related positions was mainly due to the institutional restructuring of taxation authorities at central and local levels.”

Taxation-related vacancies decreased to 6,046 this year from 17,701 in 2017.

Under the institutional restructuring plan approved by the National People’s Congress in March, revenue departments will be managed by central and provincial governments instead of by the central government alone.

“That resulted in the central revenue department’s reduced demand in the exam for talent,” Li said.

Wu Jiang, former director of the Chinese Academy of Personnel Science, thought another factor also might have contributed to the decline.

“All departments have natural turnover of staff, but job vacancies might not have been filled as a result of the institutional reform,” he said.

The ratio of qualified applicants to vacancies this year is higher than 87-to-1, while the ratios from 2014 to 2017 ranged from 50-to-1 to 63-to-1, according to the administration.

Since launching the annual exam in 1994, competition for civil service jobs has always been fierce, as they have long been perceived as secure, lifelong positions with stable pay, especially at the local level.

There were 4,040 applicants seeking the position of administrator for the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau, which was the most competitive vacancy. The lowest-level employee positions of the State Administration of Taxation’s branches in Shanghai and Sichuan were each sought by more than 2,000 people.

Candidates will take the national exam, which is scheduled for December across the country. The majority of the positions in Party and government agencies above provincial level require two years of grassroots work experience, the administration said.

Nation to prohibit most trade of rhino, tiger products

A white female rhino named Carol is seen after she was dehorned by the Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation (AWARE) at Lake Chivero Recreational Park in Norton, Zimbabwe August 25, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

China will forbid and crack down on the illegal trade of rhinoceroses, tigers and their derivative products, the State Council said in a notice on Monday, in another step to strengthen animal protection following the prohibition of ivory trading last year.

Rhinos and tigers are endangered species, and the protection of the two species should be strengthened according to wildlife protection laws and international pacts on endangered species, the document said.

All sales, purchases, import and export of rhinos, tigers and their derivative products, except those approved by the government, will not be allowed, said the five-clause notice.

Administrative approvals are a prerequisite for sales, purchase, utilization and import and export of the animals and their products, under special circumstances, including scientific research and public education.

Tiger bones and rhino horns can be used for medical research and clinical treatment for critically ill patients only when they are collected from the two animals raised by humans outside zoos, and tiger bones can only be obtained after the natural deaths of the big cats.

The State Council approved the establishment of an inter-ministry conference system on cracking down on illegal trade of wild flora and fauna in November 2016, involving 22 departments such as the Ministry of Public Security.

The system’s law enforcement will focus on cracking down on illegally selling, buying, using, importing and exporting, transporting, carrying and mailing rhino and tiger-related products, the notice said. More inspections will be made at markets, online platforms and ports to cut off channels for such illegal trades.

The new notice takes effect immediately, replacing the related State Council notice first issued in 1993. The new document is China’s latest move to eliminate trade of endangered animal-related products and promote ecological protection.

The country now prohibits the display and trade of ivory products in real marketplaces or online platforms, but allows exhibition of ivory products made from raw materials from legal channels at noncommercial places, such as museums and art galleries.

A copy of a famous fresco is on tour in China

The original fresco – Three Bodhisattvas – in the British Museum.[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A copy of a famous Chinese fresco, which is on exhibit at the British Museum, is on tour in China.

The original fresco used to be in a monastery in North China’s Hebei province. It was painted by monks from Mount Wutai, a famous Buddhist mountain in North China’s Shanxi province, according to the British Museum.

The fresco – Three Bodhisattvas – was painted during the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644) in Qingliang Monastery in Xingtang county, Shijiazhuang, according to Hao Jianwen, one of the major painters of the copy.

The fresco was taken away from Hebei province in 1920s, Hao said.

Started last year, Hao and his team of 26 painters spent three months to finish the painting. The copy, 4-meters long and 3.9 meters wide, is the same size as the original piece.

The copy is on display in Shanxi and will be put in the Museum of Xingtang County after its tour exhibition ends, Hao said.

Compensation may be increased for mental suffering

[Photo/VCG]

China’s top court is considering raising the level of compensation for mental anguish for people subjected to wrongful legal decisions, a senior official said.

The measure would better protect the legitimate rights of those people and may be paired with changes to more strictly regulate judicial conduct, the official said.

“We’ve noticed public complaints saying the current compensation standard for mental suffering is too low to make up for the harm to people who were wrongly convicted or wrongfully detained,” said Zhu Erjun, deputy director of the Compensation Office with the Supreme People’s Court. “We’re studying how to solve the problem, such as trying to increase the standard.”

Zhu disclosed proposals on compensation for mental anguish over wrongful legal decisions to China Daily after a news conference on general compensation issues on Tuesday. He did not release details of the proposal or when it might be issued.

A current judicial interpretation states that payment for mental anguish should not exceed 35 percent of the state compensation that a person receives for damages to property or loss of personal liberty, he said. Zhu called the current standard “far from enough, especially in cases of those who are wrongly sentenced to death or other extreme penalties”.

State compensation cannot eliminate the mental pain suffered by victims and their families, “but can at least help improve their lives a little, and it’s the determination of the courts to respect human rights and regulate judicial conduct in handling cases,” he added.

From the beginning of 2013 to the end of October 2018, courts nationwide dealt with about 28,000 state compensation cases, including several high-profile ones in which defendants were paid in a timely way after acquittal, he said.

Among them, the family of Nie Shubin of Hebei province received 2.68 million yuan ($385,000) in compensation, including 1.3 million yuan for mental suffering, after Nie was found not guilty in December 2016 of the rape and murder of a woman due to insufficient evidence. Nie had been found guilty and executed in 1995 at age 21.

Also in 2016, Chen Man, who was wrongly imprisoned for 23 years for intentional homicide and arson, received 1.85 million yuan in compensation for restriction of his personal freedom as well as 900,000 yuan for mental anguish.

In February, Zhou Qiang, president of the top court, urged all courts to make efforts to review and correct wrongful criminal convictions and ensure that state compensation is implemented.

Wang Wanqiong, a criminal defense lawyer from Sichuan province responsible for Chen’s case, said she is happy to hear the standard is to be raised. She said state compensation should catch up with the country’s rapid economic development.

“The standard in the current judicial interpretation was written in 2001, and it is out of date,” she said, suggesting the top court lift the standard as quickly as possible.

5 dead, 16 remain trapped after Shandong coal mine accident

JINAN – Five miners have been killed, one has been rescued, while another 16 remain trapped after a rock burst at a coal mine in East China’s Shandong province on Saturday, local authorities announced on Thursday.

The accident occurred at around 11 p.m. Saturday at Longyun Coal Mining Co. Ltd. in Yuncheng County. A total of 22 people were trapped in the tunnel after coal fell at both ends from the rock burst.

Rescue work is continuing and the accident is under investigation.

Rock bursts are often caused by fractures in rocks due to wear and tear from mining.

Guangzhou police release figures of foreign population

GUANGZHOU — There are about 80,000 foreign nationals living in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, according to the city’s police bureau.

As China’s major trade center, the city has been an important base for foreign nationals living in China. It is known for having a large African community.

The bureau said there are currently 15,000 Africans living in the city. Egypt, Mali, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the major sources of African expatriates. Most are engaged in trade or study in the city.

The influx of African nationals began in 2006 when Beijing Summit of the Forum on Sino-African Cooperation was held, attended by heads of state and senior officials from 48 African countries.

Official statistics show that in 2009, about 20,000 Africans lived in the city, but the real number, including illegal immigrants and overstayers, is believed to have been much higher.

The African population has decreased as police have tightened enforcement on illegal immigration. Meanwhile, the cost of living and doing business in the city has also been on the rise.

Currently, half of foreign nationals in Guangzhou are from Europe, Japan or the Republic of Korea, according to the bureau.

Niu Baozeng, an entry and exit administration official, said that the number of foreign nationals in Guangzhou has been on the rise in the past three years. Criminal cases involving foreign nationals have gone down.

The bureau said among 1,000 illegal immigrants detained last year, most were from South East Asian countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar.

Guidelines aim to help overseas investors in Hainan

Hainan has recently taken a large number of measures aimed at making solid progress in building the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone and a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, and exploring a new open economic system. [Photo/VCG]

Hainan provincial authorities have publicized a service guide to ensure overseas investors fully enjoy the benefits of its pre-establishment national treatment plus negative list management system.

The guidelines on the approval and filing of foreign investment projects, compiled by the Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, stipulate the scope, submissions and processing requirements of foreign investment projects under the approval and filing system, as well as the procedures and a flow sheet.

The service guide is a new measure taken by the country’s southernmost Hainan province to help deepen its reform and opening-up. It is an important move to attract foreign investment and promote construction of the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Trade Zone and a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, according to officials with the commission.

The free trade zone negative list said a non-prohibited project with a total investment of $300 million or more shall be submitted to the State Development and Reform Commission for approval, and projects with total investment of $2 billion or more shall be submitted to the State Council for record. A non-prohibited project with total investment below $300 million shall be subject to approval by the Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

Officials with the provincial commission said the service guidelines have released the rights for approval of foreign investment projects from the provincial authorities to local city and county governments.

The legal approval process for foreign investment projects is 20 working days, but Hainan local authorities promise to complete the approvals in three working days. They pledge the same turnaround time for foreign investment projects that must be filed, which legally require seven working days.

The filing system has become much simpler, as investors only need to hand in an application for project filing, complete the filing form for overseas investment projects and submit it online.

Eight people stand trial for Shanghai daycare center child abuse scandal

Ctrip headquaters in Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

SHANGHAI – Eight people stood trial Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse in a daycare center in Shanghai.

The court heard that during August and November 2017, seven of the suspects rubbed wasabi on toddlers at daycare center or sprayed liquids on them.

The suspects were also accused of having pushed, dragged and patted the children. Another suspect, identified by surname as Zheng, who was in charge of the center, demanded the children obey the other suspects.

Zheng also asked the other suspects to avoid surveillance, according to the Changning District People’s Court in Shanghai.

Video footage of the suspects appearing to abuse children in a Ctrip day care center went viral in November last year, leading to an intense public outcry.

Leading travel agency Ctrip established the center, run by a third-party organization, in 2016, to help employees solve babysitting problems for children under three years old, the minimum age for public kindergartens.

The court will announce its verdict at a later date.

Grassroots officials laud new harvest festival

A grassroots official speaks at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Sept 20, 2018. [Photo by Li Lei/chinadaily.com.cn]

The newly created Chinese Farmers’ Harvest Festival will help elevate the social status of agricultural workers and offer them more opportunities, grassroots officials said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Thursday.

The nation will celebrate its first Chinese Farmers’ Harvest Festival on the autumn equinox, which this year falls on Sunday.

Yang Shuangniu, Party chief of Gangdi village in Xingtai, Hebei province, said the festival is more than just a harvest celebration, and will boost farmer’s confidence and pride in what they do.

“It is the first time in Chinese history for farmers to have their own festival,” he said.

Huang Guoping, director-general of an aquaculture cooperative in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, said farmers who are more confident are spotting opportunities they hardly noticed in the past.

“Now farmers in my place are more ready to step out of their doors with their farm produce to join various expos,” he said, adding the festival will further boost their sense of pride.

Dong Minfang, who quit well-paid city jobs to head an agricultural machinery cooperative in a rural area in Yueyang, Hunan province, said the festival is recognition of the hard work of the 700 million Chinese working in the agricultural sector.

The autumn equinox, one of 24 solar terms in the lunar calendar, marks the midpoint of autumn. Though climates and crops differ in various regions, most crops mature in autumn in China.

More than 100 activities will be held across the nation to celebrate the new festival.