A yoga competition has taken place in Pu’an County, Guizhou Province, October 22, 2018. 65 yoga enthusiasts from across China have taken part in the competition.[Photo/VCG]
A yoga competition has taken place in Pu’an County, Guizhou Province, October 22, 2018. 65 yoga enthusiasts from across China have taken part in the competition.[Photo/VCG]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
People smoke at an outdoor designated smoking area on Dongfang Road in Shanghai. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY
XI’AN – Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, has unveiled a regulation which bans smoking in all indoor public venues.
The regulation, released on Tuesday by the city government, also prohibits smoking in some outdoor public places, such as schools, stadiums and health institutions for pregnant women and children.
Smokers who do not adhere to the regulation will be fined 10 yuan (1.5 U.S. dollars), and venue owners may be fined up to 1,000 yuan.
The regulation will take effect on November 1.
Xi’an, home to the Terra-Cotta Warriors, is the latest major Chinese city to ban smoking in all indoor public venues, following Beijing and Shanghai.
There are over 300 million smokers and 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke in China.
The country has set a target to reduce the smoking rate among people aged 15 and above to 20 percent by 2030 from the current 27.7 percent, according to the “Healthy China 2030” blueprint issued in 2016.
Zhao Poying, 86, makes embroidery balls in Jiuzhou village of Jingxi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, last month. Almost all of the 500 households in the village are engaged in the business.ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY
For the Zhuang ethnic group in Southwest China, embroidered balls were once keepsakes given by lovers to show their affection.
Nowadays, however, in Jingxi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the brightly colored, silk-striped balls are a way to grow rich.
Jiuzhou, a picturesque village 9 kilometers from Jingxi, is regarded as the home of the Chinese embroidered ball. Annual production exceeds 5 million balls, about 90 percent of the market.
Almost every one of the 500 households in the village is engaged in the business.
The history of embroidered balls can be traced to the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Girls picked up needlework at a very young age. However, for a long time the balls were not well known－mainly because locals never thought they would interest people from outside.
Huang Xiaoqin, now 73 and the cultural inheritor of the handmade embroidered ball, brought them to the world.
She took up embroidery at the age of 8 and found she had a talent for making the silk balls.
In 2005, Huang was invited to Beijing to demonstrate how to make one. Her skilled performance and the delicate handicraft made a splash.
“People surrounded me and kept asking me what is it and what is it used for. I was greatly encouraged and realized that this is an opportunity for us,” she said.
Since then she has received orders from all over the country.
A foreign trader discovered her works by chance through a local import-export company and placed an annual order valued at 100,000 yuan ($14,700).
Embroidered with images of lotus and mandarin ducks, the balls are regarded as a mascot and cultural symbol of the Zhuang people.
As overseas demand grew, Huang decided to make improvements. She replaced the traditional Chinese images with the spelling of the 12 months in English which turned out to be a commercial success and welcomed by foreign customers.
These days, thousands of tourists are attracted to the village every year and the balls have become a must-buy item. They generate 6 million yuan in annual sales.
However, with many young people leaving to work in cities, the elderly are left alone to continue the business.
What concerns Huang now is how to pass her skills on and still maintain high quality.
“Right now I offer free training for women in the countryside. The skill is, of course, important but innovation is the key to our success,” she said.
According to Yang Zhaoyu, chairman of Jingxi New Development Group, the embroidered ball industry will play a leading role in boosting local tourism. The company already has plans to dig into the potential of local cuisine to make Jingxi attractive.
Workers in Yali Agricultural Development Company pack areca nuts in Wanning, South China’s Hainan province on Nov 24, 2018. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
Wang Xiaoli is shelling arecas in a workshop in Yali Agricultural Development Company, an enterprise specializing in areca processing. Each day, a proficient worker like her can shell at least 40 kg of areca nuts.
Areca, also known as binglang, is a kind of plant mainly grown in tropical forests from China and India to across Southeast Asia to Melanesia. But many don’t know there is a small city, Wanning, in South China’s Hainan province called “the home of areca”.
Chinese call areca “binglang” as “bin” and “lang” meant honorable guests in ancient Chinese language. Chewing areca nuts is a habit of people in Southeast Asia and Hunan, Hainan, Yunnan and some tropical areas in China. Also, it can be used as medicine.
The areca culture in Wanning is profound, according to Yang Zhibin, minister of publicity of Wanning. “As early as the Song Dynasty (960-1279), people in the city began to grow areca. The custom and culture of the people here to eat areca nut has passed down for a long time. It’s regarded as a symbol of friendship and a token of love between young men and women. When we visit our relatives on festivals, we always bring areca nuts as gift.”
In Hainan, nearly 2.3 million farmers grow areca trees, according to official statistics.
Data show that in 2017, the area of areca exceeded 104,667 hectares, with an output value over 35 billion yuan. And Wanning accounted for one-third of the total output in the province.
Areca has spurred the local economy and created job opportunities for thousands of people.
Yali Agricultural Development Company employs more than 500 workers, among which over 40 come from impoverished households. They earn an average salary of 3,000 yuan ($432) each month. It is estimated 200 more will be hired in 2019.
“We will continue to ramp up our support to make the areca industry and make it a sustainable industry for local people to increase their income and thrive,” Yang Zhibin said.
Next year, Yali plans to export products to countries such as Russia, India and Burma. “We hope to introduce Hainan’s areca culture to all over the world someday,” said Cai Qiongling, an administrative worker in Yali.
Areca nuts. [Photo/IC]