OPINIONS

Throwing Out Stale Catchwords

PREMIER’S ENCOURAGEMENT June 21, Premier Wen Jiabao (left) visits model worker Xu Zhenchao at Qingdao container dock during a recent inspection in east China’s Shandong province.

Nowadays, public signs such as “Welcome to…” and “Everyone is Responsible for a Clean Environment” can be seen in almost every nook and cranny across China.

Of course, the signs are well meaning. The former expresses hospitality and the latter calls on people not to litter. However, these phrases are used so frequently that they have lost all their original freshness and effect. They are becoming less and less meaningful.

Apart from signs, the mottos of schools and companies also tend to follow a certain formula. The most commonly used expressions include “work hard,” “stick together,” “be innovative,” “put the customers first and offer the best service” and “uphold honesty and credibility.” These hackneyed phrases are really boring.

Today, innovation has become the word of our times, but we, more often than not, only pay it lip service. It is high time that we stopped this unhealthy trend and created new expressions to replace these repulsive clichés.

China Youth Daily

Education and Living Standards

WALK THE WORLD June 20, a child crawls on the Great Wall at Juyongguan, in Beijing, as part of a hunger relief program organized by the World Food Program to raise funds to help thousands of children afford school and have enough to eat.

According to China Youth Daily, the Institute of Rural Education of Northeast Normal University made a survey of 17 rural junior middle schools in six provinces and found that over 40 percent of those children had dropped out of school.

The high rate of student dropouts in rural areas has been a problem for a long time and is yet to be solved. Some people believe that it is because farmers have not been aware of the value of education. But actually, lots of rural children have regarded education as their only way out. The problem is that quite a few rural families still cannot afford tuition. In fact, some families whose children are not good at study see tuition as an unnecessary expenditure, regardless if they can afford it or not.

So to solve the problem, the living standard of farmers should be largely improved. And educational departments should also offer free occupational training for those who are not able to continue their school, so as to enable them to master practical skills during their compulsory education period.

Workers’ Daily

Health Comes First

A 22-year-old college student named Shan Liang in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, has recently been reported by Chengdu Shangbao (Chengdu Business News) to have died of overexhaustion. He had three part-time jobs, on top of his studies.

Shan is not the only student who works more than one part-time job at a time. For many college students from rural areas, tuition is a heavy burden for their families. So they get side work in the hopes that they can earn as much money as possible to send home.

Shan’s death has sounded the alarm. His teachers immediately told other students not to work several part-time jobs at the same time as well as exercise more. Good health is a precondition for a bright future. Also, the education system should offer financial aid to poor students.

Qianlong News

Driving Miss Disaster

Shanghai Youth Daily reports that 11 Shanghaiese recently went to Yandu Auto Administration Office in nearby Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, to get a driver’s license. Eight of them are color blind, one is half deaf, one is severely nearsighted and the other is under 1.5 meters tall. They could not pass the physical exam while applying for a driving license in Shanghai. But in Yancheng, seven of them have obtained licenses. It turns out that the person in charge of the driving license bureau in Yancheng promised that so long as people paid, they could get a driver’s license.

This is terrible that a driving school, together with related departments, would produce such road killers. Statistics show that in little over a year there have been over 1,500 people who did not pass physical exams in Shanghai, but eventually got a license this way.

These unqualified drivers will likely cause traffic accidents, which may lead to irreparable loss. If we don’t deal with those irresponsible driving schools and departments, tragedy will follow.

Workers’ Daily

TALKING HEADS

June 24, all parties to the third round of the six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue raised their proposals when the negotiations entered the second day.

In a briefing after the closed-door meeting, Chinese delegate Zhang Qiyue said
that the parties discussed detailed proposals put forward by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
The parties agreed that substantial consultations should be taken as a starting point to press ahead toward a solution to the issue, though they are aware that significant
differences remain between the proposals of the DPRK, the United States and the ROK.

Heads of the delegations to the talks gathered at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing before the talks commenced. From left to right: James Kelly of the United States, Lee Soo Hyuck of the ROK, Wang Yi of China, Kim Kye Gwan of the DPRK, Mitoji Yabunaka of Japan and Alexander Alexeyev of Russia.

 

POLITICS

REVIEWING HISTORY June 15, People’s Liberation Army’s soldiers visit an exhibition to mark the birth of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in Beijing. Before the 83rd birthday of the CPC, on July 1, a growing number of people are flocking to exhibitions and museums nationwide to review the glorious history and brilliant achievements of the Party.

Premier Makes Proposals Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made five proposals for promoting Asian cooperation in the new century, which he said is “both a grand cause full of hopes and an arduous task placed before us,” at the opening ceremony of the Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue on June 22.

The premier called on Asian countries to adhere to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and safeguard peace and stability in Asia, let economic cooperation and trade spearhead all-round cooperation in Asia, improve the mechanism for Asian cooperation on the basis of the existing channels of multilateral cooperation, increase people-to-people contact, and adhere to the principle of openness, accommodation and tolerance, and take the Asian cooperation to a higher level.

Anti-Drug Campaign There are about 740,000 users of illegal drugs in China as of the end of 2003 and the country’s registered number of former or current drug addicts total 1.05 million, announced the Ministry of Public Security on June 21.

China has set up 583 compulsory drug rehabilitation centers with an aggregate capacity of 116,054 beds as well as 165 “drug rehabilitation through labor” institutions able to house 143,000 people, according to the ministry.

The country is set to launch an anti-drug campaign geared toward its millions of primary school students for the first time.

Power Safety Committee A new committee was established on June 21 to ensure safety in China’s power production.

“The committee’s establishment is a measure to enhance the supervision and management of power production safety,” said Chai Songyue, Chairman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

According to a recent executive meeting of the State Council, ensuring safety and security of energy production is one of several measures the Central Government has taken to address concerns of anticipated energy shortages this summer.

Terrorist Attacks Condemned Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing sent a message to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on June 22 in which he condemned the “terrorist attacks” in Ingushetia.

Li said the Chinese Government firmly supports the military response taken by the Russian Government and is willing to cooperate with Russia and the rest of the international community to make unremitting efforts to safeguard world peace and
stability.

He also expressed condolences over the loss of life in the terrorist attacks and sympathy for the victims’ families and those injured.

World Heritage Application Fifty sites from different nations that applied recently for world heritage certification are expected to be deliberated on at the 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee in east China’s Suzhou City set for June 28, according to Zhang Xinsheng, Chairman of the session and China’s Vice Minister of Education on June 22.

There are now more than 150 world heritage sites worldwide. But the number of natural sites is very limited as the criteria for selection are more rigid, acknowledged Zhang, while reminding people of recent changes in applying for world heritage site status.

Energy Conference An energy conference will be held in Tehran, Iran on July 17-19, under the theme “energy cooperation and development for Asia,” announced Long Yongtu, Secretary General of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Beijing on June 24.

The conference will be BFA’s first public event outside of its host country China.

“Since rapid economic growth and soaring demand for energy has become a common concern to Asian countries and the world, the conference is possibly to be held regularly in one or two years,” said Long.

Up to 200 delegates are expected to participate in the conference to discuss topics such as Asian energy outlook and analyses, economic and investment environment in Iran, energy and sustainable development, and regional cooperation in energy and environment.

ECONOMY

MAKING HISTORY June 22, the first section of track for the first railway line in Tibet Autonomous Region is laid at the Amdo Railway Station at an altitude of 4,700 meters. It is part of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway line scheduled to be completed in 2007.

SOEs to Be Bailed Out China is ready to allow its last group of 2,000 money-losing state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to go bankrupt, with government bailout in the next three to five years, an official with the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said on June 21.

The announcement came with the submission of a draft corporate bankruptcy law to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, for first hearing on June 21. The law aims to put businesses, whether state-owned, private or foreign-funded, on the same footing in terms of competition.

“The 2,000 SOEs will be the last exception in China’s market economy, and afterwards, all the 8 million companies in China will follow a unified corporate bankruptcy law if they fail,” said the official who declined to be named.

EU-China Program China and the EU officially launched the EU-China Program to Support China’s Integration Into the World Trading System, a major trade-related technical assistance project, on June 22.

The five-year program, the largest of its kind in China, aims to transfer know-how from the EU to China to strengthen the latter’s capacity building, as well as help it tackle trade-related issues and honor its WTO membership commitments.

The project, with a 15-million-euro investment from the EU, will focus on six sectors involving customs, agriculture, technical barriers to trade, sanitation measures, service, implementation of laws and policy-making.

Westward Investment Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi said on June 22 that China welcomes transnational firms to expand investment and cooperation in China, especially in the country’s central and western regions.

During her meeting with Louis Schweitzer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Renault Group, Wu said China has made “great progress” in its economic and trade cooperation with foreign countries and its investment environment was further improved since China’s accession to the WTO in 2001.

Foreign investors tend to focus investment along the coast rather than the inland, Wu acknowledged. But she added that China is implementing a strategy of developing the western region and rejuvenating the “rust belt” of the northeast. She hopes foreign investors will “seize the opportunity.”

Anti-dumping Investigation Prolonged China announced to extend its anti-dumping investigation on optical fiber imported from the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on June 22.

The Ministry of Commerce said that the case, initiated on July 1, 2003, was “more complex” than other anti-dumping cases. According to Chinese anti-dumping regulations, the ministry said it decided to extend the investigation to January 1, 2005.

In 2002, China imported $110 million worth of optical fiber from the United States, Japan and the ROK, according to the ministry.

Energy Co-op Indonesia’s State Minister for Revenues and State Companies Laksamana Sukardi, who also heads the board of the state oil and gas company PT Pertamina, said that Indonesia sees bright prospects with China in energy cooperation amid fast developing bilateral relations.

Laksamana made the remarks during his meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Huang Ju on June 22. “Energy cooperation is an issue between companies, but when strategic oil reserve is mentioned, it also becomes an important political issue,” he said.

“Great minds think alike,” Vice Premier Huang told Sukardi, saying the Chinese Government, along with its state-owned oil companies, are also keen in expanding cooperation with Indonesia in the fields of oil and gas exploration and production.

Auto Show As part of the annual Hangzhou West Lake Expo, the Fifth Hangzhou International Automobile Exhibition is to be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province on October 26-31.

Besides cars, auto components and parts, accessories, and maintenance and workshop equipment will also be displayed in this year’s exhibition.

Also, various cultural activities will be held to liven up the event.

SEALED WITH A KISS June 17, a sea lion kisses an actress from the Russian “Pearl” dance troupe at the Beijing Aquarium.
The “Pearl” performance included animals and was a big hit.
MY MONKEY June 21, a Francois
leaf-monkey plays with its month-old baby in Jinan Zoo in Shandong Province. The primate species is under top-level state protection.
LIKE A DRAGON IN WATER June 20, a row of dragon boats compete in the annual dragon boat race at the port of Chai Wan in Hong Kong, to mark the Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday.
TIME TO DANCE June 19, ethnic Korean students in Changchun, Jilin Province perform a folk dance during a school
celebration.