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PetroChina Plans to Increase Price of Natural Gas by 40 Percent This Winter

China Energy Network, a news network that People’s Daily sponsors, recently reported that PetroChina announced its new winter natural gas pricing structure. All customers can expect a minimum 20 percent price increase this winter. This minimum percentage was set by the Chinese government as the baseline price. In Eastern China, the PetroChina price increase will be 38 percent, across all types of customers, including the consumer market. In Southern China, the increased number will be 40 percent. Natural gas related stocks skyrocketed after the announcement. The Chinese government officially increased the tariff against U.S. liquid natural gas (LNG) by 25 percent. In the past 12 months, China became the second largest U.S. LNG buyer (after South Korea). After China’s tariff announcement, in the month of July, China’s import volume from the U.S. already dropped in half.

Source: China Energy, August 8, 2018
http://www.cnenergy.org/yq/trq/201808/t20180808_675676.html

China Has Second Largest Number of Cultural Centers in Africa

Development Reimagined, a Beijing based consulting Company, announced that China ranked second in terms of the number of cultural centers in Africa, only behind France.

Currently the region has 48 Confucius Institutes, which debuted in 2004. This is the second largest foreign cultural system in Africa. France ranks first with 180 cultural institutions. The others are the United States (40), the United Kingdom (38), Portugal (34) and Germany (21).

What makes the Confucius Institute different is that it is seated inside the campus of universities and its courses are part of the academic programs.

According to Dr. Ishmael Mensah, Dean of the Confucius Institute in Ghana, courses offered by Confucius Institutes are becoming more and more popular, with 2,000 students attending classes during the semester.

Source: Sputnik News, August 14, 2018
http://sputniknews.cn/society/201808141026115441/

Xinhua: The U.S.-Japan Trade Talks Faced Many Conflicts

Xinhua recently reported that the trade talks between the United States and Japan started on August 9. Because of the large number of disagreements, the talks could not be finished as scheduled and the two parties decided to continue on the second day. The Nikkei Index dropped by 1.33 percent citing worries about U.S. trade protectionism. Xinhua referred to a Nikkei (Japan Economics Newspaper) report, which indicated that the U.S. wanted to shift the talks into a free trade negotiation between the two countries, while Japan wanted to frame the talks under the TPP international agreement. The Xinhua article also quoted an Asahi News report on widespread concerns among Japanese industries, especially agriculture. The Trump administration had already threatened, not long ago, to increase the tariff on Japanese automobiles by 25 percent. According to Japanese media, the positions between the two countries are far from each other. Japanese Prime Minister Abe will soon face an election for the head of the party, while the U.S. President is about to be challenged in his first mid-term election. Nikkei is the world’s largest financial newspaper. Asahi News is the second largest Japanese daily newspaper.

Source: Xinhua, August 11, 2018
http://www.xinhuanet.com/world/2018-08/11/c_129931131.htm

EMA Found Another China Made Antihypertensive Drug That Causes Cancer

Radio Free Asia reported that, according to a notice that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued, certain batches of Valsartan (the medication used for high blood pressure and heart failure treatment) that the Zhejiang Tianyu Pharmaceutical Company manufactured were found to be impure and polluted with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). EMA is working with other international partners to investigate the impact of Valsartan. Prior to this, the study found that, when taken on a daily basis, one in every 5,000 patients who took a high dosage of the Valsartan that the Zhejiang Huahai company (not related to Zhejiang Tianyu) manufactured had cancer. In July, there was already a recall of Valsartan, due to safety concerns. The Canadian Health Department also stated that several drug companies have recalled the Valsartan generic drug out of concern for NDMA contamination. Currently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has listed N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) as a material that causes cancer.

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 11, 2018
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/Xinwen/3-08112018123648.html

Epoch Times: Personal Reports from P2P Victims Who Went to Beijing to Petition

Recently, large numbers of P2P sites (Peer to Peer online Lending sites) have been shut down. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of investors losing their investments overnight. The victims planned a petition in front of the China Banking Regulatory Commission in Beijing on August 6 but the Beijing Police Force blocked them. Nevertheless, over 2,000 victims successfully arrived at the China Banking Regulatory Commission or at a nearby location. Epoch Times published an article which provided a first-hand account of P2P (Peer to Peer Landing) victims who were at the scene. The article contains photos and videos that the victims took. Below is the translation of two of the victims’ personal stories.

One victim, Mr. Li arrived in Beijing on August 5. He stayed in a family hotel about 10 minutes away from the Banking Regulatory Commission because it didn’t require personal identification during check in. After they arrived, Mr. Li and another victim who is a college professor walked around to check out the surrounding situation. Mr. Li told Epoch Times, “August 6 was intense as they were waiting for us, which brought us little hope.” On the morning of August 6, they left around 7:30 am in the rain. The rain had almost stopped by the time they arrived across the street from the China Banking Regulatory Commission. He observed that there might have been a whole army of police officers around the financial street, with one police officer every three steps. The atmosphere was very tense and very scary. At the intersection, they saw a large number of police officers wearing gray-black raincoats interrogating pedestrians, especially those carrying backpacks. The police told them to stop and show their ID cards and swept the ID cards with the machine in their hands which contained a blacklist of petitioners’ names. They were quickly able to determine whether the person was a P2P petitioner, and then the petitioner was taken to dozens of buses parked on the street. Mr. Li and his friend found a corner to the right side of the Banking Regulatory Building and waited there for more petitioners to arrive. By 10:00 am, they realized that most of their fellow petitioners had been stopped at the train station, bus station, airport, or their home before they could leave. “There was a wide range of delays in trains and planes in Beijing on August 6. All of those were planned to target us,” Mr. Li said. He saw that the police used force to take many petitioners away from the scene. Eventually, shortly after 10, Mr. Li and his friend were also arrested. They were taken to a bus which took them to the Jiujingzhuang Petition Office in the Fentai district of Beijing. After they arrived at the petition office, the police first scanned their IDs and then sent them to individual rooms where the police or work unit from their hometown could pick them up. The guard at Jiujingzhuang told them there were over one thousand petitioners who had arrived on the buses. Beijing Police prepared 120 buses to transport the petitioners on that day, but Mr. Li thinks that the number of arrested petitioners was larger than that. One person with inside information posted a message on social media stating that over ten thousand police officers had been dispatched to deal with the petitioners. Another Petitioner Ms. Jin told Epoch Times that she was arrested at the Beijing train station while waiting for other petitioners. She was warned ahead of time that they couldn’t go to the government agencies in Beijing to file a petition but she said she still went because she was desperate. Ms. Jin said that, at the local police station, they were treated like criminals. They were told that they were inciting and spreading rumors and could be detained for crimes at any time with no explanation. Ms. Jin told Epoch Times that she went to Beijing to find out the truth. The Banking Regulatory Commission was supposed to have managed their investments. The government was supposed to have backed them. Where did the billions of dollars go? Mr. Li said the crash of the P2P lending site was a clear violation of citizen’s rights. He pointed out,“They took our money and then wanted to silence us. We were raising our voices as citizens to protect our own property.”

Source: Epoch Times, August 7, 2018
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/18/8/7/n10622691.htm

People’s Daily: Child Birth Is Not Only the Family’s Business; It Is Also a National Matter

Because China faces issues related to its aging population, it has changed its one child policy to encourage the younger generation to have more children. However, recent statistics show the childbirth rate is slowing down. People’s Daily published an article calling for the government to establish plans to ease childbirth concerns; it has been saying, “Childbirth Is a National Matter.” However People’s Daily’s statement drew a fair amount of criticism over the Internet.

According to the People’s Daily article, in the 1980s, China’s one child policy resulted in 400 million fewer newborn babies, which eased the resource and environmental pressure. In 2013, the policy was changed to allow parents who are the only child in their family to have a second child. By 2015, to deal with the aging population issues China was facing, the policy was changed to allow all couples to have a second child. The statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that there were 17.23 million newborns in 2017, down 63,000 from 2016. The childbirth rate was 12.43 percent, down 0.52 percent from 2016. Many cities and provinces issued policies to increase the rate of childbirth. In urban regions, however, many young couples still chose not to have children due to the high cost of raising a child, including education, medical, and public services. However, the decrease in the childbirth rate is having a negative impact on society, including an aging population, higher labor costs, and an increase in the pressure on social security. Therefore, in order to solve this problem, the government needs to come up with a plan that will ease the concerns of the younger generation so they will be encouraged to have more children.

Following the People’s Daily‘s statement, people responded with criticism over the Internet. One posting stated, “Having a child is a basic right for a human being. The party wants to manage everything. They didn’t allow more than one child before. Now they want people to have more children. The situation is that people could afford more than one child back then, but the reality is that now, they can have a baby but are unable to afford raising the baby.” Another posting commented that there were so many tragic incidents when the Party forced women to abort their babies and never took any responsibility. “The Party never cares about the livelihood of the people.”

Sources:
1. People’s Daily, August 6, 2018
http://politics.people.com.cn/n1/2018/0806/c1001-30210179.html
2. Epoch Times, August 13, 2018
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/18/8/13/n10635706.htm

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