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Millions of “Untrustworthy” Chinese Restricted from Air and High-speed Rail Travel

In 2018, China has continued to enhance its social credit score system. The authorities have released 32 Memorandums of Cooperation (MoCs) on disciplinary actions in fields that include social security, intellectual property, research, medical care, and marriage registrations.

Restrictions on plane and train travel appear in almost every MoC. For example, the Memorandum of Cooperation on Joint Disciplinary Actions against Seriously Untrustworthy Enterprises and Personnel in Social Security, jointly issued by 28 authorities, lists 32 types of penalties for nine cases of violations, including refusal to pay social security fees, failure to report social security income truthfully, and social security fraud. Among the disciplinary actions are restrictions on air travel, sleeping carriages with cushioned berths on trains, on second-class on ships, on all seats on the G-series multiple unit (MU) trains (high-speed rail), and on first-class seats on other MU’s.

Beginning in June 2018, on the first working day of each month, the “Credit China” website ( will announce a list of people who are restricted from trains and planes. As more MoC’s have been issued, the number of people restricted from travel by air or by train has been increasing every month. As of September 2018, the cumulative occurrence of restrictions on air ticket purchases has been 14.78 million; on high-speed rail tickets it has been 5.24 million.

Another punishment for being “untrustworthy” is the denial of the qualification for working as a civil servant. In some recently issued joint MoC’s, some new disciplinary measures have begun to appear, such as not being able to buy a house and a restriction on tourist travels. People who owe taxes of more than 100,000 yuan (US$ 14,500) are also blacklisted and subject to restrictions such as no bring allowed to leave the country.

Source: China News Service, December 8, 2018

Beijing Population Blue Book: Migrant and Registered Residents’ Population Declined

On December 9, the Beijing Population and Social Development Research Center under the Beijing Municipal Party School and the Social Science Literature Publishing House jointly released the Beijing Population Blue Book. According to the Blue Book, the latest data shows that the population of both migrants and registered residents in Beijing has declined.

In 2017, the resident population in Beijing was 21.707 million, a decrease of 22,000 from the end of the previous year. Among the residents, the migrant population was 7.943 million, a decrease of 132,000 compared to last year. The registered resident population was 13.592 million, a decrease of 37,000 from the end of the previous year, a drop of 3 percent.

Judging from the distribution of population at the district level, Chaoyang District has a resident population of 3.74 million, ranking first in all districts. Haidian District has a resident population of 3.48 million, ranking second. At the same time, these two districts also have a large number of migrants, totaling nearly 3 million, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total migrant population. The populations of Miyun, Pinggu, Huairou, Yanqing, and Mentougou are relatively smaller, and the proportion of migrants is also lower.

In addition, since 2010, the education level of Beijing’s population has continued to improve and the proportion of middle school, high school education, and below has dropped from 43 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in 2017. The proportion of those with a high school education has not changed much. Those who hold a university associate degree or above has increased from 33 percent in 2010 to 37 percent in 2017. This means that nearly 40 percent of Beijing’s population has received a university education. Nearly one-fifth of them have received undergraduate education, and nearly 5 percent have received postgraduate education.

It is worth noting that population ageing is also deepening in Beijing. In 2010, the number of seniors who were 65 and above reached 1.709 million, accounting for 8.7 percent of the total population. In 2017, 2.376 million people were aged 65 and over, accounting for 10.5 percent of the total population. Corresponding to the increase in the proportion of seniors, the proportion of the working age population aged 15-64 has decreased year by year. The proportion dropped from 82.7 percent in 2010 to 78.6 percent.

Source: The Paper, December 9, 2018

China’s Lunar Rover Mission to the Dark Side of the Moon

According to Chinese official media, the successful landing of Chang’e 4 is the first touchdown of a spacecraft on the far side of the moon in human history, the first Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2 relay and exploration, and the first moon based low-frequency radio astronomical observation. It is also the first time in China for the measurement of the nighttime lunar soil temperature.

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) conducted the mission. The lunar rover carried a list of equipment to the Von Kármán Crater on the moon, including a topographic camera, a landing camera, a low-frequency radio spectrum analyzer, a panoramic camera, an infrared imaging spectrometer, and moon-receiving radar.

Source: The Paper, December 9, 2018

Deutsche Welle: Cemetery Prices in China Are Higher Than the Price of Housing

On December 3, Deutsche Welle reported that, not only are housing prices in China’s metropolises rising rapidly, but cemetery plots have become increasingly expensive and scarce. The price of a cemetery plot has soared due to the lack of land. This is true not only in Beijing, but also in many other coastal cities in China. Whether it is Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Hong Kong, cemeteries are becoming fewer and fewer. The article stated that in the capital, Beijing, there are only enough available cemetery plots to last for six years. Hong Kong residents have to wait in line to purchase a cemetery plot. In cities like Beijing or Shanghai, the cost per square meter is over 100,000 yuan (US$14,526) which is higher than the price of housing and it is impossible for an average working class family to afford. The Chinese government hopes to achieve nearly a 100 percent cremation rate, but so far not everyone has responded positively to the government’s call because it is against people’s traditional beliefs in Chinese culture.

Source: Deutsche Welle, December 3, 2018

The 13th Confucius Institute Conference

On December 4 and 5, the 13th Confucius Institute Conference was held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. During the two-day session, the conference held two panel discussions, eight presidents’ forums, and 20 workshops. According Hanban, the global headquarters of the Confucius Institute, more than 1,500 representatives from more than 150 countries and regions attended the conference.

Sun Chunlan, Vice Premier of the State Council and Chairman of the Headquarters Council of the Confucius Institute, attended and delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Chen Baosheng, the Minister of Education and Vice Chairman of the Headquarters Council of the Confucius Institute, hosted the opening ceremony. Vice Minister of Education Tian Xuejun attended the closing ceremony and delivered a speech. Forums and workshops had 460 participants who made a total of 220 speeches.

At present, 154 countries and regions have established 548 Confucius Institutes, 1,193 Confucius Classrooms in primary and secondary schools, and 5,665 Chinese teaching centers. 46,000 full-time and part-time teachers have been teaching the Chinese language to 11 million students.

Source: Hanban, December 5, 2018

China Established Online Game Ethics Committee

According to China’s official Xinhua News Agency, under the guidance of the Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department, an online game ethics committee was recently established in Beijing. Shortly after its establishment, the committee reviewed the first batch of 20 “morally problematic” online games and decided to disapprove of nine of them.

According to official media reports, the establishment of the online game ethics committee is an important measure to follow the guidance of CCP’s National Propaganda and Ideological Work Conference held in August, and to enrich the ideological and cultural contents of online games. The committee consists of experts and scholars from regulators, universities, professional institutions, and news media. Information such as the people and the organizational structure is not known. The committee was entitled to conduct an ethical review of online games and related services that may or may not have produced moral controversy and public opinion discussions.

The news itself has caused controversy among Chinese netizens. Some commented, “Whether a game is ethical or not, it should be judged by the majority of players and the whole society, instead of a few unidentified experts sitting at a desk.” Others voiced worry that such a so-called official “ethics committee” will appear in other areas of society in the future. Some netizens believe that such a unified approval model will limit the diverse and innovative development of the Chinese game industry.

Source: Radio France International, December 7, 2018