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The Luxury Performing Arts Center is criticized for Lack of Practical Uses

Pu Chunxi, a renowned Chinese actor recently openly criticized the National Centre for the Performing Arts or the “The Egg” for too much extravagance and lack of practical uses.  Pu listed a number of flaws in the design and questioned “Who is the China National Opera Built for?” Pu’s criticism was widely posted by Chinese media and website and drew warm responses from the visitors.  Some called him “Artist with Conscience”.

Designed by French architect Paul Andreu with construction started in December 2001, National Centre for the Performing Arts held the inaugural concert in December 2007. The project is said to be pushed forward by former President Jiang Zemin.

Source: Nan Fang Weekend, September 3, 2008

China Petroleum Plans Massive Layoff

State-own China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is estimated to be cutting up to 10,000 employees in the Beijing area alone by the end of October, reported Xinhua.   This year is considered the most difficult year for both CNPC and Sinopec.  CNPC’s August 28 interim report shows a 39% decline in pre-tax income from the previous reporting period.  On July 25, CNPC indicated that company-wide layoffs would reach 80,000 in the next three years.  The move was viewed as one to control cost and loosen financial pressure.  The company’s Tianjin and Hebei subsidiaries have already started layoffs, with Beijing to follow in October and Shanghai next year.  Northeastern China will be the last since it is CNPC’s major base.  To prevent employee complaints, a group of senior officials close to retirement has been tasked with implementing the downsizing.

Source: Xinhua, September 4, 2008

Death Toll from Sichuan Earthquake Reaches 38

As of September 2, 2008, the death toll from a 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Penzhihua, Sichuan Province on August 30 rose to 38, with 589 injured. The official Xinhua news agency reported that 941,000 of the population were affected, 181,2000 were evacuated and 392,000 homes were destroyed. A 7.9- magnitude earthquake hit the southwestern province on May 12, killing 69,226 people and leaving 15 million homeless.

Source: Xinhua, September 2, 2008

Decline in Economic Growth Seen as Main Foe

Government think tanks are gathering in Beidaihe seeking solutions to contain inflation and curb the decline of economic growth, said Nanfang Daily August 22, 2008. Sources reveal that the think tanks have unanimously agreed, “Decline in the economic growth is worse than inflation.” “The government will be able to stand a 6% annual inflation rate, but if the growth reaches below 10%, bad debts of financial institutions would be appalling.”

Source: People’s Daily, August 22, 2008

Mayor of London Criticized for Lack of Manners in Olympic Closing Ceremony

An internet posting on “sports 366”, a popular sports forum site, criticized Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, for his rude behavior and lack of manners during the Olympic closing ceremony. The posting accused him of wearing an unbuttoned jacket, showing sloppy body language with his right hand in his pocket when coming to the podium, handing over the Olympic flag with one hand, and having an arrogant attitude in terms of not shaking hands leaders from Beijing on the stage and shaking hands late with Beijing’s mayor.

Source: Sports366, August 25, 2008

Chinese Commodity Prices Increased by 9.4% in July

People’s Bank of China announced that July’s commodity price rose 9.4 % compared to July 2007.  Agricultural produce prices increased by 6.8%.  Mineral products and thermo electricity prices went up by 18.3% and 26.7% respectively.
Source: Xinhua, August 20, 2008

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