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China Times: Ninety Percent of Pension Fund Individual Accounts Are Empty

China Times, a national daily newspaper focusing on economic and financial news, recently reported that the Social Security and Insurance Administrative Center of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) released its 2015 Annual Report on Social Security and Insurance Developments. The Report showed that, last year, six provinces suffered a loss in pension funds and the money in individual accounts declined by one third. On a national level, by the end of 2015, the entire amount of Pension Fund Individual Accounts was valued at RMB 4,714.4 billion (around US$700 billion). However, the statistics in the Report indicated that only ten percent of that total was actually funded with available money. With a rapidly aging population, China’s pension funds face more and more funding issues, and there is a discussion underway to convert individual accounts to “nominal accounts.”

Source: China Times, October 14, 2016

CUHK Poll: Forty Percent of HK Residents Wish to Move Out

One of the most trusted Hong Kong polling organizations, HK Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), recently released the results of a scientific poll on emigration. The key finding of the survey was that around two-fifths (38.9 percent) of respondents indicated they would emigrate to other places if they got the chance. A further analysis to break down the tendency of emigration by age group or level of education indicated that younger people (aged 18-30: 57.0 percent) had a higher tendency to emigrate. More people with a college or above education (53.8 percent) indicated their intention to emigrate. The most preferred destinations, ranked by popularity, were Taiwan (16.3 percent), Australia (15.2 percent), and Canada (13.8 percent). The top motivating factors for emigration among those inclined to move were “dissatisfaction with the government and the high-ranking government officials” (11.0 percent), “overcrowded living conditions” (10.5 percent), “too much political disputing / social cleavage” (10.3 percent), and “slow economic growth or poor economic prospects” (10.3 percent).

Source: CUHK Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, October 11, 2016

Xinhua: Over 80 Percent of the Clinical Trial Data Submitted Had False Data

Xinhua recently reported that, according to data that the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) released, 81 percent of the new medicine registration submissions were denied because the clinical trial data submitted was false. A large amount of the analytical data had no differential tracks, some data lacked trace-ability, some omitted records of adverse reactions, and some data got modified to meet “expectations.” The entire chain in the medical industry has been identified as problematic. This chain includes medicine manufacturers, medicine wholesalers and retailers, doctors, and government inspection and administrative units. This situation is not news – it has been there for years. Research that the Chinese Journal of Clinical Pharmacology conducted in 2013 showed that 85.7 percent of the medicine trial data was found to be “irregular” and the research project found no issues in only one seventh of the organizations conducting trials. Some medicine company owners expressed their anger over the fact that they are “punished” by having to follow a strict and ethical standard – their costs are too high to compete and it actually takes a longer time to obtain approval if they don’t take the “shortcuts.”

Source: Xinhua, September 20, 2016

Xinhua: Telecommunication Scams Have Grown 20 to 30 Percent per Year

According to an article that Xinhua published on October 2, the statistics that the public security bureau released reveal that telecommunication scam cases have grown 20 to 30 percent each year in China. In 2015 there were 590,000 reported telecommunication scam cases, which resulted in financial losses of 222 trillion yuan (US$33.45 trillion). Most of the cases involve scams such as claiming lottery numbers; tax refunds or rebate benefits; unsecured bank accounts, and court orders. Some of those who commit such scams have moved overseas and now operate in such foreign countries as Laos, Taiwan, or Indonesia.

Source: Xinhua, October 2, 2016                                                                                                                         

Xi Jinping’s Attitude toward Religious Issues

Earlier this year, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for a religious work conference, which lasted from April 22 to April 23. The country’s highest ranking leaders attended. [1]

At the work conference, Xi proposed to unite religious followers and to resolve religious issues via guidance and with law-based means. His speech was considered a correction to a policy framework of “maintaining stability” and suppression during the years when Jiang Zemin was in power.

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Survey Shows that 90 Percent of the Japanese Have a Poor Impression of China

On September 23, BBC Chinese reported that a non-profit organization known as the “Speech NPO” conducted a survey of residents of Japan. The survey done in 2016 showed that 90 percent of the Japanese respondents had a poor impression of China which was compared to the results from the previous year.

The organization has published reports on such public opinion surveys between China and Japan for the past 12 years.

On the Japanese side, the survey company sent out questionnaires to 2,000 business operators, academicians, media workers and civil servants. The results from 477 respondents were analyzed. On the Chinese side, the results were based on telephone interviews of 612 people.

Among the Japanese respondents, 91.6 percent of those respondents surveyed had a poor perception of China, a slight increase from 88.8 percent the previous year; 76.7 percent of the Chinese respondents did not feel good about Japan, which was down slightly from 78.3 percent the previous year.

The main reason for the poor perception from both sides is the territorial dispute.

Source: BBC Chinese, September 23, 2016

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