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Overseas Study Tours for Preschoolers

In order to prepare for the tough competition in the future, Chinese families continue to invest in their children’s education. Online travel agency Ctrip recently released the “2018 Summer Study Camp Report,” pointing out that more and more Chinese families prefer that their children go abroad for study and camp tourism. In 2018, the scale is expected to reach 1 million people, with expenditures of more than 30 billion yuan (US$4.4 billion).

The report sampled families with children between the ages of 8 and 12 and found that the proportion of families who are willing to participate in study tourism this summer is as high as 80 percent. The per capita expenditure for an overseas trip is more than 23,000 yuan (US$3,400). The average expense of a trip to the United Kingdom, the United States, or Australia is between 32,000 yuan (US$4,700) and 38,000 yuan (US$5,600); the shorter trips to Asian countries cost between 8,000 yuan (US$1,200) and 15,000 yuan (US$2,200). The most popular destinations for overseas study tours are the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand.

The age of those going on overseas study tours is concentrated between 10 and 15 years old, accounting for 66 percent of the total. However, children under 6 years old also account for 5 percent.

The demand for quality in the study tours has gradually increased. Compared with the previous trips which were usually to open the eyes of the children, in recent years, parents have been giving thought to more professional considerations. Their inquiries include the information on the target school, the quality of teachers, the proportion of international students, the teaching philosophy of the school, and even the teaching materials.

Source: The Paper, August 3, 2018

Ministry of Finance to Expand Pilot Reform of SOEs to Implement Their Dominant Market Position

People Daily reported that the State Council recently issued, “Opinions to Implement the Pilot Reform of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).” It plans to expand the SOE reform pilot program and form a replicated model for more SOEs to follow.

The Opinions focus on the following four principles:

First, to ensure that the party maintains the overall leadership of state-owned enterprises, to implement the legal status of the party organization within the corporate governance structure and to ensure that the party’s and the state’s policies on major decisions are implemented.

Second, to insist that the market plays a decisive role in resource allocation while better enabling the government to play its role in further implementing the dominant market position of the State Owned Enterprises.

Third, to focus on supply-side reforms to establish a complete operational guideline that enables SOEs to become stronger and better.

Fourth, to be firm in preventing the loss of state-owned assets and to build a monitoring and evaluation system.

The article also quoted directions that Xi Jinping gave during the 19th Congress on SOEs. Xi called for SOEs to improve an asset management system, optimize the economic model, make structural adjustments and strategic changes, enable SOEs to become stronger and better and grow to be competitive first class world companies.

Source: People’s Daily, August 1, 2018

Jinan Uses Drones to Capture Drivers Using Cell Phones

On July 31, the “Airborne Traffic Police,” the multi-rotor drones, were formally put into use in Jinan City of Shandong Province. Their main purpose was to photograph drivers who were using phones illegally or making phone calls while driving. This is the first time that Jinan has used police drones to capture traffic violators. The traffic police team has invested in four drones to cooperate with law enforcement.  Beijing Youth Daily reported that, half an hour into their debut, five illegal activities were captured on the spot.

“At 7 o’clock in the morning, at one traffic light crossroad, a multi-rotor drone carrying a high-definition camera was hovering around and ‘observing’ the car drivers to see whether there were illegal activities such as using mobile phones and making phone calls. Not long after, a white car appeared in the surveillance video connected to the drone. While waiting at the red light, the driver’s right hand was on the steering wheel and his left hand picked up the phone to play. The drone repeatedly adjusted the angle and focal length, while recording the whole process of the man playing with the mobile phone while driving. Soon, the traffic police at the traffic light intersection found the man and fined him for the violation.

“The Jinan Municipal Public Security Bureau formed the police aviation team, which started trial operations in April of this year. The members of the police team have superb drone flight skills and practical experience in traffic management. The team has carried out trial operations for nearly three months and the team members have accumulated more than 200 hours of safe flight time. The drone and its videotaping device are specially designed for collecting evidence of both dynamic and static traffic violations.”

Source: Beijing Youth Daily, August 1, 2018

Epoch Times Opinion Article: The Reality that Xi Jinping Is Facing

Epoch Times published an opinion article titled, “The Reality that Xi Jinping Is Facing.” The following is a summary of the article:

For the Chinese Communist Party as a whole, one of the first and most important tasks for the leader in such a position is to preserve the wealth and interests of the few top level families and the interests of the members of the high-ranking power group.

However, the facts that Trump was elected president of the U.S. in 2016, and especially that the Sino-US trade war began this year, have touched the fundamental interests of those at the party’s top level. Trump’s trade policy toward China will ultimately fundamentally change China’s trade status and will greatly impact the interests of those families. From this point of view, if Xi Jinping cannot protect the interests of that group, then Xi will become their enemy and will be discarded. This is one of the reasons why Zhongnanhai has been in political turmoil lately and Xi Jinping is facing challenges.

Within the party, Xi Jinping’s political enemies are waiting. The Party’s interest group at the top level knows that, after the Sino-US trade war is over, they will lose access to the wealth they used to have. In itself, this will become sufficient reason for Xi Jinping to step down.

The Chinese Communist Party has no solution to the social crisis in China. This is the reality that Xi Jinping is facing today.

Source: Epoch Times, July 27, 2018

China Launched Ninth and Tenth Beidou Satellites to Provide Service to Belt and Road Countries

Beijing News reported that, since China launched the first satellite of the BeiDou 3 system on November 5, 2017, on July 29, it successfully launched the ninth and tenth satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province. Before the end of this year, China plans to launch eight more satellites so it will have a total of 18 satellites to complete the BeiDou 3 basic system which will provide service to countries along the Belt and Road project. According to the article, the China Academy of Space Technology and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology developed the satellites and the launch system used in the recent launch. By 2020, China will complete the BeiDou system and will have 35 satellites with the ability to provide navigation service worldwide.

Source: Beijing News, July 29, 2018

The Paper: The New US-EU Zero-Tariff Trade Deal So Far Is Just Talk

The well-known Chinese news site The Paper recently reported that the newly reached zero-tariff trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) sounded a lot better than the outcome of the G7 and the NATO summits. It is understandable and logical that these old allies wanted to avoid an ugly final show-down on trade when both sides were under heavy internal pressure. However, the actual negotiation, as the result of the agreed framework, will be very tough and will drag on for a long time. Only one day after the announcement, the world started to hear different interpretations of the deal. The Germans were more optimistic about the trade deal, but France sounded very cautious and immediately excluded agricultural topics from any future negotiation. The soon-to-start negotiation rounds most likely will be a long and tedious process since it is naturally hard to get 28 EU members to agree on anything. Chinese trade experts expressed the belief that it seems the developed countries now think that the WTO trade framework no longer serves their best interests. That sounded a lot like the TTIP negotiation Obama started with the EU, which ended up going nowhere. The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented in a press briefing that China expects the efforts between the U.S. and the EU will follow the international multilateral trade rules, such as the non-discrimination principle.

Source: The Paper, July 28, 2018

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