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Chinese chains on competition


It is very easy to claim that China works to suppress economic competition — one only need point to the state sector.

Iowa farm that President Xi visited to be re-created as Hebei ag-education ground


Rick Kimberley, president of Kimberley Farms Inc, at home. A photo of President Xi and Kimberley is in background. YUAN ZHANG / CHINA DAILY

A delegation of nearly 50 people from Iowa embarked on a 10-day visit to China on Sunday, and a groundbreaking ceremony for a China-US Friendship Demonstration Farm, believed to be the first of its kind, is on the agenda, China Daily learned Sunday morning.

Terry Branstad, the US ambassador to China, will attend the ceremony, according to a news release from the Iowa Sister States commission, a non-profit organization founded in 1985 to manage Iowa’s official relationships with foreign states and provinces. The organization was established when Branstad was governor.

The China-US Friendship Demonstration farm, to be located in Luanping county, Hebei province in northern China, will include an educational agriculture site modeled after a farm near Maxwell, Iowa, owned by Rick and Martha Kimberley and their son Grant.

The educational components of the project will include visuals of modern agriculture technology such as machinery, and advances such as grain storage and drying, as well as test plots.

Rick Kimberley, president of Kimberley Farms Inc, told China Daily that the demonstration farm will occupy a total area of 3,000 acres and will have a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept 23.

“The first phase will be a re-creation of my home and building,” Kimberley said.

“When President Xi was at my home and farm (in 2012), he said that he wanted to use my farm as a model of modern agriculture to China. So they will recreate my home and buildings.”

The demonstration farm will use the same modern equipment and technology that the Kimberleys use. There will be demonstration plots for seeds and demonstrations of the use of equipment.

“The farm will create an environment for learning and showcasing modern farming practices and techniques,” Kimberley said. “There will also be a conference…

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Chinese Central Bank said to be drafting fresh package of reforms for more financial market opening


China’s central bank is drafting a package of reforms which would give foreign investors greater access to the nation’s financial services industry, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The People’s Bank of China will convene an internal meeting on Tuesday to discuss its proposals and get feedback from Chinese institutions, said the people, who asked not to be names.

The meeting will also discuss the timetable for opening up the financial sector and the lessons learned from previous cooperation with foreign firms, they added.

While the details of the plan have yet to be finalised, it may include permission for foreign institutions to control their local finance-sector joint ventures, as well as raising the current 25 per cent ceiling on foreign ownership in Chinese banks.

It may also allow foreign firms to provide yuan-denominated bank card clearing services. The China Banking Regulatory Commission is also said to be involved in the proposal.

The PBOC couldn’t immediately comment on the matter. The CBRC didn’t immediately respond to a fax seeking comment.

China sent a signal it plans to press ahead with opening up the financial sector when central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in June that too much protection for domestic institutions weakens the industry and can lead to financial instability.

Last month, China’s cabinet said the country will continue to open up various industries, including banking, securities, insurance as well as electric cars.

Currently, overseas investment banks can only hold minority stakes in their local securities joint ventures, and have been largely excluded from lucrative businesses such as secondary-market trading in Chinese debt and equities, as well as from managing money for wealthy clients.

JPMorgan Chase chief executive officer Jamie Dimon, who last year exited a minority-owned Chinese investment-banking joint venture, said in June the US bank is patiently negotiating with Chinese regulators to find a new structure that would eventually allow full control.

China Insurance Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Chen Wenhui said earlier this…

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An elderly man waits for medicine at a hospital counter in Thailand. Photo: Trinn Suwannapha/World Bank

Thailand recently announced that it will put into action a national social assistance program for poor families. Such a program can help reduce poverty significantly. It would also move Thailand into the growing ranks of middle-income countries, such as China, Malaysia, Brazil, Turkey and the Philippines, that provide the poor with a ‘safety net’.

This week, the cabinet approved a package worth around 42 billion baht to finance cash allowances for the poorest and other subsidies for almost 12 million low-income families. For many poor families in Thailand, regular social assistance means their children being able to finish school or not going to bed hungry. For farmers, regular social assistance can help cushion the impact of natural disasters such as floods and droughts, which can wipe away a lifetime of savings.

Global evidence suggests that regular cash transfers can enable poor families to meet basic needs such as food, healthcare and education, and that they continue to work just as hard. Such studies have addressed concerns in many countries that cash transfers are mere handouts that encourage complacency. They have shown instead that a helping hand improves nutritional and educational outcomes, and the capacity of individuals and communities to cope with shocks, ultimately resulting in lower poverty and inequality.

But, according to the recently published World Bank Thailand Systematic Country Diagnostic, accurate targeting is key. An effective and efficient social assistance program consistently and reliably identifies those who need support the most.

Here is where challenges set in. With work in the informal sector so prevalent in Thailand, verifying household incomes can be difficult. Experience from other countries can help.  

Where self-declared income may not be reliable, other information such as land and vehicle ownership status, educational levels of adults, and presence of household members with disabilities can be useful. Different countries screen these non-income indicators in different ways. Some simply tally the other welfare indicators for each family, while others do a more complex calculation of how important each factor is in predicting if a family is poor. Whatever the approach, countries often supplement such information with community-based validation to take advantage of local knowledge. Thailand is using such an approach, with information on employment status, property ownership and savings to help determine who is low income.

Developing countries also use “social registries” to cross-check indicators of household welfare. These data platforms allow cross-checking of household welfare indicators, ranging from land and car ownership to social security participation, and are used by multiple public programs as a common source of information.

The most comprehensive social registries include not only program beneficiaries, but the larger population. Pakistan includes around 90 percent of its population in its social…

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Trump at the G20 summit was pretty much a gaffe-filled disaster


Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

The best part of the G20 summit this year? Trump’s many gaffes.

Trump has probably learned the hard way that not all Asians look alike, after he mixed up Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The original Instagram post in which he mixed the duo up has now been deleted, but not before it was immortalised on Twitter:

Unfortunately for Trump’s social media team, this is President Joko Widodo of Indonesia.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gutschalk Thorsten/action p/REX/Shutterstock (8923773be) Joko Widodo G20: Arrivals Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall), Hamburg, Germany - 07 Jul 2017

Image: action p/REX/Shutterstock

Reactions were swift on Twitter:

The caption was later changed to reflect the correct leader.

You know what they say — second time’s a charm.

Taiwan or China?

But if you thought that was bad, be prepared for some major…

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A Brief History of Chinese Literature


Chinese literature goes back thousands of years, from the dynastic court records to novels that became popular during the Ming Dynasty (1368-16440). During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) woodblock printing was invented, and along with movable type printing that was introduced during the Song Dynasty (960-2179) this enabled the spread of written knowledge among the literate Chinese.

At the beginning of the Gonghe regency (841BC) the Chinese began to keep detailed court records. Perhaps the definitive work in early Chinese writing was the Shiji, a narrative history of Chinese, written by the Han Dynasty court historian Sima Qian (145BC-90BC) and completed about 389BC.

The oldest extant dictionary in China is the Erya , dated to the 3rd century BC, anonymously written but with later commentary by the historian Guo Pu (276-324). There were also large encyclopedias produced in China through the ages. The Yiwen Leiju encyclopedia was completed by Ouyang Xun in 624 during the Tang Dynasty, with the help of scholars Lininghu Defen and Chen Shuda.

China has a rich tradition of literature that has continued through the ages and continues to the present day through post Maoist writers. Chinese language literature has also flourished in the Diaspora – in South East Asia, the United States, and Europe. China is the largest publisher of books, magazines and newspapers in the world. In book publishing alone, some 128,800 new titles of books were published in 2005, according to the General Administration of Press and Publication. There are more than 600 literary journals across the country. Living and writing in France but continuing to write mainly in Chinese, Gao Xingjian became the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000.

Source by Maureen Mclean