Tag Archives: Beijing

Feature: A Day in Beijing during the NPC Congress and CPPCC Session

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

On March 13th, I got up early because on March 12 I stayed at home and watched Live TV broadcast to cover the National People’s Congress press conferences.  Due to the jetleg, I have to sleep early every day and get up very early.  This is good for me.

Smog, when will you go away?

In the morning, I looked outside through the window and found the smog was more serious than the previous days. But still, it was better than that of five years ago when I was in Beijing on 2013.

I took the bus No 10 outside the courtyard and it took me 20 minutes to arrive at Guomao.  After I got off the bus, I have to walk another 100 meters and then went into the subway.  Still I love it because it saved me a lot more walking.

I took the line one of the Subway to Tiananmen West. I was worried because on Sunday when I took the bus No. 1, it didn’t stop on Tiananmen West. But thanks to CPC, the subway stopped at Tiananmen West.

When I came out of the subway, I saw the trees along the Chang’An Avenue  very beautiful. It looked like an ink painting.  It was foggy and smoggy.

I hurried to the Great Hall of the People. The guards were strict but nice.  Quickly I arrived in the Hall and went through the security. The logistics were good. They provided a safety box and a key so that people could put their extra mobile phone in the box and locked it.

In the morning, it was Li Jianguo from NPC committee who presented explaination on China’s Supervision Law. This law shows the determination of the Communist Party of China to prevent corruption according to law.

Many Chinese delegations have visited Sweden and got to know how Sweden prevents corruption.

Emphasis was also given to supervision and both a Supervision Law and a Supervision department has been established. These are also the spotlights during this congress. It showed that Xi Jinping is determined to  prevent corruption according to law.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang attended the conference.  Li Jianguo presented a report on details of the Supervision law to illustrate why China forms supervision law and how it works to prevent  corruption.

After this report, Wang Yong delivered a report on State Council’s institutional reform.

For years, people feel it is difficult to get rid of the family planning committee. But now it is gone.  In stead, with the call from the soldiers, a new department on retired soldiers has been established to take care of their pension.

National Land Resources Ministry has been changed to Natural Resources Ministry. State Forestry Ministry has been taken away. More emphasis has been put on the rural areas development and environment protection.

Overall,  the State Council has cutt off 8 ministries, but also promoted some other ministries.  Foreign Affairs Ministry remains at the same level.

Tourism and Cultural Ministry merged into one and it was welcomed.

Delegates think the reform of the institutions  is quite reasonable.

After that, I went to Fulihua  at Nan Lishilu area. I used to work in those area and I miss it very much.

So I went to the Molly shop where I used to buy clothes.  I bought four clothes.  I took a bowl of noodles for lunch.

And then I hurried to Great Hall of the People.  The reason for it is that there is an open press conference in the Xinjiang Ugyor Autonomous Region delegation.  Kurban,  a Ugyor who used to ride a donkey to come to Beijing to see  late Chairman Mao. Now his great grand daughter becomes the delegate representing the hometown people.

She said she worked in the Liaoning Submarine before she became the delegate.  With her family’s experience,  she saw the great changes in their life for better  in Xinjiang.

She said in particular, President Xi Jinping put up forward a policy that the Chinese cadres should help the Ugyor families to form a partnership.  This way leads to the Ugyor family to eradicate poverty quickly.  The Ugyors feel honored to have a Han cadre to be their contact.

She said she would follow her great grand father’s step and continue to work hard to improve the local people’s living standards.

Unity among different ethnic groups in Xinjiang is an important task to keep the region safe, stable and prosperous.

Tourism is an important industry in the region and also key for poverty eradication.

Xinjiang is a beautiful place.  It also receives support from Zhejiang Province as another kind of partnership.  That means the Chinese government asks the eastern provinces to help western provinces and regions.  This is also a good way to narrow down the gap between eastern and western regions.

After this press conference, I went back to the shop to fetch my clothes because I couldn’t take a lot of things to the Great Hall of the People.

In the evening, I met my former colleagues.  She said I can take bus No. 1 to Ritanlu from Nanlishilu.  I remember there were bus 52, 57 and 1. But now neither 52 nor 57  travel so long. Only bus No. 1 kept its pride to drive on the Chang’s Avenue, the No. 1 road in Beijing.

It is true that it goes quickly and I can get off directly in front of Beijing Radio.  Then we went to a Yunnan style restaurant to eat a hotpot sour fish, but not as sour as herring in Sweden.

One can put noddles into the pot and with some vegetables, it became a good meal.  We talked a lot about why I left Beijing for Sweden and what I did over the years.

They said your zigzagging life sounds very interesting and you should write a book about it.  I said I have written a big part of it but I never know how to end it. So it is going on but no end.

Then they drove me home which sits outside the third ringroad.  I was moved by their hospitality and felt very glad that almost every family nowadays has one or two cars in Beijing.

Beijing was shrounded with smog and the trees look like an ink painting.

When I came in to the apartment, I felt I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep.  I watched wechat news and then tried to sleep again. But it was one thirty already.

2. Visiting my parents in Beijing

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 8(Greenpost) — My parents came to Beijing just days before we arrived in Beijing on Thursday.

The first cry of Wang Xueting was broadcast at China Radio International on the New Year’s Eve of 2003. Gaowa, a beautiful civil servant, Annie and the little boy who loves the ball from Sweden. He also drank Swedish vanling to grow to two years. 

On Saturday we decided to go to my brother’s home to see my parents.  On the way, we informed Gao Wa to come too. Gao Wa was my cousin’s daughter. My cousin Yanqiu did me a great favor by encouraging me to go to Linghai or Jinxian Senior High School. She said to me that summer, “If you succeeded in entering the No.1 Senior High School, you will have one step into any university.”

I did, and that paved me the way from Dizangsi village to Linghai county, and from Linghai county to Shenyang City and from Shenyang to Beijing, and from Beijing to Sydney, Harare, Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, Namibia, Mozambique, Canada, France, German, Spain, USA and New Zealand. Finally, Stockholm Sweden, my second hometown!

The wing of thoughts flew quickly. As the car arrived in Shiliju, we had to get off and embrace the heat again. For me, it was just wonderful to feel warmth. But my daughter kept on saying it is hot.

As we came into the 20th floor two room apartment, Ms Wang was cooking and my mother was planning what to cook.  The two and half year old boy was running around in the room and he began to talk a lot of words.

The room was filled with happy atmosphere.  Whenever you have a two to three year old child around, you will feel happy. That was the time with my niece and my daughter.  Children are the hope of our future and we feel happy to see them growing.

My mother’s back bent a little more seriously, but her spirit was high. Obviously she was happy to see us. She has been enduring all the lonely time over the year and now we came.

My father woke up since we came. He went out in the morning and in the evening as usual. He likes to dance as an exercise.  He got a few more white hair, but he still has a lot of black hair. His voice is still sonorous.  His memory is still very good and he still talks energetically.

Soon my brother came. He came with my second brother,  my sister in law and my nephew who is a driver.  They came from Tianjin, the second largest municipality in China, two hours drive from Beijing.

It was a surprise for me. I thought I would go to Tianjin to see them so that they don’t need to come here. But they came. I still feel very happy and moved.  My sister in law is still energetic.

Gao Wa came too. She also drove a car. She works as a village head assistant after graduating from university as a master degree graduate. That is called University student village official! Literal translation.  But it was a good intention.  She will become a civil servant after this service.

We took a lot of photos and we were happy together. Again, a lot of people under the wings of parents.  No matter how far away we have been, finally we have to come back to see my parents.

2017 China trip- landing in Beijing 1

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 7(Greenpost)– Seven or 7 seems to be my lucky number this year.  My husband, my daughter and I finished our China trip on 2017-07-27. And I like to have a review from today.  Please stay tuned.

London visit paves the way to China

I am a Chinese and I love China no doubt about it. But sometimes I was tired of China. That is why I can live in Sweden for 11 years now and still not too tired yet. Except the first three years, I almost went back to China every year or even twice a year for some years.

Last year, I told my daughter that we all should go to China this summer because it had been three years since they went to China last time.

She said she didn’t want to go simply because Chinese people are too warm to her. They always said she is beautiful, Pretty, Piaoliang.  Since the first time she went to China, she was like a little angel and people queued the long queue to see her.

She is a good mix of Chinese and Swedish. When I was in Harare, Zimbabwe, my German teacher married with a native Zimbabwan and their mixed child was claimed to be the best.  When I was a child, when thinking of having a mixed child, it was almost a curse. But as China opens up and we are more and more in favor of the western culture, my child is very well accepted in China.

However,  she has become a little picky about China. For example, in Beijing in winter it was actually very hot inside the room. Chinese people talked too loud compared with Swedish people and so on.  Although in my eyes it was obvious that we should go to China this summer, they had to discuss it many times. My daughter said she wanted to go to London first in stead of America or China.

I said ok, then you must go to China in the summer! I booked the tickets right after we came back from London.  To be honest, we didn’t visit too much of London. Except Crystal Palace and Queens Hotel, we didn’t go to London Tower or Big Ben. But that turned out to be good.

My daughter always mentioned her London trip and wanted to go again because she lived in Queens Hotel!

Visiting China will use the same strategy. Not visit famous tourist sites, but just stay in hotels or at home to relax. Take a walk in the park nearby and doing nothing normal.

Coming back from Shanghai, my brother in law asked whether we had been to the tallest building in Shanghai, I said please don’t ask us about the most popular place!

Eight hours flight didn’t seem to be too long because we not only ate two Chinese meals with just right amount for our stomach, but also watched films.

Jackie Chan played a professor and found a gold treasure in India.  With the shuttle of time and the beauty of actresses, especially the part when Jackie Chan was driving with the big lion, it killed all our sleepiness!

Air China is very comfortable and just after a couple of times of travelling, I decided to fix Air China as my flight because I don’t like to save some money but to travel through Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Helsinki to spend at least three or four extra hours. Once I and my daughter travelled via Amsterdam, we had to stay one night at the airport and the next day we had to travel to Heathrow Airport in order to go to Stockholm! Enough is enough.  I’d rather spend a little more money to fly direct than go round about.

Chinese girls are beautiful and nice and it is very good that they both speak English and Chinese.  As time goes by, I like to save my energy as much as possible.

Beijing Airport is the same as before.  It is large, broad and bright. It was due to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing Airport was improved. Immediately you can feel the water saving facilities in the toilet.  All the water tap used sensing devices.  Without sensing, no water comes out!

It was easy because I put a smaller suitcase inside the big suitcase just in order to use them when we went back to Stockholm.  There were so little things we could take from Sweden to China.  When coming back, we have a lot to take.

As we came out of the customs, my sister and brother in law showed up to receive us.  She just bought a BMW last summer after she came back from Indonesia where she worked for two years.  I suggested she buy Volvo, but she chose the landrover BMW in the end. She wanted to drive in the countryside or tourist sites in suburban Beijing.

I felt privileged to have them receive us.  If I were alone, I would like to take the fast train or subway to go home.

It was my brother in law who drove the car. He drove a car in Namibia when we were both working in Africa.  Later he turned out to become my brother in law.  The world was actually not big.  After going around the globe for  a whole round, I came to Sweden from New Zealand.

Arriving at home, I felt hungry. My brother in law cooked dumplings for us and we ate a lot together with dried Toffo salad.  Then we had a sleep which can be counted as 24 hours because we slept almost in a stretch to next day and next day. The room was hot and it felt like a free sauna! Sweat streams out easily out of forehead and neck.

Beijing, a warm Beijing warmly welcomed us!

A far more cleaner Beijing is waiting for us!

I feel very glad because I look forward to seeing many of my friends, classmates and most importantly my parents, my father, 84 and my mother 74! PLUS THEIR GRANDSON, 2.5 years old!

China Headlines: All you need to know about China’s new FX policy

BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Greenpost) — When China’s central bank unexpectedly adjusted its yuan central parity system, it triggered the currency’s biggest decline for decades.

So, what exactly happened?

On Tuesday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) changed the way it calculated the yuan central parity rate, to close the gap between the rate and the actual trading rate on the money markets.

From Tuesday, the central parity rate has taken into account the previous day’s inter-bank market closing rate, supply and demand in the market and price movements of other major currencies.

Ma Jun, a central bank economist, described the change to the way the central parity rate is calculated as a “one-off” technical correction that should not be seen as the beginning of a devaluation trend.

Just what is the central parity rate?

Each trading day at 9:15 a.m. Beijing time, the central parity rates of the yuan are announced against 11 major currencies including the euro, sterling, U.S. dollar and yen. The rates are determined by a weighted average of pre-opening prices offered by market makers. When the inter-bank FX market opens 15 minutes later, trading may only take place within 2 percent of the rate.

Why now?

The U.S. dollar is strong and a sharp appreciation in the real yuan rate has hit China’s exports hard. The figures for July slumped by 8 percent. Furthermore, the central parity rate has gradually deviated from the market rate “by a large amount and for a long duration,” according to the PBOC, which has undermined “the authority and the benchmark status” of the central parity system.

How did markets react?

On Wednesday, the yuan declined sharply for the second day in a row, leading to a heavy sell-off in regional currencies and raising concern worldwide that volatility will become a drag on global economic growth.

Asian stocks fell.

The yuan is expected to remain weak and volatile in the near term.

Is this a deliberate move to stimulate exports?

Tuesday’s move is regarded as another step towards allowing market forces to determine the value of the yuan, but is probably not enough to make much difference to either exporters or China’s trade partners.

HSBC say the move does not mean that China has begun to purposely devalue the yuan.

“In an environment of soft global recovery, the benefits of beggar-thy-neighbor competitive devaluation are neither clear nor easy to reap,” was the bank’s analysis of the situation.

How will this affect the Chinese people?

A weaker yuan makes imported products more expensive and foreign travel more costly.

The Chinese are just getting used to their new prosperity. Shopping has become very important to them, especially shopping for imported goods. Foreign travel for its own sake, but more specifically for shopping, is central to the aspirations of China’s new wealthy classes. Those who plan to study abroad, particularly at American schools, will also feel the pinch.

Is all this good or bad for the yuan’s chances of a quick inclusion in SDR?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed the reform, which will certainly raise the prospects for the yuan becoming part of the IMF special drawing rights (SDR) currency basket sooner rather than later.

The change does not directly affect the push for SDR inclusion, but an IMF spokesman said on Wednesday that “a more market-determined exchange rate would facilitate SDR operations in case the yuan was included in the currency basket.”

What’s the risk?

The depreciation might trigger capital flight, dealing a blow to the stability of China’s financial system. Bloomberg economists Fielding Chen and Tom Orlik reckon that a 1-percent depreciation against the dollar will suck 40 billion U.S. dollars out of China. While 40 billion U.S. dollars is certainly not chicken feed, with massive foreign exchange reserves, substantial bank deposits and a controlled capital account, China is well set to deal with such an eventuality.

So, what next?

The PBOC has promised more FX reform along the lines of “market- orientation” and opening up the FX market. More foreign entities are being allowed to participate in China’s financial markets, and the onshore-offshore yuan exchange rate will gradually be unified. Enditem

 

Dutch bank ING upgrades China business

   BEIJING, Aug. 6 (Greenpost) — Dutch bank ING announced Thursday that it has upgraded its Beijing representative office to a branch in order to expand business in China.

The Beijing branch will provide clients with foreign exchange settlement services, including foreign exchange deposits, trade financing, loans, export credit, as well as consulting and advisory services.

In compliance with local regulations, the branch will conduct all forms of foreign exchange businesses over the next few years, including drawing deposits, making loans, and foreign currency transactions, said Aart Jan den Hartog, country manager and head of commercial banking, Greater China.

He said that the Beijing branch will be complementary with its three other branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taipei. Enditem

Source Xinhua

Congratulations to Beijing for winning the right to hold 2022 Winter Olympics

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, Aug. 4(Greenpost)-Chinese people all over the world are happy for Beijing and Zhangjiakou to win the right to host 2022 Winter Olympics.

   Vice Premier Liu Yandong, head of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics bidding delegation returned to Beijing on August 2 and welcomed by various circles of the people in Beijing. Photo by Xinhua, Yao Dawei.

The news came out on July 31st. Immediately after that I saw my Wechat friends circle spread out this news.

I sat in front of my computer and watched Swedish SVT finding out that they got an one hour and 22 minutes live broadcasting program to specially live cover the voting site in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

I felt very excited when I heard the news and tears almost came out of my eyes. It was as if I won the world championship or in other words that I could feel the happiness of a winner in sport.

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Liu Yandong with delegates in Lausanne for Beijing’s bidding briefing for 2022 Winter Olympics Games.

It was such a short notice type of happiness. I heard the news last month that my former colleague Yang Binyuan who was a project leader during 2008 Oympic Games in Beijing were in Lausanne to participate in the bidding process with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, famous TV host Yang Lan, Sport star Yao Ming,  Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan and many others.

 

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The tallest in the middle is Yao Ming and the third from left Yang Binyuan. Photo from Yang Binyuan’s facebook.

According to SVT, Sweden also bid for 2022 Winter Olympics, but when it heard China also bid for it, it withdrew hoping for 2026. In fact, many countries withdrew at the news that China wanted to bid.

This time China seemed to prepare for the bidding not that long time ago, however many work has been done long time before thinking of bidding for Olympics. For example the skiing site was built many years ago just for people’s sports recreation so that people around Beijing can enjoy the pleasure similar to that in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces.

But I think this bid has great to do with the support of President Xi Jinping’s idea of cleaning the environment in Beijing, developing the surrounding areas. So he said if Beijing and Zhangjiakou can hold 2022 Olympic Games, it will drive a consumption population of 300 million. That is a great business opportunity.

http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/6v6h1NnzgBY/

His words moved many people.

“Beijing is like a vampire absorbing all the talented people and various resources while the surrounding province was deprived of these resources. It is time to help the surrounding city to develop. I believe the 2022 Winter Olympics will help Zhangjiakou to develop for the better, congratulations,” said Huang Nan, an independent English  language professor in his Wechat circle.

Professor Wu Wenzhong from Beihang University also congratulated Beijing.

“Talking about Olympics, I was the English judge for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics judges. I will be 68 years old by 2022, I like to be a volunteer for the 2022 Winter Olympics if possible,” said Professor Wu in his Wechat friends circle.

Swedish Olympic Committee President Stefen Lindberg said in a telephone interview that Beijing’s winning is not unexpected.

“It’s not unexpected. Beijing has the basis from 2008 Olympic Games and Zhangjiakou can be a good place for skiiing. Sweden will be preparing for 2026,” said Lindberg.

photo (31)In Beijing, Lin Mei sent me a photo saying that she and Swedish Ice Hocky Coach were invited to celebrate the victory of bidding.

Geely Group P.R. chief Michael Ning said Volvo made a good decision to choose Zhangjiakou as one of its production bases. The 2022 Winter Olympics will definitely be beneficial for them.

Of course the greatest benefit for Beijing will be the blue sky. It is a dream for many to have the blue sky and white cloud.  Beijing has created Olympics blue and Apec blue. Unfortunately it is very difficult to keep it for the long term.

According to British Stern report, China’s greenhouse gas emission is expected to decrease by 2025. With the efforts to hold 2022 Winter Olympics, the blue sky is expected to be able to continue by then.

 

http://www.greenpost.se/2015/06/09/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E6%B8%A9%E5%AE%A4%E6%B0%94%E4%BD%93%E6%8E%92%E6%94%BE%E6%80%BB%E9%87%8F%E5%8F%AF%E6%9C%9B%E6%8F%90%E5%89%8D%E4%BA%94%E5%B9%B4%E5%87%BA%E7%8E%B0%E6%8B%90%E7%82%B9/

 

 

hina’s electric car production grows three-fold in May

China’s electric car production grows three-fold in May

    BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) — Chinese manufacturers produced three times more new energy vehicles this May than they did last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Wednesday.

Production of pure electric passenger cars rose 300 percent to 9,922, with hybrids rising nearly 400 percent to 4,923. Production of pure electric and hybrid commercial vehicles rose by 700 percent and 36 percent, respectively. A total of 19,100 such vehicles rolled of the production line May.

In the first five months, Chinese automakers produced 53,600 new energy vehicles; again nearly a threefold increase over 2014.

The government has been working hard to put more new energy vehicles on road, saving energy and reducing pollution. In March, the Ministry of Transport set a target of 300,000 new energy commercial vehicles on China’s roads by 2020: 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and delivery vehicles.

The Ministry of Commerce also announced earlier this year that China will continue to build charging facilities in cities and allow tax exemptions and subsidies on vehicle purchases. Enditem

 

 

China’s top legislature reviews BRICS bank agreement

China’s top legislature reviews BRICS bank agreement

BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) — China’s top legislature started reviewing an agreement on the founding of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), intended to fund infrastructure in the BRICS bloc and other developing economies, on Wednesday.

The agreement was signed by five of the bloc’s members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — on July 15 last year during the sixth BRICS summit.

It will enter force only when all BRICS countries have deposited instruments of acceptance, ratification or approval.

The agreement over the Shanghai-based bank had been ratified in India and Russia by April 27, said Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin while elaborating on the deal at the bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

The NDB will have initial authorized capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars, and its initial subscribed capital of 50 billion U.S. dollars will be equally shared among founding members, under the agreement.

It will stipulate a three-tier governance structure — a board of governors, a board of directors and management led by the president.

As agreed by the five countries, the first chair of the Board of Governors will be nominated by Russia, the first chair of the Board of Directors by Brazil, and the first president of the bank by India, Shi said.

They also agreed to set up an African regional center of the NDB in South Africa.

The establishment of the bank will be a milestone in financial cooperation among BRICS members, according to Shi.

Aside from its main funding function, it will help enhance the bloc’s role in the international arena and promote reform of global economic governance, he said.

The agreement will initially not be applied in the Hong

Kong Special Administrative Region after the foreign ministry consulted with the regional government.

Once the agreement is approve by the NPC Standing Committee, the Chinese government will subscribe 10 billion U.S. dollars on time as prescribed, Shi said.

He also noted that the NDB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund would operate independently although all three were financed by the government. Enditem

China creates leading group for enhancing manufacturing prowess

China creates leading group for enhancing manufacturing prowess

BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) — The State Council, China’s cabinet, will set up a leading group for its ambitious plan to enhance manufacturing prowess and change the reputation of “Made in China” goods.

The group, led by vice premier Ma Kai, will coordinate, deliberate and implement plans for becoming a world manufacturing power, according to a statement published on the government website.

The group will be headquartered in the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the statement said.

The decision came a month after the release of the “Made in China 2025” plan, which aims to transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power.

The plan lays out strategies for upgrading from low-end manufacturing to more value-added and tech-intensive production, and encourages domestic manufacturers to achieve technological breakthroughs across a number of emerging industries from numerical control tools and robotics to aerospace equipment and new energy vehicles.

Nine tasks have been identified as priorities: improving manufacturing innovation, integrating technology and industry, strengthening the industrial base, fostering Chinese brands, enforcing green manufacturing, promoting breakthroughs in 10 key sectors, advancing restructuring of the manufacturing sector, promoting service-oriented manufacturing and manufacturing-related service industries, and internationalizing manufacturing. Enditem

 

 

China Headlines: Beijing holds breath for effective smoking ban

China Headlines: Beijing holds breath for effective smoking ban

BEIJING, June 1 (Greenpost) — A downtown hotpot restaurant was the first business to get an official warning for breaking Beijing’s toughened smoking ban, as inspectors swooped to enforce the new regulation on Monday.

On the first day of the ban, which prohibits smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces, and on public transport, authorities sent more than 1,000 inspectors to government agencies, hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues to ensure it is being followed.

The inspectors found cigarette butts in the hotpot restaurant’s washroom on Monday morning, with the restaurant also failing to publicize the smoking complaint hotline 12320 on its no-smoking posters.

Inspectors said they will visit again in two days to check the restaurant’s compliance, and warned of a fine up to 100,000 yuan (1,614 U.S. dollars) if it fails to comply.

The new ban was passed by Beijing’s municipal legislature in November. Individuals caught smoking in public places may be fined 200 yuan (32 U.S. dollars), while businesses will have to pay up to 100,000 for failing to discourage smoking on their premises.

As the world’s largest tobacco maker and consumer, China has more than 300 million smokers, almost the size of the U.S. population, and another 740 million people are exposed to second-hand smoke each year.

Ma Yongsheng, who runs a restaurant in Beijing, canceled a wedding banquet reservation on Monday, as a guest insisted on smoking during the meal.

“If we continue to host guests who smoke, we’ll surely be fined,” Ma said.

At Beijing Capital International Airport, people gathered at two designated outdoor smoking areas to have a last puff as indoor smoking rooms in the airport’s three terminals have all been closed.

While regulators has vowed strict implementation, some still doubt the feasibility of the new ban and fear authorities’ resolve to curb smoking could taper over time and leave the ban as ineffective as its predecessors.

Beijing has had smoking bans in place since as far back as the 1990s, and stepped up the campaign before the 2008 Olympics, but the bans have always been weakly enforced.

A Xinhua reporter spotted people smoking indoors in a downtown hospital on Monday.

“I hope the government’s momentum to curb smoking can last this time,” said someone with the screen name “@skywalker” on microblog Sina Weibo. “Just don’t let this ban become another barely-enforced policy nobody remembers after six months.”

At a bus stop during the morning rush hour, a volunteer asked scores of people to finish smoking elsewhere before lining up.

“Most stub out their cigarettes at our request but that’s the most we can do,” the volunteer said. “We are not authorized to fine those who refuse to obey the ban.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested mobilizing the public to help enforce the ban.

“If you see someone smoking in a restaurant, tell them to stop! Talk to the manager or owner, or call the national health hotline 12320 to complain,” said WHO China Representative Bernhard Schwartlander.

China signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003.

“Beijing’s ban on smoking indoors is consistent with China’s commitment to the FCTC of protecting the health of non-smokers through enhanced legal support,” said Wang Qingbin, a professor with China University of Political Science and Law who helped draft the new smoking ban.

The new ban also serves as a test case for a similar move nationwide. Draft legislation for a national ban has been published to solicit public opinions.

In April, China’s top legislature adopted an amendment to the Advertisement Law, banning tobacco advertising in mass media, in public places, public vehicles and outdoors.

China also raised consumption tax on cigarettes at the wholesale level on May 10, a move expected to cut cigarette consumption by 4 to 5 percent and add 100 billion yuan to annual tax revenue.

Data from local price monitoring departments across the country shows the tax rise has largely been passed on to consumers. Cigarettes priced under 20 yuan per pack have seen a price hike of between 0.5 and one yuan. Those priced above 20 yuan have generally been subject to a price rise of around two yuan.

Angela Pratta, who leads the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative in China, has urged the government to lead by example in enforcing the ban.

“Strong enforcement is critical to ensuring the effectiveness of smoke-free laws, so too is leadership. Senior officials and leaders in government offices need to lead the way by setting an example and supporting enforcement efforts,” Pratta said. Enditem

Source Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Beijing’s largest coal-fired boiler house retired

Beijing’s largest coal-fired boiler house retired

BEIJING, June 3 (Greenpost) — The largest coal-fired boiler house in urban Beijing was shut down on Tuesday, as part of the government’s plan to cut pollution in the capital city.

The boiler house, which has four boilers with a total capacity of 80 tons of vapor per hour, accounts for over a fifth of the total coal-fired boiler capacity in urban Beijing and provides heating for a rail equipment manufacturing company and 20,000 local residents.

The boiler house, located near the famous Marco Polo bridge in Fengtai District, will be replaced with three gas-fired boilers before November, when the city’s centrally controlled heating is turned on for the winter.

The boiler house used 40,000 tons of coal and emitted 54 tons of sulfur dioxide, 57 tons of nitric oxide, 45 tons of dust and 1 ton of volatile organic compounds per year.

Beijing plans to close all coal-fired boilers in urban areas by the end of this year, according to a government work plan released in April.

Of the four major coal-fired power plants in Beijing, three have been closed so far and the last is scheduled to be closed next year. They will be replaced with four gas-fired power plants.

Beijing is aiming to limit annual coal consumption to 15 million tons in 2015 and 10 million tons in 2017. Enditem

Source  Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Chinese cities less smoggy in March

Chinese cities less smoggy in MarchStockholm, June 2, (Greenpost)   — Chinese cities reported more days with sound air quality on average in March compared with a year ago, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Wednesday.

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In a monthly report, the ministry said the 74 cities under its watch reported air pollution on 28.9 percent of the days last month, down from 37.7 percent in March 2013.
Though Beijing and its 12 neighboring cities in north China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region also saw a slight increase in days of sound air quality, the proportion of their smoggy days more than doubled the country’s average.
The chief pollutant in the region was PM2.5, followed by PM10.
The ministry said seven of the 10 Chinese cities reporting the worst air quality last month were in Hebei Province, which neighbors Beijing. The other three cities were Zhengzhou, Jinan and Shenyang.
China began to include PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone in its new air quality standard in 2013.

It was obviously felt that after APEC in last November was held in Beijing, the air quality has been improved somewhat with the great determination from the top level. But it is still a long way to go to get the air quality really good for breathing.

Enditem  Source Xinhua

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Editor Xuefei Chen Axelsson