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China ups measures to support catering, accommodation sectors amid epidemic

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China has taken multiple counter measures to ease the financial pressure of the catering and accommodation sectors amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Wednesday.

As the epidemic has had a great impact on the sectors, the value-added tax will be waived from their revenues, Xian Guoyi, an official with the MOC told a news conference.

 

In the meantime, enterprises in the hardest-hit Hubei Province will be exempted from pension, unemployment and work-related injury insurance premiums from February to June this year with a 5 per cent electricity price cut.

 

While the payment of the housing accumulation fund will be deferred, Xian said.

 

Small and medium-sized enterprises outside Hubei will also be exempt from the fees above from February to April, and large enterprises’ fees will be halved, Xian added.

 

Localities have also carried out preferential measures including rent relief for catering and accommodation enterprises, insurance and subsidies.

 

Xian also noted that 22 per cent of the enterprises had benefitted from the policies by Tuesday, and some large accommodation and catering firms had received loan support from banks.

 

The sectors are expected to see rapid recovery after the epidemic as the MOC will introduce more policies to support them, Xian said.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide

 

Foreign

Pakistan adheres to one-China policy: foreign ministry

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Pakistan reiterated its longstanding position on Thursday that it adheres to one-China principle regarding a decision to make a national security laws for Hong Kong by the Chinese top legislation body.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui was responding to a question when asked that China is set to make national security laws for Hong Kong to safeguard national security.

Pakistan’s position on Hong Kong is consistent and clear. Pakistan adheres to one-China policy. Hong Kong is a part of China and it is important for China to safeguard its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and protect the lives of its citizens,” Farooqui said at her weekly press briefing in Islamabad.

“We reaffirm that matters related to Hong Kong are China‘s internal affairs. We believe it is important to uphold international law and adhere to the basic norm of non-interference,” she further said.

(XINHUA)

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NE China city expands COVID-19 tests

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The northeastern Chinese city of Mudanjiang in Heilongjiang Province has enhanced its efforts to screen for novel coronavirus infections by expanding tests to over 690,000 people as of Thursday, local authorities said.

The nucleic acid tests were conducted free of charge for permanent and temporary residents in the urban areas, according to the municipal government.

The city has mobilized 1,196 people from medical institutions as well as community workers and volunteers to collect samples, it said.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: China’s global stewardship key to revitalizing biodiversity conservation: UNEP

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The international community can leverage on China‘s ecological stewardship to revitalize conservation of biodiversity amid threats linked to a warming planet and human activities, head of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Thursday, ahead of World Environment Day to be marked on June 5.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UNEP, said that China‘s track record in nature conservation that has been accompanied by rapid economic growth should serve as an inspiration to community of nations in their quest to protect biodiversity hotspots from harm.

China has done a lot of very important work domestically on environment, including turning around what was 15 to 20 years ago, largely decreasing population of pandas,” Andersen said during an online interview with Xinhua.

“What we would like to see now is China really showing the way in global leadership to help other countries come to a strong and viable new agreement on protecting nature,” She added.

She said the 2020 World Environment Day whose theme is biodiversity will serve as a clarion call for governments, corporations and multilateral institutions to rally behind efforts to protect ecosystems that underpin human survival.

Andersen said that the health of biodiversity globally has been declining in recent years, adding that a robust multilateral system with China at the driver’s seat, is key to reversing the worrying trend.

“The state of biodiversity is not where we would like to have it. So we can do more as a global community and look forward to the next Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in Kunming, China, and hope the world will agree on stronger commitments to protect species,” said Andersen.

She said that China hosting the global biodiversity summit will be a reaffirmation of Beijing’s commitment to providing leadership that is required to restore ecosystems and advance green development.

“We are very pleased that China has volunteered to be the host of the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. We look forward to China’s leadership in COP 15, and to the realization of ambitious targets to protect habitats,” said Andersen.

She said that China‘s ability to strike a balance between economic development and ecosystems protection should be emulated to help heal a planet grappling with climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

Andersen highlighted China‘s program of restoring degraded ecosystems, adding that the ecological civilization model espoused by Beijing could serve as a template for guiding the global biodiversity conservation agenda.

“Ecological civilization plays a significant part in Chinese direction,” said Andersen.

“And we look forward to that strategic direction forming a part of the global direction, where we need an ecological balance with our planet,” she added.

Andersen said the international community looks forward to tangible commitments that could inject vitality in the global biodiversity conservation agenda during the meeting in Kunming, capital city of southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

(XINHUA)

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China adjusts plans for int’l inbound passenger flights

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China‘s civil aviation regulator on Thursday adjusted policies for international passenger flights, allowing more foreign carriers to resume flights to China on a once-a-week basis starting from June 8.

Foreign airlines that have been unable to operate flights to China over the past few months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic can choose a qualified Chinese city for entry starting Monday, according to an online statement by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Airlines can file their pre-flight plans with the CAAC for the period to Oct. 24, 2020, the statement said.

To contain the risks of imported COVID-19 cases, China reduced the number of international passenger flights in March, allowing each operating foreign airline to operate only one inbound route with no more than one flight per week.

Starting Monday, the CAAC will also introduce a reward and suspension mechanism, with detailed policies for the carriers to increase or suspend flights.

If all inbound passengers of an airline test negative for novel coronavirus for three weeks in a row, the operating airline will be allowed to increase the number of flights to two per week.

If the number of passengers testing positive reaches five, the airline’s flights will be suspended for a week. The suspension will last four weeks if the number of passengers testing positive reaches 10, according to the statement.

The adjustment to resume some international passenger flights aims to balance epidemic control and economic and social development. It also further meets the urgent needs of Chinese students studying abroad and overseas Chinese wanting to return home, according to the CAAC.

An airplane carrying parcels from the cross-border e-commerce to Russia is seen at the Changsha Huanghua International Airport in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province, May 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Chen Sihan)

An airplane carrying parcels from the cross-border e-commerce to Russia is seen at the Changsha Huanghua International Airport in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province, May 28, 2020.

(Xinhua/Chen Sihan)

After the adjustment, the number of international passenger flights would be increased to no more than 64 per week, with an estimated 33,000 people entering the country from airports every week, the CAAC said.

The CAAC also said China may “modestly increase” flights from some qualified countries under the conditions of controllable risks and adequate receiving capacities.

The qualified countries include those having so far exported few COVID-19 cases to China while maintaining close economic and trade ties with China, as well as those meeting the remote prevention and control requirements to effectively reduce the risk of imported cases.

Countries with a large number of overseas Chinese nationals who have a strong demand for returning, as well as countries that have established “fast tracks” with China to meet work and production resumption needs, are also qualified under the conditions, according to the CAAC.

(XINHUA)

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ASEAN, China, Japan, S.Korea vow to keep open markets against COVID-19 epidemic

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Economic ministers of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan and South Korea on Thursday reaffirmed the importance of open markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for efforts against the epidemic’s adverse impact.

The economic ministers held an online meeting on Thursday, chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, and adopted the ASEAN Plus Three Economic Ministers’ Joint Statement on Mitigating the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In the joint statement, the ministers acknowledged that there is an “urgent need” for intensified and concerted efforts to address the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their people, including “economic disruptions that have affected regional supply chains, the financial markets and human capital.”

The ministers reaffirmed the importance of keeping the markets open for trade and investment to strengthen the resiliency and sustainability of regional supply chains and maintain necessary flow of goods and services.

They agreed to refrain from taking unnecessary measures that may affect the smooth flow of essential goods such as food, commodities, medicines and medical supplies in the region, and to continue to address non-tariff barriers, especially those impeding the smooth flow of goods and services.

They encourage close coordination, especially among the customs agencies, to continue promoting trade facilitation measures, especially at land borders, according to the statement.

Noting the importance of facilitating essential movement of business people across borders, the ministers encourage their governments to establish relevant guidelines that would allow essential cross-border travel without undermining anti-epidemic efforts.

According to the statement, the ministers agree to support businesses, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises and the vulnerable economic sectors, and welcome knowledge sharing and exchanges of best practices on policies and programs to manage the pandemic‘s adverse effects on economic activities.

They also welcome efforts to effectively utilize the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve to overcome possible food shortages and help ensure food security in the region during emergencies, said the statement.

The ministers agree to identify and pursue initiatives to strengthen joint efforts toward postpandemic recovery in the region, and to jointly restore economic growth by enhancing regional trade and economic cooperation through a series of measures, including addressing trade barriers, promoting trade and investment, and expanding fields of cooperation.

They also remain committed to the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 ASEAN member states and their six FTA partners — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India, in 2020, according to the statement.

ASEAN, which was founded in 1967, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

More integrated bonded areas approved in China to stabilise foreign trade

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China has recently approved some new integrated bonded areas in an effort to stabilise foreign trade.

Since May this year, a total of 16 integrated bonded areas had been intensively approved by the authorities, according to Xinhua-run Shanghai Securities News on Thursday, after sorting out information released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

“As a special customs supervision area with the highest opening level, most preferential policies, the most complete functions and the most simplified procedures in China, the integrated bonded area is of important significance to the country’s efforts to stabilise foreign investment and foreign trade this year.

‘’For example, Ningbo, a costal city in east China’s Zhejiang Province, is one of the top five cities in China in terms of the exports.

Ningbo Meishan bonded area, Ningbo Export Processing Zone (NEPZ), and Cixi Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) have recently been approved as Meishan integrated bonded area, Beilungang integrated bonded area and Qianwan integrated bonded area,” the report says.

Deputy director Ningbo Customs, Sun Xiangyang, during an online interview held by the GAC on Wednesday, said they would take the opportunity of the transformation and upgrading of the special customs supervision areas into the integrated bonded areas to give full play to the role of the integrated bonded areas in coordinating the international and domestic markets, actively deepen the improvement of processes and systems, and support development of the e-commerce companies.

He said in some regions, the bonded logistics parks have been upgraded to become integrated bonded areas.

For instance, Guangzhou Bonded Logistics Park was integrated and optimised into Guangzhou Huangpu integrated bonded area; Xiamen Xiangyu Bonded Logistics Park was upgraded to the first integrated bonded area in Xiamen, a city in southeast China’s Fujian Province.

Xiangyang, said, in addition to the integrated bonded areas recently approved on China’s eastern coast, some integrated bonded areas in central and western regions, such as Luoyang, Jinggangshan and Guanzhong, had also been approved recently.

According to customs statistics, the import and export value of special customs areas, including the integrated bonded areas, amount to 1.18 trillion yuan, bucking the decline trend and representing an increase of 2.1 per cent in the first quarter.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Syria receives new batch of anti-coronavirus medical aid from China

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Syrian Health Ministry received a new batch of Chinese medical equipment on Thursday as part of the cooperation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic between the two countries.

Masks, overalls, and disinfectants were among the new batch of aid provided by China and presented to the Syrian side by the Chinese embassy in Damascus.

At a handover ceremony held at the Health Ministry in Damascus, Ahmad Khleifawi, the assistant health minister, told reporters that the Syrian side appreciates the Chinese aid.

“We always appreciate what is being given by China to Syria and we all know that there are batches of aid that will be provided by China to Syria,” Khleifawi said.

He further voiced gratitude from the Syrian people and the government to China.

For his side, Feng Biao, Chinese ambassador to Syria, told reporters that China will continue to cooperate with the Syrian side to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that COVID-19 is a “mutual enemy” to humanity, adding that the Chinese side is committed to the concept of the mutual future of humankind.

“We will continue to enhance cooperation with the Syrian side to counter this pandemic and to continue to enhance cooperation in the health sector,” he added.

The ambassador stressed that China provides all medical help to the Syrian people to protect the general health of both countries.

Thursday’s shipment is the second batch of aid from China to help Syria’s fighting against the coronavirus.

On April 15, China donated 2,016 COVID-19 test kits to Syria to help its fight against the virus.

On April 23, a video-conference was held between Chinese and Syrian medical experts for sharing the experiences in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Syria has so far recorded 123 COVID-19 cases, including 53 recoveries and six deaths.

(XINHUA)

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China Focus: Garbage sorting leads to healthy life, green development

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In a residential community in Beijing’s northern suburbs, Cui Zhanxia was busy checking garbage bags before residents put them into different bins.

Cui is one of the community workers who help with garbage sorting after Beijing began to implement the mandatory practice on May 1.

“Waste sorting is not difficult. It should be a normal part of people’s lifestyles,” said Cui. “Residents have recently paid much more attention to garbage sorting. Our efforts are not in vain.”

Garbage sorting has become a hot topic in China. The Chinese leadership underlined efforts to cultivate the habit of garbage classification to improve the living environment and contribute to green and sustainable development.

A total of 237 Chinese cities have started to practice garbage sorting, data from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development showed in January. Of 46 large cities, 30 have issued regulations on the classification of household garbage.

“It is a good way to purify the environment. We are delighted to make ecological progress,” Cui said.

A girl learns about garbage sorting rules during a waste management awareness campaign at a residential community in Dongcheng District of Beijing, capital of China, May 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

A girl learns about garbage sorting rules during a waste management awareness campaign at a residential community in Dongcheng District of Beijing, capital of China, May 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

A girl learns about garbage sorting rules during a waste management awareness campaign at a residential community in Dongcheng District of Beijing, capital of China, May 23, 2020.

(Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

PROGRESS MADE

The appropriate classification of domestic kitchen garbage is one of the challenges to promote waste sorting. In 2019, Beijing produced more than 10.11 million tonnes of residential waste, including 194,900 tonnes from household kitchens.

Since May, the daily average amount of sorted domestic kitchen waste in the city has reached 740 tonnes, up 159 percent month on month and a year-on-year increase of 37 percent, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Management.

Before Beijing introduced the mandatory practice, the Lujiashan waste treatment plant in suburban Mentougou District processed about 100 tonnes of domestic kitchen waste every day, but the daily disposal volume has increased by half since late May.

“Garbage classification has brought a rather positive effect,” said Zhao Xiaodong, deputy general manager of Beijing Shougang Ecological Technology Co., Ltd., which runs the plant.

Meanwhile, Beijing law enforcement officers have investigated more than 500 residential compounds since May and most of the communities were found to have conducted promotion of garbage sorting.

“Recently, there has been an obvious increase in the number of people willing to learn about and take part in garbage sorting,” said a garbage classification volunteer surnamed Chen in a residential community in Haidian District.

Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, Beijing shifted its focus to online channels including livestreaming sessions and online classes to popularize garbage sorting knowledge among residents.

The urban management commission has also launched a “Beijing garbage sorting” program on social media platform WeChat. Smartphone users can input the name of a waste item or upload a photo of it on the program to inquire which category it should be classified into.

“Waste management is the responsibility of the whole society. Everyone is obligated to play a role,” said a cleaner in Haidian District surnamed Guo.

A staff member monitors a trash pulverizer at a district-level waste collection and recycling center in Xibeiwang Town of Haidian District, Beijing, capital of China, June 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

A staff member monitors a trash pulverizer at a district-level waste collection and recycling center in Xibeiwang Town of Haidian District, Beijing, capital of China, June 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

CHALLENGES REMAIN

Beijing has launched a three-month law enforcement campaign since May to guide and monitor household garbage sorting.

About 64,500 neighborhoods, restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, supermarkets and scenic spots were inspected last month and more than 9,900 were found to have not strictly followed the garbage sorting regulations.

Violations mainly included failing to install garbage bins for the four types of classified waste and transporting mixed refuse.

Although garbage classification is accelerating in China, the practice is still in its initial stage and has yet to be widely adopted by the whole society, according to Liu Jianguo, a professor with the School of Environment, Tsinghua University.

“We need to take more specific measures to strengthen people’s awareness and spur them to take the initiative,” said Sun Xinjun, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Management.

(XINHUA)

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Nepal supports China’s efforts to maintain law and order in Hong Kong

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Nepal’s Foreign Ministry has voiced support for China‘s efforts to maintain law and order in Hong Kong, stressing that “maintenance of peace, law and order is a primary responsibility of a nation.”

In response to media queries over Nepal’s position on the decision of China’s National People’s Congress on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security, official spokesperson of Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bharat Raj Paudyal issued a statement Wednesday, stressing that Hong Kong affairs are internal affairs of China.

“Nepal believes in non-interference in the internal affairs of any country and supports China‘s efforts to maintain law and order in Hong Kong,” reads the statement.

(XINHUA)

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