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"The truth is rarely pure and never simple"

-Oscar Wilde

Xiamen Airlines¡¯ blacklist case

Beijing, China ¨C November 12, 2009

Fan Houjun, 37, who once worked as a security guard at the Fuzhou branch of Xiamen Airlines, based in Fujian province, was refused boarding aircraft of Xiamen Airlines seven times. A spokesman for the airline claimed Fan was trying to disturb the airline's normal operations in revenge over a labor dispute with the company four years ago. But Fan says he's been treated unfairly and has filed a lawsuit against the airline for discrimination and wants compensation of 60,000 yuan - around $9,000, and says he has no difficulty boarding aircrafts of other companies.

Fan's lawyer Zhang Qihuai said that the actions of Xiamen Airlines seriously violated Fan's rights. Xiao Shuwei, a lawyer representing Xiamen Airlines, said Fan's words and acts posed a potential threat to other passengers, and the company had the right to refuse service.

On 10th November, Chaoyang district court ruled Fan Houjun had lost his case. Wang Ying, president of the tribunal, said at a press conference after the hearing that the denial was a protective measure on the legitimate interests of other passengers, considering Fan's violent words and acts. It was also in line with international practices.

Meanwhile, the Chaoyang district court sent an advisory to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and Xiamen Airlines, saying airlines need to standardize the denial processes and make them publicly available after the CAAC examination.

Lehman lawyers remarks that according to international aviation practices, airline companies are authorized to deny passengers who threaten aircraft safety. But airlines must ensure the denial process is open and transparent, because it is conducive to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of passengers.

Lehman, Lee & Xu can provide expert legal representation and counsel throughout the investment process. Beyond contract drafting, the firm can also perform due diligence on Chinese firms and projects, provide corporate and tax counsel on the structure and operation of an investment, from mere CERs purchase deal, to direct engagement in the project development with a Chinese partner, or to technologies sales/licensing and equity injections in project companies.

For more information about the firm, please visit our website at www.lehmanlaw.com.
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China News 0 Comment November 12, 2009, 1:59 pm

The Secondary Path of Evolution

Sam Engutsamy, November 2009.

Whilst sitting warmly inside, as the effects of last night¡¯s snow slide down from my window, I stumbled over a verdict delivered by Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People¡¯s Court, which surprisingly hasn¡¯t received much coverage domestically, but has been picked up and highlighted more on an international level.

Following on from my last post, ¡®Q&A: PRC¡¯s Anti-monopoly legislation ¨C A quick overview of the law to date¡¯, I noted that more cases are likely to be decided under the Anti-monopoly Law (¡°AML¡±). This is possible by either investigative actions by bodies under the Enforcement Authority (¡°AMEA¡±) or via private actions under Article 50 of the AML, which states that ¡®where the undertakings implement Monopolistic Conducts and cause losses to others, the undertakings shall be held for civil liabilities in accordance with the laws.¡¯

This decision is the first to be released by a court under the AML since its enactment in August 2008. Filed by Beijing Sursen Electronic Co, (¡°Sursen¡±), against two Shanghai based companies, Shanghai Shanda Network Development Co, and Shanghai Xuanting Entertainment Information and Technology Co, (¡°Defendants¡±), China¡¯s first court decided case concerned the issue of dominant market position of the online literature market. Essentially, Sursen claimed that as a result of the defendants prohibiting them from writing a sequel to a popular novel, this allowed the defendants to have a dominant market position of the online literature market, and consequently Sursen were seeking approximately RMB 17,000 in damages, and a public apology. Dismissing the claim, Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People¡¯s Court found no proof from the evidence provided that the defendants held a dominant market position.

Additionally, another case concerning dominant market positions involving China Mobile was settled, with the company paying the plaintiff a sum of money for his suggestions and not as a reimbursement. Consequently, such a settlement could open the floodgates to additional private action claims under Article 50, however based on the fact that China Mobile remunerated the plaintiff for his suggestions, and for helping them with the improvement of their services, it is unlikely this will be the case.

The AML¡¯s overall evolution is predominantly and primarily taking effect via the release of guidance notes from bodies under the Anti-monopoly Commission (¡°AMC¡±) and the publication of cases by Mofcom in accordance with their statutory obligations under Article 30 of the AML. The AML may find itself branching off and forming a secondary path of evolution as a result of the powers vested under Article 50. It is hoped that pending cases (cases such as China Network and Baidu) will provide a greater insight on the future of this secondary path of evolution.

Additional update:
October 30th 2009, saw Mofcom release its sixth merger decision case, placing restrictive conditions of the acquisition of Sanyo Electric by Panasonic.
Please note that Mofcom only have a statutory obligation under Article 30 of the AML to publish mergers that have either been rejected, or have restrictive conditions placed on them. They are under no obligation to published mergers that have been approved.

Mofcom¡¯s publicised merger decisions to date:

http://blawg.lehmanlaw.com/english/uploadfiles/2009.11_82625.jpg
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China Law 0 Comment November 10, 2009, 5:12 pm

Shanghai: The Silicon Valley of Clean Energy

Recently, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with business executives in The U.S. to promote climate change legislation. From venture capitalists to members of the Obama administration, speakers were fretting that China might take over as leader in green innovation. And their fears are valid.
While the U.S. has teetered on setting a floor price on carbon, an act that would significantly increase the incentive for innovation, China has ordered strict renewable energy and efficiency goals. It has called for fuel efficiency standards for cars that are more stringent than the U.S. (42 MPG vs 39 MPG), passed a larger investment tax credit for solar energy and wind energy (50% vs 30%), and are aggressively pushing for 20% use of renewable energy by 2020.
Steve Westly, former State Controller and one of the top Democrats running for the 2006 California Governor position, is a strong believer in China¡¯s bid to become leader of the greentech industry. Having recently raised a $140 million fund to invest in China¡¯s greentech industry, Westly states, ¡°China will pass the U.S. in 20 years as the largest economy in the world. There are only two countries that matter- the U.S. and China. They create 40% of the world¡¯s pollution, and the other 191 countries divvy up the rest¡­.I go to China every 90 days ¨C China knows the big health issues they¡¯re facing,¡± he told the audience at the Cooley Godward law frim-organized conference.

Here¡¯s Wall Street Journal reporting on the comments by Chu and Locke:

Both Chu and Locke recently returned from a tour of China, and the gains the Communist state has made in the industry through its clean-energy fiats, ¡°demonstrates to us¡­just how much more concerted and aggressive we have to be to respond in terms of climate change and renewable energy,¡± the commerce secretary said. 

¡±It¡¯s a matter of economic competitiveness,¡± Locke said. 

¡±If we don¡¯t get our act together, we¡¯re going to be watching the capital, the business and the good-paying jobs end up someplace else. Some 10-15 years from now, we¡¯re going to be saying, ¡®How did Shanghai become the Silicon Valley of clean energy?¡¯¡± he added. 

Chu said Democrats¡¯ plans to ratchet down greenhouse gas-emission levels in the U.S would ¡°spur innovation that will far exceed what China can ever do.¡± 

Though the House passed a landmark climate bill earlier this year and Senate committees next week will begin consideration of a similar version, a raft of political hurdles lie ahead for the legislation....

China News 0 Comment November 9, 2009, 2:27 pm

Q&A: PRC¡¯s Anti-monopoly legislation - A quick overview of the law to date

When was PRC¡¯s Anti-monopoly legislation enacted?
The PRC Anti-monopoly law (AML 2008) was promulgated on 30 August 2007 by the Twenty Ninth Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People¡¯s Congress of the PRC. The legislation took effect from 01 August 2008.

The PRC were due to enact anti monopoly legislation in 1994, after the establishment of a socialist market economy in 1993, however the process dragged on for 13 years until finally the AML 2008 was passed.

What are the aims of the AML 2008?
Article 1 PRC¡¯s AML 2008 states:

¡®This Law is enacted for the purpose of preventing and restraining monopolistic conducts, protecting fair competition in the market, enhancing economic efficiency, safeguarding the interests of consumers and social public interest, promoting the healthy development of the socialist market economy.¡¯

Article 2 PRC¡¯s AML 2008 states:

¡®This Law shall be applicable to monopolistic conducts in economic activities within the People¡¯s Republic of China.¡¯

What actions are classified as ¡®monopolistic conducts¡¯?
Monopolistic conduct can include: (i) monopolistic agreements among business operators, (ii) abuse of dominant market positions by business operators, and (iii) concentration of business operators that eliminates or restricts competition or might be eliminating or restricting competition.

How was it envisaged that the AML 2008 be enforced?The AML 2008 created two bodies, the Anti-monopoly Commission (AMC), and the Anti-Monopoly Enforcement Authorities (AMEA)

AMC: The primary role of the AMC is to formulate Anti-monopoly policies.

AMEA: The AMEA is made up of three bodies. The Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Each body is allocated with enforcing certain aspects of the AML 2008.

What aspects of the AML 2008 do the members of the AMEA deal with?
Mofcom: Mofcom¡¯s official role is that of merger reviewer. If certain thresholds are met, then Mofcom will basically examine the implications of the proposed merger & acquisition. It has the power to reject, approve, or conditionally approve a merger.

SAIC: The role of the SAIC extends to non price related anti competitive actions. It may carry out investigations into cartel arrangements, and abuse of a dominant market position.

NDRC: Where the SAIC investigates the non price related aspects of the above anti monopolistic behaviour, the NDRC investigates price related actions.

There is considerable overlap between the SAIC and NDRC. Further reform may look at consolidating the resources of these two bodies into one.

What Anti-monopoly policies have been produced?Below are some of the policies that have been produced.
Mofcom:
(i) Regulations on Notification Thresholds for Concentrations of Undertakings: Outlined the thresholds that would require Mofcom notification. These were not addressed under the AML 2008.
(ii) Methods for Calculating the Turnover of Financial-Sector Business Operators: Outlined and detailed the formulae that should be used by companies in assessing whether Mofcom notification was required.

SAIC:
(i) Procedural Rules on Monopoly Agreements and Abuse of Dominance: Outlined the scope of SAIC investigations

NDRC:
To date NDRC have only issued a draft policy titled Provisions Against Monopolistic Pricing, which were available for public comment until 06 September 2009.

What cases have been decided under the AML 2008 to date?
There have been three main cases since the enforcement of the AML 2008. These cases are, (i) the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, (ii) the proposed acquisition of Huiyuan by Coca-Cola, and (iii) the acquisition of Lucite by Mitsubishi. Mofcom are only required to publish decisions where conditions have been imposed, or the merger has been rejected. There are no requirements to published decisions that have been approved.

The former, and the latter were approved, however Mofcom placed conditions on the mergers. For example, under the InBev case, the company had to agree not to increase their current holdings in either Tsingtao Brewery, or Zhujiang Brewery, and in the Mitsubishi case Mofcom imposed de-investment conditions on the company.

The Coca-Cola merger with Chinese company Huiyuan was rejected. Mofcom outlined three justifications for rejection, including that if the merger went ahead then domestic SME would be restricted and limit the market. As a result of this, and coupled with the dissent amongst the Chinese public there were calls that the decision was based on protectionism. Mofcom strongly denies such claims.

More recently, Mofcom has conditional approved two further mergers a few days prior to the CPC¡¯s 60th anniversary: (a) acquisition of Delphi Corporation by General Motors Company, announced on 28th September 2009, and (b) acquisition of Wyeth Inc by Pfizer Inc, announced on 29th September 2009.

What can we expect to see from the AML 2008 in the future?
We are likely to see the SAIC and NDRC step forward and lead the way in the implementation and enforcement of the AML 2008. Mofcom is still likely to play a large role as M&A have long been an established procedure within the PRC.

More policies are likely to be produced, and more cases decided under the AML 2008.

Sam Engutsamy
November 2009...

China News 4 Comment November 6, 2009, 2:46 pm

My step 3: Unknown territory

Having graduated in 2008, the year that saw the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the nationalisation of banking institutions, and the overall entry of world¡¯s nations into an economic slump, I knew that things were not going to be a walk in the park!

My plan was already set out. Finish university, take a year out in the aid of differentiating myself from my peers and competition, and then pounce on the Legal Practice Course, commencing in September 2009 (I¡¯m a British Law student by the way) and whilst on the course secure a training contract at a London based law firm.

Ok, so I did finish university, achieving a 2.1 Honours Law degree from City University, London. Step 1 complete. I did take a year out, and during that period managed to secure a placement on the summer associate program at the Beijing office of Lehman, Lee & Xu, ok bingo Step 2 complete. So now I¡¯m sure you¡¯re thinking that I¡¯ve moved onto Step 3, and am writing this from the comforts of my luxury penthouse in central London? Well if you thought so you¡¯re wrong! Firstly, if I had gone back to do my LPC I would most likely be commuting from my parents house (the joyful consequences of student debt, and the fact that in the UK there is no student funding available for the LPC), and secondly I haven¡¯t gone back, I¡¯m still in Beijing!

What happened to Step 3? Well everyone knows how competitive law (as well as most industries these days) is, whether you¡¯re aiming for a magical circle firm, or a high street firm. In law your competing against a multitude of groups such as (i) your friends and foes you graduated with, (ii) those people who did not study law, and converted their degrees in order to practice (iii) those people feeling the effects of the economy and decided to diversify their backgrounds by entering into law, and (iv) those people who have been unsuccessful in previous years in attaining a training contract. Those four groups (and potentially a lot more) = a lot of competition for me!

Through the advice of good friends both here and back home, and family, (hi everyone) I decided that the best way to differentiate myself from the competition would be by staying on in Beijing for a few extra months and gaining some vital experience working at Lehman, Lee & Xu. After weeks of tooing and throwing I made my mind up! LPC cancelled (deposit lost, but at least I didn¡¯t have to pay the full course fees), flights back to London Heathrow pushed forward, and new flat sorted; I was staying!

The decision to stay was a hard one. I felt I had to stick to my plan, and that there was no alternative. However you look at it, be it an opportunity or a risk, I feel that it has proven to be one of the best decisions I could have taken for my future career. It¡¯s not like you get the opportunity to come to China everyday now is it?

I have learn a lot from this summer associate program at Lehman, Lee & Xu, and are grateful to them for allowing me to stay on. I am currently working on an intellectual property law project, and I am in the process of finishing up an article regarding China¡¯s Anti-monopoly legislation. Both areas of law I have a great interest in.
I have met some great friends out here, who know doubt I will keep contact with for the considerable future, and I have had some amazing experiences that I will never forget. By amending my step 3, I have steered of the cautious road I was due to be taking, and look, with excitement, to charter into unknown territory.

Have you had any thoughts about changing your step 3?

Articles of interest:

New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/business/economy/11expats.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&em

Associated Press:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ia3rBdE-M6v9zMS8tflfE1qGPiRAD9AR58B80
Sam Engutsamy
November 2009...

China Blawg's thoughts 0 Comment November 6, 2009, 2:44 pm

Studying in China

Arriving at Beijing Capital International Airport at the end of August 2009, I was immediately overwhelmed. The massive complex, complete with its own train to ferry you to your baggage, confronts you with the realization, ¡°I¡¯m in China right now.¡± After a good bit of waiting for other students to arrive, we were whisked off to a bus ready to take us to school, Peking University. The bus ride, itself, was an experience. As we rode through the streets of Beijing, we were immediately overwhelmed by the size of the city and the number of people. We could see the Bird¡¯s Nest and the Water Cube from the highway. By the time we arrived at Beida, we were awestruck.

Given some time to transition, we then began classes. Thankfully, my courses are conducted in English, as my Chinese is simply not good enough for Chinese instruction. Luckily, one of my classes¡ªSino-American Relations¡ªis also attended by a few Chinese students, in addition to all the other Westerners. This allows for an interesting dialogue on the issues at hand. The ideas communicated by both the Western and Chinese students are truly intriguing and eye-opening.
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China Culture 0 Comment November 5, 2009, 2:23 pm

Interning at Lehman, Lee & Xu

Three months ago I arrived in Beijing to an entirely different world from that which I had grown up in. Where Washington D.C. is staid and exhaustively organized, Beijing is a picture of vibrancy and chaos. The rapid change that has taken hold of the city adds an air of excitement to Beijing that cannot be replicated in any Western city I have ever visited. One gets the sense, living in China, that this is a country on the cusp of great things; and it feels like the chance of a lifetime to be witnessing China¡¯s growth first hand.

Lehman, Lee & Xu is an example of how far China has come in the last couple of decades. Emerging just as China¡¯s legal system was being privatized and developed, Lehman, Lee & Xu ¡®s growth and development shows how greatly economic progress can affect life and business in China. As an American student, being an intern here was fascinating. I was able to undertake much more substantive tasks than I would as an intern at the over-staffed American law firms and could witness the firm¡¯s progress and involvement in some landmark areas of Chinese law. Law firms like Lehman, Lee & Xu are making doing business in China more accessible than ever, and I believe that this will be seen in the continued growth of domestic and foreign investment in China in the coming years.
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China News 0 Comment November 5, 2009, 2:21 pm

Opportunities in China¡¯s Water Industry

Quinn P. Stepan

¡°When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.¡± Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richards Almanac

After almost 30 years of double digit economic growth and the migration of hundreds of millions of villagers to cities, gaining access to clean water becomes a bigger issue by the day for many residents of China. If the current trend continues, China¡¯s water supply, or lack thereof, has the ability to halt industrial and population growth in one of the worlds most expansive and dynamic economies.
The majority of China¡¯s 270,550 sq km of water is polluted, threatened by drought or being overused. I have read some reports estimating as much as 90% of China¡¯s water supply is polluted. This, of course, is a by product of rapid economic expansion. Today, there are few restrictions or legal enforcement preventing firms from dumping waste products in large bodies of water. This is very similar to what happened in The United States during the Industrial Revolution. Overuse primarily comes from China¡¯s dominant agricultural sector and droughts affect 15% of the country forcing some 300 million people living in rural areas to travel great lengths for safe drinking water.
In its 11th five year plan, China dedicated 1 trillion RMB in attempts to alleviate the water crisis. Most of the money will go towards desalinization and reclamation projects. There is one ambitious plan to move water from water rich regions such as the Yangtze River to the deprived Yellow River. However, moving water around is not the final answer to the problem.
Many firms, both foreign and domestic, are positioning themselves to take full advantage of the current water crisis in China. Companies looking to take advantage of this future trend range from high tech purification services to firms that deal more in water transportation and infrastructure. In the water business, having exposure to China should allow firms to benefit from Beijing¡¯s attempts to bring cleaner water throughout a country in great need. Gaining access to clean water becomes a bigger issue by the day for many in China.
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China Blawg's thoughts 1 Comment November 5, 2009, 11:08 am

Asia Legal Business to host summit in Beijing

Lehman, Lee & Xu has been a perennial supporter of the ALB In-house legal summit Beijing since its inception six years ago. Asia¡¯s most respected legal industry publication, Asian Legal Business Magazine, is proud to present ALB In-house legal summit Beijing on 26 November 2009. This special one-day event is tailored to bring together leading senior-level corporate counsel, business leaders and private practice lawyers. Topics being discussed at this year¡¯s summit will include risk and opportunities for Chinese companies in a year of economic transition, employment law developments and the changes Chinese corporations are facing with regards to governance and risk management. The summit will comprise of in depth workshops focusing on the latest legal issues presented by top domestic and international law firms, a managing partner forum that will be exploring Sino-Foreign cooperation where China will be playing a larger Roll and a panel discussion on the vital role of in-house counsel by some of China¡¯s most distinguished and dynamic corporate counsel. The keynote speaker will be Ferheen Mahomed who acts as the Regional General Counsel for Societe Generale. Other distinguished speakers will be representing such firms as Grandall Legal Group, TransAsia Lawyers, Wilson, Sunsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Withers Worldwide, Proctor and Gamble, Shell and The TOM Group.

The event will be held at the Swissotel Beijing Hong Kong Macau Center. For further information regarding this event, please visit the events web page at http://beijing.theinhousesummit.com/register/register.aspx
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China News 0 Comment November 5, 2009, 10:40 am

Asia Legal Business to host summit in Beijing

Lehman, Lee & Xu has been a perennial supporter of the ALB In-house legal summit Beijing since its inception six years ago. Asia¡¯s most respected legal industry publication, Asian Legal Business Magazine, is proud to present ALB In-house legal summit Beijing on 26 November 2009. This special one-day event is tailored to bring together leading senior-level corporate counsel, business leaders and private practice lawyers. Topics being discussed at this year¡¯s summit will include risk and opportunities for Chinese companies in a year of economic transition, employment law developments and the changes Chinese corporations are facing with regards to governance and risk management. The summit will comprise of in depth workshops focusing on the latest legal issues presented by top domestic and international law firms, a managing partner forum that will be exploring Sino-Foreign cooperation where China will be playing a larger Roll and a panel discussion on the vital role of in-house counsel by some of China¡¯s most distinguished and dynamic corporate counsel. The keynote speaker will be Ferheen Mahomed who acts as the Regional General Counsel for Societe Generale. Other distinguished speakers will be representing such firms as Grandall Legal Group, TransAsia Lawyers, Wilson, Sunsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Withers Worldwide, Proctor and Gamble, Shell and The TOM Group.

The event will be held at the Swissotel Beijing Hong Kong Macau Center. For further information regarding this event, please visit the events web page at http://beijing.theinhousesummit.com/register/register.aspx...

Lehman Affairs 0 Comment November 4, 2009, 5:10 pm

China frowns on World of Warcraft operator

China's No.2 Internet games operator NetEase.com Inc said it has been notified by a Chinese government agency that its operation of the World of Warcraft game does not have proper approval.

Shares of NetEase were down 4.2 percent at $36.99 in early afternoon trading.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication posted a statement on its Website that the NetEase affiliate company that operates World of Warcraft should suspend charging users to play the game and not allow new account registrations, according to NetEase.

The agency is also evaluating whether to impose administrative penalties on Shanghai EaseNet, the NetEase affiliate, and that the agency was returning the affiliate's application for approval, NetEase said.

NetEase and Shanghai EaseNet said they believe they are in full compliance with applicable Chinese laws and that they are seeking clarification from the relevant authorities regarding the statement by the General Administration of Press and Publication.

NetEas licenses the online multiplayer game World of Warcraft from Activision Blizzard.

Source: Reuters
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China News 0 Comment November 3, 2009, 10:37 am

Losing a finger to win justice

By Cao Li

Sun Zhongjie had to lose a finger to win justice. The teenager experienced 12 days of hell after he was accused of driving an illegal taxi in Shanghai this month and wept with joy on Monday when city officials finally cleared his name.

His ordeal may be over, but for the local traffic enforcement authority, which is now under investigation for allegations they use "civilian bait" to trap innocent people, the fight to restore its reputation could take a lot longer.

Sun attracted nationwide attention to his plight when he cut off the little finger on his left hand to prove he had been set up on Oct 14.

But the spotlight quickly shifted to the Shanghai City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureau for Pudong district after it was forced to apologize for using "improper" tactics to snare illegal, or "black", taxi drivers.

It is the first time a Chinese authority has admitted employing illegal methods to enforce the law and critics claim the problem could stretch far wider than traffic violations.

"Entrapment is allowed in China during investigations into certain types of crime, such as drug trafficking. But in Sun's case, he was simply the victim of extortion, which is totally different," said Zhang Peihong, vice-director of the criminal law research commission with the Shanghai Bar Association.

Sun, 19, had moved from his home in Shangqiu, Henan province, just two days before his employers at Pangyuan Construction Machinery Engineering Company ordered him to drive a company minivan to Hangtou, a town in Pudong, to pick someone up at about 8 pm.

"It was late and there were few cars on the street," recalled Sun. "I saw a man standing in the middle of the road, waving. I stopped the car, and he opened the (front passenger) door and got in without asking. He told me he was sick and cold, and begged me to give him a lift. I started to drive again but, within minutes, a van skidded to a stop in front of me at an intersection."

He said the passenger reached over and put his foot on the brake, took the ignition key and threw a 10-yuan note at Sun. He then jumped out of the car.

The van that cut across Sun's vehicle carried district enforcement bureau officers, who accused Sun of driving a black taxi. The minivan was confiscated and the teen was told he faced a fine of 10,000 yuan ($1,400) if the charge was proven....

China News 0 Comment November 2, 2009, 8:57 am

Trial of 31 opens in Chongqing on organized crime charges

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2009-10-26 11:09

CHONGQING: Thirty-one people went on trial Monday on charges of gang-related crimes in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

The trial, which is expected to last 5 days at the Chongqing No. 5 Intermediate People's Court, is one of a series of organized crime trials resulting from investigations into 14 alleged mafia-style gangs in Chongqing.

Li Qiang, a rich businessman and former deputy to the Chongqing Municipal People's Congress, who was said to be chief of the gang, faced nine charges including organizing and leading mafia-style gangs, disrupting public transportation, disturbing social order, concealing account books, bribery and tax evasion.

Li, handcuffed and wearing bright orange vest coded 01, had four companies under his name and controlled more than 100 bus routes in Chongqing. The four companies, mainly on transportation business and real estate, were also charged with illegal operation and tax evasion.

Another 20 suspects, who were allegedly gang members, were charged with crimes of participating in mafia-style organizations, disrupting public transportation and murder.

Three civil servants were among the accused on charges of harboring Li's gang-related crimes and taking bribes.

The officials were Xiao Qinglong, director of Communication and Transportation Administration of Shapingba District of Chongqing, Jiang Hong, director of the Road Transport Administration of Banan District of Chongqing and Jiang Chunyan, director of a complaints office under the Chongqing municipal government.

Seven other suspects were charged with crimes of concealing account books, disrupting public transportation, disturbing public order and illegal operation.

Source: Xinhua
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China News 0 Comment October 26, 2009, 6:06 pm

Google violating copyrights, authors say

By Xie Yu (China Daily)

Search engine giant Google is facing accusations that its employees, illegally and without permission, scanned Chinese writers' works into its digital library, Google Books.

"Google's infringement to Chinese authors is very severe," said Zhang Hongbo, deputy director-general of China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), the only domestic administration of written works copyrights.

Chinese government departments, such as the National Copyright Administration, will push the US government to handle the issue properly, considering Google is such a major force in the online world and has acted arbitrarily in this issue, he said.

According to a rough estimate from CWWCS, nearly 18,000 books from 570 Chinese writers have been scanned by Google and included in its digital library, which is only open to netizens within the US borders. This was done without informing or paying most of the writers.

"So far, no writer we reached said he or she has authorized Google to do the scanning," Zhang said.

Google has not yet replied to the accusation. Its spokesman was not available for comment yesterday.

Google has been scanning millions of books under US copyright since 2004. Under a tentative settlement with US authors and publishers, that will cover all books unless the copyright holders object.

Google is in the final stages of reaching a settlement with two US copyright organizations, which brought copyright infringement lawsuits against the search company for its book-scanning project.

A US court has given the parties until early next month to revise their current settlement agreement and ensure its compliance with antitrust and copyright laws.

According to the settlement offered by Google, authors who accept Google's scan could get $60 per book as compensation, as well as 63 percent of the income from online reading. Readers of the books online would pay a fee for digital access to the book.

According to the settlement, if the author rejects Google's right to scan, he or she should appeal before Jan 5, 2010. Authors should approach Google authorizing the scanning and get the compensation before June 5, 2010.

But Zhang said this settlement is not acceptable to Chinese writers.

"First of all, Google violated Chinese writers' copyright. It doesn't make sense for them to set a deadline for Chinese writers to protect their interests.

"Secondly, the company should show a clear attitude to admitting its infringement and then negotiate with Chinese authors sincerely," he said.

The US often criticizes China's inefficiency in protecting property rights, Zhang said.

"But you see what their company is doing in China? Many of our writers are infuriated," Zhang said.

Zhang Kangkang, a prominent writer and also vice-president of the Chinese Writers' Association, said she was "surprised" and "angry" at Google's copyright infringement.

"It's one-sided agreement to scan the work without permission from the author. It is illegal to enjoy the writer's work in the name of knowledge sharing," said Zhang, whose books have been scanned by Google.

Chen Cun, another well-known Chinese writer who lives in Shanghai, said Google is "day-dreaming" if it wants to buy copyright from him for $60.

"The price should be set by both sides. It is impossible to buy an object with your bid only," he said.

Google Books is planning to turn millions of books into electronic literature available online.

Google's head of Print Content Partnerships in Britain, Santiago de la Mora, earlier said that Google is solving one of the big problems in the print world - that some books are pretty much dead in the sense that hard copies can no longer be found.

"We're bringing these books back to life, making them more visible to 1.8 billion Internet users in a very controlled way," de la Mora said.

However, Google Books is facing big legal problems in the US, Europe and elsewhere around the globe over the issue of copyrights.

Source: China Daily

Updated: 2009-10-21...

China News 0 Comment October 22, 2009, 11:56 am

Edward Lehman spoke at Global Justice Forum of Fall 2009

The Global Justice Forum of Fall 2009 was held at Columbia Law School, New York, USA, between October 15 and 17, 2009. Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu was invited to speak at the Discussion of International Issues Session.

For the past four years, the Global Justice Forum has brought together more than 200 lawyers from 30 countries on six continents, laying the foundation for the Friends of Global Justice Network, plaintiffs¡¯ counsel cooperating in disputes resolution and litigation worldwide.

This Forum addressed Global litigation in a Post-Economic Crisis World. At this Forum, Mr. Lehman spoke comprehensively on top issues relating to litigation in China.

Lehman, Lee & Xu is a prominent Chinese law firm and trademark and patent agency with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau, and Mongolia. Lawyers of Lehman, Lee & Xu have represented numerous international businesses and individuals at courts of both China and other jurisdictions in many influential cases, notably in the case of Baotou Air Crash.
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China News 0 Comment October 21, 2009, 2:02 pm

Election Law of China to be amended next week

By Zhu Zhe (chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2009-10-19 11:08

China's top legislature, the National People¡¯s Congress Standing Committee, will consider amending China's Election Law at a bi-monthly legislative session from Oct 27-31.

The amendment is expected to grant equal election rights to people in the rural and urban areas.

The session will also conduct the third review of the draft amendment of the State Compensation Law.

Source: China Daily...

China News 0 Comment October 19, 2009, 3:06 pm

China foreign investment up 19% in Sept

(Agencies)

Updated: 2009-10-15

SHANGHAI: Foreign direct investment in China continued to recover in September, rising 19 percent from a year earlier to $7.9 billion, the Commerce Ministry said Thursday.

However, actual foreign direct investment for the first nine months of the year totaled $63.8 billion, a 14 percent decline from the same period of 2008, the ministry said.

There was a nearly 11 percent increase in the number of newly approved foreign invested companies in September, suggesting that China's economic recovery is attracting investment after a lull earlier in the year.

The September rise in foreign direct investment compared with a 7 percent year-on-year increase in August, and declines of 35.7 percent in July and 6.8 percent in June.

The figure does not include stocks and other financial assets.

China's economic growth rose to 7.9 percent over a year earlier in the quarter ending June 30, up from 6.1 percent the previous quarter, and analysts say the recovery is gathering strength. Retail spending and industrial investment are rising.

China is a top investment destination but double-digit growth rates plunged in late 2007 as foreign companies were hit by the global downturn and cut spending. Many are continuing to invest in China to take advantage of its stronger economic growth compared with other countries.

Source: China Daily
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China News 0 Comment October 15, 2009, 5:48 pm

China starts anti-dumping investigations into US chicken (Xinhua)

Updated: 2009-09-27 11:47

China Sunday started anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into chicken products imported from the United States, the Ministry of Commerce said.

The ministry had carefully evaluated applications from domestic chicken producers, and found grounds for investigation. It will make a final judge based on law and facts, it said.

The United States is the largest chicken products exporter to China, comprising 90 percent of the 407,000 tons of chicken China imported in the first half of 2009.

Source: China Daily
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China News 0 Comment September 27, 2009, 3:48 pm

HU VOWS DEEP CUT OF CARBON INTENSITY BY 2020

By Fu Jing, Li Jing and Huang Xiangyang (chinadaily.com.cn)

New York City: President Hu Jintao Tuesday told a huge gathering of world leaders that China will spare no effort in ensuring a deal is reached at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen.

Hu said China will fight for a "significant cut" in carbon emissions while urging developed countries to help other developing nations.

He made the commitment during a one-day summit on climate change in New York. The session was attended by more than 100 heads of state and government leaders, the largest gathering of world leaders seeking to address climate change.

The meeting was aimed at mobilizing political will to "accelerate the pace of negotiations and help strengthen the ambition of what is on offer," according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

While urging rich countries to transfer financial resources and technology to poorer nations, Hu said they should help equip African countries, small island nations, less-developed countries and land-locked nations adapt to climatic catastrophes.

"China will continue its unremitting endeavors in boosting energy efficiency and by 2020, we should try to achieve a significant cut of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product," Hu said.

Experts said it was the first time China's leader had described shifting China's policy away from energy intensity toward carbon management.

It was also the first time China had announced its mid-term goal of mitigating climate change, even though it has not yet added numbers.

"The pledge of a carbon intensity cut has been embedded with tremendous policy implications for China's future sustainable development," Daniel Dudek, chief economist with US-based Environmental Defense, told China Daily.

Dudek said Hu went to New York with new commitments.

"These announcements should sweep away the canard that China is not willing to reduce emissions," Dudek said.

The question now is whether China's pledges will propel the US Senate toward controlling global warming.

Dudek said 2020 will be an important year because it marks the beginning of the period in which scientists believe global emissions must peak if the world is to avoid devastating impacts of climate change.

"In this sense, a magnificent carbon cut in China by then would contribute mightily to turning global emissions from growth to reduction," said Dudek.

Hu also told world leaders China will seek to produce 15 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020. Much of that will come from renewable energy and nuclear power.

He said the nation also plans to battle climate change by planting more trees and he committed to increase forested areas by 40 million hectares.

China will also develop a greener, low-carbon economy, encourage recycling and tap the potential of climate-friendly technologies.

But he insisted that, despite far-reaching social and economic improvements in recent decades, China is still a developing country.

And he said it is well down the global rankings of per capita GDP, with imbalanced domestic development.

"We have been faced with tough difficulties and we still have long way to go toward modernization," Hu said.

Despite its developing-nation status, he said China realizes the "toughness and urgency" of the fight against global warming and said the country has made great strides.

"And we will continue our unshakable efforts in fighting climate change," Hu said, while urging developed countries to make good on their Kyoto Protocol promise to cut emissions by 5 percent of their 1990 levels.

Hu said Copenhagen could be a milestone for the world while calling on developed countries to transfer technology and financial support to developing countries.

Yang Fuqiang, director of the global climate change solutions program at WWF, said China will intensify its domestic efforts to ensure it meets President Hu¡¯s promise to cut carbon intensity by 2020.

And Yang said the carbon intensity target is likely to be "quantified" before the Copenhagen climate summit.

"To fulfill this commitment, the country will include the carbon intensity targets ... in its 12th and 13th Five-Year Plans (between 2010 and 2020)," said Yang.

Yu Hongyuan, an associate professor with the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said China has already started to draw up low-carbon economy guidelines and action plans to fight global warming at the provincial levels.

"This shows the carbon intensity goal proposed by President Hu is not beyond reach," said Yu.

The technology and experience China has built up will be of great assistance to less developed countries, Yang said.

With the carbon intensity cut, and improvements to the country's energy efficiency, Yang said China will slash 4.5 billion tons of carbon emissions between 2005 and 2020.

Source: China Daily
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China News 0 Comment September 24, 2009, 11:17 am

WTO chief heeds US move on Chinese tires

World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy said Wednesday that he was concerned about the latest move by the Obama administration to restrict import of Chinese-made tires.

"It's certainly a matter of concern," Lamy told reporters in Geneva.

"Both the United States and China are members of the G20, and the G20 has taken this stance that they shouldn't have recourse to trade restrictive measures during the crisis," he said.

According to the WTO director-general, the US move could increase the risk of a "tit-for-tat spillover."

"Anything that increases the risk of spillover trade restrictive measures is a matter of concern for me," he added.

US President Barack Obama decided last week to impose punitive tariffs up to 35 percent on all car and light truck tires from China in a so-called attempt to "remedy the clear disruption to the US tire industry."

China had denounced the US move as a "serious act of trade protectionism" and it had filed a complaint to the WTO.

Lamy declined to comment on whether the US special safeguard measure against China violates WTO rules, but said that the WTO's dispute settlement system can finally make the judgment.

Original Source: Xinhua
Source: China Daily
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-09/17/content_8700564.htm...

China News 0 Comment September 22, 2009, 9:07 am

China, EU agree to strengthen cooperation through talks

China and EU agreed in Rome Sunday to continue their dialogue in order to strengthen the important cooperation with each other.

Hua Jianmin, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's legislature, met with President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek in Rome, before attending a summit for parliament speakers of the Group of Eight (G8) and emerging economies on behalf of top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo.

During the meeting, Hua said that as two major international forces, China and the EU to deepen mutual cooperation conforms to the fundamental interests of both sides. The NPC is willing to continue making dialogues with the European Parliament in order to strengthen the bilateral cooperation.

Hua believed that the two sides should continue enhancing Sino-EU comprehensive strategic partnership in order to have a better communication and cooperation in the international financial crisis, climate change and other aspects.

Busek said that the relation with China is very important for the EU, and the European Parliament wants to engage in frank dialogue with the NPC to promote Sino-EU cooperation in all fields.

On Saturday in Rome Hua also met with Speaker of Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, Gianfranco Fini and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, Hon Max Vuyisile Sisulu.

Original source: Xin Hua
Source: China Daily
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2009-09/14/content_8689289.htm...

China News 0 Comment September 17, 2009, 12:11 pm

China wants WTO talks on US tariffs

The government Monday filed a formal request for consultations with the United States under the World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism over steep US tariffs imposed on Chinese tires.

The two countries will have 60 days to try to resolve the dispute through consultations, according to the WTO's dispute settlement system. If consultations fail, China can request a WTO panel to investigate and rule on the case.

"China believes that the measure by the US, which runs counter to relevant WTO rules, is a wrong practice abusing trade remedies," the Chinese mission to the Geneva-based body said in a statement.

"China's request with the US for consultations is based on the normal practice of WTO members under the dispute settlement mechanism and concrete action by China to protect its own interests," the statement said.

US President Barack Obama on Friday approved to apply an increased duty to all imports of passenger vehicles and light truck tires from China for three years.

Besides the existing 4-percent duties, tariffs will increase a further 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third. The decision will take effect before Sept 26.

China quickly denounced the US move as a serious act of trade protectionism that violates WTO regulations.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian on Monday said that China hopes all sides will understand its determination to firmly fight against trade protectionism in a bid to safeguard the multilateral trading system and its intention to jointly seek global economic recovery.

"The Chinese government has taken a wise decision to resort to the WTO dispute settlement system. As a WTO member, China is trying to protect the interest of its own tire industry while playing by the rules of WTO," said Zhang Yuqing, WTO dispute settlement body panelist.

But Zhang said he saw little possibility for the two sides to resolve the dispute during the 60-day consultations.

"It is impossible for the US to withdraw its decision so quickly. Neither would China accept the current situation. It would ultimately be up to the ruling of a WTO dispute settlement panel," Zhang said.

The Chinese government on Sunday launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation into automotive and chicken imports from the US.

The commerce ministry said it acted in response to domestic concerns and the move is not retaliation against the tire dispute.

Source: China Daily
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-09/15/content_8690794.htm
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China News 0 Comment September 16, 2009, 3:45 pm

Probe 'not revenge' for hefty tire tariff

By Si Tingting

(China Daily)

Updated: 2009-09-14 06:41

Just two days after the decision by the United States to levy heavy import tariffs on Chinese tires, the government here has reacted by launching an anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation into automotive and chicken exports from the US.

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Sunday did not label it as retaliation against the tire dispute, but said it acted simply in a response to domestic concerns.

The probe, which is in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, follows complaints from Chinese manufacturers that US-made products entered the nation's markets with "unfair competition" and harmed domestic industries, said the ministry in a statement.

MOFCOM added it is still opposed to trade protectionism and committed to working towards global economic recovery.

US President Barack Obama's signed a document "to apply an increased duty to all imports of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China for a period of three years" on Friday, according to the White House.

In addition to the existing duties of 4 percent, tariffs will rise a further 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third. The levy will take effect before Sept 26.

The move was met with anger in China.

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming branded the decision a violation of WTO rules, a grave act of trade protectionism and a breach of the commitment the US made at the Group of 20 (G20) financial summit in London in April.

"This is an abuse of special safeguard provisions and sends the wrong signal to the world," he said in a statement on the MOFCOM website. He assured China would do everything in its power to protect the legitimate rights of the tire producers but did not elaborate.

However, in an earlier statement, ministry spokesman Yao Jian said the country would "reserve all legitimate rights, including referring the case to the WTO".

Washington played down the dispute on Saturday, claiming it is simply "enforcing the rules" and did not expect the move to escalate into a trade war.

However, the US could also levy heavier tariffs on other imports from China, such as steel, aluminum and chemical products, according to an industry insider who asked to remain anonymous.

The US Commerce Department on Thursday said it had made a preliminary decision to impose duties ranging from 11 to 31 percent on imports of Chinese steel pipes used for oil and gas wells.

The ruling supports the proposal made by the nation's steel producers led by US Steel Corp, which claimed Chinese imports were granted unfair subsidies.

MOFCOM, however, said the ruling is not in line with the subsidy and anti-subsidy agreements under the WTO framework.

Chinese officials and their US counterparts have been unable to reach an agreement after five months of talks. However, the new tariff is lower than the 55 percent proposed by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) based on a petition led by the United Steelworkers union (USW) that said tire imports had tripled since 2004, causing plant closures and job losses.

MOFCOM spokesman Yao said the move would push the cost onto the consumers, cause US wholesalers and retailers to scramble to find other suppliers, and fail to create new jobs in the US.

"Chinese tire producers pose no direct competition to those in the US," he said before adding that China's tire exports to the US had not witnessed a remarkable increase as claimed by the USW.

Last year, the country's tire exports to the US grew by just 2.2 percent compared to 2007 and, in the first half of this year, fell 16 percent compared to 2008, explained Yao.

"Four US companies have tire production operations in China and account for two-thirds of exports to the US. The tariffs will have a direct impact on them," he said.

Cooper Tire and Rubber Co, a US-based tire maker, warned that higher tariff could disrupt markets.

The company said in a statement it believes in free and fair trade, and that the ITC's proposed remedy "is not appropriate or acceptable and could have significant negative impacts causing considerable market disruption".

The industry insider told China Daily the closure of many US tire factories "is, to some extent, a result of the strategic adjustment of the tire industry", with many tire firms moving production of low-end tires off-shore to make use of cheap labor.

"President Obama's decision is not in the interest of companies seeking higher profit margins," the insider said.

Analysts claim the actions of the Obama administration are at odds with its public statements about how protectionism could deepen the ongoing crisis.

The US and China, the world's two major economic engines, vowed to cooperate in the fight against the world recession but this dispute has caused friction before its top officials meet at a G20 summit in Pittsburgh on Sept 24-25. Obama is also expected to visit China in November.

The tariff change has also sparked debate in the US.

USW's International President Leo Gerard hailed the tariff hike by saying it "sent the message that we expect others to live by the rules, just as we do".

However, Marguerite Trossevin, legal counsel to the American Coalition for Free Trade in Tires, a pro-business group, said: "We are certainly disheartened the president bowed to the USW and disregarded the interests of thousands of other US workers and consumers."

Source: China Daily...

China News 0 Comment September 14, 2009, 5:50 pm

Assets of former Gome exec frozen

The Hong Kong High Court yesterday extended an order to freeze $214 mill
on in assets of Huang Guangyu, the former chairman of Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings, as he faces legal prosecution and investigation on the mainland.

The High Court last month gave a temporary approval to an application by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to prevent Huang, his wife Du Juan and two holding companies from disposing of or trading in Gome's shares.

Huang wholly owns the two companies, Shinning Crown and Shine Group, which have about 779 million shares in Gome. The stocks are now held by the Hong Kong court.

The commission's lawyer, Simon Westbrook, said yesterday that freezing the assets of Huang and Du will not have an impact on Gome's business, and that the commission can also protect the company's shareholders.

The SFC has been looking for a mechanism to secure the value of Gome's assets, as its share price will "go up or down daily," Westbrook told reporters in Hong Kong.

Huang, also known as Wong Kwong-yu in Hong Kong, has been detained by the Beijing Public Security Bureau since November last year on suspicion of committing "economic crimes."

Winston Poon, the lawyer for Shinning Crown and Shine Group, told the court yesterday that both Huang and Du are still in detention on the mainland.

The couple is alleged to have organized a share repurchase by Gome in January and February 2008, so that Huang could use the proceeds of the stake sale to repay his $2.4-billion personal loan to a financial institution.

The commission yesterday asked the High Court to give approval for topping up the share deposits, which will stabilize the price of the stock if the asset value of Gome drops during the frozen period. The court, however, rejected the request.

"It is undesirable for the court to have such discretion," Judge Susan Kwan said in yesterday's chambers hearing.

Westbrook said the commission reserves the right to come back and ask for a top-up to maintain the proximate value of $214 million.

"If there's a substantial, sustained drop, then we'll probably come back," Westbrook added.

The SFC said the dealings have caused Gome and its shareholders to lose $206 million, while it is also seeking a ruling for the couple to pay damages to Gome and restore the financial positions of any parties involved.

Moving against the 2.14 percent of the benchmark Hang Seng Index, shares in Gome finished down 1.79 percent, or HK$0.04, at HK$2.19.

Fiona Wong, research analyst manager at Wing Fung Financial Group Limited, said Huang's custody will put pressure on Gome's share price, yet she expects the company to run better business in the second half.


Source: China Daily
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2009-09/09/content_8669927.htm
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China News 0 Comment September 11, 2009, 3:30 pm

CHINA TO ALLOW FOREIGN-INVESTED COMPANIES TO LIST

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2009-09-09 07:48

China will gradually reduce limits on equity stake proportion in investment from overseas companies, allowing qualified foreign-invested enterprises to list in the country's stock market, Chen Deming, Minister of Commerce, said Tuesday.

The move aims at expanding cooperation fields between China and foreign countries, innovating investment avenues and optimizing foreign investment structures, Chen said at the 13th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xiamen, southeastern Fujian Province without saying when it will take effect.

China's used foreign direct investment (FDI) has declined consecutively for ten months since last October as a result of the global economic downturn. The country's FDI dropped by 20.4 percent year-on-year to $48.4 billion in the first seven months this year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

China will promote the opening-up of the service industry and speed up the construction of economic and technological development zones, in a bid to enhance mutual investment and contribute a dynamic force to the shrinking global economy, said Chen.

It will encourage foreign companies to develop high technology industry, promote outsourcing industry, and support investment in clean technology, energy saving and environmental protection industry.

The country will also create a convenient law and policy environment in mutual investment, gradually granting foreign-funded enterprises the same treatment as their Chinese counterparts, Chen said.

The 13th CIFIT opened Tuesday. This year's fair has attracted 13,000 overseas businessmen. Launched in 1997, CIFIT has become one of China's most influential international platforms for the promotion of investment.

Source: China Daily...

China News 0 Comment September 9, 2009, 11:22 am

US FIRM TO BUILD VAST SOLAR ARRAY IN CHINA

Agence France-Presse in Washington
Sep 09, 2009

US energy giant First Solar yesterday won a deal to build the world's largest solar power plant in China, aimed at helping mitigate climate change concerns.

First Solar said it struck a tentative 10-year deal to build in the vast desert north of the Great Wall. The project would eventually cover 64 square kilometres of Inner Mongolia - slightly larger than the size of Manhattan - with a sea of black, light-absorbing glass. The memorandum of understanding was inked with Chinese officials at the company's headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.

The solar facility is to be built in four phases over a decade and supply power to three million homes. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Chief executive Mike Ahearn said the potential for such projects was enormous in China. "The Chinese government is further along in its thinking about solar than we've imagined." He said it would be nearly impossible to install a solar field of similar size in the United States. There was plenty of land, but not enough near transmission lines, Ahearn said.

National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo witnessed the signing of the memorandum. Wu is expected to meet US congressional leaders and officials in President Barack Obama's administration in Washington on a variety of energy, trade and business initiative. The agreement outlined a long-term strategic partnership between First Solar and Ordos city, where First Solar would also consider a manufacturing investment, officials said.

"Discussions with First Solar about building a factory in China demonstrate to investors in China that they can confidently invest in the most advanced technologies available," said Cao Zhichen, vice-mayor of Ordos municipal government.

The mainland is keen to expand capabilities to produce affordable solar electricity as part of a goal to provide 10 per cent of its energy from renewable resources by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2020, including wind, hydro, biomass and solar.

While current Chinese solar installations total about 90 megawatts, Beijing has boosted its previous solar capacity goal of 1.8 gigawatts by 2020 to two gigawatts by 2011, and 10-20 gigawatts by 2020, according to a statement issued in conjunction with the memorandum signing.

The first phase of the Ordos solar power plant will be a 30MW"demonstration" project that will see construction begin by June next year, officials said. The second and third phases will be 100MW and 870MW projects, expected to be completed by the end of 2014, while the fourth phase will be a 1,000MW facility tipped to be completed by end 2019.

Ahearn said such a system would cost US$5 billion to US$6 billion if it were built in the US, though it would probably be cheaper using lower-cost Chinese labour....

China News 0 Comment September 9, 2009, 9:36 am

Bribers targeted in fight against corruption

BEIJING: China's judiciary agencies have extended focus of corruption targets to bribe givers, as prosecutors expanded a blacklist of bribers to all industries to uproot corruption.

The blacklist database, covering the country's all bribers convicted by Chinese court since 1997 when an amendment to the Criminal Law took effect, was opened for public scrutiny earlier this month.

Individuals or organizations can refer to the blacklist of bribe cases, to see if their cooperation candidates have any record of bribery.

According to a regulation on the use of the database, the blacklist system aims to curb job-related crimes and business bribery.

"It intends to eradicate the hidden rule of power-for-money deal and prevent corruption by curbing bribe offering," it says.

Foreigners and international companies convicted of bribery by Chinese courts are also included in the database.

Earlier last month, the Shanghai procuratorate approved the arrest of four employees of the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd., including Stern Hu, an Australian citizen of Chinese origin and general manager of the company's Shanghai office, on charges of illegally obtaining business secrets and bribery.

An official with the job-related crime prevention department of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said it alarmed people who were thinking of offering bribes, as their names and acts would remain in the database and be exposed to the public. The record cannot be deleted or changed.

Free inquiry can be made in all levels of procuratorate across China with an ID card and a written application letter clarifying the aim of inquiry. The object of inquiry could be people or companies in any regions on the Chinese mainland since all blacklist databases form a national network.

Previously, most of these bribery databases in different regions were not connected and people have to travel or write inquiry letters for cross-provincial inquiries.

The regulation says procuratorates must reply inquirers within three days, including the time when a briber offered money, the sum, the time being convicted by courts and other related information about this briber, who could be the inquirer's cooperation candidates.

Judiciary organizations should not be involved in the handling of the result of inquiry, it says.

Prof. Huang Zongliang of Peking University told Xinhua: "It takes two to make a quarrel. Corruption cannot be wiped out if bribers are always there to lure."

Huang said, "Previously, people taking bribes had always been apriority target in corruption fighting as bribe takers were mostly powerful people or officials who had influence. However, bribe offering should be severely punished as well."

"Money and power are easily colluding with each other, and the crackdown upon bribers is an important part of fighting corruption," said Huang, who gave a lecture in 2004 on capability building and corruption fighting of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) to the 25-member Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the highest-ranking Party officials.

The SPP initiated the blacklist in January 2006 which covered bribers in five sectors including construction, finance, medical service, education and government procurement.

The list has been extended to bribers of all industries after September 1 as bribery is common in sectors such as land expropriation, housing relocation, urban law enforcement, power grid restructuring, energy development and rural construction.

The urban construction sector has always been vulnerable to bribery.

The SPP said Thursday that bribery in urban construction projects accounted for nearly 40 percent of all the 6,277 business bribery cases Chinese prosecutors dealt with in the first six months, which involved 918 million yuan (US$134 million) in total.

More than 77 percent of the cases were charged with "taking bribes" and 19 percent with "paying bribes," the SPP said.

Original Source: Xinhua
Source: lawinfochina
http://www.lawinfochina.com/News/News_Detail.asp?Id=7668...

China News 0 Comment September 7, 2009, 5:12 pm

New Chinese Hotel Industry Guideline released

China Tourist Hotel Association (CTHA) recently published the new version of the Chinese Hotel Industry Guideline, in which an article about checking-out-before-12 pm is deleted.

The guideline does not set clear rules about the time of checking out, though it does emphasize that tourist hotels should inform guests of the check-out time, Zhengzhou Evening Post reported Friday.

"Check out before 12 pm or additional charges will be added," has long been a guild regulation in the hotel industry.

The Beijing Consumers' Association pointed out that this regulation was improper as it harmed consumers' interests and rights.

The Chinese Hotel Industry Guideline previously however refused to change it preferring to follow standard international practice.

From now on the new guideline stipulates hotels should post the prices of different rooms and the method of charging in a prominent place at the reception or tell guests about the above information in a proper way.

Source: China Daily
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-09/04/content_8656156.htm...

China Law 0 Comment September 4, 2009, 5:23 pm

EU urged to restrain anti-dumping measures

The European Union (EU) should restrain its use of anti-dumping measures against imports from China, the Chinese ambassador to the EU urged on Tuesday, calling for more dialogue and cooperation.

"We saw reemergence of anti-dumping cases against China recently. An increasing number of Chinese enterprises received unfair treatment. We are very concerned about this," Song Zhe told the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament, which is newly formed after June elections.

"But we believe between China and Europe, there is more cooperation than competition, more opportunities than challenges. At present, it is urgent to strengthen economic and trade cooperation by maintaining mutual flow of trade and investment and creating more business opportunities," he added.

Faced with the worst economic crisis in decades, the EU has launched a series of anti-dumping actions against China this year, covering a wide range of Chinese products. As from late July, the 27-nation bloc took five separate decisions in just three weeks.

Such a frequent use of anti-dumping probes and punitive duties has been unprecedented. The EU's unusual move leads to concern, especially when the world economy is in recession due to the financial crisis.

"We hope the EU will prevent this uncontrolled development of anti-dumping. We also hope to strengthen dialogue and refrain from arbitrary use of anti-dumping measures for the sake of further cooperation opportunities," Song said.

He said that China has been opposed to any form of protectionism, especially in the current financial crisis which needs cooperation among world governments rather than protection.

In his address to EU lawmakers, Song noted that economic and trade cooperation has always been an important part of China-EU relations, which he said are becoming more mature and stable in recent decades.

Currently, China and the EU are one of the most important trade partners to each other. Bilateral trade volume reached $425.6 billion in 2008 from $2.4 billion in 1975, an increase of 176 times, according to Song.

Mutual investment also started from scratch and now the EU have made a total investment of $63.9 billion and operating more than 20,000 companies in China. In recent years, Chinese companies are beginning to invest actively in Europe.

The sustained and rapid development of China-EU economic and trade cooperation has created huge benefit to both sides and helps promote closer bilateral relationship.

However, Song acknowledged the China-EU trade and investment have no escape from the current global financial crisis.

"In the first seven months, bilateral trade volume fell by 20.7 percent and the EU investment in China fell by 4.8 percent. China- EU trade and economic relations are facing severe test," he said.

Despite the difficulties, Song referred to the bright sides. He said the economic stimulus plans implemented by China and the EU provide enterprises of both sides with new business opportunities, while both markets contain great potential in the wake of the crisis.

But Song stressed unless China and the EU make efforts to defuse friction and contradictions, to strengthen consultation and cooperation and seek mutual benefit and win-win results, the great potential can not be translated into reality.

He said China and the EU should have a strategic perspective on the long-term development of bilateral relations and make sure that temporary issue does not affect the mainstream of cooperation.

Challenged by an EU lawmaker on the EU's trade deficit with China, which is a major concern for the 27-nation bloc, Song said it has been caused by various reasons and China is working on that.

"The trade imbalance is caused by many reasons, including the international industrial transfer and thus the relocation of trade. China's trade policy is not the cause," he said. "Nevertheless, in recent years, the Chinese government adopted a series of measures to encourage more imports, such as import promotion activities, greater facilitation of imports, sending purchasing groups and so on."

Separately, a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in Beijing on Monday that China's trade surplus with the EU for 2009 will be less than last year.

Song said in order to solve problems arising from expanding trade relations, China and the EU should uphold the principle of mutual openness and mutual benefit, maintain and improve the existing communication and coordination mechanisms, and give full play to complementary advantages of both economies.

Original Source: Xinhua
Source: lawinfochina
http://www.lawinfochina.com/News/News_Detail.asp?Id=7658
...

China News 0 Comment September 3, 2009, 5:51 pm

Man to appeal on information disclosure lawsuit

GUANGZHOU: A resident in south China's boom town Guangzhou has lost a lawsuit in which he demanded information disclosure from the local industrial and commercial bureau.

Xu Dajiang, who sued the bureau for refusing to provide information on the administrative penalties it imposed, said he would appeal after the Tianhe District Court in Guangzhou made the first instance ruling Monday.

Xu submitted written applications to seven government bodies, including the industrial and commercial bureau, in May for information on the penalties.

An application was sent to the bureau on May 6, in which Xu said he requested information on administrative law enforcement by the bureau in bazaars, supermarkets and department stores.

The bureau turned down Xu's request May 18, saying such information could only be disclosed to those who were punished, and administrators were not supposed to take the initiative in such disclosures.

In China, all administrations must actively publicize information about regulations, budgets, emergencies, land acquisition and in other areas, as laid out in the Provisions of the People's Republic of China on the Disclosure of Government Information, which became effective from May 1 last year.

The public, whether individuals or organizations, also have the right to request government information related to their work, life and research by making a written application.

The district court held that the information on administrative penalties imposed by the industrial and commercial bureau had nothing to do with Xu's work, life and research and that he was not the one punished by the bureau. It therefore rejected Xu's request to revoke the bureau's decision not to provide information.

But Xu, well-known in Guangdong for his efforts against fake products, said he required the information because stores had not been punished although they had been caught by him selling bogus merchandise and had been reported to the bureau.

Among the seven government bodies from which he sought information, the city's pricing bureau supplied all he wanted, the quality supervision bureau said it would make disclosure with consent from the punished, and others disclosed only part of the information.

The industrial and commercial bureau was the only one that refused to provide any information, said Xu.

"It seems that government bodies do not have a unified standard in information disclosure," he said.

Xu said those who refused to disclose information might be afraid of exposing internal problems in their organizations, or a surge in work load following disclosure.

Original source: Xinhua
Source: lawinfochina
http://www.lawinfochina.com/News/News_Detail.asp?Id=7657
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China News 0 Comment September 2, 2009, 5:37 pm

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