October 31, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
China's top legislature on Sunday adopted a draft amendment to the Law on Lawyers which will make it easier for lawyers to meet criminal suspects and obtain evidence.
The draft amendment to the Law on Lawyers was approved after being put to the vote at the end of the five-day session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) after the third reading.
Chinese attorneys have long complained of difficulties in meeting criminal suspects and having access to files and evidence when defending criminal cases.
The amendment says lawyers, provided they have the requisite papers such as their legal practitioner certificate, are entitled to meet criminal suspects or defendants in person once judicial organs have finished their initial interrogation or taken mandatory measures.
Defense attorneys and criminal suspects will not be monitored when they have a conversation, the amendment said, and defense lawyers are entitled to look up all files and materials relating to the case.
Defense lawyers are entitled to apply to prosecuting organs and people's courts to collect and provide relevant evidence, and use courts to get witnesses to testify in court.
Lawyers, with requisite papers, may collect evidence themselves from relevant organizations or individuals, the amendment says.
To protect lawyers, the draft amendment specifies that opinions and remarks made by defense lawyers in court - provided they do not threaten national security or slander others - cannot lead to prosecution.
Judicial organs that decide to detain or arrest a lawyer suspected of involvement in a crime related to a case during the proceedings, must inform the lawyer's family relatives and his or her law firm, as well as the lawyer association within 24 hours, the amendment says.
The amendment also allows lawyers who have been practicing for five years - provided they didn't have their license suspended over the past three years - to establish individual law firms.
China now has more than 130,000 lawyers working in 13,000 law firms. In 2006 alone, Chinese lawyers dealt with more than 1.8 million litigation cases and 1.15 million non-litigation cases and provided legal aid in more than 5.2 million cases, according to statistics from the Ministry of Justice.
The Law on Lawyers was implemented on Jan. 1, 1997. It is the first revision to the law since its promulgation.
October 31, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
October 31, 2007 - by Emma Tang
First pet food. Then toothpaste and tires. Now toys.
The cascade of defective imports from China in recent months reached a peak
Though only a fraction of Chinese products were involved in the recalls, it has scarred the US psyche enough to trigger a China phobia. The resultant threat to Chinese exporters notwithstanding, the task of rebuilding the 'Made in China' brand opens up enormous opportunities for the country to win back the trust of global consumers.
Reacting quickly to the US recalls, China in August set up a Cabinet-level panel on food safety and quality control under Vice-Premier Wu Yi, known in China and abroad for her toughness and efficiency in getting things done. Within a week, a nationwide campaign was launched to ratchet up efforts to improve product quality and supervision.
Eight categories of products are under the microscope, including pork, drugs, agricultural products, processed food, toys and electric wires. The government has also begun to sponsor quality-control training for some specific industries. The campaign's goal: improving product quality in four months.
The State Council has also defined the liability of enterprises as the first person-in-charge for the product quality and food safety, as well as the related responsibility of local governments.
But it is not just a problem of having the right regulations; it will take a long time to educate producers and the general public.
But in the long view, the happened are not all bad. It will Chinese makers better understand global regulations, improved their awareness of quality and the need for quality supervision systems, arise their enthusiasm to participate in this special war to protect the safety and interests of the general public, as well as a war to safeguard the 'Made in China' label and the country's image
China is a country of high sense of responsibility, and even with only 1 percent of products of inferior quality, the country will not shy away from or cover them up but spare no efforts in tackling and solving the problem in an honest manner.
October 30, 2007 - by Nicole Huang
The HR function has been changed from its traditional role of handling paychecks, benefits and training to one of strategic partner in business growth. The Ninth Annual HR Conference held in Shanghai this year discussed warmly in the topics of organizational development and organizational capability.
There are several fields of the organizational development and organizational capability. Firstly, change of the management. Although the change of management will have to face a lot of problems such as bringing about a loss of momentum and energy; change management can help companies through a transition period by eliminating anxiety, stress and uncertainty and creating enthusiasm. According to the survey carried out by Bain & Co., the reason for change needs to be rooted in external factors or environment. For example, the changes in the marketplace, trends in technology, consumer demands and competitive environment.
Secondly, HR also needs to be able to identify high potentials and what competencies need to be developed.
Thirdly, the structure change to support business. The experts suggested combining the business and HR competencies and Hr practitioners need to add value beyond administration and understand the business needs of the company and be on the same page as the company leaders.
Then, improving the effectiveness of on boarding process, the increases in the return on the initial investment will be rapid by shortening the productivity curve, increasing employee engagement and reducing turnover.
Last but not least, the importance of the employee value proposition. If the employee value proposition can be improved well, it will increase the attractiveness of the company to potential employees and increase the commitment of hired employees. And the effective employee value proposition can reduce the compensation premium organizations have to pay to hire talent as well.
October 30, 2007 - by Robin
Olympians and spectators going to the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics will be greeted by 'top-class' facilities upon arrival at Beijing International Airport.
China expects to see approximately 60.6 million passengers pass through its Beijing International Capital Airport by the time it hosts the Olympic Games in 2008.
In anticipation of the large volume of baggage that will accompany Olympians and visitors coming to the Games, airport authorities have installed a new US$2.4 billion luggage system. Passengers will be able to check in their luggage one day ahead of their flight.
The system will not only be able to handle up to 19,200 pieces per hour, more than three times the volume being handled presently, but there will be about 200 CCTV monitors to track luggage movements.
A feature of the new system, according to Li Xiaomei, spokeswoman for the airport management, is its five-grade security scanning system to detect explosives, and allowing luggage up to 1m x 85cm x 85cm to be checked in.
Beijing Capital International Airport is the busiest airport in the country and is the 9th busiest airport in the world today based on finalized 2006 data from the Airports Council International . It is located 20 km from the city center. The history of the Beijing Airport dates back to March 2, 1958, when it was first opened. Back then, it only had a small terminal building, which is now used for charter and VIP flights.
Regardless of the expansion of Beijing Capital International Airport close to completion, the civil aviation authority is already contemplating the construction of a fourth runway or second international airport to cope with soaring passenger numbers.
The third runway at the Beijing Capital International Airport went into use yesterday and is expected to raise the number of landings and takeoffs from the current 1,100 per day to 1,600 with 1,900 expected daily during peak travel times.
Although the airport was designed to handle 35 million passengers per year, 42 million people passed through it last year. A third terminal under construction and set to open in February next year would raise that annual capacity to 60 million people.
October 30, 2007 - by Kaitlin Foley
On Monday, October 29, the first tunnel was completed under China's Yangtze River. The tunnel is a major gas pipeline from Southwest Sichuan to Shanghai. It has diameters of 3.08 meters in diameter, a length of 1405 meters in length, and it is buried 20 meters under the river bottom. This is one of five gas lines that will run under the river from Qinghai Province and empties into the sea near Shanghai. It took workers 325 days to complete this first part, which is only 500 km of the total 2,203 km of the total project.
The pipeline will pull natural gas from the Puguang gas field.According to a China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) official quoted in the article ¡°China completes tunnel for new west-to-east gas pipeline",Puguang gas field stood at 356.1 billion cubic meters. This pipeline costs about 62.7 billion Yuan, but represents an investment to improve China. There are several incentives for building such a project. First, this pipeline helps provide gas to the resource poor eastern part of China. The article notes that this pipeline is "an opportunity to the country's underdeveloped west to tap its advantage in resources for development." With cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, the demand for natural gas is dramatically increasing. The eastern part of China lacks the natural resources, but faces the increased pressure to meet the demand for natural gas. This pipeline will hopefully provide for this demand.
Additionally, the government is hoping to utilize this gas field and decrease the amount of pollution as a result of coal burning and other destructive forms of energy being used in China. The Puguang gas field has the capability of producing 12 billion cubic meters of purified gas, by 2010. This project will hopefully provide a more environmentally conscious energy alternative. Chen Deming, Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) comments that¡°The pipeline is scheduled to be completed by late 2010 and the gas is expected to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by tens of millions of tons annually." Ultimately, this pipeline represents an extensive construction plan that attempts to deal with the energy and environment conundrum that China faces today.
October 29, 2007 - by Emma Tang
After 13 years consideration and development, China's first Anti-monopoly law has passed on August 30, 2007. At the same time, many controversial issues have been raised. The focus among them is whether the will prohibit foreign investment in china?
To answer the question, we must consider the background and the current situation of China. China's socialist market economy had matured in the last decade, and the legislation is vital for the market economy (in western countries, Anti-monopoly law is regarded as the basic law). Current market circumstances in today's China made the introduction of an anti-monopoly law imperative. China just absorbed experience from other countries and contains provisions on banning monopoly-oriented agreement, forbidding abuse of dominance in the market, as well as investigation and prosecution of monopolistic practices. No doubt the legislation is the must-step on China's economy developing road.
On the other hand, learning from the experiences of a number of Western countries, China's draft anti-monopoly law not only prohibits monopoly agreements and abuse of a dominant market position, but also the abuse of administrative powers to exclude and restriction competition, which will help create a fair and orderly marketplace and ensure that the market economy develops in a sound and healthy way. Of course, the law would prevent State-owned enterprises in monopolistic industries such as petroleum, telecommunications, mail services and tobacco from abusing their market dominance to lower services and disregarding the public interests. But actually even without this Anti-monopoly law, the foreign investors are almost forbidden from this area. Whatever the Anti-monopoly can be practiced in these above areas, at least it demonstrates the determination of the Chinese government against the administrative monopoly in these fields, and will intensify regulation of the market and help to provide a better market environment for both domestic and foreign investors.
Deregulation has become a global trend, and all countries have reached a common understanding that anti-monopoly laws should be maximized, while constraints to competition should be diminished. Business operators with dominant positions should abide by anti-monopoly law, and in particular should not abuse market dominance. That is, a must-step on China's economy developing road.
October 29, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
Lawmakers are considering revising the road safety law to clarify the respective responsibilities of drivers and pedestrians involved in traffic accidents.
The draft amendment to the Road Transportation Safety Law, tabled at the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for its first review on 24th October, suggests car drivers who are found to be blameless should be liable for no more than 10 percent of the total compensation payment.
It suggests they should pay 40 percent if they are found to have had a "minor" responsibility for the accident, 60 percent for "half" responsibility and 80 percent for "major" responsibility.
The existing law holds motorists fully responsible for all accidents involving pedestrians or non-motorized vehicles, regardless of who is to blame.
Only if a driver can prove the other party broke a traffic rule and that they attempted to avoid collision, can he or she escape the burden of total responsibility.
This detail has caused great controversy since the law's implementation in 2004.
Many motorists have said it is unfair the law punishes them while allowing pedestrians and those in charge of non-motorized vehicles to get away with bad behavior on the road and escape responsibility.
October 28, 2007 - by Emma Tang
"One billion people will die of tobacco-related diseases this century unless governments in rich and poor countries alike get serious about preventing smoking", "If we fight against that, by 2050 we can save 200 million lives." Douglas Bettcher, head of the WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative, said.
The harm tobacco causes is receiving increasing public attention. Statistics show that 66 percent of all male Chinese above 15 are smokers. Of the 1.1 billion smokers around the world, 350 million are Chinese.
To contain the damage tobacco causes to public health, efforts must be made to reduce the population of smokers. A ban on tobacco advertising is a key part of it.
China, the world's largest tobacco producer and consumer, determined and announce to open fire against the harm tobacco causes, and will ban all forms of tobacco promotion by January 2011. That means within the next five years, China must fulfill it commitment to comprehensively ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Such a ban has actually been in place since 1996, but firms have managed to sidestep the rules and promote their brands in other more subtle ways such as sponsoring sporting events, or using their logos without mentioning "cigarettes" on television, radio and in newspapers and magazines.
The nation lags behind other countries in efforts to control the use of tobacco, and the biggest problem is the lack of national regulations banning smoking in public areas.
However, if governments introduced measures such as aggressive taxation, banning cigarette advertising and making offices and public places totally tobacco-free, smoking rates could halve by 2050
It's a completely preventable calamity. To lose it or win it, which only depends on what we do next.
October 26, 2007 - by Robin Teow
As the giant clock counter at Tiananmen Square shows 287 days before the 29th Olympiad, Beijing is in the midst of what some say is the most massive engineering project since the Great Wall, bulldozing ancient housing areas, constructing sports venues, modernizing transport infrastructures and accelerating major building projects in time for the world's most prestigious sporting event, which Beijing also hopes will showcase China's coming of age as a major world power.
But the success of the $38 billion Olympic project - and the country's sense of pride - may still hang in the balance, not least because of the mountainous challenge of cleaning up Beijing's environment. The remedy is a "green revolution in the sky."
According to a report this month by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), about 120 billion yuan ($16 billion) had been spent on environment-related projects from 1998 to 2006. Main concerns remain over air pollution, most of which is "exacerbated" by the city's geographical location. The report said that surrounding mountain ranges block air circulation and prevent the dispersion of pollutants.
Some steps the city has taken are only stopgap measures, akin to hiding the dirty laundry in the closet before guests arrive. "Moving factories outside of Beijing doesn't mean much for solving China's environmental crisis," said Sun Shan, director of Conservation International in China.
Particles in Beijing's air are still 40 to 50 percent worse than in Los Angeles, the most polluted city in the United States. Fu Lixin, director of the Air Pollution Research Institute at Tsinghua University, who is advising the Beijing government, said that if pollution is severe, Olympic events could be put off until later in the day or even moved to another venue. There is real concern about athletes choking on chemical-laden air as they run the 100-meter dash. The government is prepared to take radical measures such as seeding clouds to create rain, clearing the air.
Nearly 50 years after Mao Zedong's "war on nature" felled trees to make room for steel plants in the administrative capital and reversed rivers to provide irrigation, ...
October 26, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
A cousin of mine who was born in 1990 named ''Yayun" as his given nime, for remembering the 11th asian sports held in beijing. 17 years have past, beijing, as the capital of China, will hold its first Olympics.
A latest survey shower that growing numbers of Chinese parents choose the words "Ao Yun" or "Olympics" into their babies' given names.
The survey says it well demonstrates Chinese people's enthusiasm for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. According to the survey, there are 3491 people around the country who are named after "Olympics". Among them, 3216 male Chinese and 275 female chose "Ao Yun" as their first name.
Meanwhile, the survey also finds that each of the five words in the phrase "Bei Jing Ao Yun Hui", or Beijing Olympics, is a Chinese family name. The number of Chinese who have one of the five words as their family names is 40,607 in total.
The survey also anticipated that large number of babies to be born in 2008 might be named "Ao Yun."
October 25, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
The 16th Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival unveiled in Suzhou on Wednesday, October 27, 2007.
The tourists' heaven of Suzhou in eastern China turned into a heaven for star-chasers Wednesday night, as big names from the country's entertainment circle gathered there to raise the curtain for China's top film gala.
The 16th Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival opened with film stars singing and dancing on the stage.
Suzhou-born Hong Kong actress Carina Lau kicked off the night with a show-off of her dancing skills.
Action movie superstar, Jackie Chan, also took to the stage to share his memory of the film festival.
Singing sensations, including Jolin Tsai and Tsai Chin from Taiwan, and Joey Yung from Hong Kong, also contributed to the festival.
In the following days, a slew of domestic and foreign films will be screened in different sessions.
The festival will be wrapped up on Saturday with another star-studded night honoring winners of the Golden Rooster Awards, known as China's Oscars.
October 25, 2007 - by Robin Teow
Yesterday was a great day of joy and jubilation to many Chinese as China successfully launched its first lunar orbiter.
Chang'e I (named after the Chinese moon goddess, based on the legend of a tragic heroine who took a magical elixir and flew to the moon, where she became immortal, though alone) took off from a launch centre in south-western China's Sichuan province. The mission, which marks another milestone in China's ambitious space program, is scheduled to be a one-year expedition to explore and map the moon.
It is interesting to note that the launch further heats up Asia's space race as much of China watched the prime-time launch of its first lunar orbiter, an event being seen in the world's most populous nation as a sign of its global rise.
The launch of Chang'e I, which will explore and map the moon's surface, comes after Japan last month launched its first lunar probe and ahead of a planned similar mission by India next year.
China's year-long expedition, costing 1.4 billion yuan (184 million dollars), kicks off a programme that aims to land an unmanned rover on the moon's surface by 2012 and then put a man on the moon by approximately 2020.
The lunar probe would be the third major milestone in Beijing's space ambitions, after sending men into orbit in 2003 and 2005 respectively. China launched its first satellite in 1970, but abandoned pursuits of a manned space program in 1972 amid the economic crisis and political turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
by Ryan Beers
The most talked about passenger jet touched down in Guangdong Province earlier this week, and will visit Beijing and Shanghai on its current China tour leg. The A380 landed in Guangzhou, 2 days before its maiden flight from Singapore to Sydney on Thursday, October 25.
This plane is going to get a work out in China, with incomes rising and travel among a favorite of new Chinese past times.
I think there will be A380 kites flying around Tiananmen and elsewhere in China before we know it, and the jumbo-est of all jets should be changing the face of China aviation.
October 23, 2007 - by Robin
One more IPO please!
The business-to-business operator, Alibaba, founded by its chairman Jack Ma in June 1999 and with a registered user base of 24.6 million, is selling 858.9 million shares or 17% of its enlarged share capital, in an indicative price range of HK$10 to HK$12 (US$1.29-US$1.55) each, according to the listing document. The company expects to raise about $1.5 billion in an IPO to be co-managed by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Trading will begin in Hong Kong on November 6.
Yahoo! Inc., which holds a 39 percent stake in Alibaba.com's parent, Alibaba Group, has undertaken to subscribe to about US$100 million (€70.6 million) worth of shares, or 8.2 percent of the offering.
Alibaba.com said five other investors are also subscribing to a total US$145 million (€102.3 million) worth of its shares in the IPO, which are subject to a lockup period of two years.
They are AIG Global Investment Corp. (Asia) Ltd., Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and investment companies held by Wharf Holdings Ltd. Chairman Peter Woo, Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok and the Kwok family of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.
China's stock markets are almost going mad. College students, yuppies, retirees and others are buying individual shares or investing in China's swelling mutual funds. Day trading is common since most investors use home computers.
The run-up is particularly impressive because China's stock markets have historically been stagnant financial backwaters, tainted by scandal, weak oversight and fundamental contradictions. Even as China's economy has roared, stocks have rarely taken off, partly because of flaws that allowed murky, state-owned companies to use the market as a tool to raise money without real oversight or accountability. Public confidence was almost nonexistent.
But the Chinese markets are now fundamentally transformed. Enough changes have occurred to inspire new confidence. At the same time, government efforts to cool down the bubbly national real estate market have made stocks a logical place for Chinese investors to park their money.
Chinese companies will launch a record number of initial public offerings in 2007. Through September, mainland Chinese firms raised $34.6 billion through IPOs in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Other Chinese firms raised $12.4 billion in Hong Kong.
China's biggest coal miner, Shenhua Energy, saw its shares soar 87 percent in its Shanghai trading debut early this month after an initial public offering that raised $8.9 billion (6.6 billion Chinese yuan) - a record for a mainland stock exchange.
October 23, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
China's environment chief unveiled a set of new rules to tackle worsening lake pollution. The regulations follow findings showing "rampant" violation of environment rules by almost nine in ten of the country's industrial parks and two fifths of companies.
The new rules covering China's three major lake areas -- the eastern Taihu Lake, Chaohu Lake andthe southwestern Dianchi Lake -- included:
-- A ban on all projects involving discharges containing ammonia and phosphorus, and the turning down of existing applications to establish such projects.
-- A ban on the production, use and sales of detergents containing phosphorous around the lake drainage areas.
-- The removal of all fish farms from the three lake areas by the end of 2008.
-- A ban on fishponds, vegetable and flower farms that may involve the use of fertilizers within one kilometer of the lakeside.
we all remembered that blue-green algae outbreaks have been reported in the three lake areas, endangering domestic water supplies. On July 4, water supplies to 200,000 people in Shuyang County, Jiangsu Province, were halted for more than 40 hours after ammonia and nitrogen were found in a local river.
Environmental problems, if improperly handled, can trigger major social crises, and improving water quality has become our most urgent task..
At the matter of fact, illegal activities that harmed the environment were "rampant".
SEPA investigations showed 87.3 percent of the 126 industrial parks in 11 provinces had violated environment rules, allowing environmentally harmful companies into their parks.
China recorded 161 pollution accidents last year, according to the SEPA. The authorities shut down 3,176 polluting plants in a campaign in which the discharges of 720,000 companies were inspected last year, according to the SEPA.
October 22, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
On June 29, 2007, the PRC Labour Contract Law, a milestone legislation driving the job market in China, was passed on the 28th session of the 10th National People's Congress after four deliberations. Effective on January 1, 2008, the Law is a momentous first for China's labor and social security system as an ancillary legislation to the PRC Labor Law promulgated in 1994.
1. Establishment Procedures for an Employer's Internal Rules
The Law clarifies that the employer shall negotiate with employees or the employee representatives' congress and shall bring forward schemes and opinions to stipulate internal rules on an equal basis involving the following issues: remuneration, working hours, leave and holidays, labor security and sanitation, insurance and benefits, vocational training, labor discipline, and others.
2. Conclusion of Labor Contract in Written Form
The Law prescribes that where the employer has not signed a labor contract in written form with employees, the labor contract in written form must be concluded within one month of establishing the labor relationship. Where the employer fails to sign a labor contract in written form with an employee within one year from the day the employee starts to work for the employer, the employer shall be deemed to have entered into a non-fixed term contract with the employee.
3. Non-fixed-term Contract
The Law requires the employer to enter into a non-fixed-term labor contract with the employee after the employer executes two consecutive fixed-term labor contracts with such an employee, provided that there are no grounds for the legal termination of the employee's contract.
The Law stipulates that the employer may lay off redundant employees, subject to mandatory procedures, under the following circumstances: (1) where the employer is restructuring in accordance with laws and regulations due to the bankruptcy of the enterprise; (2) where serious difficulties occur affecting the production and management of the employer; (3) where the employer engages in a change of product line, major technical renovation, or change of business model, and the employer still needs to layoff redundant employees after amendments to the original employment contract.
The Law clarifies that severance shall equal the employee's monthly remuneration multiplied by the employee's period of service and any period of time more than six months but less than one year will be counted as one year.The severance shall equal the employee's semi-monthly remuneration for employees whose service year is shorter than six months. Further, it stipulates the maximum amount shall be three times the average city salary with a 12-month cap. Severance payment is required when the employer does not renew the fixed term labor contract with the employee upon the expiration date, unless the employer maintains or improves the benefits under the contract or the employee is not willing to renew the contract.
6. Labor Dispatch
The Law clarifies that the obligations for labor dispatching enterprises are: (1) entering into a labor dispatching agreement with the ultimate employer; and (2) notifying the dispatched employee of the content of the labor dispatching agreement.? In addition, the dispatched employee shall have the right to organize or join a trade union in the dispatching enterprise or in the ultimate employment enterprise.
The non-competition clause shall apply to senior management, senior technical staff and other staff subject to confidentiality liabilities.? The non-competition period shall be limited to the maximum of two years.
8. Trade Unions
The Law has reinforced the role of labor unions in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of employees in the following areas: (1) formulating corporate rules and bylaws; (2) bargaining on collective contracts; (3) providing opinions on mass layoffs; and (4) providing opinions on the termination of labor contracts.
October 22, 2007 - by Robin
Beijing is preparing to put in place a more comprehensive set of rules governing the law practice that will have significant impact on how law firms represent their clients' interests within the People's Republic of China moving forward. This move must be applauded as it is about time that the Chinese legislature revisits the current Law to make sure that it keeps pace with the sweeping development of China's legal profession and with the momentous changes that have taken place in Chinese society. The Law on Lawyers of the PRC took effect on January 1, 1997. This will be the first revision to the law since its promulgation.
In late June this year, the Ministry of Justice of the PRC submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress draft revisions to the PRC Lawyers Law. In brief, the draft touches on, amongst others, the following issues:
(1) it recognizes the increased autonomy that lawyer associations have been exercising in practice for some time;
(2) it provides several practical measures that offer greater protection to lawyer-client relationships;
(3) it permits the establishment of sola practitioner firms;
(4) it strengthens the existing legal ethics and law firm governance requirements;
(5) it allows experts to get license without examination; and
(6) it discusses the various liabilities that lawyers and law firms face for dereliction of duty.
To summarize, the proposed revisions are well-drafted and, if enacted, will definitely reinforce the growing independence of legal practitioners and boost the quality and diversity of legal services available in China. To learn more about the draft revisions proposed by the Ministry of Justice, you may want to take a look at this memorandum prepared by Fried Frank LLP.
October 21, 2007
Edward Lehman was nominated for inclusion in the latest edition of Practical Law Company's Life Sciences Handbook. The book features a number of sections, including articles, Q and A, rankings of leading life sciences lawyers and bios of leading experts. Mr. Lehman has been ranked as a leading life sciences lawyer in China by the Practical Law Company for five years.
Practical Law Company is a top legal publication known for their Which Lawyer? rankings, which rank leading lawyers into various practice areas. To view the 2006-2007 Life Sciences handbook, please visit this link.
October 20, 2007
Edward Lehman was a featured guest on Friday's episode of Dialogue, a show which discusses some of China's hottest topics. Professor He Jiaohong of Renmin University, Gao Zhikai of China National Association of International Studies and host Yang Rui discussed the topic of rule of law and rule by law related to the Communist Party of China, which was meeting in Beijing during the 17th National Congress.
Of China's overall development towards the rule of law, Edward Lehman stated that the "situation is like turning a ship around. It takes a bit of time". However, he was impressed with Hu Jintao's opening speech at the National Congress, stating that it is "tremendous that the leaders are saying from the top down, respect the rule of law". However, though all applauded the efforts, there seemed to be common concern about the ability to enforce laws, making this the challenge for China's legislators.
To view the show, please click here.
October 19, 2007 - by Robin Teow
Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (a.k.a. GALA) released its latest quarterly electronic newsletter of advertising law news from around the globe. The newsletter basically provides updates on laws and discusses advertising and marketing issues facing businesses in today's globalized marketplace.
One of the issues that the Newsletter touches on is ambush marketing. With less than 300 days to go before the 2008 Summer Olympics lifts its curtain in one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in the world, sponsors for the 2008 Games have kicked off their intense marketing blitz in a race for marketing gold. In the light of the huge financial impact of the Games and in particular, China's massive red-hot market for the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, some companies will deliberately find innovative ways to ingeniously associate themselves with the event and to misappropriate or capitalize on the resultant goodwill and popularity without paying for the right to do so. This is habitually referred to as ambush marketing or parasite marketing, and is often a hybrid of false advertising and intellectual property infringement actions.
While ambush marketing can happen in any event, it is most rampant in the sports marketing arena thanks to the potential universal audience that international sports events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics attract and their unequalled popularity. To find out how Canada will tackle the issue in anticipation of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, please click here.
October 19, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
China's State Council recently decided to scrap 128 administrative procedures for examination and approval and amend 58 in order to cut government red tape.
The decision was made during an executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
"The elimination and adjustment of the 186 administrative procedures is conducive to smoothing relations between the government and markets, government and enterprises, government and society and government and the public," said a circular from the State Council, or cabinet.
Since October 2001, the State Council has pushed a comprehensive reform of administrative procedures for examination and approval, and scrapped 1,806 items subject to examination and approval, said the circular.
The circular gave no details of the procedures that had been amended or scrapped.
The reform had laid a solid foundation for the government that could more effectively administer public services and social order, it said.
"Many redundant and excessive procedures have been eliminated," it said, adding the government should deepen the reform, strengthen supervision over administrative and approval rights and build a government ruled by law.
October 18, 2007 ¨C by Ryan Beers
The world famous Canton Trade Fair has been on again all this week and finishing on October 30, attracting thousands of Chinese and foreign business people to Guangzhou. The fair has been a bi-annual installment in Guangzhou since 1957 and is without doubt one of the most famous trade gatherings in the world.
Almost all products are exhibited, with exception of heavy industry, and suppliers are represented from all over China.
Lehman, Lee & Xu warns buyers attending the fair, not to treat the fair as the base for the suppliers. Often they are from outlying provinces and far from Guangzhou. In the event that due diligence is not performed on such suppliers, do not expect to be able to automatically pursue them via future fairs or by contacting nearby professional assistance. Upfront due diligence should be performed on the companies prior to confirming orders, and certainly prior to transferring any deposits or portions of purchase price.
October 18, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
The Employment Promotion Law, to take effect on Jan. 1 2008, is expected to boost employment by banning job discrimination, according to a senior labor official.
The law highlights the government's role in ensuring equal opportunities in a fair employment environment and combating work discrimination.
The nine-chapter and 69-article law, adopted in August by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, has a chapter explicitly outlining the government's responsibility for employment aid.
He said the enterprises - labor-intensive small-and-medium ones in particular - that hire people with living difficulty will be subject to tax reduction and exemption and social security subsidy under the new law. Disadvantaged people, too, will be entitled to three years of tax reduction and exemption and micro-credit loans in entrepreneurial activities.
Meanwhile, seniors unable to start their own businesses and are not otherwise employed will be offered public welfare posts such as patrollers and cleaners and receive work subsidies as well as social security funds accordingly from local administrations, Zhang said.
He asserted that the law will urge all levels of government to "significantly expand communities' public welfare posts" for those individuals identified as the most needy. Likewise, free professional education and training will be prioritized for children from zero-employment households.
A lifelong training system of employment and re-employment for urban and rural workers alike, already set up with packages of national training plans for employees and professional training instructors, will be strengthened by the law's enactment. Earlier reports also said the law would oblige employers to offer training to their recruits.
In effect, the relevant content on improving such a training mechanism is "the most important aspect of the law and will prove vital to China's long-term employment situation in the future," Zhang said.
October 18, 2007 - by Robin Teow
China will continue to power the engine of economic growth by quadrupling the per capita gross domestic production (GDP) of 2000 by the year 2020. And the rapid growth will be under the condition of reduced consumption of resources and greater efforts in environmental protection.
China will also manage to narrow the widening income gap, expand democracy for its 1.3 billion people, modernize its 2.3 million armed forces, enhance the soft power of its culture, and work to sign a cross-Straits peace agreement on the basis of one-China principle.
Hu Jintao, general secretary of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), outlined the country's ambitious goals for economic, political and social developments, as well as the nation's position on the world stage, at the opening of the 17th CPC National Congress on Monday.
It is interesting to note that the Chinese characters for democracy (ÃñÖ÷) turned out to be one of the most extensively used political concept in Hu's report, showing up at least 60 times. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that Chinese democracy is different from Western-style democracy and hence possesses distinctive Chinese characteristics. In building socialist political democracy, China has always adhered to the basic principle that the Marxist theory of democracy be combined with the reality of China.
In his speech, President Hu vowed to make communist rule more inclusive and better spread the fruits of China's economic boom. China will "expand people's democracy and ensure that the people are the masters of the country," Hu said. China needs to improve institutions for democracy, diversify its forms and expand its channels, and carry out democratic election, decision-making and administration and oversight in accordance with the law to guarantee the people's rights to be informed, to participate, to be heard and to oversee, Hu added. However, reflecting Hu's cautious manner, he was vague on just how proposals for expanded democracy would be carried out.
Well...it is certainly not easy to talk about democracy when you are managing a Communist country that is home to one-fifth of the world's population. President Hu's advocacy of democracy should be applauded. Any move to infuse democracy especially in a country like China must be done with prudence and caution. Socialist market economy constitutes an actual basis for developing socialist democracy. Therefore, in order to develop democracy, it is imperative that China first fully develops market economy. A market economy characterized by freedom, equality, and competition is a training ground for the people to learn about democracy and cultivate democratic quality and capability.
October 18, 2007 - by Kaitlin Foley
A major issue confronting China today is the illegal use of land for development. Farming is an essential, life sustaining occupation for a majority of the rural population, which is being threatened by a rapidly decreasing supply of arable land. As the China Daily article ¡°Illegal land use poses a major threat¡± notes, that the government has set aside a minimum of 120 million hectares for ¡°arable land use¡±;however, there is currently on 121.8 million hectares. Approximately 750 million farmers rely on this land for sustainability and livelihood. Due to a combination of natural and man-made stresses, the amount of arable land is declining.
The demand for land is high; however, the problem is only intensified with the illegal acquisition of this land by industrialization. The China Daily article contends, ¡°Among the serious problems are relentless unauthorized expansion of construction land, especially by local governments illegally leasing land instead of requisitioning it; and the use of farmland for non-agricultural construction." Local officials have illegally extended the land allotted for development, and the farmers are the one that will pay the price. According to the article ¡°China punishes 1,500 officials involved in land misuse¡± in People¡¯s Daily Online, ,¡°Keen to notch up impressive economic development and revenue figures, some local governments were happy to give land to developers, ignoring the central government's policy to slow down investment in fixed assets." As the land disappears, there is an increase strain on farmers. This in turn may lead to social unrest, as the primary safety and security net for farmers diminishes. Already there are many people who are displaced due to development and urban sprawl. This illegal use of land is only increasing China¡¯s landless population and increasing pressure on internal infrastructure.
China is undergoing some growing pains as a result of their fast development. The loss of land is a natural problem that other countries have faced as well. Unfortunately, if China wants to sustain the current rate of growth this issue needs to be addressed. There are some efforts being done to deal with this issue. The government is attempting to hold officials accountable. The article ¡°China punishes 1,500 officials involved in land misuse¡± in People¡¯s Daily Online notes that , 1,488 officials have been punished for their involvement in illegal land development. Of the 22,300 cases that have been identified, the government has dealt with half. In total the government has compensated residents involved in these land seizures 17.55 billion Yuan (2.31 billion U.S. dollars).
October 17, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
To the east of the Jinshanling stretch of the Great Wall there lies the quiet and remote Simatai section. The ruinous state of this par...
October 16, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
The European Union (EU) has agreed with China to end quota restrictions on Chinese textile imports with a joint surveillance system to monitor the trade flow in 2008.
The "double checking system" will track the issuing of licenses for export in China and the importation of goods into the EU, the European commission said in a statement.
It will operate for one year in 2008 following the end of quota restrictions on Chinese textiles and clothing, the statement said.
Following a so-called "textile war," the EU and China reached an agreement in June 2005 on resuming quotas on China's textile exports to the EU, which expires at the end of 2007.
Although imports of these goods will be closely monitored, their level of import will not be restricted by this arrangement, the EU's executive arm said.
According to the commission, the joint surveillance system will cover eight categories of textiles and clothing from China, namely T-shirts, pullovers, men's trousers, blouses, dresses, bras, bed linen and flax yarn.
The system will be formally adopted by the commission in the coming days. On the EU side, national licensing offices will be in charge of the monitoring.
October 15, 2007 - by Robin Teow
China's revolutionary new Corporate Income Tax Law was enacted by the National People's Congress on March 16, 2007 ("CIT Law" ) and will take effect from January 1, 2008. The law, which sets unified corporate income tax rate for both domestic and foreign enterprise, has attracted widespread attention at home and abroad as it affects how foreign investors should formulate or adjust their investment strategy in China going forward in a big way. However, just like any other Chinese laws when they are first approved, nobody knows exactly how this law is going to be implemented or enforced come next year. Certain aspects of it are yet to be clarified and I am almost 100% sure that foreign investors are now waiting anxiously for the State Council to issue the detailed implementation rules and supplementary tax circulars that provide definitions of various important terms and explain the needed details of implementation to assess the potential tax impact on their business plan in China and to review their tax profile accordingly. There will be a need for new thinking and strategy to minimise China income tax. It is imperative that investors come up with a comprehensive review on how their foreign invested enterprises in China may optimise and take advantage of the new forms of tax incentives under the new regime.
PricewaterhouseCoopers in their latest news flash provided some very useful insights into China's new Corporate Income Tax Law and the draft detailed implementation regulations ("draft DIR" ). Basically, the news flash addresses the various significant provisions in the said draft impacting foreign investors' operations in China. The draft DIR, amongst others, contains important changes to the calculation of taxable income of an FIE, introduces the "contemporaneous documentation" requirement in transfer pricing enforcement, and provides definitions of non-tax resident enterprises deriving income from sources within China.
October 15, 2007 - by Rena He
The Shanghai real estate market cooled down. The price has fallen slightly and so has the turnover. After a rapid rise on price during the last few months, now most consumers hold a cautious attitude, and wait to see its trend. Compared with the turnover on the National Holiday last year, the turnover of real estate on the holiday this year has fallen by 45.6%. Experts analyze that the control strategy and too high price attribute to the reduction.
I think it¡¯s good news to many of us, especially to a student like me. We are now facing too much stress, and on the top is buying a house. The price of real estate has risen so fast these years. Take an example, the development of real estate market has made a 26-year girl the richest person in China. But on the other side, the majority can¡¯t afford a house, particularly in big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai. Many people spend all their life to repay the loan that they borrowed to buy a house from the bank. There is a word that describes very well ¨C¡°the house slave¡±. Now Shanghai has sent good news to us. Will Beijing be the next?
October 15, 2007 - by Maggie Xu
BEWARE of fraudulent [url=http://www.tickets.beijing2008.cn/]Olympic Games tickets souvenirs and sto...