China unveiled Saturday credit rating standards for the sovereignty entity of a central government, the first sovereign credit rating standards in China, aiming broader participation in global credit rating.
The standards were announced by Dagong Global Credit Rating Co Ltd, one of the first domestic rating agencies in China.
The sovereign credit rating standards would be able to evaluate the willingness and ability of a central government to repay its commercial financial debts as stipulated in contracts, said the company.
The rating results could reflect the relative possibility of a central government to default as a debtor, and the rating is based on the country's overall credit value, according to Dagong.
Elements of credit risks will include the country's political environment, economic power, fiscal status, foreign debt and liquidity, said the company, adding that it judges the credit of a sovereign entity on the basis of a comprehensive evaluation of its fiscal strength and foreign reserves.
Compared with other rating agencies, Dagong pays more attention to the different economic stage of each country, and examines the features of its credit risks in a systematic view, according to Dagong.
Jiang Yong, director of the Center for Economic Security Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the financial crisis exposed a risk of the international society relying solely on the credit rating institutions of a single country, which is the largest risk of the world economy.
Luo Ping, head of the training center under China Banking Regulatory Commission, said the launch of the sovereign credit rating standards would help improve the transparency of credit rating information, and would strengthen China's position in the international financial arena.
Original Source: Xinhua...
China unveiled Saturday credit rating standards for the sovereignty entity of a central government, the first sovereign credit rating standards in China, aiming broader participation in global credit rating.
SHANGHAI -- Police in Shanghai have detained 11 suspects in the fatal clash between two gangs that left two dead on Friday, local authorities said.
An argument over debt dispute between two gangs became violent and shots were fired Friday noon at the entrance of Huilihuayuan Residence on Changshou Road, Putuo District, police said.
A seriously-wounded man died Friday after he fled the scene, while another one died in Huadong Hospital early Saturday. Two others were injured and being treated in the hospital, police said.
Police have detained 10 suspects, including the two injured, seized four self-made guns, a knife and two vehicles.
The police would give no further details.
Chinese law prohibits the private ownership of guns. The last time Shanghai witnessed a shooting on the street was in July 2002, when one gang fired shots at another, injuring two people.
Source: China Daily...
By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
A bank manager in the eastern Anhui province has been arrested for allegedly forging stamps, illegally operating financial businesses and trading bank credits, officials said Wednesday.
Li Qun, manager of the Tengda office of Agriculture Bank of China's (ABC) Fuyang branch, surrendered to police early this month for failing to repay 165 million yuan ($22 million) "illegally raised" from the public.
That is more than the 100 million yuan earlier reported, according to Xinhua News Agency. A director of the branch, Xu Lin, was also sacked on Monday after Li's surrender, according to China News Radio.
"We discharged Xu Lin for her failure in supervising subordinates. No malpractice was done by Xu nor the bank," Liu Su, Party discipline official of the ABC's Anhui sub-branch, was quoted as saying.
It is unknown where the illegally raised cash has gone.
About 60 people have reported losses to local police. The biggest sum of money lent to Li by a single person was 20 million yuan, the report said.
Sources said Li's family has powerful political connections in Fuyang city - a reason many creditors trusted her.
The report said hundreds of people have been gathering in front of the Tengda office with a banner asking "ABC to give back (their) hard-earned money."
But the bank claimed it did not collude with Li in her "individual conduct of illegal credit business" according to the radio report.
Li also allegedly borrowed money from many local officials, which has sparked public suspicion of the legitimacy of their earnings.
"How could a trade union director have millions of yuan to offer?" a netizen questioned.
Guo Xudong, a lawyer specializing in financial crimes, said creditors could reclaim their money from the third parties, if any, who received part or all of the funds from Li.
Trading of bank's acceptance bills is a legal blindspot in China, according to Guo.
"It is a loop which could continue. Suspects pool deposits from the public, then use those funds to pay banks for acceptance bills the suspects had given out to ex-creditors."
"By doing so, one could temporarily strengthen cash flow, or disappear suddenly with large amounts of creditors' money without paying back the bank's acceptance."
Source: China Daily
By Li Xinran
An airport cleaner has won wide support among Netizens after it was revealed she faces criminal charges and possibly life imprisonment for picking up a box containing 14 kilograms of gold jewelry worth an estimated 3 million yuan (US$439,700) at Shenzhen Baoan Airport, Guangdong Province.
Liang Li picked up a heavy box mislaid on a luggage cart at about 9am on December 9, Guangzhou Daily reported on Monday.
She put the box in an airport toilet for physically challenged people and told her colleagues about her find. Liang also said she would return it to its owner if anyone came forward to claim it.
However, two of her colleagues, who were identified as Cao and Ma, discovered the box was full of packets of gold jewelry and each took a packet home.
Liang, 40, later learnt what happened and took the rest of the jewelry home when she got off work at noon.
The owner, a jewelry company clerk, had called the police at about 9am the same day after losing the box. He said he'd left the luggage cart about 20 meters away while he went to ask airport staff about transporting expensive items.
Plain-clothed airport police officers seized the jewelry from Liang's home as well from Cao and Ma later that day.
Shenzhen police referred Liang's case to Shenzhen People's Procuratorate, accusing her of theft. The charge was not accepted but they asked for a supplementary investigation by prosecutors.
Liang has been held in a detention house for over five months and was reported to be in an unstable mood.
Liang's story found its way to domestic Web portals such as Sina.com. Many Websites conducted online surveys and more than 600,000 Netizens had voted by 5pm on Monday, with 90 percent of them saying Liang was not a thief.
Some also questioned the jewelry company clerk for leaving the box unattended.
Those convicted of theft in China face up to five years in prison, but those found to have stolen very valuable items or large sums can face life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Some Netizens thought Liang was guilty as she took the box home after discovering what was inside.
Source: Shanghai Daily
Updated: 2009-05-19 16:13
There will be more than five agreements signed in the areas of economic, research and climate change cooperation at the upcoming European Union (EU)-China Summit, said Vitezslav Grepl, Czech ambassador to China.
In a written interview with Xinhua on Tuesday, Grepl said that one of the agreements will be on science and research cooperation or the establishment of a joint energy center. He did not specify the details of others.
The annual EU-China Summit, a high-level political consultative mechanism, is to be held on May 20 in Prague, the Czech Republic, which is holding the European Union presidency.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will travel to Prague for the 11th EU-China Summit.
The ambassador told Xinhua that leaders will mainly talk about further EU-China cooperation in overcoming the global financial crisis.
The crisis calls for concerted action at both the European and the international level, Grepl noted, adding that the EU has taken a series of bold measures to restore confidence, stability and sustainability in the financial markets and is interested in further consultations with China aimed at coordinating common approaches to solve the difficulties and making recommendations to improve the international financial system.
Grepl said, China and the EU can together achieve a win-win result in the mutual trade exchange through market openness, liberal trade policy, fair competition and granting of the equal access to opportunities for operators from both sides. Further support to investment cooperation will be also an important engine for reducing the bilateral trade imbalance.
"I am convinced that this point will be also on the agenda of the Prague summit," said Grepl.
The EU is now China's largest trading partner, while China is the second largest of the EU. Trade volume between them grew to $425.58 billion in 2008, an increase of 19.5 percent over the previous year said China's customs.
Likewise, the EU and China also share the view that the international financial institutions should be given a bigger role in monitoring economic risks and that the emerging and developing economies should have more say in these institutions as well, said Grepl.
"I expect them to approve at the highest level the results of the recent second round of the high-level economic and trade dialogue."
The high-level economic and trade dialogue between the EU and China, which was held in Brussels from May 7 to 8, covered trade, investment and small and medium-sized companies, among of others. It was regarded as an important preparatory event for the economic and trade part of the upcoming EU-China summit.
According to Grepl, the leaders will also discuss and endorse the political direction of EU-China cooperation as well as global efforts to cope with climate change - be it energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, environmental protection, the pilot project of near-zero carbon emissions zone and so on.
"These fields are also excellent opportunities to create new jobs and thus maintain social stability and further economic progress," said Grepl.
He said, "Given the important role both the EU and China play in international organizations and in efforts to solve regional crises and face global challenges, the results and perspectives of our mutual cooperation towards peaceful solution of many of them will for sure be discussed as well."
Source: China Daily
By Wang Zhuoqiong in Beijing and Huang Zhiling in Chengdu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-05-18 07:32
The first person who tested positive for H1N1 flu in Beijing has been hailed as a model for returning overseas students as Hong Kong Sunday confirmed its third infection and Japan reported dozens of new cases.
An 18-year-old surnamed Liu, who is studying at a university in New York state, virtually isolated herself on her return to Beijing on May 11.
Liu, who flew on board Continental Airlines flight C089, did not go out or meet friends as a precaution because the two other confirmed cases on the mainland were students returning from the US and Canada.
She felt unwell on May 12, and two days later, went to the outpatient section of Peking University First Hospital complaining of cough, headache, sore throat, chest congestion and muscle ache as well as temperature of 37.7 C.
She was shifted to Beijing Ditan Hospital early on Friday, and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences confirmed she had contracted the A(H1N1) virus on Saturday.
Liu was last night reported to be in a stable condition, with her temperature back to normal.
She was cited as an example for students returning from flu-affected countries as being "responsible to society" because she kept a diary about her movements in Beijing, said Fang Laiying, director of the Beijing municipal health bureau.
"She even kept the taxi receipt (for the trip to the hospital)," said Fang. "Otherwise it would have been difficult for us to trace the driver."
Liu's mother and the taxi driver were put under medical observation but neither has shown flu symptoms, said Deng Ying, director of Beijing CDC.
Premier Wen Jiabao Sunday visited the Ditan Hospital and talked with Liu via a video link.
Wen said overseas students in epidemic areas should learn and do more to protect themselves from the flu.
"We are concerned about your health," he said.
Meanwhile, the first H1N1 patient on the mainland was discharged from a hospital in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, Sunday.
The patient surnamed Bao, confirmed to have contracted the flu on May 11, left the Chengdu Infectious Disease Hospital at 4:30 pm. He returned to his hometown of Neijiang city in the province along with his father and girlfriend, who had completed their quarantine, said Tian Ming, deputy chief of the hospital.
By 3 pm Sunday, all the 157 people in quarantine in Sichuan were released as they did not show any abnormal symptoms, said Wang Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Sichuan provincial health department.
In Hong Kong, the latest patient, a 23-year-old mainland student studying in the US, arrived late Saturday aboard Cathay Pacific flight CX 831, said Thomas Tsang, controller of the Center for Health Protection.
He was taken to hospital directly from the airport after he triggered the alarm while passing thermal screening.
Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 8,480 and the death toll has remained at 72, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update Sunday.
The confirmation of cases in India, Malaysia and Turkey brought the number of countries with confirmed cases to 39, the WHO said.
Japan's health ministry confirmed dozens of new cases in waves of announcements Sunday, as the government shut down schools and canceled community activities in affected cities.
The country now has 44 confirmed cases, with 39 of them reported over the weekend, most of them teenagers.
The vast majority of cases have been in Mexico and the United States. The spread of the disease has led the WHO to declare that a pandemic is imminent. On April 29 it raised its pandemic alert to 5 on a 6-level scale.
Source: China Daily
Although there have been some positive changes to China's current economic situation, leading indicators show that China's export condition will remain bleak for some time, said an official at the Department of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Commerce recently.
As he pointed out in one of a series of comments on the current business situation published on the Ministry of Commerce's official website, at present the number of already-placed orders has dropped for most exporters, and overseas buyers are opting for short-term, small contracts instead of long-term, large orders. At the 105th China Import and Export Fair, the number of export deals made dropped by 16.9 percent compared with the 104th. In the first quarter of 2009, processing trade imports fell by 35.7 percent, aggregate contracted foreign capital in the entire country dropped by 37.2 percent, and the amount of foreign capital utilized dropped by 20.6 percent. All these figures indicate that there will be a lack of power and stamina in the growth of processing trade and exports of foreign-funded enterprises for some time.
The official also pointed out that China's current foreign trade situation remains complicated and grim. Firstly, external demand has shrunk and international trade has dropped. According to the latest forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economy will shrink by 1.3 percent in 2009, the first recession since World War II. The latest prediction by the WTO states that the volume of global trade will drop by 9 percent in 2009, the largest drop since World War II.
Secondly, conditions for trade financing have deteriorated and risks have increased. At present, worldwide trade financing gap stands as high as 100-300 billion USD. Importers and exporters in many countries have been forced to cut back their businesses or go bankrupt because of funding shortages. The situation has seriously affected the normal operation of international trade. At the same time, Chinese export enterprises are facing escalated risks.
Thirdly, trade protectionism has started to surface, making it harder to develop new markets. The financial crisis has led to a slowdown in the global economy. Some countries and regions have successively adopted a number of trade protectionism measures such as raising import tariffs, or prohibiting or restricting imports, which has resulted in a period of high trade friction among countries.
Fourthly, a number of countries are competing against one another to devalue their currency in order to weaken the price competitiveness of Chinese exports. In the first quarter of 2009, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico all devalued their currencies against the US dollar by 9.6 percent, 5.4 percent, 5.3 percent and 2.7 percent respectively, while the exchange rate of renminbi to the US dollar essentially remained unchanged, creating an exchange rate appreciation of 2.58 percent. This has weakened the price competitiveness of China's exports in international markets.
Source: People's Daily Online
China reported about 11,000 new foreign-invested companies in the first quarter, down about 41 percent from the same period last year, said the State Administration for Industry and Commerce Tuesday.
Investment from the new foreign-invested companies totaled $26.68 billion in the first quarter, down about 46 percent from the same period last year, the administration said.
Registered capital of the new foreign-invested companies totaled $16.80 billion from January to March, down about 49 percent from the same period last year.
China has about 433,900 foreign-invested companies as of the end of March, down 0.23 percent from the end of last year, the administration said.
Investment from the foreign-invested companies in China totaled $2.35 trillion, about 1.23 percent up from December 2008, the administration said.
Original source: Xinhua
Source: China Daily
Beijing, China ¨C May 13, 2009 ¨C Lehman, Lee & Xu¡¯s Managing Director, Edward Lehman, and senior associate Fleur Chen have been invited by the South African Embassy in Beijing to attend the Freedom Day celebrations held today at the Westin Hotel.
The leaders of many Chinese government departments, ambassadors of foreign Embassies in China and celebrities from all social communities were also invited to attend the event.
Lehman Lee & Xu currently counsels and represents a number of diplomatic missions in China, including the Embassy of the Republic ofSouth Africa. With a dedicated diplomatic practice group its professionals have developed extensive experience in handling litigation, commercial and public law matters on behalf of embassies, diplomatic missions, and consulates in China.
Developers need to make deposits before bidding for 4 sites
May 13, 2009
The Beijing government launched a land application list system in the capital last week to avoid unsuccessful auctions of sites available for sale.
The local government placed four sites on its land application list last Tuesday.
Interested developers must now undertake to make a bid at or above the listed reserve price and make a pre-sale deposit of 200,000 yuan (HK$227,563) that will be forfeited if they do not join the bidding.
The four sites, located in the Daxing district, could be used for commercial or residential projects with total gross floor areas ranging from 75,403 to 457,961 square metres.
Reserve prices range from 228 million yuan to 1.4 billion yuan.
"The sites should be welcomed by developers," said Feng Changchun, head of the Centre of Real Estate Studies and Appraisals at Peking University.
"The district has potential for great change, as a light railway connecting it with the urban areas of Beijing is under construction," said Mr Feng.
Li Wenjie, a general manager at Centaline (China) in Beijing, believes the new system can ensure that a developer will join the tender and offer the reserve price of the site.
"Last year, we saw many sites withdrawn from the tender or auction owing to poor market response," said Mr Li.
"The new policy and the sites on offer can help the government overcome its previous unsuccessful land sales."
Most developers have put new land acquisition plans on hold since last year as a result of the poor sentiment in the real estate market. So far, bidding for development sites has not been as aggressive as was seen in 2007.
As a result, the local government had to withdraw several development sites from auction last year following a recurrence of insufficient bidders or offers regarded as too low.
A development site in the Tongzhou district in Beijing was slated for sale in November but was withdrawn from auction by the government as just two contenders bid for the site, failing to meet the minimum requirement of three bidders.
Richard Wang, an associate director of consulting and research at DTZ, said he believed the new land list policy could help the government reduce the risk of unsuccessful land sales. He, however, expressed surprise at the timing of the new system.
"This system is useful, particularly in a property market down cycle. But the property market is getting better now, and developers are interested in land acquisition again," he said.
David Hand, the head of the investment department for China at Jones Lang LaSalle, said the new system could improve pricing transparency.
"Applications to trigger a land sale, whether successful or not, will provide developers and property market practitioners with a greater indication of open market land and property prices," Mr Hand said.
But Yi Xianrong, a researcher at the financial research centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said new policies were less important than sound relationships between the government and developers.
"On the mainland, local governments will not sell sites purely based on the details of the offers but rather their relationships with developers," Mr Yi said.
Source: South China Morning Post...
Daniel Ren in Shanghai
May 11, 2009
Beijing will require all companies to file details on employees' tax payments and will scrap tax preferences for unqualified companies after the mainland's revenue dropped in the first quarter of this year.
The State Administration of Taxation published a circular it issued to provincial-level tax authorities over the weekend, prodding those governments to "close the tax loopholes and increase ... revenue".
The watchdog also urged tax authorities at all levels to implement a reporting mechanism before the end of the year under which all firms would report personal-income-tax payments to government collectors.
Employers normally deduct income tax from workers' monthly salaries and turn in the money to tax authorities on behalf of individuals. But an annual summary statement of taxes paid by each employee is usually done only by government departments and public-service units, such as hospitals and schools.
"China is under pressure to boost government coffers after a decline in fiscal revenue," said Li Weiguang , a professor of public finance at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics. "But it all boils down to the efficient supervision of tax payments."
The body said it had collected 1.4 trillion yuan (HK$1.6 trillion) of revenue in the first quarter, down 6.9 per cent from the same period a year ago.
The nation's revenue dropped for the first time in 12 years last October, a result of policy-related tax cuts and the economic slowdown.
Economists predicted a posted deficit of between 500 billion and 800 billion yuan.
The expected budget shortfall also overshadows Beijing's massive stimulus package, which was unveiled late last year to combat the economic downturn.
The watchdog urged local authorities to review the preferential policies given to firms, and cancel the tax holidays and tax cuts awarded to "unqualified companies", though it did not define the term. It said it was studying a new, efficient collection system to ensure university teachers paid taxes on freelance income.
In 2006, anyone whose annual income exceeded 120,000 yuan was required to file payment details to tax departments, a move to stop evasion. Analysts said the tactic had failed.
Personal incomes of private business owners and self-employed professionals are normally low on company balance sheets while they pocket untaxed incomes through sleight-of-hand accounting.
"The loopholes will remain, and it won't be easy to work out an efficient mechanism in the near future to avoid evasion," a personnel director at a state-owned firm in Shanghai said. "Lots of people are still trying to dodge tax, and sometimes companies play a role, which makes the situation even worse."
At some state-owned companies, prepaid cards are given out for transport or store purchases, but as they are not salaries, they help workers avoid paying taxes on "extras".
Source£ºSouth China Morning Post
A female lawyer in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, was jailed for 15 days and fined 10,000 yuan ($1,464) after she cursed some judges during a court hearing on Monday.
Surnamed Shang, the lawyer represented three defendants in a personal injury compensation case, when she expressed her dissatisfaction with a female judge.
The hearing had to be closed since Shang couldn't calm down.
Original Source: Chuncheng Evening News
Source: China Daily
By Zhou Yan
The spread of A (H1N1) influenza virus, which was initially known as swine flu, might help accelerate the debut of China's hog futures market, some industry observers said.
The outbreak of the epidemic flu has resulted in a big drop in hog prices during the past week.
"The launch of livestock futures may help to lock in the price of the product, and protect hog breeders and processors from drastic price swings," said Feng Yonghui, chief analyst from AND Group, a Beijing-based agriculture service provider.
According to data put out by Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co Ltd (BOABC), hog prices have dropped from 13.41 yuan per kg in January to 9.88 yuan in April.
"Hog prices fell even more last week, to below 8 yuan per kg in most cities of north China, due to the shrinking demand arising from a fear that eating pork products would result in contracting the virus," said Feng.
The State Council issued a plan to stimulate the development of agriculture and increase farmers' incomes on Feb 2, which, for the first time, said the government would adopt measures like futures exchanges to develop the hog breeding industry.
Dalian Commodity Exchange started the trial run for livestock futures delivery in 2007, but the trading proposal has yet to get the nod from top authorities.
Guo Huiyong, an analyst from BOABC, however, said trading in hog futures was unlikely to take place this year.
"How to set the standards to examine and quarantine livestock is one of the major concerns among top regulators. Unfortunately, the possible eruption of A (H1N1) flu will add more pressure on the authorities to approve the introduction of hog futures," he said.
Livestock processing has developed rapidly in past years. Guo estimated that large-scale livestock processing workshops would have the capability to process up to 300 million hogs per year in total by 2011.
However, some analysts said building an infrastructure that benefits most hog suppliers, rather than the current flu, was the key factor that regulators have to consider before launching hog futures.
"The current overhang of spot prices to contract prices in many existing commodity futures probably will also happen in the proposed hog futures, which will dampen the fast-growing livestock industry," an analyst surnamed Qiao from a Shanghai-based brokerage said.
Source: China Daily
By Ding Qi
Although the economic slowdown trimmed profits of domestic listed companies last year, quite a few still propose lucrative dividend packages which may total 238.53 billion yuan ($34.92 billion), according to a report issued Monday from China Securities Journal.
In annual reports of some 1,600 companies listed in the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, 862 proposed cash or share dividend plans, the newspaper said. Total cash dividends are expected to reach 238.53 billion yuan, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all profits of main-board-listed companies.
Salt Lake Potash Co Ltd, a resource company in northwest Qinghai province, was the most generous company in both markets with a dividend of 1.283 billion yuan or 1.672 yuan per share before tax. The payout accounts for 94.06 percent of its 2008 profit.
Notably, 211 of 273 companies listed in the Shenzhen-based SME board plan to reward shareholders with 7.767 billion yuan in dividends, accounting for 31.4 percent of the total profit of the year. Among them, 17 companies each were ready to hand out more than 100 million yuan, while only eight were willing to do so in 2007.
However, earlier statistics from China Securities Journal showed net profits of domestic listed companies fell 17 percent from a year earlier to 820.82 billion yuan. Nearly 18.5 percent of the companies reported losses in 2008.
Huang Junjie, an analyst from China Jianyin Investment Securities, told chinadaily.com.cn that the rising refinancing threshold was an important factor behind listed companies' generosity.
In an effort to encourage companies' dividend payouts and boost long-term investment, China's securities regulator issued a new regulation last October, pegging refinancing approval with their dividend policies.
"The listed firms, if applying for refinancing, must pay dividends in cash totaling no less than 30 percent of its distributed profits over the previous three years," according to the regulation.
"In order to raise additional funds or conduct other capital moves in the market, companies have to stick to the rules and keep a sound dividend paying record," Huang said. "In addition, a generous dividend policy helps to boost corporate image and maintain investor relationships."
There are also 480 listed companies which managed to gain last year, but are not ready to share the profits with their shareholders. Dividend payment plans are to be implemented upon the annual shareholders meetings' approval.
Source: China Daily
By Li Xiaokun, Wang Zhuoqiong and Wang Huazhong
China and Mexico Monday agreed to send chartered flights to each other's countries to fetch their citizens, dampening a row that stemmed from Beijing's quarantine of Mexican nationals in the country amid the global H1N1 flu outbreak.
On Sunday, China Southern Airlines canceled a chartered flight meant to pick up more than 200 Chinese citizens stranded in Mexico as it could not secure landing permission from Mexican airports.
The plane finally left Guangzhou for Mexico City at 10 pm Monday and is expected to return to Shanghai at 9 am Wednesday, the airline said.
The second batch of Chinese medical supplies to Mexico is taken aboard a China Southern Airlines plane early yesterday morning. It touched down at Mexico City last night with 70 tons of supplies that included masks, gloves and disinfecting devices.
The Mexican government Monday accused China of singling out its citizens for forced isolation despite the fact they showed no symptoms of the virus.
A Mexican embassy official said that there were nearly 70 Mexicans quarantined across China - in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Some had traveled to China aboard the same flight that carried an infected Mexican man - Asia's first confirmed H1N1 flu case - who is now in a Hong Kong hospital.
Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa called China's actions "unjustified" and warned Mexicans against visiting China.
China rejected the charge, saying it was not discriminating against Mexicans and called for Mexico to be "objective and calm".
"The measures are not targeted at Mexican citizens, and are not discriminatory. This is purely a question of health inspection and quarantine," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said yesterday.
"China understands the Mexican side's concern for the rights and interests of its citizens in China, and hopes to jointly address the epidemic situation," he said.
The WHO's representative in China, Hans Troeddson, said yesterday the measures taken by Beijing are proper and do not violate current regulations.
"It's really up to each country and should be in accordance with their own regulations and legislation on public health and protection of the population," he said.
Zhong Nanshan, a renowned medical expert and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, also defended the quarantine measures.
Medical circles are still unclear over the pathology of the H1N1 virus, he said. "We're not sure whether H1N1 carriers transfer the virus before showing symptoms," Zhong said.
As such, quarantine for a certain period is necessary to check whether those monitored are infected, he said.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said Mexican authorities' criticism of China's quarantine moves could slightly affect their relations.
"If the flu had broken out in China and other countries had taken similar action, I don't think Beijing would have complained," he said, pointing out that China has also quarantined its own citizens returning from Mexico.
"(But) we can understand the Mexican reaction, which has been affected by their domestic situation. Not many will mention it after two or three weeks," he said.
Most Chinese online users also support the decision to quarantine Mexicans.
A poll by major information portal Sina.com showed that 92.5 percent of 4,263 online users said the quarantine was "a necessary preventive method and had nothing to do with discrimination".
China offered $5 million in aid to Mexico last Wednesday - $1 million in cash and $4 million in medical supplies - the first country to send aid after the epidemic broke out. Mexican President Felipe Calderon received the Air China chartered flight carrying the supplies on Friday.
The second batch of aid material reached yesterday.
In China, the authorities have beefed up preventive measures.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday although the mainland has not yet reported any cases of H1N1, there is a possibility of the virus making its way.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said yesterday six more supervision teams had been sent to Shandong, Hebei, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces to work with local authorities in epidemic prevention. It sent five teams to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in late April.
The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday raised its tally of confirmed human H1N1 cases to 1,003 with 26 confirmed deaths. Twenty countries and regions have reported laboratory-confirmed cases so far. Mexico, the center of the outbreak, has reported 590 cases and 25 deaths from the virus.
Source: China Daily