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Edward Lehman named leading Business Lawyer

Published: August 26, 2009

BEIJING ¨CEdward Lehman, Managing Director of leading red circle law firm Lehman, Lee & Xu has been named as one of Who¡¯s Who leading Business Lawyers.
Lehman, who founded his form seventeen years ago has been consistently ranked among the top corporate and IP lawyers in the country for the last decade. ¡°Its an honor to be recognized in this category. As China continues to open up the legal market here gets more competitive. Its important to keep focus and remember that the client must always remain the central focus¡± relays Lehman, a Chicago native who first came to China in 1987.

Who¡¯s Who Legal publishes a list annually of lawyers who are considered pre eminent experts in their field. The guide takes twelve months of intensive research with the winners being chosen through a careful vetting and peer review process. ¡°In China the names are traditionally from foreign firms with representative offices in the PRC¡± states Lehman. ¡°I¡¯ve always been especially proud to be nominated as it shows that local firms are now matching the foreign firms in terms of expertise.¡± Lehman has no doubt that one day the names will be made up almost exclusively of practitioners from local Chinese firms. ¡°Within the next decade there will be a sea change as local practitioners become more sophisticated¡±.

The guide, seen as a crucial tool for selecting and vetting practitioners in an increasingly crowded marketplace, is endorsed both by the International Bar Association and the International Section of the American Bar Association. ...

China News 0 Comment August 28, 2009, 5:47 pm

EDWARD LEHMAN SPEAKS AT CCTV 9 ON INTERNATIONAL LAW ISSUES

Edward E. Lehman was invited by CCTV 9 to speak on the recent release of the Bomber of Lockerbie Air Crash in the Dialogue Program on August 26, 2009. Please see the program at: http://english.cctv.com/program/e_dialogue/20090827/104761.shtml

Edward E. Lehman, Managing Director of Lehman, Lee & Xu, who has been working in China for over twenty years, has often been invited by various media to talk on issues about Chinese laws as well as international laws.
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China Culture 0 Comment August 27, 2009, 5:10 pm

EXPORTS NARROWLY EDGE PAST GERMANY'S FOR FIRST TIME

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

Updated: 2009-08-26 07:59

China's rise as the world largest exporter, though significant, does not mean Chinese exports will be of as high a quality as Germany's goods, experts said.

The Chinese government should seriously consider ways to improve the quality of goods for export and create more value-added products to strengthen its competitiveness, they said.

For the first time, China took the lead as the world's export champion, surpassing Germany by a minimal amount in the first half of the year.

A report released Tuesday by the World Trade Organization (WTO) shows that from January to June, China exported goods worth $521.7 billion. Germany, which has been the world's biggest exporter since 2003, exported goods worth $521.6 billion.

Despite the fact that Chinese exports have declined for nine months, "China's economic power is still rising, and excluding the exchange rate factor, China is expected to surpass Japan as the second-largest economy this year," said Cai Haitao, inspector of the Department of Policy Research under the Ministry of Commerce.

In late July, the WTO predicted China would pass Germany as the largest exporter in 2009.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also said the ratio of China's foreign trade to global trade will increase from the current 8.7 percent to 10 percent when the global economy recovers.

"The figure is not surprising, thanks to the nation's growing economic strength. And the possibility is high that the momentum will continue," said Li Daokui, senior Chinese economist and director of the Economic and Management Institute of Tsinghua University.

But WTO chief economist Patrick Low said it was impossible to say which of the two nations would come out on top this year or in 2010.

"It's a very tight race," Reuters quoted Low as saying Tuesday.

"Obviously, the result will depend not only on what happens to export volumes, but what happens to exchange rates."

Last Tuesday, Germany's DIHK export association was quoted by AFP as saying that global demand for high-worth and high-priced products made in Germany had shrunk sharply during the economic crisis.

"Germany's trading partners are going more for cheaper products now," it said.

For China, the problem is still the quality and mix of exports.

"The Chinese economy has not benefited much from the exports. The biggest concern is the quality of exports," said Li.

Since late last year, trade protectionism against China has kept rising.

The nation has become a major target of trade remedy measures launched by developed nations, including the US and Europe, and developing nations, represented by India and Turkey.

From last October to this June, investigations concerning trade remedy measures against China were valued at $9.8 billion, rocketing up by 113 percent compared with the first three quarters of 2008.

"The question is, why it was all against China, not Germany?" said Li.

Germany has long enjoyed a good reputation for its high-tech and quality products. "Chinese exporters need to develop more value-added goods," said Li.

And Chinese exporters need to shift their focus to emerging markets, instead of the US and Europe, said Cai.

China's exports to the Middle East, East Europe, Africa and Latin America, respectively, accounted for 9.2, 3.7, 10.4 and 6.9 percent of their markets. But comparatively, the figure was 17 percent to 22 percent for the US and Europe.

The share of China's exports in the major 12 trade partners rose rapidly amid the economic recession.

According to the Customs, the market share climbed from 16.2 percent during the first quarter to 19.3 percent in early 2008. The 12 trade partners imported 75 percent of Chinese goods.

Although the global economy seems to have bottomed out, there is no sign that it will recover soon, which will force Chinese exporters to struggle for months.

"The global economy will experience low-speed growth for a long period of time," said Cai.
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China Culture 0 Comment August 26, 2009, 10:09 am

JUDICIAL SYSTEM 'ON TRIAL' AS COURTS DISAGREE OVER VILLAGERS' LIBEL CASE

Al Guo
Aug 25, 2009

A test of the judicial system at the grass-roots level - that is how the lawyer for eight Henan villagers, who were convicted of libelling the village's Communist Party chief, sees his clients' possible third trial, after their two previous appeals were upheld.
The Qinyang Intermediate People's Court still has to decide whether it will pursue another trial. Originally it sentenced the peasants, from Panyao village of Shanwangzhuang town, to prison terms ranging from one to two years in October.

However, in the first appeal, the Jiaozuo People's Court found those terms inappropriate and sent the case back to Qinyang for retrial. In the second trial in June, the Qinyang court increased sentences for four defendants and eliminated probation for three defendants considered guilty only of minor offences.

Li Huiqing , a Beijing-based lawyer who represents the eight peasants, said while the first Qinyang ruling was "wrong", the second was "dead wrong". A second appeal was filed in Jiaozuo; the court upheld it on August 5 and, yet again, sent the case back to Qinyang.

"I think everyone understands the case was tossed back for a retrial because the Qinyang court didn't have enough evidence to support the [original] libel verdict," Mr Li said. "But the court, without showing further evidence, simply added extra penalties to the original charges [the second time]."

The eight villagers were arrested for handing out fliers in March last year, accusing village party chief Wu Xiaobao of abusing his power and taking money from the village's public account.

Mr Li said Qinyang police had arrested the eight peasants and filed charges. But according to mainland libel laws, only the person harmed by the alleged libel has the right to take the case to court. In this case, Mr Li said, Qinyang police arrested the villagers on Mr Wu's behalf.

Apart from the issue of who is allowed to launch a libel case, the accusations were written only after the village office refused to detail how the public money had been spent.

"Even with a little speculation, the eight peasants made most of their remarks based on the truth they knew," Mr Li said. "I think it will be a sad day for China's judicial system if the [Qinyang] court chooses to stick to its wrong decisions even after all the evidence has twice shown they were wrong," he said.

Mr Li said that, in his opinion, even if the Qinyang court convicted the villagers, the Jiaozuo court would throw out the verdict yet again.

Source: South China Morning Post
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China Culture 0 Comment August 25, 2009, 3:50 pm

HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER ARRESTED ON TAX EVASION CHARGES

(China Daily)

Updated: 2009-08-19 09:28

An outspoken Beijing lawyer has been arrested for tax evasion nearly three weeks after he was detained, his lawyer said Monday.

Xu Zhiyong, co-founder of Gongmeng, a legal assistance group, was taken from his home by security officers at dawn on July 29, according to a statement from Gongmeng.

Zhou Ze, Xu's lawyer, told China Daily Tuesday that Beijing prosecutors had approved a police application to arrest Xu for tax evasion.

Beijing municipal authorities ordered the closure of Gongmeng last month for not being "registered properly". Beijing tax authorities also sent a formal notice to the center last month, imposing a fine of 1.4 million yuan ($207,000) for evading taxes on funds received from overseas.

The notice of his arrest has been sent to Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, where Xu works as a professor.

An officer with the university's security department who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue confirmed to China Daily that the school had received the notice, but would not give further details.

Press officers with the Beijing public security bureau and procuratorate said they have no information about Xu's arrest.

The arrest brings Xu's case closer to a possible trial, although officials have not made a firm decision to prosecute. If tried and found guilty, Xu faces a maximum penalty of seven years in jail, according to the Criminal Law.

But Zhou said he considers the charge improper as only intentional tax evasion or the refusal to pay taxes despite of government notification could result in a criminal punishment.

"Neither of these two conditions apply to Xu's case. He has never been informed of failing to pay tax before," Zhou said.

Xu is currently being kept at the Beijing detention house, Zhou said.

"I paid a visit to him last Friday and he looked fine," he said.

Zhou said that there is no need for others to associate the charge with speculation that the government is cracking down on Gongmeng.

"We will try to defend him for the charge of tax evasion and I hope people won't associate too much with it."

Xu, in his late 30s, gained national attention in 2003 when he took up the case of Sun Zhigang, a college graduate who died after being beaten in a penitentiary hospital in the southern province of Guangdong.

The case helped to bring about the abolition of such penitentiary hospitals used to hold migrants accused of not having the right documents.

The combination of legal casework and public advocacy used by Xu and his colleagues set an example for many subsequent campaigns.

In 2005, Xu registered the Gongmeng group. With other scholars and lawyers, Xu has been providing legal help to the country's disadvantaged groups, including some of the parents of children who fell ill after drinking contaminated milk powder last year.

Information about Xu has been blocked on the internet Tuesday as the search for "Xu Zhiyong (Chinese characters)"on Google.cn and Baidu, two major search engines, generated: "Your search results don't conform to related laws and policy".

Source: China Daily
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China Culture 0 Comment August 20, 2009, 10:41 am

BILLIONAIRES, CRIME BOSSES HELD IN BLITZ

14 gangs busted, 100 arrested in triad crackdown in Chongqing

Choi Chi-yuk
Aug 14, 2009

Police in Chongqing have broken up 14 organised crime gangs and detained scores of local businessmen, including three well-known billionaires, for their involvement in triad activities, the municipal government said yesterday.

A total of 100 mobsters, including 19 triad bosses, were arrested during a 50-day assault on organised crime in China's biggest city.

Crime gangs have got out of control in the booming industrial municipality - home to more than 30 million people.

The crackdown coincides with the downfall of Wen Qiang - director of the Chongqing Justice Bureau and formerly deputy police chief for 16 years - who was put under internal party investigation last Saturday for his alleged connections to organised crime.

It also turns the spotlight on the dangerous combination of power, money and gangsters that has made organised crime part of everyday life in Chongqing.

"Among the detained suspects, many are local entrepreneurs and businessmen, including billionaires," government spokesman Zhou Bo said.

Han Deyun , a local lawyer and a National People's Congress deputy who was briefed earlier by the authorities about the case, said at least three local billionaires had been detained.

Mr Han said those detained were property tycoon Chen Mingliang , motorbike tycoon Gong Gangmo , and Li Qiang - a local people's congress deputy who was once considered "the richest man" in the city's Banan district.

All three had developed close ties with Wen Qiang over the years.

With so many business leaders involved, Mr Zhou said the local government had to take care that the crackdown did not trigger a massive wave of business closures.

"When our police have gone to freeze the assets and ill-gotten fortunes amassed by these people, we considered the impact on [legitimate] business. We've reserved some money to ensure the affected companies and factories will continue to operate and do not have to close down," he said.

At a press conference to announce the arrests, Mr Zhou was asked to confirm whether 200 property developers in the city had been detained. The spokesman sidestepped the question, stressing instead that the crackdown had the full backing of Chongqing people.

In an apparent attempt to calm local business people, who feared they might be targeted in the anti-triad operation, Chongqing's recently appointed police chief, Wang Lijun , had met 30 of them on July 31, said Mr Han, who was present at the meeting.

Mr Wang told the business people not to worry even though some of them had paid money in the past to the arrested gangsters.

The police chief said he understood that many businessmen were coerced by the gangsters into paying them money. He said they would not be punished for such actions and pledged to relieve some of them from the extortive loans they had with the crime gangs.
Mr Wang also pledged that Chongqing police would not use the crackdown to extort money from the business leaders.

"He told them that police would protect their investment and legitimate business," Mr Han said. "Mr Wang said `we won't throw you to the wolves after saving you from the mouth of a tiger'. The business leaders think Mr Wang is an upright police chief who is really going to get tough on gangsters."

Source: South China Morning Post
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China Culture 0 Comment August 17, 2009, 9:57 am

CHINA REGRETS WTO RULING ON PUBLICATIONS RESTRICTIONS

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2009-08-13 13:35

China expressed "regret" Thursday over a World Trade Organization ruling against its regulations on the import and distribution of books and audio-visual products.

China regretted the decision by a WTO dispute panel to uphold a United States appeal about those regulations, said Yao Jian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce.

"China has always fulfilled its obligations on market access for publications, and the channels for foreign publications, films and audio-visual products to enter the Chinese market are extremely open," said Yao.

His statement came after the panel officially distributed the report to WTO members on Wednesday.

"China will seriously evaluate the panel's report and does not rule out the possibility of appealing the ruling," he said.

Source: China Daily...

China News 0 Comment August 13, 2009, 5:50 pm

FOUR RIO TINTO EMPLOYEES ARRESTED

By Zhang Qi and Cui Xiaohuo (China Daily)

Updated: 2009-08-12 07:51

Nearly six weeks after being detained by the Shanghai State Security Bureau for suspected espionage activities, Shanghai procuratorate authorities have now formally arrested four Rio Tinto employees.

The four, including Australian executive Stern Hu, have been charged with infringing business secrets and bribery, the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

The arrest came shortly after Hu received his second consular visit from Australian officials.

Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, said in Canberra yesterday Hu, an Australian citizen, had contact with consular representatives but he did not elaborate.

Chinese legal experts said the case was "complicated" but insisted Hu had been treated in line with normal legal procedures.

Wang Minyuan, an expert on legal procedure at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily that police and prosecutors' dealings in the Rio Tinto case had been legal.

"China's criminal law of procedure stipulates that the police normally must arrest or release detainees within one month from the start of their detention. However, detention may be prolonged if prosecutors need to conduct additional investigation," he said.

The Criminal Procedural Law stipulates that prosecutors may apply for additional time for investigations up to twice, which would allow police to detain suspects for one additional month each time.

The same law stipulates that legal representation must be given to suspects if the case is connected to State secrets.

Rio Tinto, meanwhile, has moved employees out of its Shanghai office following the detention and arrest of Hu and the three others, said Sam Walsh, head of London-based Rio's iron ore unit, according to Bloomberg yesterday.

Walsh said some non-Chinese employees in Shanghai had moved to Singapore.

China is Australia's second-largest trading partner.

Source: China Daily
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China Culture 0 Comment August 12, 2009, 9:42 am

PLANE BACK TO URUMQI AFTER THREAT

By Lei Xiaoxun, Hu Yinan and Cai Ke (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-11 07:07

A China-bound Afghan plane diverted to Kandahar Sunday night after a bomb threat finally arrived at Urumqi, its scheduled destination, late last night.

Kam Air president Zamarai Kamgar, who was on the aircraft, told China Daily the entire incident "might have been a hoax". The airline's competitors might have been behind it, he said.

Kam Air is Afghanistan's first private airline. The state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines is its primary competitor.

"I'm very confident about the Chinese market," Kamgar said, stressing that from the first week of September onwards, Kam Air will be flying Tuesdays from Kabul to Urumqi as well. Now the flight is only on Sundays.

"There was quite some confusion on the plane when we were told we had to go back," said Daud, a crew member on the flight.

"Then we realized that there couldn't be any threat; we did our best in security before the plane took off."

A source with the China Metallurgical Group Corp who flies regularly to Kabul said he shares those feelings.

"Security measures have always been super-tight. I'm guessing that this was just a trick by Ariana," he said.

The Boeing 767 flight arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul, from which it had departed, early yesterday after an overnight stay in Kandahar, said Feda Mohammad Fedawi, deputy head of Kam Air.

Carrying 168 people, including five Chinese, the aircraft was earlier denied permission to land in Urumqi on Sunday and made an emergency landing in Kandahar during its return because "the weather condition in Kabul was very bad at that time", Kamgar said.

Pan Dongjie, a passenger on the plane, confirmed that the plane "made landing efforts in Kabul airport, but failed".

"Maybe it was because of strong winds," Pan said.

An official with Kabul International Airport, however, said the plane made the unexpected landing due to some "mechanical problem".

In Urumqi, an airport source said "the plane had descended to an altitude of about 2,000 m when it was informed by ground control that there were bombs on board and that it had to turn back".

Airport staff "received news of the bomb threat on Sunday night", according to the source. Pan, the passenger, also claims to have known about the bomb threat. But both Kamgar and Afghanistan's counterterrorism chief Abdul Manan Farahi said there was no bomb on the plane.

The airplane is scheduled to fly to Kabul from Urumqi at 10:30 am today.

Cui Jia, AP and Reuters contributed to the story...

China News 0 Comment August 11, 2009, 10:56 am

GREEN POWER COMPANIES TARGET HK$6B IN IPOS TO TAP ENERGY DEMAND

Wong Ka-chun
Aug 10, 2009

Greens Power Equipment (China) and China Longyuan Electric Power Corp plan to raise up to a combined HK$6 billion in Hong Kong initial public offerings as they take advantage of rising mainland demand for alternative energy projects.
Both offerings are planned to be completed before the end of the year and investment bank Morgan Stanley of the United States is the sole adviser for the two companies.

Market sources indicated Greens Power, the smaller of the two firms, could start its offering before China Longyuan.

Greens Power, founded in 2002 and based in Shanghai, was solely owned by Greens Power of Britain and was hoping to sell a stake of up to HK$1 billion for a listing on the main board in late September or early October, sources said.

Two other sources said China Longyuan aimed to raise at least HK$5 billion by the end of the year.

Greens Power offers a variety of environmentally friendly boilers and heat-transfer products for the power generation and petrochemical industries.

Green energy, or alternative energy, is considered to be non-polluting and includes electricity production by geothermal, wind, solar or hydropower methods, instead of the traditional use of coal.

The alternative energy sector on the mainland has attracted strong interest from institutional investors given its huge growth potential and is backed by policy support from the central government.

China Longyuan, the nation's largest producer of wind power, is believed to have lodged its listing application with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The company is the renewable energy unit of China Guodian Corp, one of the five state-owned producers of electrical power. Last year, it accounted for more than 20 per cent of mainland wind-power producing capacity with power generation capacity of 2,630 megawatts.

China Longyuan boosted its generation capacity to 3,000 MW in the first half of the year and hopes to raise that to 6,000 MW next year.

Given the recent strong market sentiment and ample capital inflows, at least 10 companies are believed to be planning offerings in Hong Kong aiming to raise a combined HK$20 billion.

The H-share offering of China Metallurgical Group is the biggest issue among those planning a September offering. The company is thought to be aiming to raise HK$10 billion in Hong Kong as well as to tap the domestic market by selling US$1.4 billion worth of A shares on the Shanghai stock market.

Source: South China Morning Post...

China Culture 0 Comment August 10, 2009, 9:36 am

CHINA TO ENHANCE SERVICE MARKET ACCESS

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2009-08-06 14:51

China will further enhance access in its service market and expand areas and channels for non-government investment, according to a fact sheet released in Beijing on Wednesday.

The move was aimed to expedite the development of its services industry and increase the share of services in GDP, said the economic track joint fact sheet of the first China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).

In the fact sheet, the two countries agreed to take measures respectively to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth in their domestic economies both to ensure a strong recovery from the international financial crisis and to bring about more balanced and sustainable global economic growth after a global recovery is firmly established.

It said, firstly, both countries would enhance communication and the exchange of information regarding macroeconomic policy, and would work together to pursue policies of adjusting domestic demand and relative prices to lead to more sustainable and balanced trade and growth.

Secondly, both sides would also pursue forward-looking monetary policies with due regard for the ramifications of those policies for the international economy.

In addition, they would encourage new approaches to infrastructure financing to assist with economic recovery.

The fact sheet said the United States would take measures to increase national saving as a share of GDP.

"The US household saving rate has already risen sharply as a result of the crisis, contributing to a significant decline in the US current account deficit, and the United States will adopt policies that will continue to encourage household saving," it said.

The United States would also reform its health care system with the aim of controlling rising health care costs for businesses and government while assuring high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and was committed to reducing the federal budget deficit relative to GDP to a sustainable level by 2013.

As for China, the fact sheet said the country would continue to implement structural and macroeconomic policies to stimulate domestic demand and increase the contribution of consumption to GDP growth.

China would also deepen social safety net reform, including strengthening its basic old-age insurance system and enterprise annuities, it said.

The first S&ED was held in Washington, D.C. from July 27 to 28. The mechanism was jointly launched by Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Obama during their meeting in April in London as a way to show elevation of the importance of China-US cooperation under the new historical circumstances.

Source: China Daily...

China Culture 0 Comment August 7, 2009, 3:45 pm

CHINA ALLOCATES 75M YUAN TO CONTINUE DAIRYING SUBSIDIES

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2009-08-04 10:15

China's Ministry of Finance said Monday it is to continue subsidizing dairy companies' loan interest payments to the tune of 75 million yuan ($10.97 million), in a move to help them cut costs and protect the interests of dairy farmers.

The measure covers the interest on loans taken out by dairy companies to purchase raw milk from farms because of the melamine contamination scandal last year, the ministry said.

The ministry unveiled the subsidies policy in September 2008 following the contamination problems. It took effect from October to December last year, and was then extended into March this year. On July 27, the policy was further extended to year end to support dairy producers.

The subsidy covers 3.11 percentage points of the loan interest rate, the ministry said on July 27.

The country's dairy industry last year slumped after milk powder produced by Sanlu Group was contaminated by melamine, which killed six children and resulted in more than 300,000 becoming ill.
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China News 0 Comment August 5, 2009, 9:39 am