News & Reports 2013-05-04

源 稿 窗
字号 +
字号 -
Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2013-05-04

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

The Chinese government says it is looking forward to fruitful talks on border issues with India's foreign minister during his upcoming visit to China.
A new Pentagon report says North Korea poses one of the most critical U.S. security challenges in Northeast Asia.
The opposition in Japan expresses concern over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's intention to amend the country's pacifist constitution.
And education authorities in Beijing introduce new rules to ease the workload on primary and middle-school students amid concerns and outcries of parents.

Hot Issue Reports

Indian Foreign Minister to Visit China
The Chinese government is promising fruitful talks about border issues during the forthcoming visit by India's foreign minister.

Salman Khurshid is due to meet with Chinese leadership this coming week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

"China is willing to work together with the Indian side to use this visit by Foreign Minister Khurshid to push forward the strategic cooperative partnership between China and India. At the same time as positively developing friendly cooperation, China and India are also committed to using peaceful negotiation to resolve differences, including the border issue."

Hua Chunying also says they want to keep the lines of communication open.

"The two sides are currently maintaining close communication through channels including work mechanisms for consultation and coordination of border issues, diplomatic and frontier defense meetings, and searching for ways to resolve the incident that happened in a part of the China-India border. China is willing to work together with the Indian side to together protect the peace and calm of the China-India border region."

The meeting comes amid reports Chinese troops were discovered some 11-kilometers over the Indian border this past month.

The Chinese side has denied the allegation.

Pentagon Report Sees DPRK as U.S. Security Threat in Northeast Asia
The United States has released a new report on North Korea's military development.

The Pentagon says North Korea poses one of the most critical U.S. security challenges in Northeast Asia, given its nuclear capabilities and the development of long-range ballistic missiles.

Professor Zhang Liangui is with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

"In the past, the US never saw North Korea as a real threat in terms of military capability or technology. But now the Pentagon seems to think North Korea's nuclear missiles could threaten the US territory. North Korea launched a satellite last December, which theoretically could be a threat. So the US has begun to pay attention to North Korea."

Zhang Liangui says while the new US report suggests caution, he says it should be noted North Korea's offensive abilities are limited.

"US territory is within North Korea's rocket range, which is 10-thousand kilometers. But North Korea only successfully conducted it once. As such, it doesn't mean its missile technology is ready for a battle. Even if North Korea acquires the technology, there is the Pacific in between, so the US has enough time to intercept it. So the US doesn't think North Korea can pose tangible threats to it."

The same report says North Korea can inflict "great damage" on South Korea.

But it goes on to say the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance is a deterrence to North Korean attacks.

More Bodies Pulled out from Collapsed Building in Bangladesh
The death toll from the building collapse in Bangladesh has officially topped 500.

Soldiers and volunteers have uncovered dozens more bodies today.

"Since last night till now we have found 40 bodies. The numbers are increasing, still bodies are coming."

It's feared as many as 800 more bodies are still lodged in the rubble.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Muhith says he is "not worried" about foreign garment makers leaving the country.

"The present difficulties, well, I don't think it is really serious. It's an accident and the steps that we have taken in order to make sure that it doesn't happen, they are quite elaborate and I believe that it will be appreciated by all."

So far 9 people have been arrested in connection with the collapse.

An engineer, who warned the 8-storey complex was unsafe, is the latest person to be arrested in connection with the collapse.

The engineer was involved in the original construction of the building.

The structure was only designed for 5-storys.

The owner, who is also under arrest, later added 3-more floors.

Oppositions Voice Concerns as Abe Plans to Amend Constitution
The opposition in Japan is expressing concern over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who vows to amend the country's pacifist constitution.

Abe has made the pledge ahead of today's 66th anniversary of the signing of the post-war government mandate.

Abe is promising to revise the Constitution to clear the way for an offensive-oriented military.

Mizuho Fukushima is the leader of opposition Social Democratic Party.

"After revising the Article 9, Japan can turn self-defense forces into national defense troops which can use forces, have the rights to enter war and start collective self-defense. Then Japan can join the U.S and go to wars. Japan, a country that renounces war, will be turned into a country that can declare wars. It will destroy the efforts that people have made over the past years to maintain peace."

A survey by the Kyodo News agency shows a split amongst the population.

42-percent of those asked support a re-draft of the Constitution.

46-percent support the move.

The current Japanese constitution was drafted by the United States and enacted in 1947.

How Can China Better Handle Trade Disputes
With the latest stats showing the global economy will only grow by around 2-percent this year, questions about trade-protectionism have been increasing.

It comes amid a recent up-tick in the number of trade investigations launched at the WTO.

A number of them have been directed at Chinese firms.

To that end, CRI's Zheng Chenguang spoke with Zha Xiaogang, Research Fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

China's Non-manufacturing Sector Shrinks in April
China's non-manufacturing sector has shrunk in April.

The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing is reporting the purchasing managers index for the non-manufacturing sector has come in at 54.5 in April.

This is a 1.1 point drop from March.

A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion.

CFLC vice-president Cai Jin.

"The consuming power was greatly weakened, judging from the figure of new orders in the service sector. So we should strive to develop the service sector, and expand consumer demand so that the economy can be upheld by such purchasing power while developing in a sustainable manner."

Cai Jin says depite the downturn, the overall Chinese economy is still in good shape.

"Despite of the shrink in non-manufacturing sector in April, the economy remained a stable trend, in terms of employment and enterprise prospects. Therefore, the market is generally running well."

The latest stats show the PMI in the real estate sector down 7-points from last month.

Ease the Burden on Young Students
Education authorities in Beijing have brought in 8 new rules to try to ease the workload on primary and middle-school students.

CRI's Zhang Wan has the details.

Some of the measures Beijing is taking to ease the burden on young students include exempting first and second grade students from homework, banning all mid-term exams, and fixing limits for the amount of assignment work, , in the subjects of Chinese language, maths and English, that can be set for students between the third to sixth grade.

According to the new measures, assignments for third and fourth grade students must be able to be completed within 30 minutes, and for fifth and sixth grade students, within one hour.

Luo Jie, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education explains.

"When it comes to easing the burden on young students, we should start with the assignment of homework. After carefully selecting homework for students, teachers should also guide students on how to complete the work."

In a primary school in Chaoyang district, the head teacher of each class is required to closely monitor the total daily amount of homework assigned to students, which, for the subjects of Chinese language, maths, and English language should not exceed 30 minutes each. Liu Lihong is a subject department head within the school:

"Every month we carry out an evaluation of the total amount of daily and weekly homework, which allows us see the average load of a student each month. In March, the amount of daily homework totaled 26 minutes on average."

Experts say the key point of easing the burden on young students lies in reforming the system for evaluating students, as exam scores should not be the only gauge for evaluating their academic performance.

Zhang Zhaohui, deputy director of the Commission of Education of Chaoyang district, says that in primary schools in the Chaoyang district, the physical and psychological conditions of the students are also included in school and teacher evaluation systems.

"We set up special gauge to evaluate schools, which currently works beyond simply measuring student exam scores"

Luo Jie, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, says a more important issue in education today is to ensure that every student learns well.

"Elementary education is one of the most important periods in a person's development. We should turn our focus from "ensuring everyone receives the elementary education" to "ensuring everyone learns well". This is what we should be pursuing right now."

In the Chaoyang district primary school, teachers are evaluated by three gauges, including student exam scores, teaching quality, as well as cultivation of students' interest. The school never makes comparisons of the students' test results.

Chen Lihua, principal of the school, says the school only compares the average score of each class, instead of each student; additionally, the evaluation of the teachers has no direct correlation with the students' test scores.

A greater emphasis is also currently being placed on spare time being spent on play rather than homework, and outdoor exercises are being promoted to encourage students to participate in at least one hour of physical activity every day.

Many parents have expressed their hope that their children's spare time no longer be occupied by heavy workloads so that they can pursue their extracurricular interests. This could be a positive step for cultivating future generations of students, through encouraging all-round development.

For CRI, I am Zhang Wan.

Best Beijing Restaurants on the Radar
One of the local lifestyle magazines, 'Time Out Beijing,' has held its annual Food Awards.

CRI's Lai Ming was there.

One of the benefits of living in a mega city like Beijing is the access to a wide variety of gourmet food, including Chinese cuisine with its myriad of flavors and enticing foreign morsels from around the world.

However, in a city that expands out over nearly 260 square miles, finding these fine restaurants is no easy job. "Time Out Beijing" is one of these useful tools that help you pinpoint the targets.

The magazine's annual Time Out Beijing Food Awards have been running for six years. Each year there have been different winners for different awards, but the criteria have never changed, according to James Wilkinson, editor of Time Out Beijing.

"We've introduced different awards, the criteria is always the same: it has to be the best in Beijing of its particular area. We've kept changing every year, we are trying to be flexible, trying to reflect the interest of Beijing eaters and what's out there. So last year we introduced casual dining awards for the international casual dining, Chinese casual dining and Asian casual dining, this year we've introduced a caf award. So it is changing every year, and every year we have to make sure we are reflecting what Beijing's diners want."

All the panelists are either foreigners or have had much overseas dining experience, but that doesn't mean the winners all have to be western restaurants. The vegetarian restaurant "King's Joy" is the winner of 2013 Best New Restaurant, and the chain of hot pot restaurants Haidilao bagged the award for best service. According to James Wilkinson, that is a remarkable achievement.

"It is just about restaurants that do basic professionalism, we are looking for ones that really excel. We are looking for the ones where, it is raining and you come in wet and they take your coat and they give you a towel, or you come in with a little child then you give a toy for the kid to play with. We are looking for the places that really go out of their way make you feel at home. Not just you are a customer, but you are a friend who comes to stay and they want to make you really have a special meal."

Haidilao did not give any comment after winning the prize. In comparison, some western restaurants seem more enthusiastic about the competition. Brian Reimer is executive chef of French restaurant Maison Boulud which has won multiple awards in recent years.

"I think any marketing or any interaction we have with any of the local magazines is always positive for us. When a guest can open a magazine that we might have at the restaurant and sees us inside, or notices us in a magazine somewhere else in the city, it is always great publicity for us."

Regular magazine reader Oscar Casillas with Event Bank said she was happy to find her favorite restaurants on the list.

"The restaurants that they do, like Dianke Dianlai, Maison Boulud, a lot of these winners are some of my favorite restaurants. Beijing has only a certain amount of restaurants that I really enjoy, so definitely when I find one that is my favorite, we all go there and spend a lot of time there."

Other Chinese winners of the awards include Lost Heaven and Najia Xiaoguan, and the best restaurant award went to Temple Restaurant Beijing.

For CRI, I'm Laiming.

China News Service

"More mainlanders eyeing global lifestyle"

HSBC China Poll shows that mainlanders foresee an international lifestyle in their future.

About 80 percent of respondents expect to globe trot in the next 5 to 10 years, citing study, travel and investing abroad as main motivators.

Although only 10 percent of respondents had already studied or have children studying abroad, more than two-thirds have such plans in the pipeworks.

More than half considers an international education as the key to an internationalized lifestyle.

Meanwhile, 77% have plans to travel abroad.

The US, UK. Canada, Australia and Singapore are mainlanders' five favorite countries for education, while their top five tourist destinations are France, US, Australia, Canada and Italy.

China Daily

"Shanghai young migrant workers outnumber local peers"

Shanghai has more migrant workers born after 1980 than locals of the same age.

The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences published the figures, which also showed that the junior high school graduation rates amongst such works stood at 40%.

Completion of Junior high school is compulsory here in China.

Meanwhile 30% said that they had completed High School and 56% said that they were single.

Associated Press

"US suicide rate rise sharply among the middle-aged"

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that suicide rate among middle-aged Americans rose a startling 28 percent in a decade.

The trend was especially pronounced amongst middle-aged Caucasians, for whom there was a 40% rise between 1999-2010.

The study found that suicide amongst younger and older generations has remained steady.

One theory argues that the recession has caused more emotional trauma in Caucasians,

Proponents of the theory argue that Caucasians enjoy less support from religious affiliations and extended family compared to African Americans and Hispanics populations.

Another theory notes that white baby boomers have always had higher rates of depression and suicide, and that has held true despite their hitting middle age.

"Solar-Powered Plane Set to Begin Historic Cross-Country Flight Friday"

A solar-powered airplane is poised to depart on a historic coast-to-coast flight.

The plane will attempt cross the United States later today without using a single drop of fuel.

The Swiss-made plane, knwon as Solar Impulse, will depart San Francisco, Calif for Phoenix, Arizona.

Solar Impulse runs on power from solar panels and onboard batteries.

It is the first fuelless aircraft capable of flying during night time.

The unprecedented coast-to-coast flight is set to demonstrate the potential for "clean technologies" as viable and efficient methods of travel.

Market Update

U.S. stocks continued to rally on Friday following optimistic U.S. nonfarm payrolls report in April.

The Dow surged one percent to 14,974. The S&P 500 soared one percent to 1,614. The Nasdaq Composite Index leapt 1.1 percent to 3,379.

European market also ended higher. London's FTSE 100 gained one percent to 6,521.Frankfurt's DAX added two percent to 8,122. CAC 40 in Paris rose 1.4 percent to 3,913.