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Morning Wrap: Top Stories in the Chinese Press - July 19

July 19, 2013
Translated by Luo Shuqi and Pang Lei

Stories that got top billing on China's major web portals on Friday morning include updates on the investigation into the death of a small vendor in Hunan after he was involved in an altercation with urban management officials or "chengguan." (SCMP and Global Times).

There's also high-profile coverage of the response from the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC), the Communist Party's top anti-corruption body, to allegations of corruption made by a financial journalist against executives at one of the country's largest State-owned conglomerates - they'll look into it.

Chinese media are also giving plenty of coverage to the results of a PewResearch survey that shows that many of the 37,000 people surveyed believe that China will eventually supplant the United States as the world's dominant superpower.

Keep reading below for a translated digests of some of the other stories being reported by mainland Chinese media outlets today.

Spending by Central Government Ministries Exceeds Budget by 220 Billion Yuan
Beijing News
Government bodies operating under the authority of the State Council announced details of their actual spending in 2012 yesterday. As of 10pm last night, more than 80 offices, ministries, departments, organizations and institutions that operate under the authority of China's State Council revealed that they had spent a combined amount of close to 920 billion yuan in 2012, 220 billion yuan more than had originally been budgeted at the start of 2012. Less than 10 of the deparments spent less than the amount budgeted for at the start of 2012. This marks the third year that central government departments have released details of their actual spending to the public after new regulations introduced to encourage budget transparency came into effect in 2011. In April, the same agencies announced combined spending plans of close to 700 billion yuan for 2013.
Original article: [Chinese]

Shenzhen Ready to Introduce Property Tax
Southern Metropolis Daily
Yang Long (杨龙), the spokesperson and the vice director of Shenzhen's local tax administration, has revealed that the southern coastal city has begun to research and prepare for the introduction of a property tax that is already being trialed in Chongqing and Shanghai. Yang says that Shenzhen officials have not only conducted thorough research on Shenzhen's real estate market, but also went to the two pilot cities to develop an understanding of how the tax functions. A unique situation in Shenzhen is that the number of commercial residential properties (商品房) is smaller than the number of other types of houses such as houses with limited property rights (小产权房) and welfare houses (福利房). Yang said that although such a property tax is usually only applied to commercial residential properties, it's unclear whether Shenzhen will also impose the tax on other kinds of residential properties.
Original article: [Chinese]

Finance Minister: VAT Reforms to Reduce Tax Revenue by Around 900 Billion Yuan
Southern Metropolis Daily
According to a speech (Chinese text) on changes to China's fiscal policy given by Lou Jiwei (楼继伟), China's Finance Minister, at the recent U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue, the gradual expansion of value-added tax (VAT) in China, which is expected to be completed over the coming one or two years, is estimated to lead to around a 900 billion yuan reduction in tax revenue. Lou also mentioned other reforms to the Chinese tax system and changes to central and local government responsibilities for certain spending programs. Lou also said that the Chinese government plans to introduce new policies that will lower the tax burden of smaller firms. China collected about 10 trillion yuan in tax revenue last year, around 2.6 trillion was in VAT receipts.
Original article: [Chinese]

Peking University Report: Home Ownership Rate in China Close to 90%
China Internet Information Center
According to a recent report released by the Institute of Social Science Survey (中国社会科学调查中心) at Peking University, approximately 90 percent of the almost 15,000 households surveyed own their own house and over 10 percent own more than two properties. The research focused on five regions - Shanghai, Henan, Gansu, Guangdong and Liaoning. The report demonstrates that the average Chinese household owns a 100 square meter property. In terms of education, the top income quartile of households surveyed invest 3,607 yuan in education every year, twice what families in the bottom 25 percent spend.
Original article: [Chinese]


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