No. 387, Sept 26 - Oct 6

By English Edition Staff
Published: 2008-10-06

Highlights from the EO print, issue no. 387, Sept 29 – Oct 6, 2008

Land Administration Law Under Revision
The Chinese government would likely relax regulations on rural land and allow the transfer, rental and mortgage of land use rights for commune-owned, rural housing and farming land, according to sources who knew of the proposed amendment for the Land Administration Law. The Law currently prohibits rural land use rights to be transferred, resulting in property built upon those land - also known as minor property rights - be sold legally. If the amendment came through, rural residents would be able to sell property to urban residents, a practice deemed unlawful previously.
Original article: [Chinese]

Milk Scandal and Reflection on Value System
Editorial, cover
The melamine-tainted milk scandal has led to dismissal of Chinese officials but that was not the answer to resolving or preventing similar incidents from happening in the future, said the EO editorial. One key issue to consider was social conscience, moral standard and guiding values, which were the foundation to social order; without them, even stringent supervision and monitoring mechanism would fail to deliver, the editorial stressed.
Original article: [Chinese]

Tough call for New Quality Watchdog Chief
News, page 4
Rebuilding public trust has become one of the priority tasks for China's new quality watchdog chief Wang Yong, who took over the helm after Li Changjiang resigned over the melamine-tainted milk scandal that had sickened tens of thousands of people. The State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (SAQSIQ) had been criticized for failing to detect and prevent the incident.
Original article: [Chinese]

China's Slowed Tax Revenues Posing Challenge for Budget Planning
News, page 5
China's tax revenue growth had slowed for two consecutive months in July and August, adding pressure to the drafting of 2009 budget, which would likely see expanded spending for stabilizing prices and rebuilding natural disaster-hit areas while state income slowing. Sources from the Finance Ministry told the EO that all central government agencies had been asked to cut spending on civil servants' working trips, meetings and overseas study trips, among others, to attain zero growth in staff expenditure in next year's budget.
Original article: [Chinese]

China's SAFE to Target Investments in Europe
News, page 6
The financial meltdown in the United States would likely accelerate the pace for China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) to diversify its oversea investments and switch its focus to the European market. SAFE manages China's foreign reserves amounted to about 1.81 trillion dollars and it has started investing abroad to enhance long-term returns since 2005. Last year, SAFE had reportedly acquired shares in some 50 companies in England through its Hong Kong listed arm - SAFE Investment Company Ltd.
Original article: [Chinese]

Advertisement War between Xi'an Local Authorities
Nation, page 9
Local authorities in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, have been hiring professional writers to churn out polished propaganda pieces to highlight local achievements. The news-like articles were placed in advertisement slots in major local media. Rivalry existed among different district governments and agencies in the municipality that deployed such public relations strategy, which ultimately aimed at gaining provincial government's recognition for local officials' contribution to local development.
Original article: [Chinese]

Special Focus: Mourning for The Financial Empire
Money & Investment, page 17 - 20
A series of articles on the fallout of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy and the financial storm sweeping the Wall Street in the United States. In the Wall Street, affected young investment bankers were still speaking optimistically about new job opportunities in other institutions while their middle-age counterparts depicted a gloomier outlook.
Original article: [Chinese]

A Shaken Chinese Dairy Industry
Corporation, page 27
Before the melamine-tainted milk scandal hit China, its dairy industry was recording an average annual growth rate between 21% and 23% for the past seven years. Now market analysts projected that leading local dairy companies like Mengniu would suffer an 80% drop in sales in the fourth quarter of this year, and it would take at least another four years for the company to recover and rebuild consumers' confidence.
Original article: [Chinese]

Discounted Prices for Hangzhou Real Estate
Property, page 47
Developers in Hangzhou have resorted to slashing prices to boost a slowing real estate market, with some offering up to 30% discount. Developer Vanke took the lead in offering discount since early September and a dynamo effect took root, with one after another developer followed suit. While eager new buyers queued overnight for cheap units, old house-buyers who had paid higher prices for similar units earlier were protesting outside real estate sale office.
Original article: [Chinese]