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News In Chinese Media

Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Current Events

·China Puts Differential Global Positioning System into Use

·Beijing-Hangzhou Great Canal Dredged

·China Promotes Water-Efficient Irrigation

·Blood Tests Introduced in Chinese City Games

·Russian Military Performing Troupe to Visit China


·Low-permeable Oilfield in Northwest China

·Most Admired Foreign Companies In China

·China Encourages Electricity Consumption

·New Clearing System Improves Bank Services

·China Still Bans Foreigners from Operating Telecommunications

·Siemens, ABB Get Contracts for Three Gorges Project

·China's Major Steel Company Issuing Stocks

·Chinese Customs Revenues Pass 100 Billion Yuan Mark

·Chinese Academic Circles Mark Goethe's 250th Birthday

·China to Hold Int'l Piano Competition

·China Sets up First Film and TV Cartoon School

·China Plans Fashion Show for Master Designers

City News
·Chinese Mayor Wins U.N. Award

·Coastal Qingdao on Way to Get a Subway

·Shanghai Getting Ready For Floods And Typhoons

IT Information
·Shanghai Opens Website for '99 Fortune Global Forum

·More Protection Needed For E-Shoppers: Survey

·Hong Kong to Set up IT Solutions Cente

·HK University to Launch Career Guidance Website

·Shanghai's Futures Exchange Website

·Rapid Information Industry Development in China

·Private Firms Contributes Increasingly to China Economy

·Multinationals Now Contributing To Economic Growth In China

·World's Largest Pumped-Storage Power Plant in Guangdong

·Sunset in Hunting Tribe


·Giant Panda Mothers Give Birth to Twins


Current Events:
China Puts Differential Global Positioning System into Use

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- China expects to put the second batch of coastal stations for its differential global positioning system (DGPS) into operation at 0:00 tomorrow morning, according to the Maritime Safety Administration (MSA).
This means that for the majority of the country's coastal areas, radio navigation precision will reach 10 meters, within a range of 300 kilometers from each station.
Since 1994, the Ministry of Communications been converting the original radio beacon system to DGPS.
The stations to be opened tomorrow are in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan provinces.
The first five such stations were opened in July, 1997, mainly covering the waters of north China's Bohai Sea and the mouth of the Yangtze River, which flows into the East Sea.
According to the MSA, all the stations will provide free services for clients.

Beijing-Hangzhou Great Canal Dredged

HANGZHOU, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Dredging work on the 1,800- km-long Beijing-Hangzhou Great Canal, the longest in the world, has been completed.
The canal can now accommodate bigger vessels and efforts have been made to improve conditions along the canal, increase its anti- flood capability, and upgrade water quality, a Ministry of Communications official said.
The dredged canal will be a gift for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the official said.
The canal has been playing an important role in the country's economic growth as its transport capacity is four times that of the parallel Beijing-Shanghai railway line.
But the canal's handling capacity has been hampered by distorted navigation routes, shallow water, and low bridges in recent years.

China Promotes Water-Efficient Irrigation

XI'AN, September 14 (Xinhua) -- China will increase the acreage of irrigated areas by three million hectares in the next 12 years, according to an official from the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) .
The ratio of irrigated areas in China will rise from 40 percent to 55 percent by the year 2010. Farmland equipped with water- saving irrigation devices is expected to expand by 15 million ha., said Chen Lei, director of the Rural Water Resources Department of the MWR in an interview with Xinhua here.
The central authorities will allocate 1.25 billion yuan (151 million USdollars) in bonds to build 150 large cost-effective irrigation projects and 130 smaller ones this year. Government departments have arranged 3.2 billion yuan to help local governments with irrigation projects.
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China has pledged to raise 100 million yuan this year to develop water-efficient irrigation system.
The government of east China's Shandong Province has decided to earmark 70 million yuan each year to spread the use of water- saving facilities.
China's irrigated farmlands have sprawled from 16 million ha. in 1949 to present 53 million ha. The country invested 25 billion yuan in irrigation projects in the past three years. More Investment will be used to this purpose in the future, Chen said.

Blood Tests Introduced in Chinese City Games

XI'AN, China, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Three swimmers were disqualified from the on-going Chinese City Games as they failed in the random blood tests, officials of the organizing committee said here on Tuesday.
The swimmers are Tan Caini of Guangzhou who scheduled to compete in the women's 400m freestyle on September 19, Liu Gang and Xia Shichao, both of Taiyuan, who were prevented from competing in the men's 400m freestyle and 100m breaststroke yesterday.
In order to keep carrying out the anti-doping policy, the Chinese sports authorities has introduced the blood tests for the first time in the national city games being held in Shaanxi province.
The blood tests are being introduced in swimming as well as other major sports, to protect the health of the athletes, said the officials of the competitive commission of the organizing committee.
The three swimmers were caught by the anti-doping commission in the random blood tests on Saturday and Sunday.

Russian Military Performing Troupe to Visit China

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua)-- Russia's famous "Red Flag" military performing troupe will make a performing tour in six major Chinese cities starting from this month.
The troupe will tour to Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Dalian and Wuhan before winding up with a grand epilogue in Beijing.
The troupe, established in 1928, visited China in 1952, 1965 and 1997 respectively, and late Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai both expressed high appreciation of its performing arts.
The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, organizer of the event, hopes that the performing tour, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Russia, would have a positive role in further promoting bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation.

Low-permeable Oilfield in Northwest China

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Jing'an Oilfield, one of China's extremely low-permeable oil and natural gas reservoirs, is expected to produce 1.03 million tons of crude oil in 1999.
Located in northwest China's Erdos Basin, Jing'an currently has a proved reserve of 300 million tons of crude oil, and an annual production capacity of 1.128 million tons.
The oilfield was discovered by Changqing Petroleum Exploration Bureau (CPEB), a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), after three years of exploration. The discovery would boost Changqing's oil and gas output to a total of six million tons this year from the 1.4 million tons ten years ago- - the biggest improvement progress among the nation's oilfields.
Earlier, the Changqing bureau discovered Ansai, a 200-million- ton extremely low-permeable oil and gas reserve, in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
An official with Changqing said the bureau has connected Jiang' an with Ansai. So far the reserve of these two fields combined has approached 500 million tons, and is expected to reach 600 million by 2003.

Most Admired Foreign Companies In China
BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai Volkswagen Automobile Co., Motorola (China) Electronics Ltd., and P & G ( Guangzhou) Co., Ltd. have been picked as China's three most- admired foreign investors, according to a survey of top management personnel in China by Fortune China.
It can be found in a special report on 20 years of foreign investment in China in the August/September issue of Fortune China, the Chinese version of Fortune magazine. The special issue is part of the "Visions of China" series of Time Warner (Fortune's owner), a multimedia program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
Thomas Gorman, president and publisher of Fortune China, says that the survey was meant to coincide with the Fortune Forum later this month in Shanghai, and 5,000 of Fortune China's senior management readers, working in more than 4,500 different enterprises nationwide, were randomly polled.
They were asked to choose from the top 500 foreign-backed enterprises listed by China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. The response rate was nine percent. They were asked to value the enterprises based on products and services, management, satisfaction rate of employees, technology transfers, and financial status.
The results will also be released on the 15th of this month on Fortune China's website -- WWW. FORTUNECHINA.COM.

China Encourages Electricity Consumption

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua)-- China State Power Corporation (CSPC), the country's top manager of power grids, will take a series of steps to increase electricity usage through price leveraging, a senior CSPC official said here today.
To encourage electricity consumption, the price of electricity will be readjusted during peak and low-use periods, different voltage and load levels, and rainy or dry seasons.
Meanwhile, the enterprises with high electricity use will get a reasonable reduction in electricity fees, and the price of electricity in the vast rural areas will be lowered, said the CSPC official, who didn't give further details on the price cut.
At present, the CSPC is giving priority to solving the Y2K problem in the power system in hopes of providing better service and ensuring the electricity supply for the construction of infrastructure facilities, technical renovation, high-tech development, and flood prevention.
In addition, the CSPC will encourage use of electricity in public areas, the tertiary sector and commercial departments so as to raise the total electricity usage.
The CSPC source said that the corporation will shut down small thermal power plants with combined generating capacity reaching 1. 8 million kw to streamline the power generating system.
At the same time, the CSPC is speeding up the development of the nationwide power grid, particularly the construction of the Three Gorges Power Project, the world's largest dam on the Yangtze River.
According to CSPC statistics, China used a total 563.7 billion kwh of electricity in the first half of this year, up 5.9 percent over the same period last year.

New Clearing System Improves Bank Services

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- An internationally advanced capital clearing system launched by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) at the end of May has successfully handled large amounts of inter-provincial capital clearing businesses, according to a spokesman for the ICBC.
Vice-President of the ICBC Yang Kaisheng said that the business operation over the past few months has proven the new system to be highly secure and effective in capital clearing.
The new system is an integrated application system based on the ICBC's existing large computer network, designed to handle external capital settlement and internal capital clearing businesses.
Yang said that since the opening of the new system, the ICBC's business offices handling capital settlement business in other cities have increased from some 5,000 to more than 8,000, and urgent capital remittance business has been extended to over 300 cities.
The new system handles businesses in batch and real time, speeding up the transfer and settling of capital in other cities and ensuring the arrival of capital at the targeted account within 24 hours.
The new system is also able to offer network clearing services for large enterprise groups in accordance with their special requirements. So far the China National Petroleum Corporation, TCL Group, Shanghai Motor Vehicle Sales Company and many other enterprise groups have become customers.
Yang said that the new system has provided customers with a secure and fast capital clearing "expressway," pushing the ICBC's financial services to a new level.

China Still Bans Foreigners from Operating Telecommunications Network

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- An high-ranking official today reaffirmed that China still prohibits foreign investors from operating telecommunications network services.
Wu Jichuan, Minister of the Information Industry (MII), said at a news conference today that as early as 1993, the country clearly regulated that China bans foreign investors from operating or participating in the operation of telecom networks, including the public and non-public, wire and wireless networks and services. Foreign investors or companies also include those foreign-funded ones operating in China.
"However, this does not mean that the telecommunications sector is not allowed to use foreign funds," said Wu, adding that using commercial or governmental loans from overseas in the sector is permitted.
Wu also noted that China does allow foreign investment in manufacturing and development of telecom equipment.
As for his ministry's preparedness for the country's accession to the World Trade Organization, Wu said: "if China enters the WTO and makes some promises, the ministry will follow through with any commitments made by the Chinese government,'' adding ``we will continue to adopt the policy of reform and opening up in the telecommunication sector whether we enter WTO or not.''
He said that the ministry will continue to strengthen its management on the sector and introduce advanced management expertise from overseas. He noted that the MII is now working on a regulation regarding management of telecommunications sector, which is to be approved by the State Council and go into effect by the end of the year.

Siemens, ABB Get Contracts for Three Gorges Project

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Germany's Siemens and Switzerland's Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) have won contracts for high- voltage power facilities for China's Three Gorges hydro-electric power project on the Yangtze River, and a contract signing ceremony was held today in the Chinese capital.
The power facilities include 15 main transformers and 39 high- voltage switch systems, worth a total of 205.6 million US dollars in all, according to an official of the Yangtze Three Gorges Development Corp. which is in charge of the mammoth project.
Siemens and ABB beat out 16 others in the bidding, which took place in May in Yichang of Hubei province at the project site.
Beside providing credit support to the project for 10-12 years, they have promised to transfer equipment production technology to three of their Chinese partners and provide necessary technical training.
Under the contracts, the two companies will start supplying the facilities in 2002 and put them into operation between 2003 and 2006.

China's Major Steel Company Issuing Stocks

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- China's Capital Iron and Steel Group, or Shougang, will issue 350 million shares next month.
There will be 175 million shares available to legal persons and 175 million for individual investors via the Internet.
The group, China's first to offer stocks on the Internet, shows a move that is closer to international practices, according to a group official.
Last year the company's profits grew 38.77 percent as it cut production costs, developed new products, and improved quality. The official said the company will develop new technology and increase the company's ability to avoid risk.

Chinese Customs Revenues Pass 100 Billion Yuan Mark

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Customs revenues amounted to 103.69 billion yuan (12.5 billion US dollars) in the first eight months of this year, an all-time high, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Of that amount, 2.13 billion yuan went to tax refunds and 101. 56 billion yuan to state coffers, a 106 percent increase from the same period last year.
Officials here attribute the rise to the country's fight against smuggling and closing of illegal import channels.
From January to July, Customs officers dealt with more than 7, 500 cases of smuggling and seized 3.747 billion yuan worth of goods. The crackdown on smuggling will continue, the administration says.

Chinese Academic Circles Mark Goethe's 250th Birthday

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese academic circles today convened here today to mark the 250th birthday anniversary of world-famous German literary master Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
Experts widely regard Goethe and his works very important both in German and world literary history.
"We're enthusiastic about marking the anniversary in order to promote world peace, development and friendship," said Chen Haosu, vice president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
People's Literature Publishing House has published ten volumes of Goethe's Works, which combine all the academic achievements made by German literary critics and translators in China.

China to Hold Int'l Piano Competition

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- The second China International Piano Competition, sponsored by China Ministry of Culture, will be held at Beijing Concert Hall from December 2-12, today's China Daily reports.
Among the judges will be 14 renowned pianists and music educators from 11 countries and regions, said an official with the ministry, including Marcello Abbado (Italy), Bao Huiqiao (China), Hiroko Nakamura (Japan), Pnina Salzman (Israel), Fanny Waterman ( England), Karl-Heinz Kaemmerling (Germany) and Jerome Lowenthal ( USA).
The artistic director for the event will be Wu Zuqiang, honorary president of China Central Conservatory of Music, who served in the same capacity in the first competition, the official said.
Applicants from 50 countries and regions have applied for the competition, he said. They were asked to send the organizing committee a tape recording with the required repertoire: two virtuoso etudes, including one Chopin etude; one prelude and fugue from the "Well-tempered Clavier" By Bach; one classical sonata and one work of the applicant's choice.
After the first round of selections, 55 participants will take part in the final competition in Beijing. The youngest participant is 17-year-old Li Yundi from China, and the oldest, 30-year-old Park Chong W. from Republic of Korea.
The first competition was held in 1995, with 45 participants from 18 countries and regions.

China Sets up First Film and TV Cartoon School

SHANGHAI, September 14 (Xinhua) -- The Shanghai Cartoon School, China's first school to train professional film and TV cartoonists, opened here today.
Two hundred students from the inaugural class were divided into six groups to study caricature, cartooning and literary sketching.
Run by the Shanghai Animated Film Studio (SAFS), the school will conduct professional exchanges with overseas animation studios and companies.
SAFS is the only animation film studio in China. It produced a great number popular cartoons in the 1960s and 1970s. However, animated films have been virtually ignored by Chinese movie-goers in recent years as a result of the big inflow of foreign-made films.
This summer, the studio released a new film, Lotus Lantern, the first major domestic animation film, which has been warmly received in many Chinese cities.

China Plans Fashion Show for Master Designers

DALIAN, September 14 (Xinhua) -- A fashion show devoted to works of masters in fashion design will be held in northeast China 's coastal city of Dalian between September 18 and 20.
A forum is also expected to be held concurrently with the fashion show, which will feature the works of three world-famous fashion designers from France, Japan and Italy and present the newest idea in fashion design and latest fashion trend in international fashion circle, said Li Yao, director of the Dalian Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
A total of 20 world super-models will take part in the fashion show, which will also see the presence of another 11 fashion experts, scholars and entrepreneurs.
As a major part of the Dalian International Fashion Festival, the fashion show and fashion forum have been held for three times and have become a major venue for China to get to know the latest international fashion trend. The past three such shows have presented more than 2,000 works of over 20 fashion masters and featured the designs of more than 30 famous designers.

City News:
Chinese Mayor Wins UN Award

NAIROBI, September 13 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Center for Human Settlements (Habitat) has sent a letter to Bo Xilai, mayor of China's northeastern coastal city of Dalian, congratulating him for winning the 1999 Scroll of Honor.
In his letter to Mayor Bo dated September 11, Acting Executive Director of Habitat Klaus Toepfer said that the Jury for the Habitat Scroll of Honor has selected the Chinese mayor for his "outstanding contribution to housing improvement and sustainable urban development in Dalian".
According to a copy of the letter available here Monday, Bo was one of the Habitat award winners. Others are from Egypt, India, Colombia, Slovak Republic, Belgium, the United States, Ghana and Kenya.
The Habitat Scroll of Honor Jury held its meeting last Thursday and unanimously recommended them for their outstanding contributions to urban housing improvement, urban management, and sustainable urban development and public transport.

Coastal Qingdao on Way to Get a Subway

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Qingdao, a famous coastal city in East China's Shandong Province, will soon get a subway, today's China Daily reports.
The Ministry of Construction has listed the venture among its upcoming construction projects.
Investment of the first phase of the 16.43-km-long subway amounts to 4.053 billion yuan (488.3 million US dollars).
Qingdao has been in great need of a subway due to the city's hilly location, which limits the amount of traffic.
The subway station was completed in December 1995 and 1.2 km of experimental railway will be finished by the end of this year.
According to the plan, 71 percent of the facilities needed by the subway project will be manufactured by domestic firms, which will reduce the construction cost to 250 million yuan (30.1 million US dollars) per km.
Upon its completion, the subway will have 15 transit stations, according to the Qingdao Underground Railway Company.

Shanghai Getting Ready For Floods And Typhoons

SHANGHAI, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai's Flood Control Headquarters issued its second notice here today, asking all departments to do their best to prepare for possible flooding and typhoons.
There are a record high number of typhoons in Shanghai in September, and tide levels are usually higher than in other months.
This year, the city's climate has been quite unusual and if storms, high tides, or typhoons hit, the city will be under a lot of pressure. So, it is preparing for the worst. Materials and equipment are being stored for the fight against natural disasters.

IT Information
Shanghai Opens Website for '99 Fortune Global Forum

SHANGHAI, September 14 (Xinhua) -- "Shanghai Online," a popular website in Shanghai, has been chosen to become a host of the network meeting for the '99 Fortune Global Forum, scheduled for September 27-29 in the city.
The website at <www.online.sh.ch/fortune> will also disseminate information in Chinese during the forum.
Representatives from more than 250 multinational corporations from overseas and some 200 Chinese companies will attend the 5th Fortune Forum with a theme of "China: The Next 50 Years."
The meeting will focus on business opportunities and challenges, economic issues, and practical realities related to conducting business in China today and in the 21st century.
The website has created several columns, including agendas, a name index, forum services and round-up news, to provide timely coverage of the meeting for Internet surfers.

More Protection Needed For E-Shoppers: Survey

BRUSLS, September 13 (Xinhua) -- Commerce over the Internet does not offer enough protection for consumers and the potential of electronic commerce can never be realized until the loopholes in shopping on the Internet were wiped away, the European Commission said in a newly published report on a survey.
Many problems had been found during the E-shopping survey conducted by Consumers International on behalf of the European Commission, the European Union (EU)'s executive body. The investigators ordered over 150 items from easily accessible Internet sites, but found finally one article in 10 never arrived. And a Briton and a Hong Kong citizen waited for five months to get their money back.
The survey also shows that nearly 45 percent of the products ordered reached their destination without acknowledgement of receipt and nearly 25 percent of sites did not give an address or telephone number.
Of the total products ordered, 24 percent were not clear about the gross price, according to the six-month survey, which was cooperated with consumer organizations from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States.
A federation of 245 consumer protection organizations in 111 countries, Consumers International said the finding shows customers in shopping on the Internet are kept in the dark about what action to take to lodge a complaint.
The survey writers called for international guidelines to be drafted and a certification or labeling system to be set up to allow consumers to be sure which "electronic stores" meet the basic standards.
They also want to see an appeal mechanism set up to deal with disputes between purchasers and all companies involved in E-business on the Internet. It would be an easily accessible, affordable, rapid and user-friendly system for protecting consumers, they added.

Hong Kong to Set up IT Solutions Center

HONG KONG, September 14 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) Tuesday signed a contract with Sybase, Inc. to launch a 10-million-US-dollar Asian innovation and technology ( IT) solutions center.
The center, which is aimed at facilitating the sharing of ideas and cultivating innovative content for Hong Kong's digital economy, is expected to open early next year in response to the drive to develop Hong Kong into a regional center of IT applications and usage, according a senior HKPC official.
As a new initiative to nurture the local economy through the development of practical software applications, the center is a hub to bring together applications vendors, system integrators, industry experts and Hong Kong's software industry to form Asia's first developers' community, said Thomas Tang, executive director of HKPC, at Tuesday's contract signing ceremony.
"It is envisaged that the joint venture will provide business opportunities for local IT companies, in particular the small and medium-sized enterprises," Tang said.
Drawing on the expertise of Sybase, a world leader in the provision of IT solutions, the center is designed after a similar solutions center developed by Sybase in New York, he said.
With an investment of 8.5 million US dollars from Sybase and 1.5 million US dollars from the local government's industrial support fund, the center will comprise some 50 staff of technical specialists, marketing and business alliance professionals by the end of the year 2000, Tang said.
It will focus on the finance, banking and insurance, telecommunications and general commerce areas of industry, developing e-commerce, together with mobile and embedding computing solutions based on a Sybase technology platform, he concluded.

HK University to Launch Career Guidance Website

HONG KONG, September 14 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong University will launch a web-based career guidance on Friday to help students start working on their careers as early as in their first year of college study, according to the university authorities Tuesday.
The program, known as Career Development Track, comprises three parts. Part I helps students find out what career suits them; Part II assists students to improve their chance of finding employment; and Part III shows students how to locate employment opportunities.
There are also three stages in each part, providing guidance to students throughout the three years of their study at the university.

Shanghai's Futures Exchange Website

SHANGHAI, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai opened a new website in Chinese and English today for its futures exchange.
Users can access the site at http://www.shfe.com.cn and obtain a brief introduction to the exchange, its organization structure, news bulletins, daily reports, a trading guide, exchange regulations, quotations and other information.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange is China's third. It opened in May this year and trades mainly in copper, aluminum, and rubber.
The other two futures trading centers are in Dalian in Liaoning Province and in Zhengzhou in Henan Province and specialize in soybeans for the former and red and mung beans for the latter.

Rapid Information Industry Development in China

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua)-- Wu Jichuan, the head of China' s Ministry of Information Industry (MII), told a news conference here today that the information industry has had rapid and healthy growth in the past eight months thanks to improved macro- management of the industry.
Wu said that both telecommunications and the postal service have maintained growth since last year and MII statistics show the telecommunications industry putting 55.3 billion yuan into fixed assets by the end of August and increasing long distance phone circuits by 79,000 million lines.
There are now 100 million fixed telephone customers, an increase of 14.06 million from last year and Wu attributes this to adjusted telecommunication fees this year and cut in telephone installation fees.
The number of mobile phone users has risen by 10.9 million this year to 36.19 million, according to the ministry and that business accounts for almost 50 percent of the total phone business. China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Jitong Corp. have opened internet protocol (IP) telephone services on a trial base in 14 cities.
The country's electronics industry has attracted 8.3 billion yuan worth of investment in the past eight months and given priority to computer production, cable communications, and integrated circuit production, Wu said. In that time, the country produced 23.62 million telephone switchboard lines and 9.63 million mobile phones, and the industry had exports worth 64.33 billion US dollars, up 12.7 percent from last year.

Private Firms Contributes Increasingly to China Economy

BEIJING, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Editor's note: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. China's economic successes in the past five decades have attracted the attention of the world. Xinhua began issuing stories on the country's economy starting August 17. This is the 22nd.
Over the past 20 years, there has been no other place in China quite like the city of Wenzhou in eastern Zhejiang Province, a town often in a heated dispute over whether its local economy reflects capitalism or socialism.
However, few would deny that Wenzhou is a stronghold of China's private economy. To date, the city has over 5,200 private firms and nearly 200,000 self-employed operations, accounting for some 90 percent of the city's total enterprises and the same percentage of local industrial output value.
In fact, the city has become the showcase of the country's private business development. After the founding of New China in 1949, the authorities focused on the creation of a publicly-owned economy to the exclusion of economies of other ownerships.
Non-public economies, including private business, began to emerge in the late 1970s when the government adopted the reform and opening-up policies.
In 1982, the newly-revised Constitution defined the non-public sector as a supplementary element of the national economy. And early this year, the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, enshrined the status and role of the private sector in an amendment to the Constitution, calling it "an important component of the country's socialist market economy," opening greater opportunities for its development.
All these measures have strongly boosted the growth of the country's private sector. Latest statistics show that China now has 1.2 million private firms, with total registered capital of more than 1 trillion yuan, contributing 19 percent to the country' s total industrial output, with its exports and revenues on a steady rise.
Booming private business comes at a time when millions are being laid-off from money-losing state-owned enterprises and has accordingly become a major channel for employment. Statistics show that the private sector now hires some 17 million people.
In Shanghai, China's largest industrial city, for example, all 94,000 private enterprises have employed nearly 180,000 laid-off workers over the past five years, said Huang Qifan, director of the Shanghai Municipal Economic Commission.
To survive in increasingly competitive markets, many private businesses that were Mom-and-Pop workshops have stopped relying on labor-intensive processing and begun to hire more competent people to pursue development that is based on technology.
According to the Development and Research Center of the State Council, hi-tech companies now account for 12 percent of the country's private businesses and they have developed more than 10, 000 new products, many in line with international levels.
A major problem long-plaguing private enterprises is the lack of an efficient funding channel -- getting start-up funds from banks, says Liu Yonghao, a successful farmer-turned-animal feed producer.
But things are changing for the better: China's state-owned commercial banks are also prepared to put some private businesses onto their credit lists, granting loans according to a firm's profitability and management, rather than its ownership or size.
"We will give loan priority to the private firms that have already established modern enterprise systems and are money-making, " says Jiang Zhihua, director of the Zhejiang Branch of the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).
Bank managers will also look particularly favorably on the private new industries specializing in the manufacture of environmental, electronics, telecommunications and IT products, says Jiang.
China's private sector is also playing a greater role in the country's drive to invite overseas investment, as more policies are adopted to encourage private firms to cooperate with foreign investors.
For the first time, 17 private businesses attended the 3rd China Investment and Trade Fair, which ended in Xiamen of east China's Fujian Province on September 12 and is widely regarded as the most important venue for Chinese businesses to absorb overseas capital.
Fair information showed that the private participants have attracted attention of overseas investors, and some trade delegations from Japan and Hong Kong have contacted them. 

Multinationals Now Contributing To Economic Growth In China

XIAMEN, September 13 (Xinhua) -- It was a real eye-opener to see the state-of-the-art mobile phones and automobiles on display during the 3rd Chinese Investment Trade Fair recently in the city of Xiamen in southeast China's coastal province of Fujian.
Big names like Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Ford, and Kodak were showing their latest technology and products to demonstrate their passion about, confidence in, and commitment to the Chinese market.
There were more than 60 multinationals, who are expected to become a powerful force for investment in China, according to Guido Magnoni, a representative of the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade's Asia Desk.
Multinationals have been playing an important role in global economic growth and international investment and account for one- third of the world's output value, two-third of its trade, and 30 percent of the direct investment worldwide, and are a major source of investment for countries worldwide.
Combining their investment and technology with China's immense human resources and consumer market is an important way for China to improve its competitiveness internationally, said Hu Angang, a young Chinese economist.
More to the point, he said, it is the best way for China to introduce overseas investment to help its big enterprises improve and increase their presence overseas.
Recent years have seen a rapid growth in China's use of multinationals' investment. Nearly 300 of the world's top 500 firms that are involved in manufacturing are in China and more than 100 of them have regional headquarters in China, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Multinationals invest in many areas in China, from machinery, electronics, chemicals, building materials, automobiles, and telecommunications to foodstuff. They are also expanding their business from coastal areas to central and western parts of the country.
Having been encouraged by the Chinese Government, they have established nearly 200 investment companies in China as a means of promoting their long-term development and they have 18 billion US dollars worth of investment in China.
To improve this, China will further ease restrictions on investment companies and will cut taxes or give exemptions for establishing research and development centers. China's effort to improve the investment environment has been approved by multinationals and has paid off.
Folke Ahlback, a senior vice president of Nokia Great China, said that Nokia considers that its investment in China was justified and sees its activities in China as an increasingly important part of Nokia's organic growth.
Karl P. Sauvant, a team leader on the World Investment Report, said that governments and multinationals are expected to maintain a relationship where overseas direct investment can expand and where the wealth-creating activities of multinationals can contribute as much as possible to national growth and development.
The Chinese government is expecting multinationals to contribute to the nation's economic growth, especially in industrial restructuring, manufacturing, employment, and taxes and multinationals in China are being regarded as a new and powerful force in the nation's economic growth.

World's Largest Pumped-Storage Power Plant in Guangdong

GUNZHOU, September 14 (Xinhua) -- China's first large-scale pumped-storage hydro-power plant, located in this provincial capital, has had a vital role in providing emergency electricity for accidents in power stations in Guangdong Province and neighboring Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
At the completion of the second construction phase in 2000, the plant will be the world's largest pumped-storage hydro-electric power plant with a total generating capacity of 2.4 million kilowatts.
The first phase included four pumped-storage generating sets with 1.2 million kilowatt capacity, which were put into operation in March 1994. One pumped-storage generating set in the second phase went into use in December 1998.
The Guangzhou Pumped-storage Power Station is part of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong. Its major function is to accommodate the power systems of Hong Kong and Guangdong.
Guangdong's economy has soared in recent years, causing the power system to experience widely fluctuating demand. For example, on July 29 last year, the system's peak output was 11 million kilowatts and the lowest was 6.98 million kilowatts, and balancing the difference caused a severe strain on the system.
Before the pumped-storage power plant opened, Guangdong's power system consisted of thermal power generating plants. The province had to set a limit on electricity use during power shortages and completely halt operations of some thermal electric generating sets, which disturbed the efficiency of operations and forced electricity costs to rise.
Compared with thermal generating sets, the pumped-storage generators have a quick response feature which can take the machine from startup to full operation within three minutes, and produce electricity in a few seconds.
The sets have provided critical backup for more than 20 emergencies in the local power system in recent years, avoiding major power outages.
Meanwhile, a Hong Kong-based power company has bought the rights to use half of the generating capacity to balance the power supply system in the region.
The use of the pumped-storage power will help Hong Kong reduce 4.7 percent of its thermal power generating cost, according to the company.
The plant was co-funded by Guangdong Electric Power Company, Guangdong Nuclear Power Investment Company and the State Development and Investment Corporation. With 400 million US dollars in loans from the French government and Asian Development Bank, the plant imported world-class generating sets and production equipment from overseas.
There are 88 employees at the plant, which will become self- automated when the second phase goes into operation next year.

Sunset in Hunting Tribe

HUHHOT, September 14 (Xinhua) -- A slight rustle comes from a thicket a hundred meters away, and Dhahwa freezes: It is a roe. Then everything becomes simple. Lifting the rifle, he aims and fires.
A tribal hunter, Dhahwa, 34, never misses his target, just like his Stone Age ancestors. But there is a difference: a 7.62-mm military rifle has replaced the bow.
This is the first roe he has captured this year.
"You can see the number of roe, deer and bears has decreased over the past decades. But there is good news. It seems that the animal is coming back after the government banned lumbering last year," he says, his eyes gleaming.
At night, Dhahwa cooks his prey over a fire in his tent by a river, while his wife weaves a basket from birch bark. His son, Dhawell, watches the pot, sniffing the sweet smoke. Beside them graze their friends, reindeer Nakia and courser Ghaxi.
It's a picture that was common a thousand years ago, but the sight is becoming rare. The Dhahwas belong to the Aulukuya Tribe, pop. 170, the only hunting tribe left in China.
The Aulukuya have lived for countless generations in the forest of the Daxing'an Mountains in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, some 100 kilometers from Russia. Only half a century ago, few people knew of the tribe's existence.
Now, globalization is shattering these "living fossils" of the human race.
"Hunting had been our main means of existence, but climate changes and increased human activities have made the forest area smaller and the number of wild animals less," said the tribal head, Gu Xinjun.
He said that unlike the old days, when the hunters roamed the forest four seasons a year, they now are required to spend five months in permanent residences in a newly-built village at the foot of the mountain. There they can raise reindeer and sell them to zoos and drugstores throughout China, and the money they make has become their main source of income.
The Chinese Government has tried to preserve the hunting tribe' s ancient, unique culture, issuing hunting licenses to shoot any animal, including the black bear, which is under State protection, and providing them with free rifles, bullets, rice and vegetables.
Anthropologist Kong Fanzhi said it is critical that they be taught how to adapt to the modern world, and that adherence to their old-fashioned ways should not be encouraged.
According to Kong, the hunting culture might survive longer if the government continues to prohibit other ethnic people from hunting and bans forest lumbering in the area, but in the end, it cannot fight the temptations of modern civilization.
Tribal leader Gu has mixed emotions about the future of his people. "We thank the government from the bottom of our hearts, but the tribe can no longer depend on hunting alone. We have to relocate ourselves to a modern civilization."
Since the 1990s, the hunters have established a wood processing plant and a wine factory to amplify their meager income. Some have even turned to the tourism industry, building simple hotels and nightclubs to entertain travelers who are curious about tribal life.
Gu said that 3,000 tourists visited the tribe last year. "At the very beginning, we were clumsy managing all these new businesses. But we soon learned the skills from TV and Han Chinese, " he said.
The hunters have learned to speak Han Chinese, and can communicate with remote business partners in southern Chinese cities with the help of newly-installed telephones, and they have given up intermarrying for fear of genetic diseases.
According to 66-year-old Gelisk, the younger generation is captivated by the mystique of the world outside the forest. "They even think that computer techniques are more important than hunting skills!"
Over the past half century, 50 people from the tribe have gone to live in cities. Some are enrolled in universities, some are government officials.
"If I could go out one day, I would not come back," said Dhahwa 's 30-year-old wife, whose 8-year-old daughter is learning computer skills at a primary school.
Some people fear the younger generation will forget their Aulukuya roots. But not Urzertu. The former tribal hunter moved to the city and is an author. Every year he goes back to the forest. He said that while most of his former fellow-tribesmen are looking for city-style comfort, those who actually live outside often are lonely.
"No one can deny the impulse to come back," he said. "You feel happy when you watch a good TV program, and you feel happy when you capture a roe. But these feelings of happiness are extremely different in both instances."
To ease their homesickness and preserve the culture, the government has helped the tribe build a museum to exhibit their vast knowledge of the forest and hunting.
Urzertu's main job -- he calls it his true responsibility -- is to write novels and poems to record his memories of the tribal life, the specific colors, smells, sounds and language that represent the "unique happiness" he once knew.
He told Xinhua that as a lifestyle, the hunting culture is fading into the sunset, but the sense of being a tribal hunter will not disappear so easily.
"Wherever we go, whatever we do, we will always remember that the forest is our home," he said.


Giant Panda Mothers Give Birth to Twins

CHENGDU, September 14 (Xinhua) -- Meimei and Yaya, two female giant pandas at a giant panda research center in Chengdu, northwest China's Sichuan Province, each gave birth to twins early this month.
With the arrival of the four cubs, there are now five baby giant pandas at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center.
The twin cubs delivered by five-year-old Meimei on the night of September 4 and in the early morning of September 5 weighed 125 grams and 128 grams. Yaya's pair, born on the night of September 9, weighed 144 grams and 158 grams, according to Yu Jianqiu, a giant panda specialist with the center.
Meimei is a first-time mother, and will nurse only one of the cubs. The other is fed by employees at the center.
In contrast, the more experienced Yaya, who gave birth to a cub two years ago, is happily fussing over both of her cubs.
Both mothers and all four cubs are in good health, the center said.
The 30-hectare center, situated in the northern suburbs of Chengdu, is believed to be the only professional research institute of its kind in the country.
There are only about 1,000 giant pandas both in captivity and in the wild across the world, 80 percent of them in Sichuan.
The survival rate of the giant panda is very low, as females have trouble conceiving naturally.