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News In Chinese Media Tuesday, September 7, 1999
Current Events
·Special Scholarship For Rural College Students

·6th Int'l Blindness Prevention Assembly Opens in Beijing

·WHO's Regional Blindness-prevention Campaign Launched in Beijing

·"Sight First" Helps Cataract Sufferers in Inner Mongolia

·China's Longest Railway Tunnel Completed

Economy
·Ericsson Approved to Use Its Own Telecom Equipment in China

·Chinese Oil Refineries Trying to Turn Profit

·Growth In Sino-Russian Border Trade In First Half

·China: Attractive for World's Investors

Culture
·China To Commemorate 2,550th Birth Anniversary of Confucius
City News
·Chinese Capital Deepens Housing Reform

·Auto Fair Opens In China's Car City

·Saving For Better Education

IT Information
·E-Commerce Exhibition Opens in Beijing

·Chinese Vice-Premier Calls for IT Awareness

Features
·Profile: From Snake Trapper to Wildlife Protector

·China's Largest Private Enterprise Rolls On

Others
·Police plan to seize foreign outlaws

·Heavy Rain Causes Floods in East China

·Tornado Injures Dozens in Shanghai

Current Events:
Special Scholarship For Rural College Students

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- A double dose of joy could strike students from villages who were admitted to colleges this summer as they might also be in line for nearly 1,000 US dollars of scholarship grants - if they are the first college students in the half century history of their villages.
More than 50 colleges and universities in China are now open for such applications from freshman who are from villages.
The scholarship is jointly sponsored by the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), China Youth Daily (CYD) and Coca Cola Co., Ltd. (China).
A qualified college student will receive a scholarship of 8,000 yuan (about 964 US dollars) during his or her four years' college life. The scholarship was designed to help these students finish their college education.
The sponsors expect to grant eight million yuan in total for this special scholarship, which is mainly available to some 50 famous universities. Normal, agricultural or forestry universities, and those for ethnic nationalities will be given preference.
The final result of the scholarship is scheduled to be announced in mid-October.

6th Int'l Blindness Prevention Assembly Opens in Beijing

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) opened its sixth general assembly today in Beijing, which is the first event of this kind ever held in China, which experts estimate has the largest number of blind people.
With the theme "The Right To Sight", the assembly's main task is to promote the "Vision 2020" action launched by the World Health Organization (WHO).
IAPB President R. Pararajasegaram said that through global cooperation, this action will help eliminate avoidable blindness worldwide before 2020.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin sent a congratulation letter to the assembly today, saying the Chinese Government will sign the " Vision 2020" manifesto, with solemn promise of helping to prevent and cure blindness.
Jiang described the Vision 2020 coalition as "a measure of great significance to promote global blindness prevention and treatment to reduce the harm of visual impairment".
"The Chinese government has always paid great attention to public health issues, and has taken a series of therapeutical measures to help 2.46 million blind people have their lost eyesight restored in the recent decade," he stressed.
Through a nationwide campaign to provide cataract surgeries in partnership with Lions Clubs International, China is expected to realize negative growth of cataract-related blindness cases by the year 2001, Jiang added.
Sources from the WHO said that with up to 45 million blind people in the world today and a further 135 million people with serious visual impairment, blindness has become an important international public health problem. One fifth of the blind people in the world live in China, with cataracts listed as the main cause.
Zhang Wenkang, Chinese Minister of Health, said at the opening ceremony that the Chinese government has made great efforts to prevent and cure blindness since the 1950's, and established State and local organizations responsible with that brief. The country now has over 23,000 ophthalmologists, most of which are serving at county level or above hospitals.
He also admits that with the rapid increase of aged people and limited ability for curing blindness, China is far from capable of controlling the incidence of cataracts effectively.
Nearly 300 ophthalmologists from 36 countries and regions and over 200 domestic experts and officials are attending the five-day assembly, with the main programs including the management of cataracts in children, the screening and management of diabetic retinopathy, and community participation in eye care.
Founded in 1975, IAPB has over 70 member countries. China joined the organization in 1989.

WHO's Regional Blindness-prevention Campaign Launched in Beijing

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- A regional campaign initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate avoidable blindness was launched today in the Chinese capital as the country 's health minister signed a global declaration of support.
The declaration, issued earlier this year in Geneva by WHO's director-general Gro Brundtland, calls for cooperation among governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to work on Vision 2020, a global coalition to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.
As blindness continues to be an important public health problem in the Western Pacific region, the WHO has chosen China as the location for the regional Vision 2020 launch, according to Dr. Bjorn Thylefors, director of WHO's Geneva-based Disability Prevention Programme.
"The venue of the regional launch was not a random choice. China has the largest number of blind people in the world - around five million, or about 18 percent of the world's blind," explained Dr. Thylefors.
"An estimated 450,000 Chinese become blind each year. This means that in China almost every minute of every day a new case of blindness occurs," Dr. Thylefors emphasized.
In the Western Pacific region, the WHO's largest region in terms of population and the home to 20 percent of the world's blind, cataracts, Vitamin A deficiency in children, trauma in adolescents and trachoma are blamed as major causes of blindness.
However, ophthalmologists say, up to 80 percent of blindness is avoidable, resulting either from conditions that could have been prevented or that can be successfully treated.
Even though China has won international fame by dramatically bringing down the prevalence of trachoma - a disease associated with poor housing, sanitation and hygiene - while increasing the number of sight-saving cataract surgeries, WHO experts warn of a serious epidemic of blindness, particularly cataracts, as a result of the aging population, and a great shortage in ophthalmologic services.
"Necessary ophthalmologic services are yet accessible in vast rural areas and remote regions. So medics and the whole society should be mobilized to make improvements," health minister Zhang Wenkang said at the signing ceremony.
Vision 2020 activities are expected to help the country's county-level hospitals by providing affordable and good-quality cataract surgeries, training programs, and appropriate equipment and technologies, according to a WHO press release.
"We sincerely hope that Vision 2020 will help China address all these issues," said Dr. Thylefors. "For if the present trends are allowed to continue unchanged, by 2020 the number of China's blind is expected to increase fourfold."

"Sight First" Helps Cataract Sufferers in Inner Mongolia

HOHHOT, September 6 (Xinhua) -- A medical aid program, Sight First China Action, has helped more than 2,000 cataract sufferers regain their sight in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, north China.
Ophthalmologists from Beijing have been sent to the ethnic minority region to provide the assistance free of charge since summer last year.
There are reportedly 60,000 cataract sufferers in Inner Mongolia and the number is increasing at an annual rate of 6,000. Almost 90 percent of them live in pastoral areas where local clinics can not perform cataract operations and some 80 of these people couldn't pay for an operation anyway.
A local official said that they now have the opportunity to consult well-trained doctors and to be operated on for free.
Sight First China Action is sponsored by the Ministry of Health, the China Disabled Persons' Federation, and Lions Clubs International. Its plan calls for 4.2 million cataract operations from 1997 to 2006 and ophthalmology clinics in 90 percent of China 's 2,000 counties.

China's Longest Railway Tunnel Completed

XI'AN, September 6 (Xinhua) -- Work has been completed on a 18. 46 kilometer long tunnel on the Xi'an-Ankang rail line in northwest China, which is reckoned to be the country's longest railway tunnel and ranks the 2nd in Asia and the 6th in the world.
A ceremony to mark the event was held today at the northern point of the tunnel, in Chang'an County, Shaanxi Province.
The tunnel runs through the Qinling Range, which forms a demarcation line between northern and southern climates and a watershed between the Yangtze and Yellow rivers.
Two basically parallel single-track tunnels, 30-meter apart, have been laid in the tunnel.
Several generations of Chinese have long dreamed of a tunnel through the Qinling Range, but because of the length, complex geological structure, and possible disasters, a number of railways had to be built around it, in the form of a figure "8"- or bulb- shaped way, a Ministry of Railways official told Xinhua.
It took engineers some eight years before they hit on the present plan, which allows the tunnel to pass through five big faults in the shortest way.
To improve rail transport in southwest and midwest China, the government has decided to invest more than 10 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion US dollars) into a railway going directly through the middle of Qinling Range. The Qinling tunnel alone cost over 2 billion yuan (about 240 million US dollars), the official said.
And to ensure the success of the tunnel, a great part of the expenditure went on the most sophisticated excavating equipment for building the project.
Work on the line began at the end of 1997. Not a single accident occurred in the arduous effort.
Authorities note that the tunnel is a milestone in the country' s history of railway construction and will provide experience for building similar tunnels.
The Xi'an-Ankang Railway runs from the Longhai (Lanzhou- Lianyungang) railway line in the north to the Xiangfan-Chongqing railway line and Baoji-Chengdu railway route in the south. It is one of the leading construction projects in China's development program for 1996-2000.
When completed in the year 2000, it will form another north- south trunk railway line, and the railway journey from Xi'an, Shannxi's capital city, to Ankang in southern part of the province will be shortened from 18 hours to about three hours.

Economy:
Ericsson Approved to Use Its Own Telecom Equipment in China

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing and Nanjing branches of Ericsson (China) are the first to be granted all the certificates necessary to expand its complete set of GSM (Global System of Mobile phone) 900/1800 MHz telecommunication technology and products in the Chinese telecommunications network.
The company recently obtained four certificates for the digital mobile telecommunication exchange and station systems, and together with two certificates for its mobile phone system, has now passed all the quality test for the GSM 900/1800 MHz system.
Founded in 1995, Ericsson (China)'s Beijing branch has a registered capital of 20 million US dollars, with total investment reaching 28 million dollars. Last year, it had a sales volume exceeding 3.4 billion yuan (about 408 million US dollars), earning 51.9 million dollars from exports.
The Nanjing branch, set up in 1992, deals mainly in producing, selling, and installing Ericsson's GSM 900/1800 MHz digital mobile telecommunications stations, mobile telecommunication exchanges, and program-controlled telephone exchange systems.
The Swedish company, a telecommunications giant, has set up 23 agencies and eight joint ventures in China, its largest market in the world, with over 3,800 Chinese working for them.
Statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry show that Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson now occupy around 90 percent of the Chinese mobile phone market.

Chinese Oil Refineries Trying to Turn Profit

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- The five major oil refineries of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) are expected to face tougher challenges in turning losses into profits by the end of this year, as world oil prices and production costs continue to rise, CNPC Vice-President Ren Chuanjun said here today.
In the first half of this year, the five companies, in Jilin, Daqing, Fushun, Liaoning, and Lanzhou respectively, cut their losses by 2.46 billion yuan from one year earlier, with cumulative losses reduced to 1.54 billion yuan.
In spite of this progress, it will be difficult for the five refineries to turn their losses into profits within this year, according to Ren, because they face restructuring problems in the remaining months of the year. It is only by changing management methods, improving quality and developing new products that they can hope to become profitable, he said.
The five have assets worth 107.4 billion yuan, or a fifth of CNPC's total. They began to sustain losses in 1994.

Growth In Sino-Russian Border Trade In First Half

HOHHOT, September 6 (Xinhua) -- Trade with Russia at China's largest land port at Manzhouli in Inner Mongolia increased to 191. 96 million US dollars worth in the first half of this year, up 30 percent from the same period of last year.
The city's trade development bureau reports imports worth 94.59 million dollars with chemical materials and timber accounting for over 50 percent of the amount.
Cash trade was worth 21.9 million dollars, up 190 percent from the same last year period. The sharp increase has been attributed to the local government's efforts to reduce fees, eliminating arbitrary charges, and to its preferential policies.
This year, the Manzhouli port authorities has abolished charges on 24 trade items and reduced fees on over 20 other items, saving 50 million yuan for importers and exporters.
The first half year also witnessed an increase in the variety and quality of traded goods.

China: Attractive for World's Investors

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua)-- Hundreds of top business leaders from the world's best known multinational companies and organizations will assemble in Shanghai later this month to attend the influential 1999 Global Forum which is being staged by the prestigious Fortune magazine, amongst other important bodies.
Shanghai has been chosen as the venue because it is recognized as China's largest and fastest developing economic and financial center which will have a key role in world business affairs in the 21st century.
Official data indicate that 200 enterprises out of the Top 500 listed by Fortune magazine have already invested in China. And since 1993 the country has become the second most attractive for international investors after the United States.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the amount of overseas investment actually used has grown at an average annual rate of 32.9 percent in the past 15 years.
By the end of 1998, the number of projects involving foreign direct investment had topped 324,000, with a total paid-up amount of 265.6 billion US dollars.
The first three Sino-foreign joint ventures in China appeared in 1980, one year after the government issued the Law on Chinese- Foreign Equity Joint Ventures. Today over 170 countries and regions invest in China, compared to around 30 in the early 1980s.
In 1998 the investment from other parts of Asia was valued at 31.33 billion US dollars, accounting for 68.9 percent of the country's overseas investment. And an investment of 4.31 billion U. S. dollars came from Europe, 4.56 billion US dollars from Latin America and 4.33 billion US dollars from North America, accounting for 9.5 percent, 10 percent and 9.5 percent of the total respectively.
After 20 years of development, overseas funds have been introduced into the major fields of China's national economy such as agriculture, oil exploration, transportation, telecommunications, commerce, trade, finance and banking; instead of being restricted to the industrial and construction sector as they were in the early 1980s.
The expansion in the investment fields has helped improve the entire industrial structure of China, with many sectors beginning to change from being labor-intensive to technology-intensive.
While making great efforts to attract overseas investment, China has actively encouraged its own organizations to invest abroad during these recent dynamic years of change and challenge.
By the end of 1998, China invested 6.33 billion US dollars in setting up 5,666 enterprises overseas, including 3,000 trading companies.
The country's overall investment portfolio spans more than 160 countries and regions, the major part of which lies in developing countries, while its investment in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union grows rapidly.
In terms of investment from China, the United States has become one of the hot-spots for Chinese non-trading enterprises, which totaled 257 by the end of 1997, 12 percent of the total of Chinese enterprises overseas. Russia is ranked second followed by Thailand, Australia, Japan and Canada.
Chinese enterprises are now investing in even more fields, expanding from trading to resources-exploration, agriculture, manufacture, construction, transportation, medicines, finance and tourism.

Culture
China To Commemorate 2,550th Birth Anniversary of Confucius

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- The opening ceremony of a week- long series of activities to mark the 2,550th anniversary of the birth of Confucius, China's ancient thinker and educator, started today in the Confucius Temple in Beijing.
Among the events there will be a general knowledge test on Confucius and his thought, a writing competition on the topic " Confucius in My Heart", and also exhibitions about his life experiences.
There will also be a huge party and several dance performances at the temple from September 11 to 28, according to the organizer.
East China's Shangdong Province is now making preparations for the 1999 International Confucius Cultural Festival in his birth place of Qufu, beginning from September 26.
Zhou Qi, who is in charge of the organizing committee, said that apart from the celebrations, lectures, academic seminars, and discussions of the economy, trade, science, and technology, will be held during the festival.
Confucius (551 B.C.- 479 B.C.) is regarded as a great thinker and educator in Chinese history. Confucianism, the school of thought that developed out of his ideas, has had a great influence on China's political, cultural and social life for thousands of years.  

City News:
Chinese Capital Deepens Housing Reform

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- The municipal government of Beijing issued a new housing reform plan today in a bid to enable all families in the Chinese capital, rich or poor, to pay for their own housing.
Beijing's reform plan is in conformity with a Ministry of Construction plan on housing reform for employees of the central government. Moreover, the capital's plan will cover a wider range of people, according to Miao Leru, the city government official in charge of the program.
Under the city's scheme, low and middle-income families will enjoy government subsidies to purchase or rent housing, but the rich will have to pay for their apartments at market prices.
The new policy is expected to go into force on October 1, after the government carries out a survey of housing conditions for local residents and works out a series of regulations on the commercialization of residential housing, Miao said.
Over the past two decades, Beijing has made great efforts to deal with the severe shortage of apartments. By 1998, Beijingers had an average residential floor space of 14.86 square meters per person, compared with 6.76 square meters in 1979.
In March of last year, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji proposed shifting from the decades-old policy under which the government paid for all residential housing, to a new policy of commercializing the housing sector and allowing people pay for their own apartments or houses.
The government hopes this new policy will help fuel the current sluggish real estate market.

Auto Fair Opens In China's Car City

CHANGCHUN, September 6 (Xinhua) -- Over 40 auto makers and 300 spare parts firms from both home and abroad are attending the eight-day International Automobile Fair which kicks off today in Changchun, a famed Chinese "Car City" in northeast Jilin Province.
A number of world famous auto producers, including Japan's Toyota and Nissan along with Germany's Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz, are exhibiting their products; and the new "Beetle" car made by Volkswagen is expected to be a high spot.
At the same time, many new cars by over 30 domestic enterprises like the No. 1 Automobile Manufacturing Enterprise, the Shanghai Volkswagen Corp., Beijing Cherokee Corp., and the Guangzhou Honda Corporation, are also on display.
The total number of official delegates to the fair exceeds 6, 000 with cars on display numbering 160.
A spokesman for the organizing committee explained that the fair will also feature seminars on the development strategy of the auto industry, the use of electronics in manufacturing processes, along with auto sales and facilities for securing loans.
Changchun is the birthplace of New China's automobile industry, and China's first domestic auto manufacturing factory was set up there some four decades ago.
Boasting the largest car maker in the country, the No. 1 Automobile Manufacturing Group, the city is now known as the " Detroit of the Orient", a reference to the famous US car metropolis.
Auto production has become its pillar industry, while at the same time it has made great efforts to develop related industries, like car sales, spare parts manufacturing and maintenance services.

Saving For Better Education

Shanghai, September 6 (Shanghai Daily)--Wherever you work, you can always hear discussions from different people about their children's education. "What kind of school does your kid go to?" and "Whether to send children to private schools". The private school phenomenon is popular among young parents. They don't care about their money, their only desire is to have their children get the best education. However, some experts doubt that money can really assure a better education?
If you have a chance to accompany a kid, you will feel his/her "bitter" life. A nine-year old boy told our reporter that he had endless amounts of homework to do. Also the parents hire a private teacher to teach extra lessons at the weekend. He sighed and said that he had no choice because his classmates also did the same thing.
Now sending kids to a boarding kindergarten is the fashion among young parents. Since they have neither experience nor time to take care of their children, it sounds like the only way to look after the kids. Although almost all parents should pay RMB10 thousand in financial support fees, they still should queue up for a vacancy. Such financial support will go on when the kids go into primary schools, junior high schools and senior high schools.
After spending a lot on the kids, however, still it is not guaranteed that the kids will be successful. Some experts have concluded, after a survey, that most families pay too much attention to the kids' material requirements and ignore their spiritual needs. The parents have little knowledge about how to educate and guide their children. Most parents are cautious about test scores and neglect their kids' personal interests. Apparently, communication between parents and kids has becomes less than ten years' ago.
Experts agree that a good education takes close cooperation among schools, families and society. The Parents' guide is elementary for the healthy development of their children.

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IT Information
E-Commerce Exhibition Opens in Beijing

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- China International Electronic Commerce Exhibition kicks off today at Beijing Exhibition Center.
Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo said at the opening ceremony that the Chinese government is placing a great deal of importance on electronic commerce and its development.
The four-day exhibition is being sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the Ministry of Information Industry to demonstrate China's progress in e-commerce and to introduce the latest information on e-business to help China's e-commerce.
The exhibition will deal with problems of paying over electronic circuits and computer security and will run seminars.
More than 200 prominent IT companies like Intel, Microsoft, Compaq, IBM and HP are taking part in the show along with major Chinese IT enterprises and provincial information centers.

Chinese Vice-Premier Calls for IT Awareness

BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice-Premier Li Lanqing called for prominent IT companies to strengthen cooperation and exchange with China in the hi-tech fields during a meeting today with representatives from over 20 overseas enterprises attending an ongoing International E-Commerce Exhibition in Beijing.
Li said that information technology is advancing rapidly and the application of e-commerce should be pushed forward.
The four-day exhibition is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the Ministry of Information Industry to demonstrate China's progress in e-commerce and to introduce the latest information services which can help promote China's e-commerce.
More than 200 leading IT companies like Intel, Microsoft, Compaq, IBM and HP are taking part in the show along with major Chinese IT enterprises and provincial information centers.

Features:
Profile: From Snake Trapper to Wildlife Protector

GUILIN, September 6 (Xinhua) -- With the four new tiger cubs that were born last month, 37-year-old Zhou Weisen now has raised 171 tigers on his Xiongsen Mountain farm for bears and tigers in this scenic city of Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China.
The mountain farm is considered the world's largest tiger breeding and scientific research base, where tigers are also taught how to hunt to prepare them for their return to the wild.
In an interview with reporters, Zhou, now a private businessman, claimed that he has had an unbreakable bond with tigers since his birth in 1962, the Year of Tiger according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar.
Zhou came from a poor family in Fuzang Township of Pingnan County in Guangxi. When he was young, he was forced to leave school in the third grade because his family could not afford the tuition fees.
He made a living first by rearing ducks. In the early 1980s, encouraged by the government that "getting rich is glorious," Zhou learned to trap snakes for sale to urban areas in Guangdong Province and Guangxi where there is a tradition of eating snake meat.
When the government promulgated laws to protect wildlife, Zhou switched to rearing snakes in captivity, and with the guidance of technical experts, he raised 500,000 snakes a year and earned over one million yuan annually.
"After that shift, I found I have gradually changed from a wildlife trapper to a wildlife protector," said Zhou, who built a center for scientific research and propagation in 1993 on his hometown's mountain with millions of yuan in savings.
Zhou's cause won support from the Chinese Forestry Ministry, the regional forestry bureau of Guangxi, and local governments, and he was given a permit to rear large animals like tigers and black bears. After that, 13 tigers and more than 60 black bears were transferred from around the country to his center for propagation.
Since 1993, Zhou has invested a total of 400 million yuan in building the 500,000-squre-meter Xiongsen Mountain Farm for Tigers and Bears, where now roams Siberian tigers, south China tigers, Bengali tigers, white tigers, black bears, and leopards -- all on the state's top protection list.
"Tigers are the king of beasts, and my life's goal is to give the world a gift by producing more tigers and saving tigers from the brink of extinction," said Zhou.
Experts estimate that the number of tigers living in the wild in China is no more than 50, and no more than 3,000 worldwide. Artificial procreation has become the major method for saving tigers from extinction.
Over the past few years, Zhou Weisen has led a group of experts to try a range of measures, including simulating the environment of the wild and stepping up the prevention and cure of diseases to improve the tigers' procreation capacities.
As a result, tigers now breed in all seasons and mate more often than before. From June 7 to 16 this year alone, three female tigers at the farm gave birth to 11 cubs.
Researchers from the Wildlife Resources College of the Northeast Forestry University and the Veterinary Medical Institute of the Chinese People's Liberation Army University for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry have conducted research in cooperation with technical experts on the mountain farm which leads the country in the research on tiger viruses, blood transfusions for tigers suffering anemia, and Cesarean births.
Preparations for creating a gene bank for tigers at the mountain farm, the first of its kind in China, are also underway.
In preparing tigers for their return to the wild, training is also held to teach them to hunt at the mountain farm.
When the training first started, the tigers shied away when they saw oxen or pigs. But after some training, they become aggressive and the cattle and pigs had to run for their lives.
Rearing these animals is a non-profit business, said Zhou, who added that the source of income for the mountain farm is sight- seeing and tourism programs based on animals shows, coupled with donations.
Judging by the current propagation speed of tigers at the farm, the number of tigers there will exceed 500 next year and 1,000 in 2003, he said.
"My ambition is to become the tiger-rearing king of the world," said Zhou, "Then, I will send them abroad, free of charge.

China's Largest Private Enterprise Rolls On

CHENGDU, September 6 (Xinhua) -- It is yet another busy day for Liu Yonghao, president of the Hope Group, China's largest private enterprise, whose daily output value of 27 million yuan (about 3. 25 million US dollars ) matches the annual production of a normal State-owned enterprise and represents one-tenth of the country's daily total.
The firm, which processes and sells animal feed among a myriad of other activities, employs 20,000 workers and last year the group's net assets surpassed 2.5 billion yuan (about 300 million U. S. dollars).
And an ambitious aim of Liu and his three brothers, who set up the company in 1982 after raising 1,000 yuan, a mere 120 US dollars, by selling their watches and bicycles, is to develop the Hope Group into one of the world's 500 largest enterprises.
Liu and his brothers were listed as the richest men on the Chinese mainland by the influential US Forbes magazine in 1994, a status which lasted for three consecutive years.
China now has 1.26 million privately-owned enterprises which employ 78 million people. And their combined output value accounts for one-fifth of the country's total.
So far, the Hope Group owns 128 enterprises in China. In 1998, its animal feed output reached 3.5 million tons, while its annual output value exceeded 7.5 billion yuan (about 903 million dollars).
Besides the feed industry, Liu has also expanded his business to financial services, real estate, trade, food processing and other sectors.
So far this year, the group has set up four more plants in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in far northwest China. And an animal feed processing plant involving an investment of 40 million yuan (about 4.8 million US dollars) is expected to be built in Viet Nam, a mark of the group's determination to expand business overseas.
For Liu's day begins early and the 48-year old "feed giant" drives to work at 7.00 a.m. As soon as he arrives at his office compound, dubbed the "barracks" by some western business media, in urban Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, he checks his daily work tasks.
A typical diary can include a board of directors meeting at 8: 00 a.m., discussion on the purchase of an animal feed plant at 9: 30, discussion about expanding investment in Vietnam at 11:00, attending a housing fair after lunch, meeting with a central government official at 3:30 p.m., an interview with a reporter from the US-based "Forbes" magazine at 6:30 p.m., ...and so on.
An American economist once described the success of the Hope Group as the realization of the "American dream", yet Liu says it is mostly due to the Chinese government's policies on providing development opportunities for the private sector.
"I never expected it to develop so well and so rapidly," Liu remarked, citing the country's reform and opening-up policies introduced in the late 1970s and the market economy policy in 1992 as the main factors influencing his group's success.
"Before the end of the chaotic 'Cultural Revolution' (1966-76), there was no private enterprise in China," explained Liu Yonghao, who is also vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
"This year's government insistence on the private economy being considered an important component of a socialist market economy by the revised Constitution is a significant turning point," he added.
Though a billionaire, Liu likes to have lunch with his fellow workers whenever he has time. "It's a good chance for me to listen to their suggestions as well as complaints," Liu said.
"Liu Yonghao and his brothers are easy to get along with," according to the group's vice-president Song Zuwei, who is the former general manager of the Dongfeng-Citroen Automobile Co. Limited, a leading car producer in China.
Indeed about half of the group's staff and the majority of its management personnel used to work in State-owned enterprises before they were employed by the Hope Group. "Competition amongst private enterprises is actually about qualified personnel mostly," revealed Liu.
Liu Yuxin, a former worker in the State-owned Panzhihua Iron and Steel Company, said that "It's the flexible system that has attracted me to work in the group. Income here is directly linked with our own performance. So I have to fully engage in my work."
Liu, who prefers to wear a grey Western-style business suit, has no special hobbies and he neither smokes nor drinks. Sometimes, though, he plays badminton with his fellow workers.
"I would like to do some exercises, but I don't have much time, " Liu said regretfully.
In the evening, Liu usually goes home to relax and watch TV with his wife and their child. However, he often spends a lot of time surfing on the Internet in order to learn more about the outside world.

Others

Police plan to seize foreign outlaws

Beijing, September 7 (China Daily)--THE Beijing police will step up its efforts to solve criminal cases committed by foreigners, said an official from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.
Although the majority of foreigners visiting or living in Beijing abide by Chinese laws and regulations, there are some who committed crimes and threatened social order in the past, said Yu Guohai, the director of Foreign Exit and Entry Division under the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.
According to Yu, the crimes commonly committed by foreigners include illegal exit-entry, illegitimate employment, prostitution, racketeering and theft.
Recently, crimes committed by foreigners have been on the rise, said Yu.
One particular case involved foreigners exchanging currency with local residents. Some foreign criminals pasted black ink onto pieces of paper which were the same size as dollar bills. Then, they added real dollars also dyed black to the stacks. When they met local residents to exchange dollars, the criminals washed the black ink out of the real dollars, fooling the residents into thinking the rest of the bills were real dollars that had been dyed black to escape customs inspection.
It is illegal for local Chinese residents to directly exchange foreign currency with foreigners.
In another incident involving foreign criminals, the perpetrator used large denomination bills to buy inexpensive goods in a store. When the salespersons opened the cash box to get change, the perpetrator grabbed the box and fled.
Yu said that crimes committed by foreigners often go unreported. "Local residents do not expect foreigners to commit crimes and sometimes are hesitant to report such incidents to the police; besides, to some Chinese, it is difficult to accurately describe the features of foreign outlaws," said Yu, who cited the above reasons for the difficulties in solving these cases.

Heavy Rain Causes Floods in East China

NANCHANG, September 6 (Xinhua) -- Continuing heavy rain provoked by tropical storm Wendy has sent the water levels on all major rivers and lakes in east China's Jiangxi Province above danger marks.
Since September 4, torrential rain has battered 16 cities and counties of the province, and in some areas the rain was measured at 184 mm. daily.
The water level on the Yangtze River at Jiujiang rose to 20.66 meters last night, 1.16 meters above the danger line, while the water level on the Poyang Lake was measured at 20.12 meters at Hukou, 1.12 meters above the danger mark.
Nine out of the province's 24 large and medium-sized reservoirs opened sluices to release floodwater yesterday.
It is now still raining in the northeastern part of the province, and the provincial flood-control headquarters has called for intense efforts to guard against severe floods.

Tornado Injures Dozens in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, September 6 (Xinhua) -- A tornado swept the outskirts of Shanghai this morning injuring 41 people, seven seriously.
The tornado lasted from 7:40 am to 7:55 am, and brought down 35 houses, uprooted more than 40 trees, killed some 7,500 chickens and ducks, and damaged 26,000 sq m of crops.
A thunderstorm accompanying the tornado battered the city, leaving parts of the downtown area inundated by water.
Rescue workers have been sent to the disaster areas, and the injured have been hospitalized and all the other victims now have been evacuated to safe places. 

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