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BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- It's supposed to be a time of family reunions, new year greetings and fireworks, but blizzards and accidents on Wednesday put a damper on the Chinese New Year.The country is experiencing the peak travel period with millions of people are eager to get away from tough jobs to go home for the most important Chinese holiday, which falls on Sunday. The mass movement of people is the largest human migration on the earth.In the southern Guangdong Province, China's business hub, about 100,000 migrant workers are expected to ride motorcycles to go home to neighboring Hunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces, to avoid train jams and high train ticket prices."It will be a tiring 10-hour motorcycle ride, but I can save a lot of money by not taking a train," said a migrant worker surnamed Huang who set off at 6 a.m. Wednesday for his home in neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.Traffic police set up more than a dozen rest areas along major national highways so workers could warm their hands, drink some hot tea and repair their motorcycles before continuing their trip.Railway stations across the country have been crowded with millions of migrant workers carrying belongings and trying to buy tickets home. For some, this is the one chance they have per year to return home with gifts for their family. The railways are expected to carry 210 million passengers during the 40-day travel period that began January 30.But a blizzard that hit at least six provinces and regions in northern China Tuesday and Wednesday has disrupted tens of thousands of homecoming trips.Railway authorities say trains will slow down once fresh snow measures 40 cm. Train service will be halted if the snow depth exceeds 50 cm.The Ministry of Transport said at least 24 expressways were closed nationwide amid heavy snow by Wednesday morning in the provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei, Shandong and Henan, as well as in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.Besides the bad weather, traffic accidents caused by the crush of people and tired driving are straining the nerves of passengers and government officials.More than 600 traffic accidents occurred in the northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region between Tuesday and Wednesday. No casualties were reported, said the regional traffic police.In Gansu Province, nine people were killed and another 24 injured after a bus with 33 passengers veered off the road and fell into a ravine Wednesday morning near Longnan City.More than 270,000 police have been busy trying to keep order on the roads, cracking down on speeding, overloading and other offences, according to the Ministry of Public Security.The holiday is also an annual headache for authorities as workshops, mostly illegal and poorly run, are speeding up production of fireworks, a must have item when celebrating the Spring Festival.Three people died and another two were injured Wednesday after a blast in a fireworks plant in Anshun City in southwest China's Guizhou Province.


BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Liu Yunshan, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Wednesday pledged to work with Germany to increase bilateral cooperation."We can enhance our cooperation in various areas, including environmental protection and sustainable development," Liu said when meeting with a delegation of Germany's Green Party, one of the country's major parties.Liu, who is in charge of the CPC's publicity department, said the growth of bilateral ties accorded with common interests of both nations.Liu Yunshan (R), head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, meets with Cem Oezdemir, co-leader of Germany's Green Party, in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2010.The CPC and the Chinese government valued ties with Germany and with the Greens, and would expand bilateral cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, Liu said.Cem Oezdemir, co-leader of the Greens, said his party was ready to increase coordination with China on coping with international challenges.Oezdemir and his delegation are visiting China at the invitation of the CPC from March 16 to 20.Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, met with the delegation earlier Wednesday to exchange views on promoting party-to-party relations.

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian said Friday the U.S. decision to impose preliminary duties on Chinese potassium phosphate salts and coated paper was unfair and discriminatory.Yao said "frequent" countervailing probes by the U.S. into Chinese products have "unfairly restricted normal exports," adding the fresh anti-dumping measures came only two years after the U.S. ruled China's coated paper exports did not harm the domestic industry in November 2007.The two products will face 109 percent and up to 13 percent duties, respectively, according to a U.S. Commerce Department statement Tuesday.Yao said the fundamental reason behind the difficulties in the U.S. coated paper industry was due to weak demand caused by the financial crisis. He said passing the problem on to Chinese manufacturers was unacceptable.He said China firmly opposes abuse of trade protectionist measures by the U.S. and would negotiate with the U.S. over the unfair move to protect the interests of Chinese companies.


BEIJING, March 11 (Xinhua) -- China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Thursday urged for pushing forward mainland-Taiwan relations steadily, saying the two sides are facing a grand opportunity for the development of ties.Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the call when attending a panel discussion of the annual session of the National People's Congress."The relations across the Taiwan Strait saw comprehensive improvement and development over the past year, and we are now facing a grand opportunity to develop the ties," Jia told NPC deputies of the delegation representing Taiwan."It's imperative to do well the work concerning Taiwan in a concrete and effective manner and steadily push forward cross-Strait relations," Jia said."We must stick to the principle that the mainland and Taiwan both belong to one China, consolidate the political foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and strengthen political trust between the two sides," Jia said.Jia, also Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, also urged the two sides to deepen their economic cooperation and establish a long-term mechanism for mutual development and benefit.Cultural and educational exchanges should be vigorously promoted to deepen the sense of national and cultural identity between compatriots across the strait, Jia said.

BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang Monday urged the United States to respect China's core interests and major concerns.Li told visiting former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger that he hoped the United States would safeguard the stable growth of China-U.S. ties."The severe disturbance that recently occurred in bilateral relations is not in accordance with the interests of both countries," Li said, refering to Washington's announcement of weapon sales to Taiwan, President Barack Obama's meeting with the ** Lama, and trade disputes between the two countries.A sound China-U.S. relationship was in the fundamental interests of both nations and peoples, and was also conducive to peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, Li said. Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2010.He hoped that the United States would work with China to treat bilateral ties from a strategic height and long-term perspective, and to promote ties towards active, comprehensive and cooperative orientation.Li praised the contribution made by the 86-year-old former U.S. diplomat to advancing the China-U.S. cooperation, hoping he would continue his efforts for the growth of bilateral relations.Kissinger said China's major concerns should gain respect.During a speech earlier Monday, Kissinger expressed his optimism for the development of China-U.S. ties despite difficulties.Past frictions between the two countries had always been properly handled, Kissinger said.Also on Monday, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with Kissinger.Kissinger served as the top U.S. diplomat during the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in 1970s. He paid the visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.

BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police nationwide were urged Friday to tighten security and step up safety overhaul during the Chinese Lunar New Year and be "ready to handle emergencies to prevent serious accidents."A circular from the Ministry of Public Security told local police authorities to increase scrutiny of fireworks parties, trade fairs, lantern shows, and temple fairs during the Spring Festival holiday which starts Saturday.It said the police should assist in keeping public and traffic order around large events' venues and be ready to handle crime and emergencies.Efforts should be made to strengthen security measures around train stations. Police authorities must release "safety tips" to the public through radio, newspapers and cell phone messages, it said.More than 10,000 large events, including traditional temple fairs, will be held across the country during the seven-day holiday, with more than 320 events expected to attract more than 10,000 people each.The latest ministry statistics show police solved nearly 1,200 homicide cases and 915 human trafficking cases last month.Police also arrested nearly 470 suspects for using telephones to scam or defraud people in January, saving 3.45 million yuan (507,000 U.S. dollars) in economic losses.Last month, the police busted nearly 2,000 bases for illegal fireworks' manufacture, sale, or transportation.The Spring Festival, or the Lunar New Year, falls on Sunday. It is the most important annual Chinese festival, with family reunions, much fun and plenty of eating.


BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- China has dispatched inspectors to 16 provinces to urge local authorities to thoroughly investigate cases concerning food safety, the government's latest move against a string of reportedly resurfacing melamine-tainted milk products after a nationwide crackdown in 2008.Any law-breaking concerning food safety will be severely dealt with, an official with the National Food Safety Rectification Office led by Health Minister Chen Zhu said here Tuesday.The unnamed official said the office recently dispatched eight teams of inspectors. The official did not give details on the total number of inspectors involved or their identities.Milk powder laced with melamine that should have been destroyed has been used, local authorities discovered.Media reports said melamine-tainted dairy products have resurfaced in several Chinese provinces.Melamine is an industrial compound which can give a false positive on protein tests and cause kidney stones. Melamine-contaminated milk products left at least six children dead and 300,000 sickened in 2008."These cases reveal that the toxic milk powder recalled in 2008 was not completely destroyed and is now illegally reused for new products," the official said.In December 2009, three people from the Shanghai Panda Dairy Company were prosecuted on suspicion of producing and selling melamine-tainted milk powder. Local police said all the company's products had been recalled and that there was no harm to consumers.Another three people from the Shaanxi Jinqiao Dairy Co. Ltd. in northwest Shaanxi Province had also been detained by police over suspected tainted milk powder sales before its products reached retail stores.Food safety issues have became particularly sensitive in China after the 2008 milk scandal. The government has intensified supervision of food safety with new laws and regulations, including the Food Safety Law that took effect on June 1, 2009. Nationwide checks of food safety have also been increased.The official said food safety was a global issue, one that existed in both developing and developed countries.Improving food safety standards is a long-term tough task for China, the official added.

BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- China has seen progress in the development of the law profession as it strives to build a country based on the rule of law.According to the Ministry of Justice, the country had more than 15,000 law firms, more than 166,000 lawyers, and more than 220,000 people working in the sector at the end of 2009.By Oct. 2009, foreign law firms from 21 countries had set up 224 representatives offices in China, while law firms from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region had set up 65 offices on the mainland, the ministry said.Sixteen lawyers are deputies in the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, and 22 lawyers are members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top political advisory body.Last year, the country's lawyers handled nearly 2 million lawsuits, and dealt with more than 534,000 non-litigious legal matters, plus more than 184,000 cases of legal aid.Statistics show in 2008, lawyers billed their clients 30.9 billion yuan (4.54 billion U.S. dollars) and paid more than 4 billion yuan in taxes.No corresponding figures for the year of 2009 are available.


LOS ANGELES, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A China automaker has made headlines in California as it is considering locating its U.S. office and assembly line in the state, local media reported on Tuesday.The office and assembly line are expected to create high-paying jobs in a state hard-hit by the recent recession.The Chinese automaker BYD, or Build Your Dreams, may really build a dream in California after it has teamed up with German automaking giant Daimler-Benz to manufacture an A-class electric vehicle.China's BYD F6DM, powered by electric motors and gasoline engine, is displayed at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), in Detroit, the United States, JaN. 11, 2009.As one of the world's largest rechargeable battery and consumer electronics makers, BYD entered the U.S. market this year with its electric car model BYD e6 through the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.The first batch of such cars is to hit markets in Europe, the United States and China as early as next year.Morale-boosted by the BYD intention, local authorities from both the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City reportedly met BYD executives to woo the firm to locate its office and assembly line on their premises.Several other places including Long Beach and Lancaster have also joined the race to attract the attention of China's fourth biggest carmaker."It would be a tremendous boost to our economy and economic growth and prosperity," said Tony Bell, spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.As the largest auto market in the United States, California has recently seen a mushrooming of so-called "green tech" firms involved in the research and production of electric and other alternative energy vehicles.BYD is expected to produce better versions of electric cars by adding its long-life rechargeable battery to Benz chassis and transmission.The e6's, an all-electric crossover car, already are claimed to reach a range of 400 kilometers per charge.Though local pundits claim that California is the right place for BYD to locate its U.S. office and assembly line, BYD executives remained silent on the issue.Local authorities have made wooing BYD to open business in California their top priority, hoping the addition of the Chinese electric car maker would help create in California a new and greener Detroit.

BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Emissions of sulfur dioxide, a major pollutant, in China dropped 10.4 percent last year compared with that of 2008, Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian said here Monday.Zhou told a national conference that sulfur dioxide emissions were down 24.6 percent compared with that of 2005.The government set the target of cutting emissions of major pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of water pollution, by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010, the 11th Five-Year Plan period.Zhou said the country's COD and emissions of sulfur dioxide fell for four consecutive years after the target was set at the beginning of 2006.He said the successful reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions could be attributed to the use of desulfurization. Statistics show China had built more than 411 million kilowatts of desulfurization units since 2006.However, he said it was still difficult to reduce the amount of COD and the reduction progress was far different among regions.He said this year was the last year in achieving the 11th Five-Year Plan and the government appraisal showed that the environmental protection goal set in the plan could be achieved in time.Zhou said more than 400,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide would be reduced this year and another 200,000 tonnes of COD would be cut down after the 11th Five-Year Plan was met.

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