Politburo upbeat on economic datag Motors on the assem

China’s economy grew better than expected in the first quarter and market confidence was raised in

an outstanding way, according to a statement from a meeting presided over by President Xi Jinping on Friday.

During the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central

Committee, members analyzed the current economic situation and made plans for economic work.

In the first quarter, government departments pushed forward high-quality growth, deepene

d supply-side structural reform and carried out positive fiscal policy and stable monetary policy, the statement said. Main mac

roeconomic figures were in proper range, and reform and opening-up was pushed forward continuously, it said.

The statement said lots of difficulties and problems remain in economic development, with m

ore tension in the external economic environment and downward pressure on the domestic economy. Government departments shou

ld remain steadfast and be brave in overcoming difficulties in economic development, it said.

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Other revisions in the draft are made in light of new

progress of reforms and new developments of the capital market.

A draft amendment to the law was previously submitted to the top legislature for first reading

in April 2015, mainly to meet the legislative demand of reforming the IPO system toward a registration-based one.

The first draft also improved rules on developing a multi-layer capital market system, strengthen

ing investor protection, promoting securities industry innovations and enhancing regulation.

New revisions were submitted for a second reading in April 2017 to im

prove regulation on such areas as stock trading, acquisitions of listed firms, information disclo

sure and investor protection. The second draft also demanded the State Council to gradually advance the IPO sys

tem reform in accordance with authorization granted by the top legislature.

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As a prominent expert on China-US studies for decade

 Zhu also was twice denied single-entry visas to the US.

“This shows how the US is trying to block normal social exchanges bet

ween the two countries, an important channel for mutual understanding and trust,” Zhu said.

Besides scholars in social sciences, the US also began last year to make it harder for Chinese graduate students to get visas if they stud

y in “sensitive research fields”. It warned biomedical researchers at US universities to beware of “Chinese spies

trying to steal information from their laboratories”, according to The New York Times report.

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science of the University o

f St. Thomas in Houston, said the decision is “both absurd and exceedingly shortsighted”.

“These scholars and researchers are social scientists with a long history of interactin

g with their American counterparts as well policymakers in both countries,” he said.

“They are scholars teaching and researching what I teach and research. What are they going to steal?”

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The country will host over 5,000 participants from mor

than 150 countries, including 37 heads of state or government, for the thre

e-day event starting on Thursday, Wang said, adding the forum, themed “Belt and Road Coop

eration: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”, aims to bring about high-quality cooperation under the initiative.

President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the op

ening ceremony of the forum, and chair the leaders’ round-table summit, Wang said.

Saying the BRI has delivered real benefits to participating countries, Wang stated the hats like “debt traps” cannot be put onto t

he head of the Belt and Road, and this is not something any participating country would recognize.

He added that international communities should base their understandings and comments about the BRI on the facts.

Trade volume between China and the countries participating in the B

RI has exceeded $6 trillion, the number of investment is over $80 billion and arou

nd 300,000 jobs have been created for the people from the countries involved in the initiative, Wang said.

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Much work remains in Sino-US trade negotiations

China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom

ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including

an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.

The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i

ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.

In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo

gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra

de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu

nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.

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Gao cited data to rebut that view and urged AmCham Chi

ina to evaluate China’s market access and business environment for foreign investors in a “comprehensive, objective and fair” way.

The ministry’s data showed that US investment in China jumped 71.3 percent year-on-ye

ar in the first three months of this year. In 2018, US investment increased 7.7 percent year-on-year.

Gao said expansion of the investment figures fully demonstrates that US compan

ies continue to be optimistic about the market and accelerate the pace of investing in China.

Gao cited another survey published in February by AmCham China that showed that most US

companies with operations in China said they have continued to see their revenues grow there.

Gao said the ministry will maintain close contact with foreign enterprise

s and business associations, and continuously improve China’s business environment.

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The eastern area and central China region are accele

rating the push for economic upgrading, which offers strong impetus for the growth. Despite the pressure, we still can see gr

owth momentum,” Zhang said during a macroeconomic seminar earlier this month in Beijing.

“Recently, the government has introduced a series of su

pportive policies which will gradually help grow the real economy,” Zhang added.

NDRC said a further 3.24 million new urban jobs were added in t

he first quarter, with surveyed unemployment ra

te remaining at a comparatively low level of 5.2 percent in March. And consu

mer prices registered a moderate rise of 1.8 percent in the first three months of this year.

A basic equilibrium in the balance of payments was maintai

ned, and China’s foreign exchange reserves exceeded $3 trillion, Yuan added.

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Economic structure was further improved during the sa

me period. The value-added high-tech sector’s out

put rose by 7.8 percent, higher than the country’s value-added industrial output.

In the first quarter, the NDRC approved 50 fixed asset investment projects, mainly in th

e fields of energy, transportation and high-tech. The total investment hit 370.3 billion yuan ($55.3 billion).

The NDRC reportedly is considering a slew of new measure to boost spending on automob

iles, home appliances and consumer electronics products. People close to the NDRC said it has sent a draft plan to

encourage consumption in the three sectors, according to a report in the National Business Daily.

The news caused shares of home appliance companies traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen to increase

by 1.47 percent on Thursday, according to Shanghai-based information provider Wind Info.

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Paris fire sends alarm on relics protectionhedral in Pa

An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa

ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh

ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.

“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi

nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.

The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.

On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On

Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.

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Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consul

ltancy, said: “The lawsuit against Liu will bring damages to the image and reputation of JD, hav

e an impact on investors’ confidence, and cause fluctuations in its share price. Moreover, emp

loyees’ trust in the company may also be affected as the Beijing-based tech heavyweight is laying off staff to cut costs.”

Shen Meng, director of boutique investment bank Chanson & Co, said Liu’s case won’t chan

ge his actual control over JD, which is now making some innovations to reassure investors. Liu owns

15.8 percent of JD’s stock and controls nearly 80 percent of the company’s voting rights.

Liu was detained in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on suspicion of criminal sexual c

onduct on Aug 31 and later released without charge or bail. He returned to China on Sept 3.

In December, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the prosecutorial office handling the case announced that no sexual as

sault charges would be brought against Liu as prosecutors could not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

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