China 2008. A Preview

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2008 will be another busy year in China. Xinhua provides a preview, highlights of which are below:

    “Prevent economic overheating, curb inflation
    The economy has grown faster than 10 percent annually for the past five years. The primary task of China’s 2008 economic work has been set: “to prevent the economy from becoming overheated and to guard against a shift from structural price rises to inflation.”…

    Elect new State leaders during March 2008 meetings
    China has decided to convene the first plenary session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 5, 2008, during which top state and government leaders will be elected…

    Host the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
    Beijing will host the 29th Summer Olympic Games starting on Aug. 8 and the Paralympics on Sept. 6. From stadium construction to recruitment of volunteers, China has tackled preparation for the upcoming games…

    Mark the 30th anniversary of reform and opening up
    This year will be the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. At the end of 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee was held in Beijing, starting an era of reform and opening up…

    Implement laws to promote social justice and harmony
    New laws are taking effect in 2008 to promote social justice and harmony. The Labor Contract Law, which took effect on Tuesday, entitled employees who have at least 10 years’ service in one company to sign contracts that protect them from dismissal without cause. It also required employers to contribute to employees’ social security accounts and set wage standards for probation and overtime.

    Also from Tuesday, a milestone corporate income tax law took effect. The law set a unified income tax rate for domestic and foreign companies at 25 percent. This came after years of criticism that the original dual income tax mechanism, intended to attract foreign investment, was unfair to domestic enterprises.

    The anti-monopoly law, which aims to ensure fair competition, will take effect on Aug. 1. Lawmakers said the statute will improve market regulation and provide a better environment for domestic and foreign investors.

    Launch the Shenzhou VII spacecraft
    China’s third manned space mission is scheduled to be launched in 2008. Compared with the previous two manned space flights, the upcoming Shenzhou VII space mission, which includes a space walk, is more complex…

    Hu Jintao to visit Japan
    Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Japan this spring, which will be the first visit by a Chinese President to Japan in a decade, since former President Jiang Zemin’s journey in 1998…

    Improve people’s livelihood
    The government promised to establish a cooperative health care network covering all rural residents by the end of 2008. Also, by the end of 2010, it will extend the medical insurance system for employed urban residents, aiming to provide safe, effective, convenient and low-cost public health and medical services to the entire population…

    …China will continue to spend more on education in 2008 and expand free nine-year compulsory education among rural and urban children.

    The government has also vowed to curb rising housing prices to help urban low-income families, by expediting the low-rent housing system and improving the affordable housing system…”

And, as ever, there will be plenty of unplanned activity (as well as more on international politics and trade, the environment, product safety and foreign investment, to name but a few) to keep the news wires – and the blogs – busy.

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