Sep 02

China Watch Blog has learnt that flight 370 conspiracy theories are everywhere on the internet, almost six months since it went missing without a trace. The southern Indian Ocean is being called the Boeing 777’s “final resting place”, but no evidence has been found.

One conspiracy theory suggests the plane was shot down by military ops, specifically US-Thai strike fighters, by mistake.

Another theory is that the plane was taken to the highly secretive Diego Garcia Island as part of a US military plan. There is enough room to land such a large plane, but could there have been something on board the US military wanted? A dismantled drone with sensitive information was on board, according to some reports.

Some theories point to a hijacking, for the plane to be used for a greater plan at a later time. How did it fly off radar? By “hiding behind” another aircraft, such as Singapore Airlines’ Flight 68 if the planes were within a thousand metres of each other, through Indian and Afghanistan airspace.

Other conspiracy theories include a life insurance scam, the “Asian Bermuda Triangle” and alien abduction. However, the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, remains the prime suspect for many. Could he have had a breakdown, killing everyone on board, re-pressurizing the cabin and flying for four hours to the middle of nowhere?

The Inquisitr / The Mirror UK / The Telegraph

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Apr 24

China Watch Blog reports a growing number of Shanghai couples are choosing to live together before marriage, according to the results of a survey released by Fudan University on April 21.

In the poll of 2,330 people aged between 25 and 34, 43 percent of the married respondents said they had cohabited before getting wed, according to a Shanghai Daily report.

“Cohabitation no longer has the negative connotations it once had in China,” said Chen Binbin, a psychology lecturer at the university who helped to compile the study.

Almost 70 percent of the married respondents said they began living with their partners after less than a year of dating, while 82 percent said they lived together for less than a year before tying the knot.

More and more people are choosing to cohabit as they want to see what life will really be like and whether they can cope with living with someone else, Chen said.

“In China, it’s seen as a trial marriage,” he said.

Almost 95 percent of the married respondents said they were already engaged or had a clear plan to get married before moving in together.

The survey also found that people who had cohabited for more than 18 months prior to marriage were generally happier after getting wed then than those who had not had such an experience.

Of all the respondents, 44 percent were single and 1 percent were divorced. Just 8 percent of the single respondents said they had no plans to get married.

Almost 96 percent of the people polled said they hoped to have one or two babies, while 2 percent said they wanted more than three and the remainder said they didn’t want any.

The study was carried out as part of the Fudan Yangtze River Delta Social Transformation Survey, which aims to map changes in Chinese society by tracing the lives of people born in the 1980s through their education, marriages and jobs.

The 1980s generation represents a special group of people in China as they are considered to have been born and lived during a period of great social and economic change.

Academics at Fudan University hope the results of the study will be of use to future governments in developing social and economic policies.

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Mar 25

China Watch Blog reports that team LISANew capital acquired in 2013 enables the company not only to carry on the AKOYA program towards LSA certification, but also to develop itself internationally.

The company, its headquarters, its team, its beliefs and projects remain located in the heart of the French Alps in Savoie; just like its activities of design, assembly and marketing airplanes, as well as services and products related to mobility. What expands is our commercial presence.

Besides the fresh momentum, this new partnership with our investors opens the doors of a market with unique potential for LISA. During the last year, we had the opportunity to introduce the AKOYA to several Chinese of varied aviation backgrounds, including professionals and aviation enthusiasts. Although general aviation is currently far from liberalization, there is little doubt that many AKOYAs will fly in the Asian skies in the coming years. China is driven by an astounding desire to develop light aviation in its territory, and the actions recently launched by the government to open the airspace show that a very promising market is about to bloom.

With this in mind, LISA decided to open its first sales office in Chengdu, in the Sichuan Province in Western China. The objectives are, on one hand to welcome customers wishing to obtain additional information about the AKOYA and to increase our international influence, and on the other hand to better understand the light aircraft certification requirements in China.

This presents us with the opportunity to participate in the creation of a favorable environment necessary to develop light sport aviation. Except for airlines, aviation is in its infancy; all the infrastructure, services (airfields, maintenance centers, flying schools and other related services) are yet to be created.

Yao ZHANG has been instrumental in connecting LISA with China and the creation of this office. An aviation enthusiast, Yao was a member of the national Chinese scale-model team and is a glider pilot. He at first considered becoming an aeronautical engineer but later decided to come to France in 2006 where he received his diplomas from SciencesPo Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) and from l’école des Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences), two very prestigious French schools. In 2012, he launched consultancy activities in China at the benefit of relations between French and Chinese SMEs, mainly in innovation and sustainable development.

On his first meeting with LISA, Yao was seduced by the company, its airplane, its projects, and its team. “Taking part in LISA’s development is a true pride because it gathers my passions for aviation and new technologies and my entrepreneurial desire while combining French and Chinese culture that are both close to my heart.”

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Sep 19

China Watch Blog has learnt that a new law is set to take effect in October that aims to clean up Shanghai’s tourism industry by forcing out illegal operators.

Shanghai TV Tower

The move also aims to end price irregularities and arbitrary route changes, and to ensure that consumers aren’t forced to shell out more than the upfront costs they signed up for.

Travel agencies and tour guides will face fines or have their license revoked if they are found in violation of the law.

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Aug 15

China Watch Blog has learnt that Shenzhen traffic police are offering rewards to encourage the public to report drivers or businesses who illegally sell license points from clean licenses to traffic violators in order to profit.

Shenzhen Daily News reported that residents can call 8446-9054 to report violations. If clues lead to the administration detaining drivers involved in the buying and selling of license points, whistle-blowers could receive a 300 yuan (US$50) reward for each person detained.

The reward will go up to 500 yuan per person if clues lead to the arrest of the owners of illegal point-selling businesses. For violators that are successfully prosecuted, the reward will be raised again to 1,000 yuan per person, police said yesterday.

According to law, point-selling businesses could be charged with criminal offenses if found guilty.

Individuals involved in the buying and selling of license points could be detained for up to 15 days. If the point sellers use fake IDs, or fake driver or vehicle licenses, they will be fined 5,000 yuan and have 12 penalty points added to their licenses.

By July this year, 33 suspects in nine cases had been criminally charged and seven of them had been sentenced to jail, according to police.

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Jul 26

China Watch Blog reports fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s hopes of leaving Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in a month on Wednesday were dashed when he failed to secure permission from Russia to leave.

Fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden’s hopes of leaving Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in a month on Wednesday were dashed when he failed to secure permission from Russia to leave.

An airport source said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States on espionage charges for revealing details of government intelligence programmes, was handed documents by his lawyer that were expected to include a pass to leave the transit area.

However, Snowden did not go through passport control and lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is helping him with his request for temporary asylum in Russia until he can reach a country that will shelter him, said the American did not have the pass he needed.

It was not clear whether there had been last-minute political intervention or a hitch, or whether the pass had never been in his possession.

Kucherena said he hoped Snowden’s status would be resolved soon. “I must say he is of course anxious about it and I hope that this situation will be resolved in the nearest future,” Kucherena said at Sheremetyevo.

“This is the first time Russia is facing such a situation, and this issue of course requires time for the immigration workers.”

In Washington, the White House said it was seeking clarification of Snowden’s status, the State Department made clear that allowing him to leave the airport would be “deeply disappointing” and Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the situation.

“The secretary spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “He reiterated our belief … that Mr. Snowden needs to be returned to the United States where he will have a fair trial.”

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May 29

China Watch Blog reports that three men have been sentenced to jail by a Polish court for stealing a vehicle that was being used to transport corpses.

According to Odd News, the three were found guilty of stealing the vehicle from a suburb in Berlin, Germany in October. The 12 bodies, in their coffins, were discovered, a week later, in a wooded area near Poznan, Poland.

The three men, aged between 23 and 27, contested the verdict, saying that they had been hired to transport cars across the border without knowing they were moving stolen vehicles. They received between two and four years in prison each.

The verdicts all related to the auto theft and were in line with the sentencing request made by prosecutors. There were no charges related to disturbing bodies.

Additionally, each man has been ordered to compensate the funeral home with 16,000 zloty ($6,096). They have a week to appeal.

The disappearance of the corpse-filled vehicle hit headlines in both Germany and Poland last year, as relatives of the deceased worried about the final disposition of their loves ones’ remains. The search stretched to the Lithuanian border.

A search was still on for the alleged ringleader of the group. Another accomplice, who pleaded guilty, was already serving an 11-month sentence.

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May 22

China Watch Blog has learnt that An emergency door of Sriwijaya Air flight number SJ 039 broke off as passengers were boarding at Raja Haji Fisabilillah airport in Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands, on Tuesday, the Jakarta Post reported.

The aircraft, scheduled to depart for Soekarno-Hatta airport, Jakarta, at 7 a.m. local time, had to delay take off until the damaged door was replaced.

“Shortly after I took my seat, an emergency exit door in the right side of the aircraft suddenly detached and the emergency chute also opened,” one of the passengers told Antara news agency.

Tanjungpinang-branch Sriwijaya Air manager Gusmansyah said the aircraft was actually in good condition.

“If the emergency equipment does not function, an aircraft is not allowed to fly,” said Gusmansyah.

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May 15

China Watch Blog has learnt that Indonesia’s railway company has decided to scrap women-only trains less than a year after they were introduced.

State railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia launched seven brightly painted trains in October to provide safety and comfort for women following reports of sexual harassment in mixed-gender commuter cars linking Jakarta to outlying areas.

But the trains are largely empty outside rush hour while regular ones are always packed, company spokeswoman Eva Chairunnisa said.

“To increase capacity, we decided to convert the women-only trains into regular ones,” Chairunnisa said.

“The ladies’ trains are full during rush hour, but regular trains are even more packed,” she added.

The spokeswoman said the company planned to add 180 more cars this year and that trains for women only might be introduced again when capacity allowed.

Lack of space has forced many commuters to ride on the rooftops of trains, exposing them to dangers including falling and electrocution.

The railway company has tried various tricks to deter roof riding, including spraying them with paint and hanging concrete balls above train tracks, but they were largely unsuccessful.

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May 10

China Watch Blog has learnt that French logistics student Pauline Bourderiou is about to sit her final examinations, helped on her way by a four-month internship at Impatex Freight Software, the UK’s leading freight and Customs software supplier.

During her stay with Impatex, Pauline has worked behind the scenes on the company’s 24/7 Help Desk to learn about the company’s software and the UK Customs system. She also translated Impatex’s Integrated Customs for Europe (ICE) and NetFreight software screens into French. In her final two months, she assisted in finding a French distributor for NetFreight, and also represented the company on its stand at a trade exhibition.

Pauline’s placement was arranged by Wiltshire College, where she has been studying in the UK; they publicised the availability of French interns through BIFA’s member newsletter. Wiltshire College operates an exchange scheme with IUT Laval, Pauline’s local business college close to her home near Le Mans, France.

In June, Pauline will sit her examinations for the “Licence Gestionnaire Import-Export” – equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in Import and Export; she will also receive an HNC in Business. In April, she sat and passed the Cambridge University Certificate in Business English.

To date, Pauline has spent two years studying international trade, with work placements in Spain and France that involved translation, organising and attending overseas exhibitions, identifying potential international distributors, supply chain analysis and accounting.

Says Pauline: “My last work placement in a logistics department in France, gave me the desire to follow my study in Import-export. For me, logistics is a really interesting sector because the aim is to coordinate all activities in the areas of procurement, production, handling, packaging, packing, storage, distribution and delivery.

“I was really pleased to do my work placement at Impatex; there is a really good atmosphere at work and everybody has been very welcoming when I arrived. This work placement gave me more knowledge about export and import documents, and how the UK trades with other countries using its software to prepare and manage their exports and imports. I learned how Customs works in England; it is quite unique, and different than French Customs.”

Pauline has her sights set firmly on a career in logistics; and although she favours a French company in the wine or foods sector, she is not against working in other countries or businesses: “I love travelling : it is the reason why I chose to study International trade. I would like to work as an export sales manager, because I really enjoy the contact with customers and it is a really important place within the logistics process.”

Adds Impatex MD Peter Day: “It has been a real pleasure helping Pauline with her studies, and she has also been a tremendous assistance to our business. We wish her very well for the future: she will be a real credit to whoever is lucky enough to employ her.”

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