A sculpture of a Chinese diplomat who saved the lives of many Jews during World War II was unveiled at Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum on Thursday.
Ho Feng-Shan, then Chinese Consul-General in Vienna, issued "hundreds, perhaps even thousands" of Chinese visas to Jews, against the instructions of his superior, according to the Yad Vashem, the Israeli center for the Holocaust, which posthumously awarded him the title "Righteous Among the Nations."
Although a visa was not required for entrance to Shanghai at the time, the document was a prerequisite for Jews wishing to leave Nazi Germany. Though many countries refused Jews, Shanghai accepted tens of thousands that were fleeing the Holocaust.
A sculpture of Jakob Rosenfeld, a Jew who served in the army of the Communist Party of China in the 1940s, was also unveiled.
The sculptures were part of a series of activities to mark September 3, the day China designates as Victory Day in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.
CONSUMER price inflation in the eurozone was stuck at 0.2 percent in August, a low rate that could encourage the European Central Bank to offer more stimulus sooner rather than later.
The figure reported yesterday by statistics agency Eurostat was the same as in July and below economists’ expectations for an uptick to 0.3 percent. It also remains far short of the European Central Bank’s target of 2 percent.
The main culprit was a 5.7 percent annual drop in energy prices. But inflation for other goods and services was also relatively weak. Not including energy and other volatile items like food, alcohol and tobacco, overall consumer price inflation was 0.8 percent, a rate the ECB see too low for a healthy economy.
The central bank has launched a series of stimulus measures to help the economy of the 19-nation eurozone and bring inflation to a healthier level. It has cut its key rate to zero and is pumping 80 billion euros (US$90 billion) of new money into the economy every month by buying bonds from banks and companies. That aims to lower borrowing rates and encourage business activity.
Analysts are divided over whether the ECB will launch more stimulus at its next policy meeting September 8. Some say it’s only a matter of time, particularly if inflation doesn’t pick up this year.
In such an event, the central bank could extend the duration of its bond-buying program, which is currently set to end in March 2017.
Economists note that the drop in oil prices should get phased out of the inflation data in coming months.
ALL of China’s “Big Four” state-owned banks reported mounting bad loans in the first half of the year, statements showed, as the world’s second-largest economy faces souring debt amid slowing growth.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s biggest lender by assets, said its non-performing loan ratio rose to 1.55 percent at the end of June, up from 1.5 percent at the end of last year, said a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange filed yesterday.
Still its net profit for the first six months edged up 0.8 percent annually to 150.66 billion yuan (US$22.6 billion), it said.
China’s three other giant state-owned banks have reported similar results in recent days, with all of their bad loan ratios creeping upwards as Beijing seeks to boost the world’s second-largest economy with an infusion of cheap credit.
Analysts have warned that a debt-fueled rebound might be short-lived and ballooning borrowings risk sparking a financial crisis as bad loans and bond defaults increase.
Bank of China’s earnings statement yesterday showed its NPL ratio rising to 1.47 at the end of June, up from 1.43 in December.
Last week the country’s number two lender, the China Construction Bank, said its NPL ratio had risen 0.05 percentage point to 1.63 percent, while the Agricultural Bank of China reported a figure of 2.4 percent, slightly higher than last year.
China’s total debt hit 168.48 trillion yuan at the end of last year, equivalent to 249 percent of national GDP, top government think tank the China Academy of Social Sciences has estimated.
Authorities have unveiled policies intended to tackle the problem of souring loans, including debt-for-equity swaps. But some analysts fear this would simply extend life support to debt-saddled “zombie” companies that are weighing down the economy.
Earlier this summer an official with China’s banking regulator said Chinese banks had written off over US$300 billion of bad loans in the past three years.