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News from China
As the import expo nears, urban teams step up surveillance work
7th October 2019

 The clocking is ticking down on the start of the second China International Import Expo, less than 30 days to go. The Xujing urban management and law enforcement team is ready and waiting.

The team has 32 members, including 22 front-line law enforcement staff. Their jurisdiction covers 30 square kilometers, including the National Exhibition and Convention Center in the Qingpu District where the high-profile event will be held from November 5 to 10.
The team’s duties span nearly 300 activities, including “cleaning up” areas adjacent to the exhibition center. They have dismantled unauthorized structures in apartment blocks, closed down illegal stalls, cleared unlawful outdoor advertisements, removed junk stored in public spaces and confiscated unauthorized flyers.
Zheng Wen, 30, has been a member of the team since 2013.
Unlike other women whose mobile phones are full of their own photos, her device is filled with photos of various law enforcement information.
She formerly worked in corporate human resources before joining the team.
"Law enforcement is a very serious matter and it allows no mistakes," said Zheng. "You may make mistakes in other jobs and you have the chance to remedy them, but when you issue a rectification notice, you must follow it through. You have to keep a clear mind about which legal terms apply in different cases."
The team’s workload is indeed heavy. Members work weekends and holidays, and each was on duty at least one day during the National Day holiday.
The law enforcement officials spend most of their time outdoors, no matter what the weather.
A special team for the preparation of CIIE, including Zheng, was formed in 2015.
"At times, I was so busy that I didn’t have time to go to the toilet," said Zheng of various assignments the team has been given.
But the hard work has paid off.
Xiewei Road near the expo venue used to be dirty and rundown area, filled with jerry-built illegal structures. It took Zheng and her colleagues about two months to clear it all out. The road today is neat and orderly.
"It is quite a relief to see the environment now and feel our efforts were worthwhile,” said Zheng.
Zheng is the only woman on the team.
“My parents tried to persuade me to find a less demanding job, but my mind was made up,” she said. "Compared with my male counterparts, I have some advantages. Sometimes it’s easier for a woman to communicate with others, especially in situations where tempers are flaring.”
In 2015, she had no rest for 10 days during the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition at the National Exhibition and Convention Center. She patrolled the streets on the lookout for illegal street vendors and unlawful ad flyers. She even got into a tussle once with an illegal street vendor.
The team recently waged a campaign against irregularities in home rentals and the practice of switching residential properties to businesses near the exhibition center.
They have also stepped up the crackdown on the illegal dumping of construction wastes and leakage of construction waste near the convention site.
The crackdown on illegal ads resulted in the removal of 82 LED screens in Xujing Town and 19 illegal billboards on Xuling Road. Fifty sign boards at Jinyun Village were also cleared.
The team has also been involved in fining residents and businesses that don’t comply with the city’s new trash-sorting rules. Some 26 cases have resulted in fines of 117,500 yuan (US$16,480).
Most team members were born in the 1970s and 80s. The majority don’t live in the expo area and have to commute up to an hour a day to work.
The team responds to all public complaints.
"Complaints that go to us account for up to 80 percent of total complaints in Qingpu," said Wang Jian, another law enforcement official of the team. "There are many construction sites in the area, and flying dust and night construction disturbs nearby residents."
It took Wang and his colleagues a whole year to eliminate illegal night food stalls in Xujing Town.
"They kept coming back after we closed them down,” he said.
Wang said officers responding to complaints about unauthorized structures at residential blocks sometimes involve uncooperative residents. 
"They keep their doors closed when we visit, and a few have cursed us," he said. “Sometimes, those involved have been living overseas.”
The team liaises with land planning authorities to ascertain whether structures are illegally built. In cases where greenery is damaged, Wang said team members seek guidance from municipal greenery authorities to determine whether flora is on any protection list.
During the first import expo, the team patrolled 1,224 streets, and conducted 851 inspections. More than 400 people were stopped for irregularities.
Citywide, 3,571 irregularities regarding the expo site were identified by Shanghai Urban Management and Law Enforcement between January and August. More than 1,600 cases of illegal vendors, illegal structures and signboards were handled. The rest will be corrected before mid-October, the bureau said.
"The city's urban management and law enforcement teams will focus on 90 main streets, 35 landscape areas, 80 hotels and seven transport hubs in the area of expo,” said Xu Zhihu, director of the bureau. "Intelligent urban management methods will be used to improve efficiency, and day-and-night patrols will be implemented during the event."
He concluded, "The goal is to attain the highest standard of urban management and best environment."
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 7, 2019
China's farm produce trade deficit widens in first 8 months
4th October 2019

 China continued to see expansion of trade deficit in farm produce in the first eight months of 2019, official data showed.

Farm produce trade deficit increased 13 percent year on year to reach US$48.42 billion in the January-August period, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Imports came in at US$98.15 billion, up 4.5 percent year on year, while exports amounted to US$49.73 billion, down 2.7 percent.
Total trade in farm produce grew 1.9 percent year on year to US$147.88 billion during this period, the ministry said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 4, 2019
China's inflation rate to edge down in September: report
3rd October 2019

 China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, was expected to record slightly slower growth in September, according to a research report.

The CPI was likely to rise 2.7 percent year on year in September, compared with a 2.8-percent increase registered in August, according to a report from the Bank of Communications' financial research center.
Pork prices continued to climb last month, driving beef and mutton prices up, while vegetable prices gradually retreated after more fresh vegetables hit the market, the report said.
These factors would lead to higher food prices month on month, but the year-on-year price growth would be limited due to increased food prices in the same period last year, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the year-on-year non-food price growth was expected to edge down, it noted.
The report predicted the CPI growth to stay above 2.5 percent in the near future as pork price hikes would continue to drive food prices higher, but saw no significant inflationary pressure from the global oil market.
China aims to keep consumer inflation at around 3 percent in 2019, according to this year's government work report.
The National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release the official CPI data for September on October 15
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 3, 2019
Chinese mainland leaps in digital competitiveness: report
2nd October 2019

 The Chinese mainland outpaced other economies in digital competitiveness growth, a report showed.

The mainland's ranking rose from the 30th to the 22nd in the latest World Digital Competitiveness Ranking by IMD Business School, the largest increase among 63 rated economies.
The rising competitiveness came mainly from the Chinese mainland's progress in training, education and scientific concentration, the report showed.
The annual ranking is based on an economy's capacity to understand and learn new technologies, competence to develop new digital innovations and preparedness for coming developments.
Global market intelligence firm IDC expects the digital economy to account for 60 percent of global GDP by 2022, with the share in China even higher at 65 percent. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 1, 2019

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