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February
July 30,2014   By:
Feb. 7, 2014

China will reform its pension scheme by unifying the two separate systems for urban and rural residents to allow people better access to social benefits, according to an executive meeting of the State Council on Feb. 7, 2014.

The move, part of the efforts to address pension payment gaps between urban and rural areas, was announced in a statement issued after the meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The unified system will build stable expectations for improving livelihood and facilitate population movement, said the meeting statement, adding that it will also boost consumption and encourage more business start-ups.

Feb. 10, 2014

China's central government on Monday issued a guideline to develop the nation's food industry, vowing to establish systems to improve people's nutritional intake.

In a notice issued on the government's official website, the government said it will establish systems to guarantee supply of quality food, and a system guiding people to improve their nutrition.

The guideline said that although the production capacity of food has been strengthened and people's diet and health has improved, China's food production cannot meet demand for nutrition.[page]

Feb. 12, 2014

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Feb. 12, 2014, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC). No casualties have been reported.

The epicenter, with a depth of 12 km, is located at Yutian County in southwest Xinjiang, or about 36.1 degrees north latitude and 82.5 degrees east longitude.

The quake was strongly felt by residents in Hotan, Yutian and Moyu.

Sixty-seven houses were toppled and more than 1,000 ones damaged to varying degrees, local authorities said, adding that 185 livestock deaths were reported.

Sections of railways were temporarily suspended in Xinjiang after the earthquake.

The railway administration of Urumqi suspended a section from Hotan to Moyu on the Kahe Railway, which links Kashgar and Hotan, for safety reasons, with a total of 531 passengers being stranded at Moyu.

Service resumed at 6:52 p.m. after safety and security checks.

A total of 143 aftershocks had been monitored as of 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, with the biggest one measuring at 5.7-magnitude at 5:24 p.m. in the same area.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang ordered concerted effort to guarantee safety and property and issued instructions on relief work soon after the quake.

Local authorities and departments were urged to check disaster situations, conduct emergency management and strengthen seismic monitoring.[page]

Feb. 12, 2014

The State Council, or China's cabinet, has urged reduction of PM2.5 and other pollutants in smoggy cities as the key task in the fight against air pollution.

"Major cities and regions where smog is frequent should be the focus (of air pollution control), and control of PM2.5 and PM10 should be a key task," said a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council held on Feb. 12, 2014 and presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The cabinet stressed that air pollution is the result of long-term accumulation and persistent efforts are needed to address the issue in order to accelerate the overall environmental drive and improve people's livelihoods.

Feb. 17, 2014

Submitting human rights issues to international criminal courts, does not improve the situation in that country, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Feb. 17, 2014.

Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comment at a daily news briefing when responded to a question that the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will publicize its report and that may bring DPRK officials to the International Criminal Court.

"China has always advocated resolving human rights differences through constructive dialogue and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect," Hua said.[page]

Feb. 18, 2014

China's Ministry of Education on Feb. 18, 2014 said it would step up supervision over the country's primary and middle schools in a bid to enhance education quality and fairness.

The move is aimed at tackling the imbalance of educational resources at the local level and reducing students' workloads, said the ministry in a document posted on its website.

Despite continuous efforts to provide quality education to all, a remarkable educational imbalance has emerged among schools and between urban and rural areas, often forcing parents to pay extra, sometimes illicit, fees to get their children into better schools.

Feb. 18, 2014

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Feb. 18, 2014 called for solid efforts in pushing forward reforms to achieve new breakthroughs in the country's economic and social development.

At a workshop attended by leading officials of provincial-level regions and ministerial-level officials, Li reiterated the importance of reforms for sustainable and healthy growth.

Acknowledging the difficulties in the process, he urged a determinate yet progressive approach by first piloting reforms in some areas before rolling them out nationwide.[page]

Feb. 25, 2014

China unveiled a set of reforms to its petition system on Feb. 25, 2014, vowing rule of law in handling petition cases and expanding petition channels online to better redress public grievances.

According to a set of guidelines released by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, authorities will stick to lawful means to dissolve conflicts and disputes.

Any malpractice that constrains the public from legal petitioning will be rectified and prohibited.

Guaranteeing and improving people's wellbeing will become the "groundwork" to prevent and defuse disputes, under the guidelines.

Petitioning, also known as letters and calls, is the administrative system for hearing public complaints and grievances. People who are not satisfied with government decisions can request reexamination.

Many complaints are filed each year in China, in which petitioners generally see injustice in land acquisition, social security, education, healthcare or environmental protection.[page]

Feb. 25, 2014

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Beijing's hutongs in the heavy smog on Feb. 25, 2014, calling for strengthened efforts to address pollution and improved city management.

Such a visit by Chinese leaders is rare, but it is not the first time Xi has made such a surprise appearance among ordinary people, moves that show his populist approach.

Xi visited trendy Nanluoguxiang Hutong and walked along the banks of a nearby river on Feb. 25, 2014. He also visited Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, Capital Museum, a water plant and the command center of Beijing's subway.

Feb. 26, 2014

The State Council, China's cabinet, met on Feb. 26, 2014 to discuss deploying a modern vocational education program to improve the quality of the country's vast labor force and increase employment.

Presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, the meeting agreed that developing the program is a strategic move for economic transformation and improvement of people's wellbeing.

The Chinese government has advocated a contemporary vocational education that will help nurture tens of millions of engineers, technical workers and "open the gates of success to young people," according to a statement from the meeting.[page]

Feb. 26, 2014

The State Council, China's Cabinet, announced on Feb. 26, 2014 the country will build a fair, unified and standardized pension system for its rural and urban population before 2020.

The scheme, together with other social assistance and benefits, will better safeguard seniors' basic lives, according to a cabinet document that seeks to unify the current basic pension systems that have led to unequal benefits among urban and rural residents.

Urban residents have enjoyed better basic pension benefits compared to those in the countryside under the separate pension systems, but the new rule seeks to change that and make the system fairer, regardless of people's urban or rural identities.

Feb. 27, 2014

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has signed a decree to issue a regulation on social assistance that calls for open, fair and timely aid for the needy.

The regulation, which will come into effect on May 1, is the country's first legal document to coordinate and regulate a fragmentary social assistance system. It says social assistance work should be in proportion with the country's economic and social development level.

The rules detail a minimum level of living standards, support for extremely poor people, assistance for people affected by disasters, medical assistance, and help in areas including education, housing and employment.[page]

Feb. 27, 2014

President Xi Jinping will head the central Internet security and informatization leading group, according to a statement released after the first meeting of the group on Feb. 27, 2014.

Xi presided over the meeting, stressing that Internet security and informatization is a major strategic issue concerning a country's security and development as well as people's life and work.

"Efforts should be made to build our country into a cyber power," he said.

Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan, who are both members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, are the group's deputy heads.

Feb. 28, 2014

China published a report on the United States' human rights record on Feb. 28, 2014, in response to U.S. criticism and "irresponsible remarks" about China.

"The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2013" was released by the Information Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, in response to "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013" made public by the U.S. State Department on Feb. 27, 2014.

China's report states that there were serious human rights problems in the U.S in 2013, with the situation deteriorating in many fields. Once again posing as "the world judge of human rights", the U.S. government "made arbitrary attacks and irresponsible remarks" on almost 200 countries and regions, the report says.

@cn_humanrights

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