China’s economy, despite headwinds, has enjoyed a good start in the first quarter of 2019, and the country has the confide

nce to achieve the annual projected growth goal, said the country’s top economic planner.

“The first quarter’s stable economic development has laid a solid foundation for the an

nual growth,” said Yuan Da, spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission.

“The economy has stayed on the track of steady growth. We have the confidence, conditio

ns and capability to meet the projected targets for economic and social development this year.”

Yuan made the remarks at the NDRC press conference on Thursday in Beijing.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 6.4 perce

nt year-on-year in the first quarter. The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter in 2018.

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he clock, a fire engine, over 160 hydrants, thousand of extinguishers, and fire walls, officials said last year.

But not all relics have such rigid supervision. A joint comprehensive survey was started in Septemb

er by the administration and the Ministry of Emergency Management. It found that 33 major institutions still don‘t meet stan

dards, and the State Council issued a notice on Wednesday that they were to receive the highest-level supervision.

On Tuesday, the administration urged local governments to immediately launch evaluations of potential hazards.

The new lawsuit against Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant JD, and his compan

y filed by a University of Minnesota student might further shake investors’ confidence, and tarnish the image

and reputation of the company, amid tougher competition from rivals such as Alibaba and Pinduoduo.

The Chinese student from University of Minnesota, who claimed she was raped last August by Liu, filed a c

ivil lawsuit against him in Minneapolis on Tuesday, four months after prosecutors decided not to pursue a criminal case.

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tment, and it could also leverage on more bank lending and attract private funds to increase investment, said Xu.

In the meantime, allowing retail access to local government bonds will help diversify the

investor base and increase market liquidity, said Amanda Du, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

The analyst expected access for retail investors to widen to encompass all local government bonds in 2020.

hina’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first qua

rter, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

The growth was unchanged from that registered in the fourth quarter of last year.

The country’s industrial output posted steady growth in the same period, up by 6.5 percent

year-on-year, compared with 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, official data showed.

Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.3 percent in the first quarte

r, compared with 6.1 percent in the first two months, according to the NBS.

Retail sales increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the same pe

riod, compared with 8.2 percent in the first two months, the data showed.

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Mainland slams response by island’s leader, who called exercise ‘a threat’

A spokesman for the Chinese mainland said a military drill by Chinese bombers and warships around Taiwan on Monday was routin

e and slammed the island’s administration for misleading the Taiwan people and hyping tensions.

On Monday, various warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircr

aft of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command conducted “necessary train

ing” around Taiwan as a means to test the joint assault capability between different branches of the military, Senior Colone

l Zhang Chunhui, the theater command’s spokesman, said in a statement on Monday.

The exercise took place in waters east of Taiwan and was part of a scheduled PLA exercise, he said.

“It is completely within the normal legal rights of a sovereign cou

ntry, and it’s beneficial for maintaining peace and security in the Taiwan Straits,” Zhang said.

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with the island by officially acknowledging that military personnel have been posted in the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan since 2005.

US weapons manufacturer Raytheon was also granted a $9 million contract to upgrade Taiwan’s Patriot missile defense system.

Senior Colonel Liang Fang, a professor at PLA National Defense Universit

y, said the recent drill will test and enhance the PLA’s joint operating capabilities.

“It will increase the PLA’s ability to protect national sovereignty, and warn thos

e who are trying to undermine it to abandon their illusions,” she said. “Similar drills

will be more common in the future, with increasingly sophisticated equipment and training methods.”

Xiu Chunping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social

Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies, said the recent drill serves to warn the US and separati

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Debates on whether the central bank needs to further ease monetary policy or not are continuing amo

ng analysts, with their emphasis on guessing the next liquidity injection through reducing banks’ reserved deposits.

Supporters of monetary easing expect that another cut in the re

serve requirement ratio (RRR) may come no later than this week, as a liquidity shorta

ge may occur after commercial banks pay back 366.5 billion yuan ($54.65 billion) to the central bank on Wedn

esday. That amount of interbank lending was conducted previously under the medium-term lending facilities (MLF) scheme.

Opponents, however, contend that the current liquidity is sufficient, and any further ea

sing will fuel inflation risks, especially as Chinese economy has started its upcycle.

The central bank’s monetary policy committee held the first quarter’s regular meeting on Friday.

The members achieved a consensus to continue the counter-cyclical measures and stren

gthen coordination between monetary and fiscal policies. Policy fine-tuning should be at the proper time, to prev

ent risks with the priority of stabilizing growth, according to a statement after the meeting.

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pply (M2),” said Sheng Songcheng, a central bank adviser and a former director of the central bank’s statistics department.

The central bank released M2 data on Friday, which recorded a 13-month high of 8.6 percent by the end of March, accelerating from 8 percent by February.

Aggregate social financing, a gauge to measure broader financial activities including trust funds and local govern

ment bonds, also grew faster than market expectations. That total financing amount grew to 2.86 trillion yuan in Mar

ch, or a 11.1 percent growth from a year earlier, compared with 10.6 percent in February, said the central bank.

“According to the latest economic data, there is less necessity for RR

R cuts, but it requires further observation on future changes,” said Sheng.

If the central bank further cuts the RRR, when economic growth is already stabilized, inflation wi

ll surge, and possibly lead to funds flowing into the property sector instead of supporting the real economy, he added.

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Editor’s note: The “996” schedule (working from 9 am to 9 pm, six

days a week) has sparked a heated public debate, because many workers don’t get any ove

rtime pay and, worse, could end up in the “”. The “996” phenomenon is rampant in the high-tech and internet compani

es. Some internet company chiefs have added fuel to the debate by saying they want their workers to “work hard”. T

hree experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Labor Law should never be violated

Given the fierce competition in the high-tech sector industries, start-

ups have to take drastic measures to survive, let alone thrive. To develop new products, and pr

oduce and market them, companies need a great deal of resources and ski

lled manpower. Perhaps this is the reason they make their employees work overtime.

But forcing the “996” schedule on the workers is illegal. To p

rotect the rights of workers, the Labor Law stipulates that employers

should not force their workers to work more than eight hours a day, or more than 44 hours a week. If emplo

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 deadlines or fulfill other tasks, they can ask them to work overtime – but not than 36 hours a month and only after consulti

ng and reaching an agreement with the labor union and the workers. More important, empl

oyers have to pay at least 1.5 times the usual salary to the employees for overtime work.

This is to protect the rights, interests and health of the workers.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, has added fuel to the debate, by saying that empl

oyees who get the “opportunity” to work according the “996” schedule are the luc

ky ones, because in many companies employees don’t get the chance to work long hours.

But the fact is, if employers do not meet the two essential requiremen

ts to make employees work overtime – consulting wo

rkers and restricting the amount of extra work – and force the “996” schedule o

n their workers and make them work for more than 60 hours a week, they violate the Labor Law.

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JD Logistic, the logistics arm of the Beijing-based tech heavyweight JD

.com, will cancel the basic salary for delivery staff , CEO and Chairman Liu Qiangdong said i

n response to arguments on the company’s salary adjustments in an internal email sent on Monday.

JD Logistics lost over 2.3 billion yuan ($342.9 million) in 2018, its 12th consecut

ive year to lose money. If the situation continues, Liu said, the company would only last for two more years.

If internal settlements are deducted, JD Logistics lost more than 2.8 billion yuan last year.

The main reasons for the loss are few external delivery orders and high internal costs, Liu said.

The company has only two choices, according to Liu: one, increase external delivery orders to promote external inco

me growth; the other, reduce staff members’ well-being to the level of other express companies.

Reducing fund ratios to average levels and canceling the basic salary a

ims to encourage couriers to get more external delivery orders and increase revenue.

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