Noted composer Chen Qigang received the Order of Arts and Letters medal from French ambassador to China Sylvie Bermann at the French Embassy in Beijing on December 20, 2013, for his contributions to music.
Chen, 62, was the musical director for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and also composed You and Me, that year's Olympic theme.
Born in Shanghai, Chen was admitted into the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1977 and graduated five years later. Receiving a government scholarship, he travelled to France for his postgraduate studies in 1984 and went on to be the final student of the renowned composer Olivier Messiaen until 1988.
Chen has won numerous awards for his symphony compositions and served as a member of the jury at numerous musical events.
Vice Minister Sacked
Li Dongsheng, former Vice Minister of Public Security, was recently removed from his official posts.
Li, also former vice head of a central leading group for the prevention and handling of cult-related issues, was sacked for "suspected serious disciplinary violations," said a statement released on December 25, 2013, by the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. Authorities are handling his case according to procedure, it added.
"The visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is essentially an attempt to whitewash the history of aggression and colonialism by militarist Japan, to overturn the just trial of Japanese militarism by the international community and to challenge the outcome of World War II and post-war international order."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, in a statement condemning Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where war criminals are honored alongside fallen Japanese soldiers, on December 26, 2013
"With 400 Beijing residents celebrating their 60th birthday every day, the current number of eldercare professionals is far from meeting the demand."
Du Peng, a professor with the School of Sociology and Population Studies, Renmin University of China, commenting on the shortage of trained senior care professionals in Beijing
"There are many children living in poor conditions and in need of help. We hope that the donation can help relieve their difficulties."
Jason Han, an employee at China's telecommunications giant Huawei, after making a donation on behalf of the company consisting of laptops, cash, writing books, pens, and food to a Cambodian charity organization on December 22, 2013
"It's time for such a major country in the world to look at footballers. Thinking footballers means to work on development of football at grassroots level."
Jérôme Valcke, Secretary General of FIFA, commenting on China's football development on December 20, 2013