China's Electric Vehicle Dilemma
2014 marks the fourth year since China launched its industrialization of electric vehicles. However, even in pilot cities like Beijing and Shanghai, it remains difficult for consumers to buy an electric vehicle.
In order to promote electric vehicles, which are more expensive than traditional fuel-burning vehicles, both the central and
local governments have provided subsidies to electric vehicle purchasers. For example, for an E6, an electric car produced by BYD Co. Ltd., which sells for 360,000 yuan ($59,076), the buyer can receive about 60,000 yuan ($9,846) from the Central Government and another 60,000 yuan from the local government. This means that the purchaser can get the E6 for only 240,000 yuan ($39,384).
But in practice, local governments are only willing to pay the subsidy to local enterprises. In this case, because BYD is headquartered in Shenzhen of Guangdong Province, to buy an E6, Shenzhen citizens need to pay 240,000 yuan, while Beijing citizens would have to pay 300,000 yuan ($49,230). Due to this subsidy policy, China's electric vehicle market is divided into separate and closed territories.
The subsidy policy has not only twisted the market, but also twisted electric vehicle manufacturers. Many enterprises have made big investments into electric vehicles, but so far are seeing little hope of industrialization. Against this backdrop, they have turned to obtain the government's special funds and subsidies as the only goal. They don't even consider whether their vehicles can meet the demands of the market.
China's Ministry of Education recently published a list of overseas universities on its website. The list contains over 10,000 universities in 44 countries where there is strong demand for admissions by Chinese citizens.
A ministry official said the list aims to help Chinese applicants who plan to study abroad identify a certified overseas university and prevent them from being misled by unqualified educational organizations.
Many Chinese families have a strong wish for their children to study abroad. But most of them know little about overseas universities. In past years, a good number of Chinese families were cheated by unqualified education organizations abroad. These students received an uncertified diploma after their families paid large sums of money for expensive tuition and living expenses abroad.
In China, it is widely believed that overseas education is better than domestic choices. Thus, a person who has studied abroad always has more opportunities to get a good job. For this reason, some people attempt to buy a diploma from abroad. As a result, uncertified educational organizations are rampant in the educational market and such fraud cases continue. To some extent, the university list published by the education ministry is a guideline for Chinese citizens to carefully choose a qualified university abroad.
Transparency for Government Departments
Beijing Youth Daily
The Institute of Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) published The Index Report of Governmental Transparency on February 25. The report issues a ranking list for major governmental departments. The Ministry of Education ranks at the top and the restructured National Railway Administration comes at the bottom of the list.
The transparency study was carried out in 2013 covering 55 departments of the State Council, 31 provincial-level governments and 49 big city authorities. In the list, those governmental departments ranking high are close to people's livelihood or social concerns. They draw much attention from the public.
The Regulation of Government Information Disclosure became effective as early as in 2008 in China. In recent years, Chinese government departments have made progress in publicizing information. But many departments have so far failed to meet the expectation of the public. All parties of the society should make persistent efforts to supervise and urge government departments to improve their transparency. In a new round of deepening reform, to make government more transparent has become an important objective for the Central Government.
Land Trusts in Rural China
Amid China's urbanization and agricultural modernization, the need for transferring of contractual rights to land is increasing in the rural areas. Against this backdrop, land trusts have emerged.
In rural China, rights to the use and ownership of land are separate. Land is collectively owned and individual farmers only have the right to use a patch of land through holding its contract. This separation leads to a lack of the land dividends due to individual farmers. Because the contractual rights to land cannot be mortgaged at the bank, it is difficult for farmers to turn their property into cash.
Land trusts provide a solution to this situation. It ensures that farmers get their due dividends through their share in the trust plan. The trust company executes the management rights of the farmers' land affairs and manages the land through the proper means.
Currently, land trusts have no legal barriers except from market and natural risks. For instance, a drop in wheat prices or the occurrence of natural disasters can lead to problems. In addition, there is no clear regulation on how the farmers' rights in land trusts should change after the urbanization of rural areas. All these questions cannot be solved by the land trust system itself, but require the efforts of the government in formulating laws and regulations.