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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: October 10, 2008 NO. 42 OCT. 42, 2008

Reformer Honored

Qiu He, the 51-year-old Party chief of Kunming, capital city of southwest China's Yunnan Province, has been honored for his pioneering efforts to promote the reform of local governance and social programs.

On September 27 in Beijing, the China Reform and Development Summit Forum gave awards to 60 people who were deemed to have made great contributions to China's reform undertakings over the past 30 years. Qiu is the only incumbent local official among the award recipients.

In 1996, Qiu, then Secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee of Shuyang County, Jiangsu Province, came into the spotlight when he led the country to initiate a system under which candidates of government posts are made public, and those who fail to pass grassroots-level assessments will not be formally appointed. The practice is now adopted nationwide.

After he was promoted as Party chief of Suqian City in 2001, Qiu launched a series of controversial reform initiatives, including imposing investment target quotas on all local civil servants and privatizing public services institutions such as schools and hospitals.

Qiu was elected vice governor of Jiangsu in January 2006. He was transferred to Kunming in December 2007, where his efforts to boost transparent governance and improve municipal facilities have won praise from local residents.

The China Reform and Development Summit Forum is sponsored by the Urban Development and Environment Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

NBA's New Chinese Face

Los Angeles Lakers' Chinese rookie guard Sun Yue made his training camp debut on October 3, three days later than initially scheduled due to being laid low by mononucleosis (viral infection). Though the disease usually needs several weeks of recovery time, doctors concluded that Sun was already ready for practice.

Sun, 23, a second-round pick (40th overall) in 2007, is the fifth Chinese player to enter the National Basketball Association (NBA), following Wang Zhizhi, Mengke Bateer, Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian. Before formally joining the Lakers in August, the 6-foot-9-inch (2.06-meter) guard had played in the American Basketball Association, a low-level U.S. professional league, for three seasons since 2005 as part of the Beijing Aoshen Olympians. He also helped the Chinese national team reach eighth place in the Olympic basketball competition in Beijing in August, averaging 6.8 points and 2.5 assists per game.

Though a lack of experience to compete in top-level games may prevent Sun from playing an important role in the Lakers during his maiden season, basketball insiders in China and the United States believe he has a promising future.

"I think he (Sun) has great size, great length, a good shooting touch, good ball handling, good vision and good pace," said Lakers' superstar Kobe Bryant, after the two had been in direct competition at the Beijing Olympics.

Real Estate Tycoon Jailed

Luo Zhongfu, at one time the richest Chinese on the mainland, has been sentenced to 10-and-a-half years in prison for abuse of forestland and illegal logging. The Guiyang Intermediate People's Court, in southwestern Guizhou Province, gave the final ruling on September 29.

Luo, 57, became the most severely punished individual since China amended its Criminal Law in 1997 to crack down on environment-related crimes. Luo, Chairman of property developer Fuhai Company, topped Forbes magazine's China Rich List in 1994 and 1995. He was accused of masterminding the illegal occupation of 1.2 hectares of forestland and unlicensed felling of nearly 3 hectares of forest in Guiyang City to build a commercial housing project.

"While the authority and flexibility of the Secretary General are duly increased, care should be taken to accommodate the concerns of the developing countries so that they really feel that they do have a voice and influence on resource allocation and personnel policy."

Liu Zhenmin, China's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, expounding on China's stance on UN reform at a General Assembly session of the world body on October 7

"Ever since the end of the Cold War, successive American administrations have lectured other countries on the necessity of sound finance. But China's success has been based on its contempt for Western advice and it is not Chinese banks that are currently going bust."

British political philosopher John Gray

"I know that the days are dim right now for a lot of folks. But I firmly believe tomorrow is going to be brighter."

U.S. President George W. Bush, calling on Americans to remain patient for his administration's financial rescue efforts to work, in a speech on October 7

"I've always said to those that talk about the military surge...what we need most of all is a political surge, more political energy."

Kai Eide, UN special envoy to Afghanistan, telling a news conference in Kabul that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won militarily

"The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to prevent future extinctions. We now know what species are threatened, what the threats are and where."

Jane Smart, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Program, after the organization released a report on October 6 that shows half the world's mammals are declining in population, and more than a third probably face extinction

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