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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: November 3, 2008 NO. 45 NOV. 6, 2008

Confident Investor

Lou Jiwei, head of China's sovereign wealth fund, has assured the public that the country's investment in the world's largest private equity, the Blackstone Group, is profitable in the long run.

In an October 25 speech at Tsinghua University, Lou, Board Chairman of the China Investment Corp. (CIC) that manages $200 billion of China's foreign exchange reserves, said that the current credit crunch in the United States might be a golden opportunity for Blackstone to expand at a low cost, meaning the CIC's investment would pay off.

Lou made the remarks when Blackstone's shares had dropped about 75 percent from their offering price of $31. The CIC bought a 9.9-percent stake ($3 billion) in Blackstone before the U.S. company's initial public offering in June 2007 and is expected to raise its stake to 12.5 percent soon.

The CIC, founded in September 2007, is the world's fourth largest sovereign wealth fund. It also acquired a $5-billion stake in Morgan Stanley last December, which has also posted a loss. The CIC now holds 90 percent of its assets in cash, according to Lou.

Lou, 58, was vice secretary general of the State Council and vice minister of finance before he assumed the top post in the CIC.

Novelist Lauded

The Paris-based Courrier International weekly newspaper announced on October 23 that Chinese novelist Yu Hua won its inaugural foreign novel prize. The Courrier International translates and publishes excerpts of articles from more than 900 international newspapers.

Yu is also on a five-person shortlist for the $10,000 Man Asian Literary Prize to be awarded in mid-November. The award is supported by the company that sponsors the prestigious Booker prize, based in Britain.

Yu earned the honor for his bestseller Brothers, which was published in 2006 and 2007 in two installments. The book depicts the struggles of two step-brothers for 40 years and the great changes in China after the 1960s. Total sales of the two installments have exceeded 1 million copies on the Chinese mainland.

Yu, 48, is one of China's most successful writers in the previous two decades. One of his novels, To Live, was adapted into a film by famous director Zhang Yimou and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1994.

Yu's novels have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, Japanese, Korean and Malayalam. In 1998, he won the Grinzane Cavour Award in Italy.

Corruption Rampant

A session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, decided on October 27 to remove Huang Songyou (top) from the post of vice president of the Supreme People's Court. The meeting also accepted the resignation of Zhu Zhigang, a former vice minister of finance, as a member of the committee and deputy director of the NPC's Economic and Financial Committee.

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