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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: December 22, 2008
Liu Shaoyong, a 30-year veteran of the civil aviation industry, has taken the reins of the state-owned parent of China's third largest air carrier

New Broom Flies in

Liu Shaoyong, a 30-year veteran of the civil aviation industry, has taken the reins of the state-owned parent of China's third largest air carrier, Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines Co.

China Eastern Airlines Group announced Liu's appointment as its general manager on December 12. The 50-year-old is expected to replace Li Fenghua as board chairman of Hong Kong-listed China Eastern Airlines Co. soon.

The management reshuffle is part of the government's efforts to revitalize the struggling China Eastern Airlines Co. The company posted a loss of 2.3 billion yuan ($330 million) in the third quarter of this year, reducing its assets-liability ratio to 98 percent.

Liu served as general manager of China Southern Airlines Group and board chairman of its Hong Kong- and New York-listed unit China Southern Airlines Co. before his new appointment.

The former vice minister of the General Administration of Civil Aviation is widely recognized for his success in improving the operational performance of China Southern Airlines Co. During his tenure, the company completed its first overseas stock sales and rose to become Asia's largest carrier by fleet size. It is also the first Chinese company to rank among the world's top 10 airlines in terms of passengers carried, standing at 9th place in 2006 and 7th place in 2007.

Rights Observer

Xu Xianming, a lawmaker at the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, recently suggested that the country amend its Constitution to include people's right to be informed, to participate, to be heard and to oversee as constitutional human rights.

Xu, an expert in the field of human rights studies, said that the four rights, which were first detailed in a political report to the 17th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China in October 2007, constitute a new human rights system that is totally different from the country's existing one.

Xu, 51, secured his doctorate in law from Wuhan University in 1999. He served as president of the China University of Political Science and Law, the country's largest and most prestigious law school in Beijing, in September 2001-November 2008. He is now president of Shandong University.

Artist of Generous Spirit

Wu Guanzhong, a prestigious contemporary Chinese painter, has founded the ever-largest scholarship named after a professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University, where he spent four years of teaching career in the 1950s.

The $1.65-million scholarship, using proceeds from auctioning one of Wu's masterpieces, Along the Yangtze River, at Sotheby's Hong Kong in October, is aimed at supporting scientific and artistic innovation among Tsinghua's students, according to its constitution.

Wu, 90, is a graduate from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1950. He is known for his successful attempts to integrate Chinese and Western painting styles over the past decades.

Wu received the Order of Arts and Literature from the French Ministry of Culture in 1991. He is also the first Asian to be honored as Art Academician of France by the French Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, which is regarded as the most prestigious art institute in France.

In 1992, Wu became the first living Chinese painter to hold an exhibition at the British Museum.

"Today is another memorable date in the history of cross-Straits relations...which signifies that our 30-year effort has finally paid off."

Minister Wang Yi of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council, at a ceremony on December 15 when the Chinese mainland and Taiwan started direct air, shipping and postal services

"They have taken the smarter route-I learn from you, I catch up, then I innovate and I compete with you. I think that is the way it will have to go."

Singaporean Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, saying that China is on the right track at a dialogue commemorating 30 years of China's reform and opening up in Singapore on December 16

"Throwing the shoes at Bush was the best goodbye kiss ever...it expresses how Iraqis and other Arabs hate Bush."

Musa Barhoumeh, editor at Jordan's independent Al-Gahd newspaper, writing in a comment on Iraqi cameraman Muntazer al-Zaidi's shoe attack on U.S. President George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad on December 14

"The surprise is not that there are some thieves in the system, the question is where were the police?"

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Khan, criticizing U.S. regulators at a news conference in Madrid for their failure to prevent a $50-billion pyramid fraud scam run by ex-Wall Street heavyweight Bernard Madoff who was arrested on December 16

"We Africans are at the mercy of the developed world who have super weapons that could eliminate us from the face of the world in a whisker of time, but instead of working hard to reduce the technological gap, we are just sitting back."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, calling on Africans to work harder to free their impoverished continent from domination by the developed world in a statement released on December 13


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