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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: January 13, 2009 NO. 3 JAN. 15, 2009

Safety Watchdog's New Chief

After the post was vacant for more than one month, the State Administration of Work Safety has a new director. Luo Lin, 53, was announced as the head of China's work safety regulator on December 31.

Luo, who has a master's degree in economics, was born in Liaoning and held Party positions in several cities across the province. Before Luo was designated to oversee national safety violations, he was deputy secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Luo's predecessor, Wang Jun, was appointed to be acting governor of the coal-rich Shanxi Province in mid-September, when former Governor Meng Xuenong resigned after a massive landslide triggered by the collapse of an illegal mining dump killed at least 277 people.

The Central Government repeatedly emphasizes work safety after tragedies take place. In 2008, there were 31 major accidents in coalmines across China, with 503 dead or missing, 120 more than the year earlier.

First ASEAN Ambassador

To further promote strategic partnerships and increase economic cooperation with Southeast Asian nations, the Chinese Government has created the position of ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Xue Hanqin, former Ambassador to the Kingdom of Netherlands and representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has been appointed to the position.

Xue, 54, is a senior diplomat specializing in international law who was director general of the Law and Treaty Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1999-2003. She also serves as vice president of the Chinese Society of International Law.

CITIC Chairman Investigated

Chinese billionaire Larry Yung Chi Kin, Chairman of the Hong Kong-listed CITIC Pacific Ltd., is under investigation by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, according to a company statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on January 2.

Yung, who owns 19 percent of the CITIC Pacific, is among the company's 17 directors being probed for possible involvement in false statements and insider trading.

As the largest individual shareholder of the CITIC Pacific, Yung frequently raised his stakes before the exposure of a staggering HK$14.7 billion ($2.4 billion) market-to-market loss incurred by wrong-way bets on Australian currency derivatives. The company is blamed for disclosure of misleading information after waiting a week to publicize the losses.

Yung, 66, is the only son of former Chinese Vice President Rong Yiren, founder of the Beijing-based CITIC Group in the 1970s. With a degree in electronic engineering, Yung moved to Hong Kong in 1978 to make a fortune. He topped the Forbes list of rich Chinese mainlanders in 2002, 2004 and 2005. But a Forbes report on January 3 estimated that Yung's wealth had shrunk to $750 million from $3 billion about one year ago.

"In the current climate, no responsible finance minister could say that's the job done, far from it. We are far from through this."

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, talking about the world economic crisis in an interview with the Financial Times

"The proposals offer much substantive goodwill and once the cross-straits military security mechanism of mutual trust has been set up, the tragic scenes of a military conflict between compatriots will not reoccur."

An editorial of Los Angeles-based Chinese Biz News, welcoming Chinese President Hu Jintao's proposals

on developing mainland-Taiwan relations at a ceremony on December 31, 2008, that suggest enhanced contacts and exchanges on military issues

"Inherent in the idea of China's 'peaceful rise' is the obligation to take on greater responsibilities in keeping with its status as one of the world's most powerful countries."

Stewart M. Patrick, Director of the U.S. Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, saying that China is well placed to help build a stable, prosperous and peaceful world in a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency

"There is no doubt in my mind that we are dealing with a full-blown and major crisis in humanitarian terms. The situation for the people in Gaza is extreme and traumatic."

Pierre Kraehenbuehl, an official from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Palestinian death toll from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict surged above 660 as of January 6

"Those structures-the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, among others-date from World War II's end, when the victors enjoyed a monopoly on economic and political power, and the state system seemed impregnable. We no longer live in such a world."

James Traub, Director of Policy for the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, calling for a reform of world bodies in his article "Shaking Up the Boardroom at World Government Inc." in The New York Times on January 3

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