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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: February 1, 2009 NO. 5 FEB. 5, 2009

FM's New Voice

Ma Zhaoxu, former Director of the Policy Planning Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been named head of the ministry's Information Department, replacing Liu Jianchao.

Ma, 46, was known for his powerful eloquence over two decades ago, when competing for the 1986 All-Asian Intervarsity Debating Championship, at which he obtained the title of best debater. Like his predecessor Liu, the newly appointed Information Department director will also serve as spokesman in briefing reports on China's diplomatic policies and activities. Ma met the media on January 14 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' New Year reception.

Ma joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987 after graduating from prestigious Peking University with a Master's degree in economics. Later he served as counselor to the United Kingdom, Belgium and the mission to the European Communities from 2001-04.

Chinese Enya

Chinese singer and songwriter Zhu Zheqin, also known as Dadawa, has been named goodwill ambassador by the UN Development Program (UNDP) for its two-year program called "Show the World: Culture-based Development Goodwill Action for Ethnic Minorities in China." She is commissioned to promote the protection of ethnic minority cultures in China.

Dadawa, a Han Chinese born in southern Guangdong Province, earned a world reputation in the 1990s for her music rich in Chinese ethnic elements. By traveling around the world and immersing herself in diverse cultures, almost all her albums, from Sister Drum (1995) and The Sky (1998) to the most recent Seven Days (2006), were smash hits. She has been compared to a "Chinese Enya." Seven Days was nominated for the 2007 Awards for World Music sponsored by BBC Radio 3.

The UNDP program, covering provinces and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland with densely populated minorities, will focus on the preservation of ethnic music and handicrafts, according to the organization.

Soccer Chief Faces Tough Task

Nan Yong

, former Vice President of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), has taken over the association's top post from unpopular Xie Yalong, after the Chinese soccer team suffered complete defeat in 2008.

The Chinese men's national soccer team was eliminated in the Asian qualifying preliminary round of the 2010 World Cup finals last year. In the soccer competition of the Beijing Olympic Games, China's men's team failed to secure even one victory in the group stage, while its women's team, seeking an Olympic medal, had its hopes ended in quarterfinals by Japan.

Nan, 47, a retired speed skater, has been advancing through a slew of posts at the State General Administration of Sports since he graduated from the Shenyang Sports Institute in 1982. In 1997, the then 35-year-old Nan was transferred to the CFA.

During his tenure as CFA's vice president, Nan has overseen men and women's national teams and the domestic league. He was manager of the team that made China's first appearance in the men's World Cup finals in 2002.

Nan, known for his tough working style, faces big challenges, including reclaiming defaulted sponsorship, finding a qualified coach for the national team, and restoring discipline in the domestic league.

"It is necessary to have the day remembered to comfort the old, who were once serfs, and teach the young who have little idea of that part of history."

Gaisang, 62, a lawmaker at the Tibet Regional People's Congress, supporting the local legislature's decision to designate March 28 as the annual Serfs Emancipation Day

"We should avoid any excuse that might lead to the revitalization of trade protectionism, because it will do no good for the fight against the [world economic] crisis, nor will it help the healthy and stable development of the global economy."

Su Ning, Vice Governor of the People's Bank of China, disputing U.S. allegations that China is manipulating the exchange rates of its currency, which he said are untrue and misleading

"The Chinese premier was right: It all started in the United States."

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, admitting during a session at the World Economic Forum on January 29 that the current global economic crisis started in the United States

"Is it right for the banks to take their share of the responsibility, is it right for the banks to apologize for getting some big judgments wrong as we have over the course of the last years, is it right for us to acknowledge that? Absolutely it is."

John Varley, Group Chief Executive of UK banking group Barclays PLC, encouraging banks to apologize for the role they played in causing the worldwide credit crunch

"In the past, we were almost exclusively linked to developed countries in Europe; now we are more related to developing markets. It's a basic trend, and a healthy process of development for the continent."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, predicting that the current global economic crisis might facilitate the process of linking Africa more closely to emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil, in an interview with China's Xinhua News Agency on January 29

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