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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: July 4, 2009 NO.27 JULY 9,2009

Banking Regulator Promotes 'Firewalls'

Liu Mingkang, China's top banking regulator, has endorsed the role of firewalls between banking and capital markets in preventing the rapid spreading of financial ills in an increasingly interconnected world.

In a signed article published in the Financial Times on June 28, Liu, Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, cited China's regulatory system, underlining the practice of allowing only qualified commercial banks to engage in non-banking activities and stipulating deposits as the major funding source of banks.

Due to prudential regulation, China's banking sector has maintained healthy growth against the ongoing financial crisis. China's total banking assets increased 1.3 times to 34.7 trillion yuan ($5 trillion) from 2003 to 2008, while profits soared 17 fold to 522 billion yuan ($75 billion).

Liu revealed in the article that his commission was devising regulations on firewalls between commercial banks and their controlling shareholders and non-banking subsidiaries.

Liu, 62, a graduate of the City University of London, assumed his current post in March 2003. He also served as chairman and president of the Bank of China, the country's largest foreign exchange lender, and vice governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank.

Hurdler Postpones Comeback

Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang will return to the track later than planned due to the slow recovery of his injured tendon, his coach Sun Haiping said at a news conference in Shanghai on June 30.

Previously, Liu, who withdrew from last August's Olympic competition due to unbearable pain from a foot injury, was expected to make his first appearance in an event in the World Athletics Championships in August.

In December 2008, Liu received surgery on his right ankle tendon in the United States.

"We feel satisfied about Liu's recovery and the medical check revealed that his tendon is getting better but it's not ready yet," Xinhua News Agency quoted Sun as saying. "He still needs time before coming back to competition."

While denying rumors that Liu had thought of retirement, Sun warned that any repeat of the injury on Liu's tendon might ruin the sprinter's career.

Liu, 26, won China's first men's Olympic gold medal in track and field in the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Yet Another Banker Arrested

Wang Xin, Vice President of Guangdong Development Bank (GDB) based in south China's Guangzhou, was arrested on June 19 for his alleged role in a capital embezzlement case.

Wang, 58, was named executive vice president of GDB in August 2002. He supervised the disposal of the bank's huge toxic assets, worth 56 billion yuan ($8 billion), before 2006. According to anonymous bank sources, the process might have involved illegal deals.

GDB, in which Citigroup has a 20-percent stake, is a medium-sized lender with more than 500 branches across China. The bank's assets totaled 546 billion yuan ($78 billion) at the end of 2008.

Before joining GDB, Wang worked at the People's Bank of China and the Bank of China in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"The reforms based on the belief in the efficiency of the market and the diminution of government did not work. Reforms are needed to enhance productivity and capacity to cope with risks."

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, speaking on behalf of the world's poorest nations at the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development

"The Chinese need markets; we also need markets. they need raw materials; we also need to cooperate with them in processing these materials. So it is a win-win formula between Africans and Chinese."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, dismissing concerns by some European countries that China's presence in Africa has hampered the continent's democratic progress, when speaking to reporters in Uganda's Entebbe on June 29

"The message must be sent that Mr. Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of irresponsible manipulation of the system is not merely a bloodless financial crime that takes place just on paper, but it is instead...one that takes a staggering human toll."

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, citing the unprecedented nature of the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff as he sentenced the 71-year-old Wall Street swindler to the maximum of 150 years in prison

"The NATO-Russia Council is now back in gear. We agreed not to let disagreements bring the whole train to a halt."

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, after NATO and Russia resumed formal cooperation on broad security threats on June 26, in their first high-level talks since the Russia-Georgia war last August

"What is the point if the enemy leaves your house only to move next door, where he can still monitor your movements and behaves as if he continues to live with you?"

Al-Dhari, a sheikh from Iraq's Association of Muslim Scholars, condemning as a sham U.S. troops' withdrawal from cities in the war-torn country as of June 30

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