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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: December 31, 2009 NO. 1 JANUARY 7, 2010

New Minister


Han Changfu, former governor of northeast China's Jilin Province, was appointed minister of agriculture at a plenary session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, on December 26. He replaced Sun Zhengcai, who was named secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China in November 2009.

Han, 55, was vice minister of agriculture from August 2001 to May 2003 and deputy director of the Research Office of the State Council from May 2003 to December 2006. Since December 2006, he had served as acting governor and governor of Jilin, an agricultural province.

Han is known for his extensive studies of China's rural affairs. He suggested that the principles of "more support, less burden and greater freedom for farmers" hold the key to revive China's countryside.

Auto Tycoon


Li Shufu had two pieces of good news to celebrate at the end of 2009. The chairman of Geely Automobile Holdings was selected as one of China's 10 Business Persons of 2009 by national broadcaster CCTV. Also, his company has agreed with Ford Motor Co. on most terms for the purchase of the U.S. automaker's Swedish business, Volvo Cars.

The companies said on December 23 that a definitive agreement would probably be signed by March 31, with a sale completed by June 30. If completed, it will be the largest purchase by a Chinese car firm.

Geely is China's seventh largest carmaker, mainly manufacturing low-price compact cars. Li said he hoped the purchase of the Volvo brand would boost Geely's attraction to high-end customers.

Li, 46, founded Geely in 1986. After making a big fortune in the motorcycle business in the mid-1990s, he started China's first private automotive company in 1998, which features an annual production capacity of 300,000 cars. The company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2005. Since 2007, Geely had manufactured the iconic London taxi in China through a joint venture with Manganese Bronze Holdings.

Forbes magazine ranked Li 44th on its The 400 Richest Chinese 2009 list, with a net worth of $1.3 billion.

Master Director


Chinese director John Woo Yu-Sen will receive the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 67th Venice Film Festival on September 1-11, 2010, organizers said. Woo is the first Chinese filmmaker to receive this prestigious award.

"The acknowledgment recognizes a filmmaker who in recent decades, with his revolutionary conception of staging and editing, has renewed action movies to the core, introducing an extreme stylization close to visual art, both in Asia and in Hollywood," organizers said on the festival's website. They said Woo was "an innovator of the contemporary language of cinema."

Woo, 61, began his career as a film director in Hong Kong in the 1970s and made his name with stylish action films such as A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled. After moving to Hollywood in 1993, he directed several box-office blockbusters, including Broken Arrow, Face/Off and Mission: Impossible II.

Woo's war epic, Red Cliff, was released in the United States on December 18, 2009. It pulled in nearly 580 million yuan ($85 million) in ticket sales in earlier screenings in China.

"That might have been true in America, which refused to sign up to Kyoto, but not in the case of China or Europe, who followed a lot of that protocol's policies."

Former British Prime Minister John Prescott, attacking U.S. President Barack Obama for suggesting at the UN climate change conference there had been a period of "two decades of talking and no action"

"European people are not benefiting from our losses."

Wei Yafei, an official with the China Leather Industry Association, speaking against the EU's approval of a 15-month extension of anti-dumping duties on Chinese leather shoes at the cost of Chinese shoemakers and European consumers and shoe retailers

"What I would say is that our system did not work in this instance."

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, admitting on December 28, 2009 that the system aimed at keeping air travel secure failed when a Nigerian man who, although he ultimately failed to blow up a transatlantic airliner, managed to smuggle explosives aboard

"This is a strategic project because it allows us to enter completely new, growing, promising markets of the Asian Pacific region."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaking when launching Russia's Asia-oriented Siberian oil export route on December 28, 2009

"Whoever has done this, he cannot be a Muslim."

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik on the suicide bomber who attacked a religious procession of Shiite Muslims in Karachi on December 28, 2009, killing at least 30 people

"The core objectives of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization are to address balance of payment and short-term liquidity difficulties in the region and to supplement the existing international financial arrangements."

Top finance officials of a block of nations and regions in east and southeast Asia, announcing in a joint statement the launch of a $120-billion emergency fund in March 2010, the first such alliance in the region with the intention of shielding members from a financial crisis

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