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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: April 2, 2010 NO. 14 APRIL 8, 2010

Banking Consultants

Zhou Qiren (BAI PENGHUI)

Xia Bin (DING XU)

Li Daokui (LI GANG)

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, announced on March 29 the appointments of three new scholars to the bank's monetary policy committee.

The three economists—Zhou Qiren, Xia Bin and Li Daokui—will replace Fan Gang to advise the central bank on major monetary issues. All have studied overseas, and Zhou and Li have received PhD degrees from prestigious U.S. universities.

The appointment of three economists this year—instead of one—indicates the increasing importance of academic voices in monetary policymaking. The trio, with different backgrounds, are expected to strengthen the committee in terms of monetary policy consultancy.

Born in 1950, Zhou Qiren, specialized in rural and economic system reforms, is a professor of economics and Dean of the National School of Development at Peking University. He believes market demand is the real propulsive force of economic growth and now it is time for China to withdraw economic stimulus measures. Zhou obtained his Master's and PhD degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Born in 1951, Xia Bin is Director of the Development Research Center of the State Council. He is knowledgeable in capital markets, financial institutions, money supply and private equity. Xia has been appointed to various key government and think-tank positions in these fields. He graduated from the Graduate School of the People's Bank of China in 1984.

Born in 1965, Li Daokui is Director of the Center for China in the World Economy at Tsinghua University. He obtained a PhD degree from Harvard University in 1992 and has held various research and teaching positions in the United States and Hong Kong. He specializes in macro-economic research, corporate finance, and economics of transition.

Executive in Jail

Hu Shitai (XINHUA)

Stern Hu, a former Rio Tinto executive and the head negotiator for Rio Tinto in China, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets. His assets were confiscated and a fine of 1 million yuan ($146,413) was imposed.

Three other Rio Tinto staff also received jail terms from seven to 14 years on the same charges. The verdict was handed down on March 29 by the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.

Hu and his colleagues accepted approximately $13.6 million in bribes from private steel manufacturers who wanted to avoid buying costlier iron ore from state-run mills.

From 2003 to 2009, the four business people used improper means to acquire commercial secrets from Chinese steel companies. This information was used as a bargaining chip to jack up prices China paid for its ore imports.

More than 20 Chinese steel mills paid extra advances totaling 1.02 billion yuan ($146 million) in 2009 for ore imports because of the crimes committed by the four, the court decision said.

Rio Tinto fired the four executives shortly after the court sentenced them.

"The World Expo 2010 Shanghai is not profit-oriented, and it would be better if we can strike a balance between income and expenditure."

Yang Xiong, Executive Vice Mayor of Shanghai Municipality, commenting on reports the Expo would bring a windfall

"We must do everything we can to get water by taking measures such as artificial precipitation, digging wells and finding new water sources."

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, urging local governments on April 1 to make provision of drinking water for people in drought-hit southwest China a top priority

"We have twisted the heads off the most hateful bandits. But this is not enough, by all accounts. We will track down and punish all of them."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, at a visit to the North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan on April 1, promising a tough response to recent terrorist attacks in Moscow

"We are going where nobody has been before. We have opened a new territory for physics."

Oliver Buchmueller, a scientist with the European Center for Nuclear Research, expressing his excitement after the Large Hadron Collider produced its first high-energy collisions

"There's no real economy. It's a bubble economy."

Lin Mingkun, manager of a yacht club in Hainan Province, talking on the rampant property market speculation in Hainan island two months after the government decision to build Hainan into an international tourist destination in January

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