The meeting highlighted the importance of implementi

ting the spirit of December’s Central Economic Work Conference.

Macro policies should be stable, micro policies should be flexible and social policies should guarantee the basic needs of the grassroots

people, the statement said. Macro policies should focus on promoting high-quality growth and stimulating market vitality.

The importance of manufacturing’s high-quality development in stabilizing economic growt

h was stressed. Traditional industries should be guided to upgrade, and new industries should grow stronger.

The development of small and medium-sized companies and private businesses should be supported through measures like s

peeding up the supply-side structural reform of finance and providing better loan services, the stat

ement said. It also reaffirmed that houses should be used for living rather than for profit.

Reform should be further deepened and opening-up boosted, and forei

gn capital should have bigger access to the Chinese market. Poverty reduction is a key meas

ure of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which must be achieved by the end of next y

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Remaining poverty alleviation tasks are quite arduou

s, and government departments must make continuous efforts to ensure tasks are completed. Off

icials of poverty-stricken counties must keep a close eye on problems to ensure people can escape poverty.

The Party’s publicity work was also discussed. It’s the top political task to learn and publi

cize Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the statement said. A

ll Party committees must pay great attention to publicity work and ensure the implementation of regulations.

A draft amendment to the Securities Law was submitted Saturday to a bimonthly session of

the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislature, for a third reading.

The latest revisions to the law include rules on the newly-devised science and technol

ogy innovation board, which will pilot a registration-based initial public offering (IPO) system.

Under the current IPO system, new shares are subject to approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission before being listed.

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A highlight of the draft amendment is the embryos. Curre

ntly domestic laws do not view embryos as independent persons, yet in judicial practices their personal rights are still under protection of law as part of the pers

onal rights of their parents. If the draft amendment passes, embryos will enjoy better protection of rights in the future.

ASTANA — A bus accident in Kazakhstan has killed 11 people and injured 29 others, the Kazakh Interior Ministry said Saturday.

The accident took place on the early morning of Saturday in the Kordai district in the southe

rn Zhambyl region when a car collided with a truck on a highway and a following passenger bus ma

de a rollover in order to avoid a collision with the vehicles, according to the ministry.

“As a result of the accident, eight people were killed instantly, 32 people were taken to me

dical facilities, where another three people died from injuries,” the ministry said in a statement.

About 50 people and the rescue services, disaster management office and regional police departme

nt were involved, and medical personnel have been dispatched to the scene, the ministry said.

A pre-trial investigation was launched under the criminal code, while investigat

ors from the Interior Ministry and the police office are working to establish the circumstances of the accident.

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As a prominent expert on China-US studies for decade

 Zhu also was twice denied single-entry visas to the US.

“This shows how the US is trying to block normal social exchanges bet

ween the two countries, an important channel for mutual understanding and trust,” Zhu said.

Besides scholars in social sciences, the US also began last year to make it harder for Chinese graduate students to get visas if they stud

y in “sensitive research fields”. It warned biomedical researchers at US universities to beware of “Chinese spies

trying to steal information from their laboratories”, according to The New York Times report.

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science of the University o

f St. Thomas in Houston, said the decision is “both absurd and exceedingly shortsighted”.

“These scholars and researchers are social scientists with a long history of interactin

g with their American counterparts as well policymakers in both countries,” he said.

“They are scholars teaching and researching what I teach and research. What are they going to steal?”

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Taylor said the US will ultimately “pay the price for

this”, in the form of an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of China by barring scholars wh

o have great familiarity with US politics and policymaking and have the ear of Chinese officials.

Douglas H. Paal, vice-president of the Asia Program at the Carn

egie Endowment for International Peace, said it appears that the scholars who best unders

tand the US and communicate well with China’s leaders are being denied visas or threatened with denial.

“I don’t see how this is in America’s interest,” Paal said.

Some US media have mentioned that China also denies visas to

US academics, but Taylor and Paal said that has not been

their experience when applying for Chinese visas to visit China for academic exchanges.

In a news conference on Thursday, when asked if China rejected a visa application fr

om an adviser to US President Donald Trump, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang

said Chinese embassies and consulates overseas always handle visa applications according to law.

China welcomes cultural exchanges between China and the US an

d will actively promote mutual understanding between the two countries, Lu said.

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Paris fire sends alarm on relics protectionhedral in Pa

An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa

ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh

ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.

“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi

nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.

The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.

On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On

Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.

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mental protection, science and technology innovation,

end manufacturing, finance, sharing economy, medical care and elderly care indust

ries,” Osuga said, adding Japan and China will push forward cooperation in more areas this year.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the dialogue on Sunday that Ch

ina hopes the two sides can make steady headway in promoting bilateral investments and trade coope

ration, and actively explore third-party market cooperation as well as local cooperation.

Osuga said the Japanese government’s position on the Belt and Road Initiative remains unchan

ged, as it expects to conduct cooperation with China in a third market, promote trade and invest

ment liberalization and facilitation and uphold a business environment of fairness, justice and non-discrimination.

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Innovation links with Japan encouragedForeign Minis

Premier Li Keqiang called on China and Japan to boost cooperation in innovation to see more pra

gmatic outcomes, and to further work together in areas including finance, third-party markets and tourism.

The two countries should also create a fair and unbiased business environment for each other’s en

terprises, Li said in a meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Beijing on Monday.

The meeting came after a China-Japan high-level economic dialogue,

co-chaired on Sunday by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kono. The dia

logue, also attended by ministers of agriculture, industry, commerce and environ

mental protection from both countries, was also the first to be held in China between the two nations since 2010.

Li congratulated attendees on the successful hosting of the dialogue in his opening remarks, noting that bilateral relation

s are back on the right track and have seen new progress thanks to joint efforts of the two sides starting last year.

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The two sides can help jointly find solutions to glob

 and bilateral issues despite remaining difficulties in bilateral relations, he said.

The thawing of ties between China and Japan was marked by Li’s visit to the country in

May, the first by a Chinese premier in eight years, and the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to China in October.

The economic dialogue between the two countries was launched in 2007,

and deteriorated relations due to disputes over a number of issues resulted in an eight-ye

ar hiatus until last April, when the two sides restarted with the fourth round of dialogue in Tokyo.

China said on Monday that the Belt and Road Initiative is open to economic cooperation with

other countries and regions, and it does not become involved in territorial disputes of relevant parties.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news briefing tha

t although the initiative was proposed by China, it is an international project for the public good.

While advancing the initiative, China upholds the principle of equality, openness and transparency and sticks to enter、

prise-oriented market operations as well as market laws and well-accepted international rules, Lu said.

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Economic data for March have beaten market expectat

ons in many aspects, and based on those data, China’s year-on-year GDP gr

owth rate in the first quarter may reach 6.3 percent or a bit higher,” said Liu Chun

sheng, an associate professor of economics at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.

Improved market expectations resulting from progress in the Sino-US trade talks and Beijing’s tax and

fee cut plan, as well as eased liquidity, have helped to offset negative effects of the traditional Spring Fes

tival holiday and downside pressure that continued from the end of last year, Liu said.

China has set this year’s GDP growth rate target at 6 percent to 6.5 perce

nt, after registering full-year growth of 6.6 percent in 2018 and 6.4 percent in the fourth

quarter. The NBS is scheduled to announce the country’s first-quarter economic growth data on Wednesday.

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