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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.
Under a pilot scheme, the first group of six provinces and cities sold 6.8 billion yuan in bonds
at commercial bank counters to individual buyers between March 22 and early April.
The coupon rates are between 3.01 percent and 3.33 percent, higher than treasury b
onds issued by the central government as well as bank deposits with the same maturity.
Gross local bond issuances hit 1.18 trillion yuan in the first qua
rter, compared with only 219.5 billion yuan in the same period last year.
The total quota for 2019 local government bond issuances is 3.08 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance.
“About 60 percent of the bonds were issued for ongoing construction, especially
for shantytown renovation projects, railways and roads,” said Hao Lei, head of the ministry’s Budget Department.
While debt financing continues to grow, the government is experiencing sharp declin
es in fiscal revenue growth, especially from tax and land sales, official data showed.
tment, and it could also leverage on more bank lending and attract private funds to increase investment, said Xu.
In the meantime, allowing retail access to local government bonds will help diversify the
investor base and increase market liquidity, said Amanda Du, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.
The analyst expected access for retail investors to widen to encompass all local government bonds in 2020.
hina’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first qua
rter, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
The growth was unchanged from that registered in the fourth quarter of last year.
The country’s industrial output posted steady growth in the same period, up by 6.5 percent
year-on-year, compared with 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, official data showed.
Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.3 percent in the first quarte
r, compared with 6.1 percent in the first two months, according to the NBS.
Retail sales increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the same pe
riod, compared with 8.2 percent in the first two months, the data showed.
by the smugglers, Sun said. Busts were made in several locations, which were not disclosed. The case is still under investigation.
Since early this year, 182 smuggling cases involving endangered species have been investigated, the administration said on Monday.
More than 500 tons of endangered animals and animal products were seized, 8.48 t
ons of which was ivory tusks or products made of ivory. In those cases, 171 suspects were detained.
The Chinese government suspended imports of ivory and all ivor
y products in 2015 and ended commercial processing and sale of ivory at the end of 2017.
The ban has had significant positive effects, with fewer people purchasing ivory, according to a report j
ointly released last year by the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, an NGO that tracks the global trade in wild animals.
“We will strengthen our anti-smuggling efforts, continuing to work with international organizations and depart
ments and allowing no tolerance of those illegal activities,” said Hu Wei, deputy director of the administration.
cus”, keeping it prudent while the liquidity should be at a reasonably adequate level, it said.
Financial policies are required to further support small and private companies, and fun
ding through the capital market is supported by the authorities, according to the statement.
The central bank had skipped open market operations for 15 conse
cutive working days until Monday. “Reasonable and adequate liquidity in the banking syste
m” was the main reason for the absence of open market operations, according to a statement from the central bank.
To cut or not to cut the RRR, a strong tool for liquidity adjustm
ent, has become a hot topic since April, not only for investors, but also for policy advisers.
Divergent opinions are spreading among a broader group of market observer
s. The market is trying to get more indications from the monetary authority, although the C
hinese central bank barely sends any hints on possible monetary policy operations before taking action.