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Shanghai Municipal Government Press Conference Memo (June 8)
9/6/2007 16:35

1. SMG: Mr. Mu, you just mentioned that Shanghai has listed 83 folk arts in 10 categories as its first batch of city-level intangible culture heritage items. What is the standard of this list and what kind of items can be included in the 83 items?

Mu Duanzheng: The items we reported to the Ministry of Culture were collected by local government and related units. The Ministry of Culture has a clear definition on the standard and census of intangible culture heritage, and has mapped out the standard of the 10 categories as well.

There is a difference between intangible culture heritage and substantial culture heritage. The former is arts created, inherited and enjoyed by the public. This can include learning, techniques, divisions and representatives in certain fields or sectors that are acknowledged in terms of arts. Many techniques are represented. For example, 26 items are traditional techniques in the list, most of which represent a city technique in modern times.

The second kind of item can embody the development of industrial and commercial fields in modern times, which can reveal city¡¯s culture and economy in different periods.

Experts from different fields appraised and selected the intangible culture heritage in terms of their distinguishing features.

2. Phoenix: We have two questions. We have read the archives, finding folk arts face the risk of extinction. Has the Shanghai government considered how to develop and keep these folk arts?

The second question is for the spokeswoman. Recently, media are concerned about police rescuing a girl kidnapped in a KFC. We have read some reports on this issue, but can you introduce more details and tell us how the girl is right now? What does the successful rescue mean to us since such cases are rare in Shanghai?

Mu Duanzheng: Mr. Liu Jian will introduce the protection and discovery of intangible culture heritage.

Liu Jian: I will introduce Shanghai¡¯s efforts on protecting intangible culture heritage, especially on inheritance. First of all, the city began a city-wide census on intangible culture heritage. Shanghai¡¯s culture watchdog trained 213 people in four batches to conduct the census. The city also investigated, registered, recorded and set up archives for inheritors. We just showed you two 15-minute videos about a dragon-phoenix qipao and Duoyun Curios Shop¡¯s wood-block printing. We made more than 200 such videos during the census, and each one lasts more than three hours. The census was a very big project to cover all the intangible culture heritages and their inheritors in the city.

Secondly, Shanghai has mapped out rules on protecting intangible culture heritage, which is listed in the city¡¯s 11th Five Year Plan on cultural development. Districts have also mapped out rules on protecting the heritage, which define the protection range and put forward long-term targets and recent missions.

The third part is to rescue precious intangible culture heritage. The principal of intangible culture heritage protection is rescue, utilization and inheritance. Districts and related institutes have set up their own database of intangible cultural heritage resources, especially the items that are listed in the country-level categories. We have urged related units to set up museums and exhibition halls, such as Huangdaopo museum in Xuhui District, bamboo carving exhibition hall in Jiading District, Guxiuchen exhibition hall in Songjiang District, and a gong-drum book display hall in Nanhui District is under construction. These constructions can reserve and display the intangible cultural heritages.

Fourthly, we have set up a system to list intangible culture heritage. Districts¡¯and county¡¯s systems were completed in mid April, which also contributed to the setup of a city-level system. The first batch of 83 items was published to the public today. We will further verify each inheritor, which will be more complicated because each category may have several inheritors in different divisions, so we will continue to verify the inheritors.

Fifthly, offering subsidies to inheritors of some important intangible culture heritage. Shanghai¡¯s culture watchdog in districts, towns and neighborhoods will provide certain money every year to aid the inheritors.

The sixth measure is to aid units that are in charge of protecting intangible culture heritage. The project hasn¡¯t collected a lot of funds, but we believe with the public¡¯s growing awareness of protecting intangible culture heritage, more people will join in the project and provide more money to support it.

Seventhly, we will promote protection of intangible culture heritage around the city. The most important propaganda of this year is tomorrow¡¯s culture exposition on folk arts. The exposition is headed by a city leader for the first time, and leaders will attend tomorrow¡¯s opening ceremony.

We hope to invite more residents especially youths to visit the exposition to further raise the public awareness of protecting intangible culture heritage. Thanks.

Jiao Yang:

Shanghai police successfully handled the¡°6.6 hostage¡±issue and rescued the kidnapped girl. This battle was excellent and impressive. I heard applause and cheers from broadcasters after the girl was rescued, which means the mission has won popular support.

According to the initial investigation, the suspect Tong Jiansheng was single and unemployed, he was a Shanghai native and his parents had already died. He had a long history of trouble with the law. He was sentenced to a year in prison by a Putuo court in June 2005 for arson. After his release, Tong continued his criminal activities and was punished by police for ticket scalping, gambling and theft.

The police also noticed Tong was a violent, eccentric and unsociable man during the investigation, but didn¡¯t find he had a mental disease. The police are still probing the case for details, including Tong¡¯s motive for kidnapping the girl.

What enlightenment does the issue bring to us?

First of all, people will feel Shanghai is a safe city after seeing police successfully handle the case. When the incident happened, leaders from the Shanghai government and Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China immediately instructed law enforcement officials to attach great importance to people¡¯s profits and solve the problem effectively and appropriately.

Police spent seven hours handling the case because they tried to avoid causing losses or injuring the hostage accidentally, and they also hoped to rescue the girl by negotiating with the hostage taker.

Judiciary and psychological experts were also performing excellently at the scene. All the measures were to secure perfect safety and to protect people¡¯s lives and profits. The success embodies Shanghai police¡¯s good quality and shows the city attaches great importance to people¡¯s safety, lives and profits, which is also the government¡¯s responsibility.

Secondly, regular and strict training is necessary. Besides faith and emergency plans, police officers need repeated, strict and hard training to prepare for any situation.

Our police sniper ended the seven-hour standoff with a precise shooting. Without strict training, it¡¯s hard to shot the hostage taker dead with one bullet because the criminal was so sly that police had to aim at him via a small hole.

We realized that the police had mapped out several plans to lower the risks of injury. It¡¯s a big challenge for their techniques and psychological quality to grasp the very moment. The policeman who rushed to the scene also took the girl¡¯s safety into consideration. He checked whether the kid was injured and then hugged her out of the scene. All the details show that good quality officers need strict training, detailed plans and experience.

Shanghai police guided the rescue accurately and calmly, and their management of the scene was systematical. All the aspects fulfilled the requirements from the Shanghai Committee of the CPC and Shanghai government, which demand the city to prepare emergency plans to secure people¡¯s safety, lives and profits. The case fully proved this point.

Thirdly, the case also warns other criminals not to break laws or take reckless action because our government and police officers will try their best to protect the city¡¯s safety, residents¡¯lives and profits. It is important to understand this and proves that Shanghai is a safe city and Shanghai police can be trusted. Thank you.

3. Jiefang Daily: I want to ask Mr. Mu a question. I read the latest information on the intangible culture heritage items. Besides the display in tomorrow¡¯s exposition, are there more active forms to make these items accessible to normal people, especially youths? Thanks.

Mu Duanzheng: In tomorrow¡¯s exposition, we will focus on displaying the city¡¯s first batch of intangible culture heritage, including a live performance played by arts group. We will also arrange special performance and propaganda in schools, especially campuses, and neighborhoods, which will help more young people access cultural heritage and let residents watch the displays in public areas.

Long-term, protection and inheritance of cultural heritage should be implemented by a series of plans and schemes to raise public awareness.

4. Shanghai Morning Post: I want to ask the spokeswoman two questions. First, the recent sales of secondhand properties and new properties show that Shanghai¡¯s real estate market is rebounding. Is there any updated information about the market? Second, what is the city¡¯s plan on electric power shortages for this summer?

Jiao Yang:

Media have reported a lot about Shanghai¡¯s real estate market recently, but I think we should observe and analyze calmly on some aspects. According to the city¡¯s real estate regulator, Shanghai¡¯s property market has developed stably with balanced supply and demand since China began cooling off the market. From January to May, 7.38 million square meters of presale apartments were approved to be on the city¡¯s market, similar with last year¡¯s figure. More than 61 million square meters of apartments are under construction now, growing a little from a year earlier. This year¡¯s supply is expected to be kept unchanged with last year¡¯s. According to online statistics, supply of on-sale apartments is 1.5 times of transaction volume. The supply volume is sufficient. The sales of new residential apartments are stable. In the later half of last year, local authorities cleared a batch of properties which hadn¡¯t begun construction to raise the proportion of apartments smaller than 90 square meters. Some of the properties are located between the middle ring road and outer ring road and construction is expected to kick off, which will offer sufficient supply.

The question about Shanghai¡¯s plan to solve the power shortage problem in summer is always popped by reporters in this season, which is also a problem residents are concerned about. This year¡¯s peak demand is expected to top 21 million kilowatts and even 21.5 million kilowatts in extreme conditions, growing seven percent from a year earlier. The city¡¯s grid can supply 20.5 million kilowatts in the summer and will try to provide 21.5 million kilowatts in extreme conditions.

There is no gap between the electricity supply and demand this summer. But the city must set aside 600,000 kilowatts for grid operation and accidental conditions. When the demand exceeds 21.5 million kilowatts, the supply may not meet demand. We will divert power from other cities under such conditions and further develop the city¡¯s power generation capacity to balance supply and demand. Generally, the city¡¯s power supply is adequate.

This year¡¯s peak season began on June 15 and continues until September 23. The Shanghai Economic Committee has issued notes to carry out the following measures to secure a stable power supply in the summer.

Firstly, securing electric power supply. Ensuring all power generators work safely and stably; ensuring a reasonable inventory to meet the demands of electric power and gas; optimizing the gas machines to generate more power; securing some gas turbines to generate power in peak hours and bringing fuel-generated-power into full operation. In addition, local electric power companies will try their best to divert power from other cities to increase Shanghai¡¯s power supply and further improve measures to cope with emergencies.

Secondly, further curbing use of power. Saving energy and curbing consumption is a very important mission, so the city has carried out measures. Some related departments have issued opinions on use of air-conditioners to strengthen the management of air-conditioners and curb grid load in peak hours; set up mechanisms to save energy and promote the operation and implementation of power demand side-management projects; enhancing the promotion and utilization of power-saving technologies; and urging government departments to save power in office buildings as an example.

Thirdly, implementing power-use plan reasonably. Using power safely and orderly and combining power policy, industry policy, energy policy and environment-protection policy to prevent power-consumption giants from using too much power; adjusting plants to work in different periods and balancing weekly power load; arranging plants to shut down in turn during the summer.

Fourthly, making use of economic levers to mediate the use of power. Adjusting electricity prices in summer can balance the supply and demand of power.

Last but not least, mapping out emergency plans to fight disastrous weather and other emergencies. Enhancing the city¡¯s ability to cope with emergencies and disaster; adding power emergency measures into the city¡¯s general emergency plan; promoting the setup of load control system and improving emergency mechanisms.

I hope the media can summon local residents to cooperate with us, especially in saving power and energy. Under emergency circumstances, we are eager for residents¡¯cooperation, understanding and support.

Thanks. Please continue to ask questions.

5. Youth Daily: I have two questions. Mr. Mu just said some volunteers will attend the folk arts exposition. I want to know who are these volunteers and what will they do? Are most of the volunteers young people and what are the requirements should the volunteers meet? The second question is for the spokeswoman. I heard that the down payment of a house will be raised to 40 percent. Is this information real? Has Shanghai government put forward targets to control the real estate market?

Liu Jian: The volunteers to the exposition are assigned by the Shanghai civilization office.

Jiao Yang: I didn¡¯t hear about the 40 percent down payment. Shanghai is firmly implementing the country¡¯s polices and insisting on¡°Three Priorities,¡±regarding living as priority, regarding citizens¡¯spending as a priority and regarding normal properties as priority. The city also insisted on the principal of encouraging consumption, regulating investments and curbing speculation to further strengthen the control of the real estate market to realize these targets.

6. SMG Radio News Center: My first question is for Mr. Mu Duanzheng. We have collected a lot of information when arranging the intangible culture heritage and have set up archives. Will parts of these archives be published to residents? How can residents access these precious archives when they are published? The second question is for the spokeswoman Jiao Yang. We noticed that the water pollution in Wuxi has been controlled, but this issue is a warning to us. It¡¯s hard to prevent water pollution in Wuxi because it was caused by a sudden outbreak of blue-green algae. How can we secure safe water sources in Shanghai?

Mu Duanzheng: We will publish local intangible culture heritage list on the second Culture Heritage Day this year according to the country¡¯s schedule. In the last two years, the city conducted census, collection, arrangement and selection of the heritage. I have said our census is still ongoing, but by the end of last year, we had collected 1,100 items and local systems, which received appraisal in April. Local districts appraised 206 items and recommended 100 items to the city-level authority. We organized a group of experts to appraise the 100 items and selected 83. We considered publishing the first batch on June 9, so we did the appraisal and arrangement simultaneously. It needs several steps to work on the archives. For example, districts and county are all working on the arrangement and display of archives. We need to edit the archives into Shanghai¡¯s brochure and display them at tomorrow¡¯s exposition. We will conduct more promotion and displays of these archives in different forms. I think we take it as a long-term opportunity and hope media can support us to promote folk arts to benefit people. Thanks.

Jiao Yang:

Local residents and media are concerned a lot about the outbreak of blue-green algae in Wuxi. After the outbreak, water and environment departments in Shanghai immediately strengthened the supervision on water quality along the upper reaches of the Huangpu River and on the raw water, especially testing the algae in Taipu River and the Songpu Bridge water source.

The result showed that the water quality in the upper reaches of the Huangpu River was similar with the same period of last year and it didn¡¯t contain excessive algae. Thus, the water source wasn¡¯t polluted by the algae and the Taihu Lake algae outbreak didn¡¯t affect Shanghai¡¯s water supply.

I think there should be a long-term plan as well as an emergency plan to secure the safety of Shanghai¡¯s water sources.

1). Improving the management of water environment to secure safe water sources.

Tightening the control of wastewater discharge and improve the disposal of living wastewater in the upper reaches of the Huangpu River; curbing discharged pollutants, especially nutritious materials such as nitrogen and phosphorous; promoting the propaganda and raising the society¡¯s awareness of protecting water sources.

2). Enhancing cooperation with related institutes, nearby cities and provinces to treat pollution in the whole valley and allocate water sources.

Shanghai is along the lower reaches of Taihu Lake and the Yangtze River, so comprehensive management of the whole valley is very important, especially strengthening the monitoring of the volume and quality of water.

3). Using effective technological measures.

Enhance the ability to handle emergencies via scientific, technological and modern methods.

4). Reinforcing emergency plans.

Improve emergency plans for water supplies and conduct drills to further raise the city¡¯s ability of handling any water crisis.

7. Hong Kong Oriental Daily News: I have a question about Shanghai Housing, Land and Resources Administrative Bureau¡¯s probe into Tomson Riviera. What is the process of the case? Can you reveal some details? When will the bureau get the result? Will the government probe more developers or other problematic practices? Thanks.

Jiao Yang:

The reporter noticed that Shanghai is regulating its real estate market. The campaign doesn¡¯t target one specific company, but all companies. The regulation is fair, so companies that violate rules will be punished. As a matter of fact, the campaign doesn¡¯t come all of a sudden. Since 2002, Shanghai has conducted such campaigns several times, especially in 2005, when the city cracked a batch of fraudulent sales practices, including unlicensed presales, fake contracts, reserving apartments and driving up housing prices. The campaigns helped maintain order in the property market. Now Shanghai¡¯s property market develops stably, with stable investments, stable traded areas and stable housing prices. But illegal practices still exist in the market, so it¡¯s a long-term battle to control the market and maintain the order.

The city launched the campaign to implement a notice issued by eight government departments under the State Council. The notice urged a crackdown on illegal practices in the property market. The reporter noticed that some projects are being investigated. The campaign has three key points: checking and cracking developers who reserve properties for speculation purposes; punishing developers who hire sales people and workers to drive up housing prices by publishing fake sales conditions and arranging people to line up to buy houses; punishing developers who pre-sell properties without a license, promise buyers to rent pre-sold properties and sell incomplete properties.

The healthy development of the real estate market is very important. We will always keep alert to the illegal practices in property trades and conduct long-term checks to secure healthy and stable development in Shanghai¡¯s property market.

Today¡¯s news conference has ended. Thanks for the participation of two senior officials of SMG and reporters.