A draft amendment to the Personal Income Tax Law proposes a bold update to China’s income tax system. The current system is a patchwork of taxes on different types of income withheld at source. The draft proposes a system closer to common international models, in which the state will levy a single income tax, covering earned and unearned income, based on tax returns.
Xi Jinping sees ending poverty in China as a major test of socialist policy—and one he takes a great interest in supervising. Set at the low level of C¥2,300 per person per year, China’s poverty line is some 50 percent lower than the World Bank’s widely-used definition of extreme poverty. Pledging to raise the remaining rural poor up to this poverty line by 2020, Xi has made the campaign a whole-of-government priority.
Nearly a quarter of undergraduate-level-and-above China-foreign cooperative education programs will be shut down by 15 July 2018, according to Ministry of Education (MoE). In Heilongjiang alone, 100 programs—more than half of the province’s total—are on the list.
State Council unveiled the long-awaited 2018–20 air pollution plan on 4 July, replacing a previous 3-year plan that expired end 2017. Renewed focus on reducing transport sector pollution is a highlight of the plan, says Zou Ji 邹骥 Energy Foundation Beijing Office director.
A ‘financial opening’ agenda is under way, designed to improve market access and business conditions for international investors in the financial sector. Admitting the need for international expertise to raise the performance of the financial sector, the agenda echoes China’s rationale for its 2001 WTO accession, and delivers on some still unfulfilled accession commitments.
Ahead of the 20th China-EU Summit in July, the seventh China–EU High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue set up a joint working group to adapt World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules to new global trends on 25 June.
When launched at last year’s 19th Party Conference, ‘Xi Jinping thought’ on foreign policy stressed self-confidence and Party authority. Repeated by Xi at a foreign affairs work conference 23-24 June, the space for debate seemed to narrow further. Yet doubt, debate and cautious stocktaking remained in the air. Much uncertainty was due to Trump, whose odd concessions, e.g. on ZTE, and deference to Chinese rhetoric collided with trade threats and strategic tensions, a chaotic mix not easily amenable to Xi’s ‘China solution’.
Cities need more college graduates. That appears to be the view of local decision-makers: over the last two years, measures to attract and retain college graduates have proliferated. The first salvo was fired December 2016 when Shenzhen allowed all graduates under the age of 35 from technical colleges and above to apply for hukou. The wealthy megacities of Beijing and Shanghai are not competing very strenuously, but smaller cities seek to win the so-called ‘talent war’. Since March 2017, nearly every month one or more cities have issued talent policies, sparking a bidding war that central policy-makers are now trying to tame.
In a blow to the solar industry, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Finance and National Energy Administration (NEA) on 4 June jointly announced the ‘most stringent solar power regulations yet’, restricting 2018 solar power project construction and slashing project subsidies. The new policy caught the industry off guard: solar PV manufacturers’ stock prices plummeted, reports Caixin, with some firms scaling back production and considering layoffs.
Despite short-term uncertainty, China’s own ag outlook projects sustained rise in animal protein imports for the next decade.
governance: pushing domestic consumption, ‘war on pollution’, SCO summit, national unified pension system
China countered new US tariffs on its goods announced 15 June, levying an equal amount; recent attempts at a working compromise will be abandoned. The two sides will add tariffs on imports of each other’s goods worth US$34 bn from 6 July, with another US$16 bn to be potentially added after public consultation.
Online services are part of plans to reduce pressure on overcrowded top-tier general hospitals located in coastal cities. Better data transfer between hospitals and local healthcare stations can reduce the number of hospital visits. IT can also improve access to healthcare in remote regions, low-hanging fruit to meet ‘Healthy China 2030’ goals.