China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom

ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including

an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.

The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i

ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.

In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo

gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra

de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu

nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.

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China’s economy, despite headwinds, has enjoyed a good start in the first quarter of 2019, and the country has the confide

nce to achieve the annual projected growth goal, said the country’s top economic planner.

“The first quarter’s stable economic development has laid a solid foundation for the an

nual growth,” said Yuan Da, spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission.

“The economy has stayed on the track of steady growth. We have the confidence, conditio

ns and capability to meet the projected targets for economic and social development this year.”

Yuan made the remarks at the NDRC press conference on Thursday in Beijing.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 6.4 perce

nt year-on-year in the first quarter. The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter in 2018.

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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.

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ltancy, said: “The lawsuit against Liu will bring damages to the image and reputation of JD, hav

e an impact on investors’ confidence, and cause fluctuations in its share price. Moreover, emp

loyees’ trust in the company may also be affected as the Beijing-based tech heavyweight is laying off staff to cut costs.”

Shen Meng, director of boutique investment bank Chanson & Co, said Liu’s case won’t chan

ge his actual control over JD, which is now making some innovations to reassure investors. Liu owns

15.8 percent of JD’s stock and controls nearly 80 percent of the company’s voting rights.

Liu was detained in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on suspicion of criminal sexual c

onduct on Aug 31 and later released without charge or bail. He returned to China on Sept 3.

In December, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the prosecutorial office handling the case announced that no sexual as

sault charges would be brought against Liu as prosecutors could not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

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better short-term memory and faster reaction times compared with the control group, acco

rding findings published March 27 in the China-based journal National Science Review.

The study also found that transgenic monkeys’ brains took longer to develop, in a similar fashion to humans.

The experiment has divided the scientific community however, with a number of Western scientists criticizing it as uneth

ical, while some went as far to suggest, perhaps ironically, that it could lead to a Planet of the Apes-type scenario.

The Kunming Institute of Zoology told China Daily in a statement that the experiment was ethically approved in 2010.

In 2015 the animal rights committee of Kunming Biomed International, a research organiza

tion specializing in nonhuman primates, also declared the animals were being treated humanely in every

step of the experiment, in accordance with domestic and international regulations, the statement said.

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 International Cooperation two years ago, more countries and inter

national organizations have joined in the construction of the Belt and Road.

So far, 125 countries and 29 international organiz

ations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China, according to Lu.

Among them are 16 Central and Eastern European countries and Gr

eece. Italy and Luxembourg signed cooperation agreements with China last month to join

tly build the Belt and Road. Jamaica also signed similar agreements on Thursday.

During Premier Li Keqiang’s European visit last week, both sides agreed to seek greate

r synergy between the BRI and the European Union’s strategy for connecting with Asia.

Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Comm

unist Party of China Central Committee, said last month that representatives of more than 100 coun

tries, including about 40 foreign leaders, have confirmed their attendance at the Beijing forum.

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Debates on whether the central bank needs to further ease monetary policy or not are continuing amo

ng analysts, with their emphasis on guessing the next liquidity injection through reducing banks’ reserved deposits.

Supporters of monetary easing expect that another cut in the re

serve requirement ratio (RRR) may come no later than this week, as a liquidity shorta

ge may occur after commercial banks pay back 366.5 billion yuan ($54.65 billion) to the central bank on Wedn

esday. That amount of interbank lending was conducted previously under the medium-term lending facilities (MLF) scheme.

Opponents, however, contend that the current liquidity is sufficient, and any further ea

sing will fuel inflation risks, especially as Chinese economy has started its upcycle.

The central bank’s monetary policy committee held the first quarter’s regular meeting on Friday.

The members achieved a consensus to continue the counter-cyclical measures and stren

gthen coordination between monetary and fiscal policies. Policy fine-tuning should be at the proper time, to prev

ent risks with the priority of stabilizing growth, according to a statement after the meeting.

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Editor’s note: The “996” schedule (working from 9 am to 9 pm, six

days a week) has sparked a heated public debate, because many workers don’t get any ove

rtime pay and, worse, could end up in the “”. The “996” phenomenon is rampant in the high-tech and internet compani

es. Some internet company chiefs have added fuel to the debate by saying they want their workers to “work hard”. T

hree experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Labor Law should never be violated

Given the fierce competition in the high-tech sector industries, start-

ups have to take drastic measures to survive, let alone thrive. To develop new products, and pr

oduce and market them, companies need a great deal of resources and ski

lled manpower. Perhaps this is the reason they make their employees work overtime.

But forcing the “996” schedule on the workers is illegal. To p

rotect the rights of workers, the Labor Law stipulates that employers

should not force their workers to work more than eight hours a day, or more than 44 hours a week. If emplo

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 deadlines or fulfill other tasks, they can ask them to work overtime – but not than 36 hours a month and only after consulti

ng and reaching an agreement with the labor union and the workers. More important, empl

oyers have to pay at least 1.5 times the usual salary to the employees for overtime work.

This is to protect the rights, interests and health of the workers.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, has added fuel to the debate, by saying that empl

oyees who get the “opportunity” to work according the “996” schedule are the luc

ky ones, because in many companies employees don’t get the chance to work long hours.

But the fact is, if employers do not meet the two essential requiremen

ts to make employees work overtime – consulting wo

rkers and restricting the amount of extra work – and force the “996” schedule o

n their workers and make them work for more than 60 hours a week, they violate the Labor Law.

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tting due remuneration, very few employees use the Labor Law to defend their rights, because it is not easy for them to seek legal redress for their grievan

ces. For example, workers spend a lot of time and money to furnish effective proof that they were asked to work a

nd indeed worked overtime. By so doing, they could even lose their job – as employers could sack them for poor performance.

Interesti2365zuchewangcn-/ngly, Liu Qiangdong, founder and CEO of JD.com, used his WeC

hat account to say he now follows a “8116+8” schedule (8 am to 11 pm, six days a week, and 8

hours on Sunday, with only two days off a month), arder when he started his company. Had

he not followed the schedule, JD.com might not have survived the fierce competition from other internet companies.

Although Liu said he would not force his employees to work accordin

g to the “996″ schedule, he would want them to work as hard as he did during the initial years of JD.com.

It is therefore important that standards to calculate workload per da

y should be set and quantified, and supervision over the exploitation of labor made s

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