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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Much work remains in Sino-US trade negotiations

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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The economy has stayed on the track of steady gro

owth. We have the confidence, conditions and capability to mee

t the projected targets for economic and social deve

lopment this year,” Yuan told an NDRC news conference on Thursday in Beijing.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed China’s economy grew at a faster-than-e

xpected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, remaining at the to

p end of the government’s projected growth range of 6 to 6.5 percent for this year.

The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Zhang Chenghui, former director at the finan

cial research institute of Development Research Center of the State Cou

ncil, said despite the downward growth pressure, China will see many positive factors in the economy this year.

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The eastern area and central China region are accele

rating the push for economic upgrading, which offers strong impetus for the growth. Despite the pressure, we still can see gr

owth momentum,” Zhang said during a macroeconomic seminar earlier this month in Beijing.

“Recently, the government has introduced a series of su

pportive policies which will gradually help grow the real economy,” Zhang added.

NDRC said a further 3.24 million new urban jobs were added in t

he first quarter, with surveyed unemployment ra

te remaining at a comparatively low level of 5.2 percent in March. And consu

mer prices registered a moderate rise of 1.8 percent in the first three months of this year.

A basic equilibrium in the balance of payments was maintai

ned, and China’s foreign exchange reserves exceeded $3 trillion, Yuan added.

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The situation is very much like the ceiling of a roo

m in which airborne particulate matter is present. The lower the ceilin

g is, the higher the density of pollutants which then mix with the cleaner air.

With a low mixing layer, Taihang mountain range to the west and the Yanshan mountai

n range to the north serve as walls that form a semi-closed “room” in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster.

The high level of emissions is the major reason for air pollution in th

e greater Beijing area, and meteorological conditions also play a key role as an exte

rnal factor, said Xu Xiangde, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences.

Zhang Xiaoye, Xu’s colleague, said the “marked effect” of continuous pollutant accu

mulation on meteorological conditions could make overall pollution even worse.

“After the accumulation reaches a certain level, it will further wor

sen the meteorological conditions, which then will further affect air quality, causing explosive

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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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The most recent incident was Saturday in Jinjiang, Fujian

when the late Qing Dynasty residence of Wu Lu, the province’s last zhuangyuan (top scorer on imperial examinations), was damaged.

Fire this year also destroyed a bridge dating from four centuries ago in Nanping, Fuji

an, a Qing Dynasty residence in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and an office structure from the 1930s in Fuzhou, Jiangxi.

The operators of the sites hit by fire will be responsible for the dam

age, said the heritage administration. “Electrical faults and loose supervision over the use of fire

during renovation are the main reasons” for the damage, the administration’s statement said.

Though the fire at Notre Dame is under investigation, Frenc

h officials said they suspect its source might have been related to restoration work on the cathedral.

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Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consul

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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The bond pricing mechanism will be further improv

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.

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Abe to send envoy to Belt and Road ForumAbe will

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send his special envoy Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the rulin

g Liberal Democratic Party, to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

In a news conference held by the Japanese embassy in China on Monday, Takeshi Osuga, J

apanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Nikai will visit China from April 24 to 29 to attend the forum and give a speech.

In a previous conference at LDP’s headquarters in Tokyo, N

ikai said his party called for increased exchange between Japan and China.

As the Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono just ended a three-day visit to China, Osuga

said the visit was “very positive” and further strengthened bilateral ties between Beijing and Tokyo.

“In the fifth China-Japan High-level Economic Dialogue, China and J

apan achieved agreement to cooperate in such areas as energy conservation and environ

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