First thing China, August 21

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 6:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2012, 3:06pm

Keywords: Outbound student enrollment, Q2 consumption figures, fugitive disguise options, heavy rains, Three Gorges Dam, state-owned enterprise salaries.

Inbound and outbound student figures continue to rise

Figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Education show that the number of Chinese studying abroad increased 23 per cent annually over the past three years to reach 1.42 million by the end of 2011, a year in which 186,000 students returned from overseas, an increase of nearly 50,000 compared to 2010. The figures also reveal that the number of foreign students in China surpassed 290,000 in 2011, a figure which has grown by just over 10 per cent in the past two years, and 118,800 of whom are currently enrolled as high school students.

Q2 debit card consumption figures released

The Beijing News reports today on second-quarter consumer data published by the mainland's central bank which put the per capita debit card purchase amount in Q2 at 3,618.73 yuan, and the average amount purchased during that time per card at 1,495.56 yuan. The central bank report noted that 3.225 billion debit cards were in circulation in Q2, up 20.6 per cent year-on-year.

Silicon masks too lifelike for comfort

The end to Zhou Kehua's killing spree has led to widespread concern about the availability online of lifelike masks which many fear are used by criminals to evade arrest. China's main online retail platform, Taobao, has responded saying it has no right to interfere with legal commerce activity, however a search for "human skin masks", as the masks are referred to in Chinese (人皮面具), returns unconvincing results.

Nearly full Three Gorges Dam signals flood warning

Heavy rainfall, Xinhua writes today, along the upper Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam region, has been pushing approximately 25,000 cubic metres of water per second into the dam for nearly a week. Authorities expect downpours to continue for another two days, and estimate that with the water level in the dam currently at a height of 146.7 metres out of its capacity of 181 metres, flooding in the area will begin sometime on Thursday this week. Outflow from the Three Gorges Dam is being kept at a rate of 30,000 cubic metres per second.

State-owned enterprise employee salaries revealed

The results of an investigation published last week by NetEase into the salaries of employees of 261 state-owned enterprises and listed subsidiaries place the average annual salary in 2011 of their employees at 102,965 yuan (US$ 16,188), 4.2 times higher than the average annual salary of those working in the private sector. Among those surveyed, employees of China Merchants Bank lead the way with an average annual salary of 447,357 yuan (US$ 70,336), or 37,279 yuan (US$ 5,861) per month.