Beijing’s population rose to 19.6 million in 2010, with a huge influx of migrants contributing to the growth, according to China Daily. One in three Beijing residents is a migrant – up from one in five a decade ago. Most of the capital’s 7.045 million migrants are said to work in the service industry now, rather than in manufacturing and construction.
An investigation by two NGOs into the conditions of Chinese workers has shown the human cost of producing the Apple iPhones and iPads now ubiquitous in the west, The Observer reported. The study includes allegations of excessive working hours and draconian workplace rules at Foxconn plants in Shenzhen and Chengdu, which produce the gadgets.
China’s demand for luxury cars has helped BMW to post record first-quarter profit figures, The Guardian said. Following Daimler reports of soaring Mercedes-Benz sales, BMW said its Chinese sales rose by 71.6% -- 58,700 vehicles -- in the three months ending March 31.
EU climate-action commissioner Connie Hedegaard said pressure from a growing middle class will encourage China’s leaders to push ahead with cleaning up the environment, Agence France-Presse reported. As people enter the middle class, she said, they increasingly “demand clean water and air their children can breathe”.
China’s energy consumption is expected to stabilise within 20 years if policy developments in environmental sustainability and energy efficiency are implemented, The Daily Californian said. In determining the eventual peak and flattening out of China’s energy levels, research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s China Energy Group takes into account the long-term impact of energy improvements and the strength of policy changes.
A court in Longyan City, Fujian province, has ordered China’s biggest gold miner, Zijin Mining Group, to pay a fine equivalent to US$4.6 million for toxic mine spills, according to the Associated Press. Zijin Mining reported a profit of 4.8 billion yuan (US$738.5 million) in 2010.
China is the fastest-growing investor in Latin America, accounting for 9% of the foreign investment total in the region, the BCC reported. A study by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) indicated that 90% of the country’s confirmed investment is centred on the extraction of natural resources.
In a signal that Taiwan is increasingly placing environmental concerns over economic growth, president Ma Ying-jeou said his government opposed construction of a massive petrochemical plant on the west coast that would have further threatened a rare pink dolphin population -- as well as air quality -- The Christian Science Monitor said.
China’s latest push to ban smoking in indoor public venues came into effect at the beginning of May, but the vaguely defined rules were not expected to dramatically reduce the country’s tobacco habit, according to the Associated Press. State media said the ban was likely to be ignored because it fails to specify punishments for violators.
Prepared in cooperation with PACE