• China Prepares for Cold Waves and Blizzards with Targeted Measures: China has issued a guideline to prepare for prolonged cold temperatures, heavy rainfall, and blizzards as the Spring Festival holiday approaches. The guideline, issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, warns of adverse weather conditions in central and eastern regions, with potential record-high snowfalls causing disruptions to transportation, power supply, and daily life. Measures include enhancing monitoring and forecasting of weather changes, issuing timely warnings via media platforms, ensuring emergency and relief supplies, coordinating nationwide transport networks, boosting transport capacity, and conducting comprehensive inspections of essential infrastructure such as grids, telecommunications, and supply networks for oil, gas, water, and heating. Additionally, efforts will focus on securing ample supplies of essential goods. The Spring Festival holiday, from Feb. 10 to 17, coincides with the massive migration of people returning home, known as "chunyun," where hundreds of millions reunite with their families and friends.

  • Supreme Court Urges Practical and Dynamic Judiciary: From January 31st to February 1st, Zhang Jun, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and President of the Supreme People's Court, led a research team to Datong Court in Shanxi Province to assess the work of grassroots courts, provide support to officers in need, and gather feedback from frontline judges. The Xinrong District People's Court was specifically examined for its challenges and potential solutions. Zhang emphasized the importance of teamwork and implementation, urging court leaders to align their actions with Xi Jinping’s Thought on the Rule of Law. Discussions were held with local representatives and court officials to improve court operations and address shortcomings. Zhang outlined three key requirements: focusing on implementation, enhancing trial management, and prioritizing professional development and integrity. The team also visited and commended grassroots police officers and emphasised the significance of their role. Additionally, efforts to improve litigation management and promote legal functions in governance were discussed. Throughout the investigation, Zhang engaged with local party and legal officials to ensure effective collaboration and progress.

  • Xi Jinping visited grassroots cadres and the masses in Tianjin before the Spring Festival: Before the Spring Festival, General Secretary Xi Jinping conducted inspections in Tianjin, visiting and expressing sympathy with grassroots cadres and the general public. On February 1st morning, his first stop was Sixth Bu Village in Xinqing District, where he gathered information about the local agricultural recovery post last year's flood and interacted with the affected residents. Later in the afternoon, he went to Tianjin Ancient Culture Street to examine the holiday market's offerings and the preservation and utilization of historical and cultural streets.

  • HKMA: Evergrande Risk Controllable for Banking System: The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) reassured on Wednesday that the city's banking system has limited exposure to the indebted developer China Evergrande. Arthur Yuen Kwok-hang, HKMA's deputy chief executive, mentioned that banks have taken necessary measures to manage risks associated with highly leveraged mainland developers. Despite a recent court order for China Evergrande's winding-up, Yuen stated that Hong Kong banks maintain profitability and capability to handle provisioning costs, although they face credit challenges. According to HKMA, the banking sector's classified loan ratio increased to 1.61 percent by September 2023, with mainland-related lending showing a ratio of 2.68 percent. While Hong Kong banks witnessed a significant increase in pre-tax profits in 2023 and growth in total deposits, there was a decrease in loans within the banking system. Looking ahead, Paul McSheaffrey, a senior bank partner at KPMG Hong Kong, anticipates a challenging year for Hong Kong banks due to lower loan growth, a subdued financial market, and credit loss concerns stemming from mainland real estate issues. He emphasised the importance of focus on operational efficiency and risk management in preparation for future growth opportunities.

  • China's Employment Pressure Worsening Without Job Solutions: Workers in China are facing increased uncertainty and bleak prospects in the job market, with pay cuts and layoffs becoming commonplace. Feng Peixin, a Beijing-based headhunter, highlighted how job seekers are accepting stagnant or reduced salaries due to fears of job loss. The average monthly income in 38 major cities in China saw a 1.3% decline in the last quarter of the previous year, marking the largest quarterly decrease since 2016, as reported by Zhilian Zhaopin, an online recruitment platform. The private sector, which contributes over 60% to China's GDP and employs more than 80% of its urban workforce, primarily consisting of small and medium-sized enterprises, has been particularly affected. International instability has contributed to revenue declines and subsequent job cuts, particularly affecting companies reliant on US and European markets. The economic slowdown, compounded by challenges in the real estate sector, has led to downsizing across various industries, particularly in the private sector. As per information from Qichacha, a major corporate database operator in China, the quantity of recently founded companies providing human resources and headhunting services drastically dropped to 5,800 by the conclusion of the previous year. This figure is significantly lower compared to 41,200 in 2019 and 25,100 in 2020. Despite efforts to stabilize the job market using stimulus measures, analysts anticipate continued challenges in the coming months. The rise of gig work and flexible employment reflects the shifting landscape, with many graduates opting for transitional roles amidst the uncertain job market. Additionally, the influx of college graduates further compounds job market pressures. Despite a slight decrease in the youth unemployment rate, underlying issues persist, prompting some job seekers to explore opportunities abroad. Overseas job postings and applications have surged, particularly among highly educated individuals, indicating a growing trend of seeking employment beyond China's borders.

  • Hong Kong to Close Loophole for Part-Time Worker Benefits: Hong Kong is set to revise a labour regulation to provide greater protection for part-time workers, following a consensus reached by representatives of employers and employees. The current rule, known as the "418" regulation, requires part-time workers to work for the same employer for four consecutive weeks, with at least 18 hours each week, to qualify for benefits. The amendment will calculate total working hours over a four-week period, with a threshold set at 68 hours. This change aims to prevent employers from exploiting part-time workers and will enhance their rights and benefits. While unions welcome the move, some industry leaders express concerns about increased financial burdens, especially for less profitable businesses. Legislators expect the government to introduce the amendment bill this year, while urging additional measures to ensure fair treatment for part-time workers who may not meet the new requirements.


  • China Construction Worker Excited to Meet Global Star Lang Lang After Street Piano Performance: Construction worker and amateur pianist Yi Jianli from Shenzhen, China, expressed his desire to meet global piano superstar Lang Lang during rehearsals for CCTV's Spring Festival Gala. Lang Lang responded to Yi's wish with a heartfelt message on Weibo, expressing his admiration for Yi's passion for music. Yi gained popularity after a video of him playing piano on the streets of Shenzhen went viral, despite his initial nervousness about being judged for his occupation. The heartwarming story has touched many on social media, with people praising Yi's passion for life and eagerly anticipating his meeting with Lang Lang. The story has melted hearts on social media with people commenting as “Anyone can shine but you just have to dream about it”, while some felt it heart-touching.


  • Hong Kong is set to revise a labour regulation to provide greater protection for part-time workers, following a consensus reached by representatives of employers and employees. Part-time employment contracts are gaining popularity in India due to changing job market dynamics and employee preferences. Part-time employees enjoy the same rights as full-time employees, except their benefits are adjusted based on their hours worked. Fixed-term contracts for workers are allowed under the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, as long as they aren't used to evade offering permanent employment. Part-time employment is not explicitly addressed in Indian labor laws because historically, such roles have been predominant in the informal sector. This includes jobs like farm work, domestic help, and office assistants in small setups. The Minimum Wage Act, established in 1948, didn't anticipate part-time work, as it fixes wages based on an 8-hour workday, unlike the US and Europe where hourly wages are common. Due to this, paying proportionately for part-time work isn't legally permitted in India, to prevent exploitation by employers who might underpay workers. Rajasthan is the only state to have incorporated part-time employment into its Minimum Wage Rules, requiring payment equivalent to 4 hours' work for shifts of 4 hours or less.

Prepared By

Sejal Dalvi is a Political Science graduate from the University of Mumbai and now pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from St.Xavier’s College. Her research interests include International relations, Environment and sustainability and Urban governance. Her research papers have previously been published on NITI TANTRA. Her experiences, coupled with a genuine passion for research and addressing societal challenges, have solidified her commitment to policymaking.

CiCM 1st February 2024

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