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Beijing's bid to move polluting firms watched warily in nearby regions

By David Stanway BEIJING (Reuters) - China's capital has ordered more than 50 companies to shut down this year in an effort to cut pollution but pushing factories out could raise objections in surrounding areas reluctant to host Beijing's polluters. Smog-shrouded Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei have become a front in a "war against pollution" declared by Premier Li Keqiang last month.

China angered by Britain's report on human rights, cancels talks

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) - China accused Britain on Tuesday of interfering in its domestic affairs after the British government criticized Beijing's human rights record. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Britain's annual human rights made "irresponsible remarks...about the Chinese political system, rudely slandering and criticizing China's human rights situation".

China angered by Britain's report on human rights, cancels talks

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) - China on Tuesday condemned Britain for interfering in its domestic affairs, in response to a human rights report, a day after the British government said Beijing had called off human rights talks. Britain listed China as "a country of concern" in its annual human rights report last week, saying it had observed increased curbs on freedom of expression, association and assembly in 2013. It also cited reports of "the forcible suppression of ethnic unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang."

China takes first step to steady economic growth

BEIJING (Reuters) - China acted for the first time this year to steady its stumbling economy by cutting taxes for small firms on Wednesday and announcing plans to speed up the construction of railway lines. The Chinese cabinet said after its weekly meeting that it will accelerate the construction of rail projects that have been approved, and increase the total length of lines being laid this year by 18 percent compared to 2013.

China's war on smog will be won or lost in polluted Hebei

By David Stanway BEIJING (Reuters) - China's war on pollution is only a few weeks old, but the battle lines are already being drawn between Beijing and Hebei, the province most synonymous with dirty air. A succession of Hebei officials used the annual session of parliament in Beijing this month to urge the central government to boost subsidies to help with job losses and other costs from mandated cuts in industrial production across the country. One local official said Hebei was taking on too much of the burden.

Economic 'honeymoon' between Germany and China fades

By Noah Barkin and Andreas Rinke BERLIN (Reuters) - As Xi Jinping prepares to make the first trip to Germany by a Chinese president in eight years, lofty goals to boost trade between the world's top exporters look hopelessly out of reach, and German firms are beginning to rethink their aggressive push into China.

China to move some facilities out of polluted capital to ease congestion

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to move some administrative, research and healthcare facilities out of its capital to a nearby city to ease the burden on Beijing, which is often wreathed in heavy smog and choked with traffic jams, state media reported on Thursday. The environment has emerged as one of Beijing's key priorities amid growing public disquiet about urban smog, dwindling and polluted water supplies and the widespread industrial contamination of farmland.

Beijing's overwhelmed Forbidden City to limit visitors

BEIJING (Reuters) - Forbidden City, the former imperial palace in the heart of Beijing, will begin limiting how many tourists it admits, amid worries that its popularity is damaging the site, state media said on Wednesday. The plans include not letting annual ticket holders visit during peak seasons, promoting afternoon visits at the height of the steamy summer in July and August, and selling tickets online during national holidays, the news agency Xinhua reported.

China's smog driving top foreign talent away: U.S. business survey

By Natalie Thomas BEIJING (Reuters) - China's smog is making it harder for foreign firms to convince top executives to work in the country, the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing said on Wednesday, offering some of the strongest evidence yet on how pollution is hurting recruitment. Some 48 percent of the 365 foreign companies that replied to the chamber's annual survey, which covers businesses in China's northern cities, said concerns over air quality were turning senior executives away.

Chinese insurer offers Beijing residents cover against smog

BEIJING (Reuters) - A state-owned Chinese insurer will offer residents of Beijing insurance cover against health risks caused by air pollution, promising to pay out 1,500 yuan ($240) to policy holders hospitalized by smog. The policy, available for 10-50 year olds, will also pay out 300 yuan ($48.56) when the city's official smog index exceeds 300 for five consecutive days, a level considered "hazardous", according to a notice posted on the People's Insurance Company of China (PICC) website (www.epicc.com.cn).
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