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China home price inflation cools to eight-month low in March

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's home price inflation slowed to an eight-month low in March, extending to a third month a loss of momentum in a property market that has been a strong spot in the world's second-largest economy. Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 7.7 percent in March from a year earlier, easing from the previous month's 8.7 percent rise, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday.

Chinese Christians plea to stop church demolitions

Chinese Christians have asked the government to halt what they claim is an orchestrated campaign to demolish churches, a US-based religious rights group said. The China Aid Association said worshippers in the eastern province of Zhejiang had urged local authorities to stop dismantling crosses and churches on the grounds that they violate building codes. Thousands of worshippers flocked to the Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou city last week to protect it from demolition, the group said in a statement Wednesday.

China July month-on-month home prices slow for fourth month

By Xiaoyi Shao and Benjamin Kang Lim BEIJING (Reuters) - China's monthly property inflation moderated for a fourth straight month in July, although annual gains were the strongest this year, complicating policymakers' task of trying to cool the sector without stifling growth elsewhere. Real estate, which directly affects about 40 other business sectors in China, is considered to be one of the crucial drivers of activity in the world's second-largest economy.

China's Wenzhou city eases property rules in singular change

By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing BEIJING (Reuters) - The eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou has relaxed restrictions on property purchases to allow some people to buy second homes, the first in the country to ease controls, though analysts say other Chinese cities are not expected to follow suit. Wenzhou's policy shift comes as investors increasingly bet that China may soon loosen its near four-year-old property controls to shore up its economy, which is grinding towards its slowest annual growth in 23 years this year.

Chinese court sentences entrepreneur to death in latest crackdown on underground banking

BEIJING, China - A businesswoman in southern China has been sentenced to death in the government's latest crackdown on underground lending that is widely used by entrepreneurs. The Intermediate People's Court of Wenzhou, a centre for private sector business, says Lin Haiyan was convicted of "illegal fundraising" for collecting 640 million yuan ($101 million) from individual investors by promising high returns and low risk.

China ex-railways minister charged with graft

Prosecutors Wednesday charged China's former railways minister Liu Zhijun with bribery and abuse of power, state media said, after scandals involving hundreds of millions of yuan. The official Xinhua news agency said the charges were filed at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, which has "accepted the case and will set a trial date". Details of the charges were not immediately published. The court refused to comment to AFP.
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