China calls on Philippines to ban all online gambling operations

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   1413

MANILA, Philippines – China expressed hope that the Philippine government would ban all online gambling operations following its move to suspend the issuance of new licenses for offshore gaming companies.

Based on an official transcript of a press conference held Tuesday (August 20), China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said it welcomes the Philippines’ suspension of new applications for online gambling licenses.

“We also note the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it. We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” Geng said. 

“We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Geng made the statement after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Monday announced a moratorium on applications for new Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) over several concerns.

The Chinese official also said that “online gambling is a most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said that based on China’s laws and regulations, any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal. 

“The casinos and offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and other forms of gambling entities in the Philippine target Chinese citizens as their primary customers. A large number of Chinese citizens have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry,” it said.

“In many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities do not apply necessary legal work permits for their Chinese employees. Some Chinese citizens are even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas,” it added.

Thousands of Chinese workers were earlier reported to be illegally working for more than 50 online gambling hubs in the Philippines.

Beijing earlier expressed grave concern over Pagcor’s move to transfer Chinese POGO workers to self-contained communities, saying this may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned.

It also appealed to Manila to pay attention to Beijing’s position and concerns and punish Philippine casinos and other forms of gambling entities that are illegally recruiting its citizens.

“The Chinese side also urges relevant departments of the Philippine Government to strengthen law enforcement cooperation with China to jointly combating gambling-related crimes such as money-laundering, illegal employment, kidnapping, extortion, torture, murder etc so as to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and to promote China-Philippine friendship and cooperation,” it added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier raised concern over the proximity of POGOs to military installations as these may be used for espionage.

Malacañang earlier said it sees nothing wrong with the location of POGO hubs near military installations and the creation of self-contained communities of foreign workers as long as it doesn’t violate the law.

READ: Malacañang: No risk in POGO hubs near military camps

However, the Palace would defer to the National Security Council to assess any risk being posed by the foreign operated online gaming operations.

China confirms 3rd death due to viral pneumonia

UNTV News   •   January 20, 2020

Beijing – A third person was confirmed dead Monday in China following new viral pneumonia similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which over the weekend saw 136 new cases, including two in Beijing and one in Shenzhen, authorities said.

Health authorities in Hubei province’s capital Wuhan – with a population of 11 million and where the outbreak is thought to have originated – said the third death occurred Saturday.

The source also said 36 of the 136 new coronavirus victims are in a serious or critical situation.

Among the newly infected, 70 are women and 66 are men, aged between 25 and 89, and all of them showed symptoms the same symptoms: fever and fatigue, dry cough and – in many cases – dyspnea (difficulty breathing).

According to Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, 198 people have been diagnosed so far, including the three dead.

Of the cases detected outside Wuhan – the first time that China has confirmed cases outside the city – both the Shenzhen patient and the two from Beijing said they had traveled to Wuhan recently.

So far, two cases have also been confirmed in Thailand and one in Japan. There was a further scare in South Korea, but no cases were confirmed in the country.

On the 14th, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that prevention measures had been implemented in hospitals worldwide following this new outbreak.

In addition, United States health authorities began Friday to impose controls on passengers arriving or connecting through Wuhan in airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

According to the WHO, Chinese laboratories have already sequenced the coronavirus genome and provided that data to the global health community to help diagnose possible cases outside their country.

The outbreak has caused panic in China as the situation is reminiscent of 2003, when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread across the country and caused a total of 646 deaths (813 worldwide), according to WHO figures.

According to the United Nations health agency, between 14 and 15 percent of SARS cases end in death, while in the case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a related disease also caused by a coronavirus, the mortality rate rises to 35 percent.

So far, there are only six types of this family of viruses known: four of them causing mild respiratory conditions similar to a cold, and the other two responsible for SARS and MERS. EFE-EPA

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China’s 2019 birth rate lowest in 70 years

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2020

Beijing – China in 2019 recorded its lowest gross birth rate since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, according to official data published on Friday.

In its annual report on the national economic situation, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the crude birth rate was 10.48 per thousand last year.

According to the data, a total of 14.65 million babies were born in 2019 in the country – 580,000 less than in 2018 – making it the lowest figure recorded since 1961.

Despite a rise in 2016 due to the end of the “one-child policy” introduced in 1979, the crude birth rate has fallen in the last two years.

During the presentation of the report, NBS Commissioner Ning Jizhe acknowledged the trend, although adding that “it is still a large number” and “the decrease is smaller than the previous two years.”

Ning revealed that 57 percent of the babies born in 2019 were second children.

“That has been going up for several years. So our policy is working,” Ning insisted.

However, the aim of the “two-child policy” was to keep the number of births around 20 million per year, more than the figure finally registered in 2019.

According to experts, the high living costs such as in education, and the changing career priorities of women are holding back couples who want to have their first child, as well as those who want to have a second.

The decline in births could pose a demographic problem for a country that is already faced with an aging population, which, together with the decline in the number of people of working age, may present long-term challenges for the world’s second-largest economy.

The more pessimistic of the experts have said that China might get old before it gets rich.

In 2019, the percentage of Chinese people aged 60 and over was 18.1, while those aged 65 and over accounted for 12.6 percent of the population.

In 2018, these demographic groups stood at 17.9 percent and 11.9 percent respectively.

“Last year the increase of population aged 60 and above was quite small compared with previous years,” Ning said.

However, he added that the Chinese government would have to cope with “structural changes in our population, particularly the aging population.”

According to the data published on Friday, China ended 2019 with a population of 1.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 4.67 million compared to 2018. EFE-EPA

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China confirms 2nd death from new coronavirus

UNTV News   •   January 17, 2020

Beijing – China has confirmed a second death due to a new type of coronavirus in Wuhan, health authorities said Friday.

A 69-year-old man, whose case was confirmed on Dec. 31 and whose condition worsened on Jan. 4, died at 12.45 am at Wuhan’s JinYinTan Hospital, announced the Municipal Health Commission of the city, which has 11 million inhabitants and is where the outbreak was detected in December.

The man suffered from inflammation of the heart muscle, kidney failure and damage to organs, the commission said.

Tests showed abnormalities in heart function as well as irregularities in the lungs.

So far, 41 cases in China have been confirmed, out of which 12 patients have been treated and discharged, five remain in a critical condition and 119 people are being monitored.

At least three cases of the pneumonia-like illness have been detected in neighboring countries: two in Thailand and another in Japan. South Korea also reported a suspicious case last week.

On Friday, Thailand’s public health ministry announced the second case in the country of a Chinese tourist just days after the first.

The unrelated cases are both women aged 74 and 61 travelling from Wuhan to Bangkok and who are now under medical care. The first woman detected with the illness earlier in the week has improved and shows no sign of fever, the ministry said, adding she will be released home once tests are clear.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday deployed a series of prevention measures in hospitals around the world to curb the risk of contagion of this new coronavirus.

Chinese laboratories have already sequenced the coronavirus genome and provided the data to the global health community to help diagnose possible cases outside the country, according to the WHO.

The outbreak has caused panic in China as the situation is reminiscent of 2003, when severe actute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread across the country and caused a total of 646 deaths (813 worldwide), according to WHO figures.

According to the United Nations health agency, between 14 and 15 percent of SARS cases end in death, while in the case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a related disease also caused by a coronavirus, the mortality rate rises to 35 percent.

So far, there are only six types of this family of viruses known: four of them causing mild respiratory conditions similar to a cold, and the other two responsible for SARS and MERS.

The symptoms described for Wuhan pneumonia so far are fever and fatigue, accompanied by a dry cough and, in many cases, shortness of breath. EFE-EPA

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