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Beijing to Complete Microblog Real Name System by March

A spokesperson for the Beijing Internet Propaganda Management Office announced in a recent press conference that Beijing aims to complete mandatory real name registration for microblog platforms by March 16. The Office has also established a microblog development expert advisory group composed of experts from Tsinghua University, China University of Political Science and Law, the People's Daily Online's Public Opinion Testing Center, China Labs, and the Data Center of the China Internet (DCCI).

Chinese internet company Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) launched a real name verification function to its user registration form as of January 1, 2012. The new function compares user-submitted data, such as name and national ID card number, and if a user's information does not match comparison records the user can only browse existing posts. In order to be able to post content, users must resubmit correct information. To date, 3 mln new users have submitted real name information, and single day registration volume continues to grow. For existing users, Sina will offer additional functionality and privileges to users that submit real name credentials, implement a user trust ratings system, and this week will launch a verified real name ID badge. Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU) previously launched a promotional campaign, offering 20 mln Sohu Video monthly subscription cards and RMB 1 mln worth of mobile phone recharge cards to users who submit real name data early. Online real estate site Soufun (NYSE: SFUN) offered prizes, including free vacation housing in 13 popular tourist destination cities. Users who do not register by March 16 will lose their posting and reposting privileges.

Regarding user data security, a Sina spokesperson said that users will be notified by mobile phone or other channels if someone logs into their account from a different location. If any anomalies occur, users can lock their account from their mobile phone even if someone else is logged in. A spokesperson for Sohu said that Sohu does not store any user data after authenticating the user's identity.

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Chinese company launches trademark suit against Apple

SHENZHEN - A Shenzhen-based enterprise has accused technology giant Apple of infringing on its iPad trademark - a trademark over which both companies claim ownership.

The Pudong district court in Shanghai will hear the case on Feb 22, a lawyer for the Chinese company told China Daily on Monday.

A fine of 240 million yuan (S$47.4 million) against Apple over the infringement is also pending from the market administrative authority in Beijing.

"We are asking the court to order Apple to stop selling and marketing the iPad in China. We also demand an apology," said Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing the Chinese company.

The company, Proview Technology Shenzhen, also took two authorized Apple resellers for iPad - Gome Electrical Appliances and the Sundan Electronic Store - to courts in Guangdong province over similar infringements.

No financial compensation has been demanded by Proview Shenzhen at this stage of the trials.

Verdicts are pending.

Proview Shenzhen registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, nine years before Apple launched its iPad products in 2010, Xie said.

Proview Taiwan, a company associated with, but not legally representing, the Shenzhen company, sold the Chinese trademark - along with others for use in other countries - to the UK-based IP Application Development Limited for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000) in 2009, according to a report by Nanfang Daily.

The UK company then resold the brand to Apple for 10 pounds before Apple's launch of iPad in 2010, the report said.

Apple applied to transfer the trademark from Proview Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland in 2010, but the application was turned down by China's trademark administrative authorities, the report said.

Apple then sued Proview Shenzhen in 2011 to gain legal entitlement as exclusive user of the iPad name - but lost the lawsuit in a Guangdong court.

The higher court in Guangdong province accepted Apple's appeal.

The general office of the Xicheng district branch of Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce told China Daily it is "investigating the cases", but refused to verify or comment on the bill on Monday.

An insider who refused to be named told China Daily that law enforcement officials from other branches of the Beijing administration had listened to Xicheng's report on the case.

"But many of us hold different opinions on whether it is Apple breaching Proview Shenzhen's rights or Proview Shenzhen dishonestly demanding compensation. We didn't reach consensus on the fine as well."

The public relations office of Apple China did not respond to China Daily's interview request by press time on Monday.

Liu Yinliang, an associate law professor at Peking University, said if the trademark management authority had not approved such an intellectual property transfer, then the trademark deal had not yet become valid in China.

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Province mulls law on radioactive pollution control

LANZHOU - Northwest China's Gansu Province, home to the country's earliest nuclear base, plans to draft a new law on radioactive pollution control this year, the local government said Saturday.

Lawmakers in the landlocked province decided to draft the new law at the provincial legislature's annual session last month, Gansu's environmental protection department said in a press release.

The home to China's earliest nuclear test base, Gansu now has nearly 2,900 radioactive sources, more than 1,000 sets of radioactive facilities and a rapidly increasing exposure to electro-magnetic radiation.

"It is therefore essential to step up legislation and lay out stricter standards on the treatment of radioactive waste to prevent potentially hazardous pollution," the document said.

It is not immediately clear when the new law will be enacted.

The environmental protection department said it will take the opportunity to propose another set of regulations to ensure that the electro-magnetic radiation from mobile phones, towers and other equipment across the province are within prescribed limits.

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Chinese authorities reviewing Google, Motorola merger

Summary: Google¡¯s acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion is under review by the Chinese Commerce Ministry, a rejection considered unlikely.

A spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry has announced that they are presently reviewing Google¡¯s purchase of Motorola Mobility.

The merger is being assessed by the ministry¡¯s anti-monopoly bureau, according to spokesman Shen Danyang, as a standard part of its acquisition procedure.

The $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility has already been cleared by the European Commission, and the U.S Department of Justice. The Chinese Commerce Ministry is the next big hurdle for the merger.

Chinese law dictates that businesses that are run in China and produce a global annual revenue of $10 billion yuan ($1.55 billion), or 400 million yuan in China, are required to seek government approval for any acquisitions.

According to an inside source, the ministry has until March 20th to either approve the deal, or launch a third phase of review.

If the merger is approved successfully, Google will acquire Motorola¡¯s significant patent library, with around 17,000 issued patents and 7,500 patent applications.

There are concerns that China might block the merger, considering Google¡¯s history in the country. Google has no permanent base in China at the moment, after a high profile pull out of the country in 2010 over hacking allegations.

Google moved its search business to Hong Kong, but still has interests on the Chinese mainland. Android currently powers around 60 percent of China¡¯s smartphones, making a push back into China a very profitable option for Google.

As a result, there is a possibility that China could use the deal to try and gain leverage over the company in future transactions.

Edward Yu, chief executive of Analysys International, says that China is unlikely to veto the merger. ¡°I don¡¯t think there will be anything extreme, warm or cold, or retaliation,¡± he said.

He did, however, suggest that the review could open up a dialog between Google and Chinese Authorities about conditions for returning Google¡¯s business to the mainland.

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Legislators seek changes for migrants

Suggestions include more training for skilled jobs

BEIJING - More education and other public resources should be offered to the new generation of migrant workers to ensure their job security and ability to get by in cities, the country's legislators are suggesting.

"I've noticed that young migrants frequently change jobs, which is not good for themselves, or enterprises, or even the labor market," Yan Chengzhong, a National People's Congress deputy, said ahead of this year's sessions of the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which will begin in the first week of March.

A recent survey by Tsinghua University supports Yan's comment.

Sixty-six percent of migrant workers have changed jobs at least once, 25 percent in the past seven months, and they stay at a job on average no more than two years, the survey found.

China has around 240 million migrant workers, and 58 percent of them were born after 1980.

Yan, who is an economics professor at Donghua University in Shanghai, said most young migrant workers never farmed in the rural areas they came from, but left to find jobs in cities right after finishing their middle school or high school education.

Young migrants have high expectations, and most want to ultimately become urban residents. They ask for a better living and working environment than their parents have, according to Yan.

Yue Shaojie came to Beijing from North China's Hebei province in 2006 and works at a real estate agency.

Yue said he had at least five different jobs in the past five years, for example as a guard, street vendor, electrician and construction worker.

"I want better work that can pay more and provide more chance for me to develop myself," the 24-year-old said.

"Migrant workers are normally employed in construction and service industries that require little skill. They should be given more training to help them better adjust to the current labor market, where many companies are thirsty for skilled workers," Yan said.

About three-fourths of migrant workers have no training in skilled professions, according to a report in 2006 by a research institute under the State Council.

"That migrant workers lack training has not changed in recent years," said Zhang Quanshou, another NPC deputy who is also board chairman of a human resources company in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province.

"Skills determine migrant workers' income and mean stable employment for them. To be a migrant worker should not automatically mean being an unskilled laborer," he said.

Zhang said many vocational schools provide training that does not match companies' needs and many workers attend just to get a certificate.

"Vocational schools should collaborate with businesses to jointly train migrants to meet market demand," he suggested.

Wang Lingyi, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the government plans to increase education spending from 3.66 percent of the country's GDP in 2010 to 4 percent this year, and he suggests some of that money go toward skill training for migrant workers.

"Migrant workers should get more free or subsidized training led by the government. Training should be tailored to meet both employers' demand and the country's goal of upgrading industry," he said.

Wang said more public services should also be offered to migrants to help them better settle in cities.

Housing, pensions, healthcare and children's education are major concerns for migrant workers in cities, and they want to enjoy those public services just as urban residents do, he said.

"Those public services should be gradually opened to migrants. But the biggest problem is to break the restrictions brought by hukou (permanent residence permit)," said Wang.

In Beijing, people without local hukou are not allowed to buy apartments or to register cars unless they have paid personal income tax or paid into social security accounts in the city for five consecutive years.

Zhang Yi, a labor economics expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it would be possible for small and medium-sized cities to drop hukou restrictions for migrants, but it's not that easy for Beijing and Shanghai.

"Big cities are pondering how to limit their already big populations, but smaller cities ought to tailor their industrial development plans and hukou policies to attract migrants to help with the cities' development," he said.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in the 2011 government work report in March that the government would make efforts to transform migrants who have lived in cities for a certain amount of years into urban dwellers, according to each city's situation.

The State Council posted an announcement on its website on Thursday, saying that China would continue to reasonably limit population in big cities. But, it said, migrants who have been employed at a stable job for three years in county or lower level cities and towns, have a place to live (including rental apartment) and have paid into social security accounts for a certain period can apply for local hukou.

Legislative sessions open to press

BEIJING - The upcoming annual national political sessions launched a press center on Sunday.

The press center was established for the sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body. The two sessions will open on March 5 and March 3, respectively.

Located in the Media Center Hotel in downtown Beijing, the press center includes a press room, an interview room, an Internet interview room, a telecommunications room and a tea break room.

All registered journalists from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, and foreign journalists, will get access to the media center services, an official in charge of the press center said.

The official said that the staff members of the press center are ready, and they are currently preparing accreditation cards for journalists.

The press center will soon disseminate media contacts of different delegations.

The schedules of the sessions, information on press conferences and other activities will be available at for the NPC session, and for the CPPCC session.

Lehman, Lee & Xu is a top-tier Chinese law firm specializing in corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters. For further information on any issue discussed in this edition of China Law Digest , or for all other enquiries, please e-mail us at or visit our website at

© Lehman, Lee & Xu 2012.
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