SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine

Press review, if not selected: all SinOptic
  11-17.10.14, No. 545  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

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Foreign Policy

Eurasia stability needs close Sino-German ties (Global Times)
2014-10-13
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday concluded his second trip to Germany since taking office, the first leg of his ongoing European tour. During Chinese President Xi Jinping's State visit to Germany in March, Sino-German relations were upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and high-level dialogue mechanisms on diplomacy, security, finance and fiscal issues were either established or improved. In July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made her seventh visit to China. Such frequent and highly effective interactions between Chinese and German leaderships have attracted worldwide attention. Beijing and Berlin, as two important players in Asia and Europe respectively, will exert enormous influence upon the international community as they engage in intensive cooperation. Pragmatism is perhaps the biggest reason why Chinese and German leaders appreciate each other, and it is also what is most needed in the current world buffeted by turbulence, crises and leadership deficits. Bilateral trade between China and Germany reached $161.6 billion in 2013, equal to China's trade with the UK, France and Italy in all. More than half of EU exports to China are from Germany, as are 40 percent of technology transfers to China from the EU. […] China urgently needs Germany's advanced technologies and management expertise to upgrade its industrial level. The two sides expect to deepen cooperation in environmental technology, new energy, and husbandry. The collaboration in economy and trade, however, will not be without obstacles. The German public have criticized Merkel for years for her "courtship" of China for the sake of Germany's sluggish economy. Foreign media outlets also claim that the two nations are actually strange bedfellows despite the seemingly harmonious ties at the moment. But these judgments are misplaced. […] During the visit, Li and Merkel officially signed a framework agreement to accelerate the establishment of an innovative partnership. Innovation will not be confined to trade and technology; China is eager to learn advanced economic and social governance practices from Germany. Undoubtedly, innovation can also flow from East to West. Beijing is increasingly competitive in smart power grids, electric automobiles and other sectors. Xi once remarked, "I believe that when Made-in-Germany and Made-in-China could join hands in good faith to cooperate, what we make will not only be high-quality products but also the happiness and ideals of our two peoples." Both countries have decided to expand their strategic dialogue to the diplomatic and security fields in 2015. […] ^ top ^

China 'positive' on closer Japan ties, Tokyo official says (SCMP)
2014-10-14
The national legislature yesterday showed a positive stance towards resuming exchanges with Japan's parliament, despite prolonged soured relations between the two countries, according to a Japanese official. The willingness to resume dialogue was expressed during a meeting in Beijing between senior National People's Congress officials and a Japanese delegation led by Ichiro Aisawa, a lawmaker in Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party. Zhang Ping, the vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and Cao Weizhou, the deputy secretary general of the committee, did not say when exchanges might restart, Aisawa told reporters after the meeting. Aisawa, the head of the lower house steering committee, said he told Chinese officials Japan wanted to resume dialogue by the end of the year or by March at the latest. The Chinese officials said they also wanted to resume making contacts between the NPC and Japan's House of Representatives and were prepared to send a delegation to Tokyo at an appropriate time, according to Aisawa. Exchanges have been stalled since January 2012 as relations between Tokyo and Beijing have been damaged over a territorial dispute in the East China Sea and anger over Japan's alleged lack of atonement for its wartime past. Japan's parliament and the National People's Congress had organised a meeting almost once a year to discuss regional affairs since 2005. The delegation's visit comes as the two countries are exploring arranging the first official meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a regional summit in Beijing next month. ^ top ^

China, Russia sign deals on energy, high-speed railways (Xinhua)
2014-10-14
China and Russia on Monday inked a host of cooperation deals ranging from finance and investment to energy and high-speed railways. Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, witnessed the signing of the about 40 agreements after holding the 19th China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting. The documents, including governmental accords and business contracts, also cover trade, people-to-people exchanges, advanced technology, satellite navigation, currency swap and customs. A local currency swap deal worth 150 billion yuan (24.4 billion U.S. dollars) between the central banks of China and Russia was among the documents signed, according to a statement issued by the People's Bank of China. The three-year agreement, extendable on mutual consent, is expected to facilitate bilateral trade and direct investment between the two countries. The frequent meetings between the two countries' leaders fully indicate that the relations between China and Russia are strategic, stable and for the long run, Li said in the talks with Medvedev. Further strengthening bilateral cooperation, he added, will benefit both the two major emerging economies themselves and world peace and development at large. China stands ready to work with Russia to translate their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination into more fruits of practical cooperation, said the premier. China, he added, would like to enhance cooperation with Russia on major investment projects in such areas as mining, chemical industry, agriculture and infrastructure construction. On the trade front, China has been Russia's largest partner for the past four consecutive years. Two-way trade reached 89.2 billion dollars last year and plans are afoot to raise the volume to 100 billion dollars by 2015. China is also ready to advance the establishment of a Eurasian high-speed transport corridor linking Beijing and Moscow, Li said, adding that the current priority should be the high-speed railway between Moscow and Kazan. Regarding energy cooperation, the Chinese premier said Beijing will deepen cooperation with Moscow in nuclear power and energy in an integrated way that covers upstream, midstream and downstream industries. Since its establishment 65 years ago, the diplomatic relationship between the two neighboring giants has now reached an "all-time high point," with frequent high-level visits, surging trade and investment and an increasing number of large-scale projects. Li also encouraged the two sides to further enhance people-to-people exchanges and jointly mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year. For his part, Medvedev said Russia is willing to promote two-way large-scale investment and advance cooperation with China in areas including transportation infrastructure and aviation. Russia and China are close friends and partners, he said. A joint communique issued after the pair's meeting said the two countries agree to open their markets wider to each other and stand against trade protectionism. In the document, China and Russia pledge to continue to firmly support each other on issues concerning their core interests, and call for reform of the international economic and financial system to meet the needs of the real economy. They will also expand cooperation in such areas as civil aviation, aircraft manufacturing and peaceful use of nuclear power, said the communique. ^ top ^

Chinese premier calls for joint efforts with Russia to expand cooperation (Xinhua)
2014-10-15
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met Russian President Vladimir Putin here on Tuesday, calling for joint efforts from both sides to expand bilateral cooperation. Li conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping's best regards to Putin, saying that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has continuously made new progresses. China and Russia always respect each other, treat each other equally, respect each other on the development path they have chosen in accordance with their own national conditions and support each other on issues regarding their core interests and major concerns, Li said. China and Russia have held 19 prime ministers' regular meetings, testifying to the long-term stability of the bilateral ties, Li said. The just-concluded meeting yielded fruitful results and will significantly promote and deepen China-Russia pragmatic cooperation, he added. As each other's biggest neighbor, China and Russia are highly complementary and have a broad prospect for cooperation, Li said. He called on the two sides to work together to further expand the size of their two-way trade and investment, promote bilateral cooperation in such fields as energy, finance and high-speed railway, to bring benefits to the two peoples, which is also conducive to global peace and stability and regional prosperity and development. For his part, Putin asked Li to convey his best regards to President Xi, saying he is happy to see the fast development of China-Russia relations. Despite a gloomy global economy, the trade volume between Russia and China grew fast last year, nearing the target of 100 billion U.S. dollars set for 2015, said Putin. The two sides endorsed a lot of cooperative documents during the just-concluded meeting between the two prime ministers, said the Russian president, expecting Li's visit to inject new impetus into the bilateral cooperation across the board. ^ top ^

China demands Japan break from militarism (Xinhua)
2014-10-15
China urged Japan to make a clean break from militarism to ensure the healthy development of bilateral ties as Japanese politicians plan to visit the Yasukuni Shrine this week. Japan's newly appointed Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi and a cross-party group of national lawmakers plan to go to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 convicted Class-A Japanese war criminals from World War II, during an autumn festival that begins Friday. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei reiterated that only if Japan faces up to and reflects on its aggression history and makes a clean break from militarism can China-Japan relations achieve healthy and stable development. "We urge Japan to honor its commitments on historical issues, properly deal with relevant issues and gain trust from Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions," Hong said. Japan apologized for the nation's wartime atrocities in 1995 in the "Murayama Statement," made by then-Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. The Kono Statement, an official apology made in 1993 by then-chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono, acknowledged that Japan recruited more than 200,000 young women from China, Korea and Southeast Asia and forced them to serve in military brothels during WWII. Repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have sparked anger from Japan's neighboring countries, including China and the Republic of Korea, which suffered from Japan's aggression and wartime atrocities. ^ top ^

China appeals for creativity in Iran nuke talks (Xinhua)
2014-10-15
China expects parties involved in Iranian nuclear talks to seek opportunities and show creativity in seeking solutions, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday. "China expects all parties to work closely, seek current opportunities, show creativity and seek a package of solutions that takes all parties' concerns into consideration," spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing on Wednesday. Hong's comments came days ahead of a new round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany -- to start in Vienna on Thursday. Hong said Wang Qun, head of the arms control department of the Foreign Ministry, will head the Chinese delegation to the talks. "Despite difficulties and obstacles, the negotiations have achieved much progress," Hong said. As the deadline of Nov. 24 draws close, Hong said he expected the negotiations to produce a comprehensive deal as scheduled. An interim deal, which took effect on Jan. 20, was designed to buy time for negotiations. Under the deal, Iran suspended sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanction relief. In July, Iran and the six major countries agreed to extend negotiations over its disputed nuclear program for another four months till Nov. 24, as they were unable to narrow down significant gaps on core issues over the previous six months. The six world powers are working with Iran to find a comprehensive deal to put an end to Tehran's longstanding controversial nuclear program. ^ top ^

China, Italy vow to enhance security, legal cooperation (Xinhua)
2014-10-16
China and Italy on Wednesday vowed to strengthen cooperation in a host of areas including security and law enforcement to further cement bilateral relations. The two countries made the pledges in a joint declaration issued during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Italy. The two nations stand ready to boost cooperation in such areas as justice, law enforcement, security, rule of law and the fight against transnational crimes and terrorism on the basis of respect for the differences in their social and legal systems, says the declaration. The document says that the two countries have also agreed to deepen cooperation on science and technology innovation in a bid to realize mutual benefits and win-win results. China and Italy have reached consensus on strengthening cooperation in five prioritized areas, ranging from energy conservation and environmental protection, to food security and aviation and space, says the document. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, and their relations have reached a key stage that links the past and the future. The two countries, as heirs to Occidental and Oriental great civilizations respectively, have also vowed to strengthen their cultural cooperation. "We will further promote the teaching of Chinese language in Italy and the Italian language in China, and increase the number of students studying in each other's countries on the basis of reciprocity and mutual respect for the laws and regulations," reads the declaration. The sides also announced simplified visa procedures and decided to cooperate on the Milan World Expo in 2015. Italy is the last leg of Li's ongoing three-nation Europe tour, which has also taken him to Germany and Russia. ^ top ^

China, EU vow to speed up investment treaty talks (Xinhua)
2014-10-16
Leaders of China and the European Union (EU) agreed Wednesday to put their investment treaty negotiation on a faster track so as to further cement bilateral economic ties. The pledge was made when visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met here with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Li is in Italy for an official visit, and will attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting summit to be held in the Italian city of Milan on Thursday and Friday. China, Li noted, attaches great importance to its relations with the EU, which is China's largest trade partner. "We are each other's opportunities for development," he added. The two sides should implement the China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization, Li said. They should also strengthen their all-round cooperation in such areas as economic and trade, energy, urbanization, interconnectivity, finance, science and technology, and people-to-people exchanges, he said. The Chinese leader also expressed his hope that the two sides can respect each other, treat each other as equals, and address frictions and differences in a proper way through dialogues and negotiations, so as to ensure the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations. "The prosperity of Europe benefits the development of the world," Li stressed. The European integration process is accelerating and the euro, as a major international currency, stays stable, which will play a positive role in promoting world multi-polarization and the diversification of international reserve currencies, he said. Meanwhile, Li said China appreciates the contribution the two European leaders have made during their mandates. Taking the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties next year as an opportunity, China is willing to work with the EU to explore new prospects in the development of bilateral ties, Li pledged. The premier also urged China and the EU to enhance communication and coordination in international and regional issues to jointly promote global peace and development. On their parts, Van Rompuy and Barroso expressed appreciation toward China's faith in and support for Europe and the euro, saying the EU will continue to uphold unswervingly a friendly policy toward China. They pledged that the bloc will maintain close dialogues and cooperation with China to implement the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, which was adopted by the two sides last year at the 16th China-EU Summit held in Beijing, properly handle trade frictions, and sign with China the investment treaty at an early date to create a better environment for Chinese investors. The EU stands ready to join hands with China to promote cooperation between European and Asian countries to concertedly address global challenges, the two EU leaders said. They also voiced the hope that the 17th EU-China Summit can be held soon. Italy is the last stop of Li's three-nation tour, which has taken him to Germany and Russia. ^ top ^

Xinhua Insight: China contributes greatly to global food security (Xinhua)
2014-10-16
As the most populous country in the world, China has successfully delivered millions of people from hunger and is helping other countries achieve food security. In a latest move to this end, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced on Wednesday that China will donate 50 million U.S. dollars to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in the coming five years. On the eve of World Food Day, Li made the remarks in Rome in a speech at the headquarters of the FAO, the first intergovernmental organization the premier has visited among all UN agencies since he took office. As the biggest developing country, China will always be an active force in maintaining food security and ready to work with other countries to create a hunger-free and poverty-free world with sustained development, said Li. "I trust this visit will mark and unveil a new chapter for the FAO and China collaboration in the noble fight against hunger at national, regional and global levels," said Percy Misika, the FAO's representative in China.[...] Chinese people, including President Xi Jinping and the premier himself, suffered a long period of undernourishment several decades ago. Sweeping rural reform ended communal farming in 1978 and the "household contract responsibility system" came in its place. Urban land is owned by the state and rural land is under collective ownership. Under the system, rights to the majority of collectively-owned farmland were split and allocated to farmers. Grain production has picked up since then. China saw a bumper harvest for the 10th consecutive year in 2013 and summer grain output hit a record high of 136.6 million tonnes in 2014. According to FAO data, grain production in China has increased by 1.04 tonnes per hectare in the past decade. The country has used 9 percent of global arable land and 6.5 percent of fresh water resources to produce one-fourth of the world's grain and fed nearly one-fifth of the world's population. [...] "China is a major contributor rather than being a threat to global food security," stressed Misika. [...] Although the country has set a red line that its cultivated land area should not fall below 120 million hectares, pressure on arable land protection is still great, mainly due to rapid urbanization. In Misika's view, the high level of food waste, especially table food waste, could pose a threat to China's sustained food security if not addressed soon. The environmental sustainability of the food production and consumption system is another challenge to the food security of future generations, warned the FAO representative. [...] ^ top ^

Taiwan considers permanent armed ships to patrol disputed Spratly island (SCMP)
2014-10-16
Taiwan is considering stationing armed vessels permanently on a disputed South China Sea island, officials said, a move bound to renew friction in a region claimed almost wholly by Beijing, with Vietnam already dismissing such a plan as “illegal”. The potentially energy-rich Spratly Islands are one of the main flashpoints in the South China Sea, with claims also from Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei, and are closely watched by the United States after China placed a giant oil rig in nearby waters also claimed by Vietnam. Itu Aba, also known as Tai Ping, is the only island in the Spratlys large enough to accommodate a port – currently under construction. Taiwan had previously said the port, expected to be completed late next year, would allow 3,000-tonne naval frigates and coastguard cutters to dock there. Officials at Taiwan's Coast Guard, which administers Itu Aba, and Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence, which stations troops there, said the port could become the permanent home of armed vessels. “We are discussing this possibility,” said Chen Yeong-kang, chief of Taiwan's navy, acknowledging that “it is a very sensitive issue”. Shih Yi-che, head of communications at Taiwan's Coast Guard, said: “The purpose of this action would be to promulgate the Republic of China's sovereignty and power in defending our territory around Tai Ping Island.” Rivals China and Taiwan share claims to virtually the entire South China Sea, a legacy of the Chinese civil war when the Communists split from the Nationalists and took control of the Chinese mainland in 1949. […] Experts believe China prefers Itu Aba to remain under Taiwan's control rather than fall into the hands of other rivals, given its ultimate goal of reunification. […] Itu Aba is Taiwan's only holding in the disputed region, but it boasts the larger of two landing strips in the archipelago and is the only island with its own fresh water supply, making a long-term presence possible. “It reinforces the trend of increased paramilitary activity across the South China Sea,” Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore's Institute of South East Asian Studies, said of Taiwan's plan. “I would fully expect we'll see Vietnam make some kind of pro-forma protest, followed by the Philippines.” […] Taiwan has not taken sides with China in the South China Sea, despite the historical ties, given the political mistrust between them – and because of its need to maintain good relations with its biggest ally and arms supplier, the United States, a vocal critic of Beijing's policies in the disputed waters. A senior commander in the Philippine navy said Taiwan's plan would lead to increased military activity in the Spratlys and that it could raise the possibility of “incidents”, while a spokesman for Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called any such move “illegal and groundless”. Malaysia has five permanent stations in the Spratlys and there is always at least one navy ship at a station, a navy spokesman said. ^ top ^

PLA Navy chief visited Paracels, Taiwan's intelligence boss says (SCMP)
2014-10-17
PLA Navy chief Wu Shengli spent a week inspecting Beijing's construction projects on disputed islands in the South China Seas and oversaw a naval drill last month, Taiwan's intelligence boss has said. An extended visit by a top-ranking defence chief to the area would be rare and was interpreted in Taiwan as further evidence of Beijing's determination to bolster its hold over the potentially energy-rich waters. Wu made the visit to the Paracel Islands towards the end of the month, Lee Hsiang-chou, the director-general of the island's National Security Bureau, told the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday, the United Daily News reported yesterday. Beijing has seven construction projects in the chain, with five being approved during the administration of President Xi Jinping. Wu inspected each of them, Lee said. "The goal of [the reclamation effort] is to turn islets into ramparts and islands into battlefields," Lee told the Yuan, the News reported. He said Wu observed a joint drill by the navy and air force off Fiery Cross Reef, known as Yongshu in Chinese, and which the Philippines also claims. "All the moves indicated [the mainland] has an overall strategic plan to claim sovereignty in the South China Sea," Lee was quoted as saying. China, Taipei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia claim sovereignty over all or part of the Spratly Islands. Tensions have risen in recent years as Beijing has pushed ahead with construction projects and sent oil rigs to search for natural gas. Taiwan has a military presence on Taiping Island, the largest in the chain, but military analysts said Beijing's efforts were unlikely to have an impact on Taipei's deployment. "Beijing's reclamation projects in the South China Sea have never targeted Taiwan, but are a long-term diplomatic and legal strategy to win legitimacy for the proclamation of sovereignty in the international community," said Lin Chong-pin, a former deputy defence minister of Taiwan. Wu Shih-wen, a former defence minister who patrolled the waters for two decades from the 1960s, said the military presence on Taiping was advantageous for the PLA. "Taiping is far from mainland China, and Taiwanese naval forces have … prevented the island from being grabbed by Vietnam and other countries since 1945," he said. Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong said the reclamation projects could be used by Beijing to establish an air-defence identification zone in the area. ^ top ^

Chinese firm sends Ebola drug to Africa (Global Times)
2014-10-17
A Chinese drug maker has sent several thousand doses of an experimental Ebola drug to Africa, which analysts say shows China's continuing efforts to combat the outbreak of the deadly disease. The Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group has supplied several thousand doses of its drug JK-05 to countries in the region, the company's Chief Operating Officer Jia Zhongxin told Reuters on Thursday. JK-05 has not been used on humans, although Sihuan says it has proved effective during tests on mice. "Right now we're formulating a plan for clinical trials, and don't rule out the possibility of using African patients," Huo Caixia, Sihuan's assistant general manager, was quoted by Reuters as saying. The drug was initially developed by the Academy of Military Medical Science (AMMS). Sihuan said it obtained approval from the military for mass production in August, and has just received merchandising rights from AMMS to bring the drugs to market in the future, reported the Financial Times. The drug maker, China's self-proclaimed third-largest prescription drug firm, could not be reached for comment as of press time. China has sent around 200 aid workers to Africa to provide help with the Ebola outbreak and has promised to grant more than $35 million in medical aid to the worst affected countries including Sierra Leone and Liberia. So far no Chinese nationals have been infected.[...] "It is still too early to evaluate on the effectiveness of the drug until it is tested on humans in large scale trials," Zhong Hongyue, a pharmaceutical analyst at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, told the Global Times. Song Ruilin, executive president of the China Pharmaceutical Industry Research and Development Association, said drug makers worldwide have been racing to find a cure, and that China too has shown an active interest in this cause. "China's pharmaceutical research and development is the strongest among the world's developing countries and is catching up with the West," Song told the Global Times, citing the Sichuan-based Kanghong Pharmaceutical's success in developing a drug for age-related macular degeneration for which it has received domestic and international recognition. "If this Chinese company's medicine proves effective, it would be an immense contribution to the international medical community," he said. Separately, China on Thursday pledged at least 100 million yuan's ($16 million) worth of additional aid to help West Africa fight the deadly Ebola outbreak, Xinhua reported. ^ top ^

China calls for concerted Asian-European efforts to boost security, connectivity (Xinhua)
2014-10-17
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called on Asian and European countries to safeguard peace and security and boost inter-connectivity so as to promote development of the world's largest landmass. Speaking at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit here, he noted that since the establishment of the ASEM 18 years ago, its members have been deepening political dialogue and broadening cooperation, which has led to the emergence of a Eurasian community of shared destiny. China stands ready to work with other Asian and European countries to foster the awareness of a Eurasian community and promote unity and coordination of the two continents, he said. He suggested that nations in the region stick to the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and shared destiny, and work together to construct a new type of Asia-Europe comprehensive partnership dedicated to peace and development. In a three-point proposal, Li first urged Asian and European countries to jointly safeguard regional peace, security and development. They should further consolidate unity, continue with their participation in and support for multi-polarization and multilateral cooperation, and properly address conflicts and disputes through political and peaceful means, he said. In his second point, Li proposed that Asia-Europe inter-connectivity should be improved and trade and investment further liberated, so as to accelerate the establishment of a Eurasian single market. China is willing to work with regional countries to build a inter-connected Eurasian infrastructure network, he said, proposing to resume the ASEM Economic Ministers' Meeting mechanism and set up an Eurasian center for sci-tech innovation cooperation. Third, he called for joint efforts to promote people-to-people exchanges and social development. All parties involved should support multi-channel and multi-level exchanges and strengthen experience-sharing in areas including urbanization and public health, he said, suggesting that disability affairs be included in the Asia-Europe cooperation framework. Meanwhile, Li reiterated China's unswerving adherence to peaceful development and good-neighborly friendly policies, saying that China is willing to share with Asian neighbors the benefits of its economic development and the responsibility of maintaining regional security and stability. The premier also announced that China will provide at least 100 million yuan's (16 million U.S. dollars) worth of additional aid to help West Africa fight the deadly Ebola outbreak. He said the Chinese government stands ready to fight Ebola, which poses a grave threat to global public health, along with the international community till victory. Prior to the latest assistance, China has offered the embattled Africa a total of 234 million yuan (38 million U.S. dollars) in aid to battle the rampant disease since April. The ongoing ASEM summit, themed "Responsible Partnership for Sustainable Growth and Security" and attended by leaders from 53 countries, adopted Croatia and Kazakhstan as new members. The Chinese premier is paying an official visit to Italy, the last stop of his ongoing three-nation tour, which has taken him to Germany and Russia. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

View publishing ban within context (Global Times)
2014-10-13
Several verified Weibo accounts exposed claims during the weekend that the media regulator has released an internal notice demanding books authored by Yu Yingshi and Jiubadao (penname of Ke Jingteng) to be taken off the shelves. In addition, material by Ye Fu (penname of Zheng Shiping), Mao Yushi, Zhang Qianfan, Liang Wendao and Xu Zhiyuan will not be published. The incident was compared to "burning books and burying Confucian scholars alive" during the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC). As of press time, the allegation could not be confirmed and no response came from the authorities. But many believe the news has some basis in truth. The future prospect for publication of books by people on the list is grim. The prediction is based on the fact that some on the list are foreign nationals but active in Chinese politics, including openly supporting Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement or "Taiwan independence." Some are Chinese mainland scholars but are opposed to the country's political system. If these people are subject to some limit from authority, the signal is not unusual to Chinese society. We cannot provide information to verify the claims, but we can analyze the logic between the speculation and China's political reality. First of all, China's publishing field is more open. Controversial figures also take up certain publishing space. While handling a sensitive part of ideological content, these people need to navigate carefully. Honestly speaking, in China it takes more than enthusiasm, but also wisdom and sincerity to be engaged in politics. China's reform needs new thinking and driving forces, meanwhile, society keeps vigilant on the formation or invasion of forces that may have subversive power. If one has positioned himself at odds to the country's mainstream political path, he shouldn't expect his influence to keep on rising without disruption. If these advocators of political dissident culture define themselves as reformers, they should take responsibility for maintaining mainstream politics, not jeopardizing the country's solidarity. If they insist on prioritizing opposing political ideas, they must prepare for pushback from society, which will be unpleasant in most cases. The consequence for their choice is easy to foresee. "Burning books and burying Confucian scholars alive" will not be repeated today, but zones of sensitivity still exist. They are part of China's reality, which is reserved for securing the country's stable progress. One can't be naïvely idealistic in sensitive zones. The authorities are also accumulating experience in dealing with politically dissenting authors. It has happened before that books banned by the regulator became bestsellers. On some occasions, the ban only reflects a certain attitude of authority. In any country, if one seeks confrontation with the mainstream system and expects unimpeded influence, it will become an unrealistic request. ^ top ^

China Voice: CPC strives for higher goal on rule of law (Xinhua)
2014-10-13
A key Chinese political meeting to be held in late October will take "rule of law" as its central theme, showing the Communist Party of China's (CPC) striving for a complete legal system. The fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, slated for Oct. 20-23, will be a milestone in the Chinese history of running state affairs under the rule of law. This being the first time that a plenary session of the CPC Central Committee has taken rule of law as its key topic, it will see the CPC enrich socialist legal theories and come out with concrete measures. Efforts will be made in promoting the rule of law, governing by law and administration by law, so as to ensure scientific legislation, strict enforcement, judicial justice and promote modern governance. In 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee established the reform and opening-up policy and called for an improved socialist legal system, laying the foundation stone for rule of law. After nearly 20 years of economic and social development, the CPC wrote "to build a socialist country under the rule of law" into its national report and regarded it as a fundamental strategy for governing the nation. Last year, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee further updated its legal practice and reiterated "to rule, be in power and administrate state affairs according to law." The upcoming fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee will involve further study on "rule of law" and see concrete management measures stipulated. As its society and economy have developed, China has entered a stage in which it badly needs deepened reform. The fact that the overhaul will touch the vital part of the present interest chain means that rule of law is required more than ever. Last year, the CPC leadership launched the "mass-line" campaign to clean up undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. In accordance with laws, a large number of Party members and officials have been implicated with many punished through means including dismissal, demotion or faced judicial examination since the campaign was launched. In order to build a complete legal system, the campaign still needs more efforts in efficient enforcement and close supervision. The CPC should also effectively improve law enforcement in government administration to ensure that laws are enforced in a standard, fair and civil manner. Stricter supervision should be imposed on law enforcers in order to avoid power abuse, and those who ignore legal restraint should be punished. ^ top ^

Xinhua Insight: Who are the winners of China's anti-corruption drive? (Xinhua)
2014-10-14
There is no doubt that corrupt "tigers and flies," cadres from the top to bottom ranks, are the losers in China's anti-corruption drive. But who are the winners? Since President Xi Jinping assumed office, he has regarded anti-corruption as an issue that affects the Party's and country's survival. The core of the anti-corruption struggle is to always maintain the Party's close relationship with the people and avoid being isolated from them, he said. Now after more than 22 months since late 2012, the campaign is still going strong and likely to continue. […] Xi said the campaign has reaffirmed the CPC's resolve to consolidate the trust of the masses, improving the Party's ability to run the country. But the importance of the campaign is more than just its role in saving and strengthening the CPC. It is also about reversing unhealthy trends in society, such as the prevalence of unspoken rules and a gift-giving culture. Officials have been freed from endless social activities, and ordinary people are finding it easier to get their children into schools without paying bribes to officials. Those who have suffered under the corruption culture have been emboldened to fight against it. Xinhua reported earlier this month that restaurant owners in several places have demanded local governments pay their debts, which accumulated in the form of IOUs and at the cost of taxpayers. Even the hairy crab, a high-end delicacy mainly enjoyed by government officials, saw its first price cut in 12 years in September and can now be easily bought by ordinary people. Yang Weilong, president of a local hairy crab industry association at Yangchenghu Lake in Jiangsu Province, acknowledged that the price cut was connected to the ongoing anti-corruption drive, according to media reports. In addition, the anti-graft drive is making it easier to do business in China. Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, said that the campaign is leveling the business playing field. Joerg's comments reflect the fact that corruption in China is related to officials' unchecked power in setting commodity prices, project approvals and monopoly investigations. Without offering bribes, it is sometimes difficult to get projects approved, and such power mainly rests in various administrative approval items. So it is no exaggeration to say that anti-corruption helps push forward Premier Li Keqiang's promise to streamline administration, delegate power to lower levels and slash administrative approval items. Zheng Yongnian, a China studies expert with National University of Singapore, said that the anti-corruption drive is more than just netting "tigers and flies," but is also about giving reform opportunities to clean and honest officials. "Rooting out corrupt officials and pushing forward reform measures are the ultimate purpose of the campaign," said Zheng. Xin Ming, the professor with the party school, said that the campaign can help China avoid the "middle-income trap," a state of malaise featuring a widening income gap that afflicts many developing countries. "A market economy should not be a corrupt economy, and China's economic growth is not achieved through opportunities created by corruption," said Xin, adding that the overall economy would be better without corruption. ^ top ^

China Voice: "Mass line" campaign another Long March for CPC (Xinhua)
2014-10-14
In October 1934, a force of the Red Army led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) kicked off a two-year arduous march from China's south to Yan'an in the northwest. The military expedition of over 12,500 km-long journey allowed the spark of communism in China survive the civil war, and as time went by it regained vigor, leading to the founding of the People's Republic. Eighty years have passed but the spirit of the "Long March" still encourages the CPC to overcome difficulties and make new achievements in its work. It also inspired other campaigns that kept the Party's integrity and nature at the levels they were at during the Long March. The 80th anniversary of the Long March coincided with the end of a CPC's campaign called "mass line" in this October. It refers to a guideline under which CPC officials and members are required to prioritize the interests of the people and exercise power on their behalf. Based on arrangements made at the 18th National Congress of the CPC in November 2012, the Party has tried to clean up undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance, promoting closer ties between Party members and the people. Mao Zedong once said the Long March was a manifesto, a publicity team and a seeding machine. The change brought about by the mass line campaign among the Party's more than 86 million members has been no less than that of the Long March. The Party suffered major defeat in 1934. However, the Red Army did not die out, but instead built its spirit during the Long March. Before the "mass line" campaign, an unhealthy political culture pervaded in China. Corruption and decadence in the morals of officials resulted in increasing social complaints. The campaign has, as the Party said, righted Party members' ideologies and thoughts, curbing their privilege consciousness and reiterating the communist party's fundamental purpose -- serving the people. The campaign also addressed many practical problems, such as waste in catering, public vehicles and travel, as well as excessive meetings and paper work. Over 70,000 officials were punished for violating policies for thrift. Through the campaign, the state made a series of systems to regulate public spending, officials' lifestyles and many other aspects to solidify the results after the campaign ended. It is also a clean-up of intra-Party relations. Party members were required to make face-to-face criticism to others and themselves, discussing shortcomings and problems so that they can address issues and enhance comradeship. "Only by integrating with the people and providing benefits for the people can the Party remain constantly invincible. Only by preparing for danger in safe times and making progress with bravery can the Party keep ahead of the times," Xi Jinping, general secretary of CPC Central Committee, said at the beginning of the campaign. Like the Long March, the mass line campaign has strengthened the Party's ability in overcoming difficulties, and thus renewed the Party to make further contributions to the people and the Chinese nation. ^ top ^

Beijing names new party chief for Yunnan (SCMP)
2014-10-15
Beijing has announced a reshuffle at the top of the Yunnan hierarchy amid graft investigations into the activities of several serving and former senior officials in the province. State media reported yesterday that provincial Communist Party boss Qin Guangrong would be replaced by governor Li Jiheng, without specifying Qin's new job. Qin, born in 1950, is barely a year off the official retirement age for his rank, and speculation was rife yesterday that he could become deputy head of the party's Working Committee of Organs Directly Under the State Council, based in Beijing. At the same time, Chen Hao, 60, a deputy chairman and party chief of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, had been appointed Yunnan's deputy party chief, the China News Service reported, paving the way for him to take over as governor. Qin's predecessor, Bai Enpei, left Yunnan for a post in Beijing in 2011 before he came under investigation from the party watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, in late August. Bai was a vice-chairman of the national legislature's environment and resource protection panel until his detention. Sources said that Bai and a number of senior party cadres, including sacked Hainan executive deputy governor Tan Li, were implicated in the case of Liu Han, a gangster Sichuan mining tycoon who was sentenced to death for a string of convictions, including murder. The South China Morning Post reported previously that to maintain his relationship with other senior officials in Yunnan, Liu often carried tens of thousands of yuan to mahjong games at an official's home and most often went home empty-handed. Qin began his career in Hunan before being posted to Yunnan in 1999. He became governor in 2007, with Bai his immediate superior. He also worked with sacked Yunnan deputy governor Shen Peiping and Zhang Tianxin, Kunming's sacked party chief. ^ top ^

82 million still under poverty line in China (Global Times)
2014-10-15
At least 82 million people in China are still suffering from poverty, despite the country being the second-largest economy in the world, the country's poverty alleviation task force announced Tuesday. Zheng Wenkai, vice-minister of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, told a press conference in Beijing that poverty is still a salient problem in China. "Up to the end of 2013, demographically, 82.49 million people are still trapped in poverty according to China's poverty line, and 200 million according to the international one," he said. According to a standard adopted in 2011, rural residents with an annual net income of about $375 or less are classified as poor in China. The country's poverty line is equivalent to less than $1 a day, while extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, is measured according to the international poverty line of $1.25 a day (in 2005 prices). Data from the office also shows that 120,000 villages, 832 key counties and counties in extremely poor contiguous regions remain poverty-stricken. Poor people are not only poorly paid, but also beset by unavailability of water, roads, electricity, schooling, healthcare and cannot access higher incomes or loans. Zheng admitted that there are difficulties in solving the problems as poor populations are concentrated in extremely poor contiguous regions with poor living conditions, inadequate infrastructure as well as being afflicted with natural disasters. "It's a tough nut to crack. Poverty is a weak point for our goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020," he added. […] Li Shi, director of the China Institute for Income Distribution at Beijing Normal University, said that he is not surprised by the number of those classified as being in poverty as China has a huge population compared to other countries, so it is understandable that it has a relatively high population below the poverty line. […] The poverty alleviation authority Tuesday also vowed to reform a program assisting counties designated as national poverty-stricken counties after widespread public complaints over some of these counties' misuse of poverty alleviation funds and their reluctance to exit the program. Su Guoxia, an official with the poverty alleviation office, told reporters that the authorities will take three steps to tackle the problem. This will include cancelation or reduction of the proportion of GDP in the assessment of poverty-stricken counties, establishing a restraint mechanism to prohibit counties from unnecessary infrastructure projects and establishing an exit mechanism for poor counties with incentives. Du Xiaoshan, a deputy director at the Rural Development Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the strategies suggested would be an effective way to tackle poverty as different development zones have different problems and needs. "In counties that have a rather poor ecological or environmental problem, the GDP should not be assessed. The assessment should focus on the recovery of its ecology and environment, such as air and water quality. These places should be assessed more on the stability of people's livelihoods, such as employment levels. These strategies will allow officials to concentrate more on improving people's living standards rather than blindly constructing roads and shopping malls," he said. China is set to observe its first Poverty Alleviation Day on October 17, which coincides with the UN's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The day aims to call on the public to show concern for the poor and pro-poor programs and to encourage wider participation. ^ top ^

Ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang's fate to be decided at party plenum (SCMP)
2014-10-16
The Communist Party's powerful Central Committee will decide whether to expel and prosecute former security tsar Zhou Yongkang when the party plenum gets under way on Monday. In an online article yesterday, the People's Daily said Zhou's fate would be decided by the committee's 200 or so members at its three-day fourth plenum. "Arrangements including whether or not to expel Zhou from the Communist Party and transfer the case to judicial authorities are likely to be made during the fourth plenum," the article said. The item was not published in print. If prosecuted, Zhou would be the most senior leader to face charges for economic crimes. The party's anti-graft watchdog announced more than two months ago that it was investigating Zhou for corruption. Observers are watching closely to see if General Secretary Xi Jinping and the party leadership will take the next step to press charges against Zhou. Reuters yesterday quoted sources as saying that Zhou would be expelled from the party when the graft watchdog presented findings from its corruption investigation at the plenum. The Central Committee would then decide whether to hand Zhou to prosecutors. The People's Daily also said the plenum would complete formalities to expel and hand over to prosecutors the cases of Zhou's top aides - former Sichuan deputy party chief Li Chuncheng, former deputy public security minister Li Dongsheng, former chief regulator of state-owned enterprises Jiang Jiemin, and former China National Petroleum Corp deputy manager Wang Yongchun. Zhou, a powerful ally of the disgraced former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai, had a power base that extended from the petroleum industry to Sichuan officialdom, the police and the legal affairs establishment. In a case unrelated to Zhou, the plenum would also formalise steps to dismiss disgraced Guangzhou party boss Wan Qingliang, the article said. The Politburo said last month that the fourth plenary session of the 18th party congress would focus on improving administration of law. The rule of law tops the agenda of the plenum as "loopholes in the legal system" and the poor implementation of law have become the major concerns of citizens, according to the People's Daily article. The lack of a mature judicial system means that grass-roots anger often bubbles up into social unrest. In Kunming, eight people died in violent clashes between villagers and construction workers on Tuesday, allegedly over compensation for forced demolition. The newspaper said the four-day party conclave was expected to lay down more specific policy directives on a wide range of reforms regarding legislation, implementation of law, and the independent exercise of judicial and procuratorial power. But it cautioned the public not to expect dramatic changes that the country was not ready for. "It concerns us that some people expect the fourth plenum to perfect the country's rule of law overnight and even offer solutions to all problems," it said. Instead, the new policy directives will roll out detailed measures to implement broad reform guidelines to boost judicial independence introduced by the third plenum last year. ^ top ^

China reiterates peaceful use of nuclear energy (Xinhua)
2014-10-16
A senior official from China's atomic energy agency on Thursday reiterated the country's position on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, saying it will resolutely oppose any proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons proliferation should be solved properly, Wang Yiren, vice chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, told Xinhua at a symposium marking the 30th anniversary of China's entry into the International Atomic Energy Agency. Thursday also marked the 50th anniversary of the detonation of China's first atomic bomb. China has gradually established an administrative and legal system for importing and exporting nuclear weapons in line with the international standard in order to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation, Wang said. China also carries out nuclear power projects according to the highest international standards of nuclear security, Wang added. Wang said that China has 21 nuclear power generating units in operation with total installed capacity of more than 19 gigawatts, and another 27 units under construction. "By 2020, China is expected to have nuclear power generating units with total installed capacity reaching 58 gigawatts," Wang said. ^ top ^

CPC tightens grip on universities (Xinhua)
2014-10-16
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has reiterated its leadership over the country's universities. The core leadership of Party committees should be consolidated at universities, according to a statement published by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee on Thursday. Presidents and other administrative staff should accept and implement decisions made by the Party committees, the statement added. It quoted an unidentified official as saying that such a power scheme conforms to China's national conditions and requirements for development of higher education. The statement clarified the division of powers: Party committees are in charge of colleges' reform, stability and ideology while presidents should focus on teaching, scientific research and daily operations of the school. Secretaries of Party committees and presidents are not allowed to head any scientific research projects to ensure their devotion to administration of universities, the CPC added. ^ top ^

Xinhua Insight: China grants more judicial independence to judges amid reform (Xinhua)
2014-10-16
China's judges can expect more judicial independence with an upcoming key political meeting expected to spearhead unprecedented judicial reform, experts said. The reform, to be discussed at the fourth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee slated for Oct. 20-23, aims at curtailing clumsy trial procedures and outsider interference in the country's judicial system, according to Shen Guoming, a legal expert in Shanghai. With the number of judicial cases increasing, reform is crucial to guarantee justice for the public. Amid growing legal awareness and enhanced transparency, courts in China are receiving more cases than ever. In 2013, the country's local courts heard more than 14.22 million cases, up 7.4 percent over that in 2012. They had final rulings on 12.95 million cases, up 4.4 percent. In the country's vast rural areas, disputes on land contracts, marriages and private lending are catapulting on the back of farmers' amassing fortunes. Meanwhile, increasing population has increased gridlock, resulting in a surge of traffic accidents and more trial cases. [...] Also under scrutiny is the "try but not judge" practice, traditionally a key part of the judicial system, but now seen as impairing court fairness and breeding corruption. Earlier this year, Liu Yong, an official with the Supreme People's Court (SPC), was suspected of taking bribes of over 2 million yuan (326,500 U.S. dollars) in exchange for intervention in trials. Cases of erroneous judgment are becoming commonplace and have generated headlines.[...] As outrage and concern run high, China has taken pains to reform the judicial system by setting up a jurisdiction system of courts that relies on judgment using resources beyond administrative divisions. In 2013, the SPC issued a jurisdiction reform plan and piloted it in a number of regions such as Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Liaoning. Designed to simplify the process, it eliminated overly sophisticated bureaucracy by abandoning the need for courts heads to sign papers, therefore empowering local judges more judicial independence when handling common cases. But with great power comes great responsibility. Wang said that he feels more pressure and a greater sense of responsibility now that he is in full charge of daily cases. [...] The SPC also published a broad-stroke guideline for judicial reforms over the next five years. The guideline includes 45 major measures in eight key judicial issues such as personnel, finance and judicial selection, most of which are included in the Shanghai reform plan. Fan Zhijun, a professor with China University of Political Science and Law, sees the reform as a sign of weeding out protectionism and creating a court system with more independence and less influence. And there is more to expect, as Chinese officials will, for the first in history, focus on the rule of law at the meeting next week, according to Fan. "As the reform gains steam, China's judicial system will be more scientific and better safeguard the people's interests," Fan said. ^ top ^

Eight die in brawl over Yunnan land dispute (Global Times)
2014-10-17
Eight people have died in a clash between villagers and armed construction workers in Jinning county, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, over a land dispute, according to a preliminary investigation report published by the local government on Thursday. The violence broke out on Tuesday between villagers and the employees of the construction company which has been building a logistics center in Fuyou village in Jinning county. The villagers are unsatisfied with compensation paid to them after their land was expropriated to build the center, thepaper.cn reported. On the morning before the incident, eight construction workers who were having their breakfast were tied up, beaten and drenched with gasoline by villagers, before being illegally detained by the locals, according to the investigation report. The investigation report also said that construction workers at the building site armed themselves with "weapons" to defend themselves against the villagers. That afternoon, "more than 1,000 people" wearing blue work uniforms and armed with iron bars came into Fuyou village, A Shurong, a local, was quoted by the Beijing Times as saying. Other villagers claimed they were attacked by people in "black uniforms," some of whom were carrying shields bearing police markings, Caixin reported on Wednesday. The villagers then set some of the detained workers alight, causing severe burns to four, according to the investigation. In total, six construction workers and two villagers were killed, the local government reported on Wednesday. Three years ago, land in the village was expropriated for the construction of the logistics center and since then the village has seen several violent confrontations between the villagers and the construction company, the Beijing Times reported on Thursday. ^ top ^

 

 

Shanghai

Ageing Shanghai needs 35m people by 2050, demographer warns (SCMP)
2014-10-13
Shanghai will need a population of 35 million people by 2050 to ensure it has enough workers to support its increasingly greying society, a demographer has warned. Meeting that target would require the city to boost its current population of 24 million people by 45 per cent. Shanghai would also need to put more resources into education to ensure it remained competitive with other megacities in the developed world, said Zhou Haiwang, deputy director of population and development studies under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. About half - 12.3 million - of Shanghai's population has permanent residency. Of that segment, 27 per cent are aged 60 or above, and 5 per cent are 80 years or older, according to the city's statistics bureau. Speaking at a forum over the weekend, Zhou said the city's elderly population - those aged 60 or above - would climb from 4.6 million next year to 7.7 million in 2030, 9.7 million in 2040 and 11 million after 2045. To ensure a sustainable mix of older people, children and working residents, the city would need a population of 35 million by 2050, Zhou said. The authority has projected the grey population will increase by 5.7 per cent annually and account for more than 30 per cent of the population by next year. Liang Zhongtang, a demographer with the academy, said the city did not need to adjust its birth control policy because the population was being affected at the national level. "It is no use projecting such figures because it has little impact on the daily lives of residents so long as their needs for health care and education can be met. What we need from the government is less intervention and more market reform in order to lower the threshold to entering the service industry." Zhou said the latest census showed the education level of Shanghai residents was rising. The enrolment rate for high school is 68 per cent and at the tertiary level 60 per cent - about the same as in European countries such as Germany and Italy but behind the United States and South Korea. Only 23 per cent of the workforce in 2012 held a college degree, which is lower than the average rate in developed countries. To remain competitive with megacities in developed countries in 2050, Shanghai would need to dramatically increase the education level of its workforce, including through importing global talent and adjusting population increases, Zhou said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet's impoverished population down 60 pct from 2010 (Xinhua)
2014-10-15
The poverty-stricken population in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region will be cut by 60 percent from 2010 levels by the end of this year, said a regional official on Wednesday. Half a million people will have been lifted out of poverty from 2011 to 2014 in the region, said Hu Xinsheng, head of the Tibet Poverty Alleviation Office. The region will continue to improve the accuracy and efficiency of poverty reduction efforts, said Hu. According to the country's current poverty line of 2,300 yuan (375 U.S. dollars), Tibet had 830,000 impoverished people at the end of 2010. Those living in poverty made up 34.4 percent of the total population in the region's farming and pastoral areas, which was the highest poverty rate in China. In 2014, the region aims to help 130,000 people out of poverty with an investment of 1.7 billion yuan from the central and regional governments. As part of one major poverty alleviation project, 100,000 farmers and herders have moved to new houses. The region invested 550 million yuan in the housing project, which started in 2011. Under the project, each household received government subsidies ranging from 12,000 yuan to 25,000 yuan to build new houses. Many lived under poor sanitary conditions in the past as their homes also housed livestock. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

12 receive death over Shache attacks (Global Times)
2014-10-14
A court in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, on Monday sentenced 12 people to death for organizing terrorist attacks that killed 37 civilians in Shache county in July. Those sentenced to death included Osman Ablet, Yuwup Ablet and Jume Qadir. The Intermediate People's Court of Kashgar also sentenced 15 others to death with a two-year reprieve, according to official news portal ts.cn. Nine people were jailed for life while another 20 defendants received four to 20 years behind bars. In addition, two defendants got probation. A terror attack on July 28 in the Shache county of Kashgar left 37 civilians dead and 94 injured. A gang armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku township, and some moved on to Huangdi township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed. According to the court, Osman Ablet joined a terror group led by Nur Memet, who police shot dead during the attack, and slashed at passing drivers with a knife, killing three. Yuwup Ablet also joined the group and killed five people while Jume Qadir smashed cars and killed two. Eli Tursun received life imprisonment, a relatively mild sentence for his offences, since he surrendered himself to the authorities after killing innocent residents. Mehmet Tursun Emer was sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year reprieve, for harboring his young brother who participated in the attack, but confessed voluntarily after being arrested. A total of 59 attackers were shot dead by police during the attack and 215 were arrested. The Xinjiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China later penalized 17 officials, including county and town officials, a vice secretary-general of Kashgar's Islamic association and several police officers. These officials were deemed to have had some responsibility for the Shache attack as well as the murder of 74-year-old religious leader Jume Tahir by extremists in China's largest mosque, the Id Kah Mosque, in Kashgar, on July 30. Separately, a policewoman in Pishan county, Hotan in southern Xinjiang was brutally attacked and murdered on Friday by two motorcycle-mounted assailants with sharp weapons at a local market near the county public security bureau, said the local authorities. The officer was two months pregnant, the authorities added, citing a colleague of the deceased. The statement did not specify the ethnicity of the policewoman, but revealed her name and photo, both of which indicate her ethnicity was likely Uyghur. It is unclear whether the two attackers were arrested. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

CY Leung denies wrongdoing in accepting HK$50m in UGL deal (SCMP)
2014-10-13
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he did not feel he had done anything wrong, morally or legally, by accepting HK$50 million in a deal with Australian engineering firm UGL. Speaking to the media for the first time yesterday since an Australian newspaper revealed last Wednesday how the contract was made in 2011, Leung sidestepped key questions, such as why he did not declare the payment to the Executive Council. The deal - made two days before Leung resigned from insolvent property firm DTZ, of which he was a director, and completion of the takeover - stipulated the money would be paid in two instalments in 2012 and 2013. UGL and Leung said it was to prevent him from forming or joining a rival firm within two years. "[Whether] as a member of the Executive Council or chief executive, I have fully followed the [declaration of interest] mechanism [of Exco] to decide whether declaration is necessary," he said. He said he had not provided any service to UGL and therefore there was no conflict of interest. He also denied tax evasion. "Because this [income] is to compensate me for not competing with it [UGL] or poaching its staff, under the taxation system of Hong Kong there is no need to pay any tax," he said. Leung said the decision was reached after consulting his tax adviser, who had provided written advice. Asked if he could make public the document, Leung gave an indirect answer. "Such advice did exist. Over the past one or two days it has become clear that what matters is that [what is stipulated] in the contract is not income. The Australian firm also clearly stated that the money was not paid in exchange for any service. Rather, it was paid [to guarantee] what I wouldn't do, which is to compete with it and poach its staff." He said he would not speculate when asked what he made of the timing of the exposé. The Democratic Party and Civic Party have proposed using Legco's Power and Privileges Ordinance to investigate if any conflict of interest is involved. Lam Cheuk-ting of the Democratic Party said Leung's agreement with UGL to be an adviser might be treated as receiving an advantage as stated in the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said if they could not invoke special powers to probe Leung's dealings, the pan-democratic camp would consider moving a motion to impeach him. Separately, in his blog on Thursday, former HSBC chairman David Eldon said the revelations might lead to pressure from Beijing for Leung to step down. "President Xi Jinping has made very clear his abhorrence of corruption, and if there is the slightest unpleasant smell about this, what better way than to remove an unpopular official? "The departure will not have been the result of student pressure … and should see the temporary installation of an altogether more popular person in the shape of Carrie Lam," he wrote. Meanwhile, Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan warned of a possible conflict of interest when earlier this year Leung rejected HKTV's application for a free TV licence. Leung holds shares in DTZ Japan, of which HKR International is a client, and HKR's boss Payson Cha Mou-sing is an ATV shareholder. In a statement, HKR International said it would adhere to the principles of fairness and justice when choosing its consultancies. "HKR International has always upheld a high level of corporate governance and its operation is independent and unrelated with the ATV business," it said. ^ top ^

A battle for the streets: clashes between Occupy activists and opponents intensify (SCMP)
2014-10-14
Hundreds of Occupy Central opponents converged on Admiralty at around lunchtime yesterday in what appeared to be a well-orchestrated and carefully timed operation to remove road barriers that had paralysed traffic for more than two weeks. Tense confrontations and scuffles with Occupy protesters ensued, and at least 22 people were arrested. The chaotic scenes were the first to break out at the Admiralty protest site since police backed down after using tear gas to clear the sit-in on September 28. A police source said initial investigations indicated the activists were from the transport industry and included taxi and minibus drivers. Eddie Ng Yip-pui, director of the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, admitted the association had mobilised about 200 taxi drivers and their relatives to disturb the Admiralty sit-in. Ng said they wanted to express their grievances about business losses caused by the occupation. He denied they were paid, contrary to a media report that accused the cabbies of receiving HK$2,000 each to protest. "Who can afford to offer HK$2,000 [each] to taxi drivers? A hundred drivers would cost HK$200,000," he said. Protesters were caught off guard when about 50 men in black, mostly wearing masks, appeared at the occupied Queensway at about 1.30pm. As they walked towards Central, the group used cable cutters to slice the plastic cords that bound together barriers at the junction of Queensway and Cotton Tree Drive. Minor scuffles broke out, followed by heated arguments between the opposing sides. Police stepped in to separate them. Occupy protesters complained about police inaction, with one shouting at the officers: "Arrest them! Don't just stand and watch." Anti-Occupy reinforcements then arrived. A fleet of more than 10 taxis pulled over at the same junction, bearing placards that read "broken rice bowl" and "can't tolerate any more". As the cabbies pressed their horns, another group, made up of mostly middle-aged men, stormed into the junction and confronted the police. The anti-Occupy numbers soon swelled to more than 200, many carrying banners that said "supporting the police to enforce the law". Shouts of "Occupy Central is illegal" and "open the roads" filled the air. Occupy protesters responded by chanting "arrest triad members", in reference to media reports that gangsters had been recruited to cause disarray. Amid the pushing and shoving, at least two men were taken away in handcuffs. Police reinforcements soon arrived and officers set up a cordon to stop anti-Occupy activists from removing more barricades, prompting a stand-off. Then at around 2.30pm, about 20 taxis blocked a section of Queensway near Hennessy Road. The commotion subsided half an hour later, when anti-Occupy activists started leaving Admiralty on foot, followed by the taxis. The timing of the incident spawned a conspiracy theory - that it was orchestrated by the Beijing-loyalist camp with the blessing of the government. It had been preceded by police action at 5.30am, when officers descended unexpectedly on protest sites in Mong Kok and Central and began removing road barriers. But the operation in Mong Kok Road was largely fruitless. Officers found themselves quickly surrounded by protesters, some of whom shouted abuse. Chants of "go away" echoed through the canyons of concrete blocks along the road, where only one of five lanes remained opened to traffic. Protesters rebuilt the barriers soon after the police left. In Central, the clearance of barriers went smoother and officers managed to remove the obstacles near City Hall. At around noon, the government issued a statement urging the protesters to end their illegal occupation. Then at about 1.15pm, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was visiting Guangzhou, told a media briefing that the sit-ins could not be allowed to go on forever. "The government aims to clear the road barriers as soon as is practicable, on the condition that it will not create conflicts with [Occupy] protesters," Leung said. Those words were followed shortly by the massing of anti-Occupy activists in Admiralty. ^ top ^

Democracy not excuse for turmoil: People's Daily (Xinhua)
2014-10-14
Democracy must be based on the rule of law and it should never be hijacked as an excuse for "unchecked behavior," says a commentary to be carried by Wednesday's People's Daily. Rebuking "Occupy Central" organizers' attempts to rouse conflict and smear the image of the local government, the commentary in the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China urges "anyone who cares for and loves Hong Kong to say no to such acts that aim to confuse public opinions with personal wishes." The article says that protesters have been attacking the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and attempting to force the HKSAR chief executive trusted by the central government to resign, but "they are doomed to fail." Protestors are attempting to force the central authorities to change the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, on Hong Kong's electoral system. The decision made on Aug. 31 granted universal suffrage in the selection of the HKSAR chief executive on the basis of nomination by a "broadly representative" committee. Defending local police's lawful efforts against "some people who disrupted social order, disabled traffic and harmed people's livelihoods during the protests," the article stresses that the rule of law is "the greatest public benefit." "Facts and history tell us that radical and illegal acts that got their way only result in more severe illegal activities, exacerbating disorder and turmoil," it says, stressing that different opinions for Hong Kong's democratic development may exist but should be expressed "via various legal channels." According to the article, only by resolutely supporting the HKSAR government can Hong Kong retain its sound commercial environment and its status as an international financial, trade and shipping center, which is in the common interests of Hong Kong people from all classes and fields as well as foreign investors. "Stability is bliss, and turmoil brings havoc," it adds. ^ top ^

Protests reignited by shocking images appearing to show unarmed man being beaten by officers (SCMP)
2014-10-16
Democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for almost three weeks and that appeared to be dwindling have been reignited by television footage which appears to show a group of plain-clothes police officers carrying out a violent and sustained attack on an unarmed and restrained protester as he lies on the ground. The footage - captured by a TVB film crew during the overnight police operation to clear a road near government headquarters - appears to show seven officers taking turns to kick and punch Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu as he lies on the ground in a darkened recess. The video, which is several minutes long, has sparked a storm of controversy with hundreds gathering outside government and police headquarters last night in protest. Traffic on Lung Wo Road, the thoroughfare just outside the Chief Executive's Office, was blocked for several minutes around midnight before police drove the protesters away. The video prompted the police complaints division to set up a special taskforce and sparked an outpouring of calls for calm and restraint from the city's richest tycoon, Li Ka-shing, senior politicians and religious groups. It also forced Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to cancel his first question and answer session of the new legislative term that was due to take place today amid concerns the event could attract fresh protests and violence. Tsang, 39, said he would take legal action, describing the attack as "brutal". Seven police officers - including a chief inspector from the specialist Organised Crime and Triad Bureau - have been transferred from Occupy duties in the wake of the video, which has made international headlines and sparked diplomatic fallout from Beijing to London. The apparently damning video has plunged the police force into new turmoil. It comes ahead of a crunch meeting today between representatives of all four police staff associations and the secretary for the civil service, Paul Tang Kwok-wai. China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: "No country or individual has a right to interfere in China's internal affairs." He urged British officials in particular to speak and act cautiously. Hong's remarks were in response to a statement by British minister of state for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, on the Occupy Central protests and the city's electoral reform. They also followed comments by Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain should stand up for the rights of people in Hong Kong. Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing urged protesters to retreat from protest sites, saying their message had been heard. "We can understand the students' passion but their pursuit [of ideals] needs to be guided by wisdom," he said. "My young friends: your parents, family members, all Hong Kong people and the central government are concerned about your well-being. "You have successfully conveyed your messages. I urge all of you not to let today's fervour turn into tomorrow's regret. I sincerely call on you to return to the side of your families." ^ top ^

Beijing 'not behind leak of CY deal'(SCMP)
2014-10-16
An authoritative source in Beijing dismissed speculation the central government was behind the leak of documents on a multimillion-dollar deal that plunged Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying into a political and legal crisis. "The central government firmly supports CY and his government," the source told the Post yesterday. Last week, Australia-based Fairfax Media revealed that Leung pocketed £4 million (HK$50 million) from Australian company UGL six months before he became the city's chief executive. UGL bought the insolvent DTZ Holdings for £77.5 million in late 2011. The property services firm was listed in London and Leung was a director. A side deal arose from the purchase two days before Leung's resignation from DTZ took effect. It stipulated he would receive £4 million in 2012 and 2013. Both the Australian firm and Leung said the money was to prevent him from joining or forming a rival firm within two years. But the deal contained an "additional commitment" by which Leung agreed to act as an "adviser" for UGL "from time to time". It was revealed on Wednesday that Leung sought a further £3 million during negotiations with UGL, a request that was ultimately denied. The side deal raises questions about whether it was proper for a Chief Executive to have agreed to provide paid advisory service to a commercial entity and whether the deal harmed the interests of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), DTZ's main creditor. Conflicting accounts have emerged from Fairfax reports in the past few days regarding the involvement of RBS and Ernst & Young, the administrator of DTZ. Its report last week said DTZ chairman Tim Melville-Ross was not aware of the side deal, but yesterday another Fairfax report said documents suggested RBS and EY were "in full knowledge" of the negotiations of the deal. However, RBS and EY have told the media they had no detailed knowledge of the side deal. Lawyer Ludwig Ng Siu-wing, an executive committee member of the Restructuring and Insolvency Faculty under the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said at this stage it was difficult to say who was lying. But if RBS had no knowledge of and had not consented to the terms of the side deal for Leung, it would be a "victim" and could take legal action against Leung, Ng said. […] ^ top ^

Swift police operation ends Occupy Mong Kok (SCMP)
2014-10-17
Police removed barricades, tents, shrines and umbrellas in Mong Kok in the early hours of Friday, ending a three week-long democracy protest there. Around 5am, police said they would soon hold a press briefing on the streets of the Kowloon district. At 5.15am, Police Senior Superintendent Catherine Kwan Chui-ching said the force would take imminent action to remove road blocks, but would allow protesters to stay at the site. Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers, many in riot gear, began to dismantle barricades at the intersection of Nathan Road and Portland Street. Lines of police officers advanced towards the 30 protesters at the intersection of Nathan Road and Argyle Street - the centre of Occupy Mong Kok - and surrounded them within minutes. Other officers dismantled the barricades behind the police cordon. Police then proceeded to remove tents at the intersection. A dozen protesters remained seated or lying on the ground at the intersection where the tent stood. Billy Li, a 21-year-old university graduate, said he would stay until the police remove him. "Police claim they are only removing the barricades rather than clear the site. I lie down here to see if they will remove us as well," he said. Leung Chi-chuen, 51, said his fellow protesters did not have enough time to pack their personal belongings before they were told to leave. "We would not rule out the option of blocking other roads later," Leung said. Others said they would come back. "Everyone will come back out again," said sales manager Larry Choi, adding that he had expected the police operation for days. The police operation on Friday marked the third consecutive day of police removing barricades erected three weeks ago. Demonstrators demanded a free choice in the election of the territory's next chief executive in 2017. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying called on protesters on Thursday to accept that the central government in Beijing would not give in to their demands. By 7.15am, Nathan Road and Argyle Street were partly reopened to traffic. Police officers on motorbikes escorted first vehicles along the Kowloon thoroughfares. In Admiralty, hundreds of protesters spent the night outside the government offices there. Around 6am, one group of protesters attempted to reoccupy Lung Wo Road. Police officers quickly removed the barricades and traffic resumed.  ^ top ^

 

 

Taiwan

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou calls on Beijing to move towards democracy (SCMP)
2014-10-10
Taiwan's president on Friday urged China to move toward a more democratic style of development, reiterating his strong support for pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Ma Ying-jeou used his speech at Taiwan's National Day celebrations to discuss the island's own democratic development in remarks that appeared to show Beijing that Taiwan would never give up its own democracy and rule of law. China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists. China has never renounced the use of force to bring the now proudly democratic Taiwan under its control. The protests in Hong Kong seeking to democratically and directly elect the chief executive have stirred concern in Taiwan that it could share the experience, should the island ever come under Beijing's control. China is a rapidly developing economy, Ma said, adding that as it moves towards becoming a more prosperous society, its people will also want more democracy and greater rule of law. “Such a desire has never been a monopoly of the West, but it is the right of all humankind,” he added. He repeated that he firmly supported the pursuit of the people of Hong Kong to directly and democratically elect their own leader. Ma said while the democratic system was not perfect, it encouraged dialogue and the resolution of issues. “Thirty years ago, when Deng Xiaoping was pushing for reform and opening up in the mainland, he famously proposed letting some people get rich first,” Ma said, referring to one of China's revered leaders. “So why couldn't they do the same thing in Hong Kong, and let some people go democratic first?” Since taking office in 2008, the Beijing-friendly Ma has signed a series of landmark economic and trade deals with the mainland. But deep suspicions remain, especially in Taiwan, which has shown little interest in wanting to rush political talks with Beijing, where leader Xi Jinping has shown no signs of loosening the Communist Party's grip on power. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China an important driving force for world economic recovery: Li (Xinhua)
2014-10-12
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Saturday that China is still an important driving force for world economic recovery, which would also benefit economic and trade cooperation between China and Europe. There will not be a hard landing for the Chinese economy, Li said in a keynote speech at the sixth Hamburg Summit, adding China has the capability to maintain an economic growth at a fairly rapid speed in the future. Economic development is not a sprint, but a long-distance run which requires perseverance and stamina, Li said, noting that China has maintained a stable growth since the beginning of this year despite complicated domestic and international situation. Such performance relies mainly on reform and innovation, Li said, calling reform a stimulus for economic development. The government loosens its control on market regulation and strengthens supervision, in order to create an environment for fair competition in the market, which encourages a new boom of grassroots entrepreneurship and mass innovation, Li said. The government tries to help individuals fulfill their own goals, which transforms the demographic dividend into the talent dividend in China, the premier said. Li predicted a GDPgrowth of about 7.5 percent this year, saying China could achieve a growth rate either slightly higher or lower than that figure, as long as it leads to adequate employment, income increase and innovation-driven development. Furthermore, Li said China will make its market more accessible to foreign companies, promising to enforce fair business rules and make earnest efforts to protect intellectual property rights. China's innovation-driven development welcomes global participation, Li said, hoping that China becomes not only a huge market but also an ideal place of innovation. Besides, Li said China cannot develop without a peaceful global environment and a stable regional environment, noting that China has been an important force in safeguarding world peace and regional stability and safety. He called on all countries to march forward hand in hand, respect each other and seek for peaceful co-existence and common development. On China-EU relations, Li said China is the world's biggest emerging market and theEuropean Union(EU) is the biggest developed economy, both of which boast great civilizations. Chinese President Xi Jinping advocated a partnership between China and the EU featuring peace, growth, reform and civilization during his visit to Europe in March, Li said. The China-EU cooperation will boost regional and global economic development, promote human civilizations and contribute more to world peace and stability, Li said, adding that China is willing to join hands with the EU to set an example for global cooperation. Li said China supports the EU to play a greater role in international affairs and hopes the EU to continue understanding and supporting China's choice of the development path which fits in with its own national conditions. Both China and the EU stand at a critical stage of development, Li said, calling on the two sides to work together in the areas of trade, investment, and innovative cooperation, and in dealing with global challenges. China is also ready to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchange with the EU, in order to further cement the bilateral relations, Li said. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said the EU and China share extensive common interests and are important cooperative partners. Further developing EU-China relations is a priority of EU's foreign policy, he said, adding the EU is willing to sign an investment agreement with China at an early date, and promote EU-China cooperation in various fields and face challenges jointly with China. Representing Germany, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier lauded China's important contribution to the world's response to global challenges, adding that EU-China cooperation serves the interest of Germany, China as well as the rest of the world. [...] ^ top ^

Party paper hits out at foreign firms, alleging widespread tax avoidance (SCMP)
2014-10-14
A scathing attack by the People's Daily on multinational corporations, accusing them of exploiting China through tax avoidance, is a worrying sign for foreign firms on the mainland, say analysts. In almost a full page of coverage yesterday, including a report and a signed commentary, the newspaper said foreign corporations were funnelling away real profits. The commentary said tax-avoiding practices by some multinationals had deprived the nation of enormous revenue, even though they had taken advantage of its labour, land, resources, and huge market. "Why do the multinational companies get all the profits … while [we] let the tax revenues run away?" the commentary reads. "Taxation is at the core of national sovereignty. [We] have to take effective measures to stop tax revenue losses … to protect the national economic interests." The tax accusation against foreign firms follows Beijing's recently stepped-up antitrust probes. Foreign business groups have voiced concern that outside firms have been unfairly targeted by mainland antitrust regulators, with probes into at least 30 foreign firms as China seeks to enforce a 2008 anti-monopoly law. Officials denied this. The People's Daily report quoted Liao Tizhong, director-general for international taxation with the State Administration of Taxation, as saying that tax-avoiding practices by multinational companies were "hugely detrimental" to the countries in which they operated. Liao said these firms often created pollution and labour welfare burdens during their operations - costs that had be shouldered by local communities. More than 400,000 foreign firms operated on the mainland, including 490 of the world's top 500 businesses, the commentary said. The article warned that a growing number of homegrown multinationals were also prone to exploiting tax loopholes. Oliver Meng Rui, professor of finance and accounting at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, said the comments were aimed at charging the foreign companies "morally", as their practices were legal under existing laws. Rui said there could be another wave of action targeting foreign companies following the antitrust campaign. "It shows that China's leadership may no longer need foreign investment as much as in the past three decades," Rui said. "By squeezing foreign firms, they could create more room for [the] domestic private sector to grow … as they obviously could not push state-owned firms too much in the short term." Patrick Yip, a national financial services tax leader at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, said it was not surprising for China to "feel strongly about abusive cross-border tax arrangements". "It would appear China is quite determined to combat abusive cross-border tax arrangements that would cause China to be deprived its fair share of tax revenue," Yip said. The mainland's efforts to fight tax avoidance brought in 46.9 billion yuan (HK$59.3 billion) of additional taxes in 2013, according to the website of the State Administration of Taxation. Last September, G20 nations including China endorsed an international plan to combat the global practice of shifting funds to low-tax jurisdictions to avoid taxes. ^ top ^

Chinese, Italian companies sign 10 bln USD deals (Xinhua)
2014-10-15
Chinese and Italian companies signed deals worth 8 billion euros (more than 10 billion U.S. dollars) here Tuesday, a highlight of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Italy. The deals were signed by business leaders from the Chinese-Italian committee of entrepreneurs, which was founded four months ago. Appearing together with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi at an event attended by the committee members and other entrepreneurs from the two countries, Li said the deals, mainly covering two-way investment and technological and financial cooperation, have transcended the traditional buy-and-sell model to demonstrate the high-level coordination of the two countries. Li said the business sectors of the two nations are the main force to promote the bilateral cooperation. As the two nations have entered the age of innovative development, he said, it is hoped that entrepreneurs from both countries could seize the opportunity, complement each other and expand cooperation, so as to forge a comprehensive partnership. Renzi said that Italy and China enjoy a traditional friendship and a solid basis for cooperation, adding that Italy is willing to work with China to address the challenges brought by economic globalization. He said he hopes entrepreneurs from both sides to develop the spirit of innovation and expand trade, investment and financial cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two peoples. Li is visiting Italy at the invitation of Renzi. He left Moscow earlier in the day after holding the 19th China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting with his counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. Italy is the last stop of Li's three-nation Europe tour, which has taken him to Germany and Russia. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reappears with walking stick (SCMP)
2014-10-14
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has resurfaced after an unexplained and prolonged absence that fuelled rampant speculation about his health and even rumours of a coup in the nuclear-armed state. State media on Tuesday reported that Kim, who had not been seen in public for nearly six weeks, made an inspection tour of a newly-built housing complex in Pyongyang. The front-page of the ruling party Rodong newspaper was mostly taken up with a large portrait of a smiling Kim, photographed from the waist upwards. The daily carried smaller, full-length photos showing Kim leaning on a black walking stick in his left hand as he toured the complex built for scientists working on North Korea's satellite programme. “Looking over the exterior of the apartment houses and public buildings, decorated with diverse coloured tiles, [Kim] expressed great satisfaction, saying they looked very beautiful,” the official KCNA news agency said. KCNA did not specify the date of the visit, but the agency usually reports such events the day after. It also made no mention of Kim's absence from the public eye and offered no insight into his physical wellbeing. Kim, believed to be 30 or 31, dropped out of sight after attending a music concert with his wife in Pyongyang on September 3. While there is precedent for a North Korean leader to “disappear” for a while, the absence was more noticeable with Kim, who has maintained a particularly pervasive media presence since coming to power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011. Competing theories for his disappearance ranged widely from an extended rest period to a leadership coup, via a long list of possible illnesses and ailments including broken ankles, gout and diabetes. The rumours multiplied after Kim failed to attend a major political anniversary event on Friday, at which other top leaders were present. The only mention of a possible health problem came in a state television documentary several weeks ago which spoke of Kim's “discomfort”. A heavy smoker, Kim has shown striking weight gain since coming to power following the death of his father in 2011, and recent television footage had shown him walking with a pronounced limp. “It's still not clear how much he has recovered from the apparent 'discomfort' or how serious it was,” said Kim Yeon-chul, a North Korea expert at Inje University in Gimhae, South Korea. “The important thing is that this really corroborates observations by South Korea, China and the United States that Kim is ruling normally,” Kim said. Given the supreme importance of the leadership of the Kim family dynasty in North Korea, there had been speculation that a further extended absence might lead to a period of instability. His reappearance followed a rare exchange of heavy machine-gun fire over the inter-Korean border on Friday, triggered by the North Korean military seeking to shoot down some leaflet-laden balloons launched by South Korean anti-Pyongyang activists. Kim was accompanied on his visit to the residential complex by several top officials including Hwang Pyong-so, the vice-chairman of the powerful National Defence Commission who is widely seen as Kim's number two. Hwang was the leader of a top-ranking North Korean delegation that made a surprise visit to the South just over a week ago. The rare visit, which resulted in an agreement to resume a suspended high-level dialogue, was seen by some as a message that all was normal in Pyongyang. The delegation brought a goodwill message from Kim, and one of its members insisted the young leader had no health issues. ^ top ^

Pyongyang seeks access to secret Japanese bank account of Kim's half-brother (SCMP)
2014-10-15
The head of the group that represents North Korean residents of Japan has returned from Pyongyang with a list of orders that include emptying a secret bank account in Tokyo and sending the US$3 million it contains to the regime of Kim Jong-un. Ho Jong-man, the leader of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, arrived back in early October from his first trip to Pyongyang for eight years. Ho had reportedly expected to meet Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, for the first time since he assumed the leadership after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. That he was not able to see Kim indicates that Chongryon's importance to the North Korean regime is waning. Falling membership as Chongryon members grow older or switch their allegiance to the rival South Korean association means that less money is being funnelled back to Pyongyang. Ho did, however, meet a senior member of the North Korean government and was handed a personal letter from Kim. Sources with links to Japan's security services have said the letter included a list of orders as well as instructions on how Chongryon should operate in Japan. The sources added that Ho had been ordered to access a secret bank account in Japan that belongs to Kim Jong-nam, the estranged older half-brother of Kim Jong-un, and to empty the account of the approximately US$3 million that it contains. Financial authorities have long been aware that Kim Jong-il operated a network of secret bank accounts in Europe, with Switzerland the favoured destination because of the country's strict banking secrecy laws. When authorities there began to tighten regulations on money laundering, the regime's operatives began to spread the secret funds around Europe in smaller amounts, with Luxembourg a new preferred haven. The funds, which have been inherited by Kim Jong-un, are the profits from North Korea selling its nuclear and missile technology, dealing in narcotics, insurance fraud, the use of forced labour in its vast gulag system and the counterfeiting of foreign currency. The sources declined to speculate on why funds had been kept in a secret account in Japan and why they are now needed back in North Korea. They added that Ho had been ordered to secure about US$1 million that was in a similar secret account in Canada. Ho has reportedly been given six months to complete the transfer. The letter also demanded that Ho sort out problems concerning Chongryon's 10-storey headquarters in central Tokyo. The government-backed Resolution and Collection Corporation began steps to sell the building last year in an effort to recoup loans amounting to more than 62 billion yen (HK$4.5 billion) that it had extended to the residents' association. Two early efforts to purchase the building, one by a temple with links to organised crime groups and the other to a company in Mongolia that is believed to have been a front for the North Korean government, were blocked. So Chung-on, director of the International Affairs Bureau of Chongryon, declined to comment. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

President of Mongolia to attend the 10th ASEM Summit and conduct visits to Austria and Hungary (infomongolia)
2014-10-13
Today on October 13th, Mongolian delegates headed by the President Ts.Elbegdorj left the country to attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit to be held in Milan, the Italian Republic on October 16-17, 2014. Also, President will pay an official visit to the Republic of Austria on October 14-15 and a working visit to Hungary on October 17-18, 2014. The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between our two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. This year's Meeting will bring together the Heads of state and government of 49 member countries from Asia and Europe, gathering officials including the President of the European Council, President of the European Commission and Secretary General of the ASEAN. During the official visit to the Republic of Austria, President Ts.Elbegdorj will hold meetings with the Federal President of Austria Mr. Heinz Fischer, the President of the National Council of Austria Mrs. Doris Bures, to visit the United Nations Office in Vienna and will deliver an opening remark at the Mongolia-Austria Business Forum. During the visit to Hungary, President Ts.Elbegdorj will hold meetings with the President of Hungary Mr. Janos Ader, Prime Minister of Hungary Mr. Viktor Orban and other officials. Also, the President of Mongolia will visit the Center for Mongolian Studies at the Faculty for Central Asian Studies of the Eotvos Lorand University, and deliver opening speech at the Mongolia-Hungary Business Forum and give a lecture themed “Democracy in Mongolia: Lesson” at the Central European University. The President's upcoming visit would give great impetus to the developments of Mongolia-Austria and Mongolia-Hungary relations, in particular, enhancing economic, trade and investment cooperation and intensifying mutual partnership within the international organizations. ^ top ^

President of Mongolia starts an official visit to Austria (infomongolia)
2014-10-15
On October 14, 2014, the President of Mongolia Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ and accompanying delegation arrived in Vienna, the Republic of Austria for a two-day official visit. President Ts.Elbegdorj was officially welcomed by Heinz Fischer, the Federal President of Austria at the Innerer Burghof Square of the Hofburg Palace. Chief of Staff of the Office of the Federal President of Austria Politzer Helmut, Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economy, Science, Family and Youth Reinhold Mitterlehner and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Mongolia Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl were present at the welcoming ceremony. After posing for photo, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and the Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer held a bilateral meeting. During the two-day visit to Austria, President Ts.Elbegdorj is scheduled meet with the President of the National Council of Austria Ms. Doris Bures, visit the United Nations Office in Vienna and open Mongolia-Austria Business Forum. It is expected that the official visit of the President Elbegdorj will play pivotal role in enhancing bilateral relations between Mongolia and Austria, particularly, in expanding economic, trade, investment cooperation and intensifying mutual partnership within the international organizations. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Petra Salome Merki
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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