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
  23-29.8.14, No. 539  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

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Foreign Policy

SCO anti-terror drill kicks off in China (China Daily)
2014-08-24
A multinational anti-terror drill was kicked off by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in north China's Inner Mongolia on Sunday. Deputy chiefs of the general staff from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and deputy commander of Russia's eastern military command participated in the opening ceremony of the drill at the Zhurihe training base. The joint exercise code-named "Peace Mission 2014" is scheduled to run from Aug 24 to Aug 29 and aims to deter the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, said Wang Ning, chief director of the drill and deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army. "The drill focuses on joint multilateral decision making and action, with exchanges of anti-terror intelligence among the SCO members to effectively boost the troops' coordinated ability to fight terrorism," Wang said. A total of 7,000 troops from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been dispatched to the Zhurihe training base for the drill, including ground and air forces, special operations and airborne troops and others tasked with electronic countermeasures, reconnaissance, mapping and positioning. Drones, airborne early warning aircraft, air-defense missiles, tanks and armored vehicles have also joined the exercise. The relationships of the SCO members are "unbreakable" and the joint drill will certainly strengthen their resolve and capability to fight terrorism, said deputy commander of Russia's eastern military command Tselko. The exercise scenario involves a separatist organization, supported by an international terrorist organization, plotting terrorist incidents and hatching a coup plot to divide the country. The SCO dispatches military forces to put down the insurrection and restore stability at the request of the country's government. Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the SCO groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners. ^ top ^

Vietnam sends senior official to China to build bridges after oil rig stand-off (SCMP)
2014-08-25
A senior Vietnamese Communist Party official arrives in China today on a fence-mending mission as the two countries seek to repair ties badly strained by the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in the disputed South China Sea. Le Hong Anh, who is fifth in Vietnam's Communist Party Politburo, would visit China today and tomorrow as a special envoy of party chief Nguyen Phu Trong and at the invitation of the Communist Party of China, officials from both countries said yesterday. Relations between Beijing and Hanoi were hit hard in May when China deployed an oil rig to the Paracel Islands - known as the Xisha Islands in China and Hoang Sa in Vietnam - sparking deadly anti-China protests in Vietnam. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said Anh would hold talks with Chinese leaders on ways to stop tensions flaring up again, the Vietnam News Agency reported. Binh said Vietnam would give humanitarian support to Chinese workers affected by the riots, and the Vietnam-China Friendship Association would send a team to China to visit families of the victims. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing acknowledged Hanoi's efforts to deal with the aftermath of the riots, but called on Vietnam to properly implement its pledges. Anh's trip will be the highest-level exchange between the two countries since State Councillor Yang Jiechi went to Hanoi in June as both nations engaged in tough rhetoric. Tensions have eased since China removed the oil rig last month. Carl Thayer, a Vietnam watcher at the Australian Defence Force Academy, said Anh's trip was to reassure Beijing and set the stage for future visits. "They [Vietnam] still grieve about the oil rig, but they have to pick up the pieces and show they are willing up to a point to be accommodating," Thayer said. "And China has to be wise enough to not push things too strongly." Zhang Jie, a regional security analyst with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing aimed to improve party-to-party relations with Vietnam to show it can maintain communication with Hanoi despite tensions. ^ top ^

Mid-air 'near miss' highlights strategic divide between US and China in Asia (SCMP)
2014-08-26
The encounter between a People's Liberation Army fighter jet and a US Navy surveillance aircraft off China's southern coast last week underlined mutual suspicion between China and the United States about strategic objectives in Asia, analysts said. Washington and Beijing gave contrasting accounts over the weekend of the encounter on Wednesday between a US Navy P-8 surveillance plane and a Chinese J-11 jet over the South China Sea near Hainan. The Pentagon said the Chinese jet made several close passes by the Navy P-8 Poseidon plane, coming within nine metres of it at one point. China's defence ministry rejected that depiction as "totally untenable", saying its pilot was professional and kept a safe distance. A Chinese navy officer said the US plane was probably tracking Chinese nuclear submarines, which were believed to be taking part in a military drill. Beijing has complained that frequent US military surveillance of China's coast is a major barrier to a better bilateral military relationship. But the US insists it has the right under international law to carry out the missions. The tension between the two countries persists despite President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama agreeing at a summit last year to forge a new kind of relationship between the two countries. Benjamin Herscovitch, a researcher with the Centre for Independent Studies in Australia, said mutual suspicion about strategic objectives in Asia would continue to undermine efforts to forge a "new model of great power relations" between China and the US. […] Herscovitch said such incidents would become more frequent and the relationship between China and the US would remain fraught despite the efforts to create friendly ties between the two militaries. "The Sino-US military relationship is dependent on the Sino-US strategic relationship, and the latter is increasingly bumpy because of a series of ongoing irritants," he said. The Chinese and US militaries "will not be able to defuse the deep-seated Sino-US tension that is at root diplomatic and political rather than military". ^ top ^

China, Zimbabwe pledge stronger ties as Mugabe visits (Xinhua)
2014-08-26
China and Zimbabwe pledged to strengthen friendship and all-round cooperation as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe visited Beijing on Monday. The pledge came out of the talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mugabe in the Great Hall of the People. Calling Mugabe an old friend of China, a renowned leader of Africa's national liberation movement and promoter of Africa's integration, Xi said the traditional friendship between both countries was forged during the two countries' anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and anti-hegemony wars. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 34 years ago, the two countries understood and supported each other on issues regarding each other's core interests and major concern, and helped one another in their development, Xi said. He said China will continue to adhere to its principles, uphold justice and support Zimbabwe's efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. "We believe the Zimbabwean people have wisdom and capabilities to handle their affairs very well," Xi added. The Chinese president urged both sides to maintain high-level exchanges, share experience in inter-party exchanges, governance, reform and opening-up. China will continue to help train Zimbabwean talents, teach and transfer agricultural technologies to Zimbabwe and help the country to increase food production and agricultural income, he said. Xi also expressed willingness to participate in Zimbabwe's construction of economic and industrial zones, and vowed to encourage more Chinese companies to invest in the country. As Zimbabwe will hold rotating presidency of the African Union next year, Xi vowed joint efforts with the country to push China-Africa strategic partnership up to a new stage. Mugabe, who is on a state visit as Xi's guest, expressed appreciation for China's support and help during his country's anti-colonialism war and struggle for national liberation and independence. He praised China's fairness in global affairs, as well as its respect and help for African countries. Zimbabwe is committed to speeding up its economic development, said the 90-year-old, expressing his hope to strengthen cooperation with China and boost Africa-China ties. After their talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of several cooperation deals in such areas as food, finance and tourism. ^ top ^

China, Turkmenistan to expand practical cooperation (Xinhua)
2014-08-27
China and Turkmenistan are set to further expand practical cooperation as Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli arrived here Tuesday to give a fresh boost to bilateral relations. During his stay, Zhang will meet with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, and co-chair with Deputy Prime Minister Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov the third meeting of the Chinese-Turkmen cooperation committee. The two sides are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including trade, energy, infrastructure and development of the Silk Road Economic Belt, an initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zhang's trip to the Central Asian country is yet another high-level contact between China and Turkmenistan after the presidents of the two countries exchanged visits in less than one year. During Xi's visit to Turkmenistan in September last year, he and Berdymukhamedov jointly put into production a natural gas field that had been developed by a Chinese oil company. When Berdymukhamedov visited China in May, the two countries signed cooperation documents on a wide range of areas. Over recent years, China has been the top trading partner of Turkmenistan, while the latter is a major source of China's natural gas imports. Chinese Ambassador to Turkmenistan Xiao Qinghua said in an interview with local media that bilateral cooperation has been growing in leaps and frogs over the past few years. Two-way trade topped 10 billion U.S. dollars last year, compared to the 4.5 million dollars when the two countries established official relations in 1992. China, Xiao added, is ready to further expand bilateral economic cooperation into new areas, including oil and natural gas processing, energy equipment manufacturing, agriculture and animal husbandry, telecommunications, high technology and transport. Frequent high-level contact and fruitful cooperation have helped put bilateral relations on a fast track. In 2013 China became the first country to establish a strategic partnership with Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is the first leg of Zhang's three-nation tour, which will also take him to the Czech Republic and Russia. ^ top ^

'Correct political decisions' must be made to overcome disputes, Xi tells Vietnamese envoy (SCMP)
2014-08-28
President Xi Jinping said China and Vietnam should take appropriate steps to address their conflicts as he held talks with a senior Vietnamese politician amid strained ties between the two nations over territorial disputes. Xi said it was inevitable the neighbours would have disputes, but they should both make "correct political decisions" to put ties on the right track. The president met Le Hong Anh, a special envoy of Vietnam's Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong. Anh is on a two-day fence-mending trip after tensions between the two countries over disputed islands in the South China Sea led to deadly anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in May. During the talks both sides promised to seek a peaceful resolution to the territorial disputes and to resume stalled cooperation in several areas. Xi told Anh that the relationship between China and Vietnam had been "subject to a severe shock". "The key is what attitude and methods we use to handle our disputes," Xi said. "China and Vietnam have to insist on maintaining the traditional friendship and relationship between the two nations and removing all obstacles and properly resolving the relevant problems." In a separate meeting, Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan said the top leadership of the two parties would give more directives to push for development of bilateral ties. Premier Li Keqiang said last October that China and Vietnam had the wisdom to keep the South China Sea peaceful after the two countries agreed to set up a working group on joint exploration of the disputed waters, along with stepping up economic and financial cooperation. But talks on closer ties were halted in May after Beijing's deployment of an oil rig to the disputed Paracel Islands, sparking the protests in Vietnam. State Councillor Yang Jiechi went to Hanoi in June to try to ease tensions, but the diplomatic freeze remained until last month, when the oil rig was removed. Zhang Mingliang, an expert in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said Anh's trip was a genuine attempt to improve relations between the two countries' communist parties amid the strained ties. "It is hoped that officials between the two parties can form some directives on improving ties and pass them to the government," Zhang said. Vietnam is of more concern to China in Southeast Asia because its military is more advanced and it controls more islands in the South China Sea than the Philippines, said Zhang. This meant Beijing was more willing to hold talks with Hanoi than Manila, he said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier in Czech for closer ties (Xinhua)
2014-08-28
China and the Czech Republic is turning a new page on bilateral relations as Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli arrived here Wednesday evening to forge closer ties with Czech and other Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC). Zhang is the first senior Chinese leader that visited the Czech Republic in nearly five years. As the two countries are to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, Zhang is to meet with Czech President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on further advancing bilateral ties and China-Europe relations. China-Czech relations have been picking up steam since Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Zeman in Sochi, Russia, in February. During the meeting, Xi said the two sides should take the anniversary of the forging of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to bring bilateral relations to higher levels. Zhang's visit to Czech is aimed at implementing the consensus that the presidents reached on the development of bilateral relations. The two sides will also discuss cooperation in areas of manufacturing, infrastructure development and investment. During his visit, Zhang will also address the second China-CEEC local leaders meeting which will bring together more than 1,000 participants from local governments and companies in China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries. As a platform for local governments and business circles, the meeting is the second most important platform within the mechanism of cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries, after the China-CEEC leaders meeting. In an earlier meeting with visiting Romanian Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea in Beijing, Zhang said China is ready to push forward the China-CEE cooperation and the all-round strategic partnership between China and the European Union. Czech is the second leg of Zhang's three-nation trip which has taken him to Turkmenistan. After the visit to Prague, Zhang will travel to Russia for an energy cooperation meeting and to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of a China-Russia natural gas pipeline. ^ top ^

Neighbours wary as another arms deal between Beijing and Moscow looms (SCMP)
2014-08-29
Intensive military cooperation between China and Russia is set to raise the eyebrows of their wary neighbours. One of the developments being closely watched is the negotiations between Beijing and Moscow over the sale of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system. While they have dragged on since 2010, a senior Russian official said progress was made recently. "The chances that China may be the first foreign buyer [of S-400s] are high," the official Voice of Russia cited the Kremlin's chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, as saying last month. But he didn't give any additional details. If the deal is approved, it will be their third big arms deal since last year. The S-400 Triumph, a new-generation system upgraded from the S-300, which the PLA is using, is capable of countering all air attack weapons, including tactical and strategic aircraft, ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets such as the US' F-35 fighter jet. With a range of 2,400km, the S-400 can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously with as many as 72 missiles at altitudes of five metres to 30km. Dr Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a defence analyst at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think tank, said as India also relied more on Russian arms and military supplies, the S-400 deal between Moscow and Beijing would make India increasingly concerned. "The Russian insensitivity in selling advanced weapons and platforms to China at the cost of India is a reflection of the new emerging dynamics, and India has to take measures to ensure its own maneuverability while maximising its gains," she said. "The S-400 deal will not push India to come up with new military strategies, but [will] change geopolitical development and the balance of power in Asia." Wang Xudong, an adviser on satellites to the central government, said China had other new advanced weapons and missile systems, such as the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, known as a carrier killer, and the DF-41, which is capable of hitting anywhere in the United States. "China wants to buy the S-400 missile system from Russia because both Beijing and Moscow need to get something from each other," Wang said, adding that Russia needed Chinese funding for research work. "The S-400 missile system will provide the PLA [with] an alternative weapon, if necessary, and Beijing also doesn't need to spend so much time on producing such a sophisticated armament as tension in the East and South China seas all remind us to be well prepared." Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong said a deal between Russia and China would encourage the US to build closer relationships with the Philippines, Vietnam and even Taiwan. "It's not clear [how] the military cooperation between Beijing and Moscow will go, but the US would definitely keep a close eye on it, and come up with new strategies," he said. Wong said the West's decision to punish and isolate Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis had drawn Moscow closer to Beijing. "The PLA is expecting to learn some particular missile technologies from the S-400 system. I think China will soon produce a new type of anti-aircraft missile that compares with S-400 because Chinese are [good] copycats," Wong said. China and Russia are expected to cooperate further on developing the IL-476 transport aircraft and IL-78 airborne refuelling tanker, according to state media in both countries. ^ top ^

China urges Japan to break from aggressive past after Shinzo Abe honours war criminals (SCMP)
2014-08-29
China has called on Japan to break from its aggressive past and win the trust of its Asian neighbours, the day after news that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had honoured Japanese war criminals from the second world war as “martyrs”. Abe sent a message in April to a Buddhist temple in western Japan that houses a monument to more than 1,000 “Showa Martyrs”, including convicted wartime leaders who were executed or died in prison, an official of a group sponsoring the event said on Wednesday. The term “Showa” refers to the late Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japanese soldiers fought the second world war. News of Abe's condolence message is expected to further strain ties with China over Japan's war record. “The Japanese government needs to sincerely reflect on its history of aggression and make a clean break with militarism, that provides an important foundation for Japan to rebuild and develop relations with its Asian neighbours after the war,” said Qin Gang, China's foreign ministry spokesman, in a statement posted on the ministry's website today. “We urge Japan to abide to their commitment to post-war non-aggression and take practical action to win the trust of their Asian neighbours and the international community.” Japan's wartime leaders are enshrined along with war dead at the more widely known Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Visits to this shrine by Japanese leaders typically outrage China, where memories of Japan's past militarism run deep. Abe surged back to power in December 2012 pledging to revive the economy, but remains committed to a conservative agenda that includes recasting Japan's wartime past with a less apologetic tone and easing the limits of its pacifist constitution. Ties between Japan and China, Asia's two biggest economies, has been frayed by rows over the legacy of Japan's wartime militarism, a territorial feud over a group of tiny islands in the East China Sea – known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China – and mutual distrust over defence policies. ^ top ^

Sunnylands II: Xi Jinping and Barack Obama to meet informally after Apec (SCMP)
2014-08-29
President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Barack Obama after an Apec summit in China in November. Robert Wang, a senior US State Department official responsible for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping, said they would discuss a wide range of issues including tensions over the South China Sea and close encounters between military aircraft. The meeting may be held in an informal setting similar to the talks between the two at Sunnylands in California last year. "I've heard a lot of comments about how effective it is to actually have smaller meetings where you can actually talk about issues in a more personal way, and I think knowing President Obama's style and, of course, from the US point of view, we did Sunnylands, and so we think that's an effective way of doing things," Wang said in Washington. There have been simmering tensions in recent years, with the US critical of China's assertiveness over territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, while China is suspicious of the growing US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Relations were strained last week after Washington said a Chinese fighter jet came within a few metres of a US Navy surveillance aircraft in international airspace off Hainan. The Defence Ministry in Beijing said the allegations were groundless. Both nations have pledged to address their differences, and China has called for efforts to build a "new type of major power relations". Wang said he was not sure whether the US "subscribe completely to the exact interpretation of that". "I'm not sure what new style model we have, but to me it's really simple … you try to manage [differences] in a way that would not make it uncontrollable or unmana-geable." ^ top ^

Close ranks to combat evil forces, Xi urges (China Daily)
2014-08-29
President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that China expects "closer strategic communication" with member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to address challenges posed by terrorists, separatists and extremists. Xi made the remarks when he met with visiting chiefs of staff from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Beijing. The senior military officials convened with their Chinese counterpart earlier in the day for security teamwork building. SCO members will stage a joint drill on Friday at Zhurihe in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. It is part of the fifth multinational "Peace Mission 2014" anti-terrorism military drill being staged from Sunday to Friday. Xi said the Beijing meeting of the chiefs of staff was a great success, and that programs like the drill are conducive to deepening cooperation on defense security within the SCO. A total of 7,000 troops from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been sent to the Zhurihe training base for the drill. This year's drill surpasses previous ones in scale and the weaponry involved and is closer to real combat than before, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said. "The exercise will play a vital role in deterring the 'three evil forces' (terrorism, separatism and extremism) and safeguarding regional peace and stability," Yang said at a news conference. The Afghanistan issue "matters greatly to regional security and stability" and China expects that efforts by the international community will bring peace, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan, Yang said when asked if the SCO will be engaged in anti-terrorist operations in Central Asia. Xi also said the defense forces of SCO members had mutually cooperated in various fields, especially in designing the "Peace Mission" series of military drills. China shares its fate with other SCO members and "would like to join hands (with them) to address new threats and new challenges", he said. Joint efforts by the SCO have a long-term influence and contribute to ensuring regional security and stability, he said. The drill centers on a "separatist organization", supported by an "international terrorist group" in plotting terrorist incidents and hatching a coup plot to divide the country. SCO members send military forces to quash the insurrection and restore stability. Meng Xiangqing, deputy director of the Strategic Research Institute at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, said a joint military drill is needed to deal with new challenges as "the terrorist threat is gathering momentum". Meng said China is a major victim of cross-border terrorist threats, and the drill is staged as part of preparations for joint efforts to crack down on terrorism, separatism and extremism, At the chiefs of staff meeting, Fang Fenghui, chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, called on joint efforts to build a "security community" and for stronger coordination to prevent terrorism. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, said, "The regional situation remains unstable and faces plenty of threats and challenges." Close coordination within the SCO is more important than at any time, Gerasimov said. Leaders of SCO member states are expected to gather in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe in September for their annual meeting. Xi said Beijing highly values the positive role played by the SCO in regional security and development and is ready to make the summit a success. ^ top ^

China to build high-end security forum: DM spokesman (Xinhua)
2014-08-29
As organizers prepare for the Xiangshan Forum in November, the Defense ministry says they hope to transform the event into a high-end security and defense forum. The fifth Xiangshan Forum, organized by the China Association for Military Science, is scheduled to be held in Beijing from November 20 to 22, spokesman Yang Yujun told a monthly press briefing. The biennial event, which focuses on security in the Asia-Pacific region, will be held annually from this year on, he said. To adapt to a changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and the need for security cooperation, the fifth forum will change from a pure academic forum to a high-end security and defense forum, he said. This year, invitations will be extended to defense or military officials from Asia-Pacific nations, representatives from international organizations, former military or political leaders as well as renowned defense scholars, he said. The forum will also invite heads of state or heads of government to give keynote speeches. Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and officials from Chinese Foreign Ministry will also deliver speeches. Running under the theme of "Cooperation and Win-Win, build an Asian Community of Common Destiny", the three-day event will discuss regional security, maritime security and anti-terrorism cooperation. "China welcomes defense and military officials as well as scholars from Asia-Pacific nations to attend," Yang said. The forum was first held in 2006. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

New Deng biography reveals intra-Party confrontations: editor (Global Times)
2014-08-22
A new biography of late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping has laid bare "ideological confrontations and contradictions within the Party," its chief editor said on Friday. "The Biography of Deng Xiaoping (1904-1974)," authored by the Party Literature Research Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, was published on Monday to mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of Deng, known as the chief architect of China's socialist reform, opening up and modernization. Yang Shengqun, the book's chief editor, told Xinhua that Deng's theories form an important part of the book, while these theories were shaped by his ideological clashes with other Party leaders of the time. "Writing about the ideological confrontations and contradictions within the party is without doubt a tough job," but it would have been disingenuous to avoid doing so, he said. Deng's life, "which was full of ups and downs," reflects this struggle, Yang said. Born in 1904 in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Deng was revered for his leadership of the country's modern-day transformation that started in the 1970s. The new biography records Deng's life until 1974, when he became vice premier of China, after being purged during the disastrous 10-year Cultural Revolution. Yang said the book is based on a large quantity of internal government documents. The writers referred to Deng's speeches, telegrams and letters as well as the memoirs of notable contemporaries. Many of the documents have never been published before. "We want to present our readers with a faithful account of history," the chief editor explained.[...] ^ top ^

Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes by Chinese supersonic submarine (SCMP)
2014-08-25
China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours. New technology developed by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology's Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater. Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team's innovative approach meant they could now create the complicated air "bubble" required for rapid underwater travel. "We are very excited by its potential," he said. Water produces more friction, or drag, on an object than air, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft. […] However, Li said many problems still needed to be solved before supersonic submarine travel became feasible. Besides the control issue, a powerful underwater rocket engine still had to be developed to give the vessel a longer range. The effective range of the Russian supercavitation torpedoes, for example, was only between 11 km and 15 km. Li said the supercavitation technology was not limited only to military use. In future, it could benefit civilian underwater transport, or water sports such as swimming. "If a swimsuit can create and hold many tiny bubbles in water, it can significantly reduce the water drag; swimming in water could be as effortless as flying in the sky," he said. Besides Russia, countries such as Germany, Iran and the United States have been developing vessels or weapons using supercavitation technology. Professor Wang Guoyu, the head of the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at Beijing Institute of Technology who is leading another state-funded research project on supercavitation, said the global research community had been troubled for decades by the lack of innovative ideas to address the huge scientific and engineering challenges. "The size of the bubble is difficult to control, and the vessel is almost impossible to steer," he said. While cruising at high speed during supercavitation, a fin could be snapped off if it touched the water because of the liquid's far greater density. Despite many scientists worldwide working on similar projects, the latest progress remains unclear because they are regarded as military secrets. Wang, a member of the water armament committee of the China Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, said even he had been kept in the dark about recent supercavitation developments in China. "The primary drive still comes from the military, so most research projects are shrouded in secrecy," he said. ^ top ^

Lawmakers in move to tackle espionage threat (China Daily)
2014-08-26
Chinese lawmakers are considering renaming the National Security Law, which may be amended with more provisions to combat espionage. A bill submitted for a first reading at the bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress suggests changing the name to the Counterespionage Law. Explaining the bill to lawmakers, Geng Huichang, minister of national security, said that China's counterespionage agencies face new circumstances and challenges and need stronger support from legislation. The current law mainly regulates the work of the country's national security agencies, whose major duty is counterespionage work. The bill introduces new regulations for this work, which has been effective in practice but has not been written into the current law. Under the bill's proposals, foreign organizations and individuals conducting espionage activities, or who instigate and sponsor others to do so, will be punished, as will domestic organizations and individuals who spy on the country for foreign organizations and individuals. The bill will give national security agencies the authority to ask an organization or individual to stop or change activities that are considered harmful to national security. If they refuse or fail to do so, the agencies will be entitled to seal or seize related property. The National Security Law has not been revised since it took effect in 1993. A national security commission has been set up, headed by President Xi Jinping. At its first meeting in mid-April, Xi said that ensuring national security is a matter of prime importance as China presses ahead with its modernization drive. Li Wei, a security analyst at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said China has been a "hot target" for espionage from Western and neighboring countries. An official from the Ministry of State Security, who declined to reveal her name due to the sensitivity of the issue, said there is an urgent need for an anti-spying law with detailed rules. Recent incidents involving Chinese and foreigners have shone the spotlight on national security. On Aug 4, a Canadian couple were investigated by the state security agency in Dandong, Liaoning province, on suspicion of stealing state secrets. They are suspected of using their cafe in the city to collect intelligence. A day later, a master's student who studied aviation at a university in Heilongjiang province was arrested on suspicion of selling more than 50 batches of confidential information to overseas spy agencies for more than 200,000 yuan ($32,000). ^ top ^

Citizens' right to sue government drafted (Xinhua)
2014-08-26
China's top legislature on Monday began to review a draft amendment which will make it easier for citizens to take the government to court. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Monday started its bimonthly meeting to review a number of documents, including a draft amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law tabled for its second reading. If the amendment is passed, actionable cases will no longer be confined to "specific administrative acts." As the law stands, citizens, companies or other organizations may file suit against "specific administrative acts" by administrative agencies or personnel which they believe to have infringed their rights. As Articles 11 and 12 explicitly list the types of disputes that are actionable, the amendment removes the word "specific," which in practice sometimes becomes an excuse for courts to throw out cases. Currently, courts can only revoke an administrative act when it is deemed illegal. The draft allows the revoking of acts that are "evidently unreasonable." The draft also compels defendants - representatives of the administrations concerned - to personally appear before the court. At present, some defendants simply ask their lawyers to represent them in court, which often does little to help settle the dispute. Another change in the draft is that both the original department that carried out the actions in question and the administration that reviewed the case will be listed as joint defendants. According to current law, an administrative agency which has reviewed another agency's questionable act is only regarded as a defendant if it changed the original decision. In practice, these stipulations have resulted in reluctance to change controversial decisions, and thereby avoid being dragged into troublesome legal wrangling, rendering the administrative review system ineffective in some situations. ^ top ^

Party account wins popular approval, provides role models and platform for learning (Global Times)
2014-08-26
A public account named "Communist Party of China (CPC) member" launched by Chinese authorities on various social media platforms has become popular recently and won online and offline support. Officially launched on June 27, the account, "gcdyweixin" on WeChat and "gcdyyx" on EasyChat (an app jointly developed by Netease and China Telecom), was created by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee and operated by news portal xinhuanet.com. "This move aims to publicize the Party's voice, cement Party-people ties, and provide a platform for CPC members to learn about Chinese classics, history and other knowledge," a spokesperson of the Party member education center under the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee told the Global Times on Monday. Updated every day, the account posts a various range of news and commentaries about Party construction, personnel appointment, governance ability and the mass-line campaign. It also introduces role models for CPC members."The number of subscribers to our account has been rapidly increasing by around 80,000 every day recently, although the total number is slightly under our expectations," said the spokesperson. The Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee issued a circular on July 24, requesting local Party committees to promote the public account."Grass-roots Party committees should teach their members and the public to use the account face to face and hand by hand," according to the circular. Some Net users supported the account as it provides the latest news and touching stories of CPC members. "All the members in our center have already subscribed to the account," Liu Yang, an employee of the Hunan provincial Party member education center, told the Global Times, adding that the content greatly benefited his work and provided useful inspirations. The CPC has 86.69 million members as of the end of 2013, reported the Xinhua News Agency. ^ top ^

Huge marijuana plantation spotted by hi-tech satellite in China's northeast (SCMP)
2014-08-26
Police using a new, advanced satellite discovered the biggest illegal marijuana plantation in recent Chinese history, according to the nation's space authorities. The Ministry of Public Security found the plantation straddling Jilin province and Inner Mongolia by analysing images taken by Gaofen 1, a high-definition earth observation satellite launched last year that carries some of China's best sensors, the China National Space Administration said. The actual size of the plantation was not revealed, but it was said to be the biggest known marijuana farm spotted since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Data from the Gaofen 1 satellite also revealed other illegal activities, including plantations of opium poppies in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Hebei; more than 10 secret passageways used to cross China's borders illegally to and from North Korea and also in the Xinjiang region; and a large warehouse for offshore oil smuggling in Fujian. The high-definition satellite images had provided "important information support" to departments at the ministry during their law enforcement duties, said the space authority. The brief statement, released on the space administration's website last Thursday and picked up by many mainland media, could no longer be accessed yesterday. China has rarely, if ever, revealed the use of satellites in sensitive areas such as defence and national security. Neither the ministry nor the space administration responded to questions from the South China Morning Post. […] ^ top ^

Guide to Xi's remarks on military issues published (Xinhua)
2014-08-26
A guide book designed to help understand President Xi Jinping's remarks on national defense and army building has been published, according to military sources. The book, covering 10 sections, expounded on Xi's strategic thinking and theories concerning military issues. Xi is also chairman of the Central Military Commission. The General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which organized the compiling of the book, has issued a circular, urging all officers and soldiers to study the book. The department said learning the book should be viewed as a key part of the military's political studies. They hope the guide will help servicemen correctly understand Xi's views in military construction. ^ top ^

China Resources Power president and Shanxi tycoon detained by authorities (SCMP)
2014-08-27
The president of China Resources Power and a Shanxi tycoon, believed to be the biggest beneficiary of a controversial coal investment, have been detained by authorities. CRP announced last night that Wang Yujun, 49, who is also the company's executive director, was under investigation by prosecutors in Jiangsu province. The announcement came as sources revealed that Zhang Xinming - once the richest man in Shanxi with estimated assets valued at 4 billion yuan (HK$5 billion) - had been detained earlier this month. Zhang is the founder of Shanxi Jinye Coking Coal, the company at the centre of the controversial deal. In 2012, CRP paid Zhang's company 7.9 billion yuan to buy three coal mines and related assets. Minority CRP shareholders last year launched a lawsuit against former and current CRP directors, including Song Lin, the disgraced former chairman of CRP's parent company, alleging that the mines were bought at an inflated price. The lawsuit was dropped in January. Song was sacked in April and is under investigation for corruption. [...] ^ top ^

China's new rule stops wealthy from buying their way out of jail (SCMP)
2014-08-27
Top prosecutors have ordered greater scrutiny to ensure corrupt officials and law-breaking business executives do not use money or exert power to avoid serving their full sentences. The instructions came in a new directive on sentence reductions and parole. The Supreme People's Procuratorate announced yesterday that local prosecution staff must review all applications for sentence reductions and parole if a case involves former officials, people convicted of financial fraud, gang members, terrorists, or other prisoners involved in high-profile cases. The directive requires at least two staff members from local procuratorates, including at least one prosecutor, to attend court reviews of parole applications. "The new regulation basically targets the powerful and the rich in prison. These people are more likely to offer bribes for a sentence reduction," Yuan Qiguo, a department director from the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said. Yuan said the top procuratorate would also give a new directive on inmates serving sentences outside prison. The move followed a nine-month investigation that uncovered 711 cases where prisoners were given inappropriate sentence reductions or parole. Of those, 76 cases involved officials at ranks higher than bureau chief. [...] The Supreme People's Procuratorate also said yesterday it had launched separate investigations into four former law enforcers suspected of corruption, Xinhua reported. The four suspects are Sun Hai, former deputy chief of the provincial prison administration in Hebei; Liu Xianming, former police chief of Ceheng county, Guizhou; Wu Jianming, a former judge in Nancheng county, Jiangxi; and Lin An, a former prosecutor stationed at a local prison in Inner Mongolia. Sun, Wu and Lin are suspected of taking bribes, and Liu of releasing people from detention without authorisation. The top procuratorate also said it had prosecuted Yang Moulin, former president of Xuancheng's intermediate court, in Anhui province, for corruption and embezzling public funds. ^ top ^

City to train informants amid anti-terror drive (Xinhua)
2014-08-28
Hubei Authorities in central China plan on training local residents as informants to bolster a nationwide anti-terror drive. The public security department in Yichang City, Hubei province, will recruit and train 40,000 whistle-blowers to report on terrorism and violent activities to enhance local security. The informants will be selected by security departments at the local level, the Yichang public security bureau told Xinhua on Wednesday. They will then be provided with professional training and have files kept in the departments' archives. Beyond traditional telephone reports, the informants can report to police via mobile applications like microblog Sina Weibo, and popular instant messaging service WeChat, etc, the bureau said. Security departments in Yichang are pumping two million yuan ($325,600 dollars) in reward funds to those who provide useful information on terrorism. The move comes as China increases armed patrols and reinforces public security following a series of violent terrorist attacks recently. In Beijing, police have increased the number of helicopters, armed patrol vehicles and police dogs monitoring the streets since May. Meanwhile, China's southern metropolis of Guangzhou set up a special police force in July to cope with "severe and complicated" anti-terrorism work. Beijing, Shenzhen, and Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, have also published similar reward announcements. ^ top ^

Chinese dictionary's 100 new entries offer words for 'pollution' and nation's 'uncouth, newly rich'(SCMP)
2014-08-29
A new Chinese dictionary backed by the national language regulator offers a glimpse into the social and environmental concerns of the Chinese people, adding nearly 100 phrases to the lexicon, a report said today. The additions to the third edition of the Standard Dictionary of Modern Chinese “underscore characteristics of the time”, publishing house Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press said in a statement. They include a new definition of tuhao, a combination of “earth” or “uncouth” and “powerful” that used to refer to rich but despotic landlords in the countryside. The word has now been adopted by web users for newly rich people who are “lacking in education or correct values”, the statement said. China has enjoyed a decades-long economic boom, but at the same time inequality has widened, and a small elite have become extremely wealthy. The dictionary was compiled in the 1990s and first published in 2004 “to implement the national standard for Chinese language and characters and to guide teachers and students”, the state-run China Daily said today. It is backed by the National Language Committee, the language regulator under the education ministry. Other new entries include “particulate”, fine particles that make up much of the country's widespread air pollution – a focus of public discontent in recent years, and “wealth management”, popular financial products that offer higher interest rates than bank deposits. “Online shopping” was defined in terms of every step of the activity, from “looking up product information” to “submitting an order”, different payment methods and “delivery by courier”. ^ top ^

 

 

Beijing

Beijing film festival shut down after organisers threatened with power cuts, surveillance (SCMP)
2014-08-23
Chinese authorities blocked an annual independent film festival from opening Saturday, seizing documents and films from organisers and hauling away two event officials in a sign that Beijing is stepping up its already tight ideological controls. Li Xianting, a film critic and founder of the Li Xianting Film Fund, the organiser of the Beijing Independent Film Festival, said police searched his office and confiscated materials he had gathered over more than 10 years. Li and the festival's artistic director, Wang Hongwei, were detained by police Saturday night but later released, according to their supporters. The festival, which began in 2006, has seen severe police obstruction over the past few years, but this year's crackdown is far more serious, Wang said. “In the past few years, when they forced us to cancel the festival, we just moved it to other places, or delayed the screenings,” he said. “But this year, we cannot carry on with the festival. It is completely forbidden.” Over the past week, Li posted memos saying government security personnel were pressuring him to cancel the festival, and that he had come under police surveillance. […] Started as a film forum, the festival over the years has grown to be one of the most important events for China's independent films, but also has attracted the attention of authorities eager to regulate free speech. In 2012, electricity was cut off shortly after the festival opened, but organisers still managed to show some new movies. Last year, the festival went on, although public screenings were banned. In the memos that he posted, Li said police put him and the fund's office under surveillance Aug. 18, when this year's festival's poster and schedule were released online. He said local authorities initially agreed to a compromise that the festival be moved to a town farther out in neighbouring Hebei province, but that the management of the hotel where reservations had been made informed the fund on Friday that police were not allowing it to host the festival. Li said the festival's executive director, Fan Rong, and Wang were taken away by Songzhuang police on Friday afternoon and forced to sign a letter of promise to cancel the festival, before being freed five hours later. He said employees of the film fund were also informed that the electricity to the office would be cut off starting Saturday. ^ top ^

Gang crackdown not expected to halt illegal hukou (China Daily)
2014-08-26
The black market in Beijing household registrations is likely to continue despite a crackdown by police who detained a gang involved in the trade, say experts. The gang allegedly pocketed more than 3 million yuan ($486,000) by exploiting hukou, the household registration system. They helped 80 university graduates to obtain documents even though they were not eligible, say police. The Beijing procuratorate approved the arrest of 13 people on suspicion of selling official documents and abusing power. The police learned of the gang's activities from an online article that talked about the sale of Beijing hukou eligibility for 300,000 yuan, and targeted a suspect surnamed Tian. Police believe Tian, the manager of an information technology company, colluded with employees of the personnel departments of State-owned enterprises and high-tech firms to help graduates obtain hukou eligibility. The graduates were allegedly charged varying amounts ranging up to 330,000 yuan. […] The number of people who can legally obtain Beijing hukou is limited. Most civil servants and employees of State-owned enterprises in the capital are eligible, as are graduates who receive assistance from recruitment companies. Zhai Zhenwu, head of the School of Social and Population Studies at Renmin University of China, said the black market has existed for a long time and is unlikely to disappear because of the high demand. […] The State Council last month announced plans to reform the hukou system. Large cities such as Beijing will operate a points system — similar to the green card application process in the United States — to standardize procedures for granting residence permits to the migrant population. Zhai said the reformed system will not be able to meet the demand as the number of registrations issued will still be limited. This means there will continue to be opportunities for black market traders. […] ^ top ^

 

Tibet

China's developed regions to aid Tibetan areas (Xinhua)
2014-08-24
Four developed regions in China will provide one-to-one help to Tibetan autonomous prefectures and counties outside Tibet, according to an action plan released this weekend. The State Council said in the plan that Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province have been selected to aid four Tibetan autonomous prefectures and two autonomous counties in provinces of Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan from 2014 to 2020. Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan need support to help them maintain social stability, improve people's livelihoods and protect the environment, the cabinet said in the plan. "The one-to-one aid policy is expected to accelerate development in these areas and has important and far-reaching significance," it noted. According to the plan, the rich coastal regions will help Tibetans upgrade education facilities and train local teachers. Colleges in the four regions will receive more Tibetan students. The assistance also aims to modernize the husbandry industry in the Tibetan areas and promote tourism, traditional medicine and handcrafts. The four regions will nurture labor-intensive industries and create more jobs for local people. College graduates will be welcomed to find employment or start a business in their supporting municipality or province. In addition, Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong are expected to make progress in public services, infrastructures and ecological conservation. Beside Tibet, the minority mainly live in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu. ^ top ^

Moscow warns Dalai Lama: 'No politics' (Global Times)
2014-08-29
The Dalai Lama "must fully distance himself from politics" if he wants to visit Russia, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said, a stance echoing China's position while appeasing Buddhists at home. Lavrov made the remarks while addressing a question at the All-Russia Youth Forum Seliger-2014 on Wednesday. According to the official Sina Weibo account of the Russian Embassy in China, Lavrov said Moscow has engaged in talks with leaders of the Republic of Kalmykia, where half the population believe in Tibetan Buddhism, over the issue. "If it is a pastoral visit, the pastor should definitely withdraw from political activities. Unfortunately, we believe this is not the case," he said. China's foreign ministry on Thursday told the Global Times it has to gather related information before commenting on Lavrov's remarks. As of press time, the spokesperson's office had not replied to the inquiry. Xu Zhitao, an official with the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, which handles the Tibet question, told the Global Times Thursday that Moscow's stance over the Dalai Lama visit is consistent with Beijing's position. "The Dalai Lama has been engaged in political activities under the disguise of religion. During his overseas activities, he has never shunned away from political topics. However, Western politicians choose to turn a blind eye to his deeds," Xu said. "The Russian government respects the facts and holds an unambiguous stance over the question." Xu added that he believes Moscow has its own standard to distinguish the boundary between political and religious activities. "Moscow's stance over the Tibet question is becoming increasingly identical to that of Beijing's," Li Xing, a professor of Russian studies at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times. "Against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, Sino-Russian ties become even closer, as Moscow now counts on Beijing's support on various fronts." The last visit to Russia by the Dalai Lama was in 2004. Since then, Moscow has denied his visa, despite leaders from Kalmykia's attempts to bring him to the country. Buddhism is the third-largest religion in Russia. In 2006, Kalmykia presented the Dalai Lama with the White Lotus Order, the republic's highest civilian honor. Li said that, while reassuring China, Moscow also tried to strike a balance out of concerns for its Buddhist population. "Instead of rejecting the Dalai Lama's visit, it sets a prerequisite for him." In 2012, Putin said Moscow was working on bringing the Dalai Lama to Russia. In 2010, Lavrov once said Russia was ready to assist dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama. "Moscow did propose the dialogue, but we have repeatedly said that we contact the Dalai Lama under our established channels. Coming to the realization of our stance, Russia no longer makes such proposal," Xu said. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

CCTV airs Xinjiang terror group video of 'jihad launch' (SCMP)
2014-08-25
State television yesterday aired new videos reportedly found on the computers and mobile phones of attackers behind last year's car crash in Tiananmen Square that killed two tourists and injured 40. The footage showed a man named as Usmen Hasan leading a swearing-in ceremony on a hill in Urumqi, Xinjiang, before the group launched a "jihad", according to China Central Television. Usmen Hasan was also seen burning the flags of China, the United States, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The footage was aired a day after state media reported the execution of eight people for terror attacks in Xinjiang, including three who "masterminded" the Tiananmen Square attack. Usmen Hasan, his wife and mother were all reportedly in the car and died at the scene after the vehicle hit Jinshui Bridge in front of the Tiananmen gate tower and exploded in October. The executions were punishment for crimes ranging from setting up a terrorist operation and illegally making explosives, to attacking police officers and killing government officials, Xinhua said. Some of the people executed were blamed for attacks in the Xinjiang prefecture of Aksu, the city of Kashgar and the town of Hotan, Xinhua said. The World Uyghur Congress said the executed individuals paid a heavy price but the root causes of the issues had been overlooked. "The lawyers, to accomplish political ends, led them to accept China's charges, and skirted the causes of the issue," spokesman Dilxat Raxit said yesterday. "It's a typical case of the law serving political ends." ^ top ^

Confessions by killers of pro-Beijing imam in Xinjiang are broadcast (SCMP)
2014-08-25
Xinjiang's official television channel aired the confession of two suspects who assassinated a pro-Beijing imam at a major mosque in Kashgar in late July. The video aired during the prime time news bulletin on Sunday showed Nurmemet Abidilimit, a 19-year-old Kashgar native blamed for the death of the imam, telling a reporter from Xinjiang Television he learnt from his “mentor” that the imam had misinterpreted the Koran and that killing him could help raise his own profile. The imam, Jume Tahir, 74, was a former National People's Congress delegate and former vice-president of the Islamic Association of China. Abidilimit spoke in Uygur, saying he had not heard of a jihad until he joined an underground religious group in Hotan. He also confessed he jointly orchestrated the assassination with two other group members following the direction of their mentor, an 18-year-old Xinjiang native. Xinjiang Television's report suggested the mentor had only limited knowledge on the Koran. “My elder brother told me not to join illegal religious groups, or I would get caught and bring trouble to our family,” the mentor said during the interview. The interview was made public a day after the state television had aired footage of a ceremony in which a group of men pledged their lives to the jihad. The footage was reportedly found on the computers and mobile phones of attackers behind the deadly car crash in Tiananmen Square in Beijing last year. The official media has been playing up a propaganda campaign against terrorism since Xinjiang party chief Zhang Chunxian vowed to use an iron fist to “educate” and “mobilise” the public in the wake of the death of the imam. “We must use this [assassination] as a typical case [of terrorism] to expose the ugly nature of religious extremism and terrorism … to teach the public to keep their eyes open to the cruelty of the terrorists … and to build a general opinion against violence, terrorism and religious extremism,” Zhang told local officials during a briefing in late July about the assassination. […] ^ top ^

Imprisoned recruiter for extremist group voices regrets (China Daily)
2014-08-28
Gulaman Abudula, 34, said she now is sorry now for leading many women in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region into an illegal religious extremist group because their families might be destroyed, just as hers was. The mother of a young girl, Gulaman received a 13-year prison sentence for secession and began serving her time in 2008. She was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, or the Party of Liberation, which aims to unite Muslims around the world in the creation of an Islamic state, or caliphate, ruled by Islamic law. Growing up in southern Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture, Gulaman had wanted to be a teacher since childhood, but her ambition changed during high school when she learned about religious extremism, she said in a statement released by Xinjiang Women's Prison on Wednesday. She said she felt at the time that there was no need for education anymore, and her parents had to force her to go to school, where she spent most of her time secretly reading radical books. Soon after dropping out of college, Gulaman married a key member of an extremist group. Later, she made a vow to join the group and began to recruit other women. She then noticed that the group not only talked about Islam but also planned how to achieve political goals. She realized that she was on a dangerous path after her husband was arrested and sentenced. Still, she carried on translating illegal publications from Arabic to the Uygur language and distributing them in Hotan. At the beginning of her sentence, Gulaman said she felt no regret about joining the group. Instead, she was proud of what she did. She said the prison has invited religious leaders to give lectures about real Islam, which has gradually made her realize the damage she has done to her family and other families. Gulaman said she lost more than she gained after participating in religious extremist activities. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

HK to officially commemorate China's victory of anti-Japanese aggression (Xinhua)
2014-08-26
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) announced Tuesday that starting from this year, official ceremonies will be held every year to commemorate the victory of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression and victims who died in the Nanjing Massacre respectively. Earlier this year, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress designated Sept. 3 and Dec. 13 as the Victory Day of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression and Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day respectively. Commemorative activities will be held on Sept. 3 every year to recall the resistance against Japanese aggression and pay tribute to those who died in or made contributions to the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression, while memorial activities will be held on Dec. 13 to commemorate victims who died in the Nanjing Massacre and those who were killed during the Japanese invasion. They will also express the resolve of the Chinese people in safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and world peace. On Sept. 3, the HKSAR government will hold a ceremony at the City Hall Memorial Garden to mark the victory of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression. The Chief Executive, senior government officials, judicial officers, members of the Legislative Council, representatives of war veteran groups and members of the community will attend the ceremony. The ceremony will include singing of the national anthem, a gun salute, silence in mourning and wreath laying. The government will also hold a memorial ceremony on Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day on Dec. 13, with details announced later. In addition, the government will continue to hold the ceremony to commemorate those who died in the defence of Hong Kong on the Chung Yeung Festival, which is on Oct. 2 this year. ^ top ^

HK election plan drafted (Global Times)
2014-08-28
China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang on Wednesday presented a draft resolution on framework to elect Hong Kong's next leader, as opposition advocates continued to threaten large-scale protest if the political reform plan does not meet their requests. The draft plan to grant universal suffrage for the elections for the post of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region chief executive in 2017 and the legislative council in 2016, will be submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for deliberation before its bimonthly session closes on Sunday, reported the Xinhua News Agency. The resolution was drafted on the basis of a previous report submitted in July by Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on suggestions to revise election methods for Hong Kong's next leader. Exact details on the draft will not be released until Sunday when it is put to the vote by the whole plenary of the Standing Committee. NPC deputy Cheng Yiu-tong hinted the plan will be "strict," Hong Kong-based Now TV reported Wednesday. According to a report by the Radio Television Hong Kong, some concrete rules have been laid out that the nominating committee will be comprised of members from four major sectors, which will pick two or up to three candidates. Various reports by Hong Kong media outlets also indicate that the election framework will demand a 50 percent nomination threshold, which may cause opposition from the pan-democratic camp who are worried that they may be excluded. A 50 percent nomination threshold means aspirants for the 2017 election will need support from half of the nominating committee to become a candidate before they could run in an election. "Imposing the threshold is to make sure we could select candidates who 'love Hong Kong and love the country,'" Priscilla Lau Pui-king, a Hong Kong NPC deputy, told the Global Times on Wednesday. Lau also expressed concern that the high nomination threshold might become the main reason why the Hong Kong pan-democrats may not support the plan. "We still need to secure a few more votes in the legislative council for the plan to pass," said Lau. "But the three meetings held by Li Fei [chairman of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC] earlier in Shenzhen has been immensely helpful in building consistent communication with the pan-democrats," she said. Activists have warned they will blockade streets in the central business district if the standing committee fails to meet with "international standards" on universal suffrage in the framework set out on Sunday. "We will organize a rally on Sunday and announce our upcoming plans in response to the NPC's decision," Occupy Central's co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting said. The Hong Kong Federation of Students also threatened to organize strikes in universities as early as in mid-September if the plan announced on Sunday involves a requirement of 50 percent nomination threshold. The authorities, however, have prepared for any possible fallout the move might trigger. "Some incidents might happen after the Standing Committee of National People's Congress makes its decision on Sunday, [but] the central government has already been well prepared for that," Zhang, the top legislator, was quoted as saying by an NPC delegate Stanley Ng Chau-pei after a group meeting on Tuesday, reported Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. "The incidents," although Ng did not specify, are believed by many to refer to the mass sit-in protest by the Occupy Central movement. "The [Occupy Central's] seemingly high polling and protest numbers have been exaggerated, and are not likely to turn into actual participation in the Occupy movement," Gu Minkang, Associate Dean of the School of Law with the City University of Hong Kong, told the Global Times. "It is difficult to predict the actual scale of the protest, but the Hong Kong police are experienced and capable enough in dealing with any situation … Participants in the movement will also be punished by the law," he said. Li Fei, the Basic Law Committee chairman, will host a seminar in Hong Kong on September 1 to explain the Standing Committee's ruling. "Whether the plan will be passed will depend a lot on Li's explanation during the seminar to convince the legislators," noted Lau. Endorsement of the plan from at least two-thirds of Hong Kong's legislators is essential for the city's political reform to move forward, before the city leader and then the NPC make final approvals. ^ top ^

Extremists cannot prevail in Hong Kong (Global Times)
2014-08-29
Since media outlets revealed some concrete rules of the draft law that examines granting votes to residents for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's chief executive election in 2017 and its Legislative Council in 2016, Hong Kong's pan-democrats have started to raise objections. The draft lists three requirements for the chief executive election. The nominating committee should be composed of members from four major sectors; they will pick two or up to three candidates; and aspirants for the election will need support from half of the nominating committee to become a candidate. Some analysts suggest that a 50-percent nomination threshold has basically excluded pan-democrats from running in the election because the majority working for the nomination committee endorse the policy of "one country, two systems" and cooperation with the central government. A certain number of extremists threatened that the Occupy Central movement will inevitably take place and that they will soon organize students to boycott classes. Nevertheless, the clamor will not work effectively. Hong Kong media pointed out that Beijing changed its mentality and would not worry about the pan-democratic camp making trouble. This is somewhat incorrect analysis but a fact is that the Chinese mainland has made full psychological preparation for the aggravation of the rift over Hong Kong's political reform. We are convinced that Hong Kong's opposition groups can in no way win this conflict. They may remain immersed in the confrontation against law and alienate themselves from mainstream Hong Kong society, or reflect their behavior in the past and redesign their strategies as the opposition camp. We hope that rationality will finally prevail among them. Those opposing the central government can't serve as Hong Kong SAR's chief executive, which is out of the interests of both Hong Kong people and the country as large. Chinese society has drawn a judgment that it is detrimental to Hong Kong to allow an anti-Beijing person to lead the city. As long as these extreme pan-democrats accept the policy of "one country, two systems" and their loyalty for the "one country" and love for both Hong Kong and China gain the wide trust of society, there is a possibility that one of them will become the chief executive. The more the contention surrounding Hong Kong's political reform evolves into the confrontation between different forces, the less hope the pan-democratic camp has. The more they count on support from Washington and London, the more absolutely they will fail. Now there occurs a view that the communication between opposition groups and the central government is completely meaningless, which will definitely cause loss for the former. The pan-democratic camp should concern themselves more about how to gain support from Hong Kong's majority, which will be more conducive to their political future, than confronting Beijing with extreme proposals. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macau unofficial democracy poll halted as police detain five activists (SCMP)
2014-08-25
Two leaders of an unofficial "referendum" on Macau's chief executive election and three other activists were detained yesterday as police shut down polling stations. Officers raided all five referendum polling stations within hours of the launch of the seven-day ballot, which asked locals if they had confidence in Chief Executive Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on and wanted universal suffrage at the next election. The detained included Scott Chiang Meng-hin, a key member of the New Macau Association, the most prominent democratic group in the former Portuguese enclave. Also detained was Jason Chao Teng-hei - leader of Open Macau Society, co-organisers of the poll with Macau Conscience and Macau Youth Dynamics. Pundits and pan-democrats lambasted Chui - who is standing unopposed for a second five-year term - for disregarding the city's freedom of expression under the Basic Law, ahead of his guaranteed victory next Sunday. Only 400 people are eligible to vote in the election. Yang Chongwei, deputy coordinator of the Office for Personal Data Protection, said: "It is inherently illegitimate for personal information to be collected and handled for the purpose of the so-called civil referendum." The authorities were targeting only "the relevant body", and as for individuals, it was a "personal choice" to submit personal information to any groups, Yang said at a rare joint press conference with the police. All five activists were later released. Chui repeated his stance yesterday that the activists' poll "does not comply with the Basic Law". Beijing has also denounced the poll as illegal. Activists rejected the claims by Chui and Yang, and accused Chui of being "afraid" to learn the results of the referendum. Bill Chou Kwok-ping, vice-president of the New Macau Association, said: "We collect such data upon the consent of the people we poll. "The crackdown was unexpectedly high-handed. It perfectly illustrates how much [Beijing's] liaison office fears an awakening of the typically apolitical Macau public." In the unprecedented ballot, similar to Occupy Central's June poll in Hong Kong, five booths across the city opened at 11am, but they were stormed by police, one by one. All the booths had to shut by 1.30pm, eight hours before the scheduled closing time. Over 4,200 had voted by midnight. Organisers advised people to cast their ballots online before polling closed on Saturday. Cat Sin, a housewife in her 40s, said: "I'm voting because Chui has done little to lower housing prices for the next generation." A woman in her 70s did not vote but was displeased with the state of affairs. "The election of the chief executive is supposed to be a big thing," she said. "But nobody is really quite a part of it." ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan says PLA planes 'intruded' on airspace (Global Times)
2014-08-27
A senior Taiwan military officer said Tuesday that military aircraft from the Chinese mainland were intercepted twice by Taiwanese fighter jets on the borders of its "air defense identification zone (ADIZ)," while mainland experts said rigid confrontation is unnecessary, as an ADIZ is not equal to territorial airspace. The incident took place on Monday and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, identified as a Yun-8 transport aircraft, left without incident after Taiwanese fighter jets warned them, Hsiung Hou-chi, major general of Taiwan's "Air Force Combatant Command," told reporters. China's defense ministry did not immediately make any comments over the incident. Hsiung said the PLA aircraft might have been headed in the direction of the South China Sea and the Philippines. Observers in Taiwan have warned that the mainland is aiming to test Taiwan's detecting ability of aircraft in the zone, and that the mainland may set up another ADIZ in the South China Sea. Liu Jiangping, a military affairs expert, said that ADIZ is neither territorial airspace nor a non-fly zone. "The Taiwan side doesn't have to be overly concerned about PLA jets," said Liu. Liu added that a Yun-8 would be a big target on the radar and is an improper "testing" choice as the Taiwan side claimed. He said the flight has no connection to setting up another ADIZ and called for the Taiwan side not to intensify the cross-Straits relationship around the issue. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Nationwide property tax mulled for houses and land (China Daily)
2014-08-25
China is likely to introduce a nationwide property tax as early as next year following trials in Chongqing and Shanghai, an official at China's top legislative body said. The National People's Congress, the top legislature, is drafting a property tax law that is expected to wrap up later this year and be imposed in 2015, said the official from the NPC, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. Unlike the trials in Chongqing and Shanghai, where the property tax is levied on houses only, the planned national property tax will target houses and land. "The method of taxation is still under discussion and is subject to changes," the official said, adding that the NPC is also soliciting opinions from experts and tax authorities. Specifically, the ratio of the tax has not been decided, nor is whether the tax will be levied on newly built properties or on properties already owned. The new tax will combine several existing taxes, including a land tax on property developers, a tax for occupying arable land and a tax for house transactions. Last year the Third Plenary Session, the top annual meeting of the Communist Party of China, pledged to quicken the enactment of a real estate tax as part of broad reform. It also required hastening the enactment of tax laws to improve the legitimacy of tax collection. China started to levy property taxes in Chongqing and Shanghai in 2011 as pilot projects. In Shanghai, if a family has a home of more than 60 square meters per person, it will be taxed at a rate of 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent of the total property price annually. In Chongqing, the trial tax is focused more on taming investment speculation on villas and high-end properties, with the rate set between 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent of the property price annually. Jia Kang, head of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science at the Ministry of Finance, said at a recent forum that although the housing tax only applies to two cities, its impact on the market is clear. He said China's property tax, unlike the US model, should include an exemption amount for everyone, rich or poor. Liu Weimin, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said no matter what specific taxes are abolished or added, the overall tax burden should not be increased. He cautioned that the public should not expect the reform to lower home prices, rather, the goal is to narrow the gap between rich and poor. In this regard, certain tax-exempt areas should be set so ordinary families with a basic accommodation area would not be subject to the tax while rich families with large floor space are subject to the tax. Also, he said, progressive taxes should be introduced. "To be fair, the tax should not only cover newly purchased homes after a certain date, but all existing homes," he said. ^ top ^

ASEAN, China agree to negotiate on upgrading FTA (Xinhua)
2014-08-27
ASEAN and China agreed to negotiate on upgrading the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) Tuesday to ensure that the ACFTA remained dynamic and commercially relevant, said a joint statement of the 13th AEM-MOFCOM Consultations. The consultations held in Nay Pyi Taw was part of the series of related meetings of the 46th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM). The ministers noted that the agreement to upgrade the ACFTA was a testament to the strong positive relationships between ASEAN and China and deepened the economic cooperation of both sides in a mutually beneficial manner. The ministers also urged to expedite the conclusion of the Custom Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF) negotiation and the review of the Sensitive Track and Rules of Origin and to report progress made to the next AEM-MOFCOM consultations. The ministers exchanged view on how to further promote China-ASEAN Connectivity cooperation in the future, according to the statement. China maintained its position as ASEAN's largest trading partner. According to the joint statement, ASEAN's total trade with China reached $350.5 billion, accounting for 14 percent of ASEAN's total trade and representing an increase of 7.7 percent year on year by the end of 2013. In 2013, ASEAN received $8.6 billion's foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow from China, a significant 60.8 percent increase year on year and taking up 7.1 percent of total inflow to ASEAN. The ministers reaffirmed ASEAN's and China's commitment to achieving the joint trade volume target to $500 billion by the end of 2015. The ministers welcome China's initiatives to establish an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to provide financial support to regional infrastructure projects with priority on ASEAN connectivity. The AEM-MOFCOM consultations were co-chaired by Kan Zaw, Myanmar Minister of National Planning and Economic Development and Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce of China. Gao highlighted in his speech that the year 2014 is the opening year of the second decade of the establishment of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership. Along with the speeding up of the ACFTA building process, China and ASEAN have made rich achievements in economic and trade cooperation, becoming a bright spot of the overall China-ASEAN relations. Gao made a four-point proposals at the consultations to expand China's cooperation with the ASEAN on mutually beneficial basis. The proposals include jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, further raising the facilitation level of bilateral trade and investment, expedition of infrastructural construction of connectivity and enhancing cooperation in regional economic integration. ACFTA, established in January 1, 2010, covers a population of 1.8 billion approaching a gross domestic product of $6 trillion with trade reaching $4.5 trillion and represents the biggest FTA made up of developing countries in the world. Myanmar is rotating chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, which comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ^ top ^

Innovation 'essential for maritime collaboration' (China Daily)
2014-08-28
A new wave of international cooperation, with an emphasis on innovation and boosting the blue economy to better utilize resources, is the focus of maritime authorities, a leading specialist said. "The importance of marine technology innovation and the marine economy has increased significantly, given the growing contribution of the sectors to domestic and regional development and the economy," Zhang Haiwen, director general of the International Cooperation Department of the State Oceanic Administration, told China Daily ahead of the fourth APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting. She called for APEC economies to strengthen cooperation in these sectors, which have the potential to open up new avenues of growth and employment, and show how natural resources can be used in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. Other topics, aside from conserving marine ecosystems and looking at the role of the oceans in terms of food security, are scheduled to be discussed at the meeting on Thursday. They include enhancing innovation and boosting the maritime economy. The blue economy covers offshore oil and gas, sustainable clean energy from wind and tide, port logistics and transportation, tourism, biotechnology and other cooperation. Liu Zhenghua, a researcher from the Third Institution of Oceanography under the State Oceanic Administration, said sustainable growth from marine sectors will boost development as the global economy needs new growth engines as it recovers from the 2008 financial crisis. Many countries, including Australia, the United States and South Korea, have released marine economy policies. "As the world focuses on the maritime sector, China cannot afford to be left behind," said Li Jingyu, a professor at the Institution of Marine Development at Liaoning Normal University, adding that international cooperation will help China on its path to becoming a maritime power. Liu Shuguang, a professor at the Ocean University of China, agreed that as resources on land are gradually depleted, China must look to the seas. China proposed building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt with ASEAN countries last year, in a move to strengthen economic cooperation and trade with countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. The sea has played an increasingly important role in China's economic development as marine industries contributed 5.4 trillion yuan ($876 billion) to the economy in 2013, accounting for 9.5 percent of the country's total annual GDP last year, according to the State Oceanic Administration. This is projected to grow to approximately 10 trillion yuan by 2020 with the expansion of current industries and development of new opportunities in areas such as renewable energy, according to the China's Ocean Economic Development Report released by the China Institute for Marine Affairs last year. Guan Huashi, a marine biomedicine expert, said in an earlier interview that unlike other sectors, marine industries are more reliant on technological development. ^ top ^

China-Brazil trade must adjust to countries' modernization (Xinhua)
2014-08-28
China and Brazil face the task of refocusing their trade with each other onto more sophisticated products and investment as the two major emerging economies modernize their industrial structure and their demand for natural resources slows. China has been Brazil's largest trade partner since 2009 and Brazil is China's ninth largest trade partner worldwide and the largest in Latin America. However, the growth of bilateral trade is slowing down. In the first half of this year, export and import of goods between the two countries increased 7 percent year on year, a sharp drop from the 43.6-percent growth in the same period three years ago. Sun Yanfeng, a researcher with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, attributed the cool-down mainly to the effect of economic restructuring in China. "China is gradually eliminating energy-intensive industries and moderating the speed of its economic growth. This has translated into declining demand for Brazilian natural resources," Sun said. Trade between the two countries has long been concentrated on raw materials. In the first six months of 2014, mineral and plant products accounted for 86.5 percent of Brazil's exports to China. Although the pace of growth in bilateral trade is expected to continue dropping, Sun sees opportunities for Chinese and Brazilian authorities to place more attention on the added value of their products and exploring new fields of trade. Take iron ore as an example. "China's demand for raw iron ore will decline with the shrinking of its energy-intensive industries, but it will need more of the processed iron ore products that Brazil can export," said Sun. China's decreasing demand for natural resources also comes at a time when Brazil is looking to move away from resource-centered industries, noted Zhou Zhiwei, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Meanwhile, economic ties between the two economies could go far beyond simple trade to include more joint ventures and investment, with Brazil craving Chinese funding of building projects. Chinese companies' relative wealth can help compensate for the shortage of funding in Brazil. Brazil's economic transformation is centered around modernizing its industry and encouraging investment and construction of infrastructure. "These are just the areas where China has accumulated a lot of experience," said Zhou. Sun stressed that trade alone is not enough to push forward the two countries' economic ties. "What is more important is cooperation in investment, financing and joint contracting, which could become the new engines for the economic ties." Over the past year, the Brazilian government has announced plans for a slew of infrastructure projects, including the extension of airports and ports, the building of 11,000 km of railway and 7,000 km of highway. During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Brazil in July, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcomed broader investment in his country by Chinese enterprises, particularly highlighting transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, information, logistics and innovation in science and technology. ^ top ^

Commodities trading the latest move by Shanghai to talk up free trade zone (SCMP)
2014-08-29
In the latest attempt to raise the profile of its Hong Kong-style free port, Shanghai has unveiled ambitious plans to create a clutch of international commodity trading platforms in its free-trade zone (FTZ). According to an action plan to develop the city into a centre for international commerce, major commodities including iron ore, cotton and copper will be traded on the internationalised markets inside the 28.8 sq km FTZ by 2015. The announcement follows long-heralded plans to establish international boards for crude oil futures and gold trading in the zone. The launch of the Shanghai FTZ last September was viewed as a first step by mainland China's most developed city towards transforming itself into a major global metropolis. Establishing international platforms for spot trading in commodities is quintessential to Shanghai's ambitions of becoming a hub for international commerce. They would be likely to help China gain more pricing power over commodities that play a pivotal role in the country's economic development. The authorities "are required to speed up the preparatory work and try to enforce the policies soon", the municipality said in a circular published on Wednesday. In 2009, Shanghai announced its plan to build itself into a global financial and shipping centre, and actively lobbied the central government to let it conduct bold financial liberalisation and simplify customs procedures. At the time, the city shied away from announcing its ambition to become a centre for international commerce since city officials did not think Beijing would grant the necessary policy incentives. Beijing rejected the city's request to cut corporate tax in the zone from 25 per cent to 15 per cent before the zone's launch. The announcement of the FTZ, a test bed for further economic reforms under Premier Li Keqiang, opened the way for the city's plan to woo international traders to conduct commodity transactions in Shanghai. Commodity trading both on the spot and futures markets is off limits to foreign investors since the Chinese yuan is not convertible under the capital account. The FTZ could facilitate the direct participation of foreign capital in the trading of commodities. However, planners have a long way to go to convince the investment community Shanghai could be a big marketplace for commodities. The opaque legal system remains a primary concern of foreign investors, who believe that only effective rule of law can ensure fairness and transparency in dealmaking. Aside from the legal issue, market regulators' capricious policymaking is a stumbling block to the early launch of such trading platforms. "Oil futures trading has yet to be launched despite an official announcement by regulators two years ago," said Citic Futures analyst Liu Yang. "The regulators have exhausted investors' patience." ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Xi's Mongolia visit lauded as significant to bilateral ties (China Daily)
2014-08-23
Chinese President Xi Jinping's fruitful visit to Mongolia is of great practical significance to the further development of bilateral relations, officials and experts said. The just-concluded two-day trip, which embodies the philosophy of "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness" in China's diplomacy with its neighbors, has also infused new vigor into regional development, they added. Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister Dendev Terbishdagva, who also co-chairs the Mongolia-China intergovernmental commission, said the speech Xi delivered Friday at the Mongolian parliament impressed him a lot. What Xi said about Chinese history and world peace helped better understand China's policy of peaceful development, said the senior Mongolian official. Xi citation of the proverb that "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others" showed that China will support the development of its neighboring countries, Terbishdagva added. Mongolia and China are good neighbors and good friends, and what Xi remarked on China-Mongolia and international relations are extremely important, he said. Sanjaasuren Oyun, Mongolia's environment and green development minister and also a lawmaker, said Xi's speech was "cordial and friendly, deep and comprehensive." Mongolia and China are neighboring countries and the development of each of them is important to that of the other, she said, adding that the deepening of bilateral ties will set an example for other Asian countries. Migeddorj Batchimeg, a Mongolian lawmaker, said Xi's speech elaborated China's Mongolia policy, specified Mongolia's standing in China's foreign policy, and blueprinted the development of bilateral ties in the next decade. In the eyes of Alexander Larin, a senior researcher with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, China, as a major country in the world, is showing its strength by broadening economic relations with other countries. China has established a series of diplomatic strategic plans, among which building a community of shared destiny and interests is directly related to Mongolia, Larin said. The joint declaration signed by Xi and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj shows that China considers Mongolia as a completely equal partner, the researcher said. Upgrading China-Mongolia ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Larin added, will help the two countries deepen cooperation in various areas for the benefit both nations and also their international reputations. Jabin Thomas Jacob, deputy director of India's Institute of Chinese Studies, said Xi's short but fruitful visit to Mongolia on Thursday and Friday showed a comprehensive upgrade of diplomatic, economic and trade relations between China and Mongolia. ^ top ^

Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea pays an official visit to Mongolia (Info Mongolia)
2014-08-26
At the invitation of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mr. Luvsanvandan BOLD, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Mr. Yun Byung-se is paying an official visit to Mongolia on August 26-27, 2014. On August 26, the two counterparts held an official talk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and during the meeting Minister L.Bold expressed Mongolia's interest to boost Comprehensive Partnership relation with the Republic of Korea in the frames of economic and investment collaboration, moreover, to celebrate at high-level the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties marking next year and to develop the bilateral cooperation into a new step forward. In response, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se noted, “The Republic of Korea seeks to forward mutual cooperation with Mongolia in the railway and sea transportation sectors as the country considered with strategically important location connecting European and Asian regions in the frameworks of "Eurasia Initiative" proposed by the President of Korea, Mrs. Park Geun-hye and to foster bilateral relations and cooperation at all potential spheres”. Moreover, the sides shared views on issues relevant to facilitate travel conditions between citizens of the two countries and some regional issues of mutual concerns. On the same day, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se was received by Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag and during the meeting Premier expressed his satisfaction on broadening Comprehensive Partnership and conferred an official invitation to the Prime Minister of the country to visit Mongolia. The same day afternoon, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se also paid a courtesy call on the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and during the meeting Mr. Yun Byung-se invited the President to pay a state visit to Korea in 2015 in the scope of commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Lauranne Peman
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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