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
  29.6-3.7.15, No. 579  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Obama tipped to spell out US role in China-backed AIIB at summit with Xi (SCMP)
2015-06-29
US President Barack Obama is expected to clarify his country's role in a China-initiated development bank when he meets his Chinese counterpart in Washington at a summit in September, according to a former US national security adviser. Stephen Hadley, who served under former US president George W. Bush, said on the sidelines of a foreign relations forum in Beijing on Sunday that the United States was "considering its role in the [Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank] and the US position has evolved". "I think there is an opportunity at the September summit [during President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US] for President Obama to clarify the US role [in the bank] … and for Xi to welcome US participation, with the goal of ensuring the bank operates transparently by international standards to the benefit of all countries," Hadley said. His comments come as delegates from 57 prospective AIIB members gather today in the capital to sign its articles of agreement, which determine each member's share and the bank's initial capital. The development bank has attracted some US allies, including Britain, Australia and South Korea, but Japan and the US are the most prominent countries to have stayed away. China has said the door is still open for them to join. Hadley told the forum that the US needed to be more engaged in China's initiatives, including the AIIB, to advance cooperation between the world's two biggest economies. In return, China needed to ease suspicion that the AIIB was "simply a tool for projecting China's geopolitical power" by showing that the initiative could improve the economic well-being of the rest of the world and by welcoming in other countries, including the US. William Burns, a former US deputy secretary of the state, said it was in the US' interest to encourage an emerging institution that would benefit people across the Asia-Pacific "In the long term the issue of membership is an interest as well," he said on the forum's sidelines. Burns and Hadley also called on the US to back changes to the voting rules of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank "to give China its proper role that's commensurate with its economy" "It's important for us to adapt the IMF and World Bank," Burns said. "That requires us to be flexible, and understand the world today is a lot different from the world when the two institutions were set up." The AIIB's founding members wrapped up discussions and finalised the bank's articles of agreement at a three-day meeting in Singapore last month. The bank is expected to be up and running by the end of this year if most of the members get approval from their own authorities for the agreement. ^ top ^

Chinese premier arrives in Brussels for China-EU leaders' meeting (Xinhua)
2015-06-29
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived here Sunday for the 17th China-EU leaders' meeting in Brussels. Upon his arrival, Li said the China-EU relationship has witnessed increasingly prominent characteristics of strategic significance and mutual benefit after four decades of development. He said China always firmly supports the European integration process and strives for deepening the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual benefit and the win-win principle. Li said he expects to conduct in-depth discussions with the new EU leadership on deepening bilateral ties and pragmatic cooperation, accumulating strategic consensus, coordinating respective development strategies, and broadening insights on cooperation. He also voiced his hope for exchanging views on key issues of common concern, so as to break new ground for the China-EU all-round cooperation. During his stay in Brussels, Li will co-chair the China-EU leaders' meeting with President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. He is scheduled to address the opening ceremony of a China-EU business summit and attend a forum on the China-EU urbanization partnership. ' Li will also meet President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. During Li's visit, China and the EU will issue a document to outline their future cooperation priorities and a statement on climate change, and sign several cooperation deals on regional policies, intellectual property rights protection, customs and technological innovation, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. The EU has been China's largest trading partner for 11 years while China has been the EU's second largest trading partner for 12 years. Bilateral trade volume exceeded 600 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. After the Brussels trip, Li will go to France and deliver a speech at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development headquarters in Paris. Afterwards, he will visit Marseille and Toulouse. ^ top ^

China's development benefits Japan: foreign minister (Xinhua)
2015-06-29
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday that the crux of China-Japan relations is whether Japan can sincerely accept and welcome China's revival and rise. Wang made the remarks when asked to comment on China-Japan ties at the Fourth World Peace Forum (WPF) at Beijing's Tsinghua University. China's development has brought important benefit to Japan, but Japan is not fully prepared in its mindset for an increasingly powerful China, said Wang. China and Japan are close neighbors, and we hope the two countries can live in peace and engage in mutually beneficial cooperation, he said, adding it is an established policy of China and will not change. As time drifted, China-Japan relations will surely be back on track of normal and stable development, sooner or later, he said. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, said Wang. Japan still faces the problem of how to properly deal with the historical issue, he said. Externally, Japan can draw on useful experience from other countries in handling historical issues, while internally, it faces rising public appeals for justice and peace, said Wang, noting that the key is what kind of choice will the Japanese leaders make. Whether Japan will choose to stay in the historical shadow or to realize true reconciliation with the victimized countries and jointly creat the future, will be a major problem right in front of the Japanese leaders, said Wang. We will wait and see the choice of Japan, he said. The WPF, founded in 2012, is China's first high-level non-governmental seminar focusing on international security. With the theme of "working together, understanding, coordination and mutual help", the forum included topics of security cooperation among world powers, security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, European and global security cooperation, ASEAN and South Asian regional security cooperation. Some 500 participants, including former foreign leaders and scholars, attended the forum. ^ top ^

China-Brazil investment cooperation on fast track: Vice Premier (Xinhua)
2015-06-29
Investment cooperation between China and Brazil is on a fast track, visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wang, who is here on an official visit, was speaking at a symposium attended by Chinese companies operating in the South American country. Closer ties between China and Brazil have spurred greater investment by Chinese firms in a wider range of fields, he said. The two economies are highly complementary, with extensive potential for cooperation in expanding production capacity, infrastructure, agriculture, energy and other sectors, said the vice premier. He urged government departments concerned to continue to support the development of Chinese companies in Brazil by implementing financing policies designed to support them and improving service, said Wang. Chinese companies, meanwhile, "should forge ahead with long- term plans" while striving for excellence and social responsibility to achieve a win-win situation, he added. At the event, representatives of the Chinese firms made presentations of their products or services, and future plans, saying they will take advantage of the opportunities offered by the development of China-Brazil ties and help contribute to improving bilateral cooperation. Also on Saturday, Wang visited Brazil's port of Santos project, which is being developed with investment from the China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO). ^ top ^

China condemns terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait, France (Global Times)
2015-06-29
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Saturday expressed shock over and strong condemnation of the terrorist attacks which took place Friday in Tunisia, Kuwait and France. "We are shocked by the terrorist attacks and feel heart-wrenching." Hua Chunying said, expressing her condolences to the victims and sympathies with the injured. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent condolences to his counterparts of the three countries, Hua said. The deadly attacks that took place in the three countries have so far claimed 63 lives, according to media reports, though it is not known yet whether they are connected. Hua said China strongly condemns the terrorist attacks targeting innocent lives,and supports the efforts made by the three countries in safeguarding national security and stability. "We are willing to work with the international community to cope with the threat of terrorist attacks." Hua said. ^ top ^

China tells Japan to steer clear of South China Sea issues (SCMP)
2015-06-30
China's fourth highest-ranking leader, Yu Zhengsheng, urged Japan to stay away from South China Sea issues during a meeting with visiting Japanese lawmakers on Monday. The issues have "nothing to do with Japan" and "it is not fair" that Japan, along with the United States, only criticises China, but not the Philippines and other Asian claimants, one of the lawmakers quoted Yu as saying during their meeting in Beijing. China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, which is a vital shipping lane and believed to have rich fishing grounds. Its rivals in the dispute are Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines, which is one of the most vocal in opposing China's moves. But Yu also told the visiting lawmakers - led by veteran Liberal Democratic Party politician Takeshi Noda - that the two countries' ties were improving. Yu said Sino-Japanese ties were still difficult when he held a meeting with Japanese legislators last year, but the situation had since improved. "Under this kind of an environment, I am very pleased to hold dialogue," Yu said. The visit comes amid increased high-level political exchanges between the two countries. The meetings started taking place after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first meeting with President Xi Jinping in November, although disputes persist over the sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea and Japan's alleged lack of atonement for its wartime past. That month both sides agreed that "different views" exist on the territorial dispute over an island chain in the East China Sea. ^ top ^

China to back EU efforts to revive economy (Xinhua)
2015-06-30
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Monday that China is considering to kick start a China-EU investment platform to support Europe's economic revival. Addressing the opening ceremony of an European Union(EU)-China business summit, the visiting Chinese premier said his country is willing to interface with the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), a 315 billion-euro investment plan initiated by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker for resuscitating Europe's economy and in particular building large infrastructure. Seeing the China-EU relationship as one of the most important, stable and constructive relationships in the world, Li proposed to combine China's comparative advantages in production capacity and equipment manufacturing with the advanced technology of European economies. He called on the two sides to join hands in exploring third-party markets with cooperation in priority areas such as equipment manufacturing. China and the EU should carry out more advanced financial cooperation in a bid to meet the demand of industrial investments, said Li. China, he added, will expand its purchase of bonds issued by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and improve the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) system. In addition, Li encouraged bigger roles of other investment and financing arrangements in the revitalization of the European economy, including the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). < Representatives of the 57 prospective founding countries of the AIIB signed Monday in Beijing an agreement that outlines the framework and management structure for the multilateral financial institution. Under the initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a Silk Road Fund has been set up by China for improving infrastructure connectivity between Asia and Europe. The fund, said Li, would be used for cooperating with Europe in hi-tech development, infrastructure construction and financial services. The latest European investment plan in the coming three years aims to, as explained by the EIB, revive investment in strategic projects around Europe to ensure that money reaches the real economy. The premier also urged the two sides to further liberalize trade and investment and properly handle trade frictions, voicing his confidence of the bilateral trade exceeding one trillion U.S. dollars by 2020. In response to the Greek debt issue, Li said in a meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schulz that China, as a firm supporter of the European integration process, is always a responsible long-term holder of European bonds and expects an adequate solution to the Greek debt issue. Expansive monetary policies are not quite enough for stimulating the sluggish economy, the Chinese premier said, encouraging both China and the EU to adopt structural reforms and enhance international production capacity cooperation so as to revitalize the real economy. Noting that people-to-people exchanges have become an important pillar of the China-EU cooperation, Li urged the two sides to give full play to the high-level dialogue mechanism and make the China-EU year of intercultural dialogue a success. Describing China as a strong and reliable partner of the EU, Juncker said the two sides should build up a stronger partnership of mutual benefit in face of the current international financial criss and other global challenges. The EU is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in infrastructure building and inter-connectivity, he said, adding that it welcomes more Chinese companies to invest in Europe. Li arrived in Brussels Sunday for the 17th China-EU leaders' meeting. During his visit, China and the EU issued a document to outline their future cooperation priorities and a statement on climate change, and signed several cooperation deals on regional policies, intellectual property rights protection, customs and technological innovation. The EU has been China's largest trading partner for 11 years while China has been the EU's second largest trading partner for 12 years. Two-way trade exceeded 600 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. After the Brussels trip, Li travelled to Paris later Monday for an official visit to France. ^ top ^

China wants to see Greece stay in Eurozone (Xinhua)
2015-06-30
China wants to see Greece stay in the eurozone, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Monday. "With the Greece debt problem in a critical period, China hopes to see that Greece will stay in the eurozone," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing. Hua said China always supports European integration and looks forward to a stable, unified and prosperous European Union. "[We] believe that the members of the eurozone are able and wise enough to solve the debt problem appropriately," she added. Months of bailout talks between the Greek government and its creditors broke down Saturday over the reforms demanded by creditors. Eurogroup financial ministers rejected Greece's request for an extension so that it could put the creditors' proposals to a popular vote on July 5 and said any financial support to Greece will end on June 30 as agreed in February. ^ top ^

Chinese premier arrives in France for official visit (Xinhua)
2015-06-30
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived here late Monday for a four-day visit to France. It is the first official visit by a Chinese premier to the European country in nearly a decade. During his stay in France, Li is scheduled to visit the cities of Paris, Marseilles and Toulouse, deliver a speech at the headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and attend the closing ceremony of a China-France business summit. He is also expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, presidents of the Senate and the French National Assembly, the OECD secretary-general as well as the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). An array of business contracts and government accords on areas ranging from aviation and finance to civil nuclear power and joint development of the third-party market are expected to be signed during Li's visit. France is the first major Western country to establish ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1964. Upon his arrival, Li said he looks forward to discussing with the French leaders how to consolidate the political mutual trust and traditional friendship between the two countries and how to speed up the transformation and upgrade of their bilateral practical cooperation as well as trilateral cooperation along with a third party. The Chinese premier added that he will also exchange views with the French leaders on international and regional issues of common concern and push the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries to a new height. Meanwhile, Li said he also expects the two sides to elevate their cooperation in such areas as people-to-people exchanges and science and technology. Li arrived here after wrapping up a trip to Belgium. The visit comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to France in 2014 on the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, during which the two sides agreed to elevate their relations to a close and lasting comprehensive strategic partnership. EU statistics show that China-France trade volume hit 55 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, a 5.3-percent growth year on year. China now stands as France's eighth largest export market and sixth largest source of imports. Li's visit also comes as China and the OECD celebrate 20 years of partnership and is expected to help the global economic organization better understand the stance of the emerging markets and developing countries. ^ top ^

Literary exchanges serve as cultural bridge between Colombia, China (Xinhua)
2015-06-30
A month after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Colombia, experts said that ties between the two countries are at their peak with literature serving as an effective cultural bridge. The visit was a clear signal of the Chinese government's willingness to strengthen bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation, said Diana Andrea Gomez, director of China studies at Colombia's National University. Gomez described Li's visit as historic, marking the first time in 30 years that a Chinese premier has visited the South American country. The premier's tour in the country made a difference in China-Colombia relations, since it went beyond the political realm to include a cultural component, she said. The itinerary featured a literary event attended by Li, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Chinese Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan. "The visit of... Mo Yan, as well as five other top Chinese writers, was unprecedented," said Gomez. "We were also moved by their sensitivity and interest in Gabriel Garcias Marquez and other Colombian authors." Those who attended the literary event noted that there are no cultural barriers in the field of literary exchange. Premier Li's visit provided the two countries the opportunity "to sign 12 accords to develop several areas of cooperation," said Gomez. In addition to developing infrastructure projects and network between business sectors, measures to promote people-to-people ties will also be important, she said. Gomez praised efforts by China to increase the number of scholarships for Colombian students to study in China from 40 to 200. ^ top ^

US gay marriage ruling sparks debate in China (Global Times)
2015-06-29
The landmark US Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage nationwide has sparked renewed debate across China over whether Chinese society should grant similar marriage equality and whether such rights are against traditional Confucian values. A day after the US decision, Zeng Yi, a Professor of Philosophy at Tongji University, slammed the court ruling and US President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage as an "anti-human crime" in an article posted Saturday on news website thepaper.cn. In the ruling, US Justice Anthony Kennedy cited ancient philosophers to prove that marriage is crucial to "the human condition." He wrote "Confucius taught that marriage lies at the foundation of government." Zeng argued that homosexuality is against Confucian beliefs, which, as he interprets, see marriage as a way to pass on the family line. He also quoted from The Book of Rites, one of the Chinese Five Classics of the Confucian canon, which says that the "Marriage Ceremony is to unite two genders … and to produce offspring." His point of view, however, was described by Li Yinhe, a leading Chinese sexologist and advocate of same-sex marriage, as "backward." "The US ruling has been hailed by Chinese society and this will be a boost for the gay rights movement here. I've noticed that there are more heterosexuals who support [gay marriage]," Li told the Global Times on Sunday. A post discussing the legalization of same-sex marriage on Weibo had attracted over 7 million page views as of Sunday and 64,000 online users have participated in the discussion. Didi Taxi, one of China's dominant taxi app firms, changed the icons on their app to rainbow colors as an implicit message of support for the gay rights movement. "Compared to the individualism of Western culture, Chinese society's emphasis on family values and the continuation of the family bloodline could impede the development of gay rights," Li said. "But on the other hand, Chinese society can be more equipped for the change as polls show that the legalization of same-sex marriage has not met strong opposition like it did in the US," she said. Research conducted by The Chinese Journal of Human Sexuality in 2014 showed that nearly 85 percent of the 921 respondents supported same-sex marriage, while about 2 percent of them oppose the idea, and 13 percent of them said "not sure." Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997 in China, and was later removed from an official list of mental illnesses. A Shanghai-based scholar, who refused to be named, told the Global Times that he holds a different opinion. "Homosexuality is a kind of impulsive act. The legalization of it means that the government is encouraging such impulsive acts which will bring a harmful influence to society, in particular to innocent teenagers," he said. "The support for this American style of freedom has crossed the line [here in China]," he added. […]. ^ top ^

China to curb carbon emissions by 2030, says Premier Li Keqiang (SCMP)
2015-07-01
China will try to curb its carbon emissions by around 2030, Premier Li Keqiang said during a visit to Paris, where he announced the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter's contribution to UN climate talks. "China's carbon dioxide emissions will peak by around 2030 and China will work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date," Li said in a statement after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande. China aimed to reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65 per cent from 2005 levels, it said. The world's second-largest economy also aims to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy mix to about 20 per cent by 2030. In December, Paris will host a United Nations conference where leaders are meant to ink a global pact to curb emissions. China's pledge closely echoes and formalises undertakings made by Beijing after a US-China summit last November, when President Xi Jinping also vowed that China's carbon emissions would peak by 2030 and the country would get 20 per cent of its energy from sources other than fossil fuels by then, compared with 11.1 per cent last year. It will now be entered into a roster of pledges kept by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which lists 13 other commitments to date from the convention's 195 parties. These pledges, known as "intended nationally determined contributions", are at the heart of the highly anticipated Paris pact, due to take effect from 2020. Its goal will be to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. The target put forward by Li is stronger than the one Beijing introduced in 2009, when it vowed to cut emissions by 40-45 per cent per unit of economic growth by 2020. Duan Lei, a professor at the school of environment at Tsinghua University, said China would not find it easy to reach its target. "China's energy mainly comes from coal. Energy is the foundation of development and China aims to keep a high speed of development. On the other hand, I believe we can reach the target [and that the government] was not just giving a figure due to international pressure." China's coal consumption decreased for the first time in years in 2014, leading to speculation that its emissions could peak sooner than expected. "China has always been on the defensive on climate change, but [yesterday's] announcement is the first step to a more active role," said Li Shuo, climate analyst for Greenpeace China. "But all players in Paris … need to up their game." ^ top ^

China's PLA Navy sends new surveillance planes on submarine hunt in disputed waters (SCMP)
2015-07-01
The navy has deployed several new advanced surveillance aircraft to its North Sea Fleet to hunt down submarines in the East and South China seas. The new "Gaoxin-6" maritime anti-submarine warfare planes are modified versions of the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation's Y-8 and Y-9 medium transport aircraft and were added to the People's Liberation Army's North Sea Fleet late last year, Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said yesterday. The military launched the Gaoxin-6 in November, 2011, and designed it to play a role similar to the United States' P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft. "But there is still a certain gap between China's Gaoxin-6 and the American P-3C, especially in terms of its flight and reconnaissance ranges," Li said. The North Sea Fleet is responsible for operations in the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan and parts of the East China Sea, as well as the Bohai Sea near Beijing. Its aviation division, dubbed the "Sea Falcons", is so far the navy's only multi-tasking force capable of air, sea and space missions, according to the latest edition of Oriental Outlook, a weekly magazine affiliated with state-run Xinhua. In addition to these missions, the Sea Falcons have started patrols over the South China Sea. "The Gaoxin-6 specialises in reconnaissance and searching for submarines," Li said. "Both Japan and South Korea have the world's most advanced submarines in the waters of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea. That's why the navy decided to deploy Gaoxin aircraft to the North Sea Fleet first." The North Sea Fleet's multifunctional aviation division has at least five other types of advanced aircraft involved in early-warning air defence, command and control, tactical data communications and remote target designation, according to the Oriental Outlook report. "The Chinese military has developed 10 types of Gaoxin aircraft in the past decade, with four designed for the navy," Hong Kong-based military observer Leung Kwok-leung said. The Gaoxin-equipped Sea Falcons were regularly sent on missions close to disputed waters in the South and East China seas where foreign warships had been sighted, the report said Chinese and foreign aircraft over the region often came to within 20 to 30 metres of each other, with aerial encounters regularly lasting more than an hour, it said. "The PLA Navy wants to show its muscle to the US and Japanese navies, which have tried to intervene in China's territorial disputes with other Asian countries," Leung said. Li said production of the Gaoxin aircraft would be ramped up and units would be earmarked for the East Sea and South Sea fleets to defend China's territorial sovereignty. ^ top ^

Billions in contracts tipped to flow from Chinese premier's trip to France (SCMP)
2015-06-30
Premier Li Keqiang began a three-day visit to France on Tuesday that is expected to be dominated by climate talks and the sealing of dozens of economic accords between the two nations. Diplomatic sources said Li would be given "very high level" protocol treatment on his visit, which comes six months after French Prime Minister Manuel Valls went to Beijing and called for more French products to be exported to China to "rebalance" trade between the two countries. Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Chao said the mutual visits showed the high level of ties between the two countries. France, which is struggling with weak growth and record high unemployment, imports two-and-a-half times as much from China as flows in the opposite direction. In 2013, Paris ran a €26 billion (HK$223 billion) deficit with the Asian giant. Some 53 commercial and industrial accords were expected to be inked on Li's trip including "significant contracts for tens of billions of euros" with European aerospace giant Airbus, energy group Alstom, French container shipping company CMA-CGM and French electricity giant Engie, sources close to Valls said. Paris is in particular hoping that Chinese companies will order the Airbus A330 and A330-Neo in return for Airbus investment in a centre at its Tianjin base which will allow China to "customise" the A330s they buy. The two nations are also expected to sign an agreement on joint infrastructure projects in Asian and African countries. China, which is struggling with industrial overcapacity and a slowdown in domestic demand, is pushing its companies to seek new markets abroad and could take advantage of French experience in these markets. Li met French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday before meeting Valls. He will head to the southern city of Marseille today where he will be met by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who has visited China twice since March last year. He will wrap up his tour of France in the southern city of Toulouse where he and Valls will attend a France-China seminar attended by hundreds of Chinese enterprises. Li will also visit the Airbus headquarters in the city. Li struck a positive note on Monday at the meeting in Brussels with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, and of the European Council of EU leaders chief Donald Tusk, saying China was ready to invest in the European Union's new €315 billion infrastructure fund. Ding Chun, director of Fudan University's European studies centre, said China's investment in the EU initiative was a gesture of gratitude for European participation in the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. "The €315 billion fund is the most important initiative raised by the EU's new leadership … to revive the economy," Ding said. "Li's promise to invest shows the support the leadership of China and the EU have for each other. "It also addresses the criticism some European people had in the past that China paid much more attention to its bilateral relations with European countries than to those with the European Union." ^ top ^

Interlinking of Li, Juncker Plans to open new space for China-EU cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-07-01
China and the European Union (EU) have just wrapped up their latest round of summitry with a series of cooperation deals and a firm commitment to dovetailing their development strategies and further boosting bilateral win-win cooperation. Particularly, they expressed great interest in aligning the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), known as the Juncker Plan, with the international production capacity cooperation initiative championed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Amid global economic uncertainties, the alignment of the Juncker Plan, named after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and what can be called the Li Plan is expected to benefit not only the two large economies themselves but the global economic recovery. DOCKING OF STRATEGIES : At the 17th China-EU leaders' meeting, held Monday in Brussels and co-chaired by Li, European Council President Donald Tusk and Juncker, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to deepening their strategic partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization. Addressing the summit, Li suggested that Beijing and Brussels conjoin their development initiatives, such as the China-proposed "Belt and Road" and international production capacity cooperation and the EU's EFSI, and jointly seek cooperation with third parties. At a China-EU business summit, Li once again expounded the necessity and significance of international production capacity cooperation, pointing out that such cooperation will not only boost South-North and South-South cooperation but promote the global economic recovery. He proposed to combine China's comparative advantages in production capacity and equipment manufacturing with the advanced technology of European economies, and urged the two sides to join hands in exploring third-party markets. It will couple China's well-established industrial system with the development needs of developing countries and the export needs of developed ones, and thus achieve all-win results, he explained. Describing China as a strong and reliable partner of the EU, Juncker said at the business summit that the EU is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in infrastructure building and inter-connectivity, adding that it welcomes more Chinese companies to invest in Europe. In a joint statement, the two sides also agreed to improve their infrastructure links and create a sound environment for sustainable cross-border infrastructure networks between China and the EU. NEW PROSPECTS FOR COOPERATION: As both China and Europe are facing the tasks of maintaining a steady economic growth and optimizing their economic structure, analysts say, the conjunction of their development strategies will galvanize the growth of both sides and usher in new opportunities for China-EU ties. Jo Leinen, chair of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with China, said that in the Junker Plan there is a lot of space for direct and indirect participation of Chinese companies and capitals. In the eyes of Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the alignment of the two sides' plans will combine their interests and help them achieve win-win cooperation and form a community of interests. China-EU relations, added Zhao, have entered a period of in-depth development, which requires both sides to enrich the content of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership through major cooperation projects. This not only helps enhance practical cooperation between China and Europe, but also can chart the course of the development of the China-EU relationship, he added. ^ top ^

China, Thailand celebrate 40 years of diplomatic ties (Xinhua)
2015-07-02
China and Thailand celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations here on Wednesday, acknowledging their fruitful cooperation and bright prospects ahead. Over the past four decades, the two countries have witnessed continuous deepening of friendship and tremendous achievements in bilateral cooperation, Chinese ambassador to Thailand Ning Fukui said at the celebration. The bilateral trade volume soared to 72.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 from 25 million dollars in 1975, Ning said, stressing that China has become Thailand's largest trading partner, largest source of imports as well as the largest export market. Meanwhile, China is also Thailand's largest source of overseas tourists and students, Ning said, adding in recent years, substantial progress has been made in the bilateral cooperation in railway development and trade of agricultural products. The Chinese side is willing to join hands with Thailand to maintain the momentum of exchanges of high-level visits, carry forward mutually-beneficial cooperation, and further tap the potential in such fields as investment and high-tech cooperation, he stated. The ambassador also underscored China's willingness to strengthen coordination and collaboration with Thailand in major regional and international affairs, jointly implement the China- proposed initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, and contribute to the stability and prosperity in Asia. At the celebration, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also spoke highly of headways made in the across-the-board cooperation between China and Thailand over the past 40 years. In his speech, Prayut said that since he took office as the Thai premier, he had visited China twice and reached consensuses with China regarding issues like railway cooperation and trade of agricultural products. In addition, the premier said he believed the bilateral relations would be further developed in the future and yield fruitful results in various fields. The celebration was also attended by a number of Thai dignitaries, including Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tanasak Patimapragorn, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong, Privy Councilor Atthaniti Disatha-amnarj and former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat. ^ top ^

China, France agree to launch fund for joint cooperation with third parties (Xinhua)
2015-07-01
China and France agreed Tuesday to set up a mutual fund to support their joint cooperation with third parties. The agreement was reached during visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's meeting here with French President Francois Hollande. China-France practical cooperation enjoy unique advantages and broad prospects, Li said, adding that the two sides should tap into new cooperation areas and increase their common interests. He suggested that the two global heavyweights jointly explore third-party markets so as to open new space for bilateral practical cooperation and help foster a sustainable global economic recovery. The premier called on the two countries to consolidate cooperation in traditional fields like nuclear energy, aviation and space, rolling out all-production-chain cooperation and in-depth industrial cooperation and increasing the share of high-value-added and high-tech cooperation. In addition, Li urged the two nations to expand their cooperation in such emerging areas as finance, digitalization, sustainable development, tourism and agricultural food, and thus create new sources of growth. In a joint statement released Tuesday, China and France outlined the major areas for their joint cooperation with third parties, including infrastructure, nuclear energy, aviation, agriculture, health and climate change. Both countries encourage their enterprises to support interconnection projects between Europe, Africa and Asia, said the document, in which they also pledge joint efforts to sell their jointly-produced civil aircraft to third markets and boost cooperation in railway. According to the statement, China and France will also work together to cope with new infectious diseases and epidemics and explore cooperation in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and disaster prevention and mitigation in third countries. In addition, the two countries agreed to strengthen communication and coordination with the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in order to jointly support the development of developing countries. On China-France ties, Li said the two countries enjoy high-level political trust, fruitful win-win cooperation and ever deeper friendship between their peoples. Both as permanent members of the UN Security Council, they have jointly made significant contribution to safeguarding global peace and regional stability, he added. China, he said, stands ready to work with France to maintain close high-level exchanges, cement strategic mutual trust, upgrade practical cooperation and help with each other's development and rejuvenation. The Chinese premier also expressed Beijing's willingness to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Paris on international affairs to enable the two sides to play their due role regarding world peace, security and development. On the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, scheduled for late 2015 in Paris, Li stressed that Beijing appreciates France's efforts as the host and is ready to maintain close contact and coordination with Paris to push for positive results at the global gathering. For his part, Hollande said that the France-China comprehensive strategic partnership has entered a new era and brought plenty of benefits to both peoples. China's proposal on joint cooperation with third parties is very positive and conducive to all parties involved, he said, adding that it helps preserve world peace and stability that France and China maintain close coordination and cooperation on major global and regional affairs. The French side thinks highly of China's just-released document detailing its intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to climate change mitigation, said the president. The document, he added, marks not only a key support for the Paris conference, but an important opportunity for the international community to tackle climate change and promote sustainable economic growth. ^ top ^

China joins OECD Development Centre (Xinhua)
2015-07-02
China on Wednesday officially joined the Development Centre of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's historic visit to the OECD headquarters here. Li Wei, President of the Chinese Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), accepted OECD's official invitation to join the OECD Development Centre. OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria welcomed China's entry as a "historic and transformative opportunity for mutually beneficial knowledge-sharing." "Membership recognizes both China's sound experience in development and the Development Centre's role in convening a policy dialogue between OECD and non-OECD countries to advance policy solutions and best practices for sustainable development," he added. For Mario Pezzini, director of the OECD Development Centre, "China's membership will help strengthen partnerships with governments and institutions in countries throughout Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean, and Central and Southeast Asia." According to OECD, the entry of China to the OECD Development Centre marks an important step in support of China's transformation and transition to a new growth model, which will help inform China's increasing engagement with developing countries and the global community, including through endeavors such as the "Road and Belt" initiatives. "The OECD Development Centre has carried out significant research and dialogue on inclusive growth, economic restructuring, poverty reduction, and sustainable development," stated Li Wei. "We would like to exchange our experience in development with other members of the center, including the lessons we have learned," he added. The OECD Development Centre is a forum where countries come to share their experiences of economic and social development policies to help decision makers find policy solutions to stimulate growth and improve living conditions in developing and emerging economies. ^ top ^

Foreign brands lose ground in China's consumer goods market (SCMP)
2015-07-02
Foreign consumer brands are losing more market share to local players in China due to a weaker presence in smaller cities where growth is stronger, according to a study released on Wednesday. Foreign players lost the most ground - between 3.8 per cent and 4.8 per cent - in personal-care products, fabric softener and cosmetics, it said. The study, by global consulting firm Bain & Company and market research company Kantar Worldpanel, tracked purchases by 40,000 mainland households over three years and analysed data in 106 non-durable consumer goods categories. Domestic brands, it showed, gained share over their foreign competitors for the third year in a row, accounting for around 70 per cent of the market value in 26 categories. While losing in most categories, foreign brands did make gains in eight, including toilet paper, beer, hair conditioner and chewing gum. "An important reason [for foreign brands' declining share] is that they usually focus more on top-tier mainland cities and their products sell mainly through hypermarkets. But growth in these big cities has slowed in recent years and people are showing an increasing preference to shop online or in smaller supermarkets," Bain & Company partner Bruno Lannes said. Last year, the value of the overall urban retail market rose just 2 per cent, compared with 7.7 per cent growth in lower-tier cities. Lannes said Chinese brands had become more competitive by investing more in marketing, better branding and greater penetration in both online and offline channels. The mainland's fast-moving consumer goods market has remained soft amid a sluggish economy in recent years, with the sector's annual growth falling from 11.8 per cent to 5.4 per cent between 2012 and 2014. According to the study, mainland consumers made fewer trips to hypermarkets, which still accounted for 27.5 per cent of sales value in the total urban retail market last year. Traffic in supermarkets, mini-marts and convenience stores was stable, accounting for 45 per cent of the total. E-commerce claimed just 4.4 per cent of the market but showed strong growth momentum, with a 34 per cent increase in sales value last year. The study also found that mainland shoppers tended to trade up in categories linked to better health and quality of life. They were willing to pay more for yogurt, toothbrushes, milk, bottled water, juice and skincare products. But they were more price-sensitive about products like kitchen cleaners, facial tissues and fabric softeners. ^ top ^

Orthodox Church sees opportunities in China following enhanced Sino-Russian ties (Global Times)
2015-07-02
Yu Shi, a former banker and devout Orthodox Christian in China, was sent to study Orthodox theology in Russia in 2012. Later this year, he is expected to be the first Chinese priest ordained by Russian Orthodox Church to be recognized by the Chinese government. He will serve in Harbin, Helongjiang Province in the Holy Protection Church. He is currently assisting ceremonial services there, but is not yet able to fulfill all the duties of a priest. Russian Orthodox Christianity is not one of China's five officially recognized major religions. Yu Shi's ordination has been interpreted by experts as a major shift in China's attitude towards Orthodox Christianity. This official recognition will allow Yu Shi to lead prayers, preside over Masses and funerals, conduct baptisms and hear confessions. "Yu Shi has completed the theological courses. There is some remaining missionary training he needs to complete. Because China doesn't have ordination for the Russian Orthodox Church, he is expected be ordained by the Russian Church," Hao Runnan, division head on issues relating to Orthodox Christianity at the State Administration for Religious Affairs told the Global Times. The official also confirmed that China is expected to send one or two more theology students to study in Russia soon with the goal of their eventual ordination. According to Roman Catholic news website Asia News, there are 13 Chinese students at the Orthodox Sretenskaya Theological Academy in Moscow and the Academy of St Petersburg. At the end of 2014, Kung Ming Cheung was ordained as a priest in Russia serving Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Hong Kong. The religious affairs official told the Global Times that students who go and study in Russia by themselves are not recognized by the government. The recent emphasis on Orthodox Christianity by China is no coincidence. Chinese President Xi Jinping has met Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia twice over the last three years. Xi said he hopes the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill will play a bigger role in the future in cementing relations between the two countries. The remarks will encourage the small Orthodox congregation in China. The officially atheist country used to ban religion altogether during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) but has now become more open. Still, the expansion of religion, especially evangelical Christian groups, has concerned the government. In some cases, conflicts have occurred when the government has tried to regulate underground churches. Russian Orthodox Christianity has existed in China since 1685. Between then and 1924, Russia sent 18 Orthodox missions to China. In 1955, the Orthodox Church in China separated from the Russian Church. Last month, Reverend Wang Quansheng, the last Chinese Orthodox priest died at the age of 90 in Shanghai. ^ top ^

Comprehensive Iranian nuclear deal supposed to be reached: Chinese FM (Xinhua)
2015-07-03
The basic elements for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal has been provided, and there should be an accord to be agreed on in the final talks, Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi told reporters here on Thursday. After meeting with foreign ministers involved in the ongoing nuclear negotiation, Wang Yi expressed his optimism about the expected comprehensive nuclear deal. "I think the basic elements for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal have been provided, the time to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue has come," Wang said. After arriving in the capital of Austria, Wang held bilateral meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Palais Coburg. Iran and five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany have been negotiating over the past 16 months to reach a long-term deal over Tehran's disputed atomic plan. "The possibility of reaching a deal is very high, a deal should be agreed on," Wang told reporters. ^ top ^

Chinese premier assures French firms of China's economic prospect (Xinhua)
2015-07-03
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday assured the French business community of China's economic prospect and invited them to invest in the world's second-largest economy, before wrapping up his official visit to France. Li made the remarks while addressing a business summit in Toulouse in southern France on the last day of his four-day visit to the country. He called for industrial and energy cooperation and joint efforts in exploring third-party markets. Amid a slow and difficult global economic recovery and increasing downward pressure for emerging economies, the world closely follows China's economic trend, Li said. "The Chinese economy is generally stable in the first six months. We have confidence in achieving the goal of around 7 percent growth for the whole year," he said. China is taking steps to counter downward pressure, by working to enhance economic regulation, promote structural reform and make the proactive fiscal policy more effective and cultivate a transparent, stable and healthy capital market, according to the Chinese premier. "The French business community can be assured that there is great potential in the Chinese market and great flexibility in the economy," he said. Welcoming French enterprises to invest in China, he also promised Chinese enterprises will be encouraged to invest in France, calling on the European country to offer better environment for Chinese businesses. The premier visited the headquarters of Airbus, the world's leading aircraft manufacturer after attending the business summit. China has signed a deal with France on purchasing 45 Airbus A330 passenger planes on Tuesday. Aviation has long been a priority for cooperation between the two countries. China and France jointly opened a manufacturing plant in China's northern coastal city, Tianjin in 2008, which has assembled a total of 207 A320s by far. France is the second leg of Premier Li's Europe trip. He came to France from Belgium after meeting with Belgian leaders and attending the 17th China-EU leaders' meeting. Arriving Paris on Monday night, Li met with French leaders and visited the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He also visited Marseille, the second-largest city of France. ^ top ^

China-France partnership 'will benefit all' (China Daily)
2015-07-03
The cooperation between China and France not only benefits the two countries but the entire world, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during his speech at a France-China economic summit at Toulouse, France, on Thursday. "The cooperation between the two countries has been established for 50 years, and we can foresee that in the future it will become more prosperous and fruitful," Li said. China and France will set up a fund to boost international production and third-party market cooperation, added the premier. "The combination of finance and a substantial economy is a practical method to fight against the economic downturn," Li said. He also mentioned that China and France have huge partnership potential in many fields, such as countering climate change, developing smart cities and modernizing agriculture. "China is willing to boost people-to-people dialogues and communication with France," Li said. "We would like to see more Chinese students come to France, and more French classes be taught in Chinese schools and universities." The premier said he learned French when he was in college. "I hope the young in both countries can understand and learn each other's language and culture." Li mentioned that China's stable economy will provide a solid foundation for China-France cooperation. "The Chinese market's potential is enormous; the country is very welcoming of French entrepreneurs investing in China and creating new business in the market. The Chinese government will also propel more Chinese companies to France, and we hope our counterpart will create a favorable investment environment for Chinese investors as well," he added. The two leaders later visited the headquarters of aircraft maker Airbus, which signed a framework agreement with the Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Co and the Aviation Industry Corp of China to set up an A330 completion and delivery center in Tianjin. The company already has one delivery center and a final assembly line in Tianjin. "The total value of annual industrial cooperation by the end of 2015 will be around $500 million, and we expect to reach 1 billion by 2020," the company told China Daily. "As Chinese Premier Li mentioned, the cooperation between Airbus and China has become a successful example for European countries," said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. "I was very impressed when I visited the cooperation project in Tianjin in January." "There are already 45 orders, and I heard there are 30more," Valls said. "The investment from China has created around 13,000 jobs in France." The leaders witnessed the signing of more than 20 cooperation agreements, including China National Building Materials Group Corp with Schneider Electric, and Chinese airline group subsidiary HNA Tourism Group and the French company Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs Group. ^ top ^

Parade in Beijing will 'surprise' (China Daily)
2015-07-03
Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov told China Daily on Saturday that a show by Russian soldiers in September in the planned Tian'anmen Square parade will have "a surprise". Denisov praised a Chinese honor guard's May show in Moscow's Red Square. Beijing said earlier this year that the Russian army will be welcomed at the September commemorative events marking the 70th anniversary of China's victory inWorldWar II and the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45). Although details of the Russian armed forces that will attend the Beijing parade are still unavailable, the envoy said in an interview that "the Russian unit will march as well as the Chinese did in Moscow in May". Several countries, including Russia, will "dispatch personnel to participate in and watch the military parade", Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in late June. Mongolian Ambassador to China Tsedenjav Sukhbaatar also confirmed the participation of the Mongolian army. On May 9, the honor guard from the People's Liberation Army took part in the Moscow parade marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany. "As everybody acknowledged, they were the best among the foreign participants in the military parade," Denisov said of the PLA. "It is not just a common goal. It is amatter of long time preparation— of training. And everyone understands that it matters. So the earlier the training process starts, the better for the performance,” he said. "So we are waiting and expecting a kind of surprise," he said. As China's military contingent rehearsed for the May parade inMoscow, a short video went viral in China's cyberspace. The Chinese contingent, after finishing one rehearsal, sang a famous Russian song, Katyusha, in the Russian language while leaving, followed by thunderous applause from Russian residents standing on both sides of the road. The ambassador said the Chinese soldiers also impressed him. "When I speak about 'surprise', I mean these kind of things. It was a surprise." He noted that Katyusha is also popular in China. "We like it," he said. The exchange of parades between China and Russia serves as a display of joint commitment to maintaining peace, Denisov said. "It's just to demonstrate preparedness for keeping peace, maintaining peace and stability. If you want these, you need to have a well-trained army, and a parade is a group formed to show preparedness. "Seventy years is a long time.... And in these days, for the young generation, we need to preserve. We need to try to keep adherence to the truth, to the facts, not just the kind of deliberations and allegations that lie far from what has really happened in history." Denisov also said it is a good opportunity to remind people that "war is inappropriate and unacceptable. Let me say that this is the key objective". President Xi Jinping viewed the May parade in Moscow, and he met and presented awards to some former Russian soldiers who fought in World War II. The ambassador said he wants to pay tribute to the Chinese leader because Xi made time to meet the veterans despite his tight schedule while visiting Moscow. "It was a very touching ceremony," he said. Since a number of commemorative events will take place on days around Sept 3 around China, he said, "probably veterans of both sides will take part in these meetings". ^ top ^

FM urges US to drop 'Cold War mentality' after Pentagon report (Global Times)
2015-07-03
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday called on the US to abandon its "Cold War mentality" and avoid confrontation following the Pentagon's release of a new military strategy which regards states like China as a "threat" to US security interests. The report was released Wednesday local time. The last such report was issued in 2011. The report warns of a "low but growing" probability of the US fighting a war with a major power, which would have "immense" consequences. It also singles out disputes in the South China Sea and said that China's constructions on some islands are "adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region." "China resolutely adheres to its path of a peaceful and defensive national security policy, which has served as the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region as well as in the world," China's foreign ministry told the Global Times in a written response. The US should abandon its Cold War mentality, and instead should correctly perceive China's strategic intentions, the ministry said. In a separate written reply to the Global Times, China's defense ministry said the US had made "groundless accusations" about China's rightful construction in the South China Sea and hyped up the theory of the "China threat," which the ministry opposes. "The US should stop making irresponsible comments and put more efforts into facilitating the peaceful development of China-US military relations and maintaining regional peace and stability," the ministry said. Policy shift Analysts point out that the 2015 report represents a US policy shift in its stance regarding the South China Sea, from non-interference to siding with claimant countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Such a shift is closely linked with its "Asia pivot" strategy, analysts added. "The last report, released in 2011, came after the US administration adopted the 'Asia pivot' strategy, when it showed concern over China's potential as an emerging power," Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "Relations between China and ASEAN countries have reached new heights in the last decade as China became the largest trading partner of the [ASEAN] countries," Ni noted. "The US is concerned about China's rising clout in the region, and intends to use the South China disputes as a way to regain its influence," he said. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think tank, said earlier that a 3,000-meter airstrip China is building on a reef in the South China Sea is nearly complete. Washington wants Beijing to halt construction and militarization in the region, said Bonnie Glaser, an expert at the US think tank, reported AFP. The previous report, despite stating that the US should "monitor carefully China's military developments," made little mention of the South China Sea issue. It said that the US seeks "a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China," and discussed at length about how the two countries can cooperate on areas such as countering piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and using China's influence with North Korea to preserve stability on the Korean peninsula. 'Two-faced' Despite the strongly worded reference to the South China Sea, the report also said that the US "supports China's rise and encourages it to become a partner for greater international security." The US will "continue to invest in a substantial military-to-military relationship with China," the report added. Zhang Junshe, a captain and research fellow at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, believes that the report reflects that the US is "two-faced" when it comes to its attitude toward China's military strategy. "The US attitude toward China is different from that of Russia, as the US believes the country is challenging international norms. The report shows the US lacks understanding of China's strategic intentions," Zhang told the Global Times. Both Zhang and Ni believe the two countries can continue building on their consensus on forming the new model of major-country relations, and expanding mutual trust in military cooperation. China and the US have maintained a good level of military cooperation, for example by holding joint anti-piracy navy drills off Somalia in 2012. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Founding nations attend signing ceremony for China-led international development bank (SCMP)
2015-06-29
The 57 countries who are founding members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank began signing the articles of association setting up the new institution on Monday. Australia became the first country to sign the document in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said at the ceremony in Beijing that he was confident the institution could start functioning before the end of the year. The founding members will sign articles of agreement that decide each member's share and the bank's initial capital. The institution, seen as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank, was initially opposed by the United States, but has attracted many prominent US allies including Britain, Germany, Australia and South Korea. Other founding members include most Asian nations and countries from the Middle East and South America. Japan and the United States are the most prominent nations not represented in the bank. China has said it has left the door open for them to join. Asian countries are expected to own up to 75 per cent of the bank while European and other nations will own the remainder. Each Asian member will then be allotted a share of that 75 per cent quota based on their economic size, two Japanese sources have said. The AIIB will begin with authorized capital of US$50 billion, eventually to be raised to US$100 billion. China is likely to hold a 25 to 30 per cent stake, while India will be the second-biggest shareholder with a possible 10 to 15 per cent, delegates at a meeting to finalise the new bank's articles of agreement said last month. Germany plans to take a 4.1 per cent stake to become the fourth-biggest member after China, India and Russia, according to a finance ministry draft document earlier this month. Mainland media said China was likely to have a 26 per cent voting share in the new lender China says it will not hold veto power within the AIIB, unlike the World Bank where the United States holds a limited veto. Apart from backing the AIIB, China has also pledged billions of dollars to the Silk Road fund and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which are also aimed at funding infrastructure to increase trade and connectivity between Europe and Asia. ^ top ^

Wechat becomes major platform for Chinese people (China Daily)
2015-06-29
A new report is suggesting Tencent's social messaging service WeChat is rapidly becoming one of the main sources for people in China to share information. According to the report, the internet is now a must for many Chinese people seeking information, communicating, shopping, and paying for various products and services. Li Peilin, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says the service industry has used mobile networks widely since last year. "China's new media development is embracing unprecedented opportunities. New media is increasingly becoming an integrated service platform for Chinese people especially young citizens in urban area. Different kinds of online services are springing up such as online shopping, e-payment, online taxi booking, online education and even online medical treatment.” Li Peilin adds that China's new media is faced with problems, including Internet information security, supervision over internet finance, as well as the spread of rumors online. According to the report, China's micro blogging platform Sina Weibo is still the largest platform for spreading information, though more and more people are starting to communicate with the instant messaging service Wechat. Tang Xujin, chief editor of the report, says information spreading via Wechat is increasing sharply. Even though Weibo users' dropped 11.4 percent compared with the year before, active users ended up adding 48 million mobile client. Meanwhile, by the end of last year, Wechat had more than 600 million users and the average reading of each user is 5.9 articles every day. According to the report, nearly 60 percent of fake news items in 2014 originated on Sina Weibo, while rumors on WeChat, although only accounting for 7 percent, were more difficult to dispel because it is a closed system. Compared with Weibo, where different stories often contradict each other, WeChat users are reluctant to point out rumors posted by their friends and families. Tang Xujin says there are some common topics among the fake stories. There is a subject report concentrating on wechat rumors. According to the report, the top seven topics for wechat rumors are food security, human security, disease, health regimes, fraud, finance and parenting techniques. Wechat rumors typically involve exaggeration of details, like figures. The writing seems to be reasonable and easy to believe while the information is highly uncertain. All the above makes people easily fooled. "This year marks the sixth year for the CASS to release the "Annual Report on Development of New Media in China." ^ top ^

Beijing to keep cutting emissions throughout 2015 (Xinhua)
2015-06-29
The municipal government of Beijing will keep cutting emissions in the second half of 2015 to meet the pollution reduction target this year, Beijing environmental protection bureau announced on Sunday. Beijing set the reduction target earlier this year to cut the average density of PM2.5 (airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter)by 5 percent, the same as last year, and the emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide by 6 percent. According to Li Lixin, head of pollutant discharge control at the bureau, all coal-burning boilers will be closed in the six main districts of the capital to keep coal consumption under 15 million tonnes. The city will also improve its energy structure, phasing out another 200,000 vehicles and closing more than 300 factories, cutting the capacity of the cement industry to 5 million tonnes this year. Beijing failed to meet a key pollution target last year with PM2.5 down only four percent. The capital has become increasingly smog-bound in recent years, partly due to the rise of PM2.5. The central government has ordered the city to cut PM2.5 from 2012 levels by 25 percent by 2017. ^ top ^

China to expand legal assistance (Xinhua)
2015-06-29
China will introduce free legal aid services to more people in need and improve access to these services, an instruction issued Monday by the central authorities said. The directive, focusing on perfecting the legal assistance system, was jointly issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council and ordered that legal assistance should address livelihood issues of people in poverty. All provincial governments must expand coverage of legal assistance to include labor protection, marriage, food and drug safety, education and medical services, vice justice minister Zhao Dacheng said, quoting the instruction. The existing coverage of legal assistance includes helping citizens with financial difficulties apply for state compensation, basic living allowance, or to claim payment for their work, among other items. The instruction identified key social groups to be covered by legal assistance, including rural migrant workers, those who were laid-off, the elderly, the disabled and other groups. It also promised easier access to legal aid services by offering a telephone hot-line (12348), a consulting website and building more legal aid stations in prominent locations. Legal assistance will also benefit more people facing criminal charges in order to play greater role in defending human rights, said the instruction. Such services will be offered to those who intend to appeal but without financial means. The governments will also procure more services and support social organizations' participation in offering legal assistance, Zhao said. ^ top ^

Police street patrols in Beijing at maximum level to counter terrorism (Global Times)
2015-06-30
Beijing police have started street patrols at the highest security level from Monday as part of a campaign to counter violence and terrorism. The campaign, coded "peace action," will last until mid August. Patrol officers, traffic officers, armed police and assistant police will be deployed to densely populated venues, subways and busy streets to enhance patrolling. Security guards and volunteers in communities are also included in the patrol team, according to an announcement on the official Weibo account of the Beijing police. Addressing the complicated anti-terrorism situation, controls and supervision would be especially tightened on knives, express deliveries, secondhand markets, gas stations, and low-flying small aircraft. The campaign is aimed at maintaining stability for the 2015 Beijing World Championships in Athletics that is scheduled to kick off in this August, and the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of victory in the anti-fascist war including a military parade in early September, an official from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau told the Beijing News. "It also comes in the midst of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when the world is witnessing a high frequency of terror attacks," Wang Guoxiang, an associate professor at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. An armed man killed 38 people at a beach in a Tunisian resort on Friday, and 25 people were killed in a suicide bomb strike on a Muslim mosque in Kuwait on the same day. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the two attacks, the Xinhua News Agency reported. "The Beijing police also attempted to avoid another July 5 Xinjiang riot that claimed over 180 lives in 2009, as terrorists tried to stir up troubles around each July 5 since 2009," Wang said. Xinjiang authorities have busted 181 terror groups as of May after launching a sweeping anti-terrorism campaign in 2014, according to Xinhua. The tightened patrols will serve as a psychological deterrent to terrorists, Wang said. Beijing police started to deploy 150 armed patrol vehicles to the streets to tighten security after a bombing in a market in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, that killed 39 people in May 2014. Each vehicle was deployed with nine police officers and four assistant police. Police could reach the scene of incidents within three minutes after receiving reports, Xinhua said. Meanwhile, the campaign will step up a crackdown on other social security problems, including gambling, prostitution, illegal hotels and illegal taxis. Police will also be dispatched to areas with poor social security to make arrests for illegal behavior. ^ top ^

China's Communist Party now larger than the population of Germany (SCMP)
2015-07-01
The Communist Party gained 1.1 million members last year, state media reported, taking the ruling organisation's membership to almost 88 million, a figure greater than the population of Germany. Citing a party communique, state-run Xinhua News Agency said that at the end of 2014 party membership had risen 1.3 per cent year-on-year. The rise "showed the party's vigour and vitality have been strengthened", it said. The Communist Party has dominated the country since 1949 and the figures were released ahead of its 94th anniversary today. Membership is coveted and can bring benefits in terms of connections in business and academia as well as the prestige associated with being part of the country's ruling class. But since President Xi Jinping came to power the organisation has engaged in a high-profile campaign to root out graft that leaders have warned threatens its continued rule over the country. The drive has snared thousands of officials at all levels, with the country's former security chief Zhou Yongkang jailed for life on corruption charges by a court in early June, making him the highest-ranking former official to be sentenced in decades. Party committees had sought to control membership growth to emphasise quality, the Xinhua report said. Party members account for less than seven per cent of China's total population of 1.37 billion. The party recruited about 2.1 million new members last year, the report said, 351,000 fewer than in 2013. The figures suggested an emphasis on youth and education, with 1.7 million new members aged under 35. Of new members, almost 39 per cent had university or graduate degrees, up 2.6 percentage points from 2013. The number of female members also increased, the figures showed, with 21.7 million women on the party roll last year. Members identified as workers totalled 7.3 million, the figures showed, while 26 million were engaged in farming, herding or fishing. A total of 12.5 million were identified as professionals, 9 million as administrative staff while 7.4 million were described as workers in party and government offices. The total membership was 87.8 million. ^ top ^

China's contentious national security law passed (SCMP)
2015-07-01
China's legislature passed a sweeping and controversial national security law on Wednesday morning, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning at the Great Hall of the People to answer questions about the legislation. The legislation is contentious because it defines national security in far-reaching terms, ranging from finance, politics, the military and cyber security to ideology and religion, triggering fears of greater limits on freedom of speech and civil rights. It emphasises the leadership of the Communist Party in establishling “a centralised, efficient and authoritative national security leadership system”. But it stops short of referring to the party's new National Security Commission. President Xi Jinping, who heads the commission, has previously said that national security should be comprehensive, encompassing politics, the military, economy, technology, environment and culture. The full text of the draft was released on May 7 on the legislature's website for public consultation, which ended on June 5. The bill also raised concerns in Hong Kong when, for the first time, it highlighted the city's “obligations”, raising the prospect of renewed pressure on the city to get moving on its own security legislation that has been abeyance since the government tried to push through local legislation, Basic Law Article 23, on subversion, sparking mass protests in the city 12 years ago today. Article 11 of the draft national security law obliges the people of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, alongside their mainland compatriots. Article 36 calls on the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions to fulfil their responsibilities in safeguarding national security. ^ top ^

Xi stresses CPC governance at county level (Xinhua)
2015-07-01
President Xi Jinping has called on secretaries of Communist Party of China (CPC) committees at county level to be loyal to the Party, take initiative in economic development and serve the people wholeheartedly. Xi made the remarks on Tuesday when meeting with 102 individuals selected from more than 2,800 county-level Party secretaries across the country for their outstanding work. While congratulating them, the president extended greetings to all Party members ahead of the 94th anniversary of the CPC's founding on Wednesday. "When counties are governed, the world is at peace," Xi said, quoting an ancient Chinese saying. "In our Party's organizational structure and the country's regime structure, the county is a key part that links higher and lower levels as well as a significant foundation for economic development, people's livelihoods and social stability." According to the president, honoring outstanding county-level Party secretaries aims to set an example for all Party members and officials. "A county-level Party committee is a frontline headquarters for the CPC's governance, and a Party secretary is the commander in chief," Xi said, acknowledging the huge pressures placed on them. He urged these officials to follow Party codes of conduct and adapt themselves to China's plateauing economic growth. "County-level Party secretaries should be trailblazers for development... take hold of the reform drive and guide the people to contribute to social and economic development together," Xi said, underlining poverty relief work. He also called on Party committees and organization departments to lend more support to grassroots Party officials. Also at the meeting with outstanding secretaries, Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said more quality officials are needed to serve the Party's cause. He vowed promotions for those who perform well. Liu stressed firm Party belief, sincerity toward the people, discipline to resist corruption, and a strong sense of responsibility as the key qualities exemplified by these honored secretaries. ^ top ^

Decades-old meat sold across country (Global Times)
2015-07-01
China has found itself embroiled in another food safety scandal after authorities discovered 100,000 tons of smuggled frozen meat - some of which was over 40 years old and had begun to thaw - apparently destined for sale and consumption. "I nearly threw up when I opened the door," an inspector said of the aging meat's overwhelming stench. Chinese authorities found the smuggled pork, beef and chicken wings in 14 different crackdowns across the country. The haul is reportedly worth in the region of 3 billion yuan ($480 million), reported the Beijing News. Industry sources say hundreds of thousands of tons of beef is being smuggled into China via Hong Kong and Vietnam. Some of the seized meat came from strategic food reserves from countries such as Brazil, India, Finland, Germany and the US. "This old meat is extremely cheap. Because it is smuggled into China, there is no food quality inspection. In order to avoid food safety inspections, the smugglers will avoid big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and smuggle it into small restaurants in small and medium cities in Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces," said an insider. Recent news reports said that mostly fresh meat is sold in supermarkets in Beijing. Many meat providers said they only provide fresh meat. An official at China's anti-smuggling bureau told the paper that smuggled meat can travel for extended periods of time in unrefrigerated vans and is often repeatedly thawed and refrozen, making it a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and viruses. Insiders said that even with the crackdown by authorities the high profits involved means there will always be criminals willing to engage in this illegal trade. Organized gangs even offer a "one-stop shop" service for buyers which includes finding suppliers, organizing transportation, customs clearance and delivery. Payment is often in cash or done online which makes investigations into their illegal activities even harder. The smugglers use various social media platforms to communicate and are very cautious. A food safety official said, "Frozen food smugglers have a network that covers the entire country, so any crackdown needs to be a multi-province effort, especially in the main battlefields of Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan." ^ top ^

Former official sorry for insulting Mao Zedong (Global Times)
2015-07-01
A former member of the standing committee of the advisory body in Henan Province apologized on Sina Weibo on Monday for his post which insulted the late leader Mao Zedong. "I apologize for using some improper words when referring to Mao Zedong in my post on Saturday. I am sorry for the bad social influence it has caused and sincerely apologize to the family of Mao," Zhao Keluo, a former member of the Henan Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) wrote on Monday. "I promise not to use insulting words on social media and abide by laws to bring a clean environment to the Internet," Zhao wrote. The apology came after a Saturday post of Zhao, in which he called Mao a "criminal" who committed "heinous crimes" in China, including the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). It went on questioning the absence of speeches against Mao in the media. His comments quickly attracted wide attention and were reposted by a local procuratorate in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province on Weibo, in which Zhao was referred to as "trash." The procuratorate on Sunday apologized for the "bad influence" it caused and that the official who left the comment without permission was punished. ^ top ^

Life expectancy rises to new high in capital (China Daily)
2015-07-01
The life expectancy of Beijing's permanent residents hit a record high last year - nearly 82 years - while the number of people 60 or older in the city increased by more than 200,000, a new report says. A rapidly aging population, coupled with an increase in the number of children 10 or younger - the result of a rising birthrate in recent years - is putting an added burden on Beijing's working population, said the report, released on Monday by the Beijing Commission of Health and Family Planning. The life expectancy of Beijing's permanent residents was almost 82 years last year, an increase of one-third of a year from 2013, and it is still slowly rising, the report said. Female life expectancy was about 84 years, more than four years above males, the report said. The life expectancy for both men and women in Beijing are among the highest in China, the report said. Last year, the number of people 60 or older in Beijing reached 3.01 million, accounting for 22.6 percent of the city's total population with hukou, or household registration. Of that number, 2.04 million people are 65 or older. By comparison, the number of people age 60 or above in Beijing was 2.8 million at the end of 2013, said a report released last year by Beijing's authority for senior affairs. Yuan Xin, a professor of population studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that Beijing, like many other places in China, has a population that is expected to live longer because of improved healthcare. The average life expectancy in China was 75 years in 2012, six years longer than it was in 1990, according to a report on global health released by the World Health Organization last year. Heavier burden Meanwhile, the number of children 10 years or younger in Beijing has been increasing in recent years, putting a heavier burden on Beijing's working population, the report said. Yuan, from Nankai University, said the increase in the number of children is in part due to the nation's relaxation of family planning policies in recent years, and also a result of the previous major birth peak in China, with couples born in the 1980s and 1990s now entering the peak period of childbirth. Since February last year, Beijing has allowed couples in which either is a single child to have a second child. Before that, couples were allowed to have a second child only if both were a single child. ^ top ^

China's national security law gives PLA mission to protect overseas interests (SCMP)
2015-07-02
China's military is expected to expand its offshore presence with the passage yesterday of a wide-ranging new national security law that highlights the country's need to protect its "overseas interests". Besides underscoring the need to protect national territorial sovereignty and integrity, the law passed by the National People's Congress says it is the military's duty to defend these overseas interests, through military action if necessary. This is in addition to the People's Liberation Army's responsibilities in peacekeeping, international rescue operations and escort missions. "The amendment indicates the PLA Navy has been given the challenging and tough long-term task to defend China's overseas interests. More resources and political support will be required to turn the navy into a capable blue-water force [to carry out these tasks]," Shanghai-based naval expert Ni Lexiong said. The law also includes a clause saying the state should protect strategic resources and energy reserves, as well as transport channels on sea and land to safeguard the country's social and economic development. "In this clause, Beijing is showing its determination to protect its oil lifeline at sea, hinting that it will continue to set up a network of offshore military supply depots in strategic ports to protect its national interests overseas," Ni said. NPC approval would be needed for China to declare war against other nations, and all activities of the PLA - both domestic and overseas missions - should be approved by the Central Military Commission headed by President Xi Jinping, according to the law. The passage of the law comes roughly a month after Beijing signalled in a defence ministry white paper that it would pursue a strategic shift to a more assertive military, transforming its navy from an "offshore defence" power to one committed to "open-seas protection" as well. The law also calls for tighter controls over the internet, foreign investment, core information technology and services, critical infrastructure and national security systems, saying these should be "secure and controllable" to prevent online attacks, theft of secrets and the spread of illegal or harmful information. One addition to the final version was a clause on China's determination to pursue and develop its capacity to "explore and use assets in space, deep seas and in polar regions". He Qisong, a defence policy specialist at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said the new law signalled that China was more committed to protecting its national security interests. "Beijing has sent a clear message to its people and the military, the whole country will provide full support to the armed forces to defend the country's interests, be they overseas, in space, in deep seas and even in polar regions," He said. Zeng Zhiping, a military law expert at the Nanchang Institute of Technology in Jiangxi, said the law legitimised the armed forces' non-traditional offshore security missions. "The amended national security law has finally caught up with developments in the armed forces at home and overseas," Zeng said. "The armed forces' function in peacetime today is not about going to war, but more about non-traditional security issues. "The legitimacy given by the new national security law will help the military fight for bigger budgets, as well as increase its transparency." ^ top ^

Beijing passes sweeping national security law, but legislation 'will not be directly implemented in Hong Kong' (SCMP)
2015-07-02
China's legislature on Wednesday passed a sweeping and controversial national security law that covers a wide range of state interests including its military actions overseas, but stokes fears of greater limits on citizens' freedom. It said Hong Kong had the responsibility to protect national security, but Zheng Shuna, deputy director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said the law would not be directly implemented in Hong Kong and Macau. She said it was not one of the national laws – such as those concerning diplomatic and territorial issues – that applied to the territories. “The national security law has made provisions, in principle, for Hong Kong and Macau to fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard national security. The Basic Law Article 23 of the two Special Administrative Regions has made provisions for them to enact laws of their own accord to safeguard national security,” she said. The passing of the national security law stoked fears among pro-democracy politicians in Hong Kong that the city would face pressure to enact Article 23 of the Basic Law. Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Wednesday again ruled out legislating the article in the remainder of his term. Article 23 requires Hong Kong to pass laws on treason, sedition and subversion. Lawmakers in Beijing on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the national security law, with 154 backing the legislation and only one abstention, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported. The law is part of a raft of legislation pushed by President Xi Jinping's administration that includes laws on counterterrorism and non-government organisations. The first clause of the law stated that its mission was to “safeguard national security, defend the people's democratic dictatorship and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics” as well as the “realisation of the great rejuvenation of the nation”. The law defines national security as the protection of the political regime, sovereignty, national unification, territorial integrity, people's welfare, and the “sustainable and healthy development” of the economy and society. The law also states that these and other “major national interests” should be “relatively free from danger and not be under internal and external threats”. The law emphasises the Communist Party's leadership in national security, saying the party will direct efforts to establish “a centralised, efficient and authoritative national security leadership system”. The law states its aim is to implement military defence to prevent and resist invasions and to stop “armed subversion and separatism”, as well as protecting “military action that safeguards the nation's overseas interest”. One clause stresses“the grasping of the guiding authority in the ideological sphere” and the prevention of the infiltration of “harmful moral standards.” Other clauses deal with the protection of the economy, grain security, the establishment of systems for the protection of cyber and information security as well as the prevention of social conflicts. It also deals with the threat of terrorism, religious cults, interference of religious issues by “overseas forces” and stressed the importance of ethnic harmony. The law also to protects China's activities and assets in space, on the international sea bed and in polar regions. Zheng said China needed a new national security law in the face of “ever-growing national security challenges”. “We face dual pressure. Externally, the country must defend national sovereignty as well as security and development interests. Internally, it must also maintain political security and social stability,” she said, adding that a comprehensive legislation that safeguards the country from “all kinds of security threats and risks” is needed as they are “more complicated than any other times in history”. Xi, who is the head of the newly established national security commission, has said national security should cover a wide range of areas including politics, culture, the military, the economy, technology and the environment. The law has attracted controversy because it defines the remit of national security in far-reaching terms, ranging from finance, economy, politics, the military and cyber security to culture, ideology and religion. Analysts have voiced worries that the definition of specific threats in the law has not been narrowly drawn as required by international laws and it lacked checks and balances to safeguard citizens' rights. Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director of Amnesty International, said the definitions of the law are “dangerously over-broad” and “the law conflates the Party's monopoly on power with national security” He said the categorisation of many activities as “national threats” would stifle debate and objective analysis of social problems. Zheng told reporters the law was for the protection of China's core interests, and they had “been defined clearly”. Eva Pils, a China law expert at King's College of the University of London, said the law reflected the Xi administration's rejection of the rule of law and wider universal values and it had been drafted on the basis of neo-Maoist, neo-totalitarian political ideas. “It re-emphasises the leading position of the Party in protecting China from its perceived enemies, by references to the 'people's 'democratic dictatorship' and by apparently giving formal backing to the role of the new national security commission,” she said. ^ top ^

7 South Koreans, 2 Chinese killed in NE China road accident (Global Times)
2015-07-02
A bus carrying South Korean tourists fell off a bridge in northeast China on Wednesday, killing seven South Koreans as well as their Chinese driver and guide, local government said.The accident happened about 4:00 pm in the city of Ji'an, Jilin Province. The bus, owned by Xinshiji Tour Agency, was heading to the city of Dandong, local government said. The remaining 19 passengers have been rescued, the government said. ^ top ^

Suspect arrested in murder of student in US (China Daily)
2015-07-02
A man suspected of murdering Chinese student Shao Tong in the United States was arrested in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, on June 19. The suspect, Li Xiangnan, faces a charge of intentional homicide and will be tried in Wenzhou. The Wenzhou People's Procuratorate said on Tuesday that Li, a Wenzhou native born in 1991, had been arrested by the local police bureau. He allegedly strangled his 20-year-old girlfriend Shao on Sept 7 in the US state of Iowa. The statement said that Li fled to China on Sept 8. Shao was reported missing on Sept 17 and found dead nine days later in the trunk of her car. Zhu Chengyuan, an official with the Wenzhou police bureau, said that local police officers opened their investigation on Oct 29 after receiving information from their counterparts in Iowa. "We sent out three teams to look for Li. It took a long time because he did not come back to Wenzhou or contact his relatives after he fled from the US. We were not able to locate his whereabouts until this May," he said. Zhu said that Li turned himself in to police in Chengdu, Sichuan province, accompanied by his parents, on May 13. "Iowa police have already handed evidence over to us and an investigation is still going on to verify the evidence," he said. "Hopefully, the process will be done as soon as possible." Zhu said that since the investigation is still taking place, there is no timeline for a trial. Tian Wei, a lawyer with Hangzhou Liuhe law firm, said that since China and the US do not have an extradition treaty, Li will be tried in China, instead of being extradited to the US. "Under Chinese criminal law, Chinese citizens are subject to Chinese prosecution for crimes they committed abroad," he said. Intentional homicide carries penalties ranging from 10 years' imprisonment to the death penalty. Li is a former international student at the University of Iowa. Iowa police officials believe Li may have wanted to kill Shao because she was attempting to break off their relationship. Shao was a junior at Iowa State University in Ames at the time of her death. Shao and Li had an "emotional entanglement" before Shao's death, Iowa police said, without releasing further details. After Shao's death, Li bought a one-way ticket to China. Shao Chunsheng, the victim's father, said he was relieved to hear that Li had been arrested, according to CNN television news. ^ top ^

Guidelines set to boost supervision (China Daily)
2015-07-02
China will improve monitoring of the environment nationwide and emphasize the responsibility of government officials in eco-civilization development, according to a new set of guidelines from the Communist Party of China Central Committee. The guidelines include detailed regulations for measuring officials' performance and meting out punishment for incompetence. Because government officials have played the decisive role in implementing environmental protection measures, the country will release the detailed regulations on their responsibilities and performance expectations in ecological development based on law and scientific measurement. Government officials found responsible for environmental pollution will be held accountable even beyond their terms of office. The central government will launch pilot projects in which natural resources will be treated as assets that are the responsibility of government officials. After the pilot projects, new auditing systems will be implemented for natural resources, with targets, assessment standards and explanations of how to use the audit results in monitoring, said the guidelines. The CPC Central Committee reviewed and approved on Wednesday the drafts for environmental protection inspections, construction of the environmental monitoring network, and accountability measures for government officials who are responsible for environmental damage. They also approved the pilot projects' action plan for auditing officials' performance based on their oversight of natural resources. President Xi Jinping, who chaired the 14th meeting of the reform group, emphasized the need to deepen reforms in eco-civilization to benefit the protectors and punish the polluters. The new set of drafts and the action plan also seek to improve the monitoring network on environmental protection, with the focus on local governments. Confirming the property rights of natural resources is important to better protect natural resources, since ownership and responsibility for management will then be clearer, said Yin Yanlin, a senior official in the Central Financial Leading Group last week. ^ top ^

Floods, rain kill 108 people in China (SCMP)
2015-07-03
Floods and heavy rain have killed more than 100 people and inflicted 35 billion yuan (HK$44 billion) in losses across the country so far this year, according to a report by a state-owned newspaper. And the downpours were forecast to continue across the country's south until Wednesday, with the China Meteorological Administration issuing a yellow alert for the region, indicating that up to 50mm could fall in a six-hour period, Economic Information Daily reported on Thursday. Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces are also expecting heavy rain. The report attributed the severe conditions to El Nino. More than 20 million people in 20 provinces have been affected, with 108 dead and 21 missing. And more than one million people have been evacuated and roughly 44,000 houses have collapsed. Some of the worst-affected areas are in Hunan, Sichuan and Fujian. Torrential rain started to sweep across the Yangtze River, Huai River and Tai Lake regions last Friday, with a 210,000 sq km area recording 50mm of falls since then. The Tai Lake area has received an average of 112mm of rain and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River 110mm. "Some areas had so much rain that they were completely waterlogged, making it very difficult for disaster relief efforts," Wei Huazhen, director of flood prevention in Dahua county, Guangxi, was quoted as saying. Yang Lin, a meteorologist with the Fujian Meteorological Bureau, said El Nino had led to extreme weather in the province, with widespread drought in spring and persistent torrential rain since May, flooding mountain areas and cities. The drought conditions were expected to return in Fujian when the flood season was over. The wet weather has pushed up vegetable prices in the past two months. Xinhua said that in its price survey of 21 types of vegetables, 16 were up to 15 per cent more expensive than the same time last year. Chai Liping, secretary general of the China Vegetable Association, said vegetable prices would go up further because of a drop in supply. Floods in the country's south hit output and also pushed up transport costs, leading to higher prices in the north. ^ top ^

China's draconian new security law makes safeguarding the regime its main priority, to the concern of analysts (SCMP)
2015-07-03
The sweeping national security law passed on Wednesday will make it easier for law enforcers to justify crackdowns on dissent as criticism of the government could be construed as a threat to national security, scholars and rights groups warn. The law defines national security as the protection of a broad range of terms, from cultural and ideological issues to cyber security and China's interests in space. But analysts said the law, in its preamble, stated that safeguarding the political regime ranked above sovereignty, national unification, territorial integrity and people's welfare. It is this prioritisation that alarms analysts, who said they feared that activities perceived to be a threat to the Communist Party would now be interpreted as a threat to national security. "It says the protection of party rule is national security, so anything that threatens party rule will be handled as a national security issue," said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director of Amnesty International. Bequelin believes the new law will enable the police to mobilise national security clauses to prevent activists or government critics being involved in activities, and will help the authorities stigmatise these people in the eyes of the public. "If a person is a threat to national security, people won't have a lot of sympathy [for him]," he said. Eva Pils, a China expert at King's College London, said the national security law would legalise actions against the regime's "enemies" that until now had been unlawful, such as illegal detention and torture, in the name of protecting national security. "[These] can now more easily be characterised as a form of 'law enforcement'," she said. Political commentator Ching Cheong gave the example of the case of detained journalist Gao Yu, who was sentenced to seven years in jail for leaking a party document on the charge that she "leaked state secrets abroad". Her lawyers argued in court that party secrets should not constitute state secrets. "But under this law, which says the party's security is state security, you can't even use this defence anymore," Ching said. Scholars and rights groups are concerned that the new law defines "national security" in such broad terms, contrary to international laws that require specific threats to be narrowly defined. "It is unclear what kind of specific actions would be construed as endangering state security," said Maya Wang, a China researcher for the US-based Human Rights Watch. Pils was also concerned that the law enabled “citizens and organisations” other than the designated state securities to “assist” in protecting national security – which could lead to abuses without specific checks and balances in the clauses to safeguard citizens' rights. ^ top ^

Girl serves more than tea to blackmail 22 officials (China Daily)
2015-07-02
Discipline Inspection Commission announced it has investigated and penalized three officials, who were involved in a sex scandal in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian province. The case originated from Fuzhou Public Security Bureau's investigation into a blackmail case in October, 2014. One tea shop owner in Fuzhou used a young "tea girl" to seduce local officials, filmed their misconduct by a hidden camera, and extorted 200,000 yuan (around $32,000) from each of the officials for the videos. One official refused to pay the ransom, claiming that he was single after divorce and was justifiably in a relationship with the "tea girl", and reported to the police for extortion. The whole investigation involved a total of 22 local officials. So far 6 of them have been investigated and punished. Fuzhou police have detained the “tea girl” and her conspirators in October, 2014. ^ top ^

Construction to start on Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei rail lines (Global Times)
2015-07-03
Construction on two intercity railways linking Beijing with neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province will kick off by the end of this year, the company in charge announced on Thursday.Trains on a 160-km line from Beijing to Tangshan City of Hebei will pass through Beijing's suburban Tongzhou District, Hebei's Langfang City and Tianjin's Baodi District, before reaching Tangshan. Sharing the 80-km Beijing-Baodi section with the Beijing-Tangshan line, another 182-km line will connect Beijing with Binhai New District in eastern Tianjin. The construction will be carried out by Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Intercity Railway Investment Co., Ltd, a firm founded last year by state-owned enterprise China Railway and the governments of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The company said the construction of another two rail lines, a 112-km line linking Beijing Capital International Airport with a new airport in south Beijing and a 87-km line between the Hebei cities of Langfang and Zhuozhou, will start by the end of 2016. Hao Weiya, company chairman, said the four lines will require a total investment of over 100 billion yuan ($16.12 billion), 10 billion of which will come from the government budget and the other 90 billion from elsewhere. Operational intercity rail lines in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region currently stretch 118 km, with another 203 km under construction. With government plans to boost coordinated regional development, lines with a total length of 3,796 km will eventually link Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, according to Hao. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Protest fatigue and lack of clear goal blamed for slump in Hong Kong July 1 rally turnout (SCMP)
2015-07-02
The turnout for the July 1 rally for democracy yesterday plunged to the lowest since 2008, with observers and marchers blaming protest fatigue and the lack of an obvious goal after the rejection of the government's electoral reform package. The Civil Human Rights Front, the organiser of the annual pro-democracy march, last night put the turnout at 48,000, compared with last year's 510,000. Police said the number of marchers peaked at a mere 19,650, compared with 98,600 last year. The University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme put the turnout at around 28,000, compared with 162,000 last year. Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, an HKU statistician, estimated around 20,000 people took part in the march. Front convenor Daisy Chan Sin-ying admitted the turnout was lower than expected. "After the vote on the reform package, there is no burning issue so people may not feel any urgency to protest," she said. But she disagreed it meant people had given up on the fight for democracy or considered the march useless. She also dismissed suggestions that the low turnout indicated a lack of public support for their call for an amendment to the Basic Law. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, attributed it to post-Occupy fatigue and the lack of urgent political issues. "A growing number of protesters also believe the city should no longer stick to peaceful protests in achieving democracy in the wake of the Occupy sit-ins," Choy said. Those who turned out braved a hot weather warning, with temperatures topping 32 degrees Celsius. They marched for causes ranging from universal suffrage to affordable housing, gay rights and better education opportunities for ethnic minorities. Johnson Yip, who joined the rally with his wife and his seven-year-old son Issac, said the annual rally was iconic to Hongkongers. "Some people might want to take a short break [after the failed political reform], but I think we should continue the fight for our goal," he said. Retired civil servant Max Leung, 60, who was there in a wheelchair, said he was optimistic about the future, having attended every July 1 march since 1997. At a reception celebrating the handover anniversary yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying cited the experience of some European democracies in warning that "democratic systems and procedures are no panacea for economic and livelihood issues". He said the government needed the support of the community to improve people's livelihoods after the rejection of the electoral reform plan. A government spokesman said the demand for amending the Basic Law would "absolutely not be conducive to the overall interests of Hong Kong", adding that it would be unfeasible for the current administration to restart the electoral reform exercise in the next two years. The march was policed by 3,000 officers, but concerns about possible violence proved unfounded. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Cigarettes or spark suspected in Taiwan fire (China Daily)
2015-06-30
Investigators in Taiwan were focusing Monday on the possibility that a cigarette butt or spark caused the blaze that killed one and burned nearly 500 people at a weekend water park party when colored powder sprayed from the stage caught fire. The 20-year-old woman, surnamed Lee, suffered burns to 90 percent of her body, according to Chung Shan Medical University Hospital in the island's Taichung City. This is the first fatality in the tragic accident. More than 400 people remained hospitalized, 200 in serious condition, city officials said. Eight suffered life-threatening injuries, local media said. Police recommended criminal charges against the organizer of Saturday's party, as well as two technicians, at the theme park in suburban Taipei. "It's still not clear what happened, but there were a number of people smoking and the weather was warm," New Taipei City news department head Lin Chieh-yu said. Temperatures around Taipei topped 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 F) before the party. The three tons of colored starch-based powder bought by the organizers from Tai Won, a seller in the island's southern county Yunlin, were flammable, said Chou Hui-fang, a representative of the seller. She said the buyer was informed about the risk of fire. "Whether it's corn starch or flour starch, this kind of stuff, no matter how long it's been around, if it's in dense quantities and if it's hot, it can catch fire," Chou said. She said her 4-year-old company has been questioned by police and health officials but not considered at fault. "We didn't know what the buyers were going to do with it or how much they would use," she said. "It might have been supplies for a whole year." Taiwan's chief administrator Mao Chi-kuo on Sunday announced a ban on colored powder at future private events. The water park was ordered to close after the fire. Colored powder is often thrown on revelers during the annual Holi celebrations in India and Nepal, a Hindu festival, but the powder at Saturday's party was made in Taiwan, Chou said. ^ top ^

Shanghai calls off color run in wake of Taiwan dust blast (China Daily)
2015-07-01
Shanghai has called off the color run and other running events that use colorful powders, in the wake of a tragic dust explosion that killed one and injured more than 500 people at a party in Taiwan's New Taipei city, on Saturday. Shenyang city of Northeast China's Liaoning province is also considering whether to carry out its color run, scheduled for July 4. Investigators in Taiwan are still looking into the cause of the blast at a weekend water park party when colored powder sprayed from the stage caught fire. They were focusing on the possibility that a cigarette butt or spark caused the blaze. "It's still not clear what happened, but there were a number of people smoking and the weather was warm," New Taipei City news department head Lin Chieh-yu said. Temperatures around Taipei topped 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 F) before the party. The three tons of colored starch-based powder bought by the organizers from Tai Won, a seller in the island's southern county Yunlin, were flammable, said Chou Hui-fang, a representative of the seller. She said the buyer was informed about the risk of fire. "Whether it's corn starch or flour starch, this kind of stuff, no matter how long it's been around, if it's in dense quantities and if it's hot, it can catch fire," Chou said. She said her 4-year-old company has been questioned by police and health officials but is not considered at fault. Taiwan's chief administrator Mao Chi-kuo on Sunday announced a ban on colored powder at future private events. The water park was ordered to close after the fire. ^ top ^

"Free landing" of Taiwanese on the mainland begins (Global Times)
2015-07-02
Lu Yee-yen arrived at Xiamen City on the mainland on board the New Golden Dragon on Wednesday morning, thirty minutes after leaving Kinmen County, Taiwan. She got off the ship and had entered the mainland in a minute, without producing any entry permit. "So convenient, really great," She told Xinhua reporter, showing her travel pass booklet with a number of entry stamps. The unstamped pages of the booklet will remain blank forever. July 1 is the first day that Taiwan's people can visit the mainland without an entry permit. Revised entry regulations announced last month mean Taiwan residents no longer have to apply for a visa-like entry permit for every visit. It generally took a week to 10 days to obtain an entry permit valid for two years at a cost of 170 yuan ($28) each time. The new policy surprised Wang Tsou-yao who had spent several hundred yuan and 10 days waiting for a travel agency to secure his entry permit. "I have many relatives in Fuzhou, and I can visit them often in the future," said Wang. The mainland and Taiwan broke off communications in 1949, after the Kuomintang (KMT) lost a civil war with the Communist Party of China and fled to the island. Cross-Strait travel resumed in the late 1980s and has increased rapidly since 2008 when the two sides opened direct mail, transport and trade links and eased restriction on tourism. In 2014, Taiwan residents made 5.37 million visits to the mainland, up from 4.36 million in 2008. Mainlanders made 4.04 million visits to Taiwan last year, compared with 280,000 in 2008. Lin Dai-sian who has lived in Shanghai for seven years will save money and much time preparing various documents including her employment contract and residential permit. She goes back to Taiwan to see her parents twice a year. Now, she can easily bring her parents to Shanghai. "The new policy shows our care for Taiwan people and is a sincere attempt to serve and help them," mainland spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said earlier at a press conference. ^ top ^

Pilot in crashed TransAsia flight shut down plane's only working engine by mistake: Taiwan probe (SCMP)
2015-07-03
The captain of the TransAsia aircraft that crashed into a river in Taipei in February, killing 43 people, shut down the plane's only working engine by mistake after the other had failed, a report by accident investigators confirmed on Thursday. "Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle," Captain Liao Chien-tsung was heard saying on flight recorders eight seconds before the crash, the report by Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council said. Liao was initially hailed a hero for steering the aircraft away from buildings. His training records released by the council showed that he had failed a simulator check during his test for promotion to captain last year due to "insufficient knowledge" of engine flameout. But the council did not apportion any blame in its report. A Hong Kong-based pilot told the South China Morning Post that TransAsia had tested all pilots on the handling of engine failure since the crash and 30 per cent failed. Those who failed would receive more training and be retested. He said pilots were supposed to turn off a failed engine to secure it. The passenger flight GE 235, an ATR72-600, clipped a bridge and crashed into the Keelung River with 58 people on board, including 31 from the mainland, just minutes after taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport. Among the dead were the captain and the co-pilot. Thirteen passengers and one cabin crew member sustained serious injuries. The other person on board suffered only minor injuries. Two people on the ground - a taxi driver and his female passenger - suffered minor injuries. Investigators' preliminary reports released days after the crash had suggested an engine was manually shut down after the other had malfunctioned and stopped working. The most recent report revealed confusion in the cockpit after the dashboard warned of "flameout" in engine two about one minute after take-off. The captain disengaged the autopilot seconds later. "Pull back number one [engine]," the captain was heard saying while the co-pilot confirmed the other engine had suffered a flameout. The pilots were then heard checking the malfunctioning engine and adjusting the power in the other one as the plane descended, but neither immediately noticed when the still-functioning engine shut down. When the captain did notice, he attempted to restart the engine but failed. At this point the first officer, in the cockpit as part of his training, said: "Impact, impact, brace for impact." Seconds later the plane crashed. The council found Liao had performed poorly when dealing with an engine flameout during a simulator check in May 2014. He passed the test on his second attempt a month later and was promoted to captain. His instructors described his performance during the oral exam as nervous, unconfident, and indecisive when tested on handling such emergencies. The full investigation report will be released next April. ^ top ^

 

Economy
UBS eyes growing wealth management needs of China's rich (SCMP)
2015-06-29
Affluent Chinese are making longer-term investment plans and diversifying their assets overseas, says Swiss banking giant UBS, which sees growing wealth management needs in the country. As many Chinese attain high net worth (assets above US$2 million) or ultra-high net worth (above US$50 million), their wealth management needs are coming into focus as they consider retirement as well as inheritance and succession matters for the next generation, said Karen Chen, president of UBS (China) Limited. “This affluent class, who are mostly entrepreneurs, are concerned that their wealth will be diluted significantly after several generations if they don't seriously consider succession planning earlier,” Chen told the South China Morning Post. Others are considering wealth management as part of their retirement plans, she said. Unlike foreign investors who set long-term investment plans for their core assets for five to seven years, Chinese investors might see an investment period of three years as “very long”, Chen said. Concerns about inheritance and retirement are prompting many to consider more long-term, comprehensive wealth management solutions, she said. China's entrepreneurs typically invest a large part of their wealth in developing the family business and invest the surplus in the domestic equity market, which they were more familiar with, Chen said. Many of the bank's clients are veteran investors with decades of experience buying stocks in the mainland market, but their investment portfolios are too concentrated in equities that make them vulnerable to market volatility. “Chinese investors need to draw longer-term and comprehensive financial wealth management plans. We see that they are increasingly interested to look at investment opportunities overseas to diversify risk,” Chen said. European funds, products under the qualified domestic institutional investor scheme and the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect were also of interest to them. “China's affluent class is relatively young and they are keen to participate in investment decisions, but their emotions may get in the way,” Chen said, adding that professional advisers would help them maintain long-term financial goals. According to a UBS forecast, personal wealth in China will see more than 15 per cent compound in the next three to five years, which augurs well for the wealth management business. Following approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission in 2012, the Swiss banking group converted its Beijing branch, which it opened in 2004, into the locally-incorporated UBS (China) Limited, which can conduct yuan-related business and a wider range of products and services. The bank opened a sub-branch in Beijing last September to focus on wealth management. A branch in Shanghai is also in the pipeline. Chen said the bank was building a team of client advisers in China. ^ top ^

China to have 30 per cent stake, veto power under AIIB deal (SCMP)
2015-06-30
China will have the biggest stake and the largest share of voting rights in the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, giving it an effective veto in the institution. The confirmation came on Monday as delegates from 50 countries signed up for the multinational lender at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, a move analysts described as a major diplomatic triumph for Beijing. The bank's articles of agreement, which specify the new lender's initial capital and other details of its structure, give Beijing veto power over key bank decisions, which require at least 75 per cent support from members. China has 26.06 per cent of voting rights. China will also put US$29.78 billion into the bank, giving it a 30.34 per cent stake. President Xi Jinping shook hands with Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah when entering the room to meet the delegates of AIIB members. Addressing the delegates, Xi pledged to make the bank a platform of "openness, inclusiveness, [and] mutual benefit". Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the AIIB's members would nominate and elect the bank's first president in August. "Every regional member country can nominate their candidate to be the president of the AIIB," he said. Indonesia was not likely to make a nomination for president, but would "certainly compete for vice-president". Seven of 57 prospective founding members - Denmark, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa and Thailand - did not sign the agreement, as they have not yet gained domestic approval. They have until the end of the year to do so. Zhao Changhui, an economist with the Export-Import Bank of China, said the development was a diplomatic triumph for China and emerging economies. Beijing-based political economist Laurence Brahm said it was "the beginning of a new South-South financial architecture". The lender, with an initial capitalisation of US$100 billion, will be operating by the end of this year, according to Finance Minister Lou Jiwei. "This is an important initiative proposed by China to uphold more international responsibility for the economic development of Asia and the world," he said. Ownership of the bank is in proportion to the members' economic power. Asian nations have 75 per cent of the shares. The bank's second-biggest shareholder will be India, followed by Russia, Germany and South Korea, none of which will have more than 10 per cent each.^ top ^

Voting rights reflect Beijing's leading role in AIIB (SCMP)
2015-06-30
The decision-making structure of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank reflects the leading role that Beijing will play in the newly launched multinational institution, analysts say. Beijing holds a 30.34 per cent stake in the bank as it contributed US$29.78 billion of the institution's initial capital. It will also have 26.06 per cent of the voting rights, giving it effective veto power, as the bank's major decisions will require the support of at least 75 per cent of the votes. "It means China has a lot of say in the AIIB's decision-making. Of course, that comes with a price tag to match," said Hong Hao, chief economist and managing director of investment bank Bocom International. Zhao Changhui, an economist with the Import-Export Bank of China, said: "The power structure suggests that China will play a leading role in the bank as it is reflected in China's large stake, its single largest voting rights, and the formation of the bank's decision-making bodies." But many expect Beijing to hold back on exercising its veto power. The articles of agreement of the bank signed by 50 of the 57 founding nations in Beijing yesterday said only major decisions would need to be approved by 75 per cent of the votes. Other matters, including project approvals, would be decided by a majority of votes cast, the agreement said. The board of directors, comprising nine members from Asia and three from outside the region, will lead the new bank's operations. The bank's interim head, Jin Liqun, is a former Chinese deputy finance minister who is also tipped to be the development bank's first president. Shen Jianguang, chief economist at Mizuho Securities, said the share and voting structure indicated China would be an influential player in the bank. "The United States set an example with the International Monetary Fund, [and] China is determined to keep its leading role in the AIIB," he said. "[It wants] to gain global credibility as a new, green, clean and efficient global lending organisation that is led by a developing country." Beijing-based political economist Laurence Brahm said the multilateral financial institution established by already emerged developing nations - with China and India leading the pack - was a long-awaited step. Brahm said the AIIB represented the emergence of a new "South-South financial order" that reflected the pragmatism of nations that had made the transition to development. He said Beijing had learned from Washington's domination of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and was applying lessons on its own, creating its own financial structure with India. "Its voting is commensurate with its financial contribution," Brahm said. China has vowed to subject the bank to the highest management standards. But Kamel Mellahi, professor of strategic management at the University of Warwick in Britain, said the spotlight was now on China and how it would manage such a complex multilateral organisation.^ top ^

World hails "historic step" for AIIB, expects great opportunities (Xinhua)
2015-06-30
The signing of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) agreement on Monday marked an important milestone for the China-led multilateral institution, and the bank will substantially boost development in Asia and beyond, said officials and experts in different part of the world. The bank would address a gap in new infrastructure across Asia, said New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English when he was attending the signing ceremony in Beijing. "New Zealand actively participated early in the negotiations. Our aim was to push for a well-run, transparent and broad-based multilateral institution. The 50 countries who signed today is testament to the final result," English said in a statement from his office. "We have strong economic, trade and investment links with Asia. Raising the economic potential across the region is very much in the interests of all New Zealanders." Alongside counterparts from Switzerland and the Republic of Korea, English was one of three ministers invited to address the meeting of ministers of finance and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the signing ceremony. Swiss Economic Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, who also attended the ceremony, said the AIIB is a necessary supplement to other multilateral development banks, adding that he is glad that it is the AIIB's declared objective to be a responsible player. According to a recent joint statement by Australia's Treasurer Joe Hockey and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, there is an estimated infrastructure financing gap of around 8 trillion U.S. dollars in the Asian region over the current decade. "The AIIB will be part of the solution to closing this gap," it said. The statement also said joining the multilateral bank presents Australia with great opportunities to work with its neighbors and with its largest trading partner, China, to drive economic growth and jobs. They noted that the AIIB will work closely with the private sector, paving the way for Australian businesses to take advantage of the growth in infrastructure in the region. The China-initiated bank is expected to begin operation before the end of the year. The AIIB has the potential to help existing multilateral development banks improve their governance and operation standards, said Yukon Huang, former director of the World Bank China Program and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment Asia Program. Noting that the biggest problem facing organizations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank is the complex procedures in approving fund for a project, Huang advised the AIIB to streamline the procedures if necessary so as to improve efficiency. The global financial system has come to a critical point where reforms must be carried out, and the establishment of new organizations such as the AIIB gives the world a hope, said former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. Fledgling multilateral financial institutions including the AIIB have brought fresh blood, new vision and new standards, he told Xinhua.^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Prime Minister of Mongolia meets Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America (Infomongolia)
2015-06-29
Vice President of the United States of America Joe Biden has received Mongolian Prime Minister Ch. Saikhanbileg on June 26, 2015. During the meeting, two parties have discussed further development of economic relations between two countries. PM Ch. Saikhanbileg said: “Our relations have been successful in many sectors, especially defense and political sectors. But we would like to cooperate more intensively on economy with the United States. As of today, total trading turnover between our countries is 250 million US dollar. It is low compared to potentials that our countries have.” In response, Vice President Joe Biden wished success in working visit of PM Ch. Saikhanbileg and promised to do his best to deepen economic relations with Mongolia. ^ top ^

Prime Minister meets UN leaders (Montsame)
2015-06-29
The Prime Minister of Mongolia Mr Ch. Saikhabileg has met with some leaders of the United Nations in its headquarters in New York City. At the meeting with Mr Jan Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, the Premier expressed a satisfaction with expanding of the Mongolia-UN ties, and shared opinions with him on the further cooperation. Mr Eliasson said the UN is thankful to Mongolia for contributing to the UN peacekeeping operations, combating for common interests of humankind. After this the Premier met with Mr Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. The latter said he is grateful to Mongolia for having become an exemplary country of democracy not only in its region, but also in the world, and added he is ready to collaborate with Mongolia in protecting human rights. Mr Simonovic also emphasized that he applauded an initiative of the Mongolian President on abolishing the capital punishment. ^ top ^

Prime Minister Ch. Saikhanbileg meets Authorities of the International Finance Cooperation (Infomonglia)
2015-06-29
Prime Minster Ch. Saikhanbileg has met Mr. Jin-Yong Cai, Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Mrs. Keiko Honda, Executive Vice President of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) on June 26, 2015. IFC had opened its office in Ulaanbaatar in 1997. It has invested 470 million US dollars into projects on promoting financial sectors, infrastructure, and sustainable mining development and support small business in Mongolia since then. At the meeting, PM Ch. Saikhanbileg said: “The investment from the United States is an important part of Mongolian economy and we have reached mutual understanding with government and private sectors. Therefore, U.S. investors starting to show interest in investing into Mongolia". Mrs. Keiko Honda, Executive Vice President of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, has noted that MIGA intends to intensify its activity in Mongolia. As Mongolia has signed agreement with MIGA, MIGA can provide guarantee on foreign direct investment into Mongolia. MIGA provides guarantee on investment for Oyu Tolgoi LLC. ^ top ^

Prime Minister Ch. Saikhanbileg pays working visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Infomongolia)
2015-07-01
Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg is paying a working visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on June 30 - July 3, 2015. On July 1, PM Ch. Saikhanbileg will open trading at London Stock Exchange and attend Investors Business Forum, and deliver a speech at the meeting of the Board of Directors of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Later, Ch. Saikhanbileg will have talks with Minister of State for Trade and Investment Francis Maude, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond and Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Hugo Swire. Also, Prime Minister will give an interview to CNBC, Bloomberg Asia, Financial Times, Reuters and BBC radio. ^ top ^

Prime Minister Ch. Saikhanbileg gives interview to world leading media agencies (Infomongolia)
2015-07-03
The Prime Minister of Mongolia, Mr. Ch. Saikhanbileg has given interview to world leading media agencies such as CNBC, Financial Times and Reuters during his working visit to the United Kingdom. In his interviews, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg said: “The goal of my working visit to the United Kingdom is to attract foreign investment to Mongolia. Today, Mongolia is back in business, world investors are keeping eye on our country. After some time, the economy of our country is getting better. Last year, economic growth of Mongolia was 7.8%. Also, one important action taken by Mongolian government is the new investment law passed by our parliament. The new law provides equal condition for local and foreign investors. We don't plan to base on only mining in the future. In order to provide a sustainable economic growth for the country, we must invest other sectors of economy such as agriculture and tourism. Mongolia is rich in resources. We have 3 million population and large land territory with 60 million head livestock and about 6,000 deposits of 80 different types of minerals. Mongolian government will do its best to put economy of Mongolia on the path to sustainable growth using these resources. The main policy of Mongolia for foreign investors is open and equal investment condition and full government support.” ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Lauranne Macherel
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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