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
  18-21.9.17, No. 688  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

Mongolia

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Switzerland

Swiss dogs climb Great Wall to build stronger ties with China (Global Times)
2017-09-16
Two Saint Bernards toured the Xiangshuihu Great Wall in Beijing as a part of Switzerland-China Year of Tourism 2017 celebration recently. The Swiss dogs were in China for a two-week trip to help foster stronger ties between the two countries. During their stay, the dogs participated in several activities, including the World Winter Sports Expo 2017 from September 7 to 10, the Xiangshuihu Great Wall climb in Huairou district, greeting children at international schools and three public events in Shanghai. The brother and sister pair are named Apero and Bricotine. One is three years old, and the other is two. The dogs are owned by a Swiss couple named David and Rachel Luthi, who accompanied the animals to China. Talking about what Saint Bernards mean to the Swiss, Sonja Astfalck, economic advisor at the Swiss Embassy in Beijing, said it is difficult to explain what they represent to people of Switzerland. "It's really like the Chinese panda to the Chinese people," she said. "The dogs are our national icon." The tour group, including the dogs, traveled by car for two hours to a local villager's place not far from the Great Wall where they ate before the climb. David Luthi and representatives from the Swiss Embassy in Beijing prepared a Swiss cheese hotpot, and local villagers prepared Chinese dishes. During the climb, the dogs showed their true capability as mountain dogs, often going way ahead of their human companions. Able to withstand extreme cold, Saint Bernards were bred for mountain search and rescue in Switzerland. Rachel Luthi said that the climb was the best part for them too because it gave her and her husband another view of China. "We would probably come back to China, she said. "There is a lot to see in China." The trip was her first visit to the Chinese mainland. In explaining why they brought the dogs to the Great Wall, Florence Weber, a project assistant involved in the Switzerland China Year of Tourism 2017, said that they wanted to engage Chinese with Swiss values and spirit. "We think that bringing these dogs to China is a good way to meet Chinese people and to have an emotional connection, better than with any objects we could bring here," she said. "The dogs are something we think can represent Switzerland's values. That is why we came here to meet these Chinese people who live close to nature as we do in Switzerland." ^ top ^

Swiss canine ambassadors visit China to promote tourism (Xinhua)
2017-09-15
Switzerland has sent two Saint Bernard dogs to Shanghai as ambassadors for activities marking the China-Switzerland Year of Tourism. The Saint Bernard is considered a national symbol of Switzerland, similar to the giant panda in China. The 70-kg male Apero and 58-kg female Bricotine were raised in the countryside near Lake Geneva. They first traveled to Beijing before arriving in Shanghai on Friday. From Friday to Sunday, they will meet the public at various venues such as Jing'an sculpture park and Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone. According to Alexander Hoffet, consul general of Switzerland in Shanghai, China is the fourth largest source of overseas tourists for Switzerland, and a growing number of Chinese tourists prefer to travel independently rather than in organized tour groups. Saint Bernard dogs are one of the most recognizable symbols of the Swiss Alps, a favored destination for tourists. The species was originally bred in the Great and Little Saint Bernard Pass, which borders France and Italy, and was used in Alpine rescue missions to save people caught in avalanches and other natural disasters. Apero and Bricotine have already traveled abroad several times taking part in international dog shows and public events. There is an account dedicated to them on Chinese social networking platform Sina Weibo, where information about their China visit is being posted. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Trump's China visit will help avoid 'trade war, currency war or whatever war' Chinese ambassador says (SCMP)
2017-09-21
US President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to China will help to settle trade and other disputes between the two countries and may pave the way for more American investment in a massive regional infrastructure initiative, China's ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said. "The two sides will reach agreement on some of the issues we're dealing with and the prospects for mutual trade and mutual benefit will be better," Cui said at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. "We don't want to have any war – trade war, currency war or whatever war – with anybody, certainly not with the United States," Cui added. Cui's comments follow a rise in US-China tension on the trade and investment front. Last month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer launched an investigation into alleged intellectual property violations by China under a law allowing the president to unilaterally impose tariffs and other restrictions to protect US industries from unfair trade practices conducted by other countries. The investigation, which has broad support from Republicans and Democrats, could take as much as a year. The process would lead to a negotiated agreement with China, US unilateral trade remedy action or entering into a dispute settlement process within the World Trade Organisation, according to White House officials. "There is one challenge on the current scene that is substantially more difficult than those faced in the past, and that is China," Lighthizer said earlier this week in a speech in Washington. "The sheer scale of their coordinated effort to develop their economy, to subsidise, to create national champions, to force technology transfers and to distort markets in China and throughout the world is a threat to the world trading system that is unprecedented." In July, China and the US failed to reach an agreement on trade at the first Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in Washington, casting a shadow over their trade relations, which have been dogged by the United States' US$340 billion trade deficit with China. Turning to the pan-Eurasian infrastructure plan, promoted by Beijing as the Belt and Road initiative, Cui said concern that Belt and Road is some kind of geo-political strategy is a misperception and that China wants American firms to participate. "We very much welcome participation by American companies," Cui said. "American business and American government. So I hope people could focus on the concept of connectivity. This idea, this initiative is not about getting an upper hand in geopolitical or geostrategic rivalry." Belt and Road is supported by China's Silk Road infrastructure fund of US$40 billion, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with its registered capital of US$100 billion, and the New Development Bank of the BRICS countries, with initial capital of US$50 billion, which is set to increase to US$100 billion. "China's diplomacy needs to find areas of potential cooperation with the United States," Nadège Rolland, Senior Fellow for Political and Security Affairs at the Washington-based National Bureau of Asian Research, said in an exchange with the Post. "What could be more attractive than the promise of business opportunities for American companies – and therefore, of potential American jobs – for the president who vowed to bring jobs back to America? " Still, US global construction and engineering companies including Aecom, Fluor Corp, Bechtel Group and Kiewit Corp have been largely quiet about Beijing's initiative to construct ports, pipelines, highways and rails as a means to speed up and simplify trade flows between Asia and Europe. Most US coverage of Belt and Road leading up to and during a May conference in Beijing about the initiative was ominous, underscoring the perception Cui referenced about the plan's being a threat to US interests in the region spanning Asia and Europe. "China has a grand plan to dominate world trade," read one CNN headline. "China is moving so fast and thinking so big that it is willing to make short-term missteps for what it calculates to be long-term gains," according to one New York Times report. "Even financially dubious projects in corruption-ridden countries like Pakistan and Kenya make sense for military and diplomatic reasons." Regardless of how Belt and Road is marketed, a lot of money is at stake. Expected to require at least US$5 trillion over the next five years alone, Belt and Road involves 65 countries across the three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, according to some estimates. Even if China's President Xi Jinping sells Trump on Belt and Road when he travels to Beijing, there's no guarantee US construction and infrastructure firms will bite. "Unlike his Chinese counterpart, President Trump cannot decide for American business executives nor force the private sector to 'go out' in places where they do not wish to operate," Rolland said. "US companies will decide whether it is a good idea for them to get involved in some BRI projects, based on the potential profit they could make and on whether such projects respect a number of standards - environmental impact, human safety, bidding transparency, etc. - not because of political or diplomatic imperatives." ^ top ^

China supports reform of UN peacekeeping with UN Charter as guide (Xinhua)
2017-09-21
China supports the reform of UN peacekeeping with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the guide so that the peacekeeping missions can better carry out their mandates, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter serve as the foundation for UN peacekeeping, Wang told a Security Council high-level debate on the reform of UN peacekeeping. The principles of equality and sovereignty, non-interference with other countries' internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of international disputes enshrined in the UN Charter as well as the peacekeeping guidelines formulated on the basis of those principles must be followed, said Wang. The central purpose of peacekeeping is to promote political solutions, Wang said. The peaceful settlement of disputes through political means is a fundamental principle of the UN Charter, he said, adding peacekeeping must follow the principle of pursuing political settlement and must be planned in accordance with specific conditions on the ground. He also stressed the importance of building partnerships and the pursuit of sustainable development in the countries concerned. Wang asked for cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union with regard to peacekeeping and called for more political and financial support for Africa-led peacekeeping operations as well as efforts to help Africa with capacity building. China has always been a staunch supporter of UN peacekeeping and an active participant in UN peacekeeping missions, he said. China is also a major troops contributor and the second-largest contributor of funds, he added. ^ top ^

China, Russia tourism exchange held in Hunan (Global Times)
2017-09-21
A tourism exchange program between China and Russia is being held in central China's Hunan Province. The program, which started on Monday, saw experts from the two countries meet to discuss the development of "red tours," those taking visitors to the sites of early communist activities. Photography and painting exhibitions have also been held to promote red tourism between the two countries. This was the third time that the program has been held in Hunan. Red tourism is booming in both China and Russia, as the two governments have signed agreements to boost the industry in recent years. In 2015, 22 tourism agencies from China and Russia agreed to conduct red tours during a tourism exchange program held in Shaoshan, birthplace of Mao Zedong. As direct flight routes continue to open and disposable incomes increase, more red tours have been organized. In 2015, 4,497 Hunan residents visited Russia on red tours. In 2016, the number rose 72.27 percent year on year to 7,747. To cater to the rising demand, Russian tourism authorities have launched a series of "red-themed" tourism products designed specifically for Chinese tourists. In St. Petersburg, known as Petrograd from 1914 to 1924, the local government touts products associated with the Soviet Union to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, including itineraries with the themes "Chinese Comrades in Red Petrograd" and the "February Revolution in Petrograd." Meanwhile, China's red tourist sites, where its early communist activities began, are drawing a large number of Russian tourists, particularly those in Hunan Province, which currently has 140 such sites. Hunan received 35,025 Russian tourists in 2016, up 31.66 percent year on year. The number of Russian tourists to Hunan grew 13.06 percent year on year to 14,523 in the first half this year. "Red tours play an important part in enhancing the friendship between the peoples of the two countries," said Xue Yaping with the National Tourism Administration. ^ top ^

China restates support for Venezuela's Maduro in wake of Trump's UN threat (SCMP)
2017-09-20
China believes that the Venezuelan government and people can resolve their problems within a legal framework and maintain national stability, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Venezuelan counterpart at the United Nations. At least 125 people have been killed in four months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government, which has resisted calls to bring forward the presidential election and instead set up a pro-Maduro legislative superbody called a Constituent Assembly that has overruled the country's opposition-led Congress. US President Donald Trump said on Monday he wanted democracy restored soon in Venezuela and warned that the United States might take additional measures to apply pressure on the oil-producing nation. China, a good friend of Venezuela's, has brushed off widespread condemnation from the United States, Europe and others about the situation in the country. Wang told Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza on Tuesday on the sidelines of a UN meeting that the two countries have an all-round strategic partnership, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday. "China's policy towards Venezuela will not change," the report cited Wang as saying. China has always upheld the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and believes Venezuela's government and people have the ability to resolve problems via talks within a legal framework and protect national stability, Wang added. "The international community should take a fair and objective stance and play a constructive role," he said. China and oil-rich Venezuela have a close diplomatic and business relationship, especially in energy. ^ top ^

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong in surprise meeting with China's anti-graft tsar Wang Qishan (SCMP)
2017-09-20
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong found time to meet anti-graft tsar Wang Qishan on Wednesday during a hectic three-day visit to China – to the surprise of many China watchers and apparently even to Wang himself. Lee is visiting the country ahead of its important Communist Party congress next month, when the leadership line-up will be decided along with the future of Wang, China's second most powerful man. Wang has passed the unofficial retirement age of 68 for Chinese leaders and there is now intense focus on whether he will retire or break with protocol and stay on for another term. He told Lee he was "surprised" but "very happy" about Lee's request to meet him, Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported on Wednesday. "Singapore is among the countries I have the most contact with," Wang told Lee, according to Today, another Singaporean newspaper. Wang is the head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and a member of China's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee. He is a key ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the enforcer of Xi's sweeping anti-corruption campaign that began when he took power in 2012. He has also played a role in managing Sino-Singaporean ties as co-chairman of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation from 2008 to 2012. But the addition of Wang to the list of top Chinese leaders meeting Lee was a surprise to many observers as he is not a regular host when foreign leaders visit Beijing. He was also not on the list of leaders Lee was scheduled to meet, according to a press release from Lee's office ahead of the visit. Ja Ian Chong, an assistant professor in political science at the National University of Singapore, said Lee probably wanted to get a sense of Chinese leadership transition dynamics in the lead-up to the 19th Party Congress – particularly given the speculation over Wang's political future. "The Singapore leadership will be trying to meet whoever is in a position of power and influence in China," he said. "They want to get a sense of what is going on." Singapore also wants to gauge the direction of Beijing's anti-corruption campaign – led by Wang – given its significance to the Chinese economy and its links to leadership succession, Chong said. "China is the biggest economy in Asia, and a global power, and Singapore being an Asian country sees a need to understand what is going on to build links with China's top leadership," he said. Wang told Lee that China had made "tremendous progress" with the anti-graft drive and would be "resolute" in pressing ahead with the crackdown, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Beijing-based political analyst Zhang Lifan said Lee's request to meet Wang could be seen as a vote of confidence in Wang's political future ahead of the party congress. Li Mingjiang, an associate professor with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University, said the meeting was in line with the usual practice of Singapore's leaders. "For one thing, they have been keeping a close eye on the reshuffle of Chinese leaders," he said. "And for another, the government attaches great importance to communicating with high-level Chinese leaders." During the meeting, Wang reminisced about his discussions with Lee's father, the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew, Today reported. "I had the privilege of having personal conversations with him on multiple occasions. He [was] such a visionary figure, full of political wisdom," Wang was quoted as saying. "I gained a lot every time I talked with him ... I'm really greatly saddened by his passing. He was indeed a great man." Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore, built close relations with Chinese leaders and worked to promote mutual understanding between China and the West. But the younger Lee has had a more rocky relationship with China. Before he took office in 2004, Lee drew Beijing's ire over a secret trip to Taiwan to meet its leaders. Last year, Beijing was dismayed when Singapore sided with the United States over the South China Sea disputes – in which Singapore is not a claimant. Singapore backed an international tribunal ruling in July 2016 that dismissed most of Beijing's claims to the disputed waters. In November, a diplomatic storm broke out when the Hong Kong government impounded nine Singaporean armoured vehicles en route from a training exercise in Taiwan. And in May, relations came under close scrutiny when Lee was absent from a major summit in Beijing on China's "Belt and Road Initiative" – a plan to boost infrastructure and trade links from Asia to Africa. But observers said Lee's visit suggested relations between the two countries were back on track. When Xi and Lee met on Wednesday in Beijing, Xi said China and Singapore should support each other on issues of core interest, official news agency Xinhua reported. Lee then told Xi that Singapore supported "one China" and opposed Taiwanese independence. The one-China principle and the South China Sea are among the issues China refers to as its core interests. ^ top ^

China provides assistance for restoring peace, stability in Myanmar's northern state (Global Times)
2017-09-20
China has provided 2 million kyats (over 147,058 US dollars) to help restore peace and stability in Myanmar's Rakhine state on Tuesday. Speaking at the donation ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang expressed his belief that this cash assistance will be useful in restoring peace and stability in the state. Hong Liang said China will continue to assist the Myanmar government in carrying out the peace process in Rakhine state to strengthen the Pauk-Phaw (fraternal) relationship between the two countries. Thanking China, Win Myat Aye, minister of social welfare, relief and resettlement, assured to make good use of the donation money in the process. ^ top ^

China ahead of schedule on construction of hydropower plant in Pakistan (SCMP)
2017-09-19
China is racing to finish one of the biggest hydropower projects in Pakistan ahead of schedule, yet its location in the long-contested region of Kashmir will draw ire from India. Construction of the 720MW Karot power station on the Jhelum river began in December and looked set to finish nine months ahead of its December 2021 completion date, a first for a Pakistan hydro-project, said Qin Guobin, chief executive officer of the state-owned China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd. The company has put in place an aggressive strategy to cut the project's financing costs. "For us, Pakistan is a strategic market," Qin said at the site. "If we managed to complete it earlier we can save financing costs and make it more competitive." Pakistan's energy demand is expected to grow by 6 per cent to 35,000MW by 2024 as its population of more than 200 million people grows along with the economy. For more than a decade, it has been struggling to overcome daily power shortages that have left industry and residents in the dark. China has stepped in to meet some of those shortages, financing projects worth more than US$50 billion in an economic corridor that runs through Pakistan. The route is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's "Belt and Road Initiative" to connect Asia with Europe and Africa with a web of ports, railways and motorways links for trade. Three Gorges' focus in Pakistan is clean energy and it has a US$6 billion portfolio in three hydro and three solar power plants. The Karot project is in the Pakistan-administrated part of Kashmir, which India and Pakistan both claim and have fought two wars over since independence in 1947. India's foreign ministry said its views on "Pakistan's illegal occupation" of Kashmir was "a matter of record". "We have objected, they have proceeded nevertheless," said G. Parthasarathy, a former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan. "This has been going on since the 1960s and 1970s, when they built the Karakoram highway" that links Pakistan with China through the disputed territory, he said. China has a neutral stance on the Kashmir dispute, said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Centre for South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies. "The 'Belt and Road Initiative' cannot be delayed or sidetracked by the territorial disputes," he said. Relations between China and India hit a recent low during a dispute between a three-way junction between Bhutan, China's Tibet and India's Sikkim, which was resolved with both sides standing down in August. More broadly, New Delhi is wary of Chinese investments in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while Beijing is irked by India's lack of support for its infrastructure and trade initiative. India's concern did not bother Qin. "It's a political issue and not the concern of a private investor," he said. Pakistan considers the hydropower site a national security priority. It is dotted with army pickets and plain clothes security officials. None of the Chinese staff can leave the camp office without registering his or her name at the main gate. Of the 2,070 workers at the site, 750 are Chinese. The concern is being taken seriously by both sides. Pakistan had created a special force of 15,000 troops to defend the Chinese projects and that number might be doubled, according to people with direct knowledge of the plans, who asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media. Yet risks remain after two Chinese nationals were killed in southwestern Balochistan in June. Islamic State claimed their murders. The stakes are high for Pakistan, with the planned power generation projects potentially adding US$13 billion to its economy in the next seven years, according to an International Monetary Fund report published in July. Pakistan's hydropower generation potential is an estimated 40,000MW, although the existing installed capacity was only 7,116MW in the 2015-16 financial year, according to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority's latest report. Three Gorges is now eyeing the contract for the construction of a 4,500MW Diamir-Bhasha power project in northern Gilgit-Baltistan and northwestern Chillas district. "Pakistan's total installed capacity is equal to one big Chinese city, like Shanghai," Qin said. "That's not enough." ^ top ^

China, EU step up ties to fight climate change (SCMP)
2017-09-18
Europe and China are stepping up coordination in the fight against global warming after the US decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases, said Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission. The 28-nation European Union will press ahead with efforts to protect the environment by shifting to a low-carbon economy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels, Timmermans said in Brussels. The EU accounts for about 12 per cent of global emissions and China for around 20 per cent. "The Chinese are faced with such a challenge that you can see the sense of urgency prevailing there more and more, and the willingness to cooperate with us is getting stronger and stronger," Timmermans said. "People are suffocating in the cities in parts of China. They know they need to do something urgently about this. And in some areas they're moving at incredible speed." To meet its carbon-reduction targets, set at 20 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2030, the EU has moved to sustainable energy sources and established the world's biggest carbon market. With China intensifying its fight against air pollution and the EU helping the government in Beijing to design a nationwide cap-and-trade programme, investors are awaiting political signals about a future link between the two systems and closer cooperation on clean energy technologies. The administration of US President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, last month began the formal process of leaving the Paris climate accord. Agreed in December 2015, the deal united more than 190 countries in a pledge to work toward limiting fossil-fuel emissions. "The willingness not just in Europe, but also globally, to not let this fall apart is very strong," Timmermans said. "Perhaps this summer I was a bit shell shocked because of the decision of the Trump administration, but also people I think are encouraged by that many, many in the US see it differently." Timmermans, who is due to address a World Economic Forum conference in New York on sustainable development on Monday and Tuesday, said he expected the fight against climate change in the US to be driven by cities and citizens. ^ top ^

China expresses concern over EU push to curb foreign takeovers (SCMP)
2017-09-18
China expressed concern on Monday over a proposal by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to limit its ability to buy European companies in the infrastructure, hi-tech manufacturing and energy industries. In the European Union's equivalent of a US president's state-of-the-union address last week, Juncker presented proposals for an investment screening framework. It aims to give EU members a tool to intervene in cases of foreign direct investment in strategic assets, in particular if carried out by state-controlled or state-financed enterprises. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the EU had for a long time been promoting free trade and making investment easier, which had brought real benefits to European nations. Closing the door would not achieve lasting development, he added. "Practising trade and investment protectionism for short-term interests, from a long-term perspective, the losses will outweigh the gains," Lu told a daily news briefing. He urged the EU to respect World Trade Organisation principles, especially non-discriminatory principles, in any measures it adopted. It must "avoid putting out wrong, confusing and negative information to the outside world," he said. In June, French President Emmanuel Macron urged the European Commission to build a system for screening investments in strategic sectors from outside the bloc. In July, Germany became the first EU country to tighten rules on foreign corporate takeovers following a series of Chinese deals giving access to Western technology and expertise. France already has national legislation in place to block such deals in certain sectors, such as energy and telecoms. Last year's purchase of German robotics maker Kuka by Chinese company Midea raised concerns that China was gaining too much access to key technologies while shielding its own companies from foreign takeovers. ^ top ^

Aung San Suu Kyi gains popularity with Chinese netizens (Global Times)
2017-09-18
Despite being heavily criticized by the Western media over the Rohingya issue, Myanmar State Counselor and former Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has gained popularity with Chinese netizens, who praised her defiance against "outside pressure while safeguarding her people's interest." Suu Kyi had long been seen as a proxy of the West by nationalistic Chinese netizens due to her close relationship to the Western countries, but she has won cheers recently from the Chinese online communities who are routinely indignant over Western pressure on developing countries over issues concerning national security. On news portals like guancha.cn and ifeng.com, Net users heap praise on Suu Kyi, calling her "a stateswoman who serves her people's interest" and "a tough and wise woman who knows much better than Western politicians who make political correctness a business." In spite of heated online discussions about Suu Kyi, her name could not be searched on Sina Weibo. The Chinese public's concern about domestic Islamic extremism has apparently made the crisis in Myanmar a sensitive topic. As Suu Kyi's reputation among Chinese Net users improves, the Western media, which had gone out of its way to shape her image, have been harshly criticizing her and the Myanmar government. "Nearly 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape a military offensive that has been described as ethnic cleansing, and raised fears of an unfolding humanitarian crisis," Reuters reported on Friday. The New York Times even suggested that she be "stripped of her Nobel Prize." "Chinese people shared some concern on religious extremism with Myanmar, so their attitude toward Suu Kyi is also their attitude toward the Myanmar people. Suu Kyi is trying to be a pragmatic stateswoman, not a Westernized liberal idealist, so she will follow her own instincts despite heavy criticism," said Liu Yun, an analyst on Myanmar issues based in Hunan Province. Another reason for Suu Kyi's rising popularity is her friendly policy on China which many did not expect. And since she has visited China twice, Chinese leaders might visit Myanmar in the near future, so the Chinese people and the government don't want to damage bilateral ties, Liu added. "China condemns the violent attacks in Rakhine state, supports Myanmar's efforts to safeguard its peace and stability and sincerely hopes that the Rakhine state can restore stability as soon as possible," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at Tuesday's press conference in Beijing. "The international community should support the efforts made by Myanmar to maintain national development and stability and create enabling external conditions for the proper settlement of the Rakhine state issue," Geng said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Over 700 million trips expected during holiday season (China Daily)
2017-09-21
China's travel sector projects about 710 million trips -- nearly 10 percent of world's total population -- during the upcoming 8-day National Day holiday, according to a report by China Tourism Academy (CTA). According to booking data from Ctrip, country's biggest online travel company, six million trips are expected in about 100 nations. A typical National Day holiday in the country often stretches over seven days, called "golden week", but this year it has eight with the Mid-Autumn Festival vacation included. The CTA report said the industry projects to record 590 billion yuan (about $90 billion), up 12.2 percent from last year. Local destinations More than 80 percent of Chinese would like to travel in the fourth quarter this year, and about 65 percent of them plan to sightsee in October, including the National Day-Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, according to a survey by National Tourism Administration. More than 50 percent of those planning to head out are 23 to 34 years old. Natural scenic spots continue to be the most favored choice, with islands topping the list for families and couples. Sanya in Hainan province is the most sought-after destination. Xiamen in Fujian province also is one of the favorite cities, because of the BRICS summit it hosted at the beginning of September. Beijing, with its Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall, top the list, said the survey. The One Belt One Road Initiative is driving a new trend. Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region along the Silk Road Economic Belt are attracting a new record number of tourists. Terracotta Warriors at Xi'an and Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang are some of the hottest spots. Sichuan province, though its most favored Jiuzhaigou Valley remains shut off after the recent earthquake, still has many attractions. Mount Emei in Leshan and Kangding, an ancient cultural city, have become good alternatives. Besides, touring rural areas has growingly become a new option for vacationers. ^ top ^

Xi demands 'strong hands' to maintain stability ahead of Communist Party congress (SCMP)
2017-09-20
Stability is an absolute principle that needs to be dealt with using "strong hands", Chinese President Xi Jinping has told security officials ahead of next month's key congress of the ruling Communist Party. The stability-obsessed party brooks no challenge to its rule and always steps up security ahead of important meetings. People working in the public security sector should improve their political awareness and maintain the authority and unified leadership of the party, Xi said, in comments reported by the official Xinhua news agency late on Tuesday. "Xi noted that development and stability were the absolute principles, so both should be dealt with by strong hands," Xinhua said. It is important to prevent and control major risks through the party's leadership, Xi added. More effort needs to be exerted to improve "social governance by socialism with Chinese characteristics" to ensure the country enjoys long-term peace and stability, he was cited as saying. Xi has overseen a broad crackdown on civil society since he assumed office almost five years ago, locking up rights lawyers and dissidents who the government has accused of breaking the law and in some cases of seeking to subvert party rule. The party also remains wary of what it terms "mass incidents", a euphemism for protests, of which there are thousands every year in China, over everything from illegal land seizures and pollution to corruption. The party opens its once-every-five years congress on October 18 where Xi will seek to consolidate his already tight grip on power. ^ top ^

Top political advisor stresses uniting overseas Chinese (Xinhua)
2017-09-20
China's top political advisor Wednesday stressed the importance of uniting people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as other overseas Chinese to make greater contributions to the country's development. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks while meeting with members of the Fourth Executive Council of China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA), which was celebrating its 20th anniversary in Beijing. Yu spoke highly of the association's role in propelling China's reform, establishing close ties with overseas Chinese, and safeguarding state sovereignty, security and development interest over the past two decades. Yu called on members of the association to uphold the principle of "one country, two systems," support the lawful governance of the respective chief executives and governments in Hong Kong and Macao, and promote communication with the mainland. He also urged the association to adhere to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, while opposing "Taiwan independence," and build closer ties with grassroots and young people in Taiwan. "The association should also actively carry out public diplomacy to make China's stories and voices heard around the globe and build a friendship bridge between China and the world," Yu said. Sun Chunlan, head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and president of COFA, also attended the meeting. ^ top ^

China blends Confucianism with socialist values (Global Times)
2017-09-20
Confucian academics and government officials turned up on Wednesday at the 8th World Confucian Conference, in the hometown of Confucius, for a grand gathering to look for ways to revive and apply Confucianism in today's China. The theme of this year's conference, in Qufu, Shandong Province, is "Confucianism and a community of shared future for mankind." The two-day event is an academic and cultural one, and invited more than 300 Confucian scholars and sinologists from at least 30 countries and regions to attend, the Xinhua News Agency reported. In commenting on the event, experts said they applauded the revival of Confucianism, even though its current status in the country has changed dramatically over the past century. The first conference was held in 2008. This year's was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the Shandong provincial government, according to the website of Shandong University, a co-organizer of the event. The Chinese government and the Communist Party of China (CPC) now hold very different views on Confucianism compared with the past, experts say. "Since the May 4th Movement, in 1919, up to the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), Confucianism was blamed by many of China's elites as obstructing the social development of the country," Su Wei, a professor at the Chongqing Municipal Party Committee's Party School, told the Global Times. In the early stages of China's anti-imperialist moves and pursuit of modernization, most of the elite considered Confucianism a "feudal ideology" that would cause China to miss out on industrialization opportunities. It was also despised by the CPC until the reforms and opening up in the late 1970s, after which it gradually regained support and popularity among the common folk and the government. In a keynote speech on September 24, 2014, which was the 2,565th anniversary of Confucius' birth, President Xi Jinping said, "With Confucianism and other philosophies and cultures taking shape and growing in China, they are records of spiritual experiences, rational thinking and cultural achievements of the nation during its time of striving to build its home," the Xinhua News Agency reported. Xi added that these cultures have nourished the Chinese nation and helped it flourish. "Chinese traditional culture, represented by Confucianism, can provide stable values to enhance social cohesion and the sense of identity," said Wang Xuedian, executive vice-president of Shandong University's Advanced Institute of Confucian Studies. The Party School's Su added, "The reason the CPC and China changed their attitude toward Confucianism is that China is getting much more confident of its own culture as a result of its development, and the country needs a homegrown culture to counter the impact of other cultures, otherwise it will lose the roots of its civilization." Xi also noted that traditional Chinese culture may provide enlightenment for people and help them to understand and improve the world as well as governance, and he called on people to regard traditions in a scientific way and carry on traditional culture while developing more current ones. Chinese traditional culture is not just about one man or one ideology, and Confucianism has some unenlightened and feudal parts. Traditional culture is the root, but our soul needs to be modernized. We also can learn from foreign cultures that suit Chinese society, Su concluded. With China's growing global influence, Confucianism might also be getting more influential in other countries and the growing number of Confucius Institutes is delivering Confucianism to other countries through Chinese language education, said Guo Dingping, former dean of the Nottingham-Fudan Confucius Institute. ^ top ^

China's Communist Youth League says Twitter accounts opened in its name are fake (SCMP)
2017-09-20
The Communist Party's youth wing will ask Twitter to close down all accounts recently opened in its name on the social media platform, saying it did not set them up. "We reserve the right to take any other legal action against [this infringement]," the Communist Youth League of China's publicity office said in a statement on Wednesday. The South China Morning Post reported on Sunday that the youth league had set up a Twitter account but the office on Wednesday confirmed that it had not opened any accounts. At least two accounts claiming to be run by the youth league were set up earlier this month. Tweets from the accounts written in Chinese began appearing last week and the accounts were still up and running on Wednesday, with about 2,000 followers each. The accounts were discovered by internet users on Sunday, both of which appeared to be genuine at first. One of them – CYL @ccylchina – has been tweeting news from the youth league's official Weibo account, China's version of Twitter, and following the Twitter accounts of mainland state media outlets such as CCTV, People's Daily and Xinhua. In recent days it has been flooded with criticism of the Chinese authorities. The second account – @ComYouthLeague – has been tweeting news from Hong Kong and Taiwan, including stories about pro-independence banners at Hong Kong universities. Twitter and Facebook are among a number of foreign social media platforms and websites that are blocked in China. Despite this, some Communist Party mouthpieces are using these platforms to get their message across. People's Daily has been using Twitter since 2011 and currently has about four million followers. It also has 40 million followers on Facebook. The government has in recent months tightened internet controls including shutting down virtual private networks that allow people to access these websites as it tries to prevent internet users from viewing content it deems inappropriate. On September 8, China's internet regulator issued an ultimatum to all users of Weibo demanding they register their accounts under their real names. The deadline for compliance passed on Friday. Also this month, Beijing issued new rules to make chat group administrators legally responsible for messages posted in their forums, while a member of a Muslim minority group was sentenced to two years in prison for forming an online discussion group to teach Islam. ^ top ^

China allocates 8.8 bln yuan for weather modification program (Global Times)
2017-09-20
China has allocated 8.8 billion yuan (1.34 billion US dollars) in the last five years to support weather modification programs as part of efforts to relieve drought and minimize the impact of natural disasters, the Ministry of Finance said Wednesday. From 2012 to 2017, central fiscal funds contributed 1.17 billion yuan to the program, while local fiscal funds contributed 7.64 billion yuan, the ministry said on its website. In 2017 alone, central fiscal funds set aside 206 million yuan, while local governments contributed 1.2 billion yuan.. Weather modification usually refers to cloud-seeding practices that involve shooting substances into clouds to increase rain and reduce hail. It is often used ahead of international events such as last year's G20 summit in Hangzhou. China has used the technologies to induce 233.5 billion cubic meters of additional rain in the last five years, or three times the capacity of Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake. ^ top ^

Xi stresses prevention, control of major risks (Xinhua)
2017-09-19
President Xi Jinping on Tuesday stressed the importance of preventing and controlling major risks through the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while meeting representatives from the public security. Xi said those working in the sector should improve their political awareness and maintain the authority and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee. They should be sober-minded about the difficulties and challenges facing them, and deal with major risks, he said. Xi stressed that better social governance would better solve various social problems. He told the representatives to make social governance more systematic, rational, intelligent and in accordance with rule of law. Social governance should be improved through advanced theory, a scientific attitude, professional methods and appropriate standards. He demanded better coordination and ability to predict and prevent risks, and improve the precision and efficiency of social governance. Xi noted that development and stability were the absolute principles, so both should be dealt with by strong hands. "We should continue with social governance through socialism with Chinese characteristics, and become adept in converting the leadership of the Party and the advantages of our socialist system into advantages of social governance," he stressed. Xi asked for more efforts to improve social governance by socialism with Chinese characteristics to ensure that the people lead prosperous lives, society stays in order and the country enjoys long-term peace and stability. Over the past five years, officials in the sector have come up with new ideas, mechanisms and methods, solving a number of major problems, improving the sense of security and satisfaction of the people, and contributing to a stable environment for reform and development, the president noted. Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting. After the meeting, model individuals and units were recognized for their contributions to public security and social governance. Surveys show that the public's sense of security has improved in the past few years with their satisfaction index rising to 91.99 percent in 2016 from 87.55 percent in 2012. Police nationwide held campaigns against terrorism, telecom fraud, underground banks, personal information infringement and crimes related to guns and drugs, among others. China has also made use of Internet technology in its social governance. The Ministry of Public Security has helped find 1,274 missing children with the help of a system called "Tuanyuan," or reunion, a pop-up platform on which information on 1,317 missing children has been shared since its launch in 2016. ^ top ^

Xi Jinping's political thought will be added to Chinese Communist Party constitution, but will his name be next to it? (SCMP)
2017-09-18
The constitution of China's Communist Party will be amended during the 19th party congress next month to include the political thoughts of President Xi Jinping, state media reported on Monday. Political analysts have long pondered how Xi's political theories might be added to the charter, but the wait will soon be over, as the party's 25-member politburo has already discussed a draft amendment that will be tabled for discussion at the twice-a-decade meeting, which opens on October 18, Xinhua reported. "The party will write key theory and strategic thoughts [taken from] the report on the 19th Party Congress into [its] constitution," the report said. "The revised constitution will reflect the major strategic thoughts the central leadership has set forth since the 18th party congress", it said. China's ruling party has published huge volumes on Xi's political thoughts since he came to power five years ago. The inclusion of a personal political philosophy in the charter is an honour bestowed on several of Xi's predecessors, but the big question now is whether the addition will also carry his name. The draft amendment discussed by the politburo will next be submitted to a plenary session of the Communist Party's 205-member Central Committee on October 11, which will be the final stage of preparation for the congress. Beijing-based political analyst Zhang Lifan said that besides agreeing the final wording of the amendment, the main purpose of the plenary session would be to decide whether Xi's name should be pinned to it. "Once Xi's name is incorporated in the constitution, his status in the party will be comparable to that of Mao [Zedong] and Deng [Xiaoping]," he said. "If it is not, Xi will be regarded in much the same way as his predecessors Jiang [Zemin] and Hu [Jintao]." The political philosophy of Xi's immediate predecessor Hu Jintao, which was titled "Scientific Outlook on Development" became official a month before the 17th party congress, which convened in October 2007, at the end of his first term of office. Jiang Zemin's "Three Represents" was added to the party constitution at the 16th party congress in 2002, when he retired as the party's general secretary. Beijing has yet to make public the official name of Xi's political philosophy, and Xinhua's report about the politburo meeting made no mention of "Xi Jinping Thought". The 19th party congress will be attended by about 3,000 delegates who will "elect" the country's top leadership for the next five years. ^ top ^

China punishes 5,419 officials in frugality campaign (Xinhua)
2017-09-18
The top anti-graft body of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said Monday that 5,419 officials were punished for violating Party austerity rules in August. The officials were involved in 3,859 cases, according the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) website. Awarding unauthorized bonuses was the most common misdemeanor, followed by giving or accepting gifts and misuse of public vehicles. A total of 40,818 officials involved in 28,965 cases were punished in the first eight months of 2017, the CCDI said. The CPC released its eight-point rules on austerity in late 2012 to reduce undesirable work practices. The CCDI has a monthly reporting system on the implementation of the rules within provincial-level governments, central Party and governmental agencies, centrally-administered state-owned enterprises and central financial institutions. ^ top ^

China extends rule of law on Internet (Global Times)
2017-09-17
China has accelerated the development of cyber laws since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), by actively engaging the government, Internet service providers and netizens in creating a clean cyber environment, observers said. This year's China Cybersecurity Week begins on Saturday in Shanghai, with Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, invited to speak at its opening ceremony. Liu, also deputy head of the central Internet security and information leading group, stressed the need to better manage the Internet and fight cyber crimes, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Any person or organization should follow the law and respect others' rights on the Internet, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), also known as the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, said on Sunday. The CAC added that cyberspace is not outlaw territory, that it's also covered by laws. Cyber rule of law: "China has created a cyber security law and other cyberspace strategies and regulations," Wang Sixin, deputy dean of the School of Literature and Law at Communication University of China, told the Global Times. Wang said that pushing for cyberspace laws leads to the "rule of law on the Internet," and allows the government to better manage the Internet. "Netizens will be prone to harmful-even terrorist-information on the Internet if it isn't appropriately regulated," Wang said. The National People's Congress passed China's first Cyber security Law in November 2016, which allows authorities to take action against overseas individuals or organizations that harm China's interests. In July, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) also announced that all businesses operating in China need to register with the authorities, and that businesses with a website need to obtain an Internet Content Provider license. "Our measures are aimed at better regulating China's VPN market, and only target unregistered businesses and individuals who provide VPN services for cross-border use," Zhang Feng, MIIT chief engineer, said at a press conference. Other laws and regulations, which cover every area of cyber security, including e-commerce, were also passed after the 18th National Congress of the CPC. These laws clearly define the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in Internet activities, requiring everyone in cyberspace to act according to the law, Wang said. Cyber security awareness: Aside from the government's leading role, experts said that cyberspace legislation also guarantees the security of all users. "Many of these regulations address cyber security, which is the greatest threat on the Internet and to society," Wang added. "Protecting the Internet has the people's interests in mind. Cyberspace legislation helps people become more aware of cyber security, and empowers them to create a clean Internet environment," said Qin An, director of the China Institute of Cyberspace Strategy. To enhance cyber security awareness, China will launch a major cyber security education campaign in residential communities, schools and companies, CAC deputy director Yang Xiaowei said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday. Internet service providers and users should also be aware of their roles in fighting cybercrimes. Wang told the Global Times that they are required to report illegal online behavior and speech. The CAC released a set of regulations in September on managing online chat groups, saying that people who start WeChat groups should be responsible for them. They must regulate the behavior of members as well as their posts in accordance with the law, user agreements and platform conventions. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

E-police camera surveillance targets contrary riders (Global Times)
2017-09-20
Shanghai traffic cops have nabbed nine naughty traffic violators using facial recognition technology launched in August to surveil cyclists and tricyclists. E-police traffic surveillance was installed for trial use at the intersection of Zhongshan Beilu and Jinshajiang Lu in Shanghai and identified 30 violations, thepaper.cn reported on Wednesday, citing Shanghai traffic police. The equipment targets two- and three-wheeler non-motorized vehicles heading in the wrong direction, records it as evidence, then conducts facial recognition via a databank to identify the culprit, the report said. So far nine out of the 30 violators have accepted punishment on their own initiative. Most were fined 50 ($7.6) to 200 yuan. It is the first time that facial recognition has been applied to non-drivers by traffic surveillance equipment in China, Mao Baohua, a professor of traffic systems at Beijing Jiaotong University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "E-police is able to serve as a reminder for those non-motor drivers to obey traffic rules, but the whole point of fighting traffic violations is to promote traffic safety awareness among the public," Mao said. Regulating cyclists is much harder than drivers, he noted. Accidents have been on the rise involving shared bikes, Guangzhou Daily reported in August. In the South China city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, bike-related accidents increased 79.6 percent this year. Beijing tried out similar technology recently, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Wednesday. Some 256 E-police units have been installed to monitor trucks, the report said. Installed on capital city motorways, highways and at fifth and sixth ring road junctions, the equipment recognizes of 10 types of car, 11 colors, 250 car logos and 2,100 car brands, the Beijing Morning Post said. It is important to balance surveillance with privacy, Mao noted. Previous surveillance cameras only captured vehicle license plate images, not human. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Highway in Tibet opens South Asia to China (Global Times)
2017-09-18
The Tibet highway between Xigaze airport and Xigaze city center officially opened to the public on Friday, a short section linking the national highway to the Nepal border which experts said will enable China to forge a route into South Asia in both economic and defense terms. The 40.4-kilometer highway will shorten the journey from an hour to 30 minutes between the dual-use civil and military airport and Tibet's second-largest city, the Tibet Financial Daily reported Sunday. The new road runs parallel with the Xigaze-Lhasa railway and links the city's ring roads with the 5,476-kilometer G318 highway from Shanghai to Zhangmu on the Nepal border. As part of G318, the highway connects the border town of Zhangmu with Lhasa, the capital city of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It can link with the future cross-border Sino-Nepali railway, said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies. The Sino-Nepali railway was part of a deal struck by Nepal Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara when he visited China in early September. The railway includes two lines: one connecting three of Nepal's most important cities and two crossing the border between China and Nepal, the People's Daily reported. The Sino-Nepali railway, which passes through the Chinese border town of Zhangmu and connects with routes in Nepal, will be the first railway by which China enters South Asia, Zhao said. "Although the railway connection between China and Nepal is intended to boost regional development and not for military purposes, the move will still probably irritate India." India is always disgusted when neighboring countries attempt to get closer to China, Zhao explained. The 25-meter-wide highway between Xigaze peace airport and Xigaze has four double lanes and is classified a first-tier highway, the Tibet Financial Daily reported. "Highways in China are of a high standard including the one in Tibet," Zhao said. "It can be used by armored vehicles and as a runway for planes to take off when it has to serve a military purpose." "The road is Tibet's first real highway. It is our gift toward the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China," said Wei Qianggao, deputy head of the Tibet transportation department, news portal eastday.com reported. As an important traffic program in the 13th Five-Year Plan and a core section of the Tibet Autonomous Region's highway network, the road will benefit the export-oriented economy of Xigaze and the complex traffic around Lhasa, Wei said. Over five years, the standard of highways in Tibet and the traffic network have been gradually improved, Xinhua reported on Friday quoting Wang Jinhe, another official from the Tibet transportation department. The total highway mileage in Tibet reached more than 80,000 kilometers in 2016, increasing nearly 19,000 kilometers since 2011, Wang said. Traffic infrastructure construction will improve the economy by linking airport-road businesses with city-to-city businesses, Wang Daiyuan, a professor from the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences told the Global Times. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam lashes out at UK politicians for 'disrespectful' comments on jailing of activist trio (SCMP)
2017-09-21
Hong Kong's leader has defended the city's judicial independence, lashing out at UK politicians and commentators who had condemned the jailing of three pro-democracy activists last month, calling their remarks "disrespectful" and "disturbing". Speaking at a high-powered dinner in London on Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also said that Hong Kong will continue to thrive because it "remains one of the safest cities in the world", as she expressed sympathy for the victims of various terrorist attacks in Britain. Lam was addressing a group of top officials and business leaders, including Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador in London, at a dinner hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Lam's visit to the British capital from Wednesday to Friday is her first trip to Europe since she took office in July. After showing a video showcasing Hong Kong's infrastructure and business advantages, Lam said: "As long as we get our act together, adopt a clear vision and embrace the many opportunities in front of us, Hong Kong will scale new heights." She explained that the main reason behind her optimism was that "Hong Kong will continue to succeed under 'one country, two systems'" and Beijing's support of it. "One country, two systems" is the model under which China governs Hong Kong. Second, Lam said, "the good things you have seen about Hong Kong ... are underpinned by core values, including the rule of law". "It is therefore extremely disturbing for me to know that some politicians and commentators here in the United Kingdom are querying the independence of our judges over [their] judgments without any sound basis," she added. "Those comments are totally ... disrespectful of our judges, including illustrious UK judges who sit on our Court of Final Appeal". Lam did not name any names, but after three former student leaders were jailed over an illegal protest in the run-up to 2014's Occupy pro-democracy sit-ins, a group of 25 foreign politicians and activists, including former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind, had condemned the sentences, calling the trio "political prisoners" and demanding their release. The jail terms were prompted by a successful push by Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung for a sentencing review after the activists were previously handed more lenient punishments by the courts. Former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten said on Tuesday said that the move by Yuen had been a "political decision", but on Wednesday he made it clear that he disagreed with those who called the three "political prisoners" and said he did not think the judiciary was being politicised. Continuing with her third point, Lam said: "At a time when public order seems to be in disarray – and here my sympathy goes to victims of several terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom – Hong Kong remains one of the safest cities in the world." "Friends and supporters of Hong Kong ... I am sure you will continue to give us your wise counsel and speak up for Hong Kong when this city you love is being unfairly attacked," Lam concluded. In response to Lam's criticism, Patten who is in the city for a four-day visit said: "If she'd named me, she would be mistaken. I never ever, ever, ever criticised Hong Kong judges. I criticised the secretary for justice." Among the 19 Court of Final Appeal judges in Hong Kong, 15 are non-permanent, including eight from UK. Of those eight, Lord David Edmond Neuberger is currently the president of the UK Supreme Court, making him the country's most senior judge. The Post understands that on Thursday, Lam will visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and meet senior British government officials and Liu, the Chinese ambassador in London. Several Hong Kong activists protested outside the hotel where the dinner was held, calling for the release of "prisoners of conscience" in Hong Kong, referring to prominent activists such as Joshua Wong Chi-fung, one of the three former student leaders jailed last month. Earlier on Wednesday, Lam met representatives from Britain's art, design and education sector. She also visited the learning and development centre of MTR Crossrail in London to learn more about the corporation's current and future projects in Britain and Europe. Before the dinner, Lam and Hammond witnessed the signing of a fintech bridge agreement. Hong Kong Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury James Lau said the agreement is meant to encourage cooperation between the governments, regulators and businesses in Hong Kong and Britain. ^ top ^

Hong Kong needs to talk about political reform, last colonial governor Chris Patten says; city 'not out to cause Beijing trouble' (SCMP)
2017-09-20
Hong Kong's last colonial governor has called on the city's current leader to resume dialogue with the public on political reform after an ill-fated effort two years ago, but he stopped short of supporting any renewed push for change in the next five years. Chris Patten also said Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should make clear to Beijing that debate about democracy in Hong Kong did not constitute an act of subversion against the Chinese state, nor did it mean the central government should treat Hongkongers as dissidents out to cause trouble. Speaking in an interview with the Post on the second day of a visit to Hong Kong on Wednesday, Patten said Lam was a good communicator and should help persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to look on the city more favourably. When asked to compare Lam to her predecessor Leung Chun-ying, Patten said the benchmark had been set rather low by the previous administration. But turning to Lam's argument that relaunching political reform in her five-year term would only bring social division, he appeared to disagree. "It seems to me that we see social division without political reforms," he said. "If you want to unite the community, you have to be part of the dialogue about the community's concerns, which obviously include social issues but also include politics." But Patten declined to say when would be the right time to relaunch reform work. "It should be part of the dialogue that should be happening all the time," he said. The government should have reached out to student leaders, who led protests over the previous reform effort, to discuss the issue, he added. In June 2015, Hong Kong lawmakers voted on a political reform proposal to elect the city's leader by universal suffrage in 2017. Based on a strict framework handed down by Beijing, the plan was opposed by opposition pan-democratic legislators, who said it did not offer "genuine universal suffrage". Pro-establishment lawmakers failed to produce enough votes to secure its passage in the legislature, and it was voted down. Patten said if the government kept opposing the idea that people should have a greater say in how government was conducted, it would likely push Hongkongers, who were "by nature extremely moderate", to be more radical. Recalling his days as the last British governor of Hong Kong before the city was handed back to China in 1997, Patten said no one in the city had ever given a speech in the streets at that time about killing others – a reflection of Hongkongers' non-radical disposition. That comment was in reference to a recent assertion by lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu that activists advocating Hong Kong breaking away from Chinese rule should be "killed mercilessly". Patten offered his advice to Lam when he attended a lunch at the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation on Wednesday afternoon. "I hope that she would make clear to the local [Beijing's] liaison office that it should not interfere much in Hong Kong's affairs," he said. When asked by veteran democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming if he had any message for three former student leaders jailed last month over an illegal protest in the run-up to 2014's Occupy pro-democracy sit-ins, which were sparked by wrangling over political reform, Patten called on the youngsters to keep their faith in democracy, the rule of law and Hong Kong identity. "To argue against the future isn't a very good idea," he said when asked how China should respond to the ideas of those youngsters. The jailing of the trio was prompted by a successful push from Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung for a sentencing review after the activists were previously handed more lenient punishments by the courts. Patten on Tuesday said that move by Yuen had been a "political decision", but on Wednesday he made it clear he disagreed with those who called the three "political prisoners". "I don't think the judiciary is being politicised. I don't think the judiciary does whatever the government tells it to do," he said, but it was understandable people suspected that to be the case given Beijing's intervention in recent court cases. In November last year, the central government issued a controversial interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, ahead of a court ruling over whether two pro-independence legislators, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, should be removed from their seats over improper oaths of office. The courts subsequently ruled that they should be. ^ top ^

China cannot 'choke off' Hong Kong's democratic aspirations, says former governor Chris Patten (SCMP)
2017-09-20
China cannot "choke off" Hong Kong's aspiration to be more democratic, and that aspiration can still be realised if change comes from within China, according to the city's last colonial governor. Chris Patten, speaking to the Post on Wednesday, said he still believed Hongkongers would enjoy democracy in the future, under the Chinese sovereignty. "[Late Chinese leader] Deng Xiaoping said people in Hong Kong were perfectly capable of running their own house, which was true," he said, saying Hongkongers' rights were laid down as promises in the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. Patten, who ran the then British colony from 1992 to 1997, said Chinese officials over the years talked much about 'one country two systems'. But he said he doubted they understood what it really means. "It means to continue to develop Hong Kong's freedom within the law," he said. "And inevitably it means you can't simply choke off Hong Kong's aspiration and ambition to be more democratic." Patten, who recently criticised calls for the city's independence from China as "diluting supporting for democracy", made clear that his hope lay in change within China. "Do I think it is possible to go on indefinitely, seeing an economic or technological development without affecting politics? No," he said. He added he was not convinced that Chinese people do not care about human rights and politics. "I believe China will change. And I hope that China changes, when it does, peacefully," Patten said, saying he was far more concerned about the impact of Chinese leadership than the impact of US President Donald Trump. That is because, he said, how China changes the world economy will influence the next generation globally. At the lunch at the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation, veteran democrat Emily Lau Wai-hing asked if Patten, a member of Britain's House of Lords, would raise in Parliament whether the country could give right of abode to British National (Overseas) passport holders. Hong Kong has more than 3.4 million BN(O) passport holders. Patten said Lau had overestimated the influence of Parliament's upper chamber, but promised to raise the matter. ^ top ^

Carrie Lam voices support for universities' plan to remove Hong Kong independence banners (SCMP)
2017-09-19
Hong Kong's leader said on Tuesday that pro-independence banners flying at university campuses in the city "should not be allowed to continue" and gave her backing to school bosses who have said they would tear them down. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also expressed confidence in universities' handling of the matter and said the government had no intention of intervening. The controversy erupted on September 4 as posters and materials bearing the words "Hong Kong independence" appeared at Chinese University. Similar messages went up later, at other institutions in the city. "There is no room for any discussion on the independence of Hong Kong because this breaches the 'one country, two systems' principle that underlies the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong," Lam said, referring to the city's governing formula. She claimed such discussion violated the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution, and was "absolutely not in the overall interest of Hong Kong". The chief executive called the stunts "organised and systematic" and reiterated her earlier comments on the matter, asserting she did not intend to curtail freedom of speech or academic discussion. Universities are for students to be educated, Lam said. For that reason, she added, advocating independence "should not be allowed to continue" at local universities. Reminding students of the boundaries of freedom of speech was a duty for university heads, Lam continued, and institutions were being "responsible" by making clear the banners would be taken down. "I have confidence in university management not to turn a blind eye [to the issue] and allow this unhealthy wind to spread," she said. "I have absolutely no intention right now of intervening in university management." The leaders of different institutions differed over whether to allow such banners and posters on their campus 'democracy walls'. Lingnan University president Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon said putting up posters to discuss Hong Kong independence was acceptable as long as the material did not advocate it. Polytechnic University removed all related slogans. It said the decision was meant to "respect and observe the Basic Law" and "protect students from potentially breaking the law". At Chinese University on Tuesday, student union representatives were still guarding the banners from removal. They had set up a booth at Cultural Square where posters were put up, guarding them around the clock. The student union had hung a new black banner bearing the words "Oppose Article 23 legislation", referring to the part of the Basic Law requiring Hong Kong to enact laws against treason, sedition and subversion. "Even though the slogan is against the Basic Law, it is protected by freedom of speech," the union wrote on Facebook. On campus, a student identifying himself only as a union committee member said: "If the posters are put on the wall following our rules, such as not covering other [posters], we should protect them from being torn down under the freedom of speech ... It's [the union's] responsibility to protect them." "We're stationed here to guard against the school and any unknown person tearing down the posters and banners. We hope not to have any bodily conflict with them," he added. At Lingnan University, posters bearings the words "Support Hong Kong Independent Media" had been put up, but the word "independent" had been ripped off. The union vice-president Issac Chan Tsun-hin said no one claimed responsibility for the act, but said he did not think university staff did it. Meanwhile, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the question of independence did not arise during any of his meetings with mainland officials over his three-day Beijing visit which ended on Tuesday. "We didn't mention what happened in [Hong Kong's universities recently] because we consider them to be issues within our autonomy," Yeung said. ^ top ^

Activist fined HK$3,000 for binning Hong Kong public library books in 'fight against cultural invasion' from mainland China (SCMP)
2017-09-19
A radical Hong Kong activist was on Tuesday fined HK$3,000 for dumping library books in a bin in what he said was an attempt to protect children from the "cultural invasion" of simplified Chinese characters. Alvin Cheng Kam-mun, 29, had told the court during trial that he had become angry after learning from newspapers that the Hong Kong government had "wasted public funds" to stock the city's libraries with 600,000 books written in the simplified characters more commonly used in mainland China. Hong Kong uses traditional characters. Kowloon City Court magistrate Wong Sze-lai, who convicted Cheng of theft, slammed his conduct as "selfish and stupid", adding that the purpose behind the crime did not matter. She said English folk hero Robin Hood would similarly be found guilty of theft even for robbing the rich to help the poor. Outside court, Cheng said the conviction made him feel "quite helpless" since he had never held any desire to obtain the property of others yet had been found guilty of an offence involving dishonesty. He did not comment on whether he would continue his campaign against simplified characters, save for saying: "I hope Hongkongers will cherish and defend our language." Cheng, the vice-chairman of localist political party Civic Passion, went to a public library in Ho Man Tin on March 29 last year in the hope of "protecting libraries" and drawing attention to his cause. He filmed himself dumping nine children's books into a library rubbish bin. The books cost HK$505 in total. Cheng said that since children would not be able to tell the difference at a young age between the two versions of characters, the simplified books might affect their cognitive learning and confuse them. He also said the "effects and poisonous influences" of such books went beyond just the different shapes on a page. The recorded stunt was uploaded to his Facebook page, where he called on others to follow suit during his campaign to run for a seat in Hong Kong's legislature in elections last September. Librarians later discovered 12 other books in the library's fire hose reel cabinet, behind computers and under book shelves. The defence had argued that Cheng carried no dishonest intentions as he had publicly dumped the books. But the magistrate said whether an act was dishonest should be determined by the standards of a reasonable person, who would in this case read and borrow books from the library and return them accordingly instead of permanently depriving others of the same right by throwing them away. She also said theft came in many forms and did not require property being taken away from an owner's premises so long as prosecutors proved a defendant had dishonestly appropriated it with the intention of permanently depriving others of that property. "The defendant's conduct was selfish and stupid," she told the court. "Luckily [the books] were recovered." In mitigation, defence counsel Edward Chan stressed that his client had not committed the offence for selfish reasons. He argued that the conduct was consistent with the principles of civil disobedience previously highlighted by a Court of Appeal judgment for the resentencing of 13 protesters over an unlawful public assembly outside the Legislative Council in 2014, because Cheng had shown restraint while breaking the law and cooperated with authorities. ^ top ^

Will relaxed rules for Hong Kong's online media usher in digital age? (SCMP)
2017-09-19
Digital media outlets in Hong Kong would be allowed to cover official events and receive press releases or invitations under relaxed rules starting on Tuesday, the government has announced. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said that the arrangement would be "fair and feasible", but some industry members criticised the guidelines as being unclear and raised concerns over whether they would be rejected because of political reasons. The city's Ombudsman had called the government to review its policy on online media late last year. "The mechanism aims to ensure the professionalism of outlets covering and reporting on government news," Lam said before an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday. She added that she had requested senior officials to extend the duration of future press conferences to take more questions from journalists. Under the new arrangement, online media listed under the Registration of Local Newspapers Ordinance can now apply to the Information Services Department to receive press releases and media invitations. But Wong Yeung-tat, founder of Passion Times – an online news outlet which previously faced rejections to cover government events – said authorities failed to specify ineligible conditions. "We have met the [basic] requirements long ago, but what do they mean by 'advocacy publications' or those 'failing' to follow instructions of government officers, as grounds for rejection?" Wong, who is also a former leader of radical group Civic Passion, said. Meanwhile the Hong Kong Journalists Association welcomed the government's "long overdue decision to lift its bar" on online media. The group said it would also monitor the implementation of its accreditation policy to ensure all media were treated fairly. Depending on how the new plan would be implemented, the association said in a statement that it would decide whether to press on with a legal challenge against the government's online media policy. The Hong Kong News Executives' Association said the government should ensure fair treatment to media of different platforms and types. The new rules also state that an organisation involved in "regular reporting of original news for dissemination to the general public" will need to provide proof of regular publications in the past three months. It will also have to show that it updates its news platform at least five days a week, and has at least one editor and a reporter. The eligibility of outlets can also be suspended or revoked if media representatives "misconduct themselves". Such behaviour includes using foul language, causing disruption, or staging protests at a venue. The department said it would review the new policy in about six months. ^ top ^

Hong Kong's 'last chances' to maintain its global economic standing (SCMP)
2017-09-19
Grabbing success from flagship Chinese economic initiatives such as the "The Belt and Road" and the "Big Bay Area", and the yuan's internationalisation represent Hong Kong's last opportunities to retain its global reputation in coming years, as it risks losing its former competitiveness as a financial hub, leading scholars have warned. "The reform and opening up by Beijing has offered chances to both the mainland and Hong Kong – many companies here survived by managing to keep their cost low by relocated their manufacturing to the mainland. But that model no longer works," said Anthony Yeh, chair professor of the Hong Kong University, also an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yeh made the remarks during a forum on Monday, which inaugurated the opening of the Hong Kong branch of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) – a ministerial-level research institution which advises the country's top leadership. People close to the institute said the opening is aimed at enhancing communication between local Hong Kong and mainland academics, particularly on culture, history, and society, underlining the mainland economy continues to develop and upgrade, pushing up labour costs. While in Hong Kong, Yeh said the modern services sector has replaced its thousands of factories to become the major pillar of its economy, with just 2 per cent of the city's population now working in manufacturing, compared with 50 per cent in the 1970s. Hong Kong's total economy used to equal half the mainland's in 1980 – but that ratio has plummeted to only 2.8 per cent 2015, according to Yeh's speech. SSThe central government will dump its negative attitude of leaving Hong Kong alone in the past, and include it into a national development strategy ... and Hong Kong must consider its development under this changed scenario Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of The Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of The Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semi-official think tank, said he thought Hong Kong "has been too conservative in terms of economic structural transformation and integration with the mainland economy". "The central government will dump its negative attitude of leaving Hong Kong alone in the past, and include it in the national development strategy ... and Hong Kong must consider its development under this changed scenario," he said. For many years Hong Kong acted as a gateway for the West to the Chinese mainland, and still benefits from the world's second-largest inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI), after the US. It has also been a regional hub for trade, finance, entertainment and shopping for many years. However, while Hong Kong has undergone significant political change in recent years that has shaken up its society, the mainland government has launched dozens of pilot zones across the rest of the country, to explore free trade and financial opening up. And under such growing domestic competition, and shifting global economic conditions, Hong Kong also faces another major challenge: that "its traditional largest markets – mainly Europe and the US – are shrinking, while emerging economies such as China are expanding quickly", argued Victor Zheng, a professor with the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Senior officials from Hong Kong have long trumpeted that based on its free market, mature legal and financial system, and knowledge about the global market, the special administrative region should continue to act as a "super connector", that bridges the mainland and overseas markets, to avoid being marginalised amid China's headline national strategies, such as the Belt and Road. But some analysts now warn it faces strengthening challenges, not only from the mainland, but from outside China too. ( "I would say in terms of financial services, Shenzhen is catching up very quickly. They know about mainland clients better, and don't forget about foreign agencies," said Liang Qi, professor with Guangzhou based Sun Yat-sen University. Hong Kong firms should compete with those from Singapore and London, who are very active in engaging with China, Qi added. "The next 30 years will be Hong Kong's last chance to exploit its technological edge, and actively engage with the whole country's development. "The Big Bay Area [the grouping of Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and Macau] will bring about significant advances in cooperation," Qi said, "and a really good platform to commercialise ideas and achievements from labs in Hong Kong's globally top-ranking universities." ^ top ^

Pan-democrats blast Junius Ho for saying independence activists should be 'killed mercilessly' (SCMP)
2017-09-18
Hong Kong's pan-democrats have "strongly reprimanded" pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu over claims on Sunday that pro-independence activists should be "killed mercilessly". The statement came hours after Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung sought to play down the significance of the remarks, and said one needs to consider the context of a particular comment when deciding whether it breaks the criminal law. The pan-democrats were infuriated by the remarks of Ho, a former president of the Law Society, at a rally on Sunday. The event was attended by thousands demanding that the University of Hong Kong sack Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting, whom they claimed should be blamed for the social unrest and pro-independence sentiment in recent years. During the rally, Yuen Long district councillor Tsang Shu-wo warned on stage that no one should advocate Hong Kong's independence from China. "If he advocates Hong Kong independence, he's not Chinese, he's an outsider and must be killed," Tsang said. In response, Ho, who was among a group of pro-Beijing activists standing with Tsang on the stage, chanted: "No mercy!" After the rally, Ho accused the media of taking his words out of context when asked if it was unlawful to advocate "merciless killing". "If Hong Kong independence advocates are subverting the fate of a country ... why not kill them?" Ho asked. "'To kill them without mercy' means we deplore wrongdoers like our enemies." In a statement, 22 pan-democratic lawmakers said Ho, as a legislator and lawyer, had "gone beyond the bottom line of freedom of speech and morals". "We strongly reprimand his cold-blooded speech, as it advocated direct violence and allegedly broke the law," the statement read – it did not mention Tsang, however. The pan-democrats added that according to the Public Order Ordinance, it is a criminal offence for any person to "use threatening, abusive or insulting words" in public and with intent to provoke a breach of the peace. It was also a criminal offence for anyone to make any public statement "which is likely to incite or induce any person to kill or do physical injury to anyone else". "The police had arrested people who use hate speech in the past. Ho has broken the law and the police and the Department of Justice should take action," the statement added. Asked if Ho had said anything wrong, Yuen said: "I would not comment on an individual matter. But speaking in general ... we need to look from the overall [perspective] in deciding whether a particular remark has breached the criminal law. "We need to consider the meaning behind a word or phrase, and the court would consider the background too." Yuen added that instead of advocating independence, it would be "more constructive to focus" on various problems facing Hong Kong. ^ top ^

China urges UK to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs (Global Times)
2017-09-15
China on Friday urged the United Kingdom to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs after the UK government released its latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks at a routine news briefing, saying that Hong Kong affairs are China's domestic affairs and no foreign country has the right to interfere. "We have just celebrated the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return. Over the past 20 years, Hong Kong has continued enjoying prosperity and stability, maintaining its characteristics and advantages, and has made remarkable achievements in various areas under the principle of 'one country, two systems'," said Hua. "We always firmly oppose the UK government's so-called six-monthly report to parliament on Hong Kong," said Hua. ^ top ^

 

Macau

High voter turnout in Macau shakes up political status quo as youngest ever lawmaker elected (SCMP)
2017-09-18
High voter turnout in Macau legislative elections has shaken up the city's political status quo and delivered a black eye to top officials over their inept handling of a deadly typhoon that slammed the casino hub weeks before the polls. Among the trio of newcomers is pro-democracy campaigner, Sulu Sou, 26, who will become the youngest ever person to take a seat in Macau's Legislative Assembly. His New Macau Progressives group advocates a legislature fully elected by universal suffrage. While the pro-establishment camp maintained its position as the biggest bloc in the assembly, the Macau United Citizens Association, backed by power broker, Chan Meng-kam, of the city's influential Fujianese community, lost two of its three seats. The two other newly-elected candidates were independent Agnes Lam Iok-fong, of Civic Watch, and Leong Sun-iok, of the pro-establishment Macau Federation of Trade Unions. Another surprise came when José Maria Pereira Coutinho, a controversial and vocal critic of the Macau government whom many thought would lose, was re-elected. He won by a margin of more than 1,000 votes. Angela Leong, managing director and CEO of casino company SJM Holdings, was one of a handful of candidates from the gaming industry to win seats. She is the fourth wife of casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun. Macau's Electoral Affairs Committee chairman Tong Hio-fong said 174,872 ballots had been cast in the direct election, representing a voter turnout of 57.22 per cent – up from 53 per cent in the last polls in 2013. Veteran Macau watcher and political commentator, Sonny Lo Shui-hing, said the results reflected discontent in the former Portuguese enclave. "It would appear that Macau voters are not happy with the performance of the government, especially after the ravages of Typhoon Hato," he said. Macau suffered an economic loss of US$1.42 billion in the storm's wake. "The political clout, in a formal legislative sense, of candidates with links to the casino industry also appear to have reached their apex, and with Chan Meng Kam not running his grouping suffered," he added. "It seems voters do not want to see more casino representatives or casino-related groups get more representatives into the legislature." Lo believed the results meant Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on would have a "lot of thinking to do" about the seven people he is authorised to appoint to the 33-member legislative body, of which 14 are directly elected and 12 indirectly. Lawyer Carlos Lobo, a long-time Macau resident, described the results as a "major surprise". "I believe these election results are a major surprise in the sense that they have redrawn the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly. "This is especially the case for Chan Meng Kam's group and has very significant consequences for the election of a new chief executive in 2019 and the redrafting of gaming laws as the casino licence concession renewals draw ever closer," he said. ^ top ^

26 elected as new legislators of China's Macao (Global Times)
2017-09-18
The legislative election management committee of China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) announced the preliminary results of the election of the sixth Legislative Assembly early Monday morning. The preliminary results showed that 14 candidates won the directly-elected seats, and 12 won the indirectly-elected seats. The election of the sixth Legislative Assembly of Macao SAR kicked off on Sunday morning. According to legislative election management committee, some 174,872 eligible voters cast their ballots, accounting for 57.22 percent of total eligible voters, 2.2 percentage higher than the last legislative election. In line with the Basic Law, the new legislature is composed of 33 seats including 14 directly-elected seats, 12 indirectly-elected seats, and seven others which will be appointed by the SAR's chief executive. The term of office of the sixth Legislative Assembly will start in October 2017.. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Group of fishermen 'kept like slaves' in Taiwan (SCMP)
2017-09-20
A group of foreign fishermen in Taiwan were locked in tiny windowless rooms around the clock to stop them escaping while not at sea, prosecutors said in the island's latest abuse case involving migrant workers. Fishing and boat company owners were among 19 people charged on Monday in the southern city of Kaohsiung for illegally holding 81 foreign fishermen in buildings after they had berthed their boats. When they were at sea, the fishermen were sometimes made to work for 48 consecutive hours without rest for a monthly wage of US$300 to US$500, the prosecutors said. Taiwan's labour laws stipulate a maximum working day of eight hours and minimum wage of about US$930. "The accused exploited the fishermen with illegal methods for their own profit," prosecutors said in a statement, describing the fishermen as "slave labour in the sea". The 19 face charges of human-trafficking and offences against personal liberty and could face a maximum seven year jail term if convicted. Prosecutors also confiscated nearly NT$3.69 million (US$123,000) from the companies in back pay for the workers. The case came to light last year after a fisherman tipped off prosecutors with the help of a social worker, the statement said. The authorities later raided two places where fishermen from countries including Indonesia, the Philippines, Tanzania and Vietnam were held and rescued them. Environmental group Greenpeace has said previously that foreign crew on Taiwanese vessels endure "horrendous" working conditions and physical abuse, as well as withheld payments and exploitation by recruitment agents. The case comes after an outcry over a police shooting of an unarmed Vietnamese migrant worker last month. According to rights groups, exploitation of migrant workers is frequently reported in Taiwan where about 600,000 foreigners work as carers, fishermen, construction and factory workers. Chuang Shu-ching, a spokeswoman for Taiwan International Workers' Association, said the government leaves the matter in the hands of for-profit private recruitment agencies, who mostly serve the interests of employers. Southeast Asians who make up the bulk of Taiwan's migrant workers also face racial discrimination, she said. "Labour conditions for migrant workers haven't improved in more than a decade and the same problems will continue if the system remains the same," Chuang said, recommending the establishment of state recruitment agencies. In the shooting case, police have come under criticism for firing nine shots at the unarmed Vietnamese migrant worker. A security guard slightly wounded when he was attacked by the man was sent to hospital in the first ambulance to arrive on the scene. The second ambulance came half an hour later for the worker, with rights groups saying his treatment was deliberately delayed. The migrant worker's family and campaigners are calling for Taiwan's top government watchdog, the Control Yuan, to investigate his case. ^ top ^

Panama denies chequebook diplomacy after ditching ties with Taiwan (SCMP)
2017-09-19
Panama's decision to ditch long-standing ties with self-ruled Taiwan and switch recognition to China had nothing to do with "chequebook diplomacy", its president has told Chinese state television. Panama established diplomatic relations with mainland China in June in a major victory for Beijing as it lures away the dwindling number of countries that have formal relations with the island China claims as its own. Taiwan's government said at the time it was sorry and angry over Panama's decision and that it would not compete with the mainland in what it described as a "diplomatic money game". China and Taiwan have tried to poach each other's allies over the years, often dangling generous aid packages in front of developing nations, although Taipei struggles to compete with an increasingly powerful Beijing. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said the decision to switch ties was correct and was Panama's alone. "I didn't ask anything from China," Varela told Chinese state television's English-language channel in an interview shown on Monday. "I just think it was the right thing to do for my country, for the people of Panama and for the future of a strong relationship between China and Panama," he said in response to a question about whether it was "chequebook diplomacy". Varela said he told US President Donald Trump about the decision a few hours before the official announcement and Trump supported it, the report said. Varela also said that visits to Shanghai and Beijing when he was vice-president in 2010 inspired his decision. "In 2010, I went to Shanghai for the World Special Olympic Games and I was very impressed with the city and then I went to Beijing and saw how China was opening its economy, I saw all these developments," he said. China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who it thinks wants to push for the island's formal independence, although she says she wants to maintain peace with Beijing. China and Taiwan had engaged in a diplomatic truce between 2008 and early 2016 under the leadership of Taiwan's former president Ma Ying-jeou from the China-friendly Nationalist Party. Since Tsai assumed office last year, China has poached one other former Taiwan ally, the tiny west African state of Sao Tome and Principe. Gambia also established ties with China last year, although it ditched Taiwan before Tsai came to office. Beijing says Taiwan has no right to diplomatic recognition because it is part of China. Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan at the end of China's civil war in 1949. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China to further cross-border e-commerce to boost foreign trade (Xinhua)
2017-09-20
China will set up more cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in favor of trade facilitation to boost China's global competitiveness, according to a decision made at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. The meeting decided to extend the success of cross-border e-commerce pilot zones to more cities with good infrastructure and strong trade and e-commerce development potential across the country. The original initiative was set in motion by the State Council in Hangzhou in 2015 before being expanded to another 12 cities, including Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, since early 2016. Some good practices are going national, such as the development of online comprehensive service platforms incorporating custom clearance, logistics, tax refund, payment, fund raising and risk control services and offline industrial parks providing whole-industrial-chain services. "We need to enable the healthy development of cross-border e-commerce and speed up the growth of new engines, making the foreign trade sector more adaptive to new circumstances and better endowed with new cutting edges," Li said. "The prospect of cross-border e-commerce is very bright." Statistics by the Ministry of Commerce shows that 220 countries and regions across the world were covered by China's cross-border e-commerce network as of 2016, with a turnover of 5.85 trillion yuan (891 billion U.S. dollars), up by 28.2 percent year-on-year. The total volume of foreign trade via cross-border e-commerce in the 13 pilot zones reached 163.7 billion yuan in 2016, up by more than 100 percent year-on-year. More than 400 third-party platforms were established and 20,000 cross-border e-commerce trade companies were established in the pilot zones. The government will further reform to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve service, and improve the policy matrix for cross-border e-commerce, to boost efficiency and reduce costs of doing business. Developing the entire value-chain of e-commerce will be a form of support measures, including establishing overseas storage facilities covering key countries and markets and logistics networks. "We need to expand and clone good experience and practices accumulated, and lay down the rules in a timely manner. The new growth drivers' capacity to boost employment, extend the industry chain and buttress growth cannot be overestimated," the premier said. The meeting on Wednesday also decided to support the exploration and innovation efforts by the pilot zones. Different online platforms will be integrated to better provide one-stop services to share information, regulatory credentials and enforcement resources. Paralleled efforts will be made to match online platforms with robust offline industrial cluster development and comprehensive service provision. The government will also step up the development of credit system in the cross-border e-commerce sector and improve mechanisms to evaluate e-commerce sector, safeguard transactions, better protect consumers, IPR and manage risks. "Government oversight should be both enabling and prudent. Producers and platform companies should live up to their responsibilities, while the government's focus is on enhancing compliance oversight," Li said. ^ top ^

China's Mars mission 'going smoothly', chief designer says (China Daily)
2017-09-20
China is on track to launch its first Mars probe around 2020, with the plan to retrieve soil and rock samples before 2030, according to the mission's chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao. The nation aims to be the first to conduct orbital and surface explorations of Mars in a single mission, Zhang said on Wednesday at an international forum on lunar and deep-space exploration in Beijing. The probe will consist of three parts — an orbiter, lander and rover — and will include 13 pieces of test equipment, seven on the orbiter and six on the rover. Zhang said the orbiter and the rover will collect data on the Red Planet's atmosphere, electromagnetic fields, temperatures and landscape, among other things, while the rover will also be used to test equipment for sample-retrieval missions between 2025 and 2030, he added. "Chinese scientists are doing preliminary research now to anticipate the data that will be collected from Mars, so we can publish our reports faster," Zhang said. He added that the Mars mission is "going smoothly and all according to plan" despite the failure of the Long March 5 carrier rocket launch in July. China also has plans to send probes to Jupiter in 2036 and Uranus in 2046, he said. Russia, India and the United States have all had probes orbit Mars, but only the US has successfully landed a rover and carried out surface missions. ^ top ^

China launches campaign to protect foreign intellectual property rights as US probes alleged thefts (SCMP)
2017-09-20
China has launched a four-month campaign to protect the intellectual property rights of foreign businesses, a move that may alleviate a major concern among foreign investors on the mainland and appease Washington ahead of US President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing. The Trump administration last month officially launched a probe into alleged Chinese intellectual property theft and the findings could lead to the US imposing tariffs on Chinese products – potentially triggering a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, told the South China Morning Post in an interview in Hong Kong last week that Washington would release the results of the probe before a Sino-US summit in Beijing so both sides can reset trade with "a whole series of negotiations". It is the first time the Chinese government has started a nationwide campaign to protect foreign businesses' intellectual property. The drive, which runs from this month to the end of December, is designed to "create a level playground", protect investors' legitimate interests and "further increase foreign investment", according to a notice released by the Ministry of Commerce earlier this week. In addition to the commerce ministry, another 12 Chinese government and judicial bodies, including the Ministry of Public Security and the Supreme Court, are taking part in the campaign to crack down on the theft of trade secrets, trademark infringement, patent violations and online property rights violations. Each government department has been assigned its respective focus. For instance, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce is leading the efforts to protect foreign trademarks, while prosecutors give special attention to investigate any corruption or neglect of duty involved in intellectual property violations. China was once the darling of foreign investors, drawing most Fortune 500 companies to its marketplaces. But some labour-intensive manufacturers, finding China increasingly expensive, have been relocating to countries with cheaper costs. Meanwhile, the government's endeavour to lure hi-tech investors has been impeded by intellectual property rights issues. Foreign direct investment in China dropped 6.5 per cent from a year earlier to US$72.1 billion in the first seven months of this year, according to commerce ministry data. China's intellectual property rights protection measures frequently draw complaints from foreign investors and have been a long-standing focus of attention at annual talks with the US and Europe. The campaign has implications for Trump's family as many trademarks under the Trump name established by the president – a billionaire US real estate mogul – and his family are registered in China. Foreigners' impression that China has poor intellectual property rights protection "was partly caused by its different legal system from common law countries", said Shu Yujing, a Chinese partner of US law firm K&L Gates, who has represented Western clients in trademark infringement cases. For instance, plaintiffs bear the burden of proof and need to provide Chinese courts with sufficient evidence of infringement, which is usually hard to find, Shu said. "Such government-led campaigns will have more or less positive results, such as a quickened pace of investigations," Shu said. Beijing has admitted that its way of protecting intellectual property rights is imperfect, but it will continue to make a huge effort to improve it, Vice-Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen told a press conference last month. In the past five years, the national leading group chaired by Vice-Premier Wang Yang has pushed forward the revision of more than 10 laws or regulations, set up intellectual property rights courts nationwide and investigated 1.3 million cases and pressed charges against nearly 100,000 violators, Wang has said. But such rhetoric has not convinced China's critics in Washington. Trump last month signed a memorandum instructing US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to investigate China's "unfair trade practices" to protect US technology. IPR protection also is likely to remain on the agenda during Trump's first China visit in November. ^ top ^

Chinese Central Bank said to be drafting fresh package of reforms for more financial market opening (SCMP)
2017-09-18
China's central bank is drafting a package of reforms which would give foreign investors greater access to the nation's financial services industry, according to sources familiar with the matter. The People's Bank of China will convene an internal meeting on Tuesday to discuss its proposals and get feedback from Chinese institutions, said the people, who asked not to be names. The meeting will also discuss the timetable for opening up the financial sector and the lessons learned from previous cooperation with foreign firms, they added. While the details of the plan have yet to be finalised, it may include permission for foreign institutions to control their local finance-sector joint ventures, as well as raising the current 25 per cent ceiling on foreign ownership in Chinese banks. It may also allow foreign firms to provide yuan-denominated bank card clearing services. The China Banking Regulatory Commission is also said to be involved in the proposal. The PBOC couldn't immediately comment on the matter. The CBRC didn't immediately respond to a fax seeking comment. China sent a signal it plans to press ahead with opening up the financial sector when central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in June that too much protection for domestic institutions weakens the industry and can lead to financial instability. Last month, China's cabinet said the country will continue to open up various industries, including banking, securities, insurance as well as electric cars. Currently, overseas investment banks can only hold minority stakes in their local securities joint ventures, and have been largely excluded from lucrative businesses such as secondary-market trading in Chinese debt and equities, as well as from managing money for wealthy clients. JPMorgan Chase chief executive officer Jamie Dimon, who last year exited a minority-owned Chinese investment-banking joint venture, said in June the US bank is patiently negotiating with Chinese regulators to find a new structure that would eventually allow full control. China Insurance Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Chen Wenhui said earlier this month, it will open up its insurance market further, mainly by encouraging foreign insurers already operating locally to enter the health, pension and catastrophe insurance sectors. Chinese regulators last year opened up the nation's fund market, allowing investment firms in China to be 100 per cent-owned by foreign managers. At least a dozen global money managers such as Man Group, Bridgewater Associates and Fidelity International have announced plans since then to start private securities funds. Before the rule change, foreign firms were restricted from running such private funds in China but could take stakes in mutual fund companies and provide advice to onshore funds. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

Guam 'very well protected' against possible North Korean missile attack, US nuclear commander says (SCMP)
2017-09-21
The US Pacific territory island of Guam is "very well protected" by the nation's missile defence capability against a possible North Korean missile attack, a US nuclear commander said on Wednesday. General John Hyten, the commander of the US Strategic Command who oversees the US nuclear arsenal, told an event presented by the Washington-based Hudson Institute think tank that he is "very confident" in the US' ability to protect all 50 American states. "US missile defence capability is built to go against North Korea's threat," Hyten said. "The [missile defence system's] sensors and radars we have are focused on North Korea, and the interceptors [used to hit the missiles] are tuned to North Korea." "Guam is very well protected ... We have the good defence as we can build to protect Guam [and] Hawaii." The US military could use its missile defence systems, including the THAAD or Aegis systems, to intercept North Korea's missiles. After its two successful intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, North Korea in early August had threatened to strike Guam in response to US President Donald Trump's rhetoric that any threat by Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen". Guam, a base for US naval and air forces, is about 3400km from North Korea, a distance that an intermediate-range ballistic missile could reach. Trump on Monday said in his speech at the United Nations summit in New York that if the US is forced to defend itself or its allies, "we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea". The US president referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "Rocket Man", adding that Kim is "on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime". Hyten also acknowledged at the event that the US missile defence system needs to be improved. He said a "space-based censor capability" is needed for better global detection of missile threats. ^ top ^

Chinese FM reiterates demand for THAAD's removal from South Korea (Xinhua)
2017-09-21
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday met with his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, and reiterated Beijing's demand for the removal of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield. Wang said China understands South Korea's needs to safeguard national security, but is resolutely opposed to the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in the country. The missile defense system exceeds the self-defense needs of South Korea and its deployment is detrimental to China's strategic security interests, said Wang. China calls on South Korea to address squarely China's legitimate concern and handle this issue in a swift and proper manner so as to remove a stumbling block in bilateral relations, said Wang. Bilateral relations have witnessed enormous progress as well as setbacks over the past 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, and South Korea is ready to enhance communication with China to find a solution to the THAAD issue and revitalize bilateral relations, Kang said. On the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, Wang said China will continue to strictly implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions concerning the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The resolutions, he said, provide for sanctions, but also call for the resumption of negotiations and stress the need to find a peaceful solution to the issue. China hopes the resolutions can be implemented fully and comprehensively, said Wang. With sanctions having their way, efforts should be made to turn the pressure of sanctions into a thrust for negotiations at a proper timing, said Wang. China hopes South Korea will make efforts to reduce tension, giving due consideration to China's suspension-for-suspension initiative, which calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear and missile activities and for the United States and South Korea to suspend their large-scale war games, said Wang. The de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is an immovable target of China, he said, noting that no matter how long it takes, or how difficult it is to attain, China will not budge. Kang said South Korea has always favored a peaceful solution and does not want war on the Korean Peninsula again. South Korea stands for the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and will stick to its promise not to re-deploy tactic nuclear weapons on the peninsula, she said. ^ top ^

Chinese FM calls for peaceful settlement of Korean Peninsula nuclear issue (Xinhua)
2017-09-21
A peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is in line with the common will of the international community, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday. Wang made the remark when meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the annual general debate of the UN General Assembly. Pence and Wang exchanged views on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. They acknowledged the important consensuses both sides have on the de-nuclearization of the peninsula and the need to safeguard the international non-proliferation regime. The two agreed to enhance communication over the issue. Pence said that the United States and China have great cooperation potential in a wide range of areas and that the two countries should push for continuous progress in practical cooperation. President Donald Trump treasures his good relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and is looking forward to his state visit to China, said Pence. He expressed the hope that the two sides can work together to gain fruitful results from the visit so as to lay a solid foundation for U.S.-China relations. Wang said stable and healthy China-U.S. relations are in the interests of the two peoples and in line with the aspirations of the international community. Since the inauguration of the new U.S. administration, Xi and Trump have maintained close contacts, leading to a smooth transition in bilateral relations with a new good start, said Wang. The two sides should make good preparations for Trump's visit to ensure its success so that concrete achievements can be obtained and conditions can be created for good prospects, giving fresh impetus to bilateral ties, said Wang. ^ top ^

Trump's UN address reduces hope of peace on Korean Peninsula (Global Times)
2017-09-20
US President Donald Trump vowed to "totally destroy North Korea" at his UN address Tuesday. This is not what one expects from a US president. Pyongyang aims to deter Washington by claiming that it is developing nuclear and missile technology that could hit the US. Washington should not ratchet up the rhetoric against Pyongyang. Trump's anger toward Pyongyang is understandable. China firmly opposes North Korea's nuclear ambitions and has joined the UN in sanctioning the country. But it's increasingly clear that pressure alone cannot address Pyongyang's nuclear issue and actions should be taken to alleviate tensions on the peninsula. Vowing to "destroy" North Korea, Trump's UN remarks dampened public hopes for the US to ease the situation. Facts prove Pyongyang won't yield to pressure. Pushing North Korea to its limit may eventually trigger a bloody war. Chinese and South Koreans strongly oppose war. "Totally destroying North Korea" would bring an ecological disaster unbearable to Northeast Asia, and Northeast China, Shandong peninsula and South Korea would all be engulfed by nuclear fallout. Thus the US president, instead of boasting of military strength, should try to avoid such a war. Neighboring North Korea, China and South Korea naturally have different feelings from Washington about the "total destruction." The US would be extremely selfish if it cannot understand Beijing's and Seoul's wish to peacefully address the issue. If a nuclear war broke out, that would be a crime against Chinese and South Koreans by Pyongyang and Washington. Eliminating potential security threats by war is crazy in the 21st century. The US may have the capability to destroy North Korea, but a peaceful solution would be the real victory. Washington should address the North Korean conundrum in a way that conforms to the interests of all human beings, instead of pressuring and even destroying Pyongyang at the sacrifice of neighboring countries. Confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington has escalated to a degree that we have never seen before. If Washington is worried about national security while possessing an overwhelming military advantage, then Pyongyang will only feel even more insecure. If the US President cannot calm down, how will the North Korean leader exercise restraint? Washington is too obsessed with its strength. Its elites hold the view that as long as the US applies pressure to the full, it can crush any will that confronts the US. But the geopolitical rule tells us that some changes cannot be forced by threat of war. If the core interest of the other party is touched upon, it will mount a desperate resistance. Since taking office, Trump has demonstrated a realistic style rarely seen in previous presidents, yet Asia policy of the current administration is impractical. The North Korean nuclear crisis has seriously intensified. Pyongyang must bear equal responsibility for the worsening situation. It's a delusion if North Korea believes it can break the stalemate by advancing nuclear and missile technology. The world won't accept North Korea as a legitimate nuclear state. There is no hope that it can overcome this view. ^ top ^

Donald Trump threatens 'total destruction' of North Korea over nuclear programme during UN address (SCMP)
2017-09-20
US President Donald Trump, in a combative debut speech to the UN General Assembly, threatened the "total destruction" of North Korea if it does not abandon its drive towards nuclear weapons. Trump, who has ramped up his rhetoric throughout the escalating crisis with North Korea, told the murmuring crowd at the UN that "it is far past time for the nations of the world to confront" Kim Jong-un and said that Kim's "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons" poses a threat to "the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life". "Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," Trump said about the North Korean leader. He said of the US: "If it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." Trump, who has previously warned of "fire and fury" if Pyongyang does not back down, claimed that "no one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea". And he scolded nations that he said have enabled and traded with North Korea, seeming to slight China, though he did not mention it by name. Elected on the nationalist slogan "America First", Trump argued that individual nations should act in their own self-interest, yet rally together when faced with a common threat. In addition to North Korea, Trump urged nations to join together to stop Iran's nuclear programme – he declared the Iran nuclear deal an "embarrassment" for the US – and defeat the "loser terrorists" who have struck violence across the globe. Addressing the General Assembly is a milestone moment for any president, but one particularly significant for Trump, a relative newcomer to foreign policy who has at times rattled the international community with his unpredictability. He has pulled the US out of multinational agreements, considered shrinking the US military footprint in the world and deployed bombastic language on North Korea that has been criticised by other world leaders. Trump frequently belittled the UN as a candidate and some within his White House believe the UN acts as a global bureaucracy that infringes on the sovereignty of individual countries. But the president stood before world leaders and a global audience and declared that UN members, acting as a collection of self-interested nations, should unite to confront global dangers. "I will always put American first. Just like you, the leaders of your countries, should and always put your countries first," said Trump, who assured the UN that the US would not abdicate its leadership position in the world but needed other countries to contribute more. "The US will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies," the Republican president said. "But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal in which the United States gets nothing in return." World leaders, many of whom will be seeing Trump in person for the first time, are bound to take the measure of the man and parse his every word for clues on how he views the US role in the world and within the UN. "It's a tremendous opportunity because the world wants to work with the United States if there's any way to do so," said Jon Alterman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. "He has an opportunity to show surprising openness." Trump tipped his hand on Monday as he riffed on his campaign slogan when asked to preview his central message to the General Assembly: "I think the main message is 'make the United Nations great' – not 'again'. 'Make the United Nations great.'" "Such tremendous potential, and I think we'll be able to do this," he added. In brief remarks to the UN on Monday, Trump chastised the world body's bloated bureaucracy and budget, saying: "We are not seeing the results in line with this investment." But even with that scolding, Trump pledged to the UN that the US would be "partners in your work" to make the organisation a more effective force for world peace. He praised the UN's early steps toward change and made no threats to withdraw US support. The president's more measured tone stood in sharp contrast to the approach he took at Nato's new Brussels headquarters in May, when he upbraided member nations for not paying enough and refused to back its mutual defence pact explicitly. While running for office, Trump had labelled the UN weak and incompetent. He has suggested it was "not a friend" to the US or democracy while deriding it as "a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time." He thundered often about putting "America first" and has withdrawn from what he considered multilateral agreements that he found unfavourable to the US, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He also announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which would leave the US one of only three countries outside the pact. Aides have since suggested Trump would be willing to renegotiate terms of the deal but European leaders have dismissed that approach. Trump has also frequently questioned the value of a robust American presence around the world. When briefed on the government's diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Some aides have suggested that Trump employs "principled realism" – making global decisions based on the best outcome for the US. The administration has also shied away from talk of nation-building or creating democracies through the use of the US military. But Trump has softened his rhetoric about the UN since taking office and cheered the recent Security Council resolution that approved new sanctions against North Korea. Potentially foreshadowing a Trump argument, Brian Hook of the State Department said Monday that the UN could be useful as a "force multiplier" to "bring a global approach to global threats." "The president has been working very well with the UN Security Council," said Hook, who praised Trump's ability to deal with the world body and "leverage it for the purposes the UN charter created, to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war". ^ top ^

Three reasons China will not accept a nuclear armed North Korea (SCMP)
2017-09-19
China's ambassador to the US has said Beijing will not accept a nuclear armed North Korea amid the crisis over Pyongyang's rapidly escalating weapons programme. Cui Tiankai's comments on Friday came after some experts and observers have said global powers should accept that Pyongyang has nuclear weapons and policy should now be directed at ensuring they do not use them. Here are three reasons why China is so opposed to Kim Jong-un's regime having nuclear arms: 1. Fears of a regional arms race: Observers say China is extremely wary of its neighbours obtaining a credible nuclear arsenal as it poses an obvious risk to its own security. It has also prompted concerns in Beijing that a regional arms race would develop, with South Korea and Japan feeling the need to obtain their own nuclear weapons. South Korea's official policy is to pursue a nuclear-free Korean peninsula after giving up its own nuclear weapons programme in the 1970s, although some experts believe it still has the technical capacity and equipment to produce them. South Korea says its policy remains unchanged, but Deng Yuwen, a senior researcher at the Charhar Institute think tank, wrote in a commentary that Seoul and the US were discussing reintroducing American weaponry with nuclear warheads. "China will have no choice, but to accept South Korea developing nuclear weapons," Deng wrote. 2. Undermining non-proliferation regime: China is a signatory of the international Non-Proliferation Treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons and championing nuclear disarmament. Japan, the United States and 185 other UN member countries have also signed. China accepting North Korea as a nuclear state would be a surprise as other emerging nuclear powers such as India and Pakistan have not been accepted under the non-proliferation regime. "If other emerging nuclear powers such as India, Pakistan and Israel have yet to be accepted as nuclear weapon states under the NPT regime, why should North Korea be an exceptional case?" said Yue Gang, a retired Chinese colonel and military expert. 3. Safety fears: The North Korean regime is bellicose and unpredictable and Deng said Beijing fears its nuclear weapons programme could lead to radiation leaks into its territory. In a worst-case scenario, the weapons could be turned against China itself, said Deng. "If relations between China and North Korea deteriorate further, no one can guarantee that Kim will not use nuclear weapons against China." Robert Manning, an international security expert at the US think tank the Atlantic Council, told the South China Morning Post: "I think it's useful for the US to remind China that North Korean missiles go in all directions." ^ top ^

Former US and Japanese nuclear negotiators warn that Kim Jong-un deserves no 'carrots' (SCMP)
2017-09-19
Former chief nuclear negotiators for the US and Japan on Monday squarely blamed North Korea's long-standing refusal to enter denuclearisation talks for the failure of diplomatic efforts on the Korean peninsula. Because the nation's young leader, Kim Jong-un, continued to reject denuclearisation, now was "not a time" for the US to offer "carrots" in exchange for getting him to the negotiation table, they said. Christopher Hill, the top US diplomat for Asia from 2005 to 2009, told a think-tank event in Washington that Pyongyang had shown "zero interest" in talks or denuclearisation. "The issue is North Korea has refused to engage in these negotiations, " Hill said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Monday. "[North Koreans] have not started the conversation at all," he added. Hill was the head of the US delegationto the so-called "Six-Party" talks, a negotiation group that was aimed at solving the North Korean nuclear issue during the administration of former US president George W. Bush. In addition to North Korea, the other participants were South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. The risks posed by North Korea's recent tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles will be front and centre at the United Nations General Assembly meeting this week in New York. The US has been ramping up a campaign of military deterrence, economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation against Pyongyang. The administration of US President Donald Trump has made no offers to Pyongyang, putting the onus on North Korea to do more as a precondition for talks. US Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the senate's East Asia subcommittee, has sent letters to the ambassadors of China, Germany and 19 other nations, requesting that they to sever diplomatic ties with Pyongyang and push for the expulsion of North Korea from the UN, Reuters reported. "[North Koreans] have continued to say they would not enjoy a denuclearisation," said Hill in an exchange with the South China Morning Post at the event. "In fact, they put in their constitution [that North Korea is] a nuclear-weapon state. This is problem to us." Mitoji Yabunaka, Japan's former chief negotiator to the Six-Party talks, echoed Hill's position. "North Korea goes for [a] nuclear test, launch of missiles, and provocative actions after provocative actions." "This is not a time to show any kind of carrots," said Yabunaka. "Instead, it's a time to show our readiness and seriousness. Finally, they come to negotiation table. Certainly, many negotiations can take place," he added. The US and North Korea signed a bilateral nuclear agreement in 1994, in which Washington agreed to provide North Korea two proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors and oil shipments, in exchange of Pyongyang freezing its plutonium weapons programme. But the agreement collapsed in 2002. Douglas Paal, vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the SCMP it was the time for "more sticks", in the form of enhanced missile-defence capability in South Korea, Japan and the US. This should include a review of the possible redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea, Paal said. Such weapons could include short-range missiles, artillery shells and other armaments equipped with nuclear warheads. The US had about 100 nuclear weapons deployed in South Korea until 1991. On Monday, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis was quoted as saying at the Pentagon that the US and South Korea have "discussed the option" of redeploying tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. ^ top ^

Xi, Trump talk upcoming China visit, Korean Peninsula over phone (Xinhua)
2017-09-18
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, discussed Trump's visit to China later this year and the Korean Peninsula situation over phone late Monday. In the phone conversation, Xi said China and the United States share extensive common interests and have seen sound momentum of exchanges and cooperation in various areas at present. Xi said he is happy to maintain communications with Trump on a regular basis over topics of mutual concern. He also said Beijing attaches great importance to Trump's state visit to China, and called on both sides to work closely so as to ensure a fruitful trip and inject new impetus into the development of China-U.S. relations. The two sides need to strengthen high-level contacts and contacts at all levels, well operate the first round of China-U.S. social and cultural dialogue, as well as law enforcement and cyber security dialogue, and extend bilateral cooperation in all fields, Xi noted. For his part, Trump said he is looking forward to paying the state visit to China, hoping that the trip can strongly move bilateral ties further forward. It is satisfactory for the U.S. and Chinese heads of state to maintain close contacts and a fine working relationship, Trump said. This year, both the United States and China have important domestic agendas, the U.S. president noted, expressing the hope that these agendas will all be smoothly carried out. In the phone conversation, Xi also expressed sympathy and solicitude to Trump and the American people for the hurricane attacks on the United States over the past few days, and Trump expressed thanks therefor. The two leaders also exchanged views on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. ^ top ^

China, Russia begin naval drills close to North Korea (SCMP)
2017-09-18
China and Russia began naval drills near North Korea on Monday amid continuing tensions over its nuclear ambitions and ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where the isolated state is likely to loom large. North Korea launched a missile over Japan on Friday, its second in the past three weeks, and conducted its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test on September 3, in defiance of international pressure. The joint exercises will take place between Peter the Great Bay, just outside the Russian port of Vladivostok, close to the Russia-North Korea border, and into the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, to the north of Japan, Xinhua reported. The drills are the second part of China-Russian naval exercises this year, the first of which took place in the Baltic in July. The report did not directly link them to current tensions over North Korea. Both China and Russia have repeatedly called for a peaceful solution and talks to resolve the issue. The international community must remain united and enforce sanctions against North Korea after its repeated launch of ballistic missiles, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an editorial published in The New York Times on Sunday. Such tests were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and showed that North Korea could now target the United States or Europe, Abe said. Diplomacy and dialogue would not work with North Korea and concerted pressure by the entire international community was essential to tackle the threats [it] posed, he said. A week ago, the 15-member UN Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth sanctions resolution since 2006 over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. On Monday, China Daily said sanctions should be given time to bite but that the door must be left open to talks. "With its Friday missile launch, Pyongyang wanted to give the impression that sanctions will not work. Some people have fallen for that and immediately echoed the suggestion, pointing to the failure of past sanctions to achieve their purpose," it said in an editorial. "But that past sanctions did not work does not mean they will not. It is too early to claim failure because the latest sanctions have hardly begun to take effect. Giving the sanctions time to bite is the best way to make Pyongyang reconsider." US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday the UN Security Council had run out of options on containing North Korea's nuclear programme and the United States might have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon. China has urged the US to refrain from making threats to North Korea. Asked about President Donald Trump's warning last month that the North Korean threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury", Haley said, "It was not an empty threat". Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile. North Korea said on Saturday it aimed to reach an "equilibrium" of military force with the US. ^ top ^

US deploys stealth jets and bombers as China-Russia naval drills held near North Korea (SCMP)
2017-09-18
The US flew four F-35B stealth fighter jets and two B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula on Monday in a show of force after North Korea's latest nuclear and missile tests, South Korea's defence ministry said. The flight was to "demonstrate the deterrence capability of the US-South Korea alliance against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", the ministry said in a statement. They were the first flights since the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and staged an intermediate-range missile test over Japan last Friday, sending regional tensions soaring. The US jets few alongside four South Korean F-15K jet fighters as part of "routine" training, the statement said, adding that the allies would continue such exercises to "improve their joint operation capabilities against contingencies". The previous such flights were on August 31. Separately, China and Russia began a joint naval exercise east of the Korean peninsula. The drill will be held in waters between the Russian port of Vladivostok and the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, further north, the Chinese defence ministry said. The purpose of the exercise was not immediately clear and the ministry did not indicate its duration. The UN Security Council last week imposed a fresh set of sanctions on North Korea over its missile and atomic weapons programmes, though Washington toned down its original proposals to secure support from China and Russia. Moscow backs Beijing's proposal for a freeze on North Korea's nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a suspension of US-South Korea military drills which China blames for fanning regional tensions. US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has rejected the proposal as "insulting" and said it was time to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea by enacting the "strongest possible measures". North Korea's weapons drive is set to dominate US President Donald Trump's address to the UN General Assembly later Monday and his meetings with South Korean and Japanese leaders this week. Tensions flared when Kim Jong-un's regime tested what it termed a hydrogen bomb many times more powerful than its previous device. The North also fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific last Friday, responding to the new UN sanctions with what appeared to be its longest-ever missile flight. Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone Saturday and vowed to exert "stronger pressure" on the North, with Moon's office warning that further provocation would put it on a "path of collapse". Trump has also not ruled out a military option, which could leave millions of people in the South Korean capital – and 28,500 US soldiers stationed in the South – vulnerable to potential retaliatory attack. Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has said the US would "have to prepare all options" if sanctions prove insufficient to stop the North's weapons drive. ^ top ^

How North Korea evades UN sanctions (SCMP)
2017-09-17
The United Nations recently passed its strongest sanctions yet against North Korea following its sixth nuclear test. But critics have expressed doubts as to whether the sanctions would stop Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons and if the measures would be effectively enforced. The US government and a UN experts panel have published reports on how North Korea evades sanctions to earn the hard currency it needs. Here are eight of the methods used: 1. Swapping goods North Korea directly exchanges its coal and other minerals for the goods it needs, such as weapons components and even luxury items. This avoids the risk of money transfers being traced. A resolution passed by the UN Security Council last November set a cap on North Korea's coal exports, which generate a significant share of the country's revenue. Another resolution passed last month banned the coal trade with North Korea, but bulk purchases of the fuel continue. Chinese businessman Chi Yupeng allegedly used his company Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Materials to buy steel and anthracite coal from North Korea in exchange for nuclear and missile components, according to the US Treasury department. 2. Smuggling Smugglers from other countries such as China turn off their ships' transponders when entering North Korean waters, then take North Korean goods to another country, including Russia. They then claim the goods were made in Russia. Chinese ships loaded with North Korean coal either stay in a Russian port for some time and then return to China, or another vessel picks up the goods and ships them, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea told a hearing of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee last week. 3. Falsifying shipping registration documents North Korea has registered an unusually large number of ships, including many foreign-owned vessels, as part of its domestic fleet. It also listed 18 of the 21 vessels in its Ocean Maritime Management Company as domestic ships, even though some enter international waters. It allows the vessels to avoid international agency inspections. The Ocean Maritime Management shipping company has also renamed and registered some of its vessels. False documentation was provided to eight ships, according to a UN report. 4. Overseas workers and projects help fund weapons programme Almost 100,000 North Koreans work around the world, generating about US$500 million for Kim Jong-un's regime, according to the US government. The Mansudae Overseas Projects group of construction companies was named by the UN as one of the North Korean firms that raised revenue for the state. The group carries out building projects overseas using North Korean workers. It also transfers projects and its employees to other contractors, such as the Chinese firm Qingdao Construction's unit in Namibia in Africa, according to the US Treasury department. A UN resolution passed in November last year called on nations to be vigilant about North Korea's use of overseas labour. 5. Modifying equipment free of embargo for military use North Korea displayed missiles at a huge parade held in Pyongyang in April. Video and photographs of the trucks used to transport a Pukguksong-1 missile had the "Sinotruk" logo on the fuel tank. At an earlier military parade in October two years ago in Pyongyang, Sinotruk Howo 6x6 series trucks were also seen. Sinotruk is the listed arm of China's largest state-owned truck manufacturer. It confirmed to a UN investigation that it had exported civilian trucks with three axles to North Korea from 2010 to 2014, but the equipment was not subject to embargo. The company also said the sales contract requested explicitly "the buyer ensure the civilian use of the trucks and comply with concerned provisions of Chinese laws and Security Council resolutions". 6. Front companies North Korean companies set up bank accounts for front companies overseas to place their earnings. It reduces the risk of wire transfers to banks in Pyongyang being traced. ' Glocom, a North Korean company manufacturing military communication devices, used a number of front companies in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong to settle payments with clients and suppliers, according to a UN report. A single invoice was often settled through a series of small transactions, the report said. In another case, Chinese businesswoman Ma Xiaohong was accused of using her company Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development to help Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation settle its overseas customer accounts, according to the US Justice Department. 7. Diplomatic cover North Korea uses its diplomats overseas to open multiple bank accounts. Sometimes they are in their own names, family members' or front companies. One example was Kim Chol-sam, the representative of Daedong Credit Bank in Dalian in China's Liaoning province, the US Treasury department alleged. Kim set up at least eight accounts in mainland China and Hong Kong in his own name and for front companies which were used in millions of dollars worth of transactions, it said. 8. Arms sales North Korea continues to sell arms and provide military training overseas, despite UN embargoes. It is particularly active in Africa and the Middle East. A United Nations investigation said buyers included Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique, Namibia, Syria, Uganda and Tanzania. Benin, Botswana, Mali and Zimbabwe were also investigated for their ties with North Korean companies. ^ top ^

China rejects US demand to cut oil exports to North Korea (SCMP)
2017-09-16
China rebuffed US demands to cut off oil exports to North Korea as a way to dissuade Kim Jong-un's regime from pursuing nuclear weapons, saying instead it was American leaders who needed to tone down their rhetoric and come to the negotiating table. China will implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions, "no more, no less", Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the US, told reporters at a briefing in Washington when asked if Beijing would cut oil shipments. Any further steps would need to be worked out with the agreement of the entire UN Security Council, he said. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanded on Thursday that China use its role as the main exporter of oil to North Korea to force Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. Hours earlier, North Korea launched a missile over Japan, the latest in a series of actions that have rattled the international community and prompted a new round of US-led sanctions. Cui said Washington, not Beijing, needed to take more responsibility for the issue. "They cannot just leave the issue to China alone and honestly I think the United States should be doing more, much more than now, so that there is real effective international cooperation on this issue," Cui said. Asked what specifically the US should do, Cui said: "They should refrain from issuing more threats" and "do more to find an effective way to resume dialogue and negotiation". ^ top ^

Where's the money coming from for North Korea's nuclear programme? (SCMP)
2017-09-15
Just days after the United Nations passed a resolution to impose yet more sanctions on North Korea, the hermit nation fired another ballistic missile over Japan. The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously agreed to adopt a US-drafted resolution to ban textile exports from North Korea and restrict shipments of oil products to the country. Pyongyang responded by saying the United States would "suffer the greatest pain" for its role in the ruling. While the aim of the sanctions is to choke North Korea's finances, its repeated missile launches and nuclear explosions suggest it is not yet out of funds. But where exactly is the money coming from? Weapons sales: According to a UN report published last year, North Korea has a lucrative trade in the sale of unreported items such as encrypted military communications equipment, air defence systems and satellite-guided missiles. Last summer, Egypt intercepted a North Korean ship carrying 30,000 PG-7 rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons parts, the report said. A separate report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said North Korea earned US$802 million between 1996 and 2016 from the sale of weapons to countries such as Iran, Syria and Libya. Forced labour: According to US figures, North Korea earns about US$500 million a year by sending an estimated 100,000 of its people to work overseas. A UN report released in 2015 said that many of them work in the mining, logging, textile and construction industries. Rights groups have said that any money they earn is sent straight back to the state. Open North Korea, a Seoul-based NGO, meanwhile estimated that the value to Pyongyang of the North Koreans forced to work overseas was about US$975 million a year. Counterfeit currency: The United States has long accused North Korea of printing counterfeit US banknotes. It claims that "supernotes" – high-quality fakes – are distributed by North Korean diplomats as they travel aboard and through transactions with European countries, all with the help of Russian agents. According to a June 2016 report by South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo, a North Korean agent was arrested by Chinese officials in the border city of Dandong in northeastern China's Liaoning province, after successfully converting US$5 million worth of fake bills into about 30 million yuan at branches of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China. Sources were quoted as saying the agent planned to use the money to buy household appliances, which would later be distributed to North Korean people during the celebrations for the anniversary of the birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il-sung, and at the ruling Workers' Party congress, the first of its kind for 40 years. In a BBC report screened in 2004, experts from South Korea's intelligence agency refused to believe the fake US bills shown to them by a defector from North Korea were not real. Cybercrime: In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that hackers from North Korea – with help from associates in China – stole US$81 million from Bangladesh's account at the New York Federal Reserve. The hackers breached Bangladesh Bank's systems and used the Swift messaging network to request nearly US$1 billion from its account, the report said. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian milk from herder's farm to your home (Montsame)
2017-09-20
Mongolians use over seventy types of traditionally made dairy products generally named 'Tsagaan Idee' in Mongolia. The main raw material for Mongolian dairy products is milk which contains unusual and inimitable qualities. Livestock animals in Mongolia are breed and adapt to the country's extreme weather four seasons a year. The milk of Mongolian livestock animals, which graze on wild and organic pastures and drink fresh water, is natural and chemical-free. Mongolians have an ancient tradition to benefit from products originating from their livestock animals and pay attention to the quality of the livestock output products instead of the quantity. For that, herders move to various fresh pasture lands frequently for grazing their livestock. Since the beginning of time, Mongolians have been making dairy products and history shows that two thousand years ago, the Huns enjoyed an extensive range of dairy products, such as airag and aaruul. The first Mongolian dairy producing factory was established in 1958, which is today's 'Suu' JSC has a capacity to produce 30 tons of milk and was equipped with techniques from Russia and Europe. The first factory marked the beginning a new era of the milk processing industry in Mongolia. The new milk and butter factories fulfill domestic consumption and it was reported that they even exported 300 tons of butter to abroad in 1946. In this series of the 'Mongolian Brand' column, we are introducing one of the biggest domestic milk producers in Mongolia–the Suu Company, which is engaged in environmentally friendly production of milk and milk products using the latest technology and innovation to meet the demands of consumers. As noted previously, making milk and milk products is a long-standing tradition we inherited from our ancestors. They created the largest milk processing network by working collaboratively with over 2500 herders and farmers to meet the constantly increasing demand of consumers. The company has consistently brought in world-class modern technologies and formed a fully-automated modern factory with an ISO 9001:2008 quality management system. As for 'Suu' JSC, its products are packed in eco-friendly cardboards and spoil within three days. Under the slogan 'From herder's farm to your home', the company has a daily capacity of processing 200 tons of milk and manufactures about 70 types of products as of now. The demand for milk, yogurt, juice, drink, ice-cream, curds from sour milk or aarts, dried curd or aaruul and butter are increasing day to day. In 2011, the 'Suu' company opened its branch factory in Erdenet city, Orkhon Aimag of Mongolia to provide high quality milk products to consumers in the western provinces of Mongolia. With its fully automatic and latest technologies, the factory produces 40 tons of milk and over 30 types of products a day. In particular, the Company named Erdenet Suu Eco, collects milk from over 600 herder families in 10 different areas of Orkhon, Selenge and Bulgan provinces throughout the whole year to produce ecologically fresh and organic products. Moreover, the 'Suu' Company brought another factory with the daily capacity to produce 10 tons of milk in Batshireet soum, Khentii aimag in 2009. The factory makes organic Mongolian products, aarts or curds from sour milk and butter using milk taken from over 200 herder families in Batshireet soum during the summertime. It is one of the perfect natural products that incorporate vitamins and nutritive minerals valuable for human bodies. According to studies, a person can take all the essential substances human body needs, such as calcium, vitamin D, colostrum and phosphorus Mongolian milk from herder's farm to your home and other nutrients that improve blood circulation from daily usage of 200g. Milk has advantages to improve the appearance and boost physical energy. Milk's lactoprotein is synthesized and absorbed easily and improves the balance of amino acids of daily food consumption. It is calculated that the total milk consumption of Mongolia should be around 204.4 million liters a year. However in 2012, milk use of Mongolia was 41.8 million liters and daily milk consumption per capita was about 40 grams which is an inadequate number for the population's health. This low milk intake is the primary reason for osteoporosis, dental disease and calcium deficiency which are considered a 'silent epidemic'. For that reason, realizing its social responsibilities, the 'Suu' Company carries-out nationwide campaigns under the theme 'Get well with milk', 'Let's spread the warmth' and 'Let's give life'. The campaigns call for people to drink more milk and eat more milk products every day to improve their health. Milk and dairy products are an important part of Mongolian traditional foods. Generally, daily products are divided into two categories; solid or liquid. In particular; solid food products include aaruul, khuruud or dried curd, cheese, clotted cream, clarified butter, sour cream and curds cheese. The liquid products are composed of protein, milk, boiled milk diluted with water, curds, fermented milk of mares, yogurt, aarts or curds from sour milk, drink made by thinning and alcoholic beverages made from fermented milk. In this regard, Food Law of Mongolia names meat and milk of Mongolia's livestock animals, seeds, wheat, flour and fresh drinking water as strategic foods. What's more, milk is not only food to Mongolia; it is widely used in traditional and cultural practices. There are no farewell or welcome parties and weddings and ceremonies that do not involve milk. The Mongolian people compare milk with mother's kind heart and its white color represents good things happen in life. Instead of certain products it makes, the name of the company (Suu means milk in Mongolian) has itself become a brand in Mongolia. Their products are distinctive with their natural taste compared to the imported milks with 'mixtures' or other milk products that are manufactured in various technologies. Every country runs tests and experiments using various chemicals or use Tetra Pak packaging solutions to extend the shelf-life of milk products ^ top ^

Mongolia aims to receive 1 million tourists (Montsame)
2017-09-18
To be co-implemented by the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), the German Society for International Cooperation and the National Development Institute of Mongolia, the project will continue until 2020. On September 18, a discussion was held on the project at the National Development Institute of Mongolia (NDIM). The implementation progress is expected to launch in November. According to the project, it aims to attract one million tourists in the next years. D.Erdenebayar, Chair of NDIM Department of Development Policy and Regulation, pointed out a research will be conducted on working out tourism models for 21 aimags, and will help define specific locations to boost tourism services and routes after making them in right order. Through the project, the tourism will be developed in three directions--travelling, local development and cultural industry, he said. TICA consultants will work here to share experience and cooperate in the project until 2020. In the first turn, the project will launch in Bayankhongor, Selenge and Uvs aimags. Paisan Rupanichkij, Deputy Director of the TICA, emphasized that Mongolia is possible to boost the tourism industry thanks to its natural landscapes and the nomadic culture, and it could be realized easily in combination of the well-developed infrastructure of Thailand. "Every country faces a risk to deteriorate environment when they develop tourism. Due to this reason, we focus attention to quality instead of quantity. It means that the project aims to introduce high-standard services," Paisan Rupanichkij underlined. He also noted that Thailand has well-developed infrastructure so we made it opportunity to improve our tourism service quality. Flourishing tourism shows negative impact on environment. Due to this reason, we shift our attention to quality. It is important to have quality service with value. Next discussion is expected to be held on September 22. The parties plan to exchange views on the project's implementation process, organizational structure, management, role and duties. ^ top ^

 

Mr. Valentin Jeanneret and Mr. Aurèle Aquillon
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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