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

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

Press review, if not selected: all SinOptic
  18-21.4.17, No. 668  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

DPRK

Mongolia

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Switzerland

Swiss president to attend Belt and Road forum in Beijing (Xinhua)
2017-04-14
Swiss President Doris Leuthard will attend the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing on May 14 and 15. Jorg Gasser, head of Switzerland's state secretariat for international financial matters, made the announcement Friday at a press conference at the Embassy of Switzerland in China. Gasser is visiting China along with a delegation headed by Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer. "The Belt and Road Initiative is a very important proposal," said Maurer, adding that Switzerland is willing to cooperate with China on project financing, risk control and insurance under the mechanism. "Given the Belt and Road Initiative is a grand plan, we want to know China's consideration and plan before we find out a specific way to take part in the initiative, such as on large infrastructural projects and risk control in financial sectors," said Gasser. Speaking highly of the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) that entered into force on July 1, 2014, Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques De Dardel said that he is optimistic about the "great potential" for cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. Switzerland was the first European country to sign a bilateral FTA with China. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

China, Iran to sign contract on Arak heavy water reactor (Xinhua)
2017-04-20
China and Iran will sign the first commercial contract to redesign Iran's Arak heavy water reactor in Vienna on Sunday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. China and Iran have reached initial agreement on the commercial contract, Spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news briefing. Redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor is a core aspect of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program. The JCPOA was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group, namely Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany. The P5+1 countries have created a working group led by China and the United States to work with Iran to redesign the reactor, said Lu. The signing will create a favorable condition for the progress of the redesign. "China will do the follow-up work with all parties involved in accordance with the comprehensive nuclear deal and the consensus reached by all parties," Lu said. The 7th Joint Commission between Iran and the P5+1 will convene in Vienna next Tuesday. Lu said the contract between China and Iran will inject positive impetus to the meeting. "China hopes all parties will maintain their political will and properly handle differences to implement the agreement and contribute to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the peace and stability of the Middle East," Lu added. ^ top ^

EU is urged to normalize China's status (China Daily)
2017-04-20
China urged the European Union on Wednesday to fulfill the provisions of the protocol on China's accession to the World Trade Organization as soon as possible. State Councilor Yang Jiechi made the remark after talks with Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission. They led the seventh round of high-level strategic dialogues at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Under Article 15 of the protocol, WTO members were to end after Dec. 11, 2016, the organization's surrogate country approach regarding anti-dumping investigations of China. The date was exactly 15 years after China's admission. "About Article 15, the EU said it attaches importance to China's concern, will abide by the WTO rules and has started the process to amend laws," Yang said at a joint news conference after the talks. "China expects the EU to fulfill the provisions as soon as possible and send a positive signal of protecting a free and open trade system," Yang said. Yang said the EU will participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which will be convened in Beijing next month. China and the EU also will enhance cooperation in areas such as climate change and fighting terrorism. "China cherishes its ties with the EU. Regardless of how the European situation changes, China will as always firmly support the integration path that Europe chooses," Yang said. "We are willing to work with the EU to deepen the mutually beneficial, comprehensive strategic partnership. The policy will not change," he added. Yang and Mogherini said they also talked about hot spot regional and global issues, including Syria, the Korean Peninsula and Afghanistan. Mogherini, an Italian politician, said relations between the EU and China have become stronger than at any time in history. She said the two sides spent a long time discussing Syria. The top EU diplomat spoke highly of President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year, saying it has provided new opportunities for Europe-China cooperation. Wang Yiwei, director of the EU Studies Center at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said conditions in Europe are bringing the EU and China closer, as both sides support multilateralism. "Now, the EU also attaches high importance to China's role on regional issues, aside from China's traditional efforts inside the UN Security Council," Wang said. ^ top ^

China and EU vow to defend free trade at talks in Beijing (SCMP)
2017-04-20
China and the European Union agreed to jointly uphold free trade and globalisation after their first high-level talks since US President Donald Trump took office. The two sides discussed a range of issues from trade to security concerns including the North Korea nuclear crisis, and the situation in Syria and Afghanistan during the Seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue in Beijing on Wednesday. The talks were co-chaired by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and China's top diplomat and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. Yang said after the three-hour meeting China and the EU agreed to work together to uphold world peace and improve global governance. Mogherini said in a joint press conference with Yang that the EU valued China as a permanent member of the Security Council and as a “key security and foreign policy partner”. The talks come as the EU faces a series of internal challenges. Britain, one of the bloc's major member, has started the process to exit the union, while uncertainties have arisen with upcoming elections in several other key members including France and Germany. Yang said China would continue to support a united European Union “no matter how the situation has changed in Europe”. The meeting was the first high-level exchange between China and the EU since Trump took office. The two sides have aligned in rejecting his protectionist agenda. Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to portray his nation as the new champion of globalisation in his speech at Davos in January, although foreign companies operating in China have grown increasingly vocal about what they say is a lack of market reform and access. Mogherini said the EU listened “very carefully” to Xi's Davos speech and the “commitment he made on behalf of China to free trade, multilateralism.” Yang said the Chinese side continued to challenge the EU over its refusal to grant the nation market economy status, which Beijing argues is required under the terms of its accession to the World Trade Organisation in 2001. Yang said Beijing hoped EU lawmakers would change their stance soon. The two sides also discussed the major summit China is hosting next month on its flagship new Silk Road initiative. Despite leaders from major Western countries declining to attend the summit, Yang said China welcomed “active participation” from the European Union at the summit. Mogherini also met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday. ^ top ^

China opens military contracts worth billions of yuan to private companies (SCMP)
2017-04-20
China's military further opened its research and development programmes to private companies, inviting them to take part in projects worth an estimated 6 billion yuan (US$870 million or HK$6.78 billion), state media reported on Wednesday. Analysts said the move was part of the government's wider goal of creating a defence contract industry where private companies played a key role in supplying military technology that could also have civilian applications, similar to how Lockheed Martin and Boeing operated in the United States. The contracting is overseen by the PLA's arms procurement wing, the Equipment Development Department, which released information for more than 2,000 projects on its website, according to the PLA Daily. Interested companies would have to put together a proposal that met the requirements listed on the website and submit it for evaluation, the report said. Some 531 of the requirements involved classified information, and their inclusion could help set clearer standards for bids, the report quoted an unnamed officer as saying. Beijing first began taking down the wall separating civilian and military technologies in the 1980s, but the PLA still relies on just a handful of state behemoths to supply most of its needs. The integration received a substantial push in 2015 when President Xi Jinping, who chairs the policymaking Central Military Commission, elevated it to a national priority. This past January, he authorised the creation of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development to coordinate policies and decisions towards that end. But obstacles remain, with a major one being trust, according to He Qisong, a defence policy specialist at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. “When it comes to key technologies in the defence industry, private companies can hardly gain any trust from the army in matters involving secrecy,” He said. Retired PLA major general Xu Guangyu said new laws were needed to clarify obligations of businesses handling classified work, as well as to define the commercial benefits they could reap from cooperation with the military. Xu, a senior researcher at Beijing-based research group the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said although the PLA had previously invited companies to take part in R&D, the latest round of projects was announced in a high-profile way. “With this information, private companies can know what's required to work with the army,” Xu said. “China has a large number of private companies with many that are industry leaders, and the military can make use of the private companies' potential.” ^ top ^

Up, up and away for China's space freighter (SCMP)
2017-04-20
China took a big step forward in its space programme on Thursday night when it launched its first cargo spacecraft. The Tianzhou-1 space freighter blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on Hainan at 7.41pm mounted on a Long March 7 rocket. Its lift-off comes nearly four decades after the former Soviet Union pioneered space supply ships with the launch of its Progress series, vehicles that are still in use by Russia. The Tianzhou's maximum payload is just over six tonnes, or a fifth of the capacity of the United States' space shuttle. But the Chinese vessel's capacity is double that of the Progress spacecraft and the US has long since retired its shuttles. The Tianzhou is expected to become one of the busiest delivery systems for manned flights in coming years, strengthening China's hand in competition with other space powers. According to mainland space authorities, Tianzhou flights will be more frequent than any other spacecraft built by the nation to meet the construction and long-term operational needs of China's planned space station. Construction of the space station is due to start next year and take until about 2020, during which time the Tianzhou will be the main supplier of cargo and fuel. “All space stations depend on logistics. Without a cargo spacecraft, a station cannot operate for very long,” Australia-based space analyst Morris Jones said. The Chinese space station will have room for up to six astronauts and be the biggest structure in space after the eventual retirement of the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS requires about eight resupply missions each year and each of those flights is carried out by a multinational fleet of cargo spacecraft built and maintained by Russia, the United States, Japan and Europe. The Chinese space station will rely exclusively on the Tianzhou. Bai Mingsheng, the Tian¬zhou's chief designer, said the first launch was mainly for test purposes, state-run China Central Television reported. The cargo ship would dock in lower-Earth orbit with the ¬Tiangong-2, a space laboratory launched last year, and pump fresh propellants into the lab's fuel tanks. The docking would be performed several times from various positions to test and verify new technology, he said. Deputy chief designer Zhang Qiang said a docking procedure usually took a couple of days, but on this mission – to dramatically cut the time from launch to docking – they would try a new approach called fast rendezvous, which had previously been used only by Russia. “We will require [the procedure] to be done in six hours,” CCTV quoted him as saying. Zhang Jian, a researcher with the manned space flight programme, told Xinhua the interior wall of the Tianzhou was packed almost entirely with cargo. Astronauts would be able to enter the ship through a narrow passage between the packages. Guo Junhui, the mission's chief mechanical engineer, said the cargo on the maiden flight comprised more than 100 parcels, including food for future astronauts and scientific instruments, Xinhua reported. After the docking mission, the Tianzhou will disconnect from the Tiangong and operate as a satellite for three months with various research devices on board. When its fuel is depleted it will be diverted into the atmosphere and destroyed. ^ top ^

Turkey, China join hands to revive ancient Silk Road (Xinhua)
2017-04-19
Turkish President Erdogan told visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong Tuesday that he earnestly expects to attend the Belt and Road forum this May and hopes for deepening all-round cooperation with China. Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara on Tuesday. Erdogan said he had met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for many times in recent years, which firmly enhanced the smooth development of Turkey-China friendly and cooperative relations. He attached great importance to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and highly expected to meet with President Xi Jinping next month in China. Turkey and China should accelerate strategic alignment and strengthen cooperation in various fields, which will benefit both the region and world, he said. He expressed the hope that the two countries could bring their respective potential into full play through joint efforts to step up economic and trade cooperation. He welcomed more Chinese enterprises to invest and prosper business there. The two countries also need to deepen cooperation in anti-terrorism, the president stressed. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong welcomed President Erdogan's attendance to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. She expressed the hope that the two countries could strength cooperation in various fields, accelerate strategic alignment, and promote the Belt and Road initiative construction, in order to make new contributions to regional cooperation. She added that China is willing to expand people-to-people exchanges in education, culture, sports and tourism fields, which will build up mutual understanding and friendship between both peoples and consolidate public support for China-Turkey Strategic Cooperative Relations. In his meeting with Liu, Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim said that he attaches great importance to Turkey-China relations. He hoped the Erdogan's attendance to Belt and Road Forum would play a positive role in boosting bilateral economic, trade, culture, education and tourism cooperation, and lift Turkey-China relations to a higher level. During her visit, Liu also held meeting with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes on humanity exchange, and attended the launch ceremony of Turkish language edition of the book "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China" with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek. Liu arrived in Ankara on Monday at the invitation of her Turkish counterpart Tugrul Turkes. ^ top ^

Xi orders new PLA units to be combat ready (China Daily)
2017-04-19
President Xi Jinping asked People's Liberation Army commanders on Tuesday to focus on strengthening their unit's combat capability following the establishment of 84 large units. Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, met commanders of these new units at the commission's headquarters in Beijing. The new units must prepare themselves for combat and study wars. They should concentrate on improving their joint operation capabilities and technology level, Xi said. The president also told the new forces to conduct more combat exercises and give priority to building "new-type" fighting capabilities. In PLA terminology, new-type fighting capabilities generally refers to capabilities of engaging in electronic, information and space operations. All 84 of the new units are at combined corps level, which means their commanders have or soon will be promoted to a rank of either major general in the Ground Force, Air Force and Rocket Force or rear admiral in the Navy. Though the PLA has not disclosed how these units were set up, it is likely that they were created through the regrouping of existing forces rather than recruiting new personnel, because the Chinese military is still engaged in cutting its troops by 300,000. The units' emergence also indicates the PLA's structural shake-up has taken effect. At a Central Military Commission conference in December, Xi ordered the military's structure to be adjusted and optimized, calling for a smaller but capable and flexible military. The establishment of the units is the latest move in a massive reform the PLA is undergoing. That unprecedented reform began in November 2015, when the Central Military Commission unveiled a blueprint for the PLA's development. The commission pledged to establish a leaner and more efficient command chain, to reduce the number of noncombatant personnel and departments and to build the PLA into a mightier force capable of winning modern wars. Since then, the PLA has set up a headquarters for its Ground Force, founded a Strategic Support Force dedicated to electronic, information and space operations, and established a Rocket Force to replace the former Second Artillery Corps. The previous four top PLA departments-staff, politics, logistics and armaments-were dismantled. ^ top ^

28 heads of state confirm attendance at China's belt and road summit next month (SCMP)
2017-04-18
The absence of leaders from major Western powers is notable on the attendance list. Heads of state from more than two dozen countries will attend a major summit in May to discuss China's new Silk Road initiative, said foreign minister Wang Yi, although there is a notable absence of leaders from major Western countries. The summit, scheduled to be held on May 14 and 15 in Beijing, will be China's major diplomatic event this year as it pushes ahead with President Xi Jinping's flagship “Belt and Road Initiative” to launch a series of infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa. Top leaders of 28 countries had confirmed they would attend the summit, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Wang said on Tuesday. Heads of state from countries in Europe including Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Spain would also attend, as well as African leaders from Kenya and Ethiopia. With the new Silk Road initiative, China is seeking to portray itself as a new champion for globalisation at a time when the world has become increasingly concerned with US President Donald Trump's anti-globalisation and isolationist agenda. Wang said the belt and road initiative was tasked with addressing the backlash against globalisation. “Today's world requires an open and inclusive platform, to gather our resources and to face the challenges of globalisation,” Wang said. “The 'One Belt, One Road' initiative was born against this background,” he said, using the former name for the plan. China's plan has drawn scepticism from the West over the nation's real intentions. The attendance list for the summit is marked by the notable absence of leaders from major Western countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Canada. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, despite previous media reports suggesting she was likely to attend, was not on the list. Instead, finance minister Philip Hammond would be the UK representative at the summit. When asked whether he thought Western countries remained suspicious of China's intentions behind the new Silk Road initiative, Wang said the summit was about economic cooperation and not political in nature. “The main body of the 'One Belt, One Road' consists of countries on the Asia continent. And of course [the route] also extends to relevant countries and regions,” he said, adding that the attending leaders from the 28 countries were mostly from the “main body of the Asian continent”. Wang said the leaders of France and Germany had indicated their willingness to attend the summit, but were unable to due to schedule conflicts as their elections loom. ^ top ^

Wang Yi meets Vietnamese deputy PM (Xinhua)
2017-04-18
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday met with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. Wang said progress has been made in bilateral relations this year, including a successful visit to China by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in January. There will be more high-level contacts between leaders of the two countries this year, Wang said. He said that two sides should enhance the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam's Two Corridors and One Economic Circle plan, and cement the people-to-people basis of friendship. The two countries should properly manage and control differences, promote maritime cooperation, and maintain the positive development of bilateral relations, he said. Pham Binh Minh said Vietnam will collaborate with China to make this year's high-level contacts a success, intensify cooperation in all fields, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. ^ top ^

China, Vietnam to hold joint fishery inspection (Xinhua)
2017-04-17
Two Chinese maritime police vessels on Monday left here for a China-Vietnam joint fishery inspection. The inspection in the Beibu Gulf involves two police vessels from each side and will be conducted over three days, ending Thursday. Maritime police will observe the fishing activities and occasionally board fishing boats to carry out random checks, according to China's maritime police authorities. The two sides will also discuss ways of improving cooperation. The gulf is a traditional fishery ground for fishermen of both countries. China and Vietnam signed an agreement on the demarcation of the gulf in 2000. Deals on peaceful exploitation of resources were later signed. Joint inspections began in 2006 as an annual event, and were increased to twice a year in 2016. Chinese maritime police said the joint inspection provided a means for smooth contact with their Vietnamese counterparts, creating a peaceful and harmonious environment for the fishermen. ^ top ^

China's UN vote abstention 'part of shift towards balanced diplomacy' in Middle East (SCMP)
2017-04-13
China's surprise decision to abstain rather than join Russia in vetoing a resolution to condemn the chemical attack in Syria shows Beijing wants to carve out a more independent policy in the Middle East, according to analysts. It also reflected the goodwill established between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump after last week's summit in Florida, they said. Russia vetoed the draft resolution at the United Nations on Wednesday because it failed to mention the need for a United Nations' inspection of the area of the chemical attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. Russia said the UN's chemical weapons watchdog should carry out an extensive investigation of the site, the Associated Press reported. China's decision to depart from its usual stance of siding with Russia, the chief ally of the Syrian regime, left Moscow the only veto-wielding Security Council member opposed to the US-led proposal. China has joined Russia six out of eight times in blocking UN resolutions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011. Trump – who ordered a missile strike against Syria in retaliation for the chemical attack – applauded China's decision to abstain and said he was “not surprised”. Trump's conversations with Xi played a role in China's decision to abstain, Bloomberg quoted an unidentified senior US administration official as saying. In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Trump recounted the moment he informed Xi about the air strike during dinner on the first night of the summit at his Mar-a-Lago resort, describing the Chinese leader as “OK” with the decision. Chinese analysts said Beijing's abstention reflected its intention to chart a more “neutral” policy in the Middle East, while also maintaining forward momentum in ties with Washington. “China no longer has to tie itself to Russia in its position on Syria affairs,” said Yin Gang, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Wang Lian, a specialist on Middle Eastern politics at Peking University, said the United States was seeking to portray Beijing as moving closer towards its position on Syria, and China – for its part – had used the abstention to show its goodwill and willingness to work with the US on global issues. “But China would still want to portray itself as having a neutral stance,” Wang said. “China holds a similar position to the US in opposing the use of chemical weapons, but it remains opposed to using violence in taking out Assad.” In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China remained convinced “political means” should be the only option in solving the situation in Syria. In a statement explaining the vote, China's UN ambassador Liu Jieyi said parts of the resolution needed revision, without elaborating, Bloomberg reported. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Xi Jinping elected delegate to 19th CPC National Congress (Xinhua)
2017-04-20
Xi Jinping was elected delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) by a unanimous vote at the 12th CPC Guizhou provincial congress on Thursday. A total of 2,300 delegates to the national congress, slated for the second half of 2017, are being elected by 40 electoral units across the country. The election will be completed by June. Xi was nominated by the CPC Central Committee as a candidate for delegate to the 19th CPC National Congress and put to vote in the Guizhou electoral unit. The announcement of Xi's unanimous election won a burst of long and warm applause at the provincial congress on Thursday morning. The unanimous vote of Xi by more than 730 provincial congress delegates represents the shared aspiration of more than 1.7 million CPC members in Guizhou and the wholehearted support of over 40 million residents, the delegates said. Excited by the result, Liu Fang, a provincial congress delegate and a middle school teacher in the capital city of Guiyang, said, "Though I'm blind, I can sense the concern of Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, for the poor region." "We will make efforts to translate the general secretary's concern and the CPC Central Committee's poverty eradication policies into happy lives which the people can see and enjoy," said Yang Bo, another delegate and a village official, adding that he is confident of leading his village out of poverty. The CPC national congress, which typically convenes once every five years, is of great importance. It hears and deliberates reports of the Central Committee and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. At the national congress, delegates also elect a new central committee and a new anti-graft body. ^ top ^

China launches unprecedented international publicity war against wanted tycoon Guo Wengui (SCMP)
2017-04-20
Chinese authorities last night launched an unusually sophisticated publicity war in conventional media and cyberspace against fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui, who is believed to be still hiding in the US. Guo, who has also shown himself to be adept at using overseas media to make strong allegations of corruption against many high-ranking Chinese officials, was scheduled to give a three-hour interview with the US-government funded public broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) on Wednesday night. He claimed beforehand that he would “drop a nuclear bomb of corruption allegations” against the families of top communist officials. The VOA live broadcast of the interview, however, was cut short after just one hour. Gao had given two similar interviews to US-based Chinese-language Mingjing media earlier. Unlike on previous occasions, Chinese authorities this time launched a blanket pre-emptive publicity war against Guo, using all channels including those outside the official Chinese firewall such as YouTube to discredit him through his alleged links with corrupt officials. A day before the interview, stories about Guo being placed on an Interpol's red notice were leaked through various channels to the media in Hong Kong, and confirmed by the Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday afternoon. Less than an hour before VOA kicked off the interview with Guo, The Beijing News, a mainland newspaper, published a long investigative story on Guo's past, detailing his business career and controversial deals. The most surprising part of the report were new details from an “exclusively obtained video of [the disgraced former spy chief Ma Jian] testifying”. Ma was a close associate of Guo, whom once said he “respected Ma very much”. A corruption probe into Ma was made public in January 2015. His case was handed over to prosecutors in February. In a 27-minute-long edited monologue, Ma described in detail the bribes he received from Guo and how he used his power to help him. In an unprecedented move, the Ma video appeaded in cyberspace on YouTube, an overseas platform inaccessible from the mainland to anyone without a virtual private network (VPN). In previous cases, such “confessions” are usually aired on on state-run television. Another clip from Ma's confession, along with two other former Guo associates, were uploaded to the same YouTube account. The account, called “The truth about Guo Wengui”, was created on March 13, when a video attacking Guo was published. That video was also carried by the social media account of the Ministry of Public Security a day later. The filming of the spy chief, who remains in custody while facing prosecution, suggests the video producers had privileged access to detention facilities. So far, except for the foreign ministry's brief confirmation on Wednesday, there is still no official acknowledgement that any government department was leading the publicity campaign against Guo. ^ top ^

Former Hebei security chief in the dock for corruption (SCMP)
2017-04-20
A former security chief of the Chinese province of Hebei pleaded guilty in a Jiangsu court on Thursday to a range of graft charges against him, state media reported. Zhang Yue, 56, a former provincial Communist Party standing committee member and secretary of Hebei's politics and law commission, was on trial in the Changzhou Intermediate People's Court accused of abusing his power and taking more than 157 million yuan (US$22.8 million) in bribes, China Central Television reported. Zhang pleaded guilty to the charges against him, the report said. A verdict has yet to be handed down in the case. Disgraced former senior spy official Ma Jian, who is also facing prosecution for corruption, alleged Zhang colluded with him to take down rivals of businessman Guo Wengui, who is now in the United States. China said on Wednesday that it had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” for Guo. A red notice is a request to locate and provisionally arrest someone pending extradition. Chinese media previously reported that Zhang had been a key force opposing a review of a high-profile rape and murder case in the province. Nie Shubin, 20, was executed in 1995 for the murder of a woman in Shijiazhuang, only for another man confess to the crime a decade later. The provincial high court agreed to review the case but little progress was made for the next nine years. Nie was exonerate in December last year, a few months after the central government started to investigate Zhang for suspected disciplinary violations. ^ top ^

China launches IPR Awareness Week (Xinhua)
2017-04-20
China launched a week of campaigns to raise awareness of protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) Thursday. The campaign, jointly organized by 23 agencies, will feature events across the country, including press conferences, forums, lectures and the release of a whitepaper on judicial protection of IPR, running up to April 26, World Intellectual Property Day. Addressing the opening ceremony, State Councilor Wang Yong said that China needs sound IPR protection to foster innovation. Wang also called for better international IPR cooperation in creating an inclusive and open environment for innovation. China has become the largest source of patent applications, trademarks and industrial designs, said Francis Gurry, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The number of Chinese international patent applications filed under WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty exceeded 43,000 last year, up 44.7 percent, according to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). IPR authorities had handled over 80,000 cases involving patents, trademarks and copyrights, said Shen Changyu, head of the SIPO. In the first quarter this year, more than 2 million pirated publications were seized, said a joint statement issued Thursday by China's National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications and the National Copyright Administration. China also launched a national copyright monitoring website Thursday, which would provide 24/7 monitoring of the Internet and identify suspected rights infringements. ^ top ^

Beijing punishes livestreaming sites, Apple App Store to be summoned (China Daily)
2017-04-19
Beijing's Internet regulators said Apple is next on a list for inquiries after authorities ordered three Chinese live streaming websites to rectify management loopholes. The three websites are toutiao.com, huoshanzhibo.com and huajiao.com, which were found to have violated four different regulations concerning Internet information services, live-streaming services and online performance, according to the Beijing Cyberspace Administration. In a joint inquiry, conducted by the administration, the Beijing Public Security Bureau and Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team, the three companies were found to lack systematic management and to have been inadequate in checking information, emergency response and technical support. "Significant loopholes" also existed in their management of live-broadcast products, user classification, authentication of user identity and the handling of tips-offs, according to the regulators. Some publishers have broadcast live content forbidden by Chinese law on these platforms, they noted. Some provided pornographic content, according to the regulators. Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team said it has collected and sorted evidence on the violations at huoshanzhibo.com and huajiao.com and started investigation. Some cases will be transferred to the police, and publishers that have committed violations shall receive criminal punishment. Officers with the law enforcement team said they have also met representatives from Apple about the examination of live stream apps from the tech giant's app store. The Beijing Cyberspace Administration confirmed that the three departments will jointly summon Apple over the issues to urge the American firm to tighten up checks on software applications available in the Apple Store. ^ top ^

China's top court launches campaign to root out corruption among law enforcers (Xinhua)
2017-04-19
China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Wednesday announced a campaign to expose corruption and other irregularities among law enforcers. The campaign, scheduled to last until November, will target passive, selective, wayward and corrupt law enforcement, which hampers public trust in the judicial system, said Wu Shaojun, deputy director with the SPC's law enforcement bureau. Wu said the move aimed to tackle major problems by rectifying and standardizing law enforcement and the exemplary punishments for a batch of violators. The SPC also plans to establish a long-term mechanism to deal with passive and wayward law enforcement. ^ top ^

China's party officials warned not to cross 'red lines' while using WeChat (SCMP)
2017-04-18
Disparaging party policies, sharing pornography and spreading rumours are among eight “red lines” Chinese Communist Party officials must not cross while using WeChat, a popular social media platform, the ruling party's disciplinary watchdog has instructed. As with many other large organisations that seek to moderate their members' social media presence, the 88-million-member Chinese Communist Party has been attempting to control the words and acts of its officials on WeChat, the Tencent Technologies mobile platform that has 889 million active users. According to a notice published on a WeChat account run by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the anti-graft agency run by Wang Qishan, the other prohibited behaviours are accepting electronic “red envelopes” of money transfers, vote-rigging, leaking confidential information, opening online shops and publishing “inappropriate” statements. While US President Donald Trump is known for delivering policy message via his Twitter account, China's top leaders are still largely distancing themselves from social media platforms. At the same time, Chinese government agencies and local authorities are rushing to create accounts on platforms such as WeChat and Weibo to deliver information directly to the public. Chinese residents increasingly rely on such mobile platforms to socialise and work. WeChat is particularly popular with mobile phone users for its chat, phone call, picture sharing, payment and shopping functions. In warning Communist Party officials, the notice also detailed previous offenders who crossed the red lines. Those offenders were punished by verbal warnings, job dismissals and even imprisonment. According to the article, an unnamed local police chief republished an article questioning the value of “one country, two systems”, China's state policy in dealing with Hong Kong, on his WeChat account, and received disciplineary punishment as a result. In another case, a local government employee in Hubei accidentally published a pornographic picture to a chat group of 500 people, most of them are public service staff, and the employee was demoted within 18 hours. Officials were also told not to spread rumours or circulate unverified information to avoid negative social impact. They are prohibited from receiving online red packets regardless of the financial amount or purpose for which it is transferred. Cadres at grassroots levels were also warned not to send any “red packets” during election periods. Leaking state secrets or internal government office information and expressions of inappropriate opinion via channels such as WeChat were strictly prohibited and would be punished with severe discipline, the notice said. ^ top ^

Rumors debunked that China uses cult practitioners', prisoners' organs (Global Times)
2017-04-18
Leading organ transplant experts are calling for international efforts to combat organ transplant tourism. They also dispelled rumors that China is using organs harvested from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners. Wang Haibo, Deputy Secretary of the China Organ Transplant Development Foundation, said at a conference hosted by the foundation in Beijing on Tuesday that China banned foreigner from receiving deceased organ transplant in China in 2007, but international society needs more extensive global collaboration to effectively combat transplant tourism. "Organs are scarce resources and we need to protect the interests of Chinese patients," Wang said. Wang's remarks were echoed by Campbell Fraser, an international organ trafficking researcher from Australia, who said that one of his concerns is how to stop foreigners from buying human organs in China. "If a Chinese person donates organs, they should go to a Chinese person," Fraser said. Fraser told the Global Times that foreigners are now primarily traveling to Egypt and Pakistan to buy organs, as some Syrian refugees sold their kidneys in Egypt for their trip to Europe. Former health vice minister Huang Jiefu told the Xinhua News Agency previously that hundreds of foreigners used to come to China every year for transplant tourism before the Chinese government banned the practice in 2007. Forum participants also dispelled rumors spread by Falun Gong, an organization China considers is a cult, that China is using organs harvested from its practitioners. "The Falun Gong has never stopped using the rumor of 'organ harvesting' for the past 10 years … the so-called organ harvesting is based on a story fabricated by its members or hearsay … it aims to tarnish China's image, fool the international community and hide its nature as a dangerous cult," said a statement sent by the China Anti-Cult Association to the Global Times on Tuesday. "A number of Western politicians, academics and lawyers have used Falun Gong for their political objectives against the Chinese government … Saying China had used prisoners' organs, is their way of claiming those executed were Falun Gong practitioners, and this is nonsense," said Fraser. In 2015, China banned the use of executed prisoners' organs for transplantation. "These people have no interest in helping others … They're only interested in winning global support for their campaign against China," Fraser said, adding that the international transplant community should include China in the discussions. Fraser also suggested that China should share its organ transplantation research results with the international community. Transparent data Chinese representatives, including Huang, were invited for the first time to the Pontifical Academy Summit (PAS) on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism at the Vatican in February. Fraser said the invitation offers the world a glimpse of China's "comprehensive transformation process that is showing positive results." Wang told the Global Times on Tuesday that the number of organ transplant activities in China in 2015 was 10,057, or 8.38 percent of the worldwide total. The data was consistent with that which China submitted to the World Health Organization, Wang said, noting that "China is just as transparent on [organ transplantation] as the rest of the world." Wang said China has established the human organ allocation and sharing computer system, often referred to as the China Organ Transplantation Response System (COTRS), which requires all organ donors to pass through the COTRS allocation, ensuring that the allocation of organ donations is scientific, efficient and fair. Wang also noted that China has also cracked down on violations of organ transplantation regulations and laws, given priority to medical personnel carrying organs for transplant purposes during check-in and security checks at airports, and encouraged people to register as organ donors. Nearly 220,000 people have registered as organ donors in China as of March, and the number is expected to rise with the help internet technologies, according to the China Organ Donation Administrative Center. ^ top ^

Chinese woman, 82, found dead in rubble after home demolished (SCMP)
2017-04-17
The body of an 82-year-old woman was found dead in the remains of her home two days after the local authorities demolished “illegal buildings” in her village in eastern China. The remains of Hu Lanxiang were discovered on Friday after her house was pulled down near Yangqiaodian township, the Jiangxi provincial government said in a statement. Demolition staff cleared the area before taking down the building and the woman's son and grandson witnessed the operation, according to the statement. Police are investigating how Hu was able to get back into the buildings that were targeted for demolition. The incident has triggered an outcry on the internet in China. “Another case of demolition with blood... she survived the anti-Japanese war, she survived the Cultural Revolution, but she didn't survive demolition,” one social media user commented. The forced demolition of homes to make way for development has become a thorny issue in China. Beijing has published regulations banning local cadres from conducting “violent” demolitions to force people out of their houses. In one case, eight district officials in Changsha in Hunan province were sentenced to 10 to 12 months in jail for negligence after woman in her 60s died last year during the demolition of her home, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. A 92-year-old woman lying on her sick bed at home in Xuzhou was buried in rubble last September in a forced demolition in Jiangsu province, the China Youth Daily reported. ^ top ^

China launches reform of 'green card' for foreigners (Global Times)
2017-04-17
China has launched a reform of permanent residence certificates for foreigners, making the certificate more acceptable and recognizable by the public just like Chinese citizens' identity cards, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced Monday. The foreigner's permanent residence card, known as the Chinese "green card," will be renamed as "foreigner's permanent residence identity card," highlighting its function as identity authentication, the Xinhua News Agency reported Monday. A chip with identity information will be embedded in the card, making it machine-readable, same as the Chinese residents' identification cards, said Xinhua. The reform also aims to provide foreigners easier access to public services in China, and the work is expected to be finished before June, according to Xinhua. The permanent residence certificate is a legal identification document for foreigners in China, but not many foreigners have it and the society has a low awareness of it, an official from the MPS was quoted as saying. Moreover, the current certificate cannot be read by machines in the same way as the identity cards of Chinese residents, bringing inconvenience to holders in the use of the card, the official said. According to the official, local governments will allocate funds to upgrade facilities and train staff in railway stations, airports, banks, hotels as well as other related units to make sure the reform will be completed by the second quarter of this year. "The acceptance of the 'green cards' will be largely expanded if the reform is successfully implemented," Noyan Rona, chief representative of Turkish Garantibank Shanghai, who received his permanent residence card in Shanghai in 2012, told the Global Times on Monday. According to Rona, the existing certificate is incompatible with many systems such as the train ticket purchase and online payment systems because it lacks a 13-digit number as the Chinese identification cards have. "Some people think that the 'green card' should only guarantee foreigners' right to live in China, but our access to public service should also be included," Rona said. The MPS official said that local governments would use the permanent residence certificate reform as a starting point for the introduction of other policies for foreigners. China has made progress in easing its residence and entry policies for foreigners since September 2015, which helped attract more talent from overseas as well as boost international exchanges and the economy, Xinhua reported. The country issued a total of 1,576 permanent residence certificates to foreigners in 2016, an increase of 163 percent over the previous year, according to Xinhua. ^ top ^

Xi urges strengthened party education campaign (Xinhua)
2017-04-16
President Xi Jinping has called for further implementation of a year-long education campaign within the Communist Party of China (CPC) to strengthen Party discipline. Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in an instruction on the campaign, which focuses on the study of the Party Constitution and rules, as well as the speeches made by Xi, and calls for being qualified Party members. In the instruction read at a meeting held on Sunday, Xi noted that the campaign launched last year had achieved remarkable results. The campaign has helped with the strict management of the CPC and must be carried on, said Xi. The campaign should prioritize political training, Party members' words and deeds, the latest theoretical developments and it should guide all to become qualified Party members, Xi noted. In addition, the campaign must focus on "a key few" leading officials and grassroots party branches. It should also promote a solution-based approach and make full use of role models, according to Xi. Xi urged CPC committees at various levels to support the campaign and make sure the achievements provide organizational guarantees that will promote balanced economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress and coordinated implementation of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy. The Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy refers to making comprehensive moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance the law-based governance of China, and strengthen Party self-governance. ^ top ^

Vice president calls for building of mass organizations online (Xinhua)
2017-04-14
Vice President Li Yuanchao has called for efforts to build mass organizations online presence to sustain closer ties with the people. During a tour of Ningbo in east China's Zhejiang Province from Wednesday to Thursday, Li said organizations should use the Internet to better communicate with, serve, guide and mobilize the public. Grassroots Communist Party of China (CPC) committees should take a leading role in reform involving mass organizations, and help grassroots mass organizations to solve their problems including a lack of personnel, funds or office venue, Li said. Mass organizations represent people from different lines of work or age groups, such as trade unions, women's groups and youth leagues. ^ top ^

Xinhua Insight: China's anti-graft campaign gains ground through TV series (Xinhua)
2017-04-14
Fugitives, undercover dissidents, fridges, beds and closets stuffed with dirty money -- these are just a few of the scenes from a hit TV show about corrupted officials in China that has millions of viewers tuning in across the country. "In the Name of the People," a 55-part drama that debuted on Hunan Satellite TV a fortnight ago, focuses on the tense struggle among fictional provincial officials: the secretary of the political and legal affairs committee; an anti-corruption director with the procuratorate; and the chief of the public security department. It sheds light on Chinese politics and officialdom in the ongoing campaign against corruption, which was launched in 2012, and has won widespread acclaim as the show pulls no punches in the way it represents greed and power. "In the Name of the People" was the most watched show on online streaming giant iQIYI. The first episode had clocked up over 1.4 billion views as of Thursday. The show's screenplay and its namesake novel were written by Zhou Meisen. The prime-time show was produced on a 120 million yuan (about 17.4 million U.S. dollars) budget, and bankrolled by the Supreme People's Procuratorate. "I've been writing shows on the theme of corruption for years, but none have been as popular as this one," said Zhou. "It's a surprise that something so mainstream is popular among young people." The TV series showcases the country's efforts to pursue low-level "flies" and high-ranking "tigers" and has earned plaudits across social media. "The popularity of China's anti-corruption TV thriller 'In the Name of the People' shows how serious China is," wrote Twitter user "Peggy Liu." "I'm hooked! Watching two episodes a night is far from enough," wrote a user on Sina Weibo. The show's all-star cast is another attraction, with many fans tuning in just to watch heartthrob Lu Yi. Lu has 25 million followers on Weibo and one post he shared about the show's premiere on March 28 was liked 33,500 times. Meanwhile, actor Wu Gang has shot to fame thanks to his role, a blunt Communist Party chief obsessed with GDP growth. Viewers find his upright and interesting character endearing and there are many memes being shared about the role. Even the show's props are popular. Yihuasiqi, a store on online retailer Taobao, sold 3,500 glass bottles that were similar to one used by Wu in the show in ten days. "Some have criticized the young for not taking the show seriously, but I really like their responses," said Zhou. "I would have put Wu on screen more if I had known he could be such a focus." What makes "In The Name of the People" remarkable is the candid depiction of misconduct. According to the cast, some of the scenarios were based on real events. Moreover, this show was the first one to ever cast a morally corrupt deputy state-level official. The show starts with the discovery of 230 million yuan in cash at the home of a government official. This was based on a similar incident, but the real life case involved 644 million yuan at the home of a former vice mayor. Just one week after the show debuted, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced that it had launched an investigation into chairman and Party chief of China Insurance Regulatory Commission Xiang Junbo. Junbo is just the latest in a long list of officials who have fallen afoul of the authorities, which since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, have stepped up anti-corruption work. Courts across the country concluded 45,000 graft cases implicating 63,000 people in 2016, according to the work report of the Supreme People's Court. "The TV show has garnered fans for its unabashed depiction of corruption by those in authority -- this is a topic closely watched by the people," said Li Yongzhong, former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Discipline Inspection and Supervision. The National People's Congress Standing Committee, the top legislature, approved a pilot reform program last year to establish an integrated supervision system that will be more efficient. Beijing Municipality and the provinces of Shanxi and Zhejiang were chosen to start the reform, which is the initial step toward establishing a national supervisory commission. Besides supervising the performance, integrity and ethical conduct of civil servants, the commission will also investigate and punish anyone implicated in corruption or other job-related offenses. Any serious cases will be transferred to procuratorates for criminal investigation. A survey by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that about 92.9 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with anti-graft measures and the work on clean governance in 2016, compared with 75 percent before the anti-graft campaign launched in 2012. "We should continue to stick to zero-tolerance on corruption in the name of the people," Said Li. ^ top ^

Political advisors discuss training more patriotic religious elites (Xinhua)
2017-04-13
Chinese political advisors met on Thursday to brainstorm on how to nurture more outstanding people who are both religious and patriotic. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top advisory body, chaired the biweekly meeting. Members of the CPPCC National Committee said that generally the country lacks high-caliber and influential personages among various religious groups. It is an important duty for all religious groups to train more believers that "are politically reliable, accomplished in religious study, moral and can play a role in critical moments." Some members suggested government authorities encourage the establishment of more religious education institutions and give them more support in capital and land use. They also called on religious groups to improve curriculums and training of faculty. Authorities should improve training and provide more job opportunities for outstanding candidates, and strengthen daily supervision over them, some political advisors suggested. The country should also improve national education system to make all religious people better educated, some advisors said. ^ top ^

Corruption at top rung of China's ancient petition system sparks calls for reform (SCMP)
2017-04-11
An exposé of corruption at the top level of China's centuries-old petition system has confirmed public fears of flaws in the set-up and sparked calls for greater reform. Since ancient times, many of China's disenfranchised, as a last resort, have aired their grievances to the top leadership in Beijing using written letters and in-person visits. The State Bureau for Letters and Calls in Beijing receives petitions and visits by individuals and channels their complaints and grievances to the relevant government entities. But for years, top officials in Beijing, including the former vice-chairman of the bureau, Xu Jie, took bribes to make cases disappear, according to an article published on Sunday by Prosecutorial View. Xu had amassed gifts and cash worth 5.5 million yuan (US$796,900 or HK$6.18 million) and was jailed for 13 years in 2015, the official magazine of the Shanghai government prosecutors said. Xu and a crew of underlings had helped local bureaus from across China fiddle the details of cases so they never appeared in the records, helping to avoid embarrassment for the provincial officials, the magazine said. The disclosure also threw light on the teams of provincial public security and letters bureau agents who live in Beijing, in theory to help petitioners from their locality. In practice, these teams often illegally detain people in off-grid locations known as “black jails” and forcibly make them leave the city so as to stop them causing trouble. Such people “openly use funds to bribe the national letters and calls bureau officials so as to block the ear of the central government”, said a commentary published on the official Guangming Net on Monday. “The national letters and calls bureau case reflects structural problems in operations of the national administration,” it said. “If these structural problems are not resolved at the system level, then the revealed issues will not be thoroughly settled.” Six million petitions are submitted each year across the country, and in 2014, more than 250,000 personal visits were made to Beijing, according to bureau statistics. Online commentators also honed in on the system's inbuilt faults, saying central government directives for regional governments to keep the number of petitions low could be encouraging corruption. “Keeping the number of letters and visits down is an important measure for assessing local government officials,” said a popular post about the article by a user called Wuyue Sanren on Weibo, China's version of Twitter. “As [petitioning] is itself not judicial... it's not at all surprising that there is space for rent-seeking by those with power.” ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Reports: Tibetan self-immolates in western China (SCMP)
2017-04-17
A Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself on fire in western China in an apparent protest against Beijing's rule, a monitoring group and a US government-backed radio station said. The monk set himself ablaze in a public square on Saturday morning in Kardze, also known as Ganzi, in western Sichuan province, according to Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet, an advocacy group based in Britain. The unidentified monk was taken away after the fire was extinguished by security forces, reports said. It was unclear if he survived. A man who answered the phone at the local police station on Monday said he was unaware of the case and “not clear” about the situation. The government for Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which includes the town of Kardze, referred questions to the police. A YouTube video purported to be of the incident showed two men spraying fire extinguishers on what appeared to be a body at the edge of a busy street as a crowd gathered. Free Tibet acquired the video from a witness who posted it on social media, according to John Jones, a spokesman for the group. If the self-immolation is confirmed, it would be the 148th recorded case of a Tibetan self-immolating since 2009, according to Radio Free Asia and Free Tibet. At least 125 have died, according to monitoring groups. Beijing claims Tibet has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries and regards the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, as a dangerous separatist. Some Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested what they regard as Beijing's heavy-handed rule. Self-immolations peaked in 2012 with 83 that year, Jones said. A security crackdown has made it more difficult to confirm subsequent incidents, particularly in Tibet, he said. Before lighting themselves on fire, many cried out for Tibetan independence or prayed for the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959, witnesses have been quoted as saying. The most recent previous incident, also in Kardze, was in mid-March, when a Tibetan man identified by monitors as Pema Gyaltsen set himself on fire. Jones said Monday that the 24-year-old farmer's fate remained unknown. Chinese officials last week lashed out at India for hosting the Dalai Lama near their disputed border and said that, by allowing the Tibetan spiritual leader's visit, India was violating its commitment to respect China's claims to the region. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Uyghur teachers caught spreading religious extremism (Global Times)
2017-04-17
A top education official from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has warned teachers to abide by political rules, after catching Uyghur teachers spreading religious extremism. The three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism have been spreading extreme thoughts in the region, targeting Uyghur teachers and students and aiming to infiltrate the education system, Perhat Azim, head of Xinjiang's Education Department, said in an article published on the Xinjiang Daily on Sunday. Perhat noted they have identified Uyghur teachers who have violated political principles and rules and are "two-faced," stressing that the fight against separatism in the education system is long-term and complicated, which requires every teacher to observe discipline and firmly resist the three forces. "Two-faced" teachers refer to those who pretend to support national unity but secretly spread separatism and extremism. Xinjiang's education system is vital, where extremist and anti-extremist forces have been clashing for a long time," Xu Jianying, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, adding that two-faced people is a concept frequently mentioned in Xinjiang's stability safeguard work. In February, Xinjiang Party chief Chen Quanguo urged regional officials to take a firm stand and vowed to punish two-faced people severely based on laws and disciplines. A report published by Zhongguo Jijian Jiancha Bao, a newspaper run by the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection of the Communist Party of China in January 2016, said probes revealed that some officials in Xinjiang were two-faced during the fight against the three forces, some of whom even supported, participated in and secretly organized extreme activists. Ilham Tohti, a former Uyghur professor at the Minzu University of China, was given a life sentence in September 2014 for separatist activities. The court said his lectures on the website Uyghur Online contained separatist thought, coerced ethnic students to work for the website and built a criminal syndicate. ^ top ^

Details emerge of 'terrorism suspect' arrest during armed raid in China (SCMP)
2017-04-17
Chinese state media have released rare details about the arrest in an armed raid of a suspected terrorist accused by the authorities of organising terrorism operations overseas. The suspect was said to have led over a hundred followers in Turkey, according to Chinese state television. The man was arrested as part of a special forces operation in Hainan province after a number of wanted suspects were found hiding in the city of Sanya waiting to flee China, the state broadcaster reported late on Sunday. The report did not mention the ethnicity of the suspects, but the arrests took place in December 2014 at a time when many Uygur Muslims from the restive Xinjiang region were leaving the mainland to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The name of the main terrorism suspect was also not given, but he was said to be the leader of a group of militants, according to the report. “When he was in Turkey, he had a team of more than 100 people under his command. He himself was an organiser,” Wu Tengfei, a member of the anti-terror squad which carried out the arrest, told state television. Video footage showed a team of Hainan anti-terror paramilitary police officers carrying guns and wearing helmets and bulletproof vests entering a residential building. The officers are shown storming into an apartment and swiftly pressing a couple of men to the floor with their guns. The three suspects had fled to Hainan from southwestern Yunnan province with their families, according to news reports on the island at the time of the arrests. The original reports said they were wanted by the Public Security Bureau, but did not mention they were terrorist suspects. China is concerned that a growing number of Uygurs have gone to Syria and Iraq to receive terrorist training through Southeast Asia and Turkey after leaving the country illegally through its southern borders. Islamic State released a video in February showing Uygur fighters training in Iraq and vowing to plant their flag in China and let blood “flow in rivers”. Rights groups say Uygurs who have left Xinjiang were fleeing ethnic violence that has killed hundreds in recent years. They are also fleeing due to repression of Uygurs' language, religion and culture, according to rights groups, allegations Beijing strongly denies. Thailand deported 109 Uygurs back to China in July 2015 at the request of Beijing, who said they were on their way to Syria and Iraq to carry out jihad, or holy war. The move was condemned by the United States and rights groups and sparked protests outside the Thai embassy in Turkey, home to a large Uygur diaspora. Thailand said it did not return all Uygurs held in detention camps back to China, despite its lobbying. The Thai authorities said 170 Uygurs who were found to be Turkish citizens were sent to Turkey. More than 800 people were stopped trying to illegally cross from China into Vietnam in 2014. Most were Uygurs attempting to get to jihadi training camps, according to Chinese state media. ^ top ^

Rewards of up to 5 million yuan offered for terrorism tip-offs by remote area in China's Xinjiang (SCMP)
2017-04-13
A remote area in China's Xinjiang is offering huge rewards to thwart terrorism, the latest authority in the region to give large cash incentives to help catch militants. Altay, which is close to Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, is offering up to 5 million yuan (US$725,000) for tip-offs, the prefecture's police authority said in a statement on its social media account. The rewards dwarf the 500,000 yuan rewards offered by the state security bureau in the capital Beijing to help catch foreign spies. Xinjiang has been hit by a series of violent attacks in recent years which the authorities blame on Islamist separatist militants. The highest rewards will be given for information about terrorist attack plans that target government buildings, public venues or important events, the police statement said. Whistle-blowers who report explosives or gun making will be offered up to 4 million yuan. Information on terrorists entering or leaving China will get up to 3 million yuan and tip-offs on funding of terrorism overseas can earn up to 2 million yuan. Even reports on illegal trading in “second-hand vehicles and liquified gas cans” can lead to rewards of 50,000 yuan. The authorities in Hotan in Xinjiang announced in February that rewards of up to 5 million yuan would be offered to thwart terrorist attacks. The announcement came after five people were killed and five severely injured in a knife attack in Pishan county in Hotan prefecture. The three attackers were shot dead by security forces. Altay in northern Xinjiang is relatively peaceful and free of attacks compared with Hotan. The authorities have launched a massive crackdown to try to stamp out separatism and terrorism in the region. Xinjiang Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo has taken a series of security measures since he took office last year, including setting up a huge network of small police bases and restricting the travel of some residents. Xinjiang's spending on public security jumped 19.3 per cent last year to more than 30 billion yuan, according to China's finance ministry. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

China's Communist Party puts 'Hong Kong separatism' on national security agenda
2017-04-16
The Communist Party has for the first time identified separatist activities in Hong Kong and Taiwan as focuses of its national security strategy, saying the forces are eroding the foundations of the party's rule. The movements were highlighted in an article in the latest edition of Qiushi Journal, the flagship magazine of the party's Central Committee. “[The central government will continue to unswervingly implement the principle of 'one country, two systems' and curb 'Hong Kong independence' according to the law... It will promote cross-strait relations but also resolutely carry out the struggle against 'Taiwan independence',” the article said. It also highlighted the need to maintain international relationships, curb financial crises, cultivate soft power, ensure food safety and protect the environment – all with President Xi Jinping as the core leader. “Political security is fundamental to the strategy, which underlies the security of the regime and its system. The most fundamental aspect is to maintain the leadership of the party, the socialist system and the authority of the Xi-centred leadership,” the article said. The statement comes less than a month after Premier Li Keqiang opened the National People's Congress in Beijing with an unprecedented warning that the Hong Kong independence movement would “lead nowhere”. Chen Daoyin, an associate professor of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said the security strategy was not a static document. “The security strategy covers many areas and it can vary at times depending on the key threats to the party's rule,” Chen said. He said the party's understanding of national security was completely different from the foreign policy focus in the West. For example, on the mainland, the National Security Council, chaired by Xi, is a party body serving the regime across a range of issues, from politics to economics and social stability. The mainland is facing threats on a number of fronts and policymakers have made stability and the prevention of financial risks high priorities this year. The economy grew at its slowest rate in 26 years last year, forcing the government into action to stabilise growth and create new jobs. The authorities were also rattled by turbulence in the financial markets, prompting the downfall of many top regulatory officials. Economics professor Hu Xingdou, from the Beijing Institute of Technology, said the security outlook reflected rising social conflict but the authorities sometimes were too suspicious and exaggerated their enemies. “The 'Hong Kong independence' movement is driven by a few extremists. It's simply impossible to achieve, and there is no need to raise such a topic to national strategic level,” Hu said. He said the authorities should do more to make allies rather than define opponents. “The leadership should be broad minded to accept different opinions, even sharp criticism,” Hu said. The article also highlighted the need for international cooperation to overhaul global governance and “build a community of shared destiny”. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao bank grants 375 mln USD to support "Belt and Road" Initiative (China Daily)
2017-04-19
One of Macao's major bank has granted over 3 billion patacas (about $375 million) since 2016 to support enterprises in doing business in countries and regions along the "Belt and Road", local media reported Wednesday. Macao Daily said in its report that Macao Branch, Bank of China (BOCMacao), has made full use of "one country, two systems" principle and actively participated in cooperation between the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region and the countries and regions along the"Belt and Road". The report said the bank has granted loans to companies from Macao, the Chinese mainland and overseas to develop programs in Vietnam, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Israel, Indonesia, Myanmar, the United Arab Emirates, etc. The newspaper also mentioned that those programs include traditional trade finance, port construction, energy development, and production capacity cooperation. Due to the advantages of Macao financial system and regulation, such as low taxation, no foreign exchange control, good cross-border financial service, BOCMacao accomplished those programs and helped those companies in their business cooperation. BOCMacao has also created business links with regional organizations. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Mainland asylum seeker Zhang Xiangzhong agrees to return home from Taiwan (SCMP)
2017-04-19
Taipei says that as Zhang was free to leave and enter mainland, he did not qualify for long term residence on the island. Taiwan said yesterday that a mainland activist who tried to seek political asylum on the island had voluntarily returned home, ending a dilemma for Taiwanese authorities over how to deal with the case. Zhang Xiangzhong, 48, from Shandong province, was released last year after spending three years in jail on the mainland for his involvement in the New Citizens' Movement. He left the island yesterday morning along with the tour group he had joined, Taiwanese authorities said. “After we talked with Zhang and explained to him about the situation, he fully understood what we had told him and agreed to leave Taiwan along with his tour group at the end of their trip in line with the regulations stipulated by the cross-strait travel agreement,” Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said. The council, which is responsible for cross-strait matters, said that after carefully reviewing his case it determined Zhang did not meet the requirements for long-term residency in Taiwan. Zhang arrived in Taiwan on April 12 as part of a tour group on an eight-day visit but left the group the next day. He was apprehended at a friend's place in New Taipei City by immigration officials on Monday night. He then applied for political asylum in Taiwan, according to the island's National Immigration Agency. The agency said there was no political asylum law in Taiwan and political refugees from the mainland could not be granted sanctuary on the island. But Taiwan may still grant “long-term residence to some mainland people on a case-by-case basis, it said. On the same day as Zhang was apprehended, another mainland citizen, identified as Xu Dahui, a member of the Chicago-based Chinese-American Alliance for China's Peaceful Reunification, took his wife and two children to the council to try to seek asylum in Taiwan, according to council leader Katharine Chang. “Xu and his family have American residence status and are free to go anywhere,” Chang said, adding Xu had travelled to Taiwan several times before and thus his case was rejected immediately. Zhang's case came weeks after Taiwanese human rights activist Li Ming-che was detained on national security grounds when he visited Zhuhai in Guangdong province on March 19. Li's whereabouts remain unknown. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China unveils fresh tax cuts to spur growth (SCMP)
2017-04-20
Beijing on Wednesday announced a new round of tax cuts to counter looming domestic challenges and to keep economic growth ticking over. The cuts unveiled by the State Council are expected to reduce taxes by 380 billion yuan this year and come after positive first-quarter results. In a statement after its weekly meeting, the State Council said the cuts would help to “improve business conditions and strengthen corporate vigour and impetus for innovation” amid lingering instability and complexity at home and abroad. As it grapples with slowing growth and tries to steer the economy in a more sustainable direction, Beijing has reached for tax breaks and cuts in recent years to lend a hand to struggling businesses and revitalise the private sector. The breaks also dovetail with the central government's broader fiscal policy to be more proactive this year. From July 1, the government will cut the number of value-added tax brackets from four to three and lower the value-added tax rate for agriculture and natural gas from 13 per cent to 11 per cent. The mainland started replacing business tax with value-added taxes from 2012 to try to overhaul the country's state-centric fiscal regime. The cuts helped to lower the corporate tax burden by 570 billion yuan last year. The State Council also announced that the minimum taxable income threshold for small businesses would rise to 500,000 yuan from 300,000 yuan, allowing more small firms to fall into a lower corporate tax bracket. This will remain the case until the end of 2019. Also extended to the end of 2019 are tax breaks for university graduates starting new businesses, for rural microcredit operations and for various kinds of businesses such as logistics firms. The State Administration of Taxation said last week that small businesses were granted more than 200 billion yuan in tax cuts in the last two years. The central government also said it launched a pilot tax relief scheme at the start of the year for tech start-ups in eight administrative areas, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong. In addition, it raised the pre-tax deduction for small tech firms' expenditure on research and development. The State Council would expand another pilot scheme for tax deductions for individuals buying commercial health insurance nationwide from the second half of the year. Economic growth rose 6.9 per cent year on year in the first quarter, its highest level in nearly two years and well above the government's full-year target of 6.5 per cent. The State Council said measures it unveiled in the first quarter were expected to cut business fees and charges by 200 billion yuan. Pledging to lower corporate costs, it admitted last month that non-tax fees and charges put a great burden on businesses. These tax cuts aside, progress has been slow on overhauling personal income taxes, and introducing a property tax and inheritance tax, areas that are the cornerstones to fiscal reform. The long-awaited revision of the rules on individual income tax is not listed as the reform priorities this year. ^ top ^

US firms in China face hardest year in decades, says AmCham (SCMP)
2017-04-18
US companies in China face one of the most challenging environments in decades this year, the American Chamber of Commerce in China says. Political and economic transitions in the United States and China, an increasing perception of animosity toward foreign businesses and slowing growth are dimming the outlook, AmCham said in a report on Tuesday. Despite recent rhetoric regarding opening up and globalisation, investment barriers remain high, the chamber said in its annual American Business in China White Paper. “The pace of economic reforms and market opening has been slow and faltering,” AmCham said. While administration, regulatory transparency and intellectual property protection have improved, policies designed to support domestic industries and national champions have narrowed the space for participation by foreign companies, it said. The warning is the latest by the Beijing-based non-profit group, which said in January that more US companies are slowing investment. About 81 per cent of its members reported feeling less welcome in 2016 than previously, up from 77 per cent in 2015. “We are experiencing a clear increase in uncertainty as the US-China relationship enters a new era,” AmCham Chairman William Zarit wrote in his introduction to the report. “The Trump administration is still finding its feet, and China itself will be undergoing a political transition this year. Multinational companies spanning this relationship, both American and Chinese, are paying close attention to developments as they make their plans.” More transparency would aid the government's anti-corruption fight and give private companies more confidence that their investments would be fairly protected under the law, Zarit said. The stability and predictability provided by an unambiguous regulatory environment would be important for China's continued growth, he said. At a briefing on Tuesday, Lester Ross, chairman of the lobbying group's policy committee, said the Chinese government recognises that current policies are not sufficient to welcome foreign investment, and that policymakers are seeking ways to open their markets further. He saw it as a positive sign that the two sides agreed to work together for 100 days, during which he said China might make some concessions on issues that had been pending for a long time to show progress and build rapport. The real question was whether the 100-day plan would provide momentum to address more complicated issues, Ross said. Zarit also said it would be a shame if President Donald Trump's administration stopped short of pressing Beijing to open more markets to US businesses and level the playing field in exchange for China's objectives. Trump told the Wall Street Journal last week he had offered Chinese President Xi Jinping more favourable trade terms if China helped to resolve the threat from North Korea. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

China "seriously concerned" about DPRK nuclear, missile development: FM (Xinhua)
2017-04-19
China is seriously concerned about the latest developments in the nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Wednesday. The comments came after DPRK deputy ambassador to the United Nations and its vice Foreign Minister reportedly said that a new nuclear test was under preparation and more missile tests would be conducted on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. "China is committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability there, and resolving problems through dialogue and consultation. China's stance on this is unswerving," Lu said. Lu stressed that given the complicated and sensitive situation on the Korean Peninsula, China firmly opposes any words and deeds that could heighten hostility and tension. The spokesperson called on all parties involved to make efforts to ease the tension. ^ top ^

What military strike? US war fleet still thousands of kilometres from North Korea (SCMP)
2017-04-19
A US strike group headed by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson was still thousands of kilometres from the Korean peninsula only days ago, easing concerns that a¬military strike might be imminent against North Korea. An image from the US military dated last Saturday showed the carrier on a “scheduled deployment” in the Sunda Strait off ¬Indonesia, which is 5,600km from the Korean peninsula. But tensions surrounding North Korea remained, with its vice-foreign minister, Han Song-ryol, saying that Pyongyang would conduct missile tests on a weekly basis. “If the US is reckless enough to use military means it would mean, from that very day, an all-out war,” he told the BBC. US Vice-President Mike Pence said in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Washington and Tokyo had agreed to press China to use its “extraordinary levers” to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme. North Korea tested a ballistic missile on Sunday. Even though the missile exploded soon after its launch, the act was seen as a ¬defiant move. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that the crisis should be resolved by talks. US officials have said that a military strike was an option. The US and South Korea on Monday began a military exercise designed to “test aerial combat capability”. Some 1,000 US personnel had teamed up with the South Korean Air Force to ensure they were ready to combat “the North's provocations”, the US Pacific Command said yesterday. US Navy officials in Pearl Harbour and Washington declined to comment on the Carl Vinson's movements, other than to confirm the passage last Saturday through the Sunda Strait, the Navy Times -reported. Military analysts said the Pentagon's lack of clarity on the carrier deployment was adding to tensions on the Korean peninsula. “It's a costless tactic that can scare North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” Zhou Chenming, from the Knowfar Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies, said. Beijing-based naval analyst Li Jing said “such a tactic is very much Trump's style”. “But I don't think it's a good way to handle the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula because Kim will not compromise under threats. He wants to get some promises from the US, China and Russia to secure his regime.” Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said he believed Beijing knew where the Carl Vinson was, but had kept quiet about it. ^ top ^

'Zero tolerance' for NK tests (Global Times)
2017-04-18
The US and South Korea said on Monday that they would tolerate no more missile or nuclear tests from North Korea, with US Vice President Mike Pence warning Pyongyang not to test the resolve of President Donald Trump. Analysts believe the comments put pressure on Beijing to take a tougher stance against Pyongyang. Pence and acting South Korean president Hwang Kyo-ahn met on Monday, vowing to move ahead with the early deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, and that neither the US nor South Korea would tolerate further missile and nuclear tests, Reuters reported on Monday. "Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the US in this region," Pence said, noting that the US Navy struck a Syrian airfield with 59 Tomahawk missiles this month. "Pence wanted to deliver a message to North Korea that it would use every means, including military ones, to crack down on its nuclear and related facilities," Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the China Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. Liu said this is the US' toughest attitude so far. "The US also wants to pressure China to cooperate on North Korea by showing its muscle. It will urge China to strengthen supervision or even cut oil and food aid," Liu said. China's foreign ministry said on Monday that China would like to cooperate with all parties, including the US, to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and safeguard regional peace through negotiations. "But China may reconsider some of its previous policies on North Korea when it involves Sino-US relations and the future impact of North Korea's nuclear tests on China, as well as the deployment of THAAD," Liu said. North Korea's nuclear tests have triggered concern among Chinese netizens, especially for those who live near the border. A man surnamed Zhang from Dandong, Liaoning Province told the Global Times that he is worried about a possible war on the Korean Peninsula and refugees. In a visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea on Monday, Pence also said that "all options are on the table to achieve the objectives and ensure the stability of the people of this country," and "there was a period of strategic patience, but the era of strategic patience is over." Pence's remarks came one day after North Korea tested an unidentified missile early on Sunday from the coastal city of Sinpo, with the Pentagon confirming that it had failed, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, indicated on Sunday that Trump was not considering military action against North Korea for now, even as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier strike group was heading for the region, Reuters reported. "The US military threat may bring a tough response from North Korea," Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. He noted that the military parade on Saturday and a possible nuclear test on April 24 or 25 might reflect North Korea's attitude. Yonhap News reported on Friday that North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the military's founding on April 25, "a possible occasion for a provocative act." "If North Korea launches a new round of nuclear tests, it will give the US an excuse to strike as well as condemnation from the international community and opposition from China and Russia," Lü said. "Pence's visit is also aimed at pacifying South Korea. South Koreans have been worried about a possible war when the US made military threats in response to North Korea's continuing nuclear tests," Liu said. On Monday, a plane that was supposed to leave Pyongyang at 8.30 am for Beijing was delayed 10 hours. An anonymous North Korean official who stayed with foreign media and visitors at the airport told the Global Times that more than 20 reporters were stuck at the airport and bad weather had delayed flights. The North Korean government invited the foreign press to cover the Day of the Sun, the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung. A Global Times reporter saw stranded passengers at the airport becoming nervous especially after the monitor displaying boarding information suddenly went blank at 4:40 pm. A Chinese Embassy official in Pyongyang told the Global Times flights are always delayed, and that there was no reason for concern. ^ top ^

' Trump says China 'working with us' on North Korean issue (SCMP)
2017-04-17
US President Donald Trump explained the decision to not label China a currency manipulator, which reversed a promise he made during the election campaign, as a function of receiving Beijing's help in reining in North Korea. “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Trump said in a tweet early Sunday to his 28 million followers. The comment was Trump's first in response to a failed missile test by North Korea overnight. Spending the weekend at his Florida estate, Trump also wished a “Happy Easter to everyone!” The US on Friday stopped short of branding China a currency manipulator in an annual foreign-currency report from the Treasury while urging the world's second-largest economy to let the yuan rise with market forces and embrace more trade. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Protesters stage sit-in to fight against offshoring (UB Post)
2017-04-19
The United Movement Against Offshore Account Holders is continuing their peaceful demonstration against politicians with offshore accounts with a sit-in at Sukhbaatar Square. The peaceful demonstration ended at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday, but a group of protesters decided to hold a sit-in since despite not receiving a permission to organize it. They declared that they have sent a formal letter to the Unite Nations as the state continued to ignore their plea to take action against offshoring, which they consider a violation of human rights. The letter requests the UN Secretary-General to have Mongolia enlisted as a country with “weak” anti-money laundering (AML) regime in the Financial Action Task Force list of Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories. They also sent copies of the letter to embassies of the USA, the UK, China, Germany, Russia, and Japan in Mongolia. The letter read, “Mongolia adopted a legislation on April 14, 2017 to protect the corrupted, trampling on the UN AML instrument and UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Lawmakers are trying to hide 17 billion USD in offshore accounts by transferring it to another account. Please pay attention to the possibility that the 17 billion USD could be laundered for international murder, terrorism, weapons trade, human trafficking and drug deals.” Besides MP S.Javkhlan, former Deputy Prime Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar and former MP S.Ganbaatar joined the peaceful demonstration last weekend. Head of the Association of Elderly People G.Baasan, famous writer T.Galsan and Head of the Mongolian People's Party N.Enkhbayar expressed their support for the movement against offshore account holders. On Tuesday, a 23-year-old man who was participating in the sit-in protest was sent to a hospital due to health reasons. ^ top ^

Three taxes to increase starting May 1 (gogo Mongolia)
2017-04-17
Parliament of Mongolia approved amendments to the 2017 State budget, with proposed tax increases last week in accordance with the Staff-Level Agreement between Mongolia and International Monetary Fund on Three-Year Extended Fund Facility. In regards, following tax increases will take effect on May 1, 2017. Majority or the 75-86 percent of vehicles registered in Mongolia are outdated and more than 10 years old, causing negative impacts on the environment and increasing amount of air pollution. Therefore, the tax rebate for hybrid vehicles, LPG-fueled vehicles, and electric vehicles is set to be decreased by 50 percent while excise taxes on vehicles will be increased depending on the engine capacity and aging. For instance, excise taxes on vehicles with engine size less than 4500 sm³ will be added by 3-15 percent and vehicles with engine size more than 4501 sm³ will be added by 40-250 percent. Thus, vehicle excise tax revenue expects to increase MNT 33.8 billion and reach MNT 57.3 billion. Interest income on personal savings accounts will be taxed from May 1, 2017. Previously, it was said to be imposed on only owners of savings more than MNT 100 million. However, it was decided to be applied to all owners of savings. Owners of savings will pay 10 percent of taxes on their interest income.
Thus, it expects to increase budget revenue as follows;
• MNT 43 billion in 2017,
• MNT 67 billion in 2018,
• MNT 70 billion in 2019.
Customs tax on imported tobacco is now at 5 percent. Minister of Finance noted that the customs tax on tobacco is lower than limits set by the World Trade Organization and it shall be increased up to 30 percent. Therefore, customs tax on all imported tobacco will be increased by 30 percent. Thus, it expects to increase state revenues approximately by MNT 20 billion in 2017, MNT 26 billion in 2018 and MNT 27 billion in 2019. ^ top ^

Politicians join the protest against offshore account holders (UB Post)
2017-04-17
The movement against politicians with offshore accounts is heating up in Mongolia as politicians have joined the protest movement. Last weekend, Member of Parliament S.Javkhlan, former Deputy Prime Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar, and former MP S.Ganbaatar showed up at Sukhbaatar Square, where a group of people had gathered to protest offshore account holders. “We want results from this demonstration. We didn't gather here to become a tool for some kind of political party. This is a civil fight!” said B.Batsaikhan, the head of the United Movement Against Offshorers, the group who organized the demonstration. B.Batsaikhan stated that the movement only wants the politicians who have been revealed to have offshore accounts to be held accountable and to retrieve public funds. He demanded that the state takes proper action on the matter, instead of simply approving amendments to the Law on Regulating and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest Among Public Officials, which has received criticism from MPs. “Parliament passed new amendments to the law in response to our movement. Unfortunately, even MPs have scrutinized it, and believe that it has turned out to be a very bad law,” B.Batsaikhan said. “Let's fight administrators who think it is ok to throw away Mongolia's gold,” MP S.Javkhlan stated. “The Mongolian state is in the hands of people with the wrong views and is shielding a group of people. Political parties should take the initiative to make their members with offshore accounts reveal their hidden assets before the presidential election. Government leaders, apologize to the public! Mr. President, veto poor policies! If you don't issue a veto, we'll assume that you support these incorrect policies.” The United Movement Against Offshorers announced that it would perform a sit-in on Sunday, but the protest was canceled due to rain. ^ top ^

 

Ms. Corinne Estermann
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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