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
  18-22.7.16, No. 631  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

DPRK

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Switzerland

Elbegdorj meets with ASEM guests
2016-07-15
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj met Friday with Johann Schneider-Ammann, his Swiss counterpart. He thanked him for participating in the 11th ASEM Summit here. The Swiss President congratulated Mongolia on making strides in hosting the ASEM Summit, and then pointed out that his country supports the Mongolian policy on neutrality. The Presidents welcomed the current state of bilateral traditional relations and cooperation favoring democracy and human rights. The same day, Elbegdorj met with U Htin Kyaw, the President of Myanmar. The leaders exchanged views on expanding the Mongolia-Myanmar relations and cooperation at the regional and international fora.  ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

PLA unveils new weapons for air and sea combat following Hague tribunal ruling (SCMP)
2016-07-22
The Southern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army unveiled a series of new weapons for sea and air combat during a visit by top military officers. In a rare revelation, the weapons were shown on state television in the wake of a landmark international tribunal rejecting Beijing's claims to almost all of the South China Sea. Military experts said the disclosure was intended to show that the newly formed Southern Theatre Command, which covers the South China Sea, was well-prepared for any potential military confrontation with the US. In an inspection tour after the ruling, General Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, which oversees the PLA, called on troops to train hard to meet any challenges, Xinhua reported on Tuesday. “Air and sea patrols should be tightly organised to handle all kinds of emergencies to ensure security of sea and air borders,” said Fan, who was accompanied by General Ma Xiaotian, commander of the PLA Air Force, and General Wei Fenghe, chief of the army's Rocket Force, which operates the country's missile arsenal. Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said Fan's visit indicated that the southern command could carry out joint combat operations of land, rocket, naval and air forces as well as other strategic support forces. “All the weapons showed on state media are defensive arms of short to medium range within 1,500km, meaning China so far is using restrained deterrence to warn the US not to challenge Beijing's bottom line in the South China Sea,” Li said. State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of troops in the southern theatre handling the DF-16 missile, which has a range up to 1,000km. The missile, which was first displayed on September 3 in a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war, could strike US military bases in Okinawa. Earlier reports said the southern theatre was equipped with DF-21Ds, or “carrier-killer” anti-ship ballistic missiles, which have a range of 1,450km. The CCTV footage also showed new H-6K bombers. A division of the jets has been deployed to the southern theatre to patrol Scarborough Shoal. ^ top ^

Global growth main agenda of G20 ministers' meeting this weekend (China Daily)
2016-07-22
Measures to boost global growth amid rising uncertainties will be the focus when G20 ministers meet this week in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Policy response to Brexit is expected to be one of key issues to be discussed during the meeting, as the referendum result would add long-term uncertainties to the faltering global economy, according to Lian Ping, chief economist with Bank of Communications. G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings, which are scheduled to be held in Chengdu, Sichuan province on Saturday and Sunday are the first minister-level financial meeting held after the British referendum. Central bankers and financial ministers are expected to reiterate the importance of providing sufficient liquidity to avoid market volatility, to support globalization of trade and investment, and to refrain from competitive devaluation, according to a report by China International Capital Corp (CICC) released earlier this week. The CICC report followed earlier argument made by Gerry Rice, director of Communications Department with International Monetary Fund, who stressed the importance of decisive policies at a news conference last week, and that there should be something we would expect the G-20 to be seized off in regard of potentially negative impact on growth for the global economy. G20 ministers have reached the agreement to enhance coordination of policy making and to inform one another of policy decisions that could lead to currency devaluation during the G20 meeting held in Shanghai in February. As for whether China would devalue the currency, the report said that China would not trigger the currency war to squash global demand that remains to be weak, despite short term depreciation pressure exists. Policy makers would stress the importance of structural reform, to use multiple tools to strengthen growth and to enhance financial sector reform, the report said. ^ top ^

China urges EU to end old anti-dumping probe method (China Daily)
2016-07-22
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has urged the European Union (EU) to terminate an old practice in anti-dumping investigations of Chinese products by the end of this year. The "surrogate system" adopted by the EU is set to expire in December, according to a protocol of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on China's accession 15 years ago, an MOC statement said on Thursday. All WTO members should abide by the protocol, regardless of their domestic standards or any other issues, including industrial overcapacity, said the statement. Under the current anti-dumping probe method, the EU uses costs of production in a third country to calculate the value of products from countries on its "non-market economy" list, which includes China. The practice allows the EU to easily levy high tariffs. The statement came after the European Commission held a second orientation debate on the treatment of China in anti-dumping investigations, considering the option to abolish the list and set up a new "country-neutral" method. China will closely watch the progress and assess the results, the statement said. ^ top ^

Pregnant wife and son of prominent Chinese dissident Zhao Changqing arrive in US (SCMP)
2016-07-21
The pregnant wife of a prominent Chinese dissident has arrived in the United States with their four-year-old son to live as refugees for at least a year, an activist said on Wednesday. Liu Xiaodong, 40, the wife of Zhao Changqing, arrived with the boy in the city of Hayward, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, on Tuesday from Bangkok. She was escorted by Yang Jianli, president of Initiatives for China/Citizen Power for China, a grassroots movement dedicated to a peaceful transition to democracy. Yang said Liu would live with supporters in Hayward and take care of her children. Her baby is due on August 23. “My husband is a political activist and fights for freedom and democracy, which puts him in the position of being the enemy of a totalitarian state,” Liu said on Wednesday. “We have seen that the government is likely to use the family as a hostage against activists like my husband. That's why we left and will be safe here.” Zhao, 47, has been a leading defender of human rights and democracy in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Student Movement. As a former student leader and a prominent political “prisoner of conscience”, he has been imprisoned five times in 27 years. Liu said her husband was released a week ago and was now living in China under heavy surveillance. She said she spoke to him while travelling and he was doing fine physically, but having difficulty finding a permanent home. She said he would stay in China to continue his work. In 2005, Zhao refused to participate in a flag-raising ceremony or sing the national anthem. He was put into solitary confinement for more than a month. He was later returned to solitary confinement for refusing to take part in military drills and for receiving Falun Gong members, according to published reports. Zhao was part of a loose network of grassroots activists known as the New Citizens Movement, who in 2013 were targeted by Chinese authorities as part of a broad crackdown on dissent. The movement was known in China's beleaguered community of activists for staging small protests to call for education equality or the disclosure of public officials' assets to curb corruption. Chinese authorities found Zhao and three other activists guilty of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public” for planning street protests and sentenced Zhao in April 2014 to two years and six months' imprisonment. His wife and son left China in May for Bangkok. She said she no longer felt safe in Thailand. “I knew the stories,” Liu said. “That's why I was anxious. I was afraid they'd kidnap me and take me back like they had done to other people.” ^ top ^

Brexit fears in and China worries out for G20 finance chiefs' meeting in Chengdu (SCMP)
2016-07-21
There has been a world of change since finance ministers and central bankers from the world's biggest 20 economies met in Shanghai in February. Aside from the failed coup in Turkey and the terror attack in Nice, Britain voted to leave the European Union, Japan raised the prospect of renewed easing, and banking risks stalked Italy. But the Chinese hosts of this weekend's meeting in Chengdu of G20 finance chiefs and central bankers, led by People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, would probably find it a bit easier to chair the talk-fest than they did five months ago, when fears about China growth and its currency were intense, analysts said. While the global economic outlook remains gloomy despite February's joint pledge by member countries to use fiscal, monetary and structural policies, China has been doing quite well. The International Monetary Fund revised down global growth forecasts but ticked up its China estimates. The gathering in Chengdu, an inland city best known for its spicy food and giant pandas, is expected to target ongoing economic issues in the global economy. At the top of the list would be the implications of Brexit for Britain, the European Union, and the rest of the world, said Scott Kennedy, a China project director at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies. The yuan fears that roiled global markets late last year and early this year “have largely fallen silent”, and concerns about massive capital outflows, stock market volatility and imminent financial crisis had ebbed, Kennedy said. Tim Condon, head of Asian research at ING in Singapore, said China was “off the radar screen” and Chinese officials could “get through this meeting without having to stand up to reassure the rest of the world that everything is OK in Beijing and China”. “At this point, especially after last week's [China second-quarter economic] data, most people are pretty comfortable about the China outlook,” Condon said. “People are not looking at China as a source of anxiety. People are looking at Europe, at Japan … at Brexit.” Despite lingering structural problems of overcapacity and debt, China reported 6.7 per cent growth for the second quarter, the same pace as in the first quarter. And while the Chinese currency has weakened against the US dollar by about 2.5 per cent since the February G20 meeting, there's little sign of panic. In fact, China's foreign exchange reserves grew last month. And the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday revised down economic growth forecasts for Britain, the United States and Japan this year, but it raised its growth forecast for China. Chengdu will be the first gathering of global finance chiefs since the shock Brexit vote a month ago, and the focus this time will be “implications and possible policy response” of the referendum, China International Capital Corp economists Yu Xiangrong and Liang Hong wrote in a research note. On the exchange rate front, the gathering was likely to underscore the previously agreed common policy of “no competitive devaluation”, they wrote. And, in light of the G20 summit in Hangzhou in September and the yuan's formal inclusion into the IMF's Special Drawing Rights basket in October, China was unlikely to permit any significant yuan depreciation to rock the boat. The G20 is an emerging platform for global governance but it has no binding power over its members and does not have a secretariat, making it hard to generate concrete action. Stephen Li Jen, managing partner at London-based research firm and hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners, said Brexit and associated risks, as well as the exhaustion of monetary policy easing might give some countries an “excuse” to be more aggressive on fiscal stimulus. “Because monetary policies are hitting the limits … there will likely be a general shift in focus back to fiscal stimulus,” Jen said. Even if there was a trend of more countries opting for stimulus, it did not change the fact that “the G20 is terrible at coordinating with each other”, he said. “The membership is simply too big and broad for genuine policy coordination,” Jen said. Louis Kuijs, head of Asia economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong, said Chengdu was worth watching for the light it might shed on “what should we expect from things like Brexit and what policy steps” should be taken. “It's still quite useful just to talk and explain as there's a lot of misunderstanding about economic policy and economic development in other countries … [Policymakers] still find it worth to actually attending such meetings because talking helps – even it doesn't lead to anything concrete,” Kuijs said. ^ top ^

China applauds as Britain adds ETIM to terror list (Xinhua)
2016-07-21
China on Thursday applauded Britain's ban on joining or supporting the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), after Britain listed ETIM as a terrorist organization. The Parliament of Britain on Friday added ETIM as an "Islamic terrorist and separatist organization" to the list of proscribed organizations. "China applauds Britain's updated terror list, which includes ETIM," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, adding that China welcomes a clearer understanding of the violent and terror nature and the actual harmfulness of ETIM by other countries, including Britain. Stressing that ETIM is generally recognized as a terrorist organization by the international community, Lu said terrorism is "the public enemy of all mankind, and anti-terrorism has no national boundaries." "China would like to work with all parties concerned, including Britain, to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation, fight international terrorism and jointly safeguard global and regional peace, as well as the security of people's lives and property," he added. ^ top ^

Cops detain 3 organizers of anti-KFC protests over S.China Sea ruling (Global Times)
2016-07-21
The public security bureau of Puyang, Central China's Henan Province, detained three protesters on Wednesday for illegally gathering outside two branches of KFC. According to an announcement posted on the bureau's Wechat account, 33-year-old Li, 36-year-old Yuan and 41-year-old Liu organized numerous netizens to protest on Tuesday outside KFC restaurants in the Lianhua mall and on Huanghe Road in Puyang and disturbed public order. The protesters carried banners reading "Support domestic products, love our country, boycott goods made in Japan, the US and South Korea," blocked the restaurant's doors and disturbed the normal business of the restaurants, read the announcement. Li received 15 days in detention, while Yuan and Liu will be detained for 13 days each, according to the Public Security Administration Punishments Law. Chinese police have been taking action to contain scattered protests calling for a boycott of US products, especially fast-food restaurants like KFC and McDonalds, as protests continued after an arbitration tribunal ruled against China's maritime claims in the South China Sea last week in a case filed by the Philippines. Dozens gathered outside a KFC in Qinhuangdao, North China's Hebei Province, on Tuesday, waving banners that said "Boycott the US, Japan and South Korea; Boycott KFC and McDonalds! Wake up fellow citizens," according to photos and videos uploaded on social media. Those protesters attacked a police officer who was trying to take away their banners, according to a report by news portal sohu.com. The mob shouted "Patriotism is not illegal" at him, the report said. Puyang public security bureau said in a separate statement released on Tuesday that it is illegal for residents to organize protests without first getting permission from the local public security bureau. The bureau also warned that patriotism is not a valid reason for breaking the law. ^ top ^

BRICS New Development Bank to explore 'expanded financing channels' (SCMP)
2016-07-21
Finance Minister Lou Jiwei on Wednesday called for the New Development Bank to explore new financing options, lure private capital and cut red tape in its first five-year plan to shore up the global clout of the infrastructure-focused lender established by BRICS nations. Expanding financing channels for the bank has been a recurring topic among the five member nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa during the lender's two-day first annual meeting in Shanghai, which ends today. “New financing channels shall be sought after, including attracting policy institutions, commercial banks, insurers and private capital through public-private partnership,” Lou said at the opening ceremony. He said BRICS nations faced difficulties attracting foreign capital in the challenging global economy and called for the bank to develop local-currency business to secure stable and low-cost capital. The lender raised 3 billion yuan (HK$3.5 billion) from a green bond issue in Shanghai on Tuesday, with subscriptions exceeding 9 billion yuan. The NDB, formerly called the BRICS Development Bank, officially started operations a year ago, with initial capital of US$50 billion, evenly contributed by the five member countries. It is one of the two policy banks, along with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, that are heavily backed by Beijing and are being pitched as alternatives to established global institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. But there have been mounting doubts about the bank's growth prospects since nearly all of the BRICS members are grappling with severe economic slowdown or recession. At a briefing on Wednesday, NDB president K.V. Kamath said the bank was weighing issuing more local currency bonds in coming years in member countries such as South Africa, India and Russia where there was rising demand. Xu Mingqi, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said on the sidelines of the meeting that private capital may not be as patient as governments in waiting for long-term returns on such large-sum projects. ^ top ^

China urges U.S. Republican Party to stop groundless charges (Xinhua)
2016-07-21
China on Wednesday urged the U.S. Republican Party to stop groundless accusations against China and interference in China's domestic affairs. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks when asked to comment on the 2016 platform adopted at the Republican National Convention on Monday, which contains accusations about China on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, trade and the South China Sea. "All political parties in the United States should view China's development in an objective and rational manner and correctly understand the issues that emerge in bilateral ties," Lu said. "We hope relevant parties stop their groundless accusations against China and interference in China's domestic affairs and contribute more to bilateral trust and cooperation," Lu said. Promoting stable growth of China-U.S. relations serves the interests of the two countries and the peace and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world, the spokesperson said, adding that "both sides should adhere to this right direction." ^ top ^

China airlifts its citizens evacuated from conflict-hit South Sudan to Beijing (Xinhua)
2016-07-20
Chinese government on Tuesday airlifted 25 of its citizens it evacuated over the weekend from the conflict-hit South Sudan back to Beijing for security and safety reasons. The citizens who were evacuated last Saturday from the capital, Juba to neighboring Uganda aboard a Special chartered plane sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Maj. Gen. Su Guanghui, acting director of the Peacekeeping Affairs Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials who had flown to Juba to handle the aftermath of the attack and killings of the peacekeepers evacuated the citizens. The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhao Yali oversaw the send off of its country citizens back to Beijing at Entebbe International Airport, about 40 kilometers, south of the capital, Kampala. The evacuation is part of the emergency measures the Chinese government is taking to protect its citizens in the recent fighting between government troops of President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar in Juba. A number of other countries and organizations, including the UN have evacuated some of their staff from the world's newest nation as part of security and safety measures following last week's fighting. Although a fragile ceasefire has held since last Monday, the UN has warned of the possibility of fresh fighting in Juba. The remains of two Chinese UN peacekeepers, Corporal Li Lei, 22 and Master Sergeant Yang Shupeng, 33 who were killed after a mortal shell hit the armored vehicle they were moving around the UN compound were lifted back on Tuesday. The UN estimates that at least 300 people were killed and over 10,000 fled their homes after the violence in Juba. ^ top ^

Philippines rejects conditional offer of talks from China on South China Sea dispute (SCMP)
2016-07-20
Manila has rejected Beijing's demand that it “disregards” an international tribunal's ruling over the South China Sea before the two sides can begin talks, the Philippines' top diplomat said. Although the two nations faced obstacles in resolving the dispute, they could take smaller steps, for example discussing fishing rights, experts said. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said he met Wang Yi, his Chinese counterpart, on the sidelines of a Asia-Europe summit in Mongolia last week. Wang asked Manila to disregard the ruling handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and begin talks, according to Yasay. “This is something I told him was not consistent with our constitution and our national interest,” he said in an interview with a Philippine TV station. In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry did not mention any preconditions for negotiations. “Promoting a return to dialogue... is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people,” the statement said. The tribunal ruled last week there was no legal basis for China's historic claims to the disputed waters. Beijing said it would ignore the ruling, but called for resolving the disputes through bilateral negotiations. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he wants to send a special envoy to Beijing for talks. Chito Sta Romana, president of the Manila-based Philippine Association for Chinese studies, said that despite the challenges facing the two nations, their representatives could still discuss other issues such as fishing rights. “There has been domestic pressure on both sides,” he said. “In the Philippines, there has been pressure for Duterte not to give up the tribunal ruling.” Duterte is scheduled to hold a national security meeting next week where the implications of the ruling would be discussed. He was also expected to lay out Manila's negotiation strategy, Romana said. Zhang Mingliang, a Southeast Asian affairs expert at Jinan University, said resuming talks was possible in the long run as both nations had expressed willingness to improve relations. “It is understandable that the Philippines will not give up on the ruling, which is highly favourable to its claims,” he said. “ A drastic improvement in bilateral relations is not likely at this stage as both sides are exploring the other's bottom line and the different options.” The People's Liberation Army is stepping up military drills in the disputed waters, while there have been calls by some members of the mainland public for economic retaliation. But Gao Yan, deputy minister of commerce, said China had not boycotted any Philippine products and trade relations between the two sides had remained steady over the past year. ^ top ^

China offers Philippines chance to discuss ruling, spokesman says (China Daily)
2016-07-20
Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Philippine counterpart during the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Ulaanbaatar that China is willing to talk in an "unofficial engagement", Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed on Tuesday. "Foreign Minister Wang Yi elaborated on China's principled position on the current situation, saying that China would like to work in unison with the Philippines if the new Philippine government is willing to resume dialogue and consultation, manage disputes and improve bilateral relations together with China," Lu said. Wang "underscored that it is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people to move China-Philippines relations back to the track of dialogue and consultation," Lu said. The remarks came after Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said on Tuesday direct talks with China over maritime disputes were unlikely to start anytime soon due to Beijing's refusal to accept the tribunal ruling on the South China Sea. "At this point in time, I am not sure whether negotiations can be pursued," Yasay said in an interview with the ABS-CBN network. Beijing has said it was the first to have discovered, named and exploited the sea and has refused to take part in the tribunal ruling process. Last week Beijing rejected the ruling on the arbitration case unilaterally brought by the Philippines and said the tribunal ruling cannot be the basis of any discussions. Yasay said he discussed possibilities of bilateral talks with Wang on the sidelines of last weekend's Asia-Europe meeting in Mongolia but made no progress. "Let the dust settle some more and let's see how we can open up the road for this kind of negotiation." Yasay said he was still hopeful both countries could find a way to resolve disputes. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said last week that he would send former president Fidel Ramos to China to start talks on the ruling. But it remains unknown if Ramos would accept or when, if he did, he would be dispatched. Xu Liping, a senior research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Manila still needs time to calm nationalist sentiment stirred up by the ruling before starting negotiations on the territorial dispute. “After the arbitration case, the new Filipino government has to seek balance among the opposition, pressure from the US and Japan and the public view," Xu said. "Personally, based on Duterte's recent remarks, I'm cautiously confident about the future of bilateral talks," Xu said. He said the start of talks, regardless of the progress, will send a strong signal of stability to the global community. Despite the "nationalist sentiments" in the Philippines, as Xu noted, there are also voices in Manila revealing the background behind the ruling. Francisco Tatad wrote in a column carried by The Manila Times on July 17 that he "doesn't believe the Aquino government (the previous government before Duterte assumed office in June) was candid enough about everything the public needed to know about the arbitration process". "For one, contrary to what the public has been led to believe, the Permanent Court of Arbitration is not a real court but a mere provider of dispute resolution services to the international community; an intergovernmental organization which began in 1899, but it is not an organ or institution of the United Nations, which was founded only in 1945," he wrote. He noted "the government also never told the public how much the arbitration would cost Philippine taxpayers". On lawyer's fees alone, the Philippine government has spent $30 million. ^ top ^

Police warn of illegal protests against US brands amid sea spat (Global Times)
2016-07-20
Local police have been taking action to contain scattered protests in China calling for a boycott of US products, especially fast-food restaurants like KFC, as protests continued Tuesday after an international arbitration court ruled against China's maritime claims last week. Dozens of people gathered outside a KFC restaurant in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province on Tuesday, flashing banners that said "Boycott the US, Japan and South Korea; Boycott KFC and McDonalds! Wake up fellows," according to photos and videos uploaded online. The protesters attacked a police officer who was trying to take away the banners, according to a report by news portal sohu.com. The mob shouted "Patriotism is not illegal," the report said. There is no information about whether any arrests were made after the officer was pushed and elbowed away. This was one of a dozen protests in China following The Hague arbitration tribunal's ruling that favored the Philippines in the South China Sea territorial disputes. The US and Japan are believed to be behind the drama, while a joint US-South Korean decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system in the Korean Peninsula has added fuel to the public anger in China. Local police have started to warn people not to use radical and illegal ways to boycott foreign brands and products after protests broke out in at least a dozen cities and counties, including Changsha in Hunan Province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province and Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province. The scale of the protests is far smaller than those that took place in late 2012 when tens of thousands of angry people took to the streets in dozens of Chinese cities to protest the "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, after which Sino-Japanese ties hit a new low. Some protesters lost control, smashing Japanese-brand cars and even injuring the Chinese drivers. The protests over the last few days mainly targeted KFC branches, although it is not known why they were singled out. In many cases, only dozens of people were involved, and more protests occurred in smaller cities like Laoting in Hebei Province. Many local police started to use social media platforms like Sina Weibo and WeChat to warn about irrational and illegal protests against foreign brands. The public security bureau in Siyang, a county in Suqian, Jiangsu Province, said on its official Weibo account that "patriotism is positive but don't spread your anger in our own territory." Li Guangchun, a police officer from the Siyang public security bureau, told the Global Times that they posted the warning on Weibo to prevent people from using illegal and radical ways to express their patriotic emotions. "Many people are sharing misleading information and urging people to use radical measures to boycott foreign brands on WeChat and Weibo, but there have been no protests in Siyang so far," Li said. One blogger tried to use the wave of patriotism to further his fame, reported news website Guancha. After entering a KFC restaurant, he swore at people, pretending to be a patriot, but, said the website, it was found that previously he had resorted to cheap stunts to attract attention. Some people have called for a boycott of Philippine products, such as mangos, but the online patriotic calls have not been translated into action on larger trading and business relationships. Gao Yan, deputy minister from the Ministry of Commerce, said Tuesday at a press conference in Beijing that the online boycott of Philippine products never happened. She added that trade between China and the Philippines is stable and China is looking forward to deeper cooperation with all ASEAN countries, including the Philippines. ^ top ^

China-ASEAN ties not to be affected by South China Sea issue (Xinhua)
2016-07-18
The South China Sea issue and the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China were hyped up by some international media in attempts to drive a wedge between China and its neighbors in Southeast Asia. However, many experts from China and Southeast Asian countries believe that relations and cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has huge potential, and will not be affected by a single issue like the South China Sea. China and ASEAN countries are neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, and win-win cooperation is the mainstream of their relationship, Zhao Qizheng, former minister of the State Council Information Office of China, said on Monday. Zhao's opening remarks at a think tank seminar on South China Sea and regional cooperation and development in Singapore were widely echoed by the participating experts from both China and Southeast Asian nations. "China and ASEAN have a strategic partnership that has immense potential. This partnership is not - and should not - be defined by a single issue like the South China Sea," said Shahriman Lockman, a senior analyst at Malaysia's Institute of Strategic and International Studies. "Instead, we need to be mindful of the bigger picture: growing trade and investment links, greater cooperation between our political and security institutions, and deeper understanding between our peoples," he told Xinhua. Quoting a Chinese idiom which calls for taking the big picture into consideration and working for the benefit of all, Shahriman said this great wisdom should continue to guide the relations between China and ASEAN. This year marks the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. Two-way trade has grown from less than 10 billion US dollars in 1991 to nearly 500 billion US dollars, bringing tangible benefits to the people of all countries in the region. In 2015, China-ASEAN trade reached 472 billion US aollars with China-ASEAN two-way investment amounting to more than 156 billion US dollars. The two sides are targeting bilateral trade at 1 trillion US dollars and investment 150 billion US dollars respectively by 2020. "Stability, development, security and the improvement of people's livelihood are common quest of China and ASEAN," said Li Guoqiang, deputy director of Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointing out the practical need and huge potential of further development of the relationship. "Will such relationship be interrupted by the South China Sea issue? The answer is 'No'," he said. China and ASEAN countries have demonstrated their commitment and ability to jointly maintain the peace, security and stability in the South China Sea without outside intervention, experts said. "During past ASEAN meetings, we could notice that China and ASEAN had good consultations and communications regarding to the South China Sea with many consensus reached," said Li of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Among these was the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed in 2002, and they were steadily pushing forward consultations on the Code of Conduct, he said. "All these demonstrate that China and ASEAN have channels and mechanisms to solve disputes and problems, and seek approaches and effective rules to safeguard the peace and security in the South China Sea," he said. ASEAN foreign ministers will meet their counterparts from dialogue partners, including China later this month. In September, a summit marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations will be held in Laos where leaders from China and 10 ASEAN members will meet. "ASEAN and China should use these opportunities to demonstrate to the rest of the world that, as Asian nations, we are able to have a diversity of views and also able to calmly and maturely manage our differences," said Shahriman. "We should see this as an opportunity to have a new beginning in our relationship, which has benefitted both sides so immensely over the past 25 years." Meanwhile, many experts agree that peaceful negotiations remain the best way to solve disputes in the South China Sea and the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines has increased tensions in the region. "There's no doubt that dialogue, negotiation and consultation remain the best way to solve the disputes," said Li Mingjiang of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore Nanyang Technological University. "Many cases and practices in international relations have proved that negotiations and consultations are more effective and pragmatic approaches," he said. China said the ad hoc arbitral tribunal has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, so the award rendered by it is null and void with no binding force. As pointed out by Zhao in a pool interview, many people in the Philippines have begun to question the decision to unilaterally initiate the arbitration against China. Following a series of positive signals in a bid to mend the soured relations with China, newly-inaugurated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said last week that he was asking former president Fidel Ramos to help start talks with China over disputes in the South China Sea. Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow with S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said China and the Philippines could set an example in solving disputes if the two sides resume talks and reach concrete agreements. "Others will follow suit as no one wants to increase tension over the South China Sea," he said. ^ top ^

EU's statement on South China Sea reflects divisions (SCMP)
2016-07-16
The European Union issued a statement on Friday noting China's legal defeat over the South China Sea but avoided direct reference to Beijing, reflecting discord among EU governments over how strongly to respond to the court ruling. While the European Union is neutral in China's dispute with its Asian neighbours in the South China Sea, Britain, France and Germany want to make clear that Beijing must uphold international law as it seeks a bigger global role. But speaking with one European voice has become difficult as some smaller governments, including Hungary and Greece, rely on Chinese investment and are unwilling to criticise Beijing despite its militarisation of South China Sea islands. Croatia and Slovenia have their own maritime dispute and are worried about setting precedents by coming out too strongly in favour or against the court in The Hague that ruled on the South China Sea case, the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In the statement of all 28 EU governments, the bloc acknowledged Tuesday's ruling in The Hague and said it was “committed to maintaining a legal order of the seas and oceans.” After three days of difficult talks in Brussels to reach a common position, the European Union said all sides should resolve the maritime dispute “through peaceful means, to clarify their claims and pursue them in respect and in accordance with international law.” EU governments said they supported a “swift conclusion” on talks for a so-called code of conduct for the South China Sea. “It is not easy to speak with one voice,” said a senior EU diplomat. “We have no issue with a peaceful settlement, but the way we phrase the statement is very sensitive.” ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Home churches in Hangzhou shut down ahead of G20 summit (Global Times)
2016-07-22
The city government of Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province has begun to ban large-scale religious activities to safeguard security for the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit. According to a statement published on a website affiliated with the government of Hangzhou's Xiaoshan district on July 15, all religious activities sites in the town of Jinhua are banned from holding large-scale activities from July 1 to September 9 - shortly after the G20 summit - in order to create a safe environment for the meeting. The statement also said that minors are also not allowed to participate in any religious activities. There are 13 religious sites in Jinhua township: eight Buddhist sites and five Christian sites. However, a pastor from a home church in Zhejiang told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that several home churches in the area have been shut down by the local government. "During their preparations for the G20 summit, all houses and offices are required to register with the government and report how many people are living in the residence and for what purpose," said the pastor. He added that because home church members usually gather in office buildings not registered as religious sites, local police shut down the churches after receiving tip-offs. He said that the local government has known of the churches' existence for years and that their shutdown is mainly due to the G20 summit, because they are "not registered and illegal." China's Regulation on Religious Affairs stipulates that citizens' collective religious activities shall be held in registered religious sites and organized by the site or a religious body. On Wednesday, a government official in Huaqiu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province denied a Voice of America report claiming that the local government forced Christian residents to leave home churches by forbidding their children to take the national college entrance examinations, or gaokao. ^ top ^

Chinese internet giant Tencent disciplined over 'furious' Xi headline error (SCMP)
2016-07-21
The online news department of mainland internet giant Tencent has been disciplined over an error in a headline referring to President Xi Jinping, three sources confirmed on Thursday. Instead of saying Xi “delivered an important speech” on the Communist Party's 95th anniversary on July 1, the headline said Xi gave “an important speech in a furious manner”. The characters have similar pronunciation and the switch was believed to be the result of a computer input error. Sources said oversight of the news department would be changed from the Cyberspace Administration of China's branch in Shenzhen to its operations in Beijing, which have responsibility for monitoring most of the mainland's national news portals. The news site's broad reach prompted propaganda authorities to launch an investigation into the mix-up, triggering a series of emergency meetings at the technology company. The fate of the news department's chief editor, Wang Yongzhi, was unclear. Editor at liberal Chinese newspaper fired over Xi front page (When contacted by the South China Morning Post yesterday, Wang, a veteran mainland journalist with extensive experience in news including time at state news agency Xinhua, said only that Tencent's operations were running as usual. “Everything is normal here. [The department] is working in accordance with the nation's laws,” Wang said. He refused to say if he had been sacked or to comment further about the incident. Tencent did not reply to requests for comment. Investigators also told Tencent to remove articles containing “inappropriate descriptions” of former state leaders in a section dedicated to Communist Party history on Tiantian Kuaibao, a Tencent mobile news app. The authorities could ban the app if adequate changes were not made, according to a source. Another major online news portal, Ifeng.com, was also under fire, accused of publishing inaccurate reports and misleading news headlines, according to The Beijing News. The report said cyberspace authorities in Beijing had imposed administrative punishment on the site but there were no details about the penalties. An administration spokesman said Ifeng.com made a number of major blunders in news reporting, including publishing fake news stories and misleading news headlines that had an adverse social impact, according to the report. Ifeng.com was one of the most influential online news portals and therefore should take responsibility to comply with cyberspace regulations, the spokesman was quoted as saying. The administration reviewed six cases of irregularities against Ifeng.com in the first half of this year, the report said. ^ top ^

Chinese police net thousands in crackdown on phone, online scams (SCMP)
2016-07-21
Chinese authorities arrested more than double the number of suspected phone and internet con men in the first half of the year compared to a year earlier amid a national crackdown on the crimes. Police cleared about 57,000 scam cases and arrested 28,000 people, according to the Ministry of Public Security website. In addition, more than 370,000 bank accounts and 350,000 telephone numbers used in the scams were closed. The ministry said a major focus over the last three months had been illegal leaks of personal data online, now rampant across the country. Widespread online leaks of personal information in China prompt new data collection laws( Earlier this month, nearly 300 HIV/Aids patients reported to a domestic NGO that they received phone calls from people offering them thousands of yuan in subsidies in return for payment of “commissions”. The callers had extensive knowledge of the patients' personal information. The national disease control and prevention authority reported the case to police. Vice-Minister of Public Security Li Wei urged officers to press on with the crackdown and improve their capacity to bust overseas-based rings. Chinese police should expand cooperation with foreign counterparts and organise more crackdowns overseas, Li said. He also said provincial-level police authorities should send investigators to rural hot spots home to a high number of people involved in the fraudulent activities. Numerous cases involving the infringement of people's personal information had occurred despite the strengthened police focus on such crimes, the ministry said. Criminals not only accessed people's identity numbers, telephone numbers and home addresses, but also obtained their internet accounts and passwords, bank accounts and passwords, shopping records and driving records. A “black” industry chain had formed starting with those who sourced the personal details, through middlemen to those who used the information fraudulently, the ministry said. Leaks of such personal information by employees at some government departments, service organisations and private companies had become less common, the ministry website said. Instead, criminals were using hi-tech means such as phishing websites or e-mails, which tricked people into sharing their personal information, computer viruses, and setting up free Wifi sites and mobile apps to get access to personal information. ^ top ^

Outspoken liberal Chinese magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu threatens to sue state organisation over editorial appointments (SCMP)
2016-07-21
The outspoken Chinese political journal Yanhuang Chunqiu has threatened to sue the Chinese National Academy of Arts, which was assigned to oversee the flagship magazine, if it refuses to withdraw the group of newsroom staff it appointed. The move comes after the 25-year-old monthly Beijing magazine stopped publication on Sunday following a July 13 reshuffle of top management that included the sacking of long-time publisher Du Daozheng. The influential journal, which has had a monthly circulation of nearly 200,000, has voiced support for constitutional democracy. A legal letter sent by two Beijing-based lawyers Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui on behalf of the magazine to the president of the academy on Tuesday said: “In the hope of safeguarding the legal interests of Yanhuang Chunqiu, we will follow all legal measures... if the academy fails to take measures to stem the deteriorating and additional economic losses [triggered by its decision]. Mo and Ding called on the academy to resume normal working practices at Yanhuang Chunqiu by removing all the newsroom staff it appointed before returning control of its official website to editorial staff. The legal letter also accused the academy of violating a legally binding agreement reached between the academy and Yanhuang Chunqiu in mid-December, 2014. This agreement underscored the autonomy of the journal in terms of its editorial decisions, human resources and finance, as long as it complied with the constitution of the country. The end to the publication of the magazine – which had also been known to contest the official version of Communist Party history – came after the academy, affiliated to the Ministry of Culture, announced that Du, 92, had been sacked and its chief editor, Xu Qingquan, demoted. At the time that Du, who was also the magazine's founder, announced its closure, he said that the normal editing process had faced severe interference from the academy-appointed staff, resulting in it not being able to publish its forthcoming August edition. The academy appointed a deputy chief of the academy to replace Du, while a number of senior management personnel at the magazine, including Xu, were either demoted or fired without the prior approval of the magazine's editorial committee. The magazine has had widespread support from liberal-minded reformists and intellectuals within the party. ^ top ^

42 dead, 74 missing in central, north China storms (Global Times)
2016-07-21
Rainstorms have caused severe disruptions across north and central China since Wednesday morning, causing casualties, traffic chaos and the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. Torrential rain in north China's Hebei Province since Wednesday morning has left 30 people dead and 68 missing, according to the provincial civil affairs department on Thursday. About 163,900 people have been forced to leave their homes. The department has received reports of floods and landslides damaging more than 47,713 houses and 354,600 hectares of crops, causing traffic chaos, power outages and wreaking havoc with communications. As of Thursday noon, direct economic losses from the rain-triggered disaster reached 4.75 billion yuan(711 million US dollars). Relief supplies including tents, quilts and clothing have been distributed in the worst-hit cities including Handan, Xingtai and the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang. In neighboring Henan Province, 12 people were confirmed dead with six unaccounted for, the provincial flood control headquarters said. Storms forced the evacuation of 105,000 people, levelled 2,110 homes and damaged 20,720 hectares of crops. The extreme weather caused two dikes to collapse in the city of Anyang on Wednesday. Soldiers and rescue workers are attempting to close the breach. The direct economic losses in Henan are estimated at 477 million yuan. The National Commission for Disaster Relief and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have sent staff to assist the relief work. ^ top ^

Sichuan official denies forbidding Christian residents' children to take gaokao (Global Times)
2016-07-21
A local government official in Huaqiu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province denied forcing Christian residents to leave home churches by forbidding their children to take the national college entrance examinations, or gaokao. "We have not banned any Christians from participating in any activities," an official who asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday, adding that the local government respects all citizens' freedom of religion as long as they follow the rules. However, the official said that national law bans minors from participating in any religious activities. According to the Voice of America (VOA) report on Tuesday, the township government informed Christians of a local home church to leave the churches and join the State controlled Three-Self Church by threatening to prevent their children and grandchildren from taking the gaokao. "Getting Christians residents to gather in the branch of the Three-Self Church will help the government better manage these religious people," a staff member at the local Three-Self Church told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. A home church leader surnamed Mou told VOA that the local government had banned Christians from gathering in private and had prohibited students and minors from joining the churches and participating in religious activities. Local schools received a notice from the government explaining the threat, and students who refuse to sign it are banned from taking the gaokao, Mou added. However, a faculty member at a local high school told the Global Times on Wednesday that they did not receive any notice from the government and have not banned any students from attending the gaokao. A church member surnamed Mou told VOA that one member had to leave his church because he has a grandson who is about to go to college. Home churches are unregistered, and are not officially recognized religious groups. They do not have fixed venues for their religious activities, but instead gather in members' homes or other private locations, Liu Peng, director of the Pushi Institute for Social Science and a researcher at the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. According to the White Paper on Freedom of Religious Belief in China issued by the State Council in 2014, China has over 100 million religious believers, 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 3,000 religious organizations and 74 religious schools or colleges for training clerical personnel. ^ top ^

China plans bureau for immigration, report says (China Daily)
2016-07-20
Move by ministry would smooth process for high-end foreign talent, according to experts China is planning to set up its first immigration office under the Ministry of Public Security before the end of the year. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the office would be created by merging and expanding the ministry's border control and entry-exit administration bureaus, quoting a source it said had knowledge of the plans. Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, who doubles as a State Councilor, disclosed the plan earlier this year at an internal meeting about a wider overhaul of domestic security services, the report said. Another insider confirmed the existence of a plan but told China Daily that there are no details yet. This insider said it was not clear whether there would be an intergovernmental organization to deal with immigration affairs. The idea of an office specializing in immigration is the latest sign signaling the importance of foreign talent recruitment in China, as President Xi Jinping seeks overseas talent to help drive the transition to an economy led by consumer spending and innovation. China plans bureau for immigration, report says The central government released a document on foreigners' permanent residency in February that said it "will further improve the organizational setting and the delegation of responsibility of immigration affairs, and place the functions of drafting permanent residency policies, review, approval and daily service under a single agency". Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, said it's a good time for China to establish an immigration bureau. "Foreign talent is important to help promote innovation and the setting up of new businesses. In the United States, one-third of patent holders, nearly half the founders or co-founders of its top 50 listed corporations and nearly half its doctoral degree holders in science and engineering are immigrants," Wang said. About 600,000 foreigners work in China, a tiny proportion of the country's 1.3 billion people. By contrast, in major international cities, immigrants account for 20 to 80 percent of the population, according to the International Organization for Migration. Wang said an immigration bureau should integrate responsibilities that are now scattered throughout many government departments. "With such a bureau, the government would be able to enhance its work efficiency and provide better services to foreigners residing in China," Wang said. "The bureau would also help China better deal with illegal immigrants, maintain good public order and better protect the interests of legal immigrants," he said. ^ top ^

Prison opens new ward for inmates with HIV, AIDS (Global Times)
2016-07-20
Authorities at a Shanghai prison on Monday established the municipality's first separate ward for prisoners suffering from HIV/AIDS in the wake of the growth in the number of HIV-positive inmates in the past decade. The ward at the prison in Shanghai's Qingpu district can hold 220 prisoners, news site thepaper.cn reported. HIV-positive inmates and those suffering from AIDS can continue to receive treatment in the ward, said the report. Warden Wang Weidong noted that guards will also monitor the ward with 24-hour camera surveillance to prevent disease transmission between prisoners. The number of HIV-positive prisoners in the prison each year increased tenfold from just over 10 in 2005 to 117 in 2016. All of them were previously housed among the prison's general population. The first HIV-positive prisoner in China, a 25-year-old man surnamed Liu, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in Central China's Hubei Province in 2003, news site cjn.cn reported in 2008. After being held in isolation at a clinic in Wuhan for one year, Liu was transferred to Shayang's Guanghua Prison, which established a separate cell for HIV-positive prisoners in June 2005. ^ top ^

Documents from reformist icon Zhao Ziyang give rare insight into China at crossroads (SCMP)
2016-07-19
A Hong Kong publisher will release hundreds of documents about Zhao Ziyang, the late reformist icon of the Communist Party, shedding new light on China's stillborn democratic movement of the 1980s. Most of the documents have never been made public, according to Chinese University Press, which is publishing the four-volume Collected Works of Zhao Ziyang, 1980 – 1989 on Wednesday. The books gather more than 2,000 pages of his internal speeches and letters. Zhao, who became premier in 1980 and the party's general secretary in 1987, was considered the mastermind behind an ambitious blueprint for democratic reform that called for separating the party and the state. He was purged from the party after the failed 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising and spent the rest of his life under virtual house arrest. He died in 2005. Zhao was in 1986 tasked with implementing the political reforms of late leader Deng Xiaoping. They were concerned that power in the country had become overly concentrated, and wanted the role of the party in the daily operation of the state reduced. When drafting the overhaul plan, which was released the following year, Zhao went further to argue that competitive elections should be further expanded in the party, and extended to the top executive and legislative bodies at the provincial level. The national legislature should also be strengthened, he said. “Competitive elections need to be brought to the provincial level. What's wrong with electing governors, deputy governors, directors and deputy directors of provincial legislatures?” Zhao said in one internal discussion session in 1987 on expanding small internal elections, according to the books. “Past elections are elections with no choice. It's hard to say it's real democracy.” The volumes were compiled and edited by people who had worked closely with Zhao, according to Chinese University Press. Its director, Gan Qi, said the documents were submitted by members of the Zhao family. Researchers and China watchers welcomed the release of the volumes. “The book contains a lot of details which I find highly valuable as a researcher on Chinese politics, including Zhao's speeches at discussion sessions on political reform,” said Wu Wei, a former researcher with the party's Central Committee who was heavily involved in drafting the blueprint for reforms. Wu however voiced regret over the omission of several key speeches by Zhao before his downfall, including one he made on May 19, 1989, when he visited student protesters in Tiananmen Square who were on a hunger strike. According to David Shambaugh, a political science professor at George Washington University who has written extensively about China, the books' chief value lay in restoring Zhao's reputation. “Since Zhao was purged in 1989, the Chinese government has tried to obscure or ignore his many contributions to China's reforms during the 1980s – but this... goes far to filling in the historical record.” ^ top ^

Outspoken liberal Chinese magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu stops publication after management purge (SCMP)
2016-07-19
An outspoken mainland liberal political magazine has stopped publication following a reshuffle of top management last week, according to a notice signed by its sacked publisher. The decision announced by long-time Yanhuang Chunqiu publisher Du Daozheng reflected less tolerance in the establishment for reformers and liberals, a former editor of the magazine said. In a statement dated Sunday, Du said the magazine's editorial staff made the decision after a series of sackings and demotions initiated by the cultural ministry academy overseeing the journal. “Anybody who publishes any periodicals with the title of Yanhuang Chunqiu will be nothing to do with [the current editorial committee],” the statement said. The influential journal has a monthly circulation of about 200,000 and voiced support for constitutional democracy. It is also known for running articles that contest the official version of Communist Party history. It has had the backing of various retired senior party and government officials but came under pressure from the authorities in recent years to soften its editorial stance. “The mindset of domestic intellectuals may change [as a result of stopping publication],” former Yanhuang Chunqiu executive editor Hong Zhenkuai said. “The magazine represented reformists within the party and liberals within the establishment. “One of its key positions was to urge the party to advance political reform.” The magazine was founded by reform-minded party veterans in 1991 and the announcement of the end of its publication came just days after the Chinese National Academy of Arts revealed it had sacked Du, 92, and demoted its chief editor, Xu Qingquan. The statement signed by Du also accused the academy of unilaterally abandoning an agreement with the magazine's editorial staff, violating freedom of publication. The statement also said the editorial staff lost control over the magazine's official website after academy staff “burst into the newsroom” and changed the website's password. ^ top ^

Major State media oppose 'irrational patriotism' online (Global Times)
2016-07-19
China's mainstream media such as State-owned Xinhua News Agency and the Party's flagship newspaper People's Daily have begun to criticize a recent outpouring of "irrational patriotism" on social media. Since the ruling in the South China Sea arbitration was announced, China's Internet has been flooded with patriotic posts, and numerous public figures have declared their wholehearted support for the country on social media platforms Sina Weibo and WeChat. But meanwhile, other Net users have leveled false accusations against public figures and have started to mislead people into blindly boycotting foreign products and brands such as Philippine bananas, iPhones and KFC. For instance, many netizens launched a protest against Zhao Wei, a mainland actress and film director who recruited actor and alleged Taiwan separatist Leon Dai to star in her new movie. In a viral post, one Weibo blogger accused Zhao of having deep connections to powerful figures who were trying to manipulate public opinion by deleting posts against her. However, the blogger later admitted the accusations were groundless. Xia Ke Dao, a WeChat account related to People's Daily, commented Monday that Net users should not "use the name of patriotism falsely against our own people" and cautioned Chinese citizens not to be fooled by conspiracy theories. Xinhua also published an article on Monday calling on citizens to "be patriotic, but don't be blinded," after many people pledged to boycott iPhones based on misleading information. He Lingnan, deputy chief of the big data and communications lab at Sun Yat-sen University in South China's Guangdong Province, said that irrational patriotism reflects the explosive development of the Internet in China. "Many undereducated and elderly people have gotten involved in online discussions. However, these people are really susceptible to rumors or conspiracy theories, and their love for the country is often manipulated," said He. Zhang Weiwei, dean of the China Institute at Shanghai's Fudan University, said that mainstream Chinese patriotism is healthy and rational, and we should not take outlying individual cases too seriously. Zhang added that although both China and the US have irrational patriotism, China's policymakers are not pushed by irrational voices into making aggressive decisions, unlike when irrational American patriotism led the US into unnecessary war after the 9/11 attacks. ^ top ^

388 HIV patients' personal information allegedly leaked (Global Times)
2016-07-19
China's health authorities have filed reports with police after the personal information of at least 388 Chinese people living with HIV was allegedly leaked. According to an announcement on the official website of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday, they have received tip-offs from many HIV-positive persons saying that they received several scam calls from people posing as governmental officials and suspected that their personal information had been divulged. The center said it has alerted police and encrypted the information because it is illegal to disclose the personal information - including the names, addresses and names of family members - of people living with HIV without their permission. "A total of 388 persons have received scam calls in 31 provinces as of 4 pm [Monday]," Bai Hua, the head of Baihualin National Alliance, a nongovernmental organization that aims to provide assistance to people living with HIV, told the Global Times. A total of four people have been defrauded of between 700 yuan ($104) and 6,700 yuan by the fraudulent officials, who promised the patients that they would receive 6,800 yuan in subsidies after paying an initial commission charge, Bai said. "Some HIV-positive persons told me that the scammers knew their names, addresses, the time when they were diagnosed, even the special disease control center and the doctors who prescribed them medicines," said Bai, adding that the leak not only threatens patients' personal lives, but also damages trust between health authorities and patients. According to a press release issued Monday by the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, the apparent leak of patients' personal information is a violation of the fundamental right to patient confidentiality. The confidentiality of the personal and health information of anyone seeking HIV or other medical services must be safeguarded, the release said. It added that the right to confidentiality of personal information is especially important in the HIV response, because fear of lack of confidentiality can deter people from getting tested for HIV and from accessing both HIV treatment and prevention services. By the end of 2013, 810,000 people in China had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, according to the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention. ^ top ^

Typhoon Nepartak leaves 83 dead, 19 missing in E. Chinese city (Global Times)
2016-07-18
Typhoon Nepartak has left 83 people dead and 19 missing in Fuzhou, capital of east China's Fujian Province as of Sunday noon, provincial authorities said. The worst-hit Minqing County in Fuzhou has reported 73 deaths, with another 17 still missing. Typhoon Nepartak, the first to hit this year, made landfall in Fujian Province on July 9. ^ top ^

China to prosecute prominent rights lawyer and legal assistant on subversion charges (SCMP)
2016-07-16
Two employees at a law firm at the centre of a nationwide campaign against rights activists have been charged with “subversion of the state”, according to the prosecutors' office in Tianjin. Zhou Shifeng, 52, director of the Beijing-based Fengrui law firm, and Zhai Yanmin, a legal assistant who worked under him, were charged with subversion by the Tianjin No 2 People's Procuratorate, it said on its official social media account. Along with Zhou and Zhai, rights activists Hu Shigen and Gou Hongguo had also been prosecuted for the same charge, it added. The announcement came one year after an unprecedented crackdown on human rights lawyer and activists, which saw about 300 people questioned, harassed or detained by police. Nearly two dozen remain in detention and face charges, including subversion and inciting subversion. Rights groups say the activists are being targeted for organising protests and social media campaigns to raise awareness of legal rights and hot-button social issues. Fengrui law firm, which focuses on politically sensitive cases, saw more than 10 lawyers and assistants detained. Many of the detained have not been prosecuted. It was not clear who was representing Zhou. Shang Baojun, another rights lawyer, said Zhou's previous legal team had all been replaced by government-appointed lawyers. “To be honest, we don't know anything more than you do about his case,” Shang said. A court date could be months away, according to mainland law. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing issues orange alert for heavy rain, train, flights delayed (China Daily)
2016-07-20
Beijing's Meteorological Center raised its yellow alert for heavy rain to orange on Wednesday, advising against nonessential travel and to be wary of landslides in mountainous regions. The rain will last till late Wednesday night, and some parts of the city will also experience rainstorms, according to the center. The center issued a blue alert on Tuesday. From 1 am on Tuesday to 8 am on Wednesday, the average precipitation across the city reached 47.3 millimeters, and the urban area recorded the precipitation of 51.0 millimeters, the center said. Heavy rain has delayed some train service and around 200 flights have been postponed or suspended in Beijing. The National Meteorological Center raised its storm alert from yellow to orange on Wednesday. China has a four-tier color-coded system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue. Downpours will hit Hunan, Hubei, Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Liaoning, and Yunnan provinces, Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region from 8 am Wednesday to 8 am Thursday. Hebei, a province around Beijing, issued a red alert for heavy rain on Wednesday, and Tianjin also issued an orange alert. Heavy rains hit large part of China on Tuesday, and an area of around 635,000 square kilometers covering North China, Central China and East China have seen daily precipitation of more than 50 millimeters. Some places in Hebei, Henan and Hubei provinces saw precipitation reach 250 millimeters on Tuesday. About 17 counties in Shanxi, Hebei and Hubei provinces recorded highest daily precipitations. In Linzhou, Henan province, downpours caused 423 millimeters precipitation in six hours from 10 am to 4 pm, and 607 millimeters a day on Tuesday. Tuesday's heavy rain killed one person and left at least six missing in Cixian county, North China's Hebei province that encircles Beijing, according to local government. In Central China's Hubei province, heavy rain killed five residents in Enshi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture on Tuesday, bringing the death toll in Hubei to six, according to the provincial bureau of civil affairs. One remains missing. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai to keep eye out for labor union 'infiltration' (Global Times)
2016-07-21
Shanghai will not allow "independent labor unions" or "civil labor unions," which are considered illegal, and will watch out for "infiltration" in order to maintain stability, local media reported Wednesday, quoting the Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU). Hong Hao, head of the federation, announced in a plenary session in Shanghai on Tuesday that as frequent labor disputes have badly affected social stability, the federation would complete its early warning, discovery, reporting and mediating systems on major disputes, and help the Party and the government "eliminate any nascent disputes." "We must ensure the stability of labor unions and watch out for infiltration, and any type of independent labor union or civil labor union is not allowed," Shanghai-based news website thepaper.com quoted Hong as saying. Hong did not elaborate on the sources of the "infiltration," or what kind of activities the federation is watching out for that could be seen as infiltration. Wang Jiangsong, a professor at the Beijing-based China Institute of Industrial Relations, told the Global Times that it is not the first time a Chinese federation of labor unions has used this terminology, which stands for the influence of foreign organizations. Li Yufu, vice chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, told Outlook Weekly magazine in February 2015 that foreign "hostile forces" had been increasing their "infiltration" as strikes and mass protests grew. "They wanted to find the breaking point in labor relations, using some illegal labor rights organizations or individuals to compete for workers from the labor unions, damaging the workers' ranks and the solidity of the labor unions," Li said. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions and the local federations are semi-official organizations. The federation is under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, according to its official website. Wang said the vigilance against unauthorized grass-roots labor unions comes from the authorities' concern that overseas forces may instigate strikes, which will hurt social stability and the government's reputation. Local authorities have been carefully watching labor disputes suspected of having overseas connections. Zhang Jun, a former Walmart worker and union rights advocate who now acts as spokesperson for the Walmart Chinese Workers' Association, said when the association was established late last year, the Shenzhen civil affairs bureau summoned its members for an investigation into "illegal association." After workers from a few Walmart stores in several Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, staged strikes earlier in July to protest against a change to their pay hours, some non-governmental organizations offered to train the members of the association, although Zhang declined. "But the Shenzhen police got wind of it and asked us for a talk, accusing me of being connected with overseas hostile forces," Zhang told the Global Times on Wednesday. Zhang was not charged with any offense. According to a Xinhua News Agency report, the Guangdong provincial public security bureau arrested seven members of an NGO that "received overseas funds, interfered in domestic labor disputes, disturbed social order and seriously trampled on workers' rights." Zeng Feiyang was believed to be the leader of the group. Zeng, the director of the Panyu Workers Service Center and a labor rights activist, was detained on December 3, 2015 in Guangzhou. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions said the country has been trying to strengthen its efforts to protect workers' rights through an improvement in legislation. The federation participated in the amendment and draft of more than 20 laws concerning workers' rights in the past few years, said Li. Hong, of the Shanghai Federation of Labor Unions, said on Tuesday the federation will help more migrant workers to join labor unions and push companies to establish their labor unions. "We will invigorate the grass-roots labor unions and solve the problems that grass-roots labor unions are not willing or are afraid of protecting workers' rights," Hong said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

China's Xigaze ready for Buddhist teaching by Panchen Lama (Global Times)
2016-07-21
The New Palace of Panchen Lama in Tibet's Xigaze is ready for the Kalachakra teachings, scheduled to begin on Thursday, the first to be delivered by the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu. A throne of several meters high and covered in yellow silk was placed on a new 200-square-meter platform in the south side of the palace. A traditional Tibetan ribbon has been put up on both sides of the throne, each measuring a dozen meters long and two meters wide, to symbolize good fortune. The 11th Panchen Lama will ascend to the seat on Thursday and deliver instructions to Buddhists for four days. They will include a series of tantric teachings and initiations, known as Kalachakra, which means the "wheel of time," to help them through the cycle of life. A mandala made of colored sand was completed by 20 senior monks from the Tantric Institute of nearby Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, the home temple for Panchen Lamas. Tens of thousands of people have signed up for the event. No such service has been performed in Tibet for the past 50 years. Hong Song, a Tibetan from Zhidoi County of Yushu Prefecture in Qinghai Province, left four days in advance with his family. They flew from Yushu to Lhasa first, and then took a train to Xigaze. He carried three kilograms of fried highland barley for breakfast and quick bites to eat in case there was no time for meals. Hong, 56, called the upcoming teachings "very very precious." "I hope I can see Panchen Rinpoche in person and I wish all sentient beings could be relieved from the pain of the cycle of life," he said. His niece, Ghasong Lhamo, 14, also looks forward to the teachings. Ghasong Lhamo said her dream is to "become a nun to teach Buddhism and help people." "But right now, I hope I can enter a good senior high school," she said. This summer, like many others her age, she sat an entrance exam for senior high school. Outside the front gate of the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery, Ghasong Lhamo and Hong Song joined thousands of Tibetans to celebrate the lamasery's annual festival to unveil a 32-meter-tall Buddha Thangka to the public on Wednesday.x "Worshiping the Buddha Thangka is an auspicious prelude to attending the upcoming Kalachakra teachings," said Hong Song. Ghasong Lhamo said she hopes she will excel in her studies and increase her wisdom and compassion. Wei Bin, a Han Chinese from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, was among the crowd of pilgrims outside Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery. He said he was stunned by the devoutness of Tibetan Buddhists, who turned their prayer wheels in hand when walking. "When the Buddha Thangka was unveiled, many of them (Tibetans) immediately prostrated. I am curious to know what the Buddha has said and why they are so pious," said Wei. Wei came to Xigaze on business and is staying in the city for a few weeks. He said he often takes walks at Zhaxi Lhunbo Square. "These days, the square has become increasingly crowded. I guess it's because of the Kalachakra ritual. You can feel the excitement in the air," he said. "I wish I could be in the New Palace to witness the event." ^ top ^

Tibet avalanche was glacier slide (China Daily)
2016-07-20
The avalanche in southwest China's Tibet autonomous region on Sunday was a glacier slide, it has been confirmed. A 600-meter rescue passage had been completed Wednesday morning, but no signs of life have been detected. Nine people, buried by the icefall in Dungru village in Rutog county, Ngari prefecture, on Sunday, were confirmed dead on Monday. Rescuers have moved more than 45,000 cubic meters of ice and snow. "Rescue work is continuing, while the cause of the ice avalanche is being investigated to avoid secondary disasters", said Zhang Jianping, a police officer directing the rescue. UAV aerial images show that the icefall took place between glaciers on two snow-capped mountains at an altitude above 6,000 meters. The volume of the icefall was estimated at 600 million cubic meters, enough to fill a large reservoir. Experts believed that the icefall is a result of global warming, which has caused melting and cracking of the glaciers. They warned that more icefall and avalanches are likely to occur in the plateau region. A dozen households have been evacuated while rescue work continues. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

'Groundless' US report claims China's policies making Muslims join IS (Global Times)
2016-07-22
Chinese experts called "groundless" a US think tank's report claiming China's policies in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have driven Chinese Muslims to join the Islamic State (IS). The Washington DC-based New America Foundation on Wednesday released a report based on leaked registration documents of Islamic State fighters provided by a defector from the jihadist organization, which include 3,500 foreign recruits, among whom 114 came from Xinjiang. The report said Xinjiang has become one of the main sources of IS fighters due to "significant economic disparities between the ethnic-majority Han Chinese" and the local Uyghur Muslim population, who are "subjected to substantial state repression through restrictions on Islamic practices like growing beards or wearing head coverings." Pan Zhiping, a research fellow at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the report is groundless and illogical since the Chinese government never interferes in normal religious activities in Xinjiang, and both the Han people and Uyghurs enjoy holidays during Ramadan. Pan said many IS fighters were found to have come from Western countries, including the US, the UK and France. Does it mean "they (the fighters) join the IS because of their governments' repression?" Pan added. According to the report, 37 fighters were from France, 53 from the UK, 24 from Germany, nine from the US and 194 from Russia. Li Wei, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times people coming to Iraq or Syria to join the IS has become a global issue. The UN has urged all countries to intensify efforts to stem the flow of foreigners looking to fight for IS and to prevent and suppress sources of funds for terrorism. The US' excessive international military intervention is the main reason for the IS' rise, said Li, adding that the US has become a troublemaker rather than a global defender of peace and stability, as the country has been inciting disputes in the South China Sea instead of fighting terrorism in the Middle East. ^ top ^

Beijing policies in Xinjiang driving Chinese Muslims to join ranks of Islamic State, says US think tank (SCMP)
2016-07-21
Tough religious restrictions on Muslim minorities in the country's far west may have driven more than 100 to join Islamic State (IS), a US think tank said on Wednesday. Beijing has long claimed that IS is recruiting Uygurs from the mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang, and blamed outside forces for fomenting deadly acts of violence there and elsewhere in the country that have claimed hundreds of lives. At the same time, authorities have banned or strictly controlled the observance of certain Muslim practices, such as growing beards and fasting during Ramadan, saying they were symbols of “Islamic extremism”. Those policies “could be a push factor driving people to leave the country and look elsewhere for a sense of 'belonging'”, the Washington-based New America Foundation wrote in a study of leaked registration documents for IS fighters. The findings were based on data from more than 3,500 foreign recruits provided by a defector from the jihadist organisation. Of those, 114 came from Xinjiang, the study said, making it the fifth-highest contributor of fighters among regions named in the data – after three areas in Saudi Arabia and one in Tunisia. Recruits were more likely to come from “regions with restive histories and tense local-federal relationships”, the report said. The nominally autonomous region offered IS rich recruitment potential due to “significant economic disparities between the ethnic majority Han Chinese and the local Uygur Muslim population” and “substantial state repression”, it said. Beijing regularly accuses what it says are exiled separatist groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) of being behind attacks in Xinjiang, which has seen a wave of deadly unrest. Britain's upper house last week added the group to a list of terror organisations. But many independent experts doubt the strength of overseas Uygur groups and their links to global terrorism, with some saying China exaggerates the threat to justify tough security measures in the resource-rich region. All the Xinjiang recruits named in the IS documents listed their place of origin as Turkestan or East Turkestan, the name for the region often used by separatists. But the study found the recruits had no prior experience with jihad, presumably including ETIM, raising questions about China's official narrative of radicalisation in Xinjiang. On average, fighters from Xinjiang were less educated, less well-travelled, and more likely to be married than others who sought to join IS. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Guilty: Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong and associates could face jail over protest that sparked 79-day Occupy turmoil (SCMP)
2016-07-21
Three prominent student leaders who spearheaded the 2014 Occupy movement were convicted on Thursday over the storming of government headquarters – an incident that led to the blocking of key roads for 79 days. Former Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung was found guilty at Eastern Court of unlawful assembly along with former Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang, 25. Demosisto chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung, 23, was convicted of inciting others to join an unlawful assembly. Wong beat the incitement charge, and all three were released on bail. Their case marked the first criminal convictions of the student leaders who played a pivotal role in the civil disobedience movement for greater democracy after Beijing set a framework for political reform that was seen as too restrictive. The trio will be sentenced on August 15, pending reports on the suitability of probation and community service orders. The maximum penalty is a HK$5,000 fine and three years' imprisonment. Wong, currently Demosisto's secretary general, remained defiant, and said they would seek legal advice on whether to appeal. “We do not regret what we have done,” he said Law was also unrepentant. “Because of our actions, the Umbrella Movement started, and we believe it is very important for Hong Kong,” he said. “We still think we did something right.” Law said he felt calm when the verdict was delivered, as it had been almost two years since his initial arrest. But it was uncertain whether his conviction would affect his bid to run for a Legislative Council seat in September. His lawyer, Michael Chai Chun, told Magistrate June Cheung Tin-ngan in mitigation that Law would be disqualified from the race if he was jailed for three months or more, even if it was a suspended sentence. Law was tight-lipped about his plans, only saying he trusted his political campaign team to fulfil their duties if he was incarcerated. The case centred on the key protest two days before the roads were occupied, when student activists stormed the east wing forecourt at government headquarters, unofficially dubbed Civic Square, when it was closed for security reasons on September 26. Cheung emphasised in her hour-long verdict delivery that the court would only rule in accordance with the law, regardless of the evidence touching upon some political or highly sensitive social issues. The court heard that Wong encouraged others to enter the forecourt before he climbed over its newly erected three-metre security fence. Law then took over the microphone in calling for more people to surround police officers and block the complex, with Chow among those who broke in. The protest was held without police permission or the government Administrative Wing's consent to enter the compound. The incitement charge against Wong did not stick as the court could not be sure that his brief call on stage for the storming of the compound would prompt disorderly entry causing fear – the two elements to prove incitement– when there was no evidence to suggest that he knew they would be physically obstructed by security guards at the scene. ^ top ^

Civic Party candidates refuse to sign new form despite head of electoral watchdog saying rule change is legal (SCMP)
2016-07-20
Civic Party candidates will not sign the additional form required by a controversial rule change for the Legislative Council polls in September, party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit has declared. Instead, Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, the party's candidate for the so-called “super seat”, will issue a letter to returning officers on Wednesday as he signs up for the polls, urging them to confirm his candidacy as soon as possible – even without the form in question. The Electoral Affairs Commission introduced an abrupt measure last week requiring candidates to sign an extra form declaring the city an inalienable part of China, on top of making the standard declaration to uphold the Basic Law. “The election period is short, and we need to make good use of the time for campaigning,” Leong told Commercial Radio on Wednesday morning. “We will track the returning officers every day to see if our candidates are qualified [without signing the additional form].” The new form was a bid to limit freedom of expression, and his party members had decided not to sign it following a deliberation the previous night, he said. The decision came not long after the head of the city's election watchdog Justice Barnabas Fung Wah had insisted on Tuesday that there was a legal basis for the rule change after meeting a group of concerned pan-democrats, who were left confused and dissatisfied by his answers. After a meeting, lasting an hour and a quarter, with 12 pan-democrats he was quoted as saying that a new requirement, for candidates to sign an extra form declaring the city an inalienable part of China, was not a binding statement and their eligibility to run would not be affected if they refused to sign. He said it was only an “administrative convenience measure” to help returning officers perform their duties and they could even draft their own declaration, they recalled. The watchdog introduced the new requirement – which targets independence advocates – abruptly last week, ahead of the start of the nomination period. On top of making the standard declaration to uphold the Basic Law, candidates are also required to sign a new form to confirm a clear understanding of the city's mini-constitution and its status. “We asked the Honourable Justice Fung whether there is any legal basis to compel a candidate to sign this confirmation form,” the Civic Party's Dennis Kwok said. “He was not able to do that.” While the government declared last week that those who did not sign the new form would be disqualified from running and those who lied when signing it could face criminal action, Fung was quoted as singing a different and more compromising tune. But in his statement later, he was less specific, only saying that returning officers would seek legal advice on what to do if candidates refused to sign. The pan-democrats remained unconvinced, and insisted the new rule should be scrapped. “I think it actually creates lots of confusion, grey areas and inconvenience,” Kwok said. Pan-democrats have argued that the Basic Law as a whole should be respected and the election watchdog should not just highlight the three clauses on sovereignty. It also emerged that the commission only came up with the new rules in less than a month, after the last Legco constitutional affairs panel meeting on June 20. “I think the commission's handling is very bad as it should still have consulted the lawmakers as well as the public even after the panel meeting was over,” Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said. “They claimed the rule was a result of careful consideration but I think it was made in haste.” Most pan-democrat and localist candidates, including Edward Leung Tin-kei of pro-independence group Hong Kong Indigenous, have refused to sign when registering for the polls. ^ top ^

Leung on one hand, localism on the other: both pan-democrat and pro-Beijing candidates face headaches in Hong Kong's Legco elections (SCMP)
2016-07-18
As politicians started throwing their hats in the ring over the weekend for the Legislative Council polls in September, both the pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps were grappling with taxing questions. Pan-democrats have been taken by surprise with the government's last-minute decision to require candidates to sign a new declaration pledging allegiance to the Basic Law, which will effectively force all to disavow calls for Hong Kong to secede from China. If they sign it, they will run the risk of provoking ire among voters who have been attracted by localist and pro-independence candidates. If they don't, their candidacy hangs in the balance. For pro-Beijing candidates, they are faced with an equally vexing question: whether to back Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying if he seeks re-election as his popularity nosedives and Beijing sends no definite signals on his future. Hong Kong pan-democrats could win 17 seats in geographical constituencies, preliminary poll results show( Such a complex election will be staged only half a year after Hong Kong saw its most violent protest in half a century in the Mong Kok riot, which has been largely blamed on radical localists. The incident has fired up pro-independence candidates ahead of their full election debut on September 4. Chan Ho-tin, chairman of the Hong Kong National Party, will register his candidacy today. His spokesman said Chan would not sign the declaration as required by the Electoral Affairs Commission. Mainstream pan-democrats have also vowed to ignore the rule, but their positions could change after a meeting with the commission's chairman tomorrow. “If I cannot be convinced there is a valid legal basis for it, I will not sign the form,” said Dr Edward Yiu Chung-yim, who will contest the functional constituency for the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector. The new declaration requires candidates to agree that Hong Kong “is an inalienable part” of the People's Republic. However, when pressed on the issue on Saturday, the commission said anyone not signing it “would not necessarily be invalidated” and that the declaration was not part of the candidate nomination form. Plethora of Hong Kong pan-democrat candidates in 'super seat' poll may cut number of victories, analysts warn( As such, argued University of Hong Kong legal scholar Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an expert in local politics, “there is no legal obligation for a candidate to sign”. “It is clear there is no legal basis... to decide a nomination is invalid if a candidate refuses to sign. If one does sign, he or she will be bounded, limiting his or her own freedom.” Pro-establishment lawmakers face no difficulty in signing the new form, but they are concerned about inquiries into their views on the chief executive. Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the city's biggest pro-Beijing party, said last week it would “conduct a detailed and objective assessment” of any chief executive candidates. Asked if she meant the DAB could support Leung's re-election, she replied: “No possibility can be excluded.” Confronted with the same question, the Federation of Trade Unions – which fully supported Leung in 2012 – was similarly evasive. “It depends on who runs,” honorary chairman Cheng Yiu-tong said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiping trip affirms claim (Global Times)
2016-07-21
A group of "lawmakers" from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Kuomintang (KMT) in Taiwan visited Taiping Island in the South China Sea on Wednesday, a move experts said shows Taiwan's resolve to protect ancestral assets and to help soften relations with the Chinese mainland. A delegation led by KMT legislator and convener of "the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee" Chiang Chi-chen rode a military airplane from southern Taiwan's Pingtung and completed a tour of Taiping Island on Wednesday, reported Focus Taiwan, the English website of Taiwan-based Central News Agency. The group observed military facilities on the island and a newly built harbor and hardware facilities, said Chiang, adding that they were "convinced" that Taiping is an island, not a rock. The visit comes on the heels of the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague on the South China Sea, which said all high-tide features in the South China Sea, including Taiping, are rocks rather than islands. Taiping, the largest land area of the Nansha Islands, is believed to be an "island" as it covers 510 square meters, has fresh water and is believed to be inhabitable. Under international law, an island is entitled to a 200-nautical-mile economic zone. "The award has angered the mainland and Taiwan residents. And it goes against KMT policies to protect ancestral assets," Zhang Hua, an assistant research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times on Wednesday. Zhang said that [by emphasizing sovereignty over Taiping] the KMT could pressure the ruling DPP as well as gain political influence in Taiwan. Ma Ying-jeou, former Taiwan leader and KMT head, visited Taiping in January and reaffirmed Taiwan's sovereignty over the island and its surrounding waters, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Some DPP members opposed the Taiping visits since they don't want to share the same interests with the mainland, offend any ASEAN country or hinder the US Asia-Pacific strategy, Jin Yi, an expert from the Institute of Taiwan Studies at the CASS, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The Wednesday trip included four KMT legislators and four from the DPP. Wang Ting-yu, a DPP legislator, was quoted by Focus Taiwan as saying there are solar power generation facilities, a new wharf, as well as indigenous plants and trees on the island, and that "there is no question about the sovereignty of the island, or its status as an island." According to a poll conducted by Taiwan-based satellite television channel and cable TV network TVBS, 65 percent of Taiwan residents support a visit by the island's leader Tsai Ing-wen to Taiping to highlight sovereignty. "Tsai and the DPP have long been criticized for their weak efforts to safeguard Taiwan's interests in the South China Sea. And this trip may ease pressure from Taiwan and also provide her leeway to avoid enraging the US," said Jin. Tsai has vowed to defend the island's sovereignty over Taiping Island by sending a frigate to patrol the South China Sea, and rejecting the arbitral ruling, saying that the award is not legally binding, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported. Jin said the Taiping trip shows that Taiwan has the same stance as the Chinese mainland on the South China Sea issue, and that it would benefit the mainland's current efforts to uphold sovereignty in the region. The visit helps contain the ruling DPP if some of its members want to limit "Taiwan sovereignty" over Taiping Island and nearby islands, in a bid to split the link with the mainland on the South China Sea, said Jin. The Nine-Dash-Line that marks China's territory in the South China Sea dates back to the 1940s during KMT rule. Five Taiwan fishing boats also joined the Taiping trip, Taiwan media reported. Lo Keung-fei, who joined the trip, told the Liberty Times newspaper that their trip was aimed at protecting fishing rights around Taiping's 200-nautical-mile economic zone and to urge the Taiwan authorities to take a tough stance on sovereignty. Banners on the boats declared "protect ancestral assets," Focus Taiwan reported. "It shows the determination of the mainland and Taiwan to defend the Chinese nation's interests. And this is a great opportunity to improve cross-Straits relations," said Zhang, adding that there should be more cooperation across the Taiwan Straits on the South China Sea issue. Wang Jianmin, a cross-Straits scholar at CASS, said in an article in the Xiamen-based Strait Herald that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan could start with jointly developing fishing, oil and gas exploration and ecological protection. Both sides could also discuss the possibility on setting up a mutually acceptable military security mechanism and explore joint patrols in the South China Sea, Wang said. Lu Kang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said earlier that "Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have a responsibility to protect their ancestral property." ^ top ^

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen says structural reforms will help fix island's slowing economy (SCMP)
2016-07-20
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday that conventional monetary and fiscal policies had a limited impact and that structural reforms were the best way to fix the island's slowing economy. The former law professor and trade negotiator said Taiwan needed to strengthen the functioning of capital markets, increase domestic investment and boost innovation in five key industries. She made the remarks at a financial forum in Taipei, organised by Bloomberg. Tsai, 59, who assumed leadership of the export-dependent island in May, faces the task of reversing three consecutive quarters of economic contraction while following through on pledges to cap debt and balance the budget. Tsai Ing-wen tells warship crew to defend Taiwan's interests as they set off for island in South China Sea( Her challenges include slower iPhone sales, weak petrochemical prices and strained ties with China, which has cut off communications over her refusal to accept both sides are part of “one China”. While the government projects Taiwan's economy will expand 1.06 per cent this year, a state-funded research institution warned in June that growth could slow to less than half that pace. After cutting rates for the fourth straight meeting, the central bank cautioned that reductions in government spending risked “serious consequences” for the already weak economy. Although China still considers Taiwan a province and remains a military rival, the two saw ties improve under former president Ma Ying-jeou. Tsai, whose Democratic Progressive Party officially supports independence, has pledged to uphold relations, but angered the mainland's Communist Party by not accepting its one-China negotiating framework. At the forum on Wednesday, Tsai reaffirmed Taiwan's desire to join multilateral trade deals such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. The new president must contend with China's diplomatic and economic clout as she seeks to expand ties elsewhere. Tsai has promised a cautious approach, saying after her election that “the energy of reforms will be maximised, while the volatility of reforms will be minimalised”. ^ top ^

26 people, including 24 mainland Chinese, killed in tour bus blaze in Taiwan (SCMP)
2016-07-20
Taiwanese authorities were last night still searching for clues to what caused yesterday's bus tragedy that killed 26 people, including 24 mainland tourists, and why no one survived on a vehicle with multiple escape exits. It was the deadliest bus fire on the island in 24 years. The incident could deal a further blow to Taiwan, whose relations with the mainland have already been strained by the reluctance of the island's new President Tsai Ing-wen to accept the “1992 consensus”, which Beijing insisted on as a foundation for continued cross-strait exchanges and talks, analysts said. The front section of the bus, carrying tourists from Liaoning province, was ablaze before it rammed into a crash barrier on the island's No 2 highway, just minutes away from Taoyuan International Airport, police said. “None of the passengers survived the accident, which also killed the driver and the tour guide from Taiwan,” Lu Jui-yao, a highway police chief, said. “Nine bodies were found close together in the rear part of the bus, indicating they might have tried to escape via the emergency exit.” The victims included two girls and a boy aged about 13, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau said. The tourists were returning home after an eight-day tour to scenic spots, including Sun Moon Lake and Alishan in central Taiwan. Local media said the tour group had earlier made a shopping stop at a duty-free outlet. Firefighters said the blaze, which had started in the front of the bus, took about 30 minutes to extinguish. Thirteen fire engines and 30 firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze, a fire department spokesman said. A local tour bus company official said the bus that caught fire had eight emergency exits and he had no idea why none of those on board survived. Another tour bus driver said the right way to break the bus window was to hit at the corners instead of the centre. When passengers panicked or inhaled too much smoke, they may not have been able to make the right moves to escape, he said. A truck driver who tried in vain to help people on the burning bus told the SET cable television channel: “I heard some people shouting for help, but I had no idea how many were in the bus.” He said that when he saw the bus was on fire he stopped his truck and tried unsuccessfully to help rescue those inside. Taiwan's Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan said both the Mainland Affairs Council and the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, which also deals with the mainland, had informed officials in Beijing. “Authorities here will do all they can to assist the families of the victims,” Tung said during a press conference in Taipei. In Beijing, the Taiwan Affairs Office said it would send a special team to the island to help deal with the tragedy. But analysts said they did not think the tragedy would provide an opportunity for the two sides to mend fences. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Li says private investment needs boost (China Daily)
2016-07-20
Private and semi-public businesses are being encouraged to invest in the key projects to be launched during China's 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), and the interests and legitimate rights of investors should be protected, Premier Li Keqiang has said. "Conditions permitting, we should innovate methods to attract 'social investment' to these projects," Li told a meeting on Monday in Beijing attended by senior officials of some provinces and State Council departments. The premier's remarks reflected his solutions to the knotty issue of the slowing growth momentum of investment by private enterprises. Officials have blamed the slowdown on the sluggish world economy, downward domestic pressure and overcapacity in some industries. Private fixed-asset investment, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the country's total investment, slowed to a record low in the first half of the year, with growth sliding to 2.8 percent from double digits last year. Li cautioned that a continued slump in private investment growth could spoil the country's efforts to maintain economic growth within the targeted range — 6.5 to 7 percent for the year — and to optimize the economic structure in coming years. He called for innovation in investment modes and a ramping up of price reforms. In particular, he said the Public-Private-Partnership financing mode should be promoted to divert more social funds to education, medical care, elderly care and other service sectors, as well as to infrastructure. "While making use of the government funds, which are limited in amount, we must enhance the guidance of the flow of social funds," he said, adding that efforts must be made to prevent such funds from going to sectors that are beleaguered by overcapacity and are polluting the environment. Boosting effective investment will have a wide range of influences, including promoting consumption and creating jobs, the premier said. Li Jinbin, governor of Anhui province in East China, said at the meeting that many private enterprises had intended to invest in strategic new industries and public services that promise stable or high returns. However, Li said, investor access to these sectors remained difficult. In response, the premier said market entrance barriers of all forms must be removed, discrimination eliminated, and costs cut for private and semi-public companies to invest. He also asked governments to repay their debts to companies. In addition, stronger financial support should be given to small and micro enterprises. The premier also said there is enough space for investment in China, given the enormous domestic demands. Overall fixed-asset investment, a gauge of infrastructure spending, slowed further in the first half to 9 percent, the lowest growth rate in years. ^ top ^

Economy remains on track despite investment woes (China Daily)
2016-07-19
Several ministries and departments of the State Council, China's Cabinet, have responded to public concerns in the past week over the state of the economy and healthcare reform, among other issues. Questions for the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planner, were focused on balancing economic growth by cutting overcapacity, in light of a better than predicted 6.7 percent growth in GDP for the second quarter of the year, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics. Rising coal and steel prices, in particular, have prompted some to fear that coal enterprises might be encouraged to increase production, which is contrary to the ongoing process of cutting overcapacity. Zhao Chenxin, spokesman for the NDRC, responded that China's steel supply as a whole is in surplus because the economy has entered the "new normal", while demand for coal is limited because of the use of new, clean energy; therefore the market is still in a position to force steel and coal companies to cut over-capacity. Economy remains on track despite investment woes "All departments should look at the bigger picture and be determined to cut over-capacity," he said, adding that the State will further improve market regulation and propel forward the comprehensive cutting of overcapacity. He also said he was optimistic that the task of cutting raw steel and coal production by 45 million and 250 million tons, respectively, would be completed by the end of the year. He called on local governments to increase efficiency in this regard. Private investment increased by 3.9 percent in the first six months of the year, 6.2 percentage points lower than the same period last year. When responding to a question about this drop, Zhao said the State Council had sent nine inspection teams to 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, which visited more than 500 non-State enterprises. On July 1, the State Council issued a new notice about encouraging private investment, which will be crucial in the coming months. The National Health and Family Planning Commission shared information about the progress being made in healthcare reform. Yao Jianhong, a senior official in charge of reform at the commission, said that 11 provinces were pioneering the reform, which was going smoothly so far. Zhu Shufang, head of the Health and Family Planning Commission in South China's Fujian province, said healthcare reform had been accelerated last year, leading to satisfying results. The average pay of medical staff increased, while the price of medicines has fallen, both of which have been welcomed by local residents. The Ministry of Environmental Protection responded to a media inquiry about several provinces failing to properly deal with waste disposal in rural regions. There have been reports of garbage piling up without being properly processed in Shandong, Guangdong, Hainan and Shaanxi provinces. Tian Weiyong, an official in charge of environmental inspection at the ministry, said they had already urged local governments to deal with waste disposal in the correct way. The long-term disposal processing mechanism is also being upgraded in rural areas, so that the problem will not be repeated in the future, Tian said. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

North Korea arrests defector who worked as a 'spy' for the South (SCMP)
2016-07-15
North Korea on Friday paraded a defector accused of involvement in a child abduction plot it says was masterminded by South Korean agents, as Seoul demanded the man's immediate release. In a carefully stage-managed press conference in Pyongyang, Ko Hyon-chol, 53, who fled the North in 2013 and was granted South Korean citizenship, “confessed” to trying to kidnap two orphans and take them to the South. “I committed the unpardonable crime of being involved in attempted child abduction,” a weeping Ko said at the event in the People's Palace of Culture in central Pyongyang. Ko, wearing dark trousers and a blue striped shirt, was marched in by two uniformed soldiers and sat at a desk below framed photos of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il – North Korea's revered late leaders. In a 30-minute statement during which he frequently wept and referred to himself as a “traitor of the fatherland”, he detailed his defection, recruitment by the South's spy agency and his “criminal acts”. Such choreographed and apparently scripted public confessions are standard practice for foreign or North Korean nationals arrested for subversive activity. Ko's case comes amid an ongoing dispute between North and South Korea over the April defection to the South of a dozen North Korean women working in a restaurant in China. Pyongyang insists the women were kidnapped by the South's spy agency – the National Intelligence Service (NIS) – but Seoul says they fled of their own free will. Ko said his South Korean handlers told him in May to arrange the kidnapping of orphans from North Korea, promising him US$10,000 for each child. “They asked me if I knew about the 12 women who defected as a group and said that was just the beginning,” Ko said. “So I set about abducting children but it wasn't easy,” Ko said. Eventually he selected two targets, two girls, aged eight and nine, who were in an orphanage. He crossed the river from China into North Korea in an inflatable boat – which he planned to use to ferry back the girls – just after midnight on May 27, but was arrested hours later. Ko originally fled in January 2013 because he had been involved in smuggling and was being investigated by Pyongyang authorities. He lived in China for about a year before arriving in the South in 2014 via Laos and Thailand. He said he had struggled to adjust to life in South Korea and had been unable to find a job, so sought out a defectors' organisation through which he was introduced to NIS agents in December 2015. Seoul responded abruptly, demanding North Korea “release our citizens including Ko Hyon-chol and immediately repatriate them”, the South's unification ministry said on Friday. It warned Pyongyang to stop “illegally arresting” its citizens and using them for a “war of propaganda”. North Korea is currently holding at least four South Korean detainees who have been arrested since 2013, including Ko, and two Americans. Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old college student from the US, was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour in March for stealing a propaganda banner from a hotel. Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-chul is also serving a jail term on charges of subversion and espionage. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

President speaks on phone with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Montsame)
2016-07-21
President Ts.Elbegdorj made a phone call to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon, in connection with the current situation in South Sudan and in concern of the safety of UN peacekeepers, serving there. At the beginning, Mr Ban Ki-moon congratulated Mongolia on the successful organization of the 11th ASEM Summit. The President of Mongolia said: “Mongolian peacekeepers serving in South Sudan has been working with quite much load and pressure”, and suggested jointly realizing possibilities to make certain the rotation of peacekeeping contingents in strict compliance with the schedule. He also asked Mr Ban Ki-moon to attach a special focus on the security of their location and supplies. Mr Ban Ki-moon answered: “Safety of the UN staff, especially, that of the peacekeepers is the most important matter for the UN. This issue is always in the center of the UN concentration. We will consider here the suggestions You make and present them at the meeting of the UN Security Council and urging for more effective cooperation wished the President successes. The Mongolian President thanked the UN Secretary General for his time to talk about this important issue and arranged to meet during the UN General Assembly to be held this September. ^ top ^

Parliament backs new cabinet composition (Montsame)
2016-07-21
On July 21, the State Great Khural (Parliament) ran first and final readings of the draft amendments to the laws on Composition of Cabinet and the Government of Mongolia, and the draft parliamentary resolution on Re-designating the state administrative bodies and general organizational structure chart. Majority of parliament members approved the drafts and backed a cabinet with 16 members. Conclusions of the Standing committee on State structure were presented to the plenary meeting by N.Enkhbold MP. Since there were no questions regarding this, the polling began and most of the MPs voted in favor. With the decision, the new government has 13 ministries, of which 6 are of general directions and 7 are sectoral ministries. With the 13 ministries, Prime Minister, Deputy PM and Minister of Mongolia, the cabinet has 16 members in total. ^ top ^

Parliament appoints new Secretary General for SGK Secretariat (Montsame)
2016-07-21
At the plenary meeting July 20 of the first session of the State Great Khural (Parliament), assembled after the 2016 parliamentary elections, Mr Tsolmon Tsedev was appointed the Secretary General of the State Great Khural Secretariat. Because the previous Secretary General B.Boldbaatar resigned on his own will, Speaker M.Enkhbold presented his proposal to appoint Ts.Tsolmon to the office, which was backed with 96.9% approval. Ts.Tsolmon was born in 1973, is a lawyer and has master's degree in law. He graduated 52nd secondary school in 1988, Technological secondary specialized school in Omsk of Russia in 1992, and the Law School of the National University of Mongolia (NUM) in 1998. Ts.Tsolmon defended master's degree in law at the Exeter University of the United Kingdom in 2003 and another master's at the University of Columbia of the USA in 2014. He worked as an IT operator at the SGK Secretariat in 1993 and 1994, professor at the NUM Law School in 1998-2001, head of Department of Legal Policy of the Ministry of Justice and Domestic Affairs in 2004-2013, and an attorney at the Mongolian Attorneys' Association in 2011-2016. ^ top ^

26,000 m2 soil decontaminated, drinking water problem solved in Olgii (Montsame)
2016-07-19
The State Emergency Commission called a meeting on July 19, to present the results of measures taken in connection with the flood that hit Bayan-Olgii province's Olgii city on July 10. Following the heavy rain and hail, the flood hit the center of the most remote western province of Mongolia, sweeping houses of more than 160 families, as a result of which some 700 citizens were left homeless, the Commission's secretary M.Enkh-Amar introduced the situation. The authorities of the Ministry of Health and Sports have given timely directions through a webinar with the specialists of the Bayan-Olgii health department to provide emergency medical services, especially, psychological support and to activate the surveillance study to prevent outbreak of infectious diseases. As of today, 26,000 squaremeter area was decontaminated with 7.7 tons of chemicals. The emergency departments resolved to provide full access to transported drinking water. Head of the State Emergency Commission Ts.Oyunbaatar, the Deputy Prime Minister, assigned the corresponding officials to take necessary measures, including evacuation of households, in order prevent further damage from the potential disaster that can be caused by thunderstorms and storms. ^ top ^

Asian law associations' leaders to assemble here (Montsame)
2016-07-18
The 27th Summit of the Presidents of Law Associations in Asia is to take place here on July 21 and 22. This year's POLA Summit will run discussions under topics “Independence of Constitutional Courts: Role of Lawyers and Law Associations” and “Mining and Improving Legal Capacity and Human Rights”. Joined POLA in 2014 the Mongolian Lawyers' Association is hosting its summit at home for the first time. The right to host this event was obtained in 2015 POLA Summit, held in Goa, India. The POLA is a non-political organization, established in 1990 with an aim to protect interests of the lawyers of Asian and Pacific countries and to improve their professional responsibilities and legal education. The 27th POLA Summit expects adoption of a declaration of privileges of the lawyers in the region. ^ top ^

Yonhap: Park's Mongolia trip boosts her drive against N. Korean nukes (Montsame)
2016-07-18
President Park Geun-hye's five-day visit to Mongolia has added fresh momentum to her efforts to cement international cooperation in dealing with North Korea's nuclear ambitions and forestall trade protectionism, observers said Monday. Park also capitalized on her first presidential trip here to renew global attention to the North's human rights violations and promote her policy drive to lay the groundwork for reunification, which she said would offer a "fundamental solution" to various North Korea problems. But her brisk summit diplomacy was partly overshadowed by a terrorist attack in France, a botched military coup in Turkey and violent protests in a town in southern South Korea against the plan by Seoul and Washington to deploy an advanced U.S. anti-missile system. Park's official schedule in Mongolia began Friday with her attendance at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, which was held until Saturday under the main theme of "20 years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity." During the first round of the summit, Park focused on warning against the recrudescence of protectionist and isolationist tendencies. After Britain's shocking vote last month to exit the European Union (EU), Park has repeatedly stressed the importance of fostering open, free trade across the world, underscoring the fact that South Korea's export-reliant economy has benefited much from free trade. "Uncertainties in the environment of the global economy are increasing. But we should not forget the historical lesson that the growth of the world economy has come in tandem with the spread of free trade," Park said as a lead speaker at the first session of the ASEM summit. Park's free trade mantra did not end only with verbal statements. During her talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday, the two sides shared the need to revise the bilateral FTA, which was signed in 2010 and provisionally took effect in 2011. The two sides concurred that a revision of the South Korea-EU FTA is needed to "in consideration of the situational changes" over the last five years -- in an allusion to Britain's decision to quit the EU. In addition, Park reached an agreement Sunday with her Mongolian counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj to seek an "economic partnership agreement (EPA)," similar to a free trade pact. The two sides will launch joint research on the EPA as early as late this year. To further strengthen multilateral cooperation in curbing trade protectionism and promoting open trade, Park proposed resuming the ASEM economic ministers' meeting in South Korea next year. The talks have not been held since 2003. During her stay in Mongolia, Park also revved up her diplomacy to further catalyze an international campaign to cajole Pyongyang into renouncing its nuclear and missile programs through sanctions and other forms of pressure. The president called on the ASEM leaders to join forces to pressure the communist regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, highlighting that the North remains the biggest "stumbling block" to the ASEM's vision for a free, peaceful and interconnected Eurasia. Park, in particular, stressed that the unification of the Korean Peninsula would be a fundamental solution to a series of "North Korea problems," including its rights abuses and persistent military threats. Her efforts culminated in the ASEM leaders' adoption of the chair's statement that condemned Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs in the "strongest terms," and called for "vigilance" against any activities supporting the country's various weapons programs. Such a chair's statement came after the South Korean chief executive made an emphatic appeal for the North's denuclearization during her official and unofficial meetings with top officials of the EU, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and other countries. "(Park) helped spread (international) support for Seoul's policy to tackle North Korea problems and (prepare for) the reunification of the Korean Peninsula," Kim Kyou-hyun, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs, told reporters. "This has helped deepen and widen our diplomacy with Asia and Europe," he added. Cashing in on her second summit this year with the Mongolian leader, Park also sought to expand economic ties with the resource-rich country. The two sides reached an understanding to seek South Korea's participation in 14 large scale projects being pursued by Mongolia, including some urban development schemes and infrastructure programs to build power plants and railways. The project moreover calls for expanding the country's electricity transmission networks. The projects are estimated to be worth $4.49 billion in total. To support South Korea's participation in these projects, the two sides signed 20 memorandums of understanding, mostly over bilateral economic cooperation. ^ top ^

11th ASEM Summit adopts key documents ahead of its third decade (Montsame)
2016-07-16
Representatives of 51 ASEM member countries and member organizations - European Union and ASEAN issued the Ulaanbaatar Declaration and the Chair's Statement, compiling the results of plenary session of 11th ASEM Summit, held here on July 15. The ASEM Leaders, the Chair - President of Mongolia Mr Ts.Elbegdorj, President of the European Council Mr Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of Myanmar Mr U Htin Kyaw and the Prime Minister of Slovakia and EU Coordinator Mr Robert Fico, called a plenary press conference July 16 before the retreat meeting. The Chair's statement highlights the discussions of Shared Common Goals for Future, issue of Enhancing Connectivity in All Dimensions, Cooperation on Political and Security Issues and Rethinking of Working Methods, on the brink of the third decade of ASEM. In the Ulaanbaatar Declaration, the ASEM Participants recognized contributions by ASEM made in: •Fostering greater understanding between Asia and Europe; •Broadening political dialogue, enhancing economic cooperation and increasing socio-cultural exchanges; •Deepening Asia-Europe inter-connectedness, shaping and forging links and mutually beneficial, multi-layered cooperation for peace and development; •Creating opportunities for broader people-to-people connections, including through the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF); •Addressing the challenges faced by both regions as well as at the inter-regional and global levels; and •Promoting effective multilateralism and strengthening other multilateral processes. "Informal political dialogue and cooperative initiatives in economic and socio-cultural fields will continue to be the cornerstone of our partnership", the Declaration reads, while promoting informality, networking and flexibility in overall operations. To ensure the continuity of initiatives that evolve from informal dialogue to tangible outcomes that will benefit the peoples of Asia and Europe, ASEM will focus on areas of common interest, such as, countering terrorism and violent extremism, maritime safety and security, fighting piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as human and drug trafficking, cyber security and cyber-crime, security of and in the use of information and communication technologies, and upholding the purpose and principles of the UN Charter. Enhancing connectivity across diverse domains is an important and commonly shared objective, the Declaration outlines. ^ top ^

Outcomes of 11th ASEM Summit reviewed (Montsame)
2016-07-16
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj called a press conference at 12.40 pm at the Shanri-La hotel hall on outcomes of the 11th ASEM Summit continuing here. The press conference was attended by U Htin Kyaw, the President of Myanmar; Robert Fico, the Prime Minister of Slovakia; Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council; and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. Noting that the two-day Summit took place in closed way, the President underlined the leaders attenting the summit delivered their views and reached a consensus. “As for the ASEM organizational aspects, Mongolia was aiming to promote its tradition and culture. Next ASEM Summit will be probably available in almost a century,” Elbegdorj emphasized. He applauded journalists for doing a huge job for covering the ASEM Summit, and pointed out that the Summit reached 1.5 billion people around the world. “I believe that all of the guests have known more about our beautiful country, and I invite all of you to visit Mongolia over again,” he said. Donald Tusk, the European Council President expressed gratitude to the Mongolian President for hosting the ASEM Summit, and emphasized this event was the most memorable. He talked about issues discussed at the Summit such as boosting the ties between Asia and Europe and refugee issues. Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission highlighted the 11th ASEM Summit hosted by Mongolia was the most special one, and Mongolians were very kind to foreign guests. Mongolia made a great stride in organizing the 11th Summit, and the next ASEM Summit will take place in Brussels, Belgium, he said. U Htin Kyaw, the President of Myanmar said his visit to Mongolia was a good experience, overwhelmed by beauty of Mongolian nature and its people hospitality. “We have held several official and unofficial meetings on the sidelines of the ASEM Summit here, and summed up our activities for the last two decades. We also agreed on upgrading the connectivity between the continents, and discussed certain topics of common concern,” he said. The Prime Minister of Slovakia thanked the Mongolian President and people for the event, and said this is a great honor for him to take part in the ASEM Summit. He emphasized the parties addressed many important issues such as climate change, sustainable development goals and environment. During the Q&A session, Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed that the ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar was the most constructive. Afterwards, the Mongolian President appreciated the working groups for taking huge efforts to make the biggest event happen in Mongolia, and thanked the EU. “What we have learnt will keep with us. This is a heavy investment. We are dreaming of having Olympic Games in 2050 at home,” Elbegdorj stressed. ^ top ^

“It is vital to fulfill middle-term program on Mongolia-Russia strategic partnership” (Montsame)
2016-07-16
Prime Minister of Mongolia J.Erdenebat met Friday with Dmitry Medvedev, his Russian counterpart, on the sidelines of the ASEM Summit underway in Ulaanbaatar. The governmental leaders agreed that it is important to fulfill a middle-term program on boosting the Mongolia-Russia strategic partnership. They also discussed opportunities for progressing mutually-beneficial cooperation.  ^ top ^

ASEM Summit participants issue Statement on International Terrorism (Montsame)
2016-07-15
Heads of state and government of Asia and Europe, presidents of the European Council and the European Commission and Secretaries General of the ASEAN, who are taking parts in the 11th ASEM Summit being held in Ulaanbaatar, issued a statement on July 15th in concern of the series of terror attacks taking place not only in Asia and Europe, but also in the other corners of the world, uniting their voices against all forms of terrorism. The statement acknowledges that terrorists must be sentenced according to the UN Statute and other international laws, and emphasizes the countries will fight consistently against terrorism. All attendees mourned for the loss of the families and friends of the victims, who lost their precious lives to the brutal attack, which happened in Nice of France, just a few hours before the start of the 11th ASEM Summit. It reads: " Statement of ASEM Leaders on International Terrorism Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 15 July 2016 We, the Heads of State and of Government of Asia and Europe, the President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of ASEAN, meeting in Ulaanbaatar on 15-16 July 2016, reiterated our strong unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. Following the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and Asia and in many other places, as we have seen in Nice a few hours before our Summit, we strongly condemn the heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks perpetrated, resulting in the unacceptable loss of innocent lives and countless injuries. We express our deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, to the people and to the governments of various countries which have suffered from terrorist attacks resulting in the loss of innocent lives. We reaffirm our commitment to join forces to fight the plague of terrorism and underline the need to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law." ^ top ^

Brexit - new discussion topic at ASEM Summit (Montsame)
2016-07-15
With the official opening of the first general meeting of the 11th ASEM Summit on Friday, the participants began discussing key issues confronting Asia and Europe, including economic integration, better connectivity, as well as the fight against terrorism, the exit of the UK from the European Union and its impact on the European and global economy. In the margin of this year's ASEM Summit and its side events, Mongolia received about 4,500 international guests between April and July. The summit is being covered by over 1,000 media and press representatives from abroad, and 160 journalists from Mongolia. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Mirjam Eggli
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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